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Dennis Crowley

Boundary Riding Beekeeping

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It's the Hawke's Bay regional Council and I don't know what's driving it but I suspect it's their block that they planted at Tutira in partnership with I believe Comvita . I don't have bees in that area but there would be around six apiarys that were already there, well within flying distance and at least one of those apiarys has been there for over 60 years. All these hives have been pollinating clover which is worth far more to the country than manuka will ever be and it beggars belief that those existing beekeepers should have to move their hives to accommodate a corporate entity with a fairly poor reputation for moving into other beekeepers territories. They are not the worst but they are certainly not the best. Couple this with way exaggerated stocking rates formulated by some CEO in a dark back room who has no idea about the realities of beekeeping including  at least in Hawke's Bay massive competition from native solitary bees and you can see why these companies are losing money. Shareholders and banks need to cut their losses and stop backing money gobbling enterprises and leave the rest of  us to it.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It's not a bad code to live by and if you don't then don't go bleating to the Council or government when someone copies your own behaviour.

PS I'm not privy to the production levels from this block but rumour has it that the production so far has been basically zero and knowing the level of native bees and poor production of manuka traditional to that area it wouldn't surprise me. As a conservation effort to help stop degradation of the lake I think it's fantastic but for honey production it is and always will be a waste of time.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Councils can just say you need to pay for a consent to keep bees, just like a building consent, self funding.

 

Self Funding. Hmm....

 

That should be worded "self funding for the Council".

 

Funding does not come out of thin air. It will come from beekeepers of course, who will pay through the nose, as always happens with council fees and their $400 an hour teams of consultants.

 

Council tells us how we may run our businesses, and we pay them to tell us that. Why do i not find that appealing. 😳

Edited by Alastair
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So don't you dare let your bees come to my side and mate my queens as I am a pure breed queen breeder.

Don't you dare let your bees pollinate my black tomatoes as I am raising seeds of them and can't have lack and yellow ones! 

Don't you dare to let your bees fly on my land as I am allergic!

........

........ 

and so on.

I think it's quite a selfish thought.

 

 

 

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Black tomatoes ....yeeetch 

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Love the sentiment; it would be great to have rational people working with each other and everyone getting a fair shake. However I can’t say I’m taken with the idea off a council or any other arbitrarily driven entity creating a legal mess on this matter in the slightest.

I can see the perspective where corporate beekeepers and Landowners relatively new to the industry may well see the idea as a magic elixir with regard to poaching, however family and other beekeeping concerns should be aghast at the possible ramifications, indeed once the Corporate concerns were entrenched the legal and costly compliance involved would ensure everyone including the corporates, councils, beekeepers etc. had wished they’d run a mile from the outset.

So an artificial boundary of (let’s say) 1km is drawn around the perimeter of a freehold block. By whom and what happens when the owners of the impinged block decide to plant or let their property regenerate (first in first served)?

So landowners and the rightful beekeeper are losing honey to the ‘boundary riding’ rogue beekeepers. Too much perspective in this statement: Which Landowners perspective or Beekeepers Perspective is correct? The one who registers their resource first? Or maybe the one who’s just planted 100ha beside an existing farm/resource which has intermittent Manuka and may only produce a decent quality crop in years when the clover doesn’t flower: Who’s going to pay the legal bill for this one?

What takes precedence /dominates? A block of manuka over a block of mixed bush or either of these over paddocks of clover. Room for debate/dispute with massive compliance cost here and the fees for mediation and court costs will be phenomenal

Investors who are considering planting manuka forests shouldn’t be dissuaded if they do their homework and plant the appropriate property’s.

To involve Councils or MPI and attempt to legislate in this area would turn the industry into a cot-case effectively opening a can of worms for the long term which would have the capacity to cost the industry and investors far more than any rudimentary benefits gained: What a disastrous idea/way to involve the industry in entrenched long term litigation.

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At this stage its just a get together and chat about the issues, and perhaps to see if there is a possibility of some way forward. There is no easy answer, but its all you here about so this council wanted to pick our brains about it. No more rants just ideas please.

For the record, my stance is leave this alone. If someone wants to plant manuka good on them but its their choice, leave the neighbors alone, or you come to some agreement with them.

