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  1. Pretty stoked with these bad boys (girls)! ... I also have taken @Maggie JamesQC tutorial , though I am using the double screen board method for production. Got a take of 86 out of 90 grafts.
    15 points
  2. Really gotta say I don’t like not having the location visible. I don’t want to have to check a profile every time I want to see where someone’s from to get an idea of whether there Post is more or less relevant to us in our area.
    11 points
  3. Well you can say happy birthday to him again Freeslave, your bees are recovering nicely. I want to keep them for another couple of weeks, then they are yours.
    10 points
  4. Today I received an email notifying me that my RMP is up for it's six monthly revue ..... again. Now .... this cranked up the old record again .... raised my BP and resulted in me seeking counsel with my Doctor. The Doctor prescribed a liquid remedy and assured me that in the end all would be alright ..... but I am not so sure. So, I' say it again ..... '' Why, when we extract honey once a year for six or seven weeks do we need a twice yearly audit of the facilities ?' Why, when we make one honey sale a year, do we need a twice yearly audi
    9 points
  5. Yesterday I was at a Spring Festival for Otago Organics. Had been asked to go and talk about bees. Had a few laminated photos of bees to put up and was looking for a decent way to do it. Was rummaging through the shed looking for something I could use as a notice board and noticed the box of new hive mats. They work quite well as photo frames.
    9 points
  6. the afb levy is worth every cent. i suspect we have probably lost more $$$ to afb than we have ever paid in levy. the catch here is that in a down turn it becomes more important to fund afb pmp. as people walk away from hives, or trim staff and skimp on checking and dealing with afb, the more effect it will have on everyone else. as beeks walk away there is less beeks left behind to clean up the mess. even companies downsizing means less money goes to afb pmp. but failure to fund it properly now will cost us a whole lot more later on down the track.
    9 points
  7. Bee awareness is a great time for me.. I get to hit our local school kids with 45 minutes of facts, passing spring flowering plant branches around and see their little eyes pop as I overload their brains with enthusiasm in everything bee related. My poor boy gets pretty embarrassed about his dad coming to school in his bee suit though. this year I’m going to focus on identifying differences between wasp and bee.. crazy how many people can’t tell.
    9 points
  8. OK. I guess this fits into the thread of ‘finding your niche in beekeeping’. And yes, it is history. And yes, it is all true. I guess, given these are real people, I should check with the family - they are still active beekeepers! But I hope that, given my genuine affection for Trevor, they’ll be OK with it. I came to NZ in very early spring, 1974. I’d left the US on the day that Richard Nixon resigned… Damn, that was a long time ago... And I came to NZ as a 23 year old to work for Trevor Rowe, in Eltham. Trevor had gone through the paperwork to enabl
    9 points
  9. If you have never stopped by Geoff Ernest's museum, just out of Tirau on the road to Rotorua, you should make a plan to visit. Geoff started beekeeping in the middle 1960s, and now is down to no hives - he has to buy honey, he says! Geoff is a collector of many things, but my own focus was on his honey tin collection. It is without doubt the finest collection of NZ honey tins I've ever seen. The tins hold a history of people and places. Anyone who has been around the industry for any length of time will recognise some of them, beekeepers long gone. I spent a delightful couple
    8 points
  10. First cells of the season. The bees seem to be in the right mood:)
    8 points
  11. Unfortunately it is not a good marketing story. It will have major ramifications, particularly on sole operators that don't have labs that have to constantly pay for an increasing raft of analyses. What will be the next thing we have to test for? Why now do the public think we are the only primary producer that glyphosate is showing up in our produce? Currently our industry's traceability and analyses systems are one of the best in the world, and that's what we should be marketing on.
    8 points
  12. Because I like them ...... They have no foliage in the winter to bring the tree down under a weight of snow. They have a soft light in the spring as the new leaf pops, The pigs love the acorns in the autumn, They produce the most durable of timber ..... Heart of Oak built the Empire .... And they absorb a humungous amount of CO2 as they grow ..... And they should still be here in 400 years time !
    8 points
  13. I went over to the Hinawai reserve last week. It’s a 1200 acre gorse infested gulley on the Eastern bays that the owner ‘walked away from’ thirty years go. The farm was put into a conservation trust, the owner became the manager... and sat back and waited, and waited and waited some more as the native got brave and oitgrew the gorse. Today the gully is a thick canopy of kanuka, fuschia, fivefinger, kowhai and other stuff. Including great granddaddy gorse. All inspirational stuff as we prepare to fence of a gorse invested block and relabel it ‘Outstanding native beauty’
    8 points
  14. Alastair - you are a bloody legend! When all others had given up hope on our little Spartans, and all seemed lost, you arrived on the scene like Gandalf at the Battle of Helms Keep. Thanks so much from Leo and Jeremy, you have made a little boy (and his dad) very happy. And thanks for all the other comments folks, all very helpful. Cheers JJ
    7 points
  15. Relentless gusty nor wester beating me up again today, pulled the pin about 3:30 due to concerns around tree limbs sending me to meet my maker earlier than I’d like.. popped into the builders to cut out any rogue cells.. pretty happy with the juicy cells.. Thanks @Maggie James for your tips and tricks. However I did revert to cloake board method 2 builders are level above the other and it really shows.
