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Dennis Crowley

Boundary Riding Beekeeping

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However there is no doubt that overcrowding reduces per hive crops.

 

I don't think robust policies need, or can, be drafted. There used to be gentlemens agreements that were mostly adhered to. They have now gone by the board because existing beekeepers have their territories staked out, and new beekeepers have nowhere to go, but they have to go somewhere. 

 

The issue will be solved by natural attrition.

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If our hive numbers drop down to 400,000 . What will happen to the other 400,000 hives and boxes.

Will the boxes just get burnt  or , put in pile and left to rot .

Will they even be collected up from sites or abandoned.

Will the hive  numbers reduce really quickly, like in one or two seasons .

It seems a logistical nightmare .

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12 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

If our hive numbers drop down to 400,000 . What will happen to the other 400,000 hives and boxes.

Will the boxes just get burnt  or , put in pile and left to rot .

Will they even be collected up from sites or abandoned.

Will the hive  numbers reduce really quickly, like in one or two seasons .

It seems a logistical nightmare .

You could probably get a long term secure employment contract with MPI with your very own office getting paid to wonder about those very things.

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Excellent question Kaihoka and i don't think anyone knows where these hives will go. 

 

What i do know, is there are now newish (4 years old or less) startup semi commercial type outfits who for financial or other reasons are not even able to do mite treatment this season. 

 

A lot of this gear are el cheapo boxes that will rot down in say, 10 years, don't know about the frames. But yes, some of these hives will be abandoned in the bushes, and some already are.

 

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2 hours ago, Alastair said:

Excellent question Kaihoka and i don't think anyone knows where these hives will go. 

 

What i do know, is there are now newish (4 years old or less) startup semi commercial type outfits who for financial or other reasons are not even able to do mite treatment this season. 

 

A lot of this gear are el cheapo boxes that will rot down in say, 10 years, don't know about the frames. But yes, some of these hives will be abandoned in the bushes, and some already are.

 

Commercial beeks are really in for a rough couple of years .

Not just financially but trying to keep their hives safe from being collateral damage .

There will be uncontrolled disease and varroa mite bombs everywhere.

And since a lot of hive sites are hidden it will be very hard for beeks to know where is safe .

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Posted (edited)

2 sites been found abandoned each with around 50 hives, nearly all dead. 

 

This will be tip of the iceberg.

Edited by Alastair
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Posted (edited)

Alistair I agree that the issue will be solved by attrition but I disagree with the process being natural, I think it is planned and in business is called loss leading.

Big commercial operations can put tens or hundreds of hives along margins of land that are already at maximum bee numbers. Many of these hives, both existing and the newcomer, will be unproductive or starve off but the keeper with the largest number of hives will survive and thrive in the long term. The abandonment of the failed apiaries is predictable and those sites being a locus of disease is also a predictable medium-term problem, one that should be the responsibility of the big commercial operator for creating the problem in the first place.

 

If an area is overstocked by lots of similar sized smaller apiaries, communication and collective downsizing (maximum hives per apiary per hectare) would be a way forward.

Edited by Apihappy

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Alastair said:

2 sites been found abandoned each with around 50 hives, nearly all dead. 

 

This will be tip of the iceberg.

Yes, experiencing it all around us - the mopping up is a bit demoralising to say the least.   Sometimes I wonder that having no conscience and walking away from the bees and letting them die just like that is financially a good move for the corporates.   Oh, it would be different story if the creature supplying your food chain was a little more "obvious" like a goat or a cow - then animal welfare would at least have some bearing on conscience but it seems that bees are given a different status and can be starved and/or poisoned and/or abandoned without redress.    I'm not getting all sooky on this - just making a comparison between bees and other farming activities. 

