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Hobby day at NBA conference


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I was silly enough to volunteer to run the Sunday Hobby day for our main conference this year. Actually I'm quite looking forward to it but I would really like some input about what people would like to learn. Even if he can't get there I would still be interested in your ideas and the less you know about bees the more we will be able to learn together. What subjects do you want Basic beekeeping, organics, varroa, American foulbrood, honeybee genome, artificial insemination, Queens or natural beekeeping. If anyone is keen to talk on a subject that is close to their heart I would also be interested.

If I don't get any helpful replies by Saturday evening I will post another one of my jokes, so get your thinking caps on or we will all regret it.

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Artificial insemination is something I've not heard a lot about and probably natural beekeeping too would be an interesting subject that I dont really understand as it seems to conflict with the best practise advice.

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One thing I would like someone to show me is how to structure the brood box(es). I read a lot where they say to put x amount of brood here, y amount of pollen there and then z amount of honey on the outside. My bees dont fill the frames like that so I dont know how to manipulate the frames to get the best use of the space. This also goes in tandem with splitting hives, how much do you take (brood, nurses, workers, pollen, honey etc) and how does it get arranged in the new box/nuc. Hope that makes sense

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I would think the 'artifical insemination' is going to be a bit out of reach for hobby beekeepers. I like Janice's ideas.

Swarms are of interest to me, how to read your hive to avoid these, and what options a hobby beekeepers has. I am seeing many problems in this area this season with many new beekeepers about.

I would like also to learn more on hygenic bees and how I could continue a line of bee that I like the charcteristics of as a hobbyist too.

Having had a lot of involvement with organizing a hobby day, I would sugest a wide mix, dont go for just one take or area, cover some basics, but dont bring it in too much as we get this at club days, or have a seperate beginner section. Legal stuff such as the export/imports wont get changed by a hobbyist but might need to review topbar. Dont have the talks go for too long, short topics gives us food for thought. Enjoy

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John

Pretty much all we have over here are hobby beekeepers!

Why not contact our BBKA (uk) and see if one of them is over your way at the right time? A lot of the basics of reading the hive must be similar and experiences could be shared.

Caroline

Talking about BBKA over here, didn't you have a visit recently Caroline?

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Unfortunately not me, but I know of lots of people who have visited NZ for a holiday/see relatives and combine it with a looksee at how beekeeping is done over there. One guy spent a season helping a commercial and learned SO much he has now set up as a bee farmer over here. Last friends to visit (been in NZ for past 7 weeks) came back advising me and Bill to sell up and emigrate - she rated you guys that high. Room for two more?

Caroline

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I was silly enough to volunteer to run the Sunday Hobby day for our main conference this year. Actually I'm quite looking forward to it but I would really like some input about what people would like to learn. Even if he can't get there I would still be interested in your ideas and the less you know about bees the more we will be able to learn together. What subjects do you want Basic beekeeping, organics, varroa, American foulbrood, honeybee genome, artificial insemination, Queens or natural beekeeping. If anyone is keen to talk on a subject that is close to their heart I would also be interested.

If I don't get any helpful replies by Saturday evening I will post another one of my jokes, so get your thinking caps on or we will all regret it.

I would be keen to learn more about practical queen raising from a hobyist's point of view...

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That's when instead of grafting you break down the lowest part of the cell wall and hopefully the bees make it into a queen cell. You might call it something else, but that's what I think it was called when I had a quick queen-rearing session a few weeks ago.

By the way I could be wrong about any of this. I have only a sketchy idea after one quick session and none of our grafts were successful, probably because we were so very slow.

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lots of good ideas out there and Queen rearing seems popular. Just one question for Janice what the hell is notching, I know a lot about Queen rearing but that's a new one for me.

 

That's when instead of grafting you break down the lowest part of the cell wall and hopefully the bees make it into a queen cell. You might call it something else, but that's what I think it was called when I had a quick queen-rearing session a few weeks ago.

By the way I could be wrong about any of this. I have only a sketchy idea after one quick session and none of our grafts were successful, probably because we were so very slow.

That's when instead of grafting you break down the lowest part of the cell wall and hopefully the bees make it into a queen cell. You might call it something else, but that's what I think it was called when I had a quick queen-rearing session a few weeks ago.

By the way I could be wrong about any of this. I have only a sketchy idea after one quick session and none of our grafts were successful, probably because we were so very slow.

