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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/15/19 in Posts

  1. 12 points
    First of the Pohutukawa's in full bloom. May not be the best of honeys but it sure is keeping the girls busy!
  2. 8 points
    Beautiful day on thurs,trailer refurb completed so tiki toured up the east coast,prospecting ,inspecting,supering and snorkelling...
  3. 8 points
    But in fairness, they introduced their pollen count method before manuka was a thing. They were groundbreaking at the time, introducing a standardised method to correctly identify honey types by the pollen. This was for all honeys, not just manuka. . I suspect that was a resaon they have always been so strident in rejecting the other methods of defining manuka, they felt they already had the ultimate method. And indeed, the passage of time has shown some of the other methods to be wide open to abuse.
  4. 8 points
    The first New Zealand soil residue study on neonicotinoid insecticides has just been published. Note it is only the 4th study published on pesticide residues in the environment ever published in good old clean green NZ. The cynic in me says "we really do care about the environment!" Chris Pook and Iana Gritcan have published their work in the Journal of Environmental of Pollution in their December 2019 Publication. The abstract s here; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749119301381?via%3Dihub Validation and application of a modified QuEChERS method for extracting neonicotinoid residues from New Zealand maize field soil reveals their persistence at nominally hazardous concentrations The study has been published by Stuff https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/117759904/study-shows-chemicals-could-cause-beehive-losses This morning Dr Pook also featured on Breakfast. Available on TVNZ On demand The Study samples were gathered from sites in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Gisborne, where beekeepers have reported hive losses over many years, especially immediately after maize harvest. Are you one of those beekeepers? We need these reports guys - no reports then there is no action! This study owes a lot to the challenge I got from Neil Mossop of Mossops Honey who told me of their many years of experience of loosing hives, so much they do not place hives there anymore in these areas after maize harvest . His challenge was to find out what is going wrong. Well we cannot confirm causation at this stage, but it is very apparent that our Ag practices are leaving significant neonicotinoid residues in the soil and environment. Here are the main key points I have got from this study. Why is NZ not monitoring pesticide use? How much is used, where it is used and what chemistry is used? Examples of where this is used include Netherlands, California. Lack of monitoring and research into all pesticide residues in NZ This is the 4th paper published to date. We do not have a clue of what is happening in our environment. There is no testing of new pesticides on effects on native vertebrates. There is no ongoing monitoring and measuring of soil residues and waterway contamination. How are we using our pesticides? Seed treatments are used as prophylactic treatments, not specific targeted treatments. Are we apply to much with respect to seed treatments? Poor enforcement. The EPA has set Environmental Exposure Limits as per the HSNO Act. but has never measured the environment to see if limits are being exceeded. There is one exception 1080. The Minister for the Environment obviously does not care. Honey bees gather what is in the environment when they collect nectar, propolis, pollen and water; the 4 main inputs to a hive. We know they are collecting; pthathlates (detected in propolis) fungicides in wax, glyphosate in honey etc. And we have no research money as an industry to continue this work. Note the study has not yet linked the soil residues to the death of the hive, so we cannot state it is the causative factor or claim causation. The study has correlation because we went to known bee dead areas to obtain the soil samples. The study was funded by AUT. No beekeepers money was used to fund it - so we are all freeloaders. So how do we fund continuing research that could determine causation?
  5. 7 points
    Are you guys all trying to flush me out with all this anti-carnica fire?! You succeeded. Of course Carniolans are still being sold. There are far more carniolan and F1 carniolan X italian Hybrids being raised and sold commercially than there are so called 'pure' italian Queens. Every single Queen exported to Canada is either carniolan or F1 Hybrids. Every production Queen produced by the Kiwi Bee Queen units, Apiflora, and most of those produced by the big King's Queen units are F1 Hybrids. It would be just as ignorant for me to label all yellow bees rubbish, or claim that yellow bees swarm more than carniolans, or claim that italians are responsible for nasty hybrids. The truth is that both carniolans and italians are good commercial bees. I can't say the same for mellifera. Crosses between the races can be savage, but you can't blame one of the races involved, it is because they are racial hybrids. Most of you carni bashers, either have little experience working with them and manage them the same as you manage your yellow bees, or have never even tried them. If I managed my yellow bees the same way that I managed my carniolans, then my yellow bees would starve before spring. This year has been a particularly swarmy year up north, even though the spring has been crap, and we have had more swarming in our yellow bees than in our carniolans. Any way, back to the original Question- the answer, as I said is yes, the Kiwi Bee Breeding Unit is maintaining and improving two Closed Populations, one yellow, and one carnica. Each season, we cross the two populations, inseminating yellow virgins with carnica semen, the resulting F1 crosses, are utility Breeders from which we rear all of our production Queens, these Queens are very uniform, very vigorous, very productive, and a pleasure to work with. In a trial last year, they performed significantly better than the straight BB's stock in the trial. We sell these F1 Utility Breeders to anyone that is interested in giving them a go.
