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Trevor Gillbanks

October 2019 Apiary Diary

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Im thinking, there is a lot of talk about leaving bush honey on hives cos it not worth much...if someone has a market an selling overseas ,whats the chances of that beiing shared to other bush producers? Im keen to pursue this avenue.

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Gosh there are some miserable sods around .

 

I got a phone call this morning from a retired veterinarian who saw to my livestock for the first 20 years of my farming . He’s been building up for a while and had finally purchased a hive and wanted a mentor. He was actually wondering why his bees won’t take syrup. He’d been advised by the seller of his hive to feed them for a week , but they hadn’t used any .

 

Well, in my mind, bees won’t take syrup if the hive is weak, sick , or they dont need it . I figured they just didn’t need it. He told me he’d purchased 10,000 bees for $220.

 

Something wasn’t sitting right , so I called in on him to check them out. Initially I’d told him to leave them for week then I’d help him check them .

 

Well, ..........

 

I opened the hive . I could see about 10 sucking syrup, and no more , so I opened the frames .

 

He’s been sold a swarm , 5 cups of bees max, with two queens , on bare wood and wax. In the 4 days he’s had them they have drawn nothing and are in a very bad way . Lots dead on hive floor ( not enough to make up to 10,000 though ). About half a cup of dead bees .

 

Hes been robbed ,  by a reputable beekeeper, but he won’t tell me who. 
 

I swung into action and whipped home and grabbed 4 frames full of honey , pollen and nectar ( for complete clarification , I am not giving him honey to feed his bees , I am supplying him with the correct ingredients of a nuc ). His bees will suck out the nectar to stop them dying from iminent starvation , and one or other of the queens should get out and mate and start laying . Next week , I will take down a frame of capped brood to complete what he paid good money for. 
 

I bet the supplier forgot to mentioning registering himself as a beekeeper. We will cover that next week as well .

 

Nubees beware 

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$220 for a crook swarm. Crikey. Mine go for $50 (no, I don't give them away, they do take some effort.) I have my doubts there'll be any this year, the willow's about three weeks late and my hives aren't building particularly fast, and the commercial neighbour's hives look pretty lacklustre from the outside..

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Good on you @M4tt that was a very kind thing to do.

I don’t know how crooks like that sleep at night.

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2 hours ago, M4tt said:

Gosh there are some miserable sods around .

 

I got a phone call this morning from a retired veterinarian who saw to my livestock for the first 20 years of my farming . He’s been building up for a while and had finally purchased a hive and wanted a mentor. He was actually wondering why his bees won’t take syrup. He’d been advised by the seller of his hive to feed them for a week , but they hadn’t used any .

 

Well, in my mind, bees won’t take syrup if the hive is weak, sick , or they dont need it . I figured they just didn’t need it. He told me he’d purchased 10,000 bees for $220.

 

Something wasn’t sitting right , so I called in on him to check them out. Initially I’d told him to leave them for week then I’d help him check them .

 

Well, ..........

 

I opened the hive . I could see about 10 sucking syrup, and no more , so I opened the frames .

 

He’s been sold a swarm , 5 cups of bees max, with two queens , on bare wood and wax. In the 4 days he’s had them they have drawn nothing and are in a very bad way . Lots dead on hive floor ( not enough to make up to 10,000 though ). About half a cup of dead bees .

 

Hes been robbed ,  by a reputable beekeeper, but he won’t tell me who. 
 

I swung into action and whipped home and grabbed 4 frames full of honey , pollen and nectar ( for complete clarification , I am not giving him honey to feed his bees , I am supplying him with the correct ingredients of a nuc ). His bees will suck out the nectar to stop them dying from iminent starvation , and one or other of the queens should get out and mate and start laying . Next week , I will take down a frame of capped brood to complete what he paid good money for. 
 

I bet the supplier forgot to mentioning registering himself as a beekeeper. We will cover that next week as well .

