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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/21/18 in all areas

  1. 21 points
    Hello everyone I am a Male father of 3, Geographer, Master in engeneering that as a good renegade became beekeeper in 2003 because of fighting corruption I lost my job and probably will never have a job again in what I used to do: Rural Services (water, electricity and the like). As I decided to became beekeeper when having wife, kids and a mortgage there was no way to start small and grow. So I decided to try a new model and associated with an avocado grower that need 1000 hives for pollination. Looks like I became a good beekeeper because I was invited by another grower, this time blueberry, to started in 2006 a second project for 2500 hives. I ended my relation with the avocado grower and keep on growing in hives with the blueberry producer, that became also an avocado, cherry and almond producer. We manage between 4000 and 5000 hives at Chile at the moment (you know, we grow in spring and lost hives in winter ) ... in 2015 I was invited to assist another company at Peru, here the project is for 12.000 hives and we are already close to 9000 hives La Libertad province. As a good engenier I like to solve problems, so started to develop diets for the bees, ways to eliminate virus, a good varroa control and now developing schemes forplanting for the bees. There is no way to get bored. Well, the use of Oxalic with glicerin was develop by argentinian beekeepers The Prieto brothers who had been using oxalic in all there form (dribled, sublimation, etc) and with the help of another beekeeper Fernando Esteban ended up with this great Idea of mixing with glicerin and develop monoxalate that when soaked on cardboard strip became an excellent contact treatment. I have been using it non stop since end of 2014 at Chile and end of 2015 at Perú. Fernando and I pushed Randy to try it because we new that if it had his approval lots of beekeepers around the world will benefit with this solution. Still do not know why Randy changed the method for those towels, since it is a contact treatment It must be placed between the frames. The way it is deployed with in the hive is directly proportional to its results. To have over 90% control you MUST cover 8 of the 11 between frames (or super) spaces. I recomend to change the strips after 15 days for a full treatment and also do sugar shaker monitoring before and after treatment. We monitor constantly and treat when varroa is getting closer to 1% (3 varroas in 300 bees). After all this years that end up been between 3 to 4 months between treatments. Because at Perú temperature is constantly higher - much like a constant spring - we still have lots of noise in our monitoring (Varroa Bombs?) so we will change the protocol to 3 repetitions separated 12 days one from the other so as to been able to break the varroa cycle. I end up saying sorry if I do not participate muchand lurks lots, but really I do not have much time with so many hives and people to manage ... Cheers and thanks for existing because I learn lots of you kiwi beekeepers !!!!
  2. 21 points
    . A beekeeping expedition with my son, his wife, and 2 of their children. Gotta train the grandchildren right. ? Soon as we got there, this happened, he is staying VERY still ? But didn't take long and he was fine with the whole thing. And even his normally timid sister started to enjoy. Nobody stung, a fun day for all.
  3. 16 points
    This person has asked for help and advice. After seeing some of the answers on this thread if I was a beginner in trouble I might hesitate to do the same thing. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has to learn and those lower on the learning curve will do a lot less harm if they feel confident about asking for advice without fear of condemnation.
  4. 16 points
    good stuff, thanks M4tt thats saved me a failed experiment:-) and to finish up heres a pic that sums up the weather at the moment
  5. 15 points
    This is an issue that comes up often There tends to be two ways that Beeks place Staples and one way results in less Brood damage. Some Beeks remove an edge frame, spread the remaining frames out, insert the staples then press the frames back to their original position by replacing the edge frame that they initially removed. This method often results in Brood damage because if there happens to be burr comb or any other proud contour in line with the Staple when the frames move back together this proud feature will cause the staple to be press firmly against the comb which in all likelihood will contain capped Brood. The preferred method is to refrain from placing the Staples until you have completed your inspection and replaced all frames. The burr comb near the top of the frame is cleared away at the desired location and the Staple is jiggled down between the frames This results in a looser fit of the Staple and results in much less brood damage. The newer Staples are now 25% thicker for the wides and 33% thicker for the narrows so are much more rigid, aiding insertion. Another important but unrelated point that needs to be clarified This point came up at the ApiNZ Waikato Hub field day on Saturday. There are photos on this thread and possibly other places that show Staples in Honey Supers above the Queen excluder I also make reference to such arrangements when speaking about the Staple. This is not a practice that I recommend and not one that I use in production hives. In my case this practice is for observation purposes and the Honey is being left on for winter feed. There is one substantial Hive in my operation that has has 20 staples in 4 boxes above and excluder for 2 seasons continuously. This Hive is one of those freak hives that sometimes appear but then fade to mediocrity or die over winter. One of the purposes of this observation Hive should the opportunity arise is to have its Honey stores checked for Oxalic Acid residue. The Hive currently has a Mite count of 1/350 bees and considering its size and forage /robbing power I consider that count to be very low.
  6. 15 points
    Dear Diary ....what a crappy old day it's been..... But brightened by a young fellah who came up looking for a job on the bees. It's not exactly the time to be hiring labour, but he'd been laid off by another operation and I'm behind the eight ball on the schedule of getting bees into the winter. And I had a big think about it ..... how our thoughts and actions dictate how we move forward, and if we are focused on the D-Day and selling bees and winding up, then as sure as eggs is eggs that will happen ..... but if we are positive and plan for the future, then our plans may move forward , perhaps not in the direction we thought, but forward for sure. For life is a journey ....and we need to be open and ready to travel it. So I put a stake in the ground .... and hired him. The bank can go and take a hike, because youth are our future.
