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Merk

A lot of Beehives in one location

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Thats alot of hives at one site @Venom, must have had heaps of forage available and more than one or two beekeepers to work them :)

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Up the coast a bit from me there's this guy who has no idea what he's doing. This is one of his sites, theres at least 4 more this size within 500m. Hives look pretty sick but this is one of those outfits that's all sugar syrup and pollen patties. They bought about 800 hives from bay of plenty last year. Absolute muppets.

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Up the coast a bit from me there's this guy who has no idea what he's doing. This is one of his sites, theres at least 4 more this size within 500m. Hives look pretty sick but this is one of those outfits that's all sugar syrup and pollen patties. They bought about 800 hives from bay of plenty last year. Absolute muppets.

Yes, But I am sure they think that if they have them close to some Manuka then each hive will produce $5000 of medical grade honey.

 

Yeah Right.

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I count at least 61 hives in that photo.

 

If he's got 4 more, than it'd be at least 305 total.

 

Is it just the density of hives or are they doing other curious things?

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Look at the pallets Jezza - over half of them look like they're missing at least one hive.

 

No-one would lay out hives that inefficiently, so the gaps in each pallet indicate a hive that's failed.. died.. gotten so weak it's been combined elsewhere.

 

Not a pretty picture.

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Silly me, I noticed that, but just thought he was dumb enough to move them in half empty.

 

I figured it would be cheaper to leave them on site? Either empty or put splits in?

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Hard to move a pallet that's so unbalanced as to have one hive on one corner of the pallet.

 

And yes, you'd put a split back into the missing spot to build the pallet back up. So why hasn't he.. is there not enough strong hives or does he not have the skill to be making hive numbers back up?

 

Bear in mind that 10% annual losses is considered 'acceptable' or within normal, but most of us with a clue consider that a bit of a high water mark - you might get there, but you don't really wanna, and you sure don't wanna go over.

 

Someone counted 60 odd hives... I counted about 15 gaps. that suggests 20% loss. All at once... which makes you have to question if 20% of the hives are missing right now, what are his actual annual losses?

 

Granted, this is one snapshot. I don't know the beek, and I dont' know the circumstances, so this is all supposition... but it's the sort of thing that makes you stop and wonder.

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I counted 61, with three more potentially hiding, so at best there are 64 out of 84 there.

 

I did notice that there is barely a honey super either...

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Where are the boxes from the failed hives? Why haven't they been replaced? Perhaps there's a bonfire pit just out of shot.... no gear in or out for two seasons. How would that affect your opinion of this BK?

 

@deejaycee hit the nail on the head! This is all supposition.

 

My daughter picked up a saying from school, "whenever you point a finger at someone there are always three fingers pointing back at you." Those hives belong to someone. They might even be a member here. Be mindful of how your comments might be taken if the full facts were known.

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I counted 61, with three more potentially hiding, so at best there are 64 out of 84 there.

 

I did notice that there is barely a honey super either...

 

Wouldn't worry about that - mine didn't have any supers on until the last two weeks either. My flow here doesn't start until the first week of December. Need to consider when the photo may have been taken too... which if the file properties are reading true was September.

 

I never look at lack of supers at a site as indicative of a problem, because you don't know the beek's objective - are they splitting and making bees instead of honey, are they young hives, etc... but I do look at excess supers at certain times of the year as probable indications of a problem - hives left five boxes high in July, for example.

 

Fair enough, Rob, but I'm not making accusations and I'm not saying anything I wouldn't be happy to ask the site owner about if they were to show up. But we all 'read' sites when we drive by them, and there's nothing wrong with giving a new beek our interpretation of what we see, just as we do with everything else.

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Every time you turn around theres a new beekeeper dumping hives right next door, even in the top of the south its become common to turn up at your honey site to see another numpty has offloaded a heap of hives over the fence.

Its enough to make you want the Manuka standards to be set at 10+ so all these idiots chasing kanuka get sat on their arse.

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But we all 'read' sites when we drive by them, and there's nothing wrong with giving a new beek our interpretation of what we see, just as we do with everything else.

 

And I certainly appreciate it, can't imagine how long it would take me to learn if this site didn't exist. It would be all book learning and slowly learning through practical experience (with the bees paying the price).

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I've found the best method to wash propolis off hands after working a hive

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I've got to laugh to stop from crying. Apart from merk's , where I laugh for joy.

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Mirrors on the hive mats

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I count at least 61 hives in that photo.

 

If he's got 4 more, than it'd be at least 305 total.

 

Is it just the density of hives or are they doing other curious things?

There's probably twice that number of hives within a 2km radius of this site. The owner is an investor, not a beekeeper. This pic was taken early in the spring, I noticed next time I drove past that a lot more hives had died.

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There's probably twice that number of hives within a 2km radius of this site. The owner is an investor, not a beekeeper. This pic was taken early in the spring, I noticed next time I drove past that a lot more hives had died.

 

Seems like a catch 22, from what I've learnt thus far, I'd say: it's hard to invest in hives if you're not a beekeeper, and the only way to become a beekeeper is to slowly invest in hives as your skills grow.

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and the only way to become a beekeeper is to slowly invest in hives as your skills grow.

That is hardly "slowly"

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That is hardly "slowly"

 

I completely agree, what I meant was, from what I've learnt, you can't really be an "investor" in beehives with no beekeeping skills, and expect success. Unless maybe you just buy some Comvita shares.

