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Conditions and locations for honey crop failures


Maggie James
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2 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

Hi Trevor - There are parts of NZ where beekeepers don't get a honey crop.  

 

30 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

It would be a pretty unusual place anywhere in New Zealand if they didn't get a honey crop.

I am sure there are.  But they would be usually high country locations where it is too cold or windy or both.

 

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3 minutes ago, john berry said:

Bees can and do work wind pollinated plants

Around here, we see them on the maize, and I think that is because the maize pollen whilst low nutritional value is sticky.

 

I have also seen bees in the Mackenzie basin absolutely smother macrocarpra in August, and that is is most likely because nothing else is flowering.  

 

I do realise that bees would be pretty desparate to work Pinus, and that out of pure interest is why I have made this query. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I am sure there are.  But they would be usually high country locations where it is too cold or windy or both.

 

In mid Canty it is not unsual to not get a honey crop.  If guys get a honey crop on pollination crops, they are lucky.  We are also going more and more into drough conditions in summer.  Many did not get a clover crop last season.

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4 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

I have also seen bees in the Mackenzie basin absolutely smother macrocarpra in August, and that is is most likely because nothing else is flowering.

 

Any time I have seen bees on macrocapa it's to collect propolis, of which macrocapa is a good source. Just, the propolis is rather fragrant and makes me sneeze ?.

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3 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

In mid Canty it is not unusual to not get a honey crop.  If guys get a honey crop on pollination crops, they are lucky.  We are also going more and more into drought conditions in summer.  Many did not get a clover crop last season.

Sorry.  I was more thinking of an overall seasonal crop rather than pollination crops. (my bad).   Sad to hear of no clover crop, but was that just seasonal or is it getting more prevalent or due to overcrowding. (that is certainly what happens up around this way with huge dump sites).

 

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Can't speak for Maggie but the decline in Canterbury has been sad. Back when I was there you could plonk a beehive anywhere in Canterbury and expect to get at least 2 full boxes off it.

 

Visiting the area years later was a shock. The money has gone out of sheep, farms are run down and full of weeds and fences that should be replaced. Little clover in the grass. Irrigation is not what it used to be.

 

Farms converted to dairy, which can be a bit of a bee desert.

 

Beekeepers there who I knew from way back, have told me keeping bees in Canterbury is a whole new ball game now. Very sad.

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On 3/10/2020 at 9:27 AM, Alastair said:

farms are run down and full of weeds and fences that should be replaced

 

Farms are not run down.  They a slick businesses.  We don't want all the fences replaced.  Those farmers still into cropping requiring bess, consciously keep the outer boundaries in gorse to aid high grade protein pollen for honey bees, that they require for pollination purposes/contracts. And they use local council grants to plant natives along waterways.  The area from the Selwyn to Rangitata Rivers is still one of the world's biggest production seed cropping areas with clover, brassicas, carrots, and specialist seeds.  But diarying, removal of shelter belts for irrigators, wind pollinated crops, agrichemicals, road berms being mown are a very major issue for beekeepers in this area.  

 

51 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Uh Huh ... we don't run bees on the plains anymore unless it is paid pollination.  When I started with Airborne Honey back in the late 90's  Cut Comb was the target and we put out thousands of boxes on two queeners . In our final year we put out 200 boxes and most never got finished.

The decline in honey production mirrored the rise of dairy farms and irrigation.

Back in the day all the bees were wintered n the plains with a couple of hundred moved to the Dew for feed honey for Nucs and stuff.

 

All the bees now live on the Dew for ten months of the year, and get moved to the money for a brief change of view during November and January.

It's hard work making honey on the plains and we prefer to head ...... "Destination any where, East or West I don't care ....."

 

Well said.  Many of the really longterm ABH guys are still beekeeping in this area.  But there are some ABH staff who are making comments re beekeeping as it was 40-45 years ago.  Beekeeping outcomes for a multitude of reasons have changed.  

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Maggie I said i visited the area years later. Which does not mean now, it was probably 15 years ago or slightly more.

 

I do not know what the situation is now. 

 

Back when I visited, I was shocked. Some of those farms had been owned by friends I would visit or even have dinner with. Or as there was a need, help with haymaking, stockwork, or similar. It was sad to go back years later and see the state they were in.

 

By weeds, I wasn't talking gorse.

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14 hours ago, Alastair said:

Maggie I said i visited the area years later. Which does not mean now, it was probably 15 years ago or slightly more.

 

I do not know what the situation is now. 

 

Back when I visited, I was shocked. Some of those farms had been owned by friends I would visit or even have dinner with. Or as there was a need, help with haymaking, stockwork, or similar. It was sad to go back years later and see the state they were in.

 

By weeds, I wasn't talking gorse.

 

Part of the 'weeds' look is that now, many are reseeding paddocks using very different grass blends - gone are the days of just using a blend of two or three rye strains - now plantains, and a range of low growing brassicas form a large part of the mix they use, to provide a better and more varied diet for stock.

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