  7. 15 points
    My 6 yr old son suffered anaphylaxis last October following a bee sting at home, it was his 3 rd sting with the first 2 being on his feet off the lawn (kiwi as) with no real reactions. Yesterday was his first day of the RUSH treatment at CH CH hospital, the plan was 5 stings 1 hr apart starting with a dose of 1/1000 of a full hit. Everything went well up till the last dose.. 15 minutes following it he developed a tiny cough, concern was noted and coughing was timed by the fantastic team of nurses.. increased cough timing was the only symptom, heart rate remained the same as pre treatment hours earlier. We were then seen by the specialist by which time Caleb had become wheezy. Within 30seconds of the wheezing he had the adrenaline needle hanging out of his thigh.. damn. This kicked things up a gear with us bundled into a single room, hooking him up to monitors etc, all pretty scary for him who moments earlier had been quietly watching dirt bikes on the I Pad. With no decrease in his wheezing a 2nd shot of the good juice was delivered, followed by me spending last night in the chair beside his hospital bed... thinking about my chosen path in life.. All his early life I had been pretty casual about my bee suit in the house, I work gloveless and if hot have my sleeves rolled up meaning the venom both on my skin and leaching out in my sweat he was exposed to. Also the dried venom on my suit being spilt into the house as a fine powder to be breathed in. Also washing my filthy suit in the house machine with other clothing on the odd occasion. There is a high number of beekeepers kids doing this program.. this isn’t a coincidence. Bee venom can kill, think about that.. think about the exposure you may be giving your wee ones or even grandkids.., their wee bodies can build a really strong reaction to the venom you can’t see on you or your gear and no one will know until that sunny arvo on the lawn kicking the ball around and you get caught holding a big filthy surprise. Epipens in an easy spot, beesuits not in the house, beesuits soaked and washed with the hose outside, wash/ change before playing with the wee ones. Just some small snippets of advise from someone that found out the hard way.
  8. 15 points
    Hi All, I don't have time to follow every chat group, but I got a notification about this one. I'm interested in your experiences with OA/gly in NZ, so please feel free to contact me directly at randy@randyoliver.com. >From a practical point of view the Hive is very tolerant of high doses of OA/GL that do not go as far as to wet the Bees That is also my impression. For a strong colony, 9 g total OA in glycerin on towels did not give great mite control. But neither did 40 g (4 strips) of the Argentine formula in double-deep hives. But 80 g total did when applied in hanging strips. But the mite control was no better than 18 g OA delivered on towels with the right OA: gly ratio. It's clear that there is a substantial margin of safety for OA between what is needed to kill mites (very little), and the amount that will cause adverse effects to the colony. What appears to be most important is how quickly the OA is delivered to the bees' bodies (via the "wetting" of the bees by the glycerin). And that appears to be a function of the ratio of OA to glycerin. As Philbee said, the key balance to reach is enough delivery of OA over time, but not too much. With the Argentine 1:2 ratio (1 g of OA to 2 mL of glycerin), the acid appears to get distributed too quickly, causing jittery bees and sometimes brood kill. This does not appear to be a problem with the 1:1 ratio. Since I've found that 18 g of OA/hive results in very high efficacy in my climate, I see no need to apply a greater quantity. The thing to keep in mind is that some OA will remain in the cellulose substrate (the staple, strip, or towel), so that amount does not count towards the 18 distributed grams.
  9. 15 points
    On your marks, get set.... Flow
  10. 14 points
    The Management Agency has recently implemented changes to its apiary inspections: 1. The number of AP2s inspecting apiaries has been increased from 21 to 37 2. The Management Agency is now actively searching for beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB, and we have changed our processes for managing AP2 inspections to facilitate this. Regrettably - the Management Agency believes that there are many more beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB yet to be identified. Beekeepers can assist the Management Agency to identify beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB by ensuring that they report all cases of AFB they find, both within 7 days and as part of their Annual Disease Return. The Management Agency uses this information to identify geographic clusters of AFB and prioritise apiaries within the clusters for inspection. If we find one or more apiaries with a higher than expected level of AFB we schedule further apiaries owned by the same beekeeper for inspection to make a more thorough assessment of the level of AFB in their hives.
  11. 14 points
    Another day, another ton. Manuka too. ☺️ Well actually, gross laden weight a tad over a ton, but once extracted probably around 560 kg's of honey, so, 1/2 a ton.
  12. 14 points
    There’s no way in heck your gonna make these bees not make honey. They were pulling the stuff in today.... high on Philbee’s staples or somthing. At the end of the day bees make honey.... ‘an this trains bound for glory’
  13. 13 points
    Sometimes the Forum is a bit of a gossip column .... but anyway ...... I had a fascinating day today ..... meeting Bruce from Ceracell on his road trip to bolster enthusiasm in the honey industry. Thankyou Bruce, for taking the time to get out and about and care about your customers !! We talked about setting up a Co Op to market honey. As the poet John Donne wrote many decades ago "No man is an Island" ..... and that was the basis of what twenty plus of us came together to talk over. And as the talk flowed North, and the talk flowed south, I was struck by the range of talent who had come together. Beekeepers, marketers, those who steered products through the paperwork for export regulation and packers of honey with a lifetimes experience. Something like this has to be a move in the right direction ..... producer ownership of where our product ends up. So Thanks Bruce for reinvigorating us, and leaving me your "card" , which on one side says 'Three things I want to be remembered for' and on the other is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt .... 'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievment and who at the worst , if he fails ,at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.' Thank you Bruce, for being daring and embarking on the road trip ! On the way home I picked up a hitchhiker ..... a German man who had come to see if all he had heard about New Zealand was true. We have lived up to his expectations. We talked about Europe and Brexit , and how as a hard working German he felt about paying to support his Greek Cousins to drink Ouzo and suck Olives on the beach. His response was that good things take time, and those who can need to support those who can't.
