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Autumn feeding strategy

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22 minutes ago, ctm said:

I  am experiencing the same. Next to Riverhead forest with way too many hives for the amount of nectar a pine tree produces and many lifestyle blockers that take up deals to load their property with hives from contractors. Last season my hives didn't produce even a winter feed. This year I changed tack and fed them lots and lots of sugar until the honey flow starts.  My troops are decent this time, so I can harvest at least one super (out of three hives), for my own consumption. Ten years ago it was a different story.

 

I had two sites on the Northern side of the forest for a number of years.  I pulled them out at the end of last season.  The attraction of the forest was it had no hives in it, it was not great foraging.  Lots of hives in there now. 

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14 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

To keep bees healthy and build population we stimulate with sugar.  

 

We then take most of their honey and later replace it with sugar.  

 

It it is normal practice commercial beekeeping. 

 

Its not something we have ever done or do but then most of our sites have an autumn honey dew flow and that is always left on for the bees. 

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11 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

To keep bees healthy and build population we stimulate with sugar.  

 

We then take most of their honey and later replace it with sugar.  

 

It it is normal practice commercial beekeeping.  

Well, that explains why I lose out as a hobby beekeeper in an area with an influx of commercials. What I don't understand is how you can make a living that way. Treatments,  levy,  gear, new queens and now sugar feed, makes my hobby expensive.  If I would add hours worked to this, I end up into the red.

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most forests now have nuc raising sites for the big companies. even a lot of the easy to get to farms with dry  flat paddocks are all nuc raising or storage.

this is how they expand so much so quickly.

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Posted (edited)

You can't make a living off bees where you are Ctm. Years ago, yes.

 

Luckily you are a hobbyist so can apply all your skills to teasing at least some honey out of your hive for your own use, but it is hard where you are.

Edited by Alastair
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11 hours ago, mischief said:

Sorry,....just shaking my head in disbelief.....Your bees cant feed themselves?

Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is seriously crazy????

 

 

1 hour ago, CraBee said:

We then take most of their honey and later replace it with sugar.  

 

 

....because sugar has in past been very much cheaper than honey, even allowing for the labour.  This year...???

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I am in similar area to @ctm, and even without taking off honey, last year there was no honey, and not any better this year.  The big c dumpsite in the Riverhead Forest - pine not native, with 2000 hives only fed sugar stripped any honey out of hobby hives no matter how much you closed down the entrances. Bees that have never had proper honey react to it like they have just had their first hit of cocaine and will simply bombard any hive with it in until it's totally robbed out. I am stoked to see the price of honey and nucs dropping because it can only improve the general hive health in the area. The sane sensible beekeepers will carry on as ever, the money men will have gone on to the next big thing.

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2 hours ago, yesbut said:

 

 

....because sugar has in past been very much cheaper than honey, even allowing for the labour.  This year...???

the cost of sugar hasn't gone up a huge amount, honey price hasn't come down to sugar levels, however labor and running costs have gone way up.

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4 minutes ago, tristan said:

however labor

Have wages gone up ?

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52 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Have wages gone up ?

Not in our business ?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, yesbut said:

Have wages gone up ?

massively. especially for the inexperienced. there has been such a high demand for beeks that even beginners have been able to obtain very good wages.

however i do not think thats going to last long and i suspect that has been coming down over the last few years. 

i think that its going to be the biggest issue as the industry slows/settles down. 

 

edit: theres a whole lot of beeks and companies out there who where not around when beekeeping was a poor industry. they are in for a rough ride.

Edited by tristan
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8 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Its not something we have ever done or do but then most of our sites have an autumn honey dew flow and that is always left on for the bees. 

 

I should have said that was the practice in our area, unfortunately we don't get any flow through Autumn, so it is take off honey and once that is done feed them up.  @Alastair may have a better plan than that but that is about where I'm at.  There used to be a penny royal flow in Dairy Flat in Autumn but the Penny Royal seems to have faded away over the past decade -changing climate maybe?

 

8 hours ago, ctm said:

Well, that explains why I lose out as a hobby beekeeper in an area with an influx of commercials. What I don't understand is how you can make a living that way. Treatments,  levy,  gear, new queens and now sugar feed, makes my hobby expensive.  If I would add hours worked to this, I end up into the red.

 

Its a labour of love ?

 

7 hours ago, yesbut said:

 

 

....because sugar has in past been very much cheaper than honey, even allowing for the labour.  This year...???

 

Sugar is around $1,000/tonne.  Multi-floral is going to be $7/kg ??  Labour is not bad - mixing and pumping out.  In Autumn when they get a feeder full you can despatch an IBC into hives in two or three hours - it all really depends on site hive numbers and distance between them.  Actual feeding out is very quick - you could do twenty hives in five minutes or so - it is just like pouring petrol at the pump.

 

7 hours ago, Sailabee said:

I am in similar area to @ctm, and even without taking off honey, last year there was no honey, and not any better this year.  The big c dumpsite in the Riverhead Forest - pine not native, with 2000 hives only fed sugar stripped any honey out of hobby hives no matter how much you closed down the entrances. Bees that have never had proper honey react to it like they have just had their first hit of cocaine and will simply bombard any hive with it in until it's totally robbed out. I am stoked to see the price of honey and nucs dropping because it can only improve the general hive health in the area. The sane sensible beekeepers will carry on as ever, the money men will have gone on to the next big thing.

I had an old site bordering it and the property owner runs in the forest, he said it is a shambles, gear everywhere.  I think there are three companies in there - including C.