 

Nubees beware 

 

That's really rank.  If I'm selling a nuc to a new bk I make sure that first nuc is an extra good one....

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1 minute ago, CraBee said:

 

That's really rank.  If I'm selling a nuc to a new bk I make sure that first nuc is an extra good one....

The new beekeeper was a bit taken back with the lack of advice or support .

I agree with you. Anyway , this way he will have a good hive , not a dead one 

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2 hours ago, M4tt said:

Gosh there are some miserable sods around .

 

I got a phone call this morning from a retired veterinarian who saw to my livestock for the first 20 years of my farming . He’s been building up for a while and had finally purchased a hive and wanted a mentor. He was actually wondering why his bees won’t take syrup. He’d been advised by the seller of his hive to feed them for a week , but they hadn’t used any .

 

Well, in my mind, bees won’t take syrup if the hive is weak, sick , or they dont need it . I figured they just didn’t need it. He told me he’d purchased 10,000 bees for $220.

 

Something wasn’t sitting right , so I called in on him to check them out. Initially I’d told him to leave them for week then I’d help him check them .

 

Well, ..........

 

I opened the hive . I could see about 10 sucking syrup, and no more , so I opened the frames .

 

He’s been sold a swarm , 5 cups of bees max, with two queens , on bare wood and wax. In the 4 days he’s had them they have drawn nothing and are in a very bad way . Lots dead on hive floor ( not enough to make up to 10,000 though ). About half a cup of dead bees .

 

Hes been robbed ,  by a reputable beekeeper, but he won’t tell me who. 
 

I swung into action and whipped home and grabbed 4 frames full of honey , pollen and nectar ( for complete clarification , I am not giving him honey to feed his bees , I am supplying him with the correct ingredients of a nuc ). His bees will suck out the nectar to stop them dying from iminent starvation , and one or other of the queens should get out and mate and start laying . Next week , I will take down a frame of capped brood to complete what he paid good money for. 
 

I bet the supplier forgot to mentioning registering himself as a beekeeper. We will cover that next week as well .

 

Nubees beware 

Nice one. Some people have no shame. 

 

18 hours ago, Daley said:

Hopefully me.

I’m having another baby 😅🤣

Fabulous news. When’s it due ?

Just after harvest ??

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18 hours ago, jamesc said:

Uh ... huh .... you just gotta take it off and stick it in the shed for a rainy day ..... an if you don't like the idea of that, I'd suggest you go fishing or exit the industry.

And any way ...... who won Lotto ?

 

I got to thinking about leaving honey on the hives some more today.

 

If there is honey on the hives come harvest time and it is harvested then there are costs associated with that - harvesting costs, extracting, storage, and then replacing honey taken with syrup.  Costs are then being incurred when many bk's may not want to (or be able to) meet more costs.

 

There is also an opportunity cost involved in the bk's time, time that could possibly be spent on more productive things. eg marketing, new sites etc.

 

But anyway if theoretically bush / multi could even sell for $5/kg take the costs off and there might be a couple of $/kg left - costs will vary depending upon how you are set-up.   Ultimately you're going to have more honey in drums that is adding to industry supply / stock-pile of honey at a time when the existing honey is not even selling....and it seems to me that is not going to change for a number of years.....and even when you do get to sell it it is older honey with a higher HMF.....

 

Or another option is to target crops that can actually sell, take any easy honey / major excess of bush/multi/honey dew honey off, but leave the rest of the honey for the bees - thereby keeping them healthy and strong and ready for other opportunities.

 

That's the way I see it at least.

 

 

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There will still be workaholics who see drummed honey sitting in storage as an asset...

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I found myself back in the hive I was in last week where I marked two brand new supercedure laying queens . Gee it’s a powerful beast , and my only hive with swarm intent .

Today , I saw three queens in there , including Mumma. Removed three swarm cells, one capped . I might be splitting it in three next week . 