  14. 13 points
    Hi CraBee, MPI and Govt significantly hurt the industry. Their delay after delay to publish their standard meant the whole industry was on hold for ~1-2 years. Then MPI came out with a standard that wasn't a standard i.e. got modified. Uncertainty over product status meant buyers weren't confident, demand decreased, product stockpiled, prices dropped. This plus the extra and long drawn out attention meant news and uncertainty filtered out to all and sundry, affecting retailer and consumer confidence, therefore decreasing demand and pricing. Lastly re. the standard, I think we're all agreed now that it is not accurate enough. Conventional thinking is: Only Manuka honey has DHA/MGO. Only the best and/or purest Manuka honey has the highest MGO (containing anything else would dilute it down). So how can much of the highest MGO Manuka honey not pass MPI's standard? Something wrong with the standard that's what. So beeks that used to get top $ for top MGO now get much, much less for it. Govt should have just done what the now Deputy PM said before the election "Just adopt the UMFHA standard", quick, simple, scientific, already adopted by 80% of the Manuka industry. Support this rather than erode confidence in Manuka, UMF and the industry. Poor weather over the past 3 years, and overstocking has resulted in reduced hive yields, this and the preceding point have been a double whammy. So, overall the gloss has gone off the industry. It is less not more than it was. By trying to 'help' it become a $1.2b industry, MPI/Govt's help actually helped it go backwards, certainly in the short term. Agree they had to set or support a standard, but... As for consumers and markets. In general, there isn't the hysteria/mystique/intrigue that there once was when it was the latest, new/hot thing and (some of) the rich just had to have it. But on the other hand, Manuka has become more widely accepted and written about as factual by more and more in the mass media/lifestyle publications/social media. So it is trickling down from the richest towards those who are well off. We're recently seeing Manuka start to get acceptance and distribution into large format retailers in the States, so taking it's availability and awareness (but not price) to another level, and reducing reliance on Asia, especially China. Awareness, distribution and availability has spread out down the wealth triangle. Australian (and others in future?) "Manuka" is an issue. They can plant/grow/harvest much more leptospermum than we can. Theirs tastes worse than ours does. If allowed to piggyback off NZ's, with very loose standards both of definition and what they write on labels, different taste, higher MGO (in some cases), higher volume, it's not good for us. Let's support and hope UMFHA's Mānuka Honey Appellation Society's efforts starting several years ago succeed. This would result in protection, higher value, demand and prestige for NZ Manuka. So overall we're in a different phase of product life cycle and market maturity.
  15. 13 points
    Ha ha ..... I thought that last season too ...... big time , small time ...... seems we all got tooo much honey and are storing it ! I paid my debts at a West Coast drinking establishment last night. It's amazing how the costs rack up when you take a crew of Beekeepers away on a roadie for a few days ..... food, beer, accommadation ..... more beer ...... more food ...... more accommadation.... It goes on, and pretty scary when you're trying to run a high octane business on the smell of an oily rag. Our host agreed to take honey in lieu of our habit as he has busloads of Chinamen passing through every day for Sweet'n' sour and was grumbling at the price of the honey he has to put in the recipe. So I parked the truck on the street and started unloading buckets of honey ...... primo Dew of course. "A man of your word James ... said the publican ... with a big grin on his face. "To be honest, I never expected to see you again". The two old ladies drinking gin on the outside bench gasped in amazement ..... they did'nt realise you can get honey in anything other than a 250gm jar. So sixty kilos of Dew sorted the tab. And then the publican wanted to pay me . I enjoy trading more than selling . " Beers good thanks !"
  16. 13 points
    It's interesting opening a honey shop 10k's up the end of a gravel road ..... people come to visit. OMG ...... customers ! We had a family show up today un announced ..... they had brought their two wee little nieces up to see where honey was made and could they get some comb honey ? Well, as a matter of fact yes ..... I had some comb honey in the shop and everyone was happy and fascinated !
  17. 13 points
    Hmmm ..... not sure why this has created such a stir .? Many commercials run single brood box hives because they are quicker to work. When staff are employed they can get lazy and the bottom box is never gone into. We went to singles with the advent of varroa as it halved our bill for the synthetic treatments. So these days we run everything as a double over the winter as that gives the bees lotsa space to store food - honey and pollen. By the time we get to this time of year the queen has been pushed down into the singlebrood box. Any spare brood is left above the queen excluder to hatch out, after which the bees will fill the combs with honey. The advantage of singles is that when running many hives with not many labour units, disease checking is very fast ..... you don't have to go into the bottom box. We generally put three honey boxes on for the season. Sometimes four if things are looking exceptional. When flying in we ran everything as a single brood box with three honey boxes. Four hives to a pallet. Generally three boxes was enough on the Manuka. Anymore and they were too heavy four the Hughes 500 to lift out and we'd have to fly in, pull honey boxes off full of bees ,no disease check, number boxes to tie in with brood boxes , stack them on another pallet, strap and fly. then restack them on their original hive when on the load out. Too much honey was time consuming and expensive ! Flying in is only economical on top quality manuka. On the 5 plus stuff at $18/kg I would suggest it is marginal ..... unless you own the machine ! I see the O/A staples as the way of the future. They are cheap, effective and leave little or no residue in the honey and wax. The tape is biodegradable and you don't have the issue of "what do we do with 10,000 plastic strips at the end of the season." And it should give us an edge in a competitive world market to be able to say with hand on heart "Chemical Free". Signed, JC
  18. 12 points
    Slave labour... making my first 4 layer staples.