But perhaps a distance from the boundary from where you can place hives and perhaps a max number of hives per site? I agree its a can of worms but still worth thrashing out some ideas.

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The only law that will solve all these issues, is the natural and inevitable law of attrition. 

The major players invented a world of greed where now every farmer and wannabe beekeeper feels entitled to a share of a created pie, despite all logic or common sence saying this does not work.

 

Three years ago I was asked to consult on a commercial manuka planting proposition as I had no bees in the area. It took me less than 5 minutes to tell them not to bother. There were six seperate landowners within 2km of planting block, with two of them of 1ha in size. I told them each land owner could legally put as many hives on their land as they pleased, and planted block, if it produced honey, would be swamped by 1000's of other bees.

The funny (or sad) thing is planting did not go ahead, but now almost every property has max bees on them. No crops and bees suffering, but I still do not want any laws introduced to combate greed and stupidity.

 

 

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2 hours ago, john berry said:

It's the Hawke's Bay regional Council and I don't know what's driving it but I suspect it's their block that they planted at Tutira in partnership with I believe Comvita

 

Well if it is, that sucks. I now understand why the council wants a chat.  F em.  They took the risk. 

43 minutes ago, Bushy said:

The only law that will solve all these issues, is the natural and inevitable law of attrition. 

So very true.  It's happening and it will help reduce hive numbers over time.  There could be an excellent opportunity for someone to establish a 'get out of beekeeping' enterprise. Like the liquidators do. Salvage what you can. 

 

Not sure why we need to thrash this out- we all seem to agree- Too bad and too hard.  What ever way you look at it, someone will pay for this.  

@Dennis Crowley maybe they could pay a 'retainer' for those boundary riders to stay away?   A stocking rate is the only way I can imagine some control, but all a bit knee jerk.  Everyone was smiling when clover sold for good bucks and average bush considered manuka.  

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It's probably good that the Council is having this discussion. I have been invited to the meeting and  I will be telling them that in my opinion there is no answer to this problem.

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Thank goodness this council has had the sense to have discussion and consult the beekeeping industry, and hopefully they will take note of what many beekeepers think, and everyone that has posted here seems to be of the same opinion.  Because whatever the outcome of this discussion could well set the precedent for every other council in NZ.

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Agreed, @Maggie James.      DoC kind of tried a version of this with their allocation of manuka sites within Doc boundaries.  When you studied potential site locations, it quickly became apparent that with limitations on types of access and exclusions through topography and terrain and then boundary set backs,  there isn't much at all that meets the criteria that is anything like worth pursuing, especially in various regions and DoC could not control boundary riding either.

I read on here somewhere about research being funded (or planned perhaps) to give a farm plan on how many bees, expected honey types gathered, gathering season and expected crops to give farmers another way to charge realistic  "site rentals" for beehives kept on their land.   This research is not likely to prove anything we don't already know from farming bees in various areas over the years, the difference being that presumably someone would get a PhD thesis out of it.  Such farm would have to also (theoretically) then be able to exclude all OTHER bees from gathering off anything other than their farm base.   So, you are once again left with this being viable only on accessible terrain, a full flying distance inside the boundary, on perfectly aligned sites with perfect underfoot conditions and perfect weather conditions to maximise the gatherability of a crop.  Never mind the skill of the bee farmer ...   So, then, how can you prevent or exclude the neighbouring farm so that its bee flying distance is not crossing over with yours?   Does this mean that only some farms would be able to cash in on the potential crop?  And, how do you choose those worthy farms?   All this is a moot point, given the honey market right now. 

It all seems like desperate measures by all those who flocked to the allure of the golden cash cow they thought manuka was going to be ... once again proving that unregulated, unfettered expansion of all things to suckle off limited numbers of quite small and sometimes unyielding teats, is foolish.   Alpacas,  avocados, angora rabbits, olives, grapes, milking goats, milking sheep, merino fine wools, ostriches, beef and sheep, dairying .... oh, and of course, gold and coal and native timbers.   Perhaps I should add tourism to the list too.  Yes, I'm feeling a bit snarky today. 

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Welcome to the forum Oh Snarky One !