  6. 6 points
    manuka, white manuka, kanuka ,kahikatoa, Red tea tree were all names used for both manuka and kanuka. They are closely related and have been known to naturally hybridise. The two honeys are very similar and certainly in this area almost always come in at the same time or at least overlap. They were always sold together as manuka and this was not to try and rip people off, it was just the way it was. There is more difference between Hawke's Bay and Northland manuka as far as taste goes than there is between Hawke's Bay manuka and kanuka. I have never had a problem with the two being mixed together and up until recently was impossible to tell them apart anyway. It's ridiculous that good manuka honey with a high UMF and a little bit of kanuka doesn't even make manuka multi floral and yet if you mix enough clover with it becomes manuka multi floral. The current standards are plain wrong and I believe should be challenged. The problem with adulterated manuka did not come from beekeepers who have always packed manuka\kanuka together. The problem came with people who mixed everything else in with their manuka\kanuka honey. If you want a high UMF honey then you're going to need some reasonably straight manuka from the right area(or some suntan lotion) but if you just want a nice pot of reasonably priced table manuka with arguably a better flavour then Hawke's Bay manuka\kanuka every time. I wonder if those areas that traditionally called manuka- kahikatoa or kanuka will be selling their honey under those names. I keep feeling like blaming MPI for this debacle but beekeepers had years to get their house in order and didn't so it's no surprise that we got something imposed on us and being that it was done by government no surprise they got it wrong.
  7. 6 points
    Sad to hear you feel that way, yesbut from Nelson. The bees in our yard since we started keeping bees in 2011 have all been swarms, or cut-outs, or swarms that settled in our empty equipment. Eventually it sunk in that colonies were maintaining roughly level Varroa percentages through spring and summer as long as the nectar continued to flow. It also sunk in that there were "events" Varroa populations would climb at rates much higher than Varroa reproduction could account for. The scenario that best fit the evidence was that the colony discovered a Varroa infested feral or unmanaged or poorly managed colony, and were robbing it out, and in the process bringing back a LOT of hitchhiker Varroa. Eric Mussen, the state apiculturist at the time, said that a bee could bring back as many as a dozen Varroa with it per trip from the target hive. Those spikes mostly resulted in colonies suffering parasitic-mite-syndrome and tanking about 6 weeks later (with the handfull of bees that remained just absconding). The trend over the last few years has been that Varroa spikes that aren't as high as they were when we started, and that hives have generally lower Varroa percentages measured by sugar-rolls. We were also surprised that occasional a colony with a Varroa spike would actually recovers from it. So I have the feeling that our local bees actually are adapting to Varroa. (also note that we started keeping bees 24 years after Varroa arrived in the US) The evidence I read in our own bee history is that as long as there are not too many Varroa the colony keeps a lid on the population. Compare that to "naive" bee population where Varroa population (Varroa percentage) always grows, even through the spring and especially at the end of the season when bee populations decline. Randy Oliver's website has a lot to say about the conventional wisdom with respect to Varroa. Randy's recent epiphany recently resulted from discovering colonies in his yards that consistently keep Varroa populations low. He moved all the best hives to a single yard with the intention of tracking them more closely and getting them to interbreed. (the queen genetics are important and so are the drone's) Rather than being sad about it, look for the colonies that exhibit the best capacity to control Varroa on their own, and breed them with each other. If you're a small-timer or side-liner surrounded by similar size operations, where nobody has the resources or infrastructure to do anything alone, then band together. It's in your collective best interest to all put your very best colonies in a geographically isolated yard far away from the rat-butt bees. Try to saturate the DCAs with good drones, and Raise queens in that yard from those best queens. Share the queens around to everyone in your group. Share all the excess with neighbors, and backyard beekeepers who aren't participating in your coop. Inclusiveness