Edited by Chrisdub
clarification
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13 minutes ago, Chrisdub said:

Yes, experiencing it all around us - the mopping up is a bit demoralising to say the least.   Sometimes I wonder that having no conscience and walking away from the bees and letting them die just like that is financially a good move for the corporates.   Oh, it would be different story if the creature supplying your food chain was a little more "obvious" like a goat or a cow - then animal welfare would at least have some bearing on conscience but it seems that bees are given a different status and can be starved and/or poisoned and/or abandoned without redress.    I'm not getting all sooky on this - just making a comparison between bees and other farming activities. 

 

Exactly, but the Johnny come latelys were at best bee-havers, with little to no interest in the welfare of the bees or the hives. I believe that the corporate led move to routinely feed sugar to stimulate brood early has delayed all and sundry from realising hive numbers had got beyond that which the vegetation could provide for. Even as a hobbyist, I didn't feed sugar until three years ago, and at that point the impact of the local dump sites of those migrating north/south meant feed or lose sometimes.

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The effects of overstocking are hard to quantify as every season is different but they are real and they are serious. As for varoa  affecting production, the only effect varoa has had on my hives as far as production goes is to increase production as there have been no feral hives to compete for the same honey .

I can deal with varoa and bad crops due to bad weather but I can't see any answer to thieving gits who think it's fine to dump hives on top of me. Not legal answers anyway. If all their hives die I will feel sorry for the bees but not the bee havers.

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5 hours ago, Chrisdub said:

Yes, experiencing it all around us - the mopping up is a bit demoralising to say the least.   Sometimes I wonder that having no conscience and walking away from the bees and letting them die just like that is financially a good move for the corporates.   Oh, it would be different story if the creature supplying your food chain was a little more "obvious" like a goat or a cow - then animal welfare would at least have some bearing on conscience but it seems that bees are given a different status and can be starved and/or poisoned and/or abandoned without redress.    I'm not getting all sooky on this - just making a comparison between bees and other farming activities. 

I wonder how many by the end of next season? 

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Interesting question Maru. A lot of beekeepers are still making increase, and a prominent breeder told me he is still selling hives. I'm guessing some folks are still doing OK, but others are not. The hives will probably go where the money is and away from where the money is not. Be interesting to see how it eventually shakes out.

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Are they still selling? I tried selling 200 strong hives on trade me for a month or so at 250 on pallets but no takers. 

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4 hours ago, Maru Hoani said:

Are they still selling? I tried selling 200 strong hives on trade me for a month or so at 250 on pallets but no takers. 

When the manuka is in full flower they may sell.

Beeks could be waiting to season what season is going to be like before they purchase more hives .

If its looking good you may get $400 for your hives .

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Here’s a law you can propose @Dennis Crowley:

 

Anyone planting manuka for honey production has to put a 3km boundary (planted in non-manuka) around it on their own land. 

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On 11/07/2019 at 12:23 PM, Alastair said:

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

In Taupo and soon to be all along the Waikato river farmers need a resource consent to farm Stock.

 

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6 minutes ago, Philbee said:

In Taupo and soon to be all along the Waikato river farmers need a resource consent to farm Stock.

 

And the sooner similar  measure applies to the Waihou catchment the better

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On 12/07/2019 at 9:16 AM, Alastair said:

The issue will be solved by natural attrition.

Natural attrition is cyclic so I dont see how it can be relied upon to balance the Bee industry.

Once the industry stabilizes there will be a new wave of new Beeks entering.
One line of thought that I find disturbing is the idea that new entrants are a liability and their demise should be celebrated.

Its a fact that many of this industrie's liabilities are among the old guard, while new Beeks have brought new ideas to the industry.

Unfortunately survival is about money and some very good Beeks out there may not make it.
 

 

 

2 minutes ago, yesbut said:

And the sooner similar  measure applies to the Waihou catchment the better

Yes, I spent some time at Edendale a few years back and learned all about the plight of the rivers.

Very serious, however the Edendale Pub has to be one of the best places on Earth

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Lots of new ideas from lots and lots of new beekeepers. 

