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Trevor Gillbanks

October 2019 Apiary Diary

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12 minutes ago, jamesc said:

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

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.

The biggest issue facing us at the present time is the lack of sales. We are all agreed on that. 

Philbee will solve the mite issue.

Sales can solved very easily   with some of Jacinda's surplus  ..... sweeten up a smart young person with a million dollar salary  and a bonus and the problem will be solved overnight. We have a remarkable product in this country. The world sort of knows that but needs to persuaded just a little bit more. 

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1 hour 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.

James, I was wondering why you plan to increase your hive numbers. Seems like you will increase costs in the face of uncertain returns. 

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11 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.

semi commercial possible, commercial no chance.

you end up with a lot of dead hives and stuffed gear. even with semi's, typically once the drive has gone out of it, people tend to leave them to rot.

once your on that downward slope its really difficult to climb back up.

 

someone on here did it well. sold the hives while he could and then wait until conditions improve. clean exit, able to store gear well, then easy to get back into again later on.

6 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Sales can solved very easily   with some of Jacinda's surplus  .....

o some of that magic pixie dust. got a spare box of that next to the can of unicorn farts.

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1 minute ago, Gino de Graaf said:

James, I was wondering why you plan to increase your hive numbers. Seems like you will increase costs in the face of uncertain returns. 

I suppose because I am an optimist.  We will ride out the storm and when we get through it will have trained people and resources ready to take advantage of the upswing and be ready to market to the world a product that is unsurpassed in quality.

It may not be in my lifetime, but that might be the legacy. The challenge is to keep the dream alive for those who follow.

 

2 minutes ago, tristan said:

semi commercial possible, commercial no chance.

you end up with a lot of dead hives and stuffed gear. even with semi's, typically once the drive has gone out of it, people tend to leave them to rot.

once your on that downward slope its really difficult to climb back up.

 

someone on here did it well. sold the hives while he could and then wait until conditions improve. clean exit, able to store gear well, then easy to get back into again later on.

o some of that magic pixie dust. got a spare box of that next to the can of unicorn farts.

Nah ..... I traded some honey for a crate today. Life is good !

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7 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

James, I was wondering why you plan to increase your hive numbers. Seems like you will increase costs in the face of uncertain returns. 

Life's about ballance,

Iv gone down over 50 hives so far, 

I'm not making my losses back and I'm just putting brood from outside to outside of my singles. That's the only way I could think of getting rid of my non profit sites so that I have a bit more time with my family instead of working 7days a week

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1 hour ago, Philbee said:

There is something in this  IMO

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

Exactly.

Bees make honey for a reason eh.

I think there is a huge difference in hive health with bees fed on honey vs bees fed on sugar.

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2 hours ago, jamesc said:

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

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.

Once all manuka honey was fed back to bees .

Maybe they are suffering now its being sold .

Maybe its a healthy food for bees even though its a con job for humans .

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

Once all manuka honey was fed back to bees .

Maybe they are suffering now its being sold .

Maybe its a healthy food for bees even though its a con job for humans .

It’s good for humans but not if you eat it.

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There are times and places when feeding sugar has huge benefits over feeding honey and  there are also times when feeding sugar can be detrimental in many ways. The secret is knowing when to do what. Hives that have been through a long summer drought are often full of bees but they are all old and feeding sugar in autumn whether they need extra feed or not encourages breeding and means you have some young bees to live through the winter. Friends of mine in Canada had a really good autumn a few years ago and the hives all filled up on some sort of honeydew. Bees eating this honeydew over winter needed to defecate more than bees fed on sugar and winter losses that year were massive. These days I think the biggest downside to feeding sugar is the fact that it stirs the bees up and with some moron  putting 100 hives across the fence sugar feeding can lead to hives being robbed out.

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9 hours ago, Daley said:

It’s good for humans but not if you eat it.

Yes , great for the skin .

If it was only ever used for topical application and was not considered a food at all I wonder how it would change the manuka honey industry .

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12 hours ago, jamesc said:

Nail the mite and we will thrive again.


We can nail the mites but will need genetics from outside nz to do that. Maybe when no treatment work anymore, we might start looking at it again. 

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47 minutes ago, Jose Thayil said:


We can nail the mites but will need genetics from outside nz to do that. Maybe when no treatment work anymore, we might start looking at it again. 