will pay off in the long run. Three or four of you can get together and hatch a plan for your area. Then convince some of your friends to invest a little time and effort, or a lot. Success breeds success. When your evidence (did I forget to say "keep notes") shows that you are more successful than others, then others will join in. What's best? An altruistic perspective, or a self-serving perspective (that's inclusive). As for how the bees cope with Varroa, the most widely publicized trait is probably the "Hygienic trait" studied by students of Marla Spivack of u of Minnesota. In addition, there's the Grooming trait. There's the Ankle-biting trait where the bees bite the legs off of Varroa. There's the uncapping/recapping trait studied by the USDA lab in Baton Rouge Louisiana. There may be other traits that haven't been observed and named. When colonies express several of those traits they keep the Varroa population down to 3% or 2% or 1%, or lower. The pragmatic approach is, go with whatever works. Work with the bees to help them sort it out. I've done sugar rolls during the dearth and found zero Varroa in some colonies. I see less DWV these days too. IMO The mistake made in the US in the 90's was assuming the bees wouldn't be able to adapt to Varroa and that chemical treatments would work fine infinitely into the future.. Many millions of dollars were spent on Varroa control products. Instead, much earlier, a strategy for selecting and propagating the survivors should have been started. If organizing now is too much for you, then wait 20 years spending lots of time and effort on treatments, until you see that the feral hive density starts recovering to pre-Varroa levels, and then start integrating the ferals into your yards. There are models around the world, some passive, some proactive, for how to get to resistant/tolerant bee. mmm.... maybe it's easier to buy acaracides... Please excuse my ranting. It's presumptuous for someone from across the pond to tell beekeepers how to keep bees. +Everyone knows herding beekeepers is like herding cats. Please tell me how I'm full of it. (s*#!, I mean) Please tell me why this is too hard to do, and what obstacles are insurmountable, and where I'm misunderstanding my observations. Occam's razor says the simplest explanation that fits the observations is probably the right one answer (i paraphrase). For instance... a better explanation than robbing that fits the Varroa spikes during the dearth would be welcome. Thanks for your patience if you actually got to the end of this. Please count to ten. Pour a pint and ponder. Curse me if you must. Best regards and sincere wishes for your success.
  8. 6 points
    I’ve also been impressed with healthy brood.. my regime was fresh treatment in August as they winter well as doubles and usually are brooding on five finger.. I’ve split them all in half through sept- early oct and on doing so sent 2 ox/gl paper with each half.. this round I’m replacing those chewed out but keeping at 2 per box I’m kinda thinking as a bit of a maintenance dose. Usually I run one on every second frame with brood and at opposite ends to get a good distribution. Brood is very clean of mite activity. Ill be removing the treatment as I prep them for shifting over the next couple wks. I had some thoughts regarding queens in OX colonies.. I mark all my queens to age them and or show their origin... the ox takes the pen off... the OX also affects the little “feet” on the mite... does the ox also affect the feet of the queen? She has the longest exposure to the staple as the workers come and go.. I do see supercedure response.. my thought is maybe the walking on brood comb spreading pheromones is diminished by her feet being affected by the acid.. thoughts?
  9. 6 points
    I hope the information helps. While I am very encouraged by my experiences so far I am aware that I am really a novice user so please don't take what I say as gospel! I am simply sharing my experiences to date.
  10. 5 points
    ******** ...... the way I read it Oha made a deficit of 63 mil on the honey business . I'd say we at the end of the road beyond the black stump are lucky to be alive then ! Ten year contracts are pretty darn scary . Better off to be a cherry picker and gypsy.
  11. 4 points
    Few years ago I had 2 Queens. One in 1st box marked, 2nd above qe marked also ( swarm went in with that Queen due amount of bees present as I conclude). As I learned, when hive is desperately queenless they accept anything they can lure in.. that is sometimes unpleasant surprise when odd Queen come in qrearing colony and tear all qcells. Maybe that hive was qless and they accept Queen with a swarm?
