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Trevor Gillbanks

Apiary Diary August 2020

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Well,  August is here and in another 14 days I will start my bee season for 2020.

I don't look in the hives before mid August.

From the few hives I have visited on nice days, everyone is working quite nicely.

It has been a funny winter here in Manawatu without any real frosts this year.  The Tree lucerne, Wattles and gorse are all flowering well.

Keep an eye on the hive weights and have a great season everyone.

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 Yo ..... a big thanks to the staff at NZ Beeswax for sharing their secrets with us the other day. It's always a great moral booster to actually eyeball the person one is talking to and get that social interaction.

Tania showed us the new product from Bayer ..... the Bayergate mite strip that sits at the hive entrance and has holes that the bees squeeze through, rubbing themselves with pesticide.

I like the idea that one didn't have to open up the hive to administer them ..... just make up a whole heap of 'carriers' in the shed on a wet day and tuck them in the entrance, much like a mouse guard. No skill needed for that job !

I would have been curious too see the frame washer, but I gotta go to Hamilton for that.

 

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58 minutes ago, jamesc said:

I would have been curious too see the frame washer, but I gotta go to Hamilton for that

It's an impressive piece of equipment.  I saw it a couple of weeks ago when I held my queen cell tut at Beeswax Hamilton & attendees got a factory tour

 

The thing I liked about the do at Orari, Sth Canty the other day was that it was very much like what field days used to be like.  There were over 70 attending, from one end of the Sth Is to the other, and many whom you never see at an industry meeting.  

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1 hour ago, jamesc said:

I would have been curious too see the frame washer, but I gotta go to Hamilton for that.

Its a good machine does a good job of cleaning frames. Drop of old frames and pick up wax coated clean frames.

They only do full plastics not wood surrounds and plastic insert(which is what I have so can't use the service) due to water pressure.

They sterilize between customers so your frames going through clean machine, and they capture a lot of the water and it is recycled and the waste is used in compost, so a green tick.

Worth the money you pay in my opinion for a messy job.

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1 hour ago, jamesc said:

I would have been curious too see the frame washer, but I gotta go to Hamilton for that.

 

i wen to the open day.

interesting setup. its basically a bigger powered version of what some people have made themselves. couple of probably around 50 hp water blasters.

a drying blower and a wax sprayer. so its a single pass operation, dirty frames in, clean wax coated frames out.

the wax recovery filter setup was interesting.

 

the 'bee gate" looks interesting. i think the big thing there is the strips works for a very very long time. ideal for putting on at the end of summer flow to catch all the mites from hives that are being robbed out. downside is you need to mod the base to fit it.

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Something’aint right here. These current prices are apparantly in USD/pound.

And it’s not even starting time yet!

E6BAF48E-22D9-48E5-B47E-1B655EDBE848.jpeg

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I was’nt sure whether to start a new thread, or throw a thought into the Diary.

Seeing as we are all about to jump into a new season, I thought I’d put together a thumb nail budget for the year for our South Island operation.

As they say, forewarned is forarmed.

 

Any one else done a budget.

C5AE7305-BB44-4EAE-80BC-7E7BCBCDD2F4.jpeg

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Which brings me to my next point.

 

 Farmers  budget and plan for a seasons production taking into account forward schedules put out by meat companies.

How do those companies, Silver fern Farms, Mountain River .... come up with the schedule ...... taking a punt at what the return on a lamb or steer or venison  might be ten months down the road ? I'm sure it's not done throwing a dart at the board .....

 

So ...... the budget looks like crap ..... but maybe by May the honey price will have lifted.

Whose gonna take a punt at forecasting a clover price, or a Dew price, or a low MGO Manuka price for May 2021 ?

Little project for the Marketing Gurus at APINZ ?

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Hmm .... so I did another budget for the N Island operation.

Little different, lots more stress.

But like they say ‘aint no easy won gold.’

 

C4AD8371-0AB4-4C60-81E8-F8F7FFD8DC0F.jpeg

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I think you be better off spending your time re-hanging those gates securely. There must fences to do surely ?

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35 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Hmm .... so I did another budget for the N Island operation.

Little different, lots more stress.

But like they say ‘aint no easy won gold.’

 

C4AD8371-0AB4-4C60-81E8-F8F7FFD8DC0F.jpeg

Nice number work. I admire your optimism. 

Probably be good to budget on a range of production and kg price. 

What if 30kg at 20bucks or 10 kg at 30? 

Or Zilch. And ####ed off East Coast beeks...lol.