  19. 12 points
    Interestingly , the bees have developed some sort of tolerance to the staples because wher they had mined wax from under them last time I checked , they have rebuilt and either filled with capped honey or brood
  20. 12 points
    Right. Page 13. Finally. It is late, but my kid seems to like waking up every hour so it’s not like I’d be sleeping anyway. This thread was painful to read, I respect Keith a great deal and while I have never actually met him I think he is a thoroughly nice guy. I also know John F and he has always been lovely and friendly to deal with. It is sad to see people being attacked and criticised for having an opinion, I actually don’t feel the need to justify my choices to strangers on the internet but I can give it a go because I think it helps to create a balanced argument. Vote No. APINZ may or may not have mine, my fellow beekeepers who make a living from beekeeping - regardless of size, and my bees best interests at heart, to assume that they do is a fanciful notion but considering they have done nothing to endear non-members to them and expect everyone to come to them via their material leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not that long ago I would have been willing to join APINZ, however I was put off by what I considered to be overly steep membership costs with very little if any benefits other than a glossy magazine filled with advertising that I didn’t have the time to read. I refuse to willingly front 10 cents per kilo of my hard earned money to pay a levy that may or may not be well spent. That 10 cents to me is a lot of money considering I have to pay it upfront before I have been paid myself. I really love beekeeping, but I really hate politics and stupid rules and regulations that do nothing for the safety of our product. I believe APINZ really let us down with the MPI Manuka definition and I believed this was their time to shine, the industry basically stalled, which may or may not have happened anyway, but the point is, why weren’t our advocates advocating, it made me quite happy to not be paying them any money that I didn’t have. Both sides of this argument have been 100% what if’s. While I definitely admire taking a positive stance, and I would hope that this was the case, life experiences in general tell me that if there is a chance it can go wrong it probably will. The simple fact is, we don’t know what will happen if the levy goes through. To me, the safer option is to continue on the path we are currently on where a heap of people are going broke and beekeeping is getting less and less profitable. Sure, it sucks to work for nothing, but I think it’s worse to work for something and have it taken off you by someone who hasn’t earnt it. I believe there are hundreds of very intelligent people out there working on more beehives and learning from what is happening right in front of them on a scale that could not be recreated by any research. Because when you are working on hundreds if not thousands of beehives you will see natural variation unlike anything that could be recreated by researchers. I have a hoodie that says “Beekeeper, I do precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge” obviously this is not true of all research, but a case study on 50 hives? I’m not even going to waste my time. I look at more hives than that in a days work, I visit those hives regularly, and I take notice of every little thing happening and generally I know what I’m looking at. Research is the carrot because not a single person can outright say we don’t need research, without it we wouldn’t have varroa controls, but I would go as far to say that quite often it’s common sense based. I had a hive that I provided samples for, I was surprised to see how apparently sick it was on paper - nosema x2 and lotmaria, ay varying degrees and times during the study. I found it very interesting. It still went on to produce 3 FD boxes of honey and I would eat my hat if I couldn’t fix it with 2 frames of brood, a new queen, and a placeswap unfortunately I didn’t have the cash to pay for extra testing at the time to test my theory. I can fix sick hives just like these, as can many beekeepers with the time to do so. I don’t really care why they’re sick, as long as it’s not AFB, perhaps if it was the majority of my hives I might feel differently. Generally the amount of time and resources from other hives spent doing so makes it easier to just make another hive. And if you keep your hives strong then they don’t get sick, this is also easy, don’t get greedy. I am happy to admit what I know is only a drop in the ocean, I enjoy learning and there is always more to learn, and I am happy to admit when I am wrong. Paying for research is a smart move, even if some of it is not helpful and has zero practical application, even if you only get one useful bit in 10. What I don’t like, is paying for all of these other things. The thing with this levy is that it is incredibly flexible, some people might think this is a positive aspect, I see it as a liability. I have zero faith in anyone getting such a large sum of money without an exact knowledge of what they are going to do with it, and to know that if I am unhappy then I will be stuck with it for some number of years without much chance to do anything about it. Now is certainly the time to ask questions and to be suspicious, call me what you like, I consider myself to be incredibly risk adverse some people might say that I was negative, that’s fine, maybe I am. But until I can be told unequivocally where my money is going then it’s a No from me.
  21. 12 points
    The levy debate is very much like Brexit vote in Uk. Be careful what you wish for before voting Yes. What you are really voting for is ApiNZ existence. I don't have a crystal ball to call who will be right or wrong in this debate, but there are some simple facts that can not be denied. Research still appears the only reason people are wanting to back this plan and less than half the money is going in that direction. Knowingly giving a 50% discount is never a good business plan. Research is generational. Every dollar being invested in this proposal if successful will only deliver results to select groups 5,10,15,20 years from now. Passing on something worthwhile to the next generation is a responsibility we all have, but don't vote yes if your only goal is for someone to save your business in next 5 years. Saving your business in next two years might happen from some other event already in play, but not from this ApiNZ levy. The initial research funding for Dr Molan was provided by individual Beekeepers and private funding and took over 10 years before anything concrete came through. Yes the media push from Bill Floyd was funded by NBA marketing levy, but the real Manuka boost in mid 2000 was massive corporate investment and then three poor seasons in a row creating huge supply problems. The harsh reality is any results created from ApiNZ research will only be useful if commercialised by wealthy corporates or coordinated small group of individuals. The rest of the "industry" might benefit as a result from the trickle effect, but ApiNZ will never deliver a golden ticket to every beekeeper individually. Domocracy is a loose concept in business and make no mistake, ApiNZ is a business. The actual influence of the average beekeeper levy payer in how money will be spent will be about the same as the average dairy farmer with Fonterra. Pretty much zilch. Yes we can vote on board members and then ring them every night, but actual control or influence, no. Regardless what happens in this vote, current conditions in our industry will dictate some tough changes over next few years, and in every other industry that has gone boom/bust/boom successfully, the outcome has been a massive consolidation and power shift to larger companies. Putting all your eggs into the ApiNZ basket needs to be done with eyes wide open. I actually think there is room for multiple groups providing beekeeping services on a more personal basis, and an independant research trust set up for a research levy identical to the existing honey industry trust. Voting yes now will prevent Beekeepers taking control of this process. The best thing about living in NZ is we have a democratic system that allows divided debate without being locked up and stoned. Happy honey gathering.