Nice calm hive too 😊

82B4E611-3254-4C5E-96AF-AE88E9860A22.jpeg

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2 hours ago, M4tt said:

The new beekeeper was a bit taken back with the lack of advice or support .

I agree with you. Anyway , this way he will have a good hive , not a dead one 

And a superb mentor into the mix... 😉

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3 minutes ago, Beefriendly said:

And a superb mentor into the mix... 😉

He lives about 400 metres as the crow flies from you 

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2 hours ago, CraBee said:

 

I got to thinking about leaving honey on the hives some more today.

 

If there is honey on the hives come harvest time and it is harvested then there are costs associated with that - harvesting costs, extracting, storage, and then replacing honey taken with syrup.  Costs are then being incurred when many bk's may not want to (or be able to) meet more costs.

 

There is also an opportunity cost involved in the bk's time, time that could possibly be spent on more productive things. eg marketing, new sites etc.

 

But anyway if theoretically bush / multi could even sell for $5/kg take the costs off and there might be a couple of $/kg left - costs will vary depending upon how you are set-up.   Ultimately you're going to have more honey in drums that is adding to industry supply / stock-pile of honey at a time when the existing honey is not even selling....and it seems to me that is not going to change for a number of years.....and even when you do get to sell it it is older honey with a higher HMF.....

 

Or another option is to target crops that can actually sell, take any easy honey / major excess of bush/multi/honey dew honey off, but leave the rest of the honey for the bees - thereby keeping them healthy and strong and ready for other opportunities.

 

That's the way I see it at least.

 

 

If it's more than bees require until next flow, take it off. I used 50 boxes feed honey for my nucs and light hives. Easy way to keep hive alive without stimulation of syrup. 

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5 hours ago, yesbut said:

$220 for a crook swarm. Crikey. Mine go for $50 (no, I don't give them away, they do take some effort.) I have my doubts there'll be any this year, the willow's about three weeks late and my hives aren't building particularly fast, and the commercial neighbour's hives look pretty lacklustre from the outside..

I think everythings late here .

Interesting its late in nelson too .

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1 hour ago, M4tt said:

He lives about 400 metres as the crow flies from you 

Wouldn’t that bee as a bee flies😉

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I dunno what the heck we are gonna do  Crabee .... Like many, at  the moment we are "Honeyaires "..... asset rich and cash poor ,pouring more dollar bills into keeping the bees alive ....but whatcha gonna do ...... walkaway from 1500 hives ...... can't sell bees , won't sell beer .......  

We are already resigned to the fact that we probably won't make a dollar this year , which is quite a scary thought when the crew shows up for work every morning to tend and care for our livestock.

But then as Beekeepers, we are optimist's, right.  With a roll of the dice and the toss of the ball the environment might change over night, and as we all know, if you 'aint got a lotto ticket, you 'aint ever gonna win.

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3 hours ago, nikki watts said:

Fabulous news. When’s it due ?

Just after harvest ??

Haha yup, Anzac Day

2 hours ago, M4tt said:

I found myself back in the hive I was in last week where I marked two brand new supercedure laying queens . Gee it’s a powerful beast , and my only hive with swarm intent .

Today , I saw three queens in there , including Mumma. Removed three swarm cells, one capped . I might be splitting it in three next week . 

Nice calm hive too 😊

82B4E611-3254-4C5E-96AF-AE88E9860A22.jpeg

That orange is poppin, I love it

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3 hours ago, CraBee said:

keeping them healthy and strong and ready for other opportunities.

There is something in this  IMO

The future is probably about healthy Bees fed on real Bee feed which isnt sucrose 

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1 minute ago, Philbee said:

There is something in this  IMO

The future is probably about healthy Bees fed on real Bee feed which isnt sucrose 

Aah look .... pre varroa we feed tonnes and tonnes of sugar. The bees loved it . We loved it ..... it meant we had more honey to sell for a good price.