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21 hours ago, yesbut said:

 

 

....because sugar has in past been very much cheaper than honey, even allowing for the labour.  This year...???

Beekeeping in the Waikato follows a very simple formula , or at least it has for the past 5 years . 

At my scale , feeding a tonne of sugar per year will have the bees produce about 800 kg of honey , pasture mix. 

Without the sugar input , there will be the same honey produced per hive (around 22kg) but that is left on for the bees and nothing for the extractor . 

At $10 for honey and $1 for sugar , this system produces a modest profit if I don’t pay myself for time , but at $3.50 for honey , you quickly work out not to bother with buying the sugar . 

So in conclusion, my bees will survive just fine without sugar , but there is no surplus honey 

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@M4tt do you think at the current honey price there is any ecoonomic benefit for a beek with a small no of hives unless the crop is manuka .

 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

@M4tt do you think at the current honey price there is any ecoonomic benefit for a beek with a small no of hives unless the crop is manuka .

 

Economic ? no, therapeutic , yes . 

 

I will say though, that without the constant threat of mites , thanks to  @Philbee‘s inquisitive mind , beekeeping is starting to remind me of what it was like in the late 80’s with respect to individual hive health . 

We used to get an excessively heavy penny royal crop back then , but that was pre varroa and there were few hives around . I only had 3. There was no Mite treatment so I could take honey off when ever I liked . 

Penny Royal is still about but it has an unreliable flow like clover 

Edited by M4tt
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@M4tt I did not realise you were a pre varroa beek.

I remember my friends having hives in the bottom of the garden pre varroa they barely looked at .

Of course they sometimes died , probably from AFB

Now days you can not be such a casual beek . So beeks are onto it more about AFB just cause the hives need more attention .

When current economics crash hive numbers in non manuka areas AFB should be pretty well controled 

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Sorry once again I am absolutely gobsmacked!!!!

And we wonder why we have such a problem with AFB- which according to our local expert- its a stress and or beek related disease.

The problem is with you lot....Greed.

 

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Some of us learn slower than others i guess, Mischief. I can remember when you were outraged people would treat their hives for varroa mites. We were all "quite mad", remember? Then reality hit and you found for yourself there are reasons people do things. ?

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Stress undoubtedly can turn subclinical AFB into clinical AFB but it has to be there to start with. On the other hand when AFB comes from  robbing out a neighbours hive it's usually the healthiest fullest hive in the apiary that gets it.

I prefer to winter my hives down on honey but I feed sugar when I have to and they winter fine on that as well.

The trouble now is that gross overstocking has turned almost every year into a bad year which means far more feeding and far less honey. Not a sustainable situation.

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@john berry this year the area around me is overstocked with bees.

The rata has failed completely to flower 

But the main problem is when the rainly weather stopped it was replaced by constant very strong winds so the manuka and kanuka is not producing . 

We do not have pasture around us .

Historically , before all this overstocking , would beeks have assessed some places  as not going to produce and not used those sites that year .

Or would they keep putting their hives there  anyway .

 

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10 hours ago, mischief said:

Sorry once again I am absolutely gobsmacked!!!!

And we wonder why we have such a problem with AFB- which according to our local expert- its a stress and or beek related disease.

The problem is with you lot....Greed.

 

Greed is a human condition...not just in bees. 

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On 6/01/2019 at 8:41 AM, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Its not something we have ever done or do but then most of our sites have an autumn honey dew flow and that is always left on for the bees. 

South island beekeeping seems to be alot cheaper than north island where feeding is nornal practise. 

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

The trouble now is that gross overstocking has turned almost every year into a bad year

John, One option you could try is OA Staples,
It is possible that a lot of the lost production you describe is due to stress from Mites and Viruses resulting from over stocking.
Its easier to deal with the Mites and Viruses as you are able to kill them, unlike your neighbors.
These Staples and their OA/GL ingredients have fundamentally changed Beekeeping, why not give them a go?

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Posted (edited)

I have every intention of trying some staples. I still have concerns about residues, I don't think they are going to be a problem but as a commercial honey producer I have to be very careful what I put in my hives.

I am very aware of the effect varroa has on hives especially in autumn.. I did some thymol trials with Michelle Taylor quite a few years ago and while none of the different products worked particularly well I got some really interesting results on honey production. Hives that were treated conventionally in the spring and had very few mites in the autumn produced an extra box of honey in February whereas hives where the mite numbers were building up but with no obvious PMS , brood health or drop in bee numbers and had been good produces over the summer ,produced nothing.

Overstocking definitely stresses hives and I think one of the major effects is that they just have to fly further to get what they want meaning they get less,work more and die younger.

I am very disappointed with MPI over the oxalic acid issue. They have effectively left beekeepers to their own devices instead of running some simple trials and then issuing some guidelines over use. 

What we all urgently need is a treatment that can be used safely during summer.

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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1 hour ago, john berry said:

I am very disappointed with MPI over the oxalic acid issue. They have effectively left beekeepers to their own devices instead of running some simple trials and then issuing some guidelines over use. 

What we all urgently need is a treatment that can be used safely during summer

Dont be disappointed in MPI, they have in effect allowed one of the largest Varroa control trials in history to be conducted by good Beekeepers for the Benefit of Beekeepers.
Input has been international and years in depth.
Whats more the trial has been self funding.

No other country could have done a better job of this than New Zealand.

Get some Staples John and put them in some winter Hives
 

 

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