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Dennis Crowley

Boundary Riding Beekeeping

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2 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

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

 

LOL aint that the truth 😄

 

Way back, when people asked what i did and i said i am a beekeeper, the reaction was often a "thousand yard stare", while the person was trying to determine if i was pulling their leg, sane, or perhaps a lost soul with no job at all. 

 

Recent years it's been great, i say beekeeper, and immediately there is a very positive reaction "oh so glad you are saving the bees", stuff like that.

 

And here's a now funny but not at the time, story. As a teenager i spent 2 years working for a full time queen breeder in the far north. I lived in an isolated place rent free on a manuka block my boss owned. My very kind neighbours down the road had children my age and made a habit of inviting me over for sunday lunch, which was great. 🙂. But one time they had met a tourist family and had also invited them, so we all sat down for lunch. The wife in the tourist family looked at me and asked what i did, i said i am a queen bee breeder. She said WHAT that's impossible. I said yes, that's what i do. She looked at me in wild eyed disbelief, so i said after lunch she could come next door with me and i will show her. She said "I'm not going anywhere with YOU 😠". My attempts to convince her it really is possble to breed queen bees, and that is what i did, only got her more wound up, and the rest of the lunch was tense, to say the least. 😳. When they drove away afterwards, she was still convinced she had eaten lunch at the same table as a deluded loony.

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3 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

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. 

You cant live in the past Frazol
What are the old guard doing to secure the future of the industry, because I have to disagree with you on the point that this is the end.

This is not the end and history will repeat.

It may not be your problem next time round but it will be a problem for someone unless the foundations are laid now for a structured regulated future.
It seems to me that the Beekeeping industry has a "have your Cake and eat it too" attitude

No one wants to be regulated but everyone wants enjoy sensible  stocking rates.

Sensible stocking rates  will never happen in a commercial environment where Beekeeping is a viable occupation and everyone want Beekeeping to be viable, right?


 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Sensible stocking rates  will never happen in a commercial environment where Beekeeping is a viable occupation and everyone want Beekeeping to be viable, right?

 

Right? Nope.

 

Sensible stocking rates happened through nearly all the history of NZ beekeeping, without regulation.

.

Anycase, the argument is academic. I do not see Councils becoming involved in telling beekeepers how to run their businesses, except where it may affect the Council.

 

Such as in suburbs, councils have to regulate noise, pets, etc, so they regulate bees. Out in the bush, not Councils problem.

 

Sure, Councils may regulate cattle along riverbanks. That's because Councils are responsible for care of the rivers. Bees don't damage rivers so different kettle of fish. Course, you can always get some individual Councillor with a "bee in his bonnett" over some particular issue. But other than that, no need for Council involvement in stocking issues.

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16 minutes ago, Alastair said:

 

Right? Nope.

 

Sensible stocking rates happened through nearly all the history of NZ beekeeping, without regulation.

.

Anycase, the argument is academic. I do not see Councils becoming involved in telling beekeepers how to run their businesses, except where it may affect the Council.

 

Such as in suburbs, councils have to regulate noise, pets, etc, so they regulate bees. Out in the bush, not Councils problem.

 

Sure, Councils may regulate cattle along riverbanks. That's because Councils are responsible for care of the rivers. Bees don't damage rivers so different kettle of fish. Course, you can always get some individual Councillor with a "bee in his bonnett" over some particular issue. But other than that, no need for Council involvement in stocking issues.

Yes the effects issue of overstocking are a commercial issue not environmental issue from a councils point of view.

However if overstocking is seen as an Animal Health issue, one that affects pollination of primary sector feed and produce through Honey Bee stress, and also increases the risk of rapid spread of an incursion should one occur  then that changes things considerably.

IMO all land in NZ should have a base stocking rate set as of right and to farm beyond that limit should require commercial, tradable credits 

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Your view does have some merits. 

 

But in the quest for a perfect world, there are flaws to tradeable credits. For example i see carbon credits being used to allow continuation of polluting practises that would be better eliminated, plus the creation and sale of fake credits by dubious means.