 

 

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Agreed.   You can do budgets til the cows come home ..... banks luv em ..... I don't think I'll show them the first one!

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Hmmmm . Big Hmmmm .

Seems like posting a budget on the forum is a bit like finding out that the lush who pours your beer down the boozer is a Tranny.

 

 

In the meantime, moving on .... the first week of August and it seems like spring is here.  The grass is growing and the Dew is dripping form the Black Beech.

Time to bolt  the new bellows onto the smoker and jump on the tools.

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Went out to the farm to collect a dead hive with a hole chewed in the side, as I placed it on the back of the Hilux, out ran a large rat, and no one heard me squeal, so it must have been the rat. 

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31 minutes ago, Russ said:

Went out to the farm to collect a dead hive with a hole chewed in the side, as I placed it on the back of the Hilux, out ran a large rat, and no one heard me squeal, so it must have been the rat. 

A friend of mine was picking up hives in kiwi pollination one night and was chatting to the orchardist, when his worker yells out " do you want the dead-hive with the rat in it put on as well".

Left the orchard with their rat tails between their legs.

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Frkkkk..... I  might  fire up my  smoker tomorrow. It's been a warm winter here.

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It's been a warm one here also, but most hives still get that it's winter and cut the population right down accordingly, as they should. Just get the odd hive that goes nuts though, luckily this time I don't care because I'll be selling some spring packages so can use the bees.

 

I think it's the breed. Some of them don't have a turn off button.

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It's a truly glorious day here. Fog this morning and then fine with not a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind. I'm still about 10 days off starting my spring round but if you want to do you certainly could have played with bees today .

Spend the morning making hive tools on the forge. Must be getting old, five hours hammering and I have had enough for the day.

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Got a pic of one of your home forged tools? 🙂

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about a year ago some guy on facebook posted about his brand new hive and some concerns. I asked where he was from, turns out he's around the corner, so i've been helping him keep an eye on his hive. Anyway, it was july not august, but close enough... he messaged me early sunday afternoon just over a week ago about a few dead bees and being a bit worried. I'd just got home from a night in a hut in the hills with some mates, had nothing planned for the afternoon, so went around on that sunny july day and we did a full inspection. Dead bees were just those that had come back laden and landed on the ground, we fixed up a landing board and that will resolve that. Hive was cranking. Has been raising brood all winter, including drones. Plenty of stores on, pretty standard for a strong urban hive left in three boxes with a box of honey and close to nil varroa in my experience.

 

Bottom box. Brood pattern looked good, pollen visibly coming in, honey stores being slowly uncapped and consumed, (unmarked) queen looked good, a bit small, but whatever, doing her job. Box 2, brood looked good, plenty of stores, strange to see a hatched queen cell. Box three, plenty of honey, (unmarked and unexpected) queen # 2 looked good. Suspect that hive is about to explode, so i'm going to help him out with a split next time i'm in town on a sunny weekend.

 

weekend just gone. Was in Taranaki for some family stuff. Did a heft test on the hives up there. Then spent a day leaning on a shovel to sort out an issue with the ground next to a trough being close to collapse. Nothing that a few cubic metres of metal couldn't provide a solution to. Shame we didn't have a tip-trailer = it got unloaded by shovel, and that the front end loader on the tractor used to fill the trailer wasn't able to get completely filled from the pile each scoop without some shovel assistance due to it being end of pile, gave my office body a decent work-out. Gotta be good for me. I spent some of that time reflecting on my late uncle the beekeeper, and his late wife whose funeral in feilding i wasn't able to make on sunday. Reflection is good for the soul.

 

Anyway, the hives in taranaki were too heavy to worry about. Turns out i'm going to be in new zealand for the next while rather than moving to europe this southern spring, so time to finally test some of last year's crop and see whether it's worth running a few more hives up there.

Edited by tommy dave
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3 hours ago, Alastair said:

Got a pic of one of your home forged tools? 🙂

I will attempt to get one up for you. You might have to wait a few days until my technical advisor comes home.

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23 hours ago, Alastair said:

It's been a warm one here also, but most hives still get that it's winter and cut the population right down accordingly, as they should. Just get the odd hive that goes nuts though, luckily this time I don't care because I'll be selling some spring packages so can use the bees.

 

I think it's the breed. Some of them don't have a turn off button.

tho its usually the strong hive thats the one thats been out robbing. 

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I found an interesting frame today...

 

 

beepic.jpg

Edited by John T
spacing between text and pic
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