Wow! Now there is an idea I have not come across before. I am familiar with cutting back comb to the appropriate aged lavae, but tearing down most of the lower walls of a cell... Now that needs investigating. Thanks for the idea Janice :)

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hi Janice

yip I know the technique but not the name. Come along to conference and I will teach you what I believe is the simplest and most foolproof method, it is not suitable for full-time Queen raising but for the thousands of 1500 cells I raise a year it works really well and it works just as well for someone who just wants 10 or 15 cells. Grafting just takes a little bit of practice and the best way to do that is just to sit down with a frame of suitable aged lavie and graft away. You don't need to raise the cells and for the first couple of times you would be better just to graft into the cell cups and then wash them out, even so properly taught novices usually manage about 50% success rate which should be plenty for your average hobbyist. It never ceases to amaze me the number of commercial beekeepers who have been keeping bees for years yet they can't do something as basic as cell raising. If you can't make it to conference I would be happy to write up the technique for you when I have some more time. Raising your own Queens is one of the most satisfying aspects of beekeeping for me

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Wow! Now there is an idea I have not come across before. I am familiar with cutting back comb to the appropriate aged lavae, but tearing down most of the lower walls of a cell... Now that needs investigating. Thanks for the idea Janice :)

 

Graham, check out the Miller Method - perhaps the best case to use notching in as it places queencells along the bottom edge of the comb without grafting.

 

:) but I'm a grafter for preference too - mostly thanks to an evening of picking John's and a few other brains a couple of years ago. lots of fun.

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Thanks John. It's something I want to learn, as do a lot of other hobbyists. I've bought a grafting tool but I don't think I'll need any more queens this year. The man who gave me the grafting lesson also sold me 5 queens for $5 each and all are now in business.

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OK Janice... The Miller method or a derivative is what I was thinking of. Can you clarify for me please, notching: Is this scraping away the lower walls of a cell perhaps midway on a conventional frame, but leaving all the lower cells unaltered? I am imagining a small recess on the face of the comb immediately below the selected cell which hopefully would be occupied by a queen cell should the bees take the hint!

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I'm no expert, Graham, having only seen it done once quickly at twilight. I just googled it and it's described as on-the-spot queen rearing on some sites. Yes, you just do one or a few cells, breaking down the lower part of a cell with the right-aged larva, but the rest of the frame is left alone. The idea is that the bees see the occupied cell as pointing downwards like a queen cell and off they go. There are pictures of someone using a hive tool to do it. It seems like a quick, simple thing to try, and very little disturbance to the hive. But I wouldn't recommend taking my word for any part of this - I'm all theory at the moment, and a bit shaky on that!

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hi janice

I have been( notching) for over 40 years but can't ever remember checking back to see if it actually worked. Must put it on my bucket list. The theory at least is sound as bees left to themselves are very poor at selecting the right aged lavie to raise which often results in a poor Queen. I usually notch two or three.

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Ok we think we would like to know more on producing queens, but what about what to look for in a hive of bees for selection? Other things I would like to know, and this is changing the subject, splits or not - to prevent swarming? With the bees making there own Queen? How, when, and why build your bee numbers for the honey flow. When is best time to requeen or advantages of when this is done. What can I do with my wax -product ideas.

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thanks for the ideas that have come in but I could still use a few more. I could fill up most of the day with regulatory and food safety information but am assuming that like me most of you find this a bit tedious. At the moment I'm looking at doing a short session on basic grafting and cell raising as well as breeder selection. I'm also hoping to have a general discussion involving several experienced people on the merits of conventional and organic varroa control with some good practical advice from people that have used them successfully. After last spring a discussion on swarm control may also be useful. While some of the presentations will be in the lecture format I'm very keen to have plenty of question time and hopefully a lot of the time it will be run more like a forum. Is anyone out there interested in the production of comb honey.

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I'll agree with those who suggested swarm control.

 

Lately I've seen so many new beeks who are doing a reasonable job of running their hive, but are at a total loss how to stop the bees swarming. As a result the hive sends out multiple swarms, and ends up such low bee numbers it takes the rest of the season to recover and the beek gets no honey. Kinda kills their enjoyment.

 

Thing is, I know it seems strange to all you older beeks who just automatically manage swarming without even thinking about it. But to someone without experience, how would they know what to do? It can be very confusing. I think it's easier to teach someone to introduce, or raise, a queen, than it is to get them to recognise the signs (before swarm cells appear), and take the needed measures to keep their workforce where they want them.

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definitly the swarm subject. Plus ideas I mentioned earlier.

I am seeing many beehives at the moment with sacbrood this season. requeen or not, and why, PMS in the hive?.

I also think early signs of varroa taking over, before the beekeepers see the deformed wings, and PMS.

What about feeding bees, good or bad and why?

closing down a hive, and build up ideas, not just the slap a box on, [ these are part-time beekeepers usually with a bit of time to play around with frames within the hive]

Ah here's one we are currently writing an article about.

Record keeping!!!

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