  22. 12 points
    I have seen all this before. The collapse took three years longer than I thought to arrive but it is here . All those jealous of high manuka prices need not worry too much as the crop for a lot of the country is zero so a lot of those guys will be hurting more than clover produces and have way higher costs and commitments. The next thing you will see is everybody trying to sell their honey on the local market. That won't increase honey sales, it will just mean that existing honey packers sell less and supermarkets use the competition to screw everybody down meaning that those packers that are still buying honey will be forced to pay less and buy less. Prices going up and coming down is nothing new and has happened many times. Perhaps the only thing that is new in all this is that the price of honey for the last few years has been way higher than it has ever been. In the past I have seen hives offered for free. I have seen hives left to die. I have seen things come right. What I haven't seen is just the sheer number of hives involved and what appears to be a deliberate attempt by certain parties to collapse the price of honey below the cost of production. The only rational reason I can see for this is to try and remove a large percentage of New Zealand's beekeepers for corporate interests. Panicking and fighting over limited markets is not going to help anybody. There are only so many things you can do at a time like this but one simple thing is to keep some honey back for feeding the hives in the spring and to leave plenty of honey on this autumn rather than feeding sugar. It's going to be a bit of a bumpy ride but I suspect some of the rats will soon start swimming from the sinking ship leaving those of us who can to man the pumps and in the long run the ship will be a lot nicer without their droppings everywhere.
  23. 12 points
    I had'nt finished .... but Grant cut me off on my edit. To all you beekeepers out there on the forum, and apparently there are over 6000 silent watchers because there are only about 20 or so who seem to commit to cyber space and poke fun at life ... in all seriousnes, don't sell your honey too cheap. It is a valued product that is not just food to be flicked off because you need room in the shed. It is more than food. It's a life giving sweetener that is full of pollen and life giving anti microbials that enables the heart machine to keep on ticking whilst under extreme duress. It is the David in the Goliath battle of life.
  24. 12 points
    Thanks Ali, like everyone I got the odd nasty hive, but not at that site. Doesn't show in the pics but there was a lot of bee activity in a small area, so I just opened the one hive that I know is a very gentle one. Went through the whole thing looking for the queen to show them but missed her. But anyhow they got to see how the brood nest works, with eggs, larvae, a bee hatching, pollen in the comb. I tried to show them how the bees run their house, and let them hold bees, it was all super interesting to the kids. For the kids there was that hint of danger to get their attention, but they followed instructions absolutely, and it all worked out, they loved it. And a fun day for their poppa, I will admit ?.
  25. 11 points
    My apologies for the delayed response. I have just had a very busy and rewarding trip, bouncing around the world promoting wonderful New Zealand honey. I can only give my opinion and view on this topic. There is no single answer that explains the current market position of Manuka honey and the demand both domestically and internationally. There is no doubt that change is occurring and that some markets are maturing and new markets are emerging and others are just starting to really blossom. Whether you are busy and successful or not is dependent upon your brand or brands and the markets you choose to target. I see growing awareness, acceptance, appreciation, reputation and want for Manuka Honey in more and more large international markets. I also see buyer confusion and concern over standards and quality. I still see confusion with labelling and grading systems. Anecdotal, word of mouth, positive feed back for Manuka Honey is spreading faster than I have seen before. Yet, as an industry we are not ready to capitalise on the opportunity. We are not unified in our direction and approach. As an industry we are very immature and a short term, fast cash get rich quick mentality still permeates many quarters. We are very poor at self policing. In fact there are plenty in the industry that treat standards and labelling laws as a burden and costly interference. There will never be a $billion Manuka industry for NZ while these people companies exist. As fast as markets emerge and grow they will be the first to undermine and cause long term damage. I have just travelled extensively and the junk I have seen offered and portrayed as Manuka honey is in my opinion a disgrace and embarrassment. Firstly lets put to bed the Australian issue. It does not look smell or taste like real Manuka. It is like treacle or molasses. It is just honey with MGO. On its own this would be no threat to a united industry with fortitude, foresight and 20+ years of science. As it is, not only can we not agree and join together and garner Government support for the defence and the protection of the name Manuka. We actually have New Zealand producers trading in and offering Australian Manuka as an alternative at a lower price. What does this say for our position? What does it do for our argument? Next we have companies that flaunt the essence of the law. Those companies that ship bulk honey off shore to knowingly pack under far looser, less stringent labelling requirements. The MPI Manuka Honey definition is there for a reason. Like it or not it is there to formalise compliance and strengthen the New Zealand Manuka honey brand and reputation for quality. Those that look for legal grey areas to avoid or get around the standard, simply reduce respect, quality and value of the industry. Next we have the often deliberate confusion and false, detrimental marketing surrounding the use of variable grading systems. UMF and MGO still cause confusion. While UMF appears to be strengthening standard requirements, MGO on its own seems to be often used to confuse. There are many brands that promote MGO 30, 50 and 70 as Manuka honey with the words 'blend' or 'multi floral' very small, unclear or obscurely positioned. The UK is a prime example of a large market that has been saturated with lesser quality product, poor product education and now has a unnaturally low perception of the real value. Then we have China. The golden goose. The number of brands available are countless. Most I have never heard of. Most will not be there next year or the year after but will probably be replaced by the next brand who thinks the market is easy only to realise that the only marketing tool they posses is price. Even the biggest brands seem to be forever chasing volume at the expense of value and credibility. Buy 1 get one free, 50% discount, buy 2 get one free etc etc is common place. I did not see the same discounting for top Champaign, caviar, perfume and branded clothing etc So back to New Zealand and Manuka Inc. One year does not define a market and direction. There are some major corrections taking place. Some very large producers and brands are suffering or reversing and have reduced or stopped buying. Previous errors and direction are coming home to roost. The converse is that other companies and brands are emerging and defining a new standard and direction and value proposition. Genuinely exciting New product development will move Manuka honey to a new level and into new markets. I see growth opportunity every where I look and many untapped markets. From a personal perspective we see multiple new business enquiries every single day. The majority are Manuka related. Many have agressive price expectations. Some tick all the boxes and are worth developing. Time scales are often quite long for new business development but I see a very strong sales pipeline for the next three years. I am not looking beyond that at this point. Adam
  26. 11 points

    Version 1.2


    A Summary of the OA/GL Staples Thread.
