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November 2020 Apiary Diary


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We enjoy your posts in the monthly diary and its great to see the conversation free flowing. Please use this topic to tell us what you are doing in your hives, if it sparks a discussion, we may move it to its own topic for clearer visibility and to generate interest. Creating new topics is a positive feature of the forum, so please don't be offended.

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Crazy busy at the moment with kiwifruit pollination.  Been working every day for the last 2 weeks (the staff generally have the weekends off) and most of that has been in the rain !!!! Massive thunderstorms here in the last 2 days but the orchardists still want hives. BUT some of them have now decided they will either trim their shelter belts while the hives are in or just the day before. The boys had a truckload of 30 last night to go in and apart from the ground being sodden and nearly getting stuck they also couldn't get down the lane way so had to offload all of them in the loading bay at the front. Another place was being cut today but luckily when we rang the orchard manager she is on to it and ensures us it will be cleared away by Friday when hives are due to go in. We shall see. 

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A bit of pirate beekeeping over the weekend and we’re just about finished the first round of supering up, thats quite early for us.    

But anyway... while the team was doing yhe hard yards... I was out galivanting around... checking access and gates. This one iss a classic.

Interesting thing happened yesterday, one of those things that are sometimes classed as a mystery.   Three weeks ago at a site I split 4 very strong hives in fear they would swarm. Did it by

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2 hours ago, manz said:

Crazy busy at the moment with kiwifruit pollination.  Been working every day for the last 2 weeks (the staff generally have the weekends off) and most of that has been in the rain !!!! Massive thunderstorms here in the last 2 days but the orchardists still want hives. BUT some of them have now decided they will either trim their shelter belts while the hives are in or just the day before. The boys had a truckload of 30 last night to go in and apart from the ground being sodden and nearly getting stuck they also couldn't get down the lane way so had to offload all of them in the loading bay at the front. Another place was being cut today but luckily when we rang the orchard manager she is on to it and ensures us it will be cleared away by Friday when hives are due to go in. We shall see. 

Those shelter trimmings can be deceptive. It's wet alright. 

Most nights 60 to 80 go in for us. 100 plus in the middle. The great big shuffle. 

Orchardists also helpfully mowing...

Sleek rotting slime. 

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2 hours ago, manz said:

The boys had a truckload of 30 last night to go in and apart from the ground being sodden and nearly getting stuck they also couldn't get down the lane way so had to offload all of them in the loading bay at the front. 

That scene would be reflected in my invoice.

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10 hours ago, Maggie James said:

James, where is the building?  Had to get out the magnifying glass to read the notice!  Great scenic photos.  

 

When shifting hives etc, perhaps you could diversify into domestic tourism.  Put a client in the truck cab.  A lot of people aren't keen on public transport, and there could be a demand for your "boutique" travel routes.  If the Chathams can get inundated with tourists, so can you.  The odd hours that you travel would be part of the experience

The building Maggie is the Otira Hall, now used as a storage place for the publicans junk.The sign says the residents do not tolerate drugs of any sort.HA HA . dID HE ASK THE RESIDENTS NO HE DID NOT

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Ha .... tis the season for migration. Stoppedin at my favorite watering hole on the coast tonight for a feed and a snooze.

The other year I paid our bar tab in honey.... it was quite a lot of honey.... seems like we are still in credit.

some days you jusy gotta love humanity!

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9 hours ago, manz said:

Crazy busy at the moment with kiwifruit pollination.  Been working every day for the last 2 weeks (the staff generally have the weekends off) and most of that has been in the rain !!!! Massive thunderstorms here in the last 2 days but the orchardists still want hives. BUT some of them have now decided they will either trim their shelter belts while the hives are in or just the day before. The boys had a truckload of 30 last night to go in and apart from the ground being sodden and nearly getting stuck they also couldn't get down the lane way so had to offload all of them in the loading bay at the front. Another place was being cut today but luckily when we rang the orchard manager she is on to it and ensures us it will be cleared away by Friday when hives are due to go in. We shall see. 

Fun tonight I travelled 2 hours back with load 40-70km most of the way, I got the easy job the men are still out there, saw quite a few loaded vehicles.  Oh and hubby got a phone call early afternoon that he needed to put some hives back together.  What happened?  The post hole man knocked them over in the pouring rain.  Well we didnt get there till 4-30, luckily each one had 2 boxes bees think they kept themselves warm, were fiesty enough when we put them together.

This wasnt in a pokey area, they were on the edge of a big gravel turning bay.    Some people ...

Enjoy.

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On 9/11/2020 at 7:31 PM, Goran said:

Dumping more hives at same place doesn't relate with more honey. Forage capacity is limiting factor. For instance if for certain forage is estimated it can give 1000kg/ha in optimal conditions, increasing above number of hives just reduce yield per hive. It cannot increase overall amount of honey. Some at my place forget and when yield per hive is low, bees are to blame..

If the bees fly 3km that’s 2800 hectares. If there is 1000kg/ha that is a lot of forage 2800000kg. 100 hives would have 28000kg each. I don’t understand because yields of 1000kg/ha sounds too high?? Can you explain more?

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1 hour ago, ChrisM said:

If the bees fly 3km that’s 2800 hectares. If there is 1000kg/ha that is a lot of forage 2800000kg. 100 hives would have 28000kg each. I don’t understand because yields of 1000kg/ha sounds too high?? Can you explain more?