 

In my view natural attrition will in time restore balance to the bee industry, quite possibly in yours and my own lifetime Phil.

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4 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Your view does have some merits. 

 

But in the quest for a perfect world, there are flaws to tradeable credits. For example i see carbon credits being used to allow continuation of polluting practises that would be better eliminated, plus the creation and sale of fake credits by dubious means.

 

In my view natural attrition will in time restore balance to the bee industry, quite possibly in yours and my own lifetime Phil.

There is an old saying
"A fool is born every minute"

In principle I apply this to the current situation in that, sure there will be attrition but that attrition is but a snapshot in time and doesn't address the likelihood of countless new people seeking entry to the industry on the next rise, repeating the cycle.

 

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54 minutes ago, Philbee said:

You cant live in the past Frazol
What are the old guard doing to secure the future of the industry, because I have to disagree with you on the point that this is the end.

This is not the end and history will repeat.

It may not be your problem next time round but it will be a problem for someone unless the foundations are laid now for a structured regulated future.
It seems to me that the Beekeeping industry has a "have your Cake and eat it too" attitude

No one wants to be regulated but everyone wants enjoy sensible  stocking rates.

Sensible stocking rates  will never happen in a commercial environment where Beekeeping is a viable occupation and everyone want Beekeeping to be viable, right?


 

 

 

 

What are the old guard supposed to do to secure the future of the industry ?

what does that even mean ?

 

when I look around at the commercial beekeepers in our region that were in business 20 years ago when we first started every single one on of them is still in business I would say that is going a long way to securing the future of our industry.

 

as for sensible stocking rates in a commercial environment as @Alastairhas already pointed out that’s exactly how business was conducted pre Manuka boom.

 

As more beekeeping companies leave the industry because of poor returns there will be more room and less bees. 

 

 

 

 

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Further to my earlier post, baseline credits are applied to land and are not tradable.

Tradable credits are owned by entities based on some sort of historical calculations (Grand parenting)

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On 12/07/2019 at 1:22 PM, Alastair said:

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

 

This will be tip of the iceberg.

 

As a country we have have been here before. See:

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/law-and-policy/legal-overviews/fisheries/quota-management-system/

In our industry we have the ability to assign quota based upon current and historical production levels.

We have the ability to assign quota for regions and areas.

We have the ability to assign quota for different honey types.

It would not be easy, it would require a lot of thought and working through, but it would provide a sustainable model.

 

And this whole argument I've seen that is to the effect that fishing only ended up with a few big players is not valid.  To get to that point, individual fishermen made their own rational decision to sell or lease their quota and exit the industry.

 

OR, we just let the market deal with it and attrition is as currently happening.  The trouble is manuka is the only crop of any value and the current market situation will only encourage more existing beekeepers into manuka, more hives on boundaries, and less manuka production as a result of more hives.

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

 

Right? Nope.

 

Sensible stocking rates happened through nearly all the history of NZ beekeeping, without regulation.

.

Anycase, the argument is academic. I do not see Councils becoming involved in telling beekeepers how to run their businesses, except where it may affect the Council.

 

Such as in suburbs, councils have to regulate noise, pets, etc, so they regulate bees. Out in the bush, not Councils problem.

 

Sure, Councils may regulate cattle along riverbanks. That's because Councils are responsible for care of the rivers. Bees don't damage rivers so different kettle of fish. Course, you can always get some individual Councillor with a "bee in his bonnett" over some particular issue. But other than that, no need for Council involvement in stocking issues.

Dont forget about the public and health and safety, with more and more bike and walking tracks being put in, or even more people biking around, where there is a chance of the public being stung because a commercial entity has placed hives near tracks and the such like, and bees being left at gas stations etc.

Only takes some very influential/vocal people to make some loud noise  and councils may act. 

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3 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

 

And this whole argument I've seen that is to the effect that fishing only ended up with a few big players is not valid.  To get to that point, individual fishermen made their own rational decision to sell or lease their quota and exit the industry.