  27. 11 points
    It’s been a while since I posted.. However like our bees I have just been getting on with it. So, this is what keeping bees is about, for a hobbyist. I hesitate to call myself a Beekeeper, even though we are now into our 4th season. This has been our best season to date. The hives x3 all have a super of honey stores, AFB checked, and the staples are in for varroa treatment. They are strong hives with lots of bee activity and well natured bees to work. No robbing being observed here. Wasp free zone,too. We have harvested a FD and 3/4 super, enough honey, to keep our honey mouse (daughter) supplied with stores until next season. Tutin test ✅ The journey and the learning continues
  28. 11 points
    well i haven't said much on here for a while, but love reading whats going on, I'am with jamesec on alot of what he say's and i think the only way for alot of us smaller honey collectors to survive is to sell our own, market, package and to further process our honey. we are are putting up a little honey shack in the back yard and will be selling honey six different sorts, hand creams etc, soaps, honey powder, tablets, Also we currently sell at three different markets as well as online sales and return buyers, i for one know how i will be voting after spending all my spare time and then some on all things bee related, spending endless hours in the stinking hot sun stuck in a bee suit with salty sweet running into my eyes,
  29. 11 points
    Aah how the mind wanders while hauling loads.. ideas are born and forgotten... plans are made or modified... Questions are asked and answered.. this is the cab my thoughts thrash around in.. shes no 500 horse MAN but she gets up some gnarly goat tracks and delivers.
  30. 11 points
    kia ora mo ena ki nga whakaaro koutou katoa...ka mau te wehi!! Thanks for all your thoughts/info on how to go about this duty.I will bee staying near the apiary for the whole weekend,so the idea of splitting the duties into two days will work in well with that.I also have a helper (my babe) who can lift the lids/covers on and off as i place supers onto the trailer. My hives and boxes are all numbered individually already,so thats a head start....my leaf blower was modified last night and has a new vac hose extension fitted.Plenty of fuel,oil and water and check vehicle/trailer over and dont forget the spare for trailer!! ohh and lots of smoker fuel!! Ill post up a panui of my adventure next week.
  31. 11 points
    It is a common practise overseas, and I've been surprised there are even some reasonably intelligent beekeepers doing it. To do it in NZ, just about anywhere there are bees, there will be other bees within range, even on a 2,000 acre farm. You will be feeding all bees in the area and there may be more than you think. Overseas it is often done in holding sites with no other bees anywhere near. The main issue i have with bulk feeding is the needs of each hive are different. In many autumn apiaries there will be some hives with a good amount of stores, right down to some with near zero. It is good to assess each hive and feed it the amount it needs. Bulk feeding means that some hives will have more than needed but others may not get enough and could starve later. Another factor is that in Canada and USA they fed cheap HFCS, at a fraction the cost of what sugar syrup costs to us in NZ. So it could be they don't mind in the USA if they have to overfeed, to ensure even the lightest hives get enough. But here, even my own modest size bee hobby cost me $7,000 in sugar last year, it's not like I'm a fountain of money, so if I can save by not overfeeding, it's money in my pocket. Or at least, not money out of my pocket. Re robbing, yes, something to be very aware of in a dearth. But, it can be done, it's about beekeeper skill. Even in the very worst conditions hives can be safely fed individually. The trick is firstly to have strong hives with no holes and correctly sized entrances. If there's robbing, don't even feed the weak ones. Next, don't feed while working the yard, do them all at the end, that's because soon as you feed one in a dearth, the bees will get excited and start attempting to rob. If you are still working other hives and have them open it can become a nightmare. So, work all the hives first and maybe have some marking system so you can mark how much feed each one needs. Then once everything is done feed all the hives and close up asap. And, don't mess with robber screens, which are a stupid idea that should never have been invented. Strong hives, correctly sized and placed entrances, and good beekeeping practises, that's all you need.
  32. 11 points
    Thanks for all the advice this year from new & experienced beeks alike. And thanks to all the other newbees brave enough to ask the questions I couldn’t. Happy holidays.
  33. 11 points
    And finally the label.... i don’t know why it took so long to put together.... Now, where’s my marketinig Boot
  34. 11 points
    I have attempted to summarise the thread here. This thread is well worth reading in its entirety as it has much that is useful, but I found it a little hard to know current best practice when making my own. Hopefully I do now! I have been over it many times, but am sure there are many errors. Apologies if I have misstated what someone has said or incorrectly attributed content. Let me know and I'll fix it.
  35. 11 points
    hi, I've got a bunch of hives that I've just moved into flowering manuka, they're already around 4 stack (yes, fun to move). the top boxes on all of them are around half filled with bush/clover, none capped. the box below also partially filled with top third capped. Id like a clean seperation so i dont dilute the manuka, and of course Id like the bees to get cracking on the manuka:-) Ive heard if you put an empty super (no frames) below a box and it causes the bees to switch to robbing mode and pull the honey down. Im thinking this is a possible way to get the bees to finish off box 3 and leave box 4 nice and clean for the manuka. Has anyone tried this? if so, how effective is it and how long does it take? if it works, it sounds like a useful way to clean up half filled honey supers in autumn so I can do treatments as well thanks! and heres a happy bee on clover before the move
  36. 10 points
    Thank you Trevor for the pressure sprayer idea. Just back from jamming the nozzle and wand down the entrance and getting as far back as the hose allowed and pumping the nest full of 91 unleaded. Will go back tomorrow morning and see how it worked. Spotted another sizable underground nest this afternoon and that got the same treatment.
  37. 10 points
    Push it over the line @Philbee Over 70 loads @ 2-2.5 cube on one of my wintering sites ready for shifting tonight Shifted 55 more hives to my wintering site, 20hour day yesterday finishing at 12:30 and unloading this morning at 9am then went on to put staples in and feed 3 sites with a bit of chainsaw clearing to let some light in
  38. 10 points
    One respected ( late) beekeeper said over here: " Beekeeping isn't hobby, beekeeping isn't occupation, beekeeping is diagnosis"..