If forage potential 1000kg/ha ( black locust at my place) it means overall qty of possibly brought honey is up to 1000kg - total. So if You have 100 hives at one ha of forage, they will bring 10kg each from one ha ( hectare) - roughly said. 

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Bees can fly 3km but how much of it will bring back? Time and fuel consumption is too high. 500 meters forage from hive is for me fine, increasing distance is reducing the flow. Some other claim up to 1km is fine also. But also need to mind about generosity of forage ( do they return with full bellies or less). Some beeks here keep making mistakes in summer - telling that bees are flying like there is no tomorrow and there is no need for feeding in summer. Other beeks keep telling them - open the hives and you'll see.. Sometimes is result dead hives from starving in summer. They then turn to me with question how is it possible - simply they burn more than they bring..

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17 hours ago, Goran said:

Bees can fly 3km but how much of it will bring back? Time and fuel consumption is too high. 500 meters forage from hive is for me fine, increasing distance is reducing the flow. Some other claim up to 1km is fine also. But also need to mind about generosity of forage ( do they return with full bellies or less). Some beeks here keep making mistakes in summer - telling that bees are flying like there is no tomorrow and there is no need for feeding in summer. Other beeks keep telling them - open the hives and you'll see.. Sometimes is result dead hives from starving in summer. They then turn to me with question how is it possible - simply they burn more than they bring..

ok. Well a 500m radius circle has an area of 785398m^2. That is 78.5ha. If the region can produce 1000kg/ha that is 78500kg of honey divided by 100 hives = 785kg per hive. [still too much]. So the figure of 1000kg/ha seems too much and is probably only 50kg/ha. In a NZL context that would create a harvest of 39kg per hive (100 hives) if there wasn't a single other apiary in flying range that seems feasible. Still it yields 3.925 tonnes from 100 hives in that example.

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27 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

ok. Well a 500m radius circle has an area of 785398m^2. That is 78.5ha. If the region can produce 1000kg/ha that is 78500kg of honey divided by 100 hives = 785kg per hive. [still too much]. So the figure of 1000kg/ha seems too much and is probably only 50kg/ha. In a NZL context that would create a harvest of 39kg per hive (100 hives) if there wasn't a single other apiary in flying range that seems feasible. Still it yields 3.925 tonnes from 100 hives in that example.

Please don't forget period of forage, black locust is relative short intensive forage, sometimes it last 5-7 days. Our forages are mainly short and intensive. In short time they have to bring as much day can. In flow per day can be 10kg per hive at my place ( some says they reached over 15kg per day). When I have 35kg extracted of black locust then I say I had a very good season. One season I sold about quarter of colonies ( prepared for black locust), and with rest what left me 40 something colonies I extracted roughly avg 49kg - in stationary three consecutive forages 7/27/15. I got over 2tons.

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Forgot, at my place where are blocks of hundreds of ha black locust in reality are thousands of hives driven ( migratory beeks) and with good results in good weather conditions ( I think I read somewhere that one little flower of black locust can offer 1mg of nectar). When you see branches of black locust bent down due to weight of flowers full with nectar, that will be awesome season.

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3 minutes ago, Bighands said:

All I KNOW  is that in a Rata year the Otira valley will produce 100kg plus / hive over a 6 week period. In such a year one could place 10,000 hives in the area and every hive would produce 100 kg/ hive due to so much nectar available.

6 weeks of forage, You make me envy. If I have 6 weeks of black locust, the idea itself makes me drool.. 

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23 minutes ago, Bighands said:

All I KNOW  is that in a Rata year the Otira valley will produce 100kg plus / hive over a 6 week period. In such a year one could place 10,000 hives in the area and every hive would produce 100 kg/ hive due to so much nectar available.

@jamesc is probably building a secret pad in the bush not far from you as we write !

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10 hours ago, Bighands said:

All I KNOW  is that in a Rata year the Otira valley will produce 100kg plus / hive over a 6 week period. In such a year one could place 10,000 hives in the area and every hive would produce 100 kg/ hive due to so much nectar available.

Lester would be smiling at his percentage ..... eh?

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11 hours ago, Goran said:

For maximum result on black locust I have to " dance" with swarming. The colonies must be roaring when black locust start, few days late  - I miss my opportunity.. 

The best honey flow we have in many parts of Dunedin in through mid-Spring. Same scenario, if hives are at full strength they can collect quite a decent crop. The problem is keeping them home...

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51 minutes ago, Otto said:

 

The best honey flow we have in many parts of Dunedin in through mid-Spring. Same scenario, if hives are at full strength they can collect quite a decent crop. The problem is keeping them home...

 

Giving them space not always succeed.. I hate when in spring colony come to 6 bf and don't want to expand, only to swarm. These queens got signed death certificate without pardon.. Some are brooding like there is no limit and no signs of swarming.. Some develop nicely up to 12-16 bf and lose compass and think about swarming, if it is in beginning I reshuffle some and if they still want to swarm I remove queen ( the incoming forage is black locust and losing strength for next forage after  isn't problem to me). I could do some light splits ( I did a lot such in past), but I don't need more colonies and have no much time to play with splits due other obligations.

Doing light splits are actually great for increasing colony numbers. Old colony still bring decent amount of honey. Old queen in split still brooding. Later it can go as new colony or return to old ( merge).

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