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Pretty stoked with these bad boys (girls)! ... I also have taken @Maggie JamesQC tutorial 😊, though I am using the double screen board method for production. Got a take of 86 out of 90 grafts. 

Really gotta say I don’t like not having the location visible.   I don’t want to have to check a profile every time I want to see where someone’s from to get an idea of whether there Post is mo

The bureaucrats are the only ones making money right now. When I grow up I want to be a bureaucrat   

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I do the survey every year and think it's a really good idea. I do however struggle with some of the questions as they don't take into account the myriad different ways beekeepers look after their hives.

There are a lot of different examples but one simple one comes to mind is the question; do you feed any protein supplements? Yes/no. 

My answer has to be yes even though I only feed it to a tiny fraction of my hives.

I do realise however that they can't make the questions to suit everybody and when I have raised a few issues in the past with Pike he has been both appreciative and helpful.

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Agree John, some I couldn't answer right either.

 

An example of the type of thing that can happen was in the American colony loss survey, where a lot of beekeepers especially hobbyists back then, did not treat for mites. 

 

Some years back they found there was not much difference in losses between beekeepers who treated, and those who didn't. The obvious conclusion being that there is no point treating. Didn't seem right.

But then they figured what was happening. First, the survey was weighted by beekeeper, not hive numbers. After that, they found that a lot of hobby beekeepers did not want to treat, and would only do it if they found their hive crawling with mites and on deaths door. Then they would treat but probably lose the hive anyway. So there were a lot of beekeepers recorded as treated, but lost the hive / hives.

 

Now they ask more questions to try to differentiate things a bit more.

 

 

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The last couple of days have been typical spring weather i.e. cold and miserable and now it looks like were gonna get a killer frost tomorrow morning which will wipe out all the good work the bees have done on my fruit trees . Thursday was a beautiful day so I went and checked a few hives out on the coast and to my surprise they have lost strength in the last three weeks. Plenty of pollen and stores and as much brood as they can handle but the bees have disappeared.Oh well at least I will have somewhere to put spare brood from other areas that are a bit strong.

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1 hour ago, Maggie James said:

Why do you think the bees have disappeared?

The karaka Is flowering so that would have to be a possibility although there is no obvious sign of karaka poisoning. I have three small sites out there and they are all some way from spring pollen sources so my guess is they have to fly a fair way to get anything and maybe they just wear themselves out. I haven't had bees there very long and wouldn't have them there except it's on a friend's property were I do a lot of voluntary conservation work. There  has been a lot of native planting including things like five finger so hopefully the sites will be better over the years.

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I had a nice warm sheltered site of 12 hives that went into autumn, the strongest I have ever let hives go into autumn - good pops & natural stores.  Suddenly mid July their populations dramatically & suddenly dwindled - like I have never seen before.  If I hadn't been on the ball, I would have lost the whole lot.  I think we need the gorse hedges here as our v early pollen source.  Fortunately many of the cropping farmers in this area leave the outer boundaries as gorse hedges. This v large farm does not have boundary gorse hedges. Next autumn, that site will overwinter at the river.

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3 hours ago, Maggie James said:

I should have added above.  The other factor, I think was our extremely warm winter, with lots of flying time.

 

How does one, these days, use the edit button on a post without have to write an addendum etc?)

I think you can leave it blank.

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Must be the season for pressing the flesh.

Politicians are hard at it ..... so are beekeepers ...... securing sites for the season ...... losing sites for the season.

 

I met with a landowner today.   He owns a rough block with a bit of Manuka on it ....... pulls a low 30-40 mgo ..... but it has the magic M honey and we put half a truck load of bees in. It gives us a bit of leverage when trying to move other honeys .... the carrot in front of the Dew, or the Clover ..... or the Kamahi .....

 

I got the heave ho  ..... the corporates moved in and promised the earth with 200 hives.

I suppose I could go and boundary ride and pull out a couple of kilo ....... yeah, nah ......  the phone rang on the way home ....Cocky wants bees to pollinate his ryegrass and wheat .... and radishes.

 

You gotta Laugh.

 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, JohnF said:

 

How many bees are left @john berry ? As in a handful, still with queen, stores . . and not being robbed ?

They weren't dying or anything. The worst couple were down to about 1 1/2 frames of bees and their brood was a bit spotty but most of them had lots of sealed brood for the number of bees. They average about three frames of bees which is down about one frame from three weeks ago. I was helping friends do their hives last week and despite being way up in the mountains they were actually looking pretty good so why my hives down on the warm coast should be going backwards I don't know but these things do happen.

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Just burnt my first AFB since 2018 season but from a previously disease free area since I started.

The neighbours got in a beek a few paddocks away a few seasons ago, I fed the hives about a month ago and they were all absolutely pumping with 5+ frames of brood, this time round there was brood in 7 out of 9 frames, luckily I found it before it got weak and robbed out, there were only a hand full of infected cells so hopefully it's the only one🤞🤬🤬🤬 that's the only problem with having absolutely PUMPING hives, they rob near by weak hives from beeks that dont do their job!

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5 hours ago, Otto said:

Yesterday I was at a Spring Festival for Otago Organics. Had been asked to go and talk about bees. Had a few laminated photos of bees to put up and was looking for a decent way to do it. Was rummaging through the shed looking for something I could use as a notice board and noticed the box of new hive mats. They work quite well as photo frames.

Otto - Is that blue pollen in the sacs?  What is it?

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50 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

Otto - Is that blue pollen in the sacs?  What is it?

Sure is. Comes from Kotukutuku - our native tree fuchsia. Very common in the regenerating bush around here and the bees collect lots of nectar and some pollen from it.

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37 minutes ago, Otto said:

Sure is. Comes from Kotukutuku - our native tree fuchsia. Very common in the regenerating bush around here and the bees collect lots of nectar and some pollen from it.

That's interesting.  I didn't think they packed it in sacs.  My understanding is that when the bees go for the Kotukutuku nectar, the filaments break and they travel back to the hives with the filaments and anthers hanging off the bees as an incidental gathering.  Have you seen that?  Maybe they pack it in the sacs, and also take it back hanging of them

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1 minute ago, Maggie James said:

That's interesting.  I didn't think they packed it in sacs.  My understanding is that when the bees go for the Kotukutuku nectar, the filaments break and they travel back to the hives with the filaments and anthers hanging off the bees as an incidental gathering.  Have you seen that?  Maybe they pack it in the sacs, and also take it back hanging of them

They definitely collect the pollen. Have only really seen it on their back legs where pollen is supposed to be. It is often very untidy looking though, in stringy bits rather than a nice solid clump and it falls off more easily than other pollen. At a number of my apiaries the hives get a dusting of blue in front of the hive entrance (usually a little later in spring but have already seen some this season). Will try to remember to take a photo next time I see it.

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