  39. 10 points
    It was great to met up with @Philbee today at the SNI field day at Waireka honey. Great talking with you and listening to your presentation. Over 100 members and visitors in attendance.
  40. 10 points
    Both you and I, Rashika. After another hot hot day in the sun lifting more honey boxes ...... the cell phone was working overtime with alerts pinging in , and I was getting more and more peed off . So at three o'clock Main Man and I knocked off for the day, mainly because we had run out of sticky boxes to under super hives with, and did a detour home via the bottle store , after which we sat by the side of the road and had a cold one, and a tele conference with another Main Man about the Central Canterbury fiasco. 188 hives burnt right smack bang in the middle of us ..... and we were undersupering with those wets today. AFB is nothing new. Another reputable Canterbury Beekeeper has apparently burnt 300 this year. We have burnt slightly less ..... so far. Which got me thinking ..... Obviously the system in place is not working. The problem people are both undercover and high profile. The high profile have the ability to sort their problem, except that they rely on hired labour who may not share the passion of the owner of the business. The undercover guys , the ones who run several hundred on the side in what may well have been quite a lucrative little business over the last few years, are a curved ball. They have the main income and the bees have been a top up. Now with declining honey prices the bees may become a liability and the enthusiasm wanes. The work ethic slackens and things have the potential to go pearshaped. Experience tells me that while rob out notification are a real gut wrencher ..... all is not lost. In the past we have had a rob out in yards of 80 to 120 and thought all was lost. Funnily enough, all was not lost and we still have bees. The AFB Agency is there to monitor the incidence and spread of the bacteria. I always thought it was there to eradicate, but there ya go .... I learnt something last week ! It's up to us at the coal face. The dogs are an exceptional tool for quickly screening hives that may be a problem. As I sat on the roadside talking on the phone we floated the idea of a screening program in our neck of the woods. An open offer to all beekeepers in our patch to come out of the woodwork and embrace the concept of the dogs sniffing around their bees. What would be good is if the Management Agency would coordinate the idea and release confidential information about Beekeepers and contact details. Just another thought after a hot day, parked up on the roadside with a cold one.
  41. 10 points
    As we all know, The epiphany is the celebration of the Baptism of the Baby Jesus. It is also a moment of sudden and great revelation and realisation. Over the last few days we have been bombarded with emails about why we should and should'nt vote for the levy. March 1st is the last day for voting, and true to fashion , I have left the important decisions to the last minute .... which is slightly uncharacter as generally I am the first to fly off the handle and voice my opinion. It was always my intention to vote YES for the levy. it seemed the right thing to do, to endorse a national organisation with a vote of confidence to make the right decisions for us peasants and ensure we had an economic and viable future. Last night Richelle and I attended an AFB meeting in our local town to get an update on the AFB issues currently facing the industry. It was Great. The food was good, no matter that I grabbed a glass of pee coloured beer that I thought had been bought for me by a long time business associate that has supported us through the lean years , only it was'nt Speights and I was chided for picking the wrong glass, but then all white froth looks the same when you are thirsty ....... But seriously, last night i had an Epiphany. We have had an AFB dog program here for quite a few years . It was brought into play after we paid a twenty grand AFB levy and sat down and scratched our heads the night after as to what we had recieved for that amount of money. Suffice to say, with the dog program in place I now sleep easy at night on that front. We have'nt eradicated the disease , but we have certainly dropped our burn rate from fifty or sixty hives a year to less than ten and cornered it to one recalcitrant yard. Now I am not the most meeting minded person, but have been attending AFB meetings on and off for fifeteen years or so . Not a lot has changed. Don't get me wrong, their heart is in the right place. Marco is an inspiration with his enthusiasm. He knows us beekeepers, and he knows our problems. But the impression I came away with last night is that he is hobbled by the higher powers that run the organisation. When questioned about the Dog team we got a mono tone dialogue from the official line about why it won't work . And as I listened, I came to the realisation that the head honcho I was listening to was of the same mould as the people who aspire to rule us through APINZ. They lack the guts and risk taking gene to try something out of the normal to progress the industry. The Dog program is not about James and Richelle making a small fortune from running dogs around bee hives in the dead of night. It is about using a tool that we know has a place to play in identifying bee hives with a non visual bacteria loading that can be removed from an operation before they are split to make up duds and deads . We admit they are not perfect, but they are a tool that could have a place in reducing the incidence of AFB within NZ. So last night was my Epiphany. It was the realisation that I have no confidence that those who purport to lead us actually have a desire to grow out of their Comfort Zone and do a little bit left brain thinking and embrace technology that might actually help us to emerge from the mire that we reside in at the moment . And it is for that the reason that today I voted a NO to the levy.
  42. 10 points
    I'd pull the bees out, give the guy a wave, and not go back. You don't need to be dealing with someone who didn't even have the common decency to let you know about the spraying, and then couldn't give a toss if your bees were affected by it. Live is too short for that....
  43. 10 points
    Used to be done that way. @John Berry may enjoy this pic.
  44. 10 points
    This levy should only be on manuka honey. They were the major benefactors in the last round so the should pay the good will back and fund research into other honeys. All the money raised should go on market development. We do not need to learn how to produce honey we need to learn how to sell it. .