 

 

The difference between fishing and beekeeping is that if someone does not go out fishing, that only improves the possibilities for those that do, but with hives, if the numbers are not reduced ethically, all other hives in the area could be impacted by varroa bombs, AFB and other greebies.

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2 hours ago, Philbee said:

people seeking entry to the industry on the next rise, repeating the cycle

 

Well, the only significant  'rise' I have witnessed since the 80's - Manuka and all things associated with it (nucs, utes, beekeeping equipment, queens...)

Kiwifruit pollination services was a smaller 'rise' - over time the fee has gone up from a paltry 80 odd bucks, partly due to lack of bees available due to Manuka (though a kiwi manager said a big outfit in Auckland -6000 odd hives available  is sniffing around in the Bay) -  The fee is still relatively small compared to the sheer importance of those bees relative to overall cost of kiwifruit.  

I don't think I will ever witness another Manuka boom- but am open minded.  

15 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

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

 

You know so? or think so? 

Have all forum members sold their 'manuka' crop this season?  The feedback ( I am no expert as I only have pasture- which is sitting in the shed) is - 'bit heavy on manuka at present' - too much of it in buyers sheds to even consider more.  Even good stuff.   I reckon  beekeepers with higher volumes of goods manuka, the well connected and ones with secure long term supply arrangements/partnerships are doing alright.  And keep this information to themselves. 

 

My thoughts on 'new beekeepers' - some have injected some real value.  Seeking new markets for their honey overseas and creating nice brands.  We need to encourage this.  They also bleed anyone they perceive as having  any knowledge dry and seem willing to take a risks trying.  Though these new guys are somewhat aggressive/inconsiderate/indifferent when searching for bee sites.  

 

The 'old guard' tend to do things the same.  Just because they have been around for ages doesn't mean they do things well either. 

 

 

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In the RMA, sustainable management means managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural well-being and for their health and safety.  Council have a duty to enable those well-beings. There is little if any law outside of the RMA to enable that.

Monocultural manuka farmers are relying  on other landowners flora commons.

 Since the change of management over the fence both boundary loading and the disease issue have become non-existant. From experience, overstocking and closeness of apiaries can be  disruptive to economic well-being.

@goran might be able to provide an example of how things work where he is.

 

 

 

 

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This post alone shows the great variance in the views of established beekeepers - at the end of the day it depends on how much of your livelihood is affected.  If you are gainfully employed and bees are a secondary hobby or income stream, then you can afford to be magnanimous with suggestions about quotas, hive stocking rates etc perhaps. 

Yes, there are increased risks associated with siting of bees in areas where hitherto the public (mostly tourists) couldn't really be bothered going to.  Now, with the increase of 'tourism' on cycles on the whole (don't start me....) some of these more inaccessible yet reachable areas have been tracked and now from time to time people go there.  Which does make for changes to how councils want to control activities as there is an increased  likelihood of bee interaction.   Bees are a hazard and where they cross paths with other humans it is a potential source of malcontent.

 

Your bees are making a crop off of land that is not owned by you on the whole - foraging a profit from elsewhere.    Thus,  should you be paying for the right for your bees to forage (whether they do or not) from land owned by the Councils (in this case a JV with Comvita?)  That is the issue isn't it - the freeloading idea and how to get a $ return from all who might potentially benefit from a resource created by one and tapped into by many.

 

Beekeeping (vis a vis acceptable economic stocking rates, adherence to food production regulations and traceability of ownership of all beehives/crop)  should be regulated as an industry to a greater degree - it won't be necessarily palatable to some and it will affect some people more than others.   This does, of course, go hand in hand with an industry that must be profitable enough to warrant this increased administrational oversight.    If its not financially viable, then that's a whole other story isn't it?

The older guard beekeepers are bristled up - hey having weathered a few storms it gets a bit tiresome seemingly facing the same sort of fresh-faced young 'uns who fall over because of their lack of desire to learn some basic bee husbandry facts.   But, then again, weren't we all fresh-faced young 'uns once upon a time.   There is a place for all and fresh eyes on a situation are essential for us all to learn and adapt to change.    I agree with Gino above - I don't think there will be another boom like the manuka one, though.   