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6 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Placing your hives on a neighbouring farm without permission is the same as putting your cows in the neighbours paddock. But Farm animals regularly forage for food on neighbouring farmers properties by putting there heads through the fence.

no difference to bees on one property flying over the fence to forage another property.

Also the bees on the Manuka block that are deemed to be allowed to stay there will be foraging on the neighbours clover/bush block so how is that OK ?

If it’s not OK for bees to forage from one side of the fence to the other it has to apply the other way too.

So banning bees altogether from any land is the only fair way to do it. 

 

Nah, cows will only reach. 01% of the neighbours farm through the fence while the bees will forage the whole thing.

If a the farm has twice or thrice the carrying capacity perposely to rob the neighbours manuka honey then it shouldn't be allowed especially if placed on pine blocks where there is no forage at all except on the neighbours manuka block! 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/07/2019 at 5:54 PM, Dennis Crowley said:

Me and a few others have been asked to meet with a local council next week to discuss boundary riding beekeeping, their issue is around freshly planted manuka blocks.

Im coming from the point that all beekeeping sites should be included.

I know this is a hot topic is fraught with anxiety, anger, frustration, fear etc etc.

What I would like to hear from you is your thoughts as to how you may see a way around this issue, but you also have to have a plan as to how to implement it.

For example, if you say " we should just have 400000 beehives in NZ", then how do you propose for that to happen. 

Put your thinking caps on please.

 

A few years ago I put forward a plan where land owners had hive credits much the same as Taupo catchment landholders have nitrogen credits.

These credits are tradeable.

Of course the idea went down like a lead balloon.
The problem of over crowding of hives is not one that ApiNZ will solve without Govt backing

Edited by Philbee

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15 minutes ago, Philbee said:

A few years ago I put forward a plan where land owners had hive credits much the same as Taupo catchment landholders have nitrogen credits.

These credits are tradeable.

Of course the idea went down like a lead balloon.
The problem of over crowding of hives is not one that ApiNZ will solve without Govt backing

 

There are too many hives in NZ for the forage available.

There was a similar problem in the fishing industry - too many boats and not enough fish.

A quota management system was introduced.

I remember in the early 90's hitch-hiking back from Uni to my home town and getting picked up by a commercial fisherman who was rapt at the free asset the government was gifting him, he was trying to catch as many fish as he could that year as that set the quota.

Of course in the fishing industry many fisherman ended up selling their valuable quota, or even leasing it for a return.  Is that a bad thing though?  It was their decision to make.  Many probably retired on that money.

I've been down this path before and got shot down, something to think about though?

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, CraBee said:

I've been down this path before and got shot down, something to think about though?

 

I've thought about it and haven't been able to think how it would work. How do you think it could work ?

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On 10/07/2019 at 5:54 PM, Dennis Crowley said:

Me and a few others have been asked to meet with a local council next week to discuss boundary riding beekeeping, their issue is around freshly planted manuka blocks.

Im coming from the point that all beekeeping sites should be included.

I know this is a hot topic is fraught with anxiety, anger, frustration, fear etc etc.

What I would like to hear from you is your thoughts as to how you may see a way around this issue, but you also have to have a plan as to how to implement it.

For example, if you say " we should just have 400000 beehives in NZ", then how do you propose for that to happen. 

Put your thinking caps on please.

 

which council is it?

when you suggest "a way around this issue", are you suggesting that the correct solution is to impose some rules?

 

my ideas:

1 - explain that the council have no role to play in this, and that it's part of due dilligence on the part of landowners/investors making planting decisions, if the investors failed in this then it's not the role of council to bail them out for incompetence

2 - explain the logistics - bees fly a long way, "boundary" will mean different things to different people in this context

3 - there are long-established apiaries in close proximity to new plantings, rules to force beekeepers to leave established apiaries would be perceived by many as effectively theft

4 - throw this example at them. Two neighbouring properties have commercial manuka plantations - which is the boundary rider? \

5 - point out that the major commercials are guaranteed boundary-riding in other locales, so any local protest is fairly hypocritical

 

let me know if you want more ideas and i'll post them.

7 hours ago, john berry said:

It's the Hawke's Bay regional Council and I don't know what's driving it but I suspect it's their block that they planted at Tutira in partnership with I believe Comvita .

funny, and sounds plausible, viz a stupid council employee got sold a fairytale by the big-C and now that they realise that the emperor is wearing no clothes they're scrambling to protect their stupidity.

