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January 2021 Apiary Diary


Trevor Gillbanks
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The weather has turned nice and the bees are spoilt for choice of forage .

Its a shame my hives are weak .

I took the queen excluder out of  two of my hives.

In one they were not moving up and in the other the queen was on the outer frame looking to lay .

There are lots of frames full of partially caped and uncapped honey so she is not going to lay in them anyway.

My new import queen is laying nicely , really showing up the badly mated queen in adjacent hive.

One of my weak hives I reduced to a single box and stored the other box above the cover board , under the lid.

When I looked two weeks later I saw the wax moths had been busy.

I can just imagine what the frames would have looked like in a couple of months.

I put the frames in the freezer .

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13 hours ago, yesbut said:

Yes, we all know about declarations. 

mm, unlikely. I have never heard of anyone declaring a greater value or price on export paperwork whereas it is an advantage to reduce duty/ tax if a lower value is claimed. Are you suggesting the average price is higher than $20? That won't help at all.

It seems unlikely that commercial exporters would ever risk getting black-marked by Customs. NZ Customs are nasty enough and a law to themselves normally plus this isn't sending a hand knitted cardigan to grandma.

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Spent the morning in hives, first time in 2021 as I've been down south since 30 December. We had left a long run of bad weather and my last inspection showed our girls struggling to get out and forage. Well, while we brought the crappy weather down south with us, my boy tells me it was glorious up here. What a difference a week makes at this time of year. Some nice fully capped boxes just about ready to harvest ?

 

Also a small swarm I captured about six weeks ago are settling in nicely and building out and filling comb as they're going. Doubt I'll take anything of them this year but looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Still debating in my head whether I should re-queen them in Autumn or wait until next spring.

Harvest 21b.JPG

Harvest 21d.JPG

 

Oh, and my sympathy to all the beeks and farmers in Otago. We got caught up in the flooding out from Duntroon. Awful. Lots of fruit destroyed and saw a bunch of drowned hives along the way. 

Edited by EmmetHuttValley
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33 minutes ago, EmmetHuttValley said:

Still debating in my head whether I should re-queen them in Autumn or wait until next spring.

I had two dry springs  and sucessfull matings after lots of crappy springs and crappy matings.

So I chanced it again this spring , big fail .

Queens took ages to mate , one ended up a drone layer , one disappeared and ended up with laying workers .

Also migrants who bring good drones came late .

So I am making my queens in feb when migrants still here and there is a bit of a flow so my nucs are not robbed .

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4 hours ago, EmmetHuttValley said:

Spent the morning in hives, first time in 2021 as I've been down south since 30 December. We had left a long run of bad weather and my last inspection showed our girls struggling to get out and forage. Well, while we brought the crappy weather down south with us, my boy tells me it was glorious up here. What a difference a week makes at this time of year. Some nice fully capped boxes just about ready to harvest ?

 

Also a small swarm I captured about six weeks ago are settling in nicely and building out and filling comb as they're going. Doubt I'll take anything of them this year but looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Still debating in my head whether I should re-queen them in Autumn or wait until next spring.

Harvest 21b.JPG

Harvest 21d.JPG

 

Oh, and my sympathy to all the beeks and farmers in Otago. We got caught up in the flooding out from Duntroon. Awful. Lots of fruit destroyed and saw a bunch of drowned hives along the way. 

So there is truth in the moral that 'A watched kettle never boils' .

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I've been away for a few days .... doing the migratory migration thing.  

 

On my return, in the office is a mug shot of JC with a reward offered of $1000 for any sightings ..... very funny, not.

No sooner home and check the cleaning crew in the extraction room and I went off to see my mate. My mate does stainless fabrication.

The buzz word for the year is Homogenisation ..... every one wants homogenised honey, so we've set too to upgrade the homogenisation process in the bulk tank.

I like stainless man. He's of Polish descent, and loves a Steinlager at smoko.  He has a sense of humour that revolves around Beer, Bikes and Babes .

We get on quite well.

 

I told him I wanted a Homogenising paddle for the bulk tank.

He sent me away to town for bits, which included an electric motor and a  right angle reduction drive that has an output of 14rpm.