  12. 4 points
    Gorse is well known as a nursery crop for native regeneration...
  13. 4 points
    I mark queens whenever I come across an unmarked one as it makes them easier to find again. I make splits for various reason quite often throughout the season so finding queens is essential. Anything that makes them easier to find is worth doing in my opinion. I also supply nucleus colonies and some queens to hobbyists, often people new to beekeeping and marked queens makes it easier for them to spot their queen/s. I mark queens by picking them up and holding their thorax between my thumb and index finger, then putting a dot of paint on the thorax. Handling queens can be quite daunting and takes a bit of getting used to. To work out how much pressure to use the easiest thing is to practice on drones. No big deal if you accidentally squash one and they cannot sting.
  14. 3 points
    Disappointing ? Why ? Surely you knew when going down the OA path you were stepping into the realm of a relatively new and still developing form of treatment ?
  15. 3 points
    In the South Waikato and up at Tokoroa (which is at the same elevation as Taupo) the only way hives would be in 4 boxes now would be from either having a full box of honey on from over wintering and/or 50kg of sugar being fed to them. White Clover has only just started to pop up, it won’t flow until end of December at the earliest I reckon. certainly amazing how hives build up throughout the country.
  16. 3 points
    The tomatoes are doin better than the pumpkins.
  17. 3 points
    Well after last spring's terrible weather, things are looking really good this year for a decent crop. Its been a non stop flow on round here. Dandelions and willow. Plenty of gorse flower for pollen. The cabbage trees are in bloom and the creeping buttercup on the dairy farm next door is going well since late winter. The odd white clover flower is popping up. The dairy farmer has thoughtfully sown a crop of summer feed turnips over the back fence which is infested with a weed that I suspect is wild turnip. The girls are certainly working it hard.
  18. 3 points
    Ah well .... now you is talking ....... the adventure is priceless, and even if you loose money ...... the experience was priceless .... right . I've just got a bit ho hum about working for nothing these days.
  19. 3 points
  20. 3 points
    If that's the case, then it will be 100% brood pattern with a great temperament, hygienic traits and excellent hive production! No photo required! 10 x 10 cells capped brood = 100 Whoops, of course there is a photo, under my moniker!
  21. 3 points
    Yes, oil based paint. Doesn't have any negative impact on queens. Have plenty of queens where it never wears off, some where it does...
  22. 3 points
    Once upon a time , I read that OA in syrup was a good cure for Nosema. At the time , I tried it on my observation hive as they were low on population and looked like they needed a boost . They were well used to being fed syrup little and often via an upturned jam jar . They literally wolfed down the first third of the jar, and wouldn’t touch it after that . Further to that , they wouldn’t touch fresh syrup either . They learn for sure . I can’t remember what the brood did though
  23. 2 points
    JamesC, A couple of questions and some thoughts about your unexpected marked queen. Was the hive always occupied by a colony, or is it possible your colony absconded or died out between the time you last looked, and when you discovered that marked queen? If the hive was empty or nearly empty, it's possible a swarm just moved into it. The marked queen would be the mother queen of the colony that produced the swarm, obviously. i.e. a primary swarm. They're glad to move into digs that smell good. I had three colonies move into vacant equipment in our back yard just last year. One built up beautifully, and gifted us some honey. One of them eventually died out. (it's "winter" in the bay area right now) If the colony wasn't particularly strong, and that marked queen and a "swarm" of bees absconded from someone else's yard, perhaps the swarm engineered a Usirpation of your colony. The Africanized bees in southern California are reported pulling off this usurpation stunt with annoying frequency. It goes like this: A small swarm clumps on the side of the target hive; some of the workers move into the target hive, and kill off the queen inside of it; then the swarm on the side moves their interloper queen in under the protection of her loyal workers until the colony gets used to her. So which scenario do you think it could have been? A couple of summers ago I spotted a small swarm on the side of a hive, so I tried to move them into some empty equipment. I think they absconded again rather than getting established. I didn't have time to check for a queen in the hive where I first saw that swarm. If I see something like that again, I'll treat it like a split opportunity -- I'll create a nuc for the swarm, and give them some brood and food. We learn from our mistakes if we can figure out what our mistakes are.