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1 minute ago, jamesc said:

Aah look .... pre varroa we feed tonnes and tonnes of sugar. The bees loved it . We loved it ..... it meant we had more honey to sell for a good price.

 

I wasn't involved back then, but is it your experience that the hives / bees were considerably healthier and more productive back then?

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1 minute ago, jamesc said:

Aah look .... pre varroa we feed tonnes and tonnes of sugar. The bees loved it . We loved it ..... it meant we had more honey to sell for a good price.

That was then, this is now.
Pre Varroa the Bees may have been more tolerant of lower nutrition

Ive know a couple of guys who have lived with and survived Cancer
First thing they did was radically improved their nutrition

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My bees are pumping . Not making honey as such , but are thriving on the challenge of having their brood nests stretched and drawing the recommissioned FD plastic frames that I zipped down to 3/4 with the table saw . 

Here , they have always drawn 3/4 depth frames consistently better than FD frames . 

 

Note , some they finish to the bottom with worker brood and others they frame with drones where there is no bottom bar 

7D8614EC-EEB3-451F-AB2C-A4C02D45FE0D.jpeg

38A07B71-52C0-4E6D-99E1-B591DB701168.jpeg

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7 minutes ago, Philbee said:

That was then, this is now.
Pre Varroa the Bees may have been more tolerant of lower nutrition

Ive know a couple of guys who have lived with and survived Cancer
First thing they did was radically improved their nutrition

Agreed ..... so without the stress of a varroa condition all is good .....

9 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

I wasn't involved back then, but is it your experience that the hives / bees were considerably healthier and more productive back then?

Well of course, back in the good old days everything was better, sometimes  ...... But seriously , pre varroa we never really worried about bee health. We never fed patties , we fed lotsa syrup, we held back  that garbage honey called Manuka and Dew  as feed honey for nucs , the bees always opened up looking sweet in the spring and we built an empire from a seed operation of 14 hives.

Now we can't even maintain numbers.

Nail the mite and we will thrive again.

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54 minutes ago, jamesc said:

I dunno what the heck we are gonna do  Crabee .... Like many, at  the moment we are "Honeyaires "..... asset rich and cash poor ,pouring more dollar bills into keeping the bees alive ....but whatcha gonna do ...... walkaway from 1500 hives ...... can't sell bees , won't sell beer .......  

We are already resigned to the fact that we probably won't make a dollar this year , which is quite a scary thought when the crew shows up for work every morning to tend and care for our livestock.

But then as Beekeepers, we are optimist's, right.  With a roll of the dice and the toss of the ball the environment might change over night, and as we all know, if you 'aint got a lotto ticket, you 'aint ever gonna win.

The good thing with bees  is that if income is going to be an issue, and you have to go find employment away from the bees, then as long as you take the time to keep AFB and Varroa at bay as cheap as you can, the bees can and will look after themselves. You could leave them for a year or two if you have to as long as you check them from time to time for any issues, and when things sort themselves out you can make decisions as to what to do with them at your pace and not others.

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24 minutes ago, Philbee said:

There is something in this  IMO

The future is probably about healthy Bees fed on real Bee feed which isnt sucrose 

Nothing much wrong with cane sugar. You find us a study that shows it to harm. If beefolk keep hives going into autumn 2 boxes, young Queens and low varroa. Sweet. Even varroa knocked units bounce back once given a few clean slabs

4 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

The good thing with bees  is that if income is going to be an issue, and you have to go find employment away from the bees, then as long as you take the time to keep AFB and Varroa at bay as cheap as you can, the bees can and will look after themselves. You could leave them for a year or two if you have to as long as you check them from time to time for any issues, and when things sort themselves out you can make decisions as to what to do with them at your pace and not others.

Imagine breaking in after a few years...

Can't see it Dennis. To keep 500 hives on slow go still requires part time work.

Best case, a 3-4 day week then bees.

Or reduce numbers, store gear and be ready to jump back.

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