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Trevor Gillbanks

September 2019 Apiary Diary

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We live at the  end of the 'legal' road. The road carries on over the hills to Lake Colerdige. It's a  beautifull grade winding up through the tussock and was commisioned during The Great Depression as a work for food scheme. It's a testament to the grit of old, hewn of rock with picks and shovels. The story goes that the last  winter of construction  was so cold the men pulled out of the Gully, and by the spring The Depression was over and the road  was never finished.

Some people here call it the Unemployed road.

 

 

Us Beekeepers tend to play our cards close to our chests .... but sometimes it's good to share.

I hear on the grapevine another Beeman in the same predicament as us....lost two thirds of his hives over the winter .... after treating with Bayvarol. The crap ones got boosted with brood on the first round and still died.

Also on the gossip column ..... I hear there is  honey  selling in NZ for the princely sum of $1.50/kg ..... you gotta laugh away the tears eh.

 

This past month we have had our own 'Job Creation' schemes around the place as we wait  .... for bees to build in numbers and  the weather to warm and settle before the mammoth task of making up the deads begins.

The new rock walls in the yard here are testament to our own depression.  The Great Bee Depression of 2019.

 

Like the dark days of the thirties, things will come right.  Just keep the faith.

 

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4 hours ago, ChrisM said:

Please can you expand on this. Some time ago I went to a Waikato NZB day where MG gave a talk about preliminary results of heat treatment of empty brood in a warmer than normal hot room. Are you referring to the same thing? Was there a publication of the final results?

 

 

I don't know if the results were published or not - but yes, same thing. Heating combs at 50deg C for 90 mins reduced pathogen loads and meant more brood and increased numbers compared to reusing the combs without heating.

Last time I heated a box of combs, it worked well when reusing them - but since my wife isn't away like last time, I cant dismantle the oven to jam in a dozen or so  (need to watch temp carefully!) - so the combs went on a fire pile

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This arvo , amongst other things , I went through an apiary of 6 hives .

 

Hive number one is always calm . 3/10. That’s why I always start at that end . 

Its always really cool to find a mother daughter combo, and in the last frame I pulled too. They sat together long enough for a rough photo , before I marked the beautiful stripey daughter green . 

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Next it was onto hive 2 and 3 . They too are calm at 3/10 and a pleasure to work. 

Hive 4 had a newly emerged supercedure cell , so it got closed up .

 

Hive 5 , usually a nasty 8/10 was a calm 4/10 as I popped the lid . On the first frame I pulled , there was a beautiful new laying queen . Mamma was nowhere to be found .

Hive 6 is a mongrel of a thing . Not only is it an 8/10, but it’s also a strong three 3/4 box high full of nasty bees .

To my surprise , as I popped the lid and looked in the unused top feeder , there was a new laying unmarked queen I had not seen before , so I marker her green and put her back in amongst the bees on the frames of the top box , and proceeded to work the hive . 

They passed the temperament test at 5/10.

Some days are funny like that . It’s been a funny winter . I’ve been finding newly mated winter queens all the way through 

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Oh Yes .... I like those Tiger queens. They just look so mean !

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23 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Oh Yes .... I like those Tiger queens. They just look so mean !

She’s quiet as a church mouse 😉

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Uh Huh ..... they just seem to have that  'je ne sais crois' ..... acrobats and performers !

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Was going to pull out the winter kale crop that is going to seed, but my girls have found it and giving it a good working over so left it in place. 

 

kale 2.jpg

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@Markypoo

 I always leave my brassicas to flower .

The bees love them .

I use a lot of mustard as a cover crop but it never gets dug in green now .

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

@Markypoo

 I always leave my brassicas to flower .

The bees love them .

I use a lot of mustard as a cover crop but it never gets dug in green now .

I’m trying to get some crimson clover going now. I remember @Rashika mentioning it a few years ago . Grows to a metre tall apparently

Edited by Daley
Triplicate fixed :)
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58 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Now why did repeat three times I wonder 

Its easy to have things go strange when you post from a phone or tablet

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12 hours ago, Markypoo said:

Was going to pull out the winter kale crop that is going to seed, but my girls have found it and giving it a good working over so left it in place. 

 

Beekeeping is not good for immaculate tidy gardens. I feel guilty pulling out weeds that are flowering now, and my choices of plants are all assessed for usefullness rather than aesthetics.

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I had this thought today while burning more diesel .....

 

There seems to be quite a lot of operations coming out of the woodwork who have had some high winter losses , who have used a variety of winter treatements ..... so is there another underlying common denomina that has affected us rather than Varroa  ...... Nosema ......cororapa ....?   

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21 minutes ago, jamesc said:

I had this thought today while burning more diesel .....

 

There seems to be quite a lot of operations coming out of the woodwork who have had some high winter losses , who have used a variety of winter treatements ..... so is there another underlying common denomina that has affected us rather than Varroa  ...... Nosema ......cororapa ....?   

Disillusion,   depression ,  fatalism,   ennui .

But I also should add I have heard some really good news honey stories lately

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11 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Disillusion,   depression ,  fatalism,   ennui .

But I also should add I have heard some really good news honey stories lately

care to share the good news ?

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1 hour ago, jamesc said:

care to share the good news ?

A friend with retail health business has a branch selling honey overseas and he said it is doing very well and not just manuka .

Unfortunately for production beeks the low price is good for him .

I think manuka is the main seller but other honeys are being introduced through the manuka door .

 

 

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Come back from a month away. Checked hives yesterday. Found a cell I was 90% sure was AFB.

I'm now 100% sure. Great start to the season 

IMG-20190930-WA0003.jpeg

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2 hours ago, BRB said:

Come back from a month away. Checked hives yesterday. Found a cell I was 90% sure was AFB.

I'm now 100% sure. Great start to the season 

IMG-20190930-WA0003.jpeg

Sorry to hear but well  done spotting it. 

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3 hours ago, BRB said:

Come back from a month away. Checked hives yesterday. Found a cell I was 90% sure was AFB.

I'm now 100% sure. Great start to the season 

IMG-20190930-WA0003.jpeg

congratulations is it a boy or a girl

 

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13 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

congratulations is it a boy or a girl

 

Haha that's what my Wife asked when I sent her the pic. I couldn't upload the ropey pic,(too large) so I put up the test...
 

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The only thing worse than finding an AFB is not finding it.  Well done.

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

The only thing worse than finding an AFB is not finding it.  Well done.

I agree. But it dosen't make finding it any easier to swallow. 

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41 minutes ago, BRB said:

I agree. But it dosen't make finding it any easier to swallow. 

Yeh it must be gutting .

Console yourself with a good pat on the back for having a great eye 😊

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On 28/09/2019 at 3:28 PM, JohnF said:

 

I don't know if the results were published or not - but yes, same thing. Heating combs at 50deg C for 90 mins reduced pathogen loads and meant more brood and increased numbers compared to reusing the combs without heating.

Last time I heated a box of combs, it worked well when reusing them - but since my wife isn't away like last time, I cant dismantle the oven to jam in a dozen or so  (need to watch temp carefully!) - so the combs went on a fire pile

A british beekeeping book I've been shown, 'Beekeeping, a seasonal guide' by Ron Brown (OBE) 1985 shows how to refresh old empty dry comb in the off season with galacial acetic acid. So far, this seems very effective; following the instructions in the book. It would be interesting to compare efficacy of these different approaches, but the 50C approach is not a hobbiest option but very convenient for those who have hot rooms.

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