The price of the goodies gobbled up one pollination cheque.

 

I went back to his workshop and talked Bikes and Bizzo. Generally his craftsmanship  gobbles up another pollination cheque.  The box of beer I provide doesn't seem to alter the price.

 

And as I drove home, I reconciled to myself that if the bees go in the hole this year ..... @southbee  might get a bargain on a honey tank homogeniser.

 

 

 

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Homogenisation .....

When extracting honey we might do a run of 200 boxes in a day . We run yards of 48 hives to a yard, so potentially there are 150 boxes per yard that go into the bulk tank. The bees have already homogenised the brew .... they all came from the same area, right, but buyers are reluctant to buy unless you can say you have stirred the whole tank off ten drums, for as we all know honey settles in layers and each drum might be a little different, and the additional 50 boxes ,might be totally different .... heaven forbid, low quality Manuka.

So the stirrer unites everything and makes crap honey good honey.

One sample covers ten drums and gives the packer certainty of what they are buying and keeps their testing costs down.

 

It is what it is.

 

But hey, if you want the big bucks for your product, you need to supply what the market wants. Right. Yeah.

And if you want the low bucks, seems like you still gotta do it.

 

Edited by jamesc
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52 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Homogenisation .....

When extracting honey we might do a run of 200 boxes in a day . We run yards of 48 hives to a yard, so potentially there are 150 boxes per yard that go into the bulk tank. The bees have already homogenised the brew .... they all came from the same area, right, but buyers are reluctant to buy unless you can say you have stirred the whole tank off ten drums, for as we all know honey settles in layers and each drum might be a little different, and the additional 50 boxes ,might be totally different .... heaven forbid, low quality Manuka.

So the stirrer unites everything and makes crap honey good honey.

One sample covers ten drums and gives the packer certainty of what they are buying and keeps their testing costs down.

 

It is what it is.

 

But hey, if you want the big bucks for your product, you need to supply what the market wants. Right. Yeah.

And if you want the low bucks, seems like you still gotta do it.

 

thats about right.

its been a requirement for testing for a long time, tho you could do the samples with the dripper method.

however with the BS thats going around, the cost of testing is huge, so its a big $$ saving if you can do one test for 10 drums instead of 10 tests.

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13 hours ago, jamesc said:

And as I drove home, I reconciled to myself that if the bees go in the hole this year ..... @southbee  might get a bargain on a honey tank homogeniser.

Nice to know I could give you some reconciling thoughts....would love a bigger tank than what we got, but I suspect that every time I'd look at it I'd feel awful for all your bees in the hole? 

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11 hours ago, jamesc said:

We will do . We try to keep the different types of honey seperate .... mainly by area ..... so vipers will probably have clover as well. Homogenised of course.

That would certainly  be  an acceptable blend .

Sounds very nice .

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16 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

 

 

16 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Did some real work today, making a start on htaking off pre season crop, ready for main crop clover.

We break the hives down, disease check, place an empty box above the queen excluder, then stack the full boxes up above the feeders.

The feeders act as an escape, so hopefully no bees on friday.

402D1078-6FE0-4B3D-B253-3D0F4B93167B.jpeg

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On 5/01/2021 at 1:04 PM, EmmetHuttValley said:

Also a small swarm I captured about six weeks ago are settling in nicely and building out and filling comb as they're going. Doubt I'll take anything of them this year but looking forward to seeing how they turn out. Still debating in my head whether I should re-queen them in Autumn or wait until next spring.

Had a small swarm arrive in my bait hive last spring - didn't do much all summer and nearly requeened it.  Built up slowly over the winter then hey presto!!  it exploded! Is probably my strongest hive this season.  Some of my best hives have been from small swarms with virgin queens the previous year.

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2 hours ago, jamesc said:

The other little job I did today was check a swarm I picked up before Christmas.

It was on a fencepost next to some hives we had in pollination.

The cocky was a bit worried that he had paid a bit if coin for a hive that had swarmed.

So I was relieved to see the queen had a blue dot on her thorax

Seems as though there's someone in Canterbury telling farmers they should pay him to check the hives they're paying a pollination fee for are up to scratch - not sure how he could legally go through someone else's hives, but it's on his website.