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Phil I'm not saying that natural attrition is a kind process, or that i take pleasure in it. I'm just saying it is what will happen, and in fact is already happening. Also, all of us were new entrants at some point so i have no issues with new entrants.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Phil I'm not saying that natural attrition is a kind process, or that i take pleasure in it. I'm just saying it is what will happen, and in fact is already happening. Also, all of us were new entrants at some point so i have no issues with new entrants.

My point with regard the flood of new Beeks is it's not going to be a one off.

The industry is going to shrink for sure but the cycle will repeat soon enough.
This will continue over and over until the industry takes on some sort of structure.

Its a different world now than 20 years ago, anyone  can create a brand and market a product using the internet, so things happen much more quickly than they used to.

This means that the cycles are more like waves, so without structure there will be wave after wave of instability in this industry.

Of course I could be wrong and we could be facing  10yrs of globe recession where no one can sell anything.

 

 

Edited by Philbee

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Right now the only honey where there’s still a living to be had is Manuka .

I don’t think the cycle will repeat any time soon @Philbee we wont see another boom like Manuka for a long time.

I think the industry will shrink and we won’t see many new players coming on board

 

i would like to see your evidence saying it’s a fact the old guard are the industries liabilities and what are all these new ideas the young guns are supposed to have brought in ?

looking around and seeing the fallout of the MPI Manuka standard it makes for a very grim future if it ever got to the point where Manuka lost its following. 

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11 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

it’s a fact the old guard are the industries liabilities

That should be rephrased.

Among the old guard are some liabilities and I mentioned the 6000 hive operator who uses 2 Bayvarol per box and never wash checks for Mites.
What that guy is doing is negating the efficacy of all his neighbors treatments so IMO he is a liability.

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7 hours ago, Philbee said:

That should be rephrased.

Among the old guard are some liabilities and I mentioned the 6000 hive operator who uses 2 Bayvarol per box and never wash checks for Mites.
What that guy is doing is negating the efficacy of all his neighbors treatments so IMO he is a liability.

 

And the young guys are doing that as well ?

Its a long bow to draw basing such a statement off one beekeeper in my opinion .

I don’t like it when derogatory statements of fact are made about the old guard .

 

To me it’s the old time beekeepers who are, on the whole, the real beekeepers.

They are the ones that have been able to make a living from stuff all income.

They are the ones that were labelled a bit weird when it was known they were beekeepers unlike today where it’s trendy.

They are the beekeepers who had to deal with the arrival of varroa and they are the people who have watched as others have entered the industry with a pocket full of cash and no knowledge or care for bees and completely changed their way of doing business .

I take my hat off to the old timers I’ve learnt so much from them and continue to learn.

give me the knowledge and tenacity of an old timer over a young gun any day of the week. 

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Totally agree with @frazzledfozzle, the old timers are the ones with the wisdom to understand the need to mentor the new comers towards sensible, considered beekeeping management with builtin safeguards like sensible spacing of apiaries, and conservative spending in the good years. Around Auck we have a plethora of new beekeepers who at best 'done a course' all theory, no practical, or worse, had a search online under 'how to keep bees'. Not one or two, hundreds of people, and many have gone from new beekeeper to commercial in one huge nuc purchase, and the thought that they should downsize or manage their exit from the industry now because of lack of funds/interest/skills in an ethical way will not occur to many of them. All of us in the area will be impacted, just as we have been during the gold rush. Those who have made a killing out of supplying the nucs will be the first affected in spring as I think the prices will, from a hobbyists point of view be more reasonable, as in reality, nucs are a natural byproduct of swarm control rather than split/split/split beekeeping that we have had in recent years, and were given or sold cheap to sensible new comers. Hopefully it will be a time now when people take the time to learn real beekeeping - how to put boxes and frames together properly, share skills like how to raise decent queens, all the finer details that many have not 'bothered with' in the headlong rush to make money.

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