 

In one of @Kiwimana podcasts he talked to an organic beekeeping from the Coromandel, who brought an organic orchard and figured he needed bees for it. He started by buying 80 beehives, his hives were certified organic from the beginning and raised his own Queens from his first season. Now I'm not sure how many hives he lost along the way, but this is the only time I've ever heard of this, sounds like a beekeeping freak of nature. Everybody else I've read about either; started with 2 hives and grew from there, or their father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. was a commercial beekeeper.

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Jezza, there are more out there like this than you realise. Most of us don't put our heads above the parapet for fear of being shot to bits by incumbents...

 

I could name any number of bee keepers that have jumped into it in a fairly big way, often from a related industry (like ocharding as you mention). Like any cross section of the population, there are those that struggle and make it, those that progress well from a flying start, and those that have a disaster and never recover.

 

We're really good at focussing on the last group in NZ and making ourselves feel better by telling everyone "told you so".

 

But I'd suggest there are a lot out there now in the first 2 groups - those that are making it happen - that are doing just fine.

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most make the usual beginner mistakes. wither that makes them fails depends on a lot of things.

the other thing is they may start off ok but decline latter on as they are not doing all of the job or interest declines and hives get less and less.

remember the time scale, 5 years down the track is nothing. just because they survive 5 years doesn't mean they know what they are doing.

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By the way - this doesn't excuse what you see in the photo further up the thread!

 

I had the discussion with my wife earlier today, when we passed a new group of hives near my home. We live by pasture/river not far from Hastings, with a number of hives in the area. These 16 new pallets appeared in a paddock by the road about August - I just figured they were making use of the willow for Spring buildup, then they'd vanish to a Manuka block somewhere. But they're still there - with no honey supers on - the Manuka in the region is all flowering, so if they were going to go, they should have by now.

 

Our area goes super dry in any summer and food runs real short about early January most years. I don't know who's hives they are, but if they're leaving them there for summer, I hope they have a lot of sugar.

 

Then there is the established beekeeper who dropped a bunch of hives in view from my kitchen window, who when I rang him (hives were stencilled so I know whose they are) he maintained he "didn't see any other hives" when he inspected the site. This despite the fact that although I can't throw a stone from my garden hives and hit his, I could sure hit them with my .22 if I wanted to. And there is nothing in between except flat paddocks.

 

Those hives are still here too. And this from someone who should know better.

 

Super.

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I remember the companies the guy owned; Sanctuary Honey and Sting Mead.

 

What I remember is that he extracted at Auckland Airport as almost everything was exported as the NZ market for organics was too small.

 

Not sure how long he's been in business and how much he invested but the link to the podcast is here:

 

http://kiwimana.co.nz/paul-berry-discusses-organic-beekeeper-km030/

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Appreciate what you're saying Tristan, and some value in the industry currently heightens the chances of those bee keepers turning up, then rapidly losing interest. No different from any other farming sector.

 

There seems to be a view though that unless you take it slow, do a course(s) work for other beekeepers (and start at the bottom), own a couple of hives for several years then slowly expand into a commercial 20 years later, you're a fool and somehow cheating the system.

 

This scenario is likely to apply to some aspiring bee keepers. There are some people who should never own bees too. But there are also some passionate, sharp operators who jump in and make a go of it. Yes they may later exit the industry - for any number of reasons - and as long as they do that in a responsible manner, then that is ok too.

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This scenario is likely to apply to some aspiring bee keepers. There are some people who should never own bees too. But there are also some passionate, sharp operators who jump in and make a go of it. Yes they may later exit the industry - for any number of reasons - and as long as they do that in a responsible manner, then that is ok too.

your always going to get those who are good at everything they do. i wouldn't call them the norm.

while there is those that dived in boots and all and have done things very well, there is a huge amount that don't.

we do tend to go on about those that fail a bit, but those tend to be the ones that cause problems for everyone else.

 

good example, there is bee gear up for sale on TM at the mo that i think the person lost all his hives to AFB. something i will try to sort out tomorrow.

 

 

There seems to be a view though that unless you take it slow, do a course(s) work for other beekeepers (and start at the bottom), own a couple of hives for several years then slowly expand into a commercial 20 years later, you're a fool and somehow cheating the system.

simply because thats tend to be what happens. its simply about gaining experience. you can't get experience the first time you do something. very few people will do a good job the first time they do it. they make mistakes and learn from them.

its preferred they make mistakes in small scale instead of in large scale which in turn effects other beeks around them.

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The scale of this damage is pretty big.

These hives were all bought the previous October.

I count 24 pallets in that photo. That means there was 96 hives in October, and 8 months later there's about 60, with more winter to go!

That's dumb beekeeping, bordering on negligent. Everyone needs to start somewhere, but big or small, you have a duty to your beekeeping community to at least do a half decent job.

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One can start a venture with little or much knowledge, go fast & big or small & slow and fail anywhere along the way; and only affect those who made the effort to become involved.

Beekeeping in NZ is a lot like running cattle in Montana: there are no fences, cattle run virtually everywhere, on the roads even, and motorists are totally liable. In (NZ) other trades or fields of commerce where a resource is considered to be for use "in common", that use is regulated. Eg, fisheries; airwaves; airways; roading networks; DoC reserves .... When a motorist crashes there is criticism , and more. Beekeepers who cause analogous events that involve others within the industry should be open to criticism. Beekeeping crosses boundaries, yet the only regulation concerns AFB; not other disease; not resource use. If this industry wants to maintain the concept of a floral commons, then either indivdual beeks who flout traditional restraint will at least have to take criticism ( or more) on the chin, or the industry will need to introduce regulation.

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with mirrors on the hive mats

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