  24. 2 points
    That is very clever. Go BoJo. Leave the EU before Christmas
  25. 2 points
    The US produces around 75,000 tonnes and imports nearly 200,000 tonnes annually. The Dakotas will often produce over half of the US honey crop, largely from "clover" (usually sweet clover) . So selecting an average of the Dakotas for domestic production would be a better figure to start with, but the US market is driven by the import price , and the numbers for total imports to YE September calculate to US$2.17/Kg or NZ$3.30/kg. Major supplying countries such as India, Ukraine and China are supplying at under US$2.00 per kilo (NZ$3.00)
  26. 2 points
    bees are sometimes like people, so... yes
  27. 2 points
    Oh ..... I thought mine was the best ..... also creamed by Sheehans !! Spring is the time for fixing hives. The time for taking from the strong and giving to the weak. When I see hives at Christmas stacked up with six and two I surmise that someone did'nt take the time it takes to even them up. They were lazy. But there yah go .... Crate day makes one a bit lippy, right.
  28. 2 points
    Or a large spoon & spatula in your own kitchen !
  29. 2 points
    They have supported many beekeepers.When I say support they have bought honey off them when others would not. Loyalty goes both ways,supplier and buyer.Packers must find it difficult when they do not know how many tonnes of each type of honey they are getting.Beekeepers must also find it hard when they do not know how much they will get paid for their honey.Very hard to budget.
  30. 2 points
    Plenty labour up there. Problem being, smoking a pound a week leaves them mentally incapable of productive work.
  31. 2 points
    And all other honey types considered worthy of blending into Manuka. 20 bucks a kilo for Rewa,Kan,Dew. A box of that returned as much as me slogging within orchards. Was ridiculous but any start up could make a load of cash fast to reinvest and expand.
  32. 2 points
    123 beehives? I now minimise exposure to Kanuka. The below site is a blend, K and Pasture. It's now called BUSH. Good stuff, and be lots around this season.
  33. 2 points
    My wife is a vegetarian. She's not into veganism. I go along with it as she feeds me. I eat beef when I find it. Muttons good too. Avoid chook and pig.
  34. 2 points
    sustainable growth vs a quick debt financed "gold rush" bubble. Not just in the beekeeping industry. when the "crisis" is over there will be some buisnesses that have survived and others that have not...
  35. 2 points
    Yes however the beekeeper needs a direct stake in the brand without the brand they will always remain poor, with no long term security. The brand owner is always the most powerful player in the game. It means sweet FA benefit if midland's honey has a strong brand. Their owners, who ever they are will want all the benefit to go to them. Until beekeepers smarten up, they will go round and round in circles.
  36. 2 points
    It's a virus that affects queen larvae. About the time of capping they die and turn to a watery mush, with a skin. At first grey, then eventually black streaks in it. For a beekeeper who does no cell raising, may be most noticeable at swarming time. While killing queen cells you may find the odd one with an already dead larva in it. Normally after capping but pre pupa. I do find an occasional drone larva in similar condition, not sure if it's the same virus, or something else. The virus has been shown to come and go to some extent seasonally, but commonly present in up to 99% of NZ hives. This virus is the reason i recommend when culling queen cells in a swarmed hive, to cull down to 2, rather than one. It is also the reason why queen raisers "candle", or "rattle" queen cells, prior to placing them in a nuc.
  37. 2 points
    My hives had winter staples pulled out end of July and fresh staples placed.. then I split and more than doubled numbers sending 2 with each unit. Which are being removed now as I prep them all for shifting. Back at work they run back to back treatments.. same as you.. pull them after 5-6 wks and replace and or replace as they’re chewed. Back to back treatment in my view is NOT what’s killed your bees. Otherwise works hives would not be sitting on their summer sites boxed up to the heavens.. But that said.. I’m a far less experienced beekeeper than yourself... if I was you I wouldn’t treat with OX in winter but I don’t know your bees or your sites.
  38. 2 points
    Dr Google says while honey has nearly the same sucrose/glucose content as cane sugar, the body cannot convert it to fat so easily because it is NOT so easily processed.