Overseas sourced genetics would have only very limited effects on varroa, as we still don't have true brood breaks in many parts of NZ, and that is a major driver in the efficacy of managing varroa in Europe and the USA, and after the previous effort, I think hell would freeze over well before there was another importation.

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51 minutes ago, Sailabee said:

Overseas sourced genetics would have only very limited effects on varroa, as we still don't have true brood breaks in many parts of NZ, and that is a major driver in the efficacy of managing varroa in Europe and the USA, and after the previous effort, I think hell would freeze over well before there was another importation.

 

We have most of the bee viruses that we know of present in nz. There are some bee pests which we don’t have. But all those risks can be eliminated with today’s technology that we have. But I guess we will have people who think the risk is too great at this stage. Maybe when we get to a stage where varroa or something else becomes too big a problem where our best treatment and bees are not able to withstand, that may be the time we are forced to look outside nz for better genetics which can cope with those issues. 
 

Personally I like both the Italians and Carniolans that we have in nz, and there is a reason they are the most wide spread bees in the world. But I think we are missing a trick in not taking advantage of the bee development work done in Europe, Africa and America. 

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What we need is an ultrasonic machine a bit like one of the old plastic welders that can  blast  exactly the right frequency at a hive that'll disintegrate mites but leave bees and most of the brood intact...

Edited by yesbut
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5 hours ago, yesbut said:

What we need is an ultrasonic machine a bit like one of the old plastic welders that can  blast  exactly the right frequency at a hive that'll disintegrate mites but leave bees and most of the brood intact...


I can already do that with my eyes when I have my undies on the outside. But I can never find a phone box to change in these days...

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6 out of 6 nice mated queens laying out my nucs that were made exactly a month ago today , as queenless nucs. First of the brood is capped 😊

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Bit jealous of that @M4tt . We’re going through a cold, wet spell and my mini mating nucs are going to struggle to perform! Crossing my fingers for when I check next week 😬

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6 hours ago, Jose Thayil said:

 

We have most of the bee viruses that we know of present in nz. There are some bee pests which we don’t have. But all those risks can be eliminated with today’s technology that we have. But I guess we will have people who think the risk is too great at this stage. Maybe when we get to a stage where varroa or something else becomes too big a problem where our best treatment and bees are not able to withstand, that may be the time we are forced to look outside nz for better genetics which can cope with those issues. 
 

Personally I like both the Italians and Carniolans that we have in nz, and there is a reason they are the most wide spread bees in the world. But I think we are missing a trick in not taking advantage of the bee development work done in Europe, Africa and America. 

Thanks to Otago Uni, the NZ bees have been genome mapped, and we have far greater diversity than most areas - particularly Europe and the USA, where they have breed intensively to increase the VSH characteristics - last year I met a Swiss beekeeper who was part of a program where they took queens with a high probability of carrying the VSH trait, and mated it with one drone only with equally high rates of VSH, and bred intensively from the mating getting up to 92% showing it, but even the most basic knowledge of breeding would show how very quickly that would arrow our present overall diversity. While many of us source Betta queen cells and the like, they are generally open mated, so while the increase in the positive trait VSH increases more slowly, at least overall vigour is preserved. With science, sometimes patience is the greatest virtue.

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1 hour ago, CHCHPaul said:

Bit jealous of that @M4tt . We’re going through a cold, wet spell and my mini mating nucs are going to struggle to perform! Crossing my fingers for when I check next week 😬

comes right next week ..... for a week before anther cold spell.

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Why do some swarms lay flat on the ground like a Pan Cake

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10 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Why do some swarms lay flat on the ground like a Pan Cake

Girls.  They think it is a horizontal tree.

If they read the map correctly they would find they should of held the paper vertically.

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20 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Girls.  They think it is a horizontal tree.

If they read the map correctly they would find they should of held the paper vertically.

So they are not crazy, just a little impaired ?

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7 minutes ago, Philbee said:

So they are not crazy, just a little impaired ?

That's what I said. Only politely.  "Girls"

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8 minutes ago, Philbee said:

So they are not crazy, just a little impaired ?

Flat earthers, scared of the edge😉

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46 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Why do some swarms lay flat on the ground like a Pan Cake

 

Maybe they found the maple syrup and strawberries...

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