6 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

For the record, my stance is leave this alone. If someone wants to plant manuka good on them but its their choice, leave the neighbors alone, or you come to some agreement with them.

But perhaps a distance from the boundary from where you can place hives and perhaps a max number of hives per site? I agree its a can of worms but still worth thrashing out some ideas.

agree 100% with the first point,

and vehemently disagree with the can of worms idea in the second :)

 

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28 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

There are too many hives in NZ for the forage available.

There was a similar problem in the fishing industry - too many boats and not enough fish.

A quota management system was introduced.

I remember in the early 90's hitch-hiking back from Uni to my home town and getting picked up by a commercial fisherman who was rapt at the free asset the government was gifting him, he was trying to catch as many fish as he could that year as that set the quota.

Of course in the fishing industry many fisherman ended up selling their valuable quota, or even leasing it for a return.  Is that a bad thing though?  It was their decision to make.  Many probably retired on that money.

I've been down this path before and got shot down, something to think about though?

 

 

 

It ended with only 2 massave fishing companies that's how, big fish syndrome they swallow all the smaller fish up

Hopefully that never happens in here

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Looks like this idea will work for the Council, not sure where landowners stand, and about 95% dissaproval from actual beekeepers.

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55 minutes ago, Maru Hoani said:

It ended with only 2 massave fishing companies that's how, big fish syndrome they swallow all the smaller fish up

Hopefully that never happens in here

Uh huh ..... little dog yaps and bites heels .....big dog eats little dog. 

It's the second fact of life.

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1 hour ago, tommy dave said:

which council is it?

when you suggest "a way around this issue", are you suggesting that the correct solution is to impose some rules?

The which council dosen't matter, it could be any of them, but already been mention Hawks Bay, I have had chats with WBOPCC up here on similar topic, others are watching/listening to what may happen.

Your 5 points I agree with. The rest is about trying to front foot this issue as best we can before we are frontfooted by others.

 

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The best message to take to the council would be that it appears they have been influenced (wrongly) by those who have vested interest. Capture of the state ( the council in this instance) by elite private interest.

No regulation is currently required or desired. 

The whole matter is the business of the industry not the council.

I don't think there is any doubt the council is the victim of lobbying by vested interests and needs to step back from this issue before they are made fools of by those who are lobbying.

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In theory , if all these boundry jumping ideas become some sort of rules , I could be prevented from keeping bees because I am surrounded by national park which a commercial beek has a conseesionn for .

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17 hours ago, Maggie James said:

Thank goodness this council has had the sense to have discussion and consult the beekeeping industry, and hopefully they will take note of what many beekeepers think, and everyone that has posted here seems to be of the same opinion.  Because whatever the outcome of this discussion could well set the precedent for every other council in NZ.

 

Agreed, sort of. I’ve been involved in a fair few consultation processes in other industries and areas. If you consult, then do whatever you want you can then say that all views were considered and were incorporated into the final decision. 

As noted here, this reeks of a failure that is being pinned on a neighbour.

Its probably worth planting a few Manuka around your good sites so that they can be  defended as a valuable site further down the track.

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Robust policies need to be drafted, thats a given

We will get through this current market / supply issue and there will be a lot of effort put into establishing new  markets for added value Honey and Honey products.
If the Status Quo is maintained with regard rules then the same issues that we currently have will reappear.

 

Having said this I do believe there is scope for higher Hive densities than many believe.

This is because Im not convinced that the Bees exhaust the available nectar supply 
It may well be that the higher hive densities stress the Bees in terms of animal health and as technologies become available to address this issue, the higher the Hive densities that can be tolerated.

So any rules that are put in place must be such that they do not compromise the industry long term.

 

An example that Ill reluctantly share.

Long story short.

A large beek (1000s of Hives) with a very big voice tells me there are to many Hives in his area and its making his business unviable

He never does mite washes as he can tell a hive with Mites from one without and he uses 2 Bayrarol per Box because that is enough.

 

So from the perspective of a Beek who has more or less mastered the art of Mite control, its difficult to take some opinions seriously.

 

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