Is this the time for the industry to sort out its washing a little better?  What no-one wants is for only large commercial to be the survivor.   But, are we fighting a losing battle when it comes to complying with the regulations we must live with that surround beekeeping itself, health & safety (and implications for the relationship on farms if $ change hands) being one where no one-size fits all works.   That is an oppositional view to the one I said above, in that beekeeping as an activity should be more regulated.   The business of beekeeping should be better regulated in terms of hive numbers and regional siting/stocking levels and compliance with food safety.  The regulation of beekeeping should not be so difficult as to only mean that large commercial entities alone can afford to cover the compliance aspects.    

Sigh, I'm taking a break from administration and going to trail around after kids in the second week of the school holidays doing sport things then its back to catch up with all our very important landowners and managers and begin the beekeeping year once again. 

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7 minutes ago, Chrisdub said:

(in this case a JV with Comvita?)

When I started this discussion about boundary riding, it was not because of Comvita or any other company specifically, more of a general issue thats coming up.

Not to say they are not in the mix, but are not the main reason for the discussions. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

When I started this discussion about boundary riding, it was not because of Comvita or any other company specifically, more of a general issue thats coming up.

Not to say they are not in the mix, but are not the main reason for the discussions. 

 

Yes, that is not relevant.   I shall clarify and say any JV that plants manuka or whomsoever owns an established resource. 

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The basics of good beekeeping were sorted out before I was born. Varoa has caused a blip and will cause more but bees are still bees and I have seen endless people with bright ideas and no stockmanship crash and burn. My production is way above the national average and my costs are way below. That is why I make good money in a good year and survive the poor years.

I would love to have some regulations that protected me and my bees but I can't see it ever happening and if it did it would be set up for everything to go to the highest bidder. That is a situation now with manuka sites with each new pretender outbidding the previous one by promising more money, more hives or both. If through 50 years of experience you happen to know the  optimum stocking rates and the average production for an area then you often cannot match the offers that are made because you know it would make you bankrupt.  ordinary beekeepers both young and old cannot compete against this type of stupid and unfair competition and yet we are the ones that make profits and pay taxes to keep the country going.

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On 11/07/2019 at 10:49 AM, 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 . 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.

 

Isn't the HBRC a regulator? And it has an apiary industry JV?  Is there any potential for conflict of interest? Or is it suggesting that the NBA take back the leadership it lost, and regulate its members?

 

On 13/07/2019 at 8:26 PM, john berry said:

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

 

I like the old ideas. There used to be a gentlemans agreement in the industry. I've now  got that with most of my neighbours. There's just one who's a slow learner. He may benefit from new teaching methods.

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Long story short

There is an opportunity now for existing Beekeepers  to create or be allocated a quota asset.

Its been my view for a while now that the significant and determining difference between for example a Dairy Farmer and a Beekeeper is the Title Deed to the land.

By comparison , a Beekeeper is a Landless Gypsy and behaves like one.
What Beekeepers need is to have some skin in the industry and a Quota system would provide that

 

IMO such a system would transform the industry over night

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43 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Long story short

There is an opportunity now for existing Beekeepers  to create or be allocated a quota asset.

Its been my view for a while now that the significant and determining difference between for example a Dairy Farmer and a Beekeeper is the Title Deed to the land.

By comparison , a Beekeeper is a Landless Gypsy and behaves like one.
What Beekeepers need is to have some skin in the industry and a Quota system would provide that

 

IMO such a system would transform the industry over night

How would quota size be accessed.

By average yeilds of an area ?  Beeks have told me they expect one good year in five .

In a good rata yr  its really difficult to overstock an area , its the weather that determines yeilds .

Would you expect quota rules to apply to private land .

 

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22 hours ago, CraBee said:

 

As a country we have have been here before. See:

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/law-and-policy/legal-overviews/fisheries/quota-management-system/

In our industry we have the ability to assign quota based upon current and historical production levels.

We have the ability to assign quota for regions and areas.

We have the ability to assign quota for different honey types.