  45. 10 points
    Guys, the following is a summary of where you folk are today; 1) MRLs. Oxalic acid and Formic Acid both have an MRL (Maximum Residue Levels) exemption when used as an veterinary medicine to control varroa mites in beehives. This has been issued under sections 383(8)(a) and 405 of the Food Act 2014, recently updated on 5th December 2018. PLEASE NOTE LACTIC ACID DOES NOT HAVE ANY MRL EXEMPTION TO DATE so should not be used on beehives. The MRL exemption applies only to bee hive products sold in NZ, it does not apply to exports of honey. If your honey is exported it has to apply with the MRLs applied by the importing country. 2) GRAS. Glycerine (food Grade) is on the MPI GRAS Register. GRAS - Generally Recognised As Safe. This is authorised under the ACVM(Exemptions and Prohibited Susbstances) Regulations 2011, which you should consult to ensure your product is exempt from registration. You are legally required to confirm that any additive in your product, animal feed or pet food is 'generally recognised as safe' (GRAS). Always use "Food Grade" glycerine. https://www.mpi.govt.nz/processing/agricultural-compounds-and-vet-medicines/acvm-registers-and-lists/#sts=ACVM substances generally recognised as safe (GRAS) 3) Own Use. It is legal to mix and make your own veterinary medicine for the control of varroa in your own hives. The exemption is in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations Schedule 2 Part A, 2.. Reccommended reference is The Beekeeper July 2018 edition. Also refer to MPI Notice 794 Agricultural Compounds Exempt from Registration Requirements for conditions of exemption. www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21653 You have a legal responsibility to under take the following minimum steps if making your own product. Refer to MPI Notice 794 for the rest of the requirments. a) You cannot sell the product to anyone, even if you mixed an extra bucket of strips. b) You should be very careful promoting it - advertising is banned. Discussing on a website could be considered as promotion - MPI have not made web communications exempt from promotion to date - they are keeping their powder dry. Web promotion and discussion is a can of worms. Randy Oliver's website can be discussed as he outside the reach of any NZ jurisdiction. Some of this forum's members I believe have had conflicting communications with MPI about their comments. c) You should have documented all batches with the amounts mixed, the date of mixing and the standards of product used and the hives applied to. Everything should be traceable. d) When purchasing raw materials always insist you supplier supplies a Techinical Specification (prior to purchase) and a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for the identified batch you have purchased and have had delivered. Always keep this information with your batch documentation which you are required to hold for 5 years! Reputable suppliers should have not problem meeting this minimum standard - go elsewhere if they cannot. Low price product is not worth the future problems you may have. Note your standard of manufacturing is measured exactly against that complied with by a commercial manufacturer. e) Adverse Events. If you have 'stuff up'; the varroa did not die; you overdosed and killed the hive; or the person handling the product had a bad news event; or etc etc You are legally required to report this event to MPI as an adverse reaction https://www.mpi.govt.nz/processing/agricultural-compounds-and-vet-medicines/adverse-events-with-acvms/ . Adverse Event Reporting is required for exempt non registered products. An MPI investigation may require a review of your documentation trail. If you or a worker has a 'bad news event' handling your veterinary medicine you have made you must report this to WorkSafe (you are working with a hazardous substance). This is a legal requirement of the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015. https://worksafe.govt.nz/notify-worksafe/incident/ 4) Harvest Declaration - you must complete a Harvest Declaration for Bee Products if your product is intended to be exported to support the fitness for purpose and traceability of bee products intended for human consumption. That means you must declare the use of the organic acid used. Note some large buyers for the NZ market may require a signed harvest declaration. In addition some large overseas corporate buyers may require a copy of the hive treatment diary in addition to residue testing prior to purchase. This is very common today in the NZ Fruit export industry. You must declare on the harvest declaration the use of own mixed varroa treatments. If worried always check with your honey buyer their specific requirements. 5) Other options. To date MPI has registered one containing formic acid MAQS+ and one product containing oxalic acid - Api Bioxal. If in doubt or not sure about own mixing and own use, see you beekeeping supplier and purchase one of these products.
  46. 10 points
    OK ... time for another thought for the day. I always quite enjoy watching her Majesty The Queen's Speech ..... She's always so down to earth and generally hits the nail on the head about why we are here ..... for whether we like it or not we are here and generally it's about Faith, Family and Friendship. What more to life is there ? The same could be said about the honey industry. It's about building relationships .... Packers with Bee keepers and vica versa. Some people get a buzz opening hives and driving land cruisers down tracks axle deep in mud. Others get a buzz from working budgets and margins and squeezing honey into pots. The point is we are all interconnected, but that guy that gets a thrill from planting it through the mudout is possibly not very adept on the spreadsheet, just as the shiny butt on his computer would totally screw up the mission to get to the Bee yard. The Bee man has the skill to squeeze a crop from his bees in a lean year. The marketer has the skill to squeeze a few extra dollars from the pot on the shop shelf. If the marketer can grow the market, then the Bee man is happy to run more hives. The marketer has more honey to sell ..... everyone benefits. No Market, no honey .... so the bee man goes and drives a truck for Westland. It's a lose lose situation. The fact is , it's about family and friendship and growing a strong community where everyone makes a dollar and feels a valued part of it. But it probably starts at the pointy end with the Marketer getting out there into the world with his skill and contacts to crank the organ. It might be a dirty job, but it needs doing. So ... the New Years message to our big time honey exporters . Get out there and crank the organ coz us monkeys are waiting to dance.
  47. 10 points
    Its an easy plant to have around, pulls out with no big root system, no thorns, doesn’t take over the garden, smells nice, bees all over it morning till night, needs a bit of sun, and if you brush it against the skin you can end up with an itchy reaction but it doesn’t last long when rinsed off with water.
  48. 10 points
    Angus and Lowline beef These are our Pedigree Lowline bulls just finished with the cows and heifers .
  49. 10 points
    Baby Spam ? 6 1/2 months doing very well, can sit pretty well unassisted but still has the odd whoopsie. Eating solids now, tried a pretty big variety of foods, venison casserole being the latest. I make it all myself except for the rusks. Swimming lessons on a Tuesday, which is awesome. Babbles away constantly and says ‘mumumum’ and ‘nananan’ and a few other things, trying to teach her to say Dad still ? I take so many pictures of her so here are some of the recent ones. Her eyebrow game is strong. No work happening here. Just living the mumlife. She refuses to take a bottle.
  50. 10 points
    Now that the seniors have left for exams, it is junior project time. One young lad has been making me nuc boxes. Untreated, rough sawn boxing timber as raw materials.
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