 

Maybe he should add "check for blue dots" to the list :)

 

From the website (content copied directly, including the typos etc):

WWW.DADSBEES.CO.NZ

 

 

Pollination Hive Auditing

worried that your pollination hives are not preforming?

 

I can offer and Audit Report on hive strength and performance.

Your paying good money for Pollination Bees Hives, you need ensure that service is for fulled correctly and as per contract, This audit will compare your contract to what the hive is protecting you and ensuring your getting what you have paid for!

 

 

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19 minutes ago, tommy dave said:

Seems as though there's someone in Canterbury telling farmers they should pay him to check the hives they're paying a pollination fee for are up to scratch - not sure how he could legally go through someone else's hives, but it's on his website.

 

Maybe he should add "check for blue dots" to the list :)

 

From the website (content copied directly, including the typos etc):

WWW.DADSBEES.CO.NZ

 

 

Pollination Hive Auditing

worried that your pollination hives are not preforming?

 

I can offer and Audit Report on hive strength and performance.

Your paying good money for Pollination Bees Hives, you need ensure that service is for fulled correctly and as per contract, This audit will compare your contract to what the hive is protecting you and ensuring your getting what you have paid for!

 

 

isn't that done on kiwi fruit orchards ?

all the farmer has to do is to have it in his contract that hives are allowed to be inspected by a third party.

 

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23 minutes ago, tommy dave said:

Seems as though there's someone in Canterbury telling farmers they should pay him to check the hives they're paying a pollination fee for are up to scratch - not sure how he could legally go through someone else's hives, but it's on his website.

 

Maybe he should add "check for blue dots" to the list :)

 

From the website (content copied directly, including the typos etc):

WWW.DADSBEES.CO.NZ

 

 

Pollination Hive Auditing

worried that your pollination hives are not preforming?

 

I can offer and Audit Report on hive strength and performance.

Your paying good money for Pollination Bees Hives, you need ensure that service is for fulled correctly and as per contract, This audit will compare your contract to what the hive is protecting you and ensuring your getting what you have paid for!

 

 

just thinking on that, one major hurdle is what is the required standard?

things like kiwi fruit have a lot of study done on it. a lot of other industries don't, or the recommendations are not shared etc. different beeks and different farmers all have different ideas on whats best.

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15 minutes ago, tristan said:

just thinking on that, one major hurdle is what is the required standard?

things like kiwi fruit have a lot of study done on it. a lot of other industries don't, or the recommendations are not shared etc. different beeks and different farmers all have different ideas on whats best.

This one here ? https://www.agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/12-059.pdf

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17 hours ago, tommy dave said:

Seems as though there's someone in Canterbury telling farmers they should pay him to check the hives they're paying a pollination fee for are up to scratch - not sure how he could legally go through someone else's hives, but it's on his website.

Common to do in the kiwifruit industry, although there would have been a discussion before hand to decide on price and condition. With out conditions attached it would be hard to hold up in court, Had a case here in the BAY where beek supplied x number of hives for pollination, ochardist got them audited and they were found to be to small so withheld payment, went to court and the beekeeper won, he did supply the number of hives asked for. As there was no size/condition demanded from orchardist, he lost. What size is a hive?

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20 hours ago, jamesc said:

The other little job I did today was check a swarm I picked up before Christmas.

It was on a fencepost next to some hives we had in pollination.

The cocky was a bit worried that he had paid a bit if coin for a hive that had swarmed.

So I was relieved to see the queen had a blue dot on her thorax

We do ‘nt  mark queens, so it must be one if the neighbours.

0AE2480F-F24C-47EC-BD69-50D89C0E79B0.jpeg

Another convenient swarm in pastoral hives.

What do you do with swarms on the coast ,  leave  them in the top of the rata trees .?

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

Another convenient swarm in pastoral hives.

What do you do with swarms on the coast ,  leave  them in the top of the rata trees .?

Hear no evil, see no evil ..... one or two obviously swarm but we never hear about it , and generally pick up the issues as we disease check taking honey off.

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