It would not be easy, it would require a lot of thought and working through, but it would provide a sustainable model.

 

And this whole argument I've seen that is to the effect that fishing only ended up with a few big players is not valid.  To get to that point, individual fishermen made their own rational decision to sell or lease their quota and exit the industry.

 

OR, we just let the market deal with it and attrition is as currently happening.  The trouble is manuka is the only crop of any value and the current market situation will only encourage more existing beekeepers into manuka, more hives on boundaries, and less manuka production as a result of more hives.

I could not disagree more with the above. It would be a sad day indeed if any proposal such as this was ever to come to fruition.

The fishing industry model is a national disgrace in my view. Our fish stocks sit at around 10% of what they were only 100 years back. There is a case for considerable change from this model that is in the interest of all New Zealanders rather than a corporate few.

I would suggest @CraBee that your enterprise would probably not survive any more than 95% of other relatively small operators would. The big C and a few others would be laughing all the way to the bank! Not NZ beekeeping how most would want it.

1 hour ago, Philbee said:

Long story short

There is an opportunity now for existing Beekeepers  to create or be allocated a quota asset.

Its been my view for a while now that the significant and determining difference between for example a Dairy Farmer and a Beekeeper is the Title Deed to the land.

By comparison , a Beekeeper is a Landless Gypsy and behaves like one.
What Beekeepers need is to have some skin in the industry and a Quota system would provide that

 

IMO such a system would transform the industry over night

Again I have complete and total opposition to any such scheme.

Yes it would benefit some (the few) and frankly be an enormous windfall to those at least in the short term.

The family beek would be hammered out of existence virtually overnight and once again the few of the largest operators (and non NZ operators) would be laughing as the rest sunk rapidly.

It would be a game for the very wealthy (elite) once again (think crayfishing?).

The scrabble for 'rights' would be very costly and way beyond the mid/smaller operators.

Not NZ beekeeping the way it should be.

Yes it would create enormous wealth for the few who hold hive placement rights as they are initially traded by the few. It would be a pay through the nose for any and all hive sites including non Manuka. 

Yes there are problems in the industry but I think they can be approached in a different manner without a quota system ( by default or imposed) and without extreme intervention by law or regulation.

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1 hour ago, Philbee said:

...a Beekeeper is a Landless Gypsy and behaves like one.

What Beekeepers need is to have some skin in the industry and a Quota system would provide that

 

 

 

Quota? Details please:  is it by number of hives? yield of honey? quota for species floral source? overlapping quota areas? or a set  geographic area? pollination quotas? number of queens  raised quota? amateur quota? How does it all fit together? How is it going to account for land use change?

 

I'm tending to side with the concept of beekeeping as a symbiotic  activity:  a humble  service for the well-being of agricultural communities. There should be protection of local communities.

 

Skin in the industry through a quota done wrongly will lead to a sense of entitlement, and an enclosure of the floral commons, and eventual corporatisation  of bee space by outsiders. Knowing how government and local government think, it would be a mess. Corporates external to the community would muscle in with beekeeping merely an extractive industry.

 

There should be rules; around apiary isolation distances; hive numbers per cadastre or at least per apiary; allowance outside these rules for crop pollination services at flowering only, for short time period flowering crops, eg avocado, kiwifruit; mandatory notification of hive movements before movement, and mandatory disease inspection of hives before movement.

 

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5 minutes ago, Shem said:

There should be rules; around apiary isolation distances; hive numbers per cadastre or at least per apiary; allowance outside these rules for crop pollination services at flowering only, for short time period flowering crops, eg avocado, kiwifruit; mandatory notification of hive movements before movement, and mandatory disease inspection of hives before movement.

Rules won't make a scrap of difference to overpopulation, diminishing resource, greed, and economic system rapidly passing it's use by date.

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Sorry, I got distracted. I was reading about humility; harmony etc.

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

Rules won't make a scrap of difference to overpopulation, diminishing resource, greed, and economic system rapidly passing it's use by date.

so you will be supporting the euthanasia bill with a much reduced age limit   .   :6_smile:

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