  39. 2 points
    so seems as though one of the secret donors to the NZ First foundation has ties with manuka honey interests, unsurprising when you stop and think about it I guess given some of the noise that has now seemed to have gone quiet coming from some political quarters a while back. copied from the stuff article: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117577119/who-are-the-donors-behind-the-nz-first-foundation " One investor, who Stuff has decided not to name, has connections with the mānuka honey industry, and has spoken out about the need to protect the brand's copyright. "
  40. 2 points
    Nice.. yea I’m feelin ya brother.. this season ive stepped in with both feet and now mostly only have myself to worry about which is pretty good feeling.. just me, my girls and the bellbirds singin to me.. the forum fills the gap a bit of 15 workmates to chew the fat with.. so.. when ya finish your shift missions feel free to bang that nice wee truck on the ferry and I’ll put it to use punching mine up into spot X... 😬
  41. 2 points
    The vegan movement... Just about there. Shifted over a hundred last night. All by my lonesome. Today's mission, feed those hives and others. Everything gets two feed visits. 60 tonight, then the tail enders. And the push out. Load at night, drive in morning. Thanks for asking! I use this forum share my thoughts. I am a one up team and most decisions I need to make. Sometimes I feel like an island as I am quite disconnected. Most folks have loads of social interaction in a day. I miss that, nothing beats working in a great team. Though I love being my own boss and working to my own beat. I also know that you can get over too much social time. There, Man week.
  42. 2 points
    Yes. I'll blow on her for a few seconds before putting her back in to dry it past the point where the bees can scrape bits of it off and ugly up my nice paint job 😉. I also put her between 2 combs inside the hive so if she gets chased around a bit she won't go missing, I wouldn't put her on a comb outside of the hive. (Don't ask me how i learned not to do that LOL 😮). . Another thing, despite having several years working as a full time commercial queen breeder up my sleeve, I never hit on using automotive paint until years afterwards, when the method was shown to me by a 5 hive hobbyist. That, and a few other pearls of wisdom shared to me by hobbyists, is why i have an open mind and will never discount anything i'm told, based on the person only having a small number of "hive weeks". . Oh and, a tip for "note freaks". 😁 I have a posca, and a normal felt pen in the truck. The felt pen is to write notes on the lid that I don't want to last very long, such as for example, the age of a new virgin in a hive and when she should be laying, i wouldn't want that sort of info cluttering up the hive lid for another year. The posca is to write stuff that needs to last longer.
  43. 2 points
    Pollination rounds. A bit of tape to warn you .. surprise! I am putting on some megabee. Not sure how it will help, bees enjoy it tho. Bit of an arm wrestle with the machine, you know it's about right when we it turns into a merry go round
  44. 2 points
    I only breed my own now, have tried a few different suppliers including the above mentioned and I was'nt really overwelmed either. The OP did mention Dallas, who I assume is Dallas Russ of Lion Apiaries, any stand out Queens I have now I can trace back to this supplier. They are very good queens from this guy ,two thumbs up👍👍
  45. 1 point
    Wasnt kanuka going to be the next big thing ?
  46. 1 point
  47. 1 point
    Carnis in their pure form do have their good points. But the issue i have with them is their swarmyness. May be less of a deal in the South Island, but a major problem where i am.
  48. 1 point
    Struggling to find pine needles to make any smoker go, (along the same lines as “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”, have resorted to dry cabbage tree leaves and kanuka bark. Smells nicer and burns longer. Put green pine needles on top. Thanks Alastair, I shall get himself onto this when he’s got a minute!!!
  49. 1 point
    I was surprised to hear the woman from Tasmanian Blue Hills Honey was able to send their honey to a Lab in Hamilton for testing to see if it fit the MPI standard . i would have thought it would have been destroyed and reported because it’s illegal to import honey into NZ .
  50. 1 point
    Well @tristan, one week on and the sun is shining and the fields are blooming with yellow flowers . The bees are storing nectar and pollen around the outsides of the broodnests again the brood on new frames is no longer shotgun . New frames have been drawn and are being laid in . Staples are all getting pulled out this round . Drone brood between boxes is all clean . For now , it’s all on . Im not quite ready to pack brood down yet and put QE’s on , but it won’t be far away. Some weaker hives I merged and double queened are thriving with a better workforce . 22 strong hives at my place . Op
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