    7 points
  16. Hi @john berry Feel a bit silly with this suggestion to such a long time beek. But what we are finding is changes from hive to hive and site to site and it seems to be what there stores consist of. They came through the winter well but now there are big differences in hives and sites. All the best have little or no willow crystallized dew. They are pumping. Then it starts going downhill depending on the level of crystallization in the honey. We have come to the conclusion that some are wearing themselves out and failing to thrive just plowing through all those crystals much o
    7 points
  17. James. You have two audits a year because that is the way some bureaucrat has interpreted the law. It's like harvest declarations and being a registered beekeeper. Parliament makes the laws and bureaucrats interpret them and then reinterpret them. I doubt most of them even know the contempt the average beekeeper has for their petty expensive little rules. It's not even as if they do any good. All those bits of paper and all that traceability and they still couldn't work out who was stretching manuka. My uncle and my grandfather used to take them on every now and again and they
    7 points
  18. I've got a bunch of 2-in-1 boxes that sat idle last season so I'll be putting bees back into these to get queens mated, which will be sold as queens or as nucs depending on what's in demand (mostly local hobby beekeepers). Since I'm in a city there are also quite a few local hobbyists who come to me for queen cells. They might only buy them in 2s or 3s but I still find it worthwhile. I think it is important for hobbyists to have access to nice gentle bees for their urban and suburban beehives.
    7 points
  19. Hives all checked for the second time . First was about 4 weeks ago when I pulled and replaced the OAstaples I have to say they are looking good . I saw one varroa in drone brood in one hive between boxes . The DWV has completely gone in those that has it and everything is building fast . There are more than a few mature drones in some hives . Some hives temperament has deteriorated with supercedure queens . On fine days they are bringing in a reasonable amount of silver dollar gum nectar .
    7 points
  20. I'd venture to say it is more like 100%. I don't think there are any of those 2006 bees still alive today... I delivered a bee talk based on the idea "Don't worry about saving the honeybees - save the beekeepers. They'll take care of saving the bees..."
    6 points
  21. It has nothing to do with the quality and standard of the facility. 90% of the RMP is about the paperwork and traceability of the crop ..... which was looked at and verified 6 months ago. Absolutely nothing has changed ..... and I have a good mind to tell 'erm to get Rtd. The catch is the comeback in that an export licence won't be granted, which is no big deal because at the moment no export deals are in the offing. Parasites lining the pockets to cover the expenses of the gilded cages they live in .
    6 points
  22. Just done some sums how this will affect me. I have 320 hives. Multiply that by $1.70 and add $40.00, we get a total of $584.00. I guess there are worse things I could do with $584.00. My world will not crash giving $584.00 towards AFB control. A few years ago I got a major AFB infestation, had to burn a lot of hives. The agency identified and took action against 2 neighbouring beekeepers and their issues were resolved, at least for the most part. Had this not been done I would have had continuing losses or closed down completely. The $584.00 I'll pay is the
    6 points
  23. We hold back on the spring staples as much as we feel we can mostly because it suits us to have strips in there in the BoP mite fest (aka avo/kiwi pollination). But we also felt that the colonies can out breed the mites in spring so it is better to let them ramp up and build momentum without the treatment in the batten change period between winter and summer bees. Whereas the opposite situation arises in Feb, getting the OAG in early as possible. Our very small number of hobby hives isn't enough to be significant. So it is quite possibly through dumb luck, we have had a lot of OAG success; usi
    6 points
  24. The AFBPMP have undertaken to investigate every report of a suspected unregistered site, but they do ask that the person reporting the site supply the GPS coordinates. They then match those coordinates against registered sites, and if there is no registered site at that location an AP2 will be sent to investigate. But they are not going to tell any other beekeeper who the owner is, that is private. The agency get a huge number of reports of suspect unregistered sites, most of which turn out to be registered. Realise there are more than 6,000 beekeepers in NZ and many of
    6 points
  25. We are by nature migratory beekeepers. I enjoy it as it gives me time on the road ..... at this time of year we are tripping with boxes of honey sweetening landowners, renewing acquaintances, getting shoved out of sites, and making deals on new sites. In this post Covid era I have become adept at swiping the app at retail outlets, but am still a bit backward in coming forward meeting new people, which is a shame. It's an interesting trip. Many of the old wateringholes are closed down, or we are socially distanced with little inclination for communication. I camp in the
    6 points
  26. Import packages are always a big hit and miss after the trip halfway around the world. We usually plan on losing at least one or two when we get them. I got 10 this year, one had queen dead in the cage when they arrived. What the distributor tells us to do, go ahead and hive them anyways, probably means there is a loose queen in there. Check the next day for a queen on the comb. When I did that, the next day there were virtually no bees left in the box, they had migrated next door to the box with a queen. It happens. 8 of them built up well, then we had one that di
    6 points
  27. Hmmm ..... the shape of the industry that I was used to was one where I could seek counsel with honey buyers at the beginning of the season as to what they might be inclined to buy, and then we would plan accordingly, whether that was double queening 500 hives for 1000 boxes of comb honey on Clover, or putting bees into radish or carrot pollination, and finishing the season with a second crop of Honey Dew that generally financed upgrading machinery in the operation. We had one full time Beekeeper on and hired two or three casuals over the summer, with another two to work the extractio
    6 points
  28. If someone has a better beekeeper than me then fair enough. If they are a better marketer than me that's also fair enough. What annoys me is when the only thing they are good at is borrowing and spending other people's money. It's not a level playing field when people start throwing millions of dollars around. When all the money has gone because of lousy crops caused by gross overstocking and multimillion dollar payouts to themselves they use their borrowing skills to borrow some more. Perhaps I should just change with the times and crowd fund a few million dollars to save
    6 points
  29. Just been to a hobbyist friend with a dozen or so hives to do his COI. The hives were looking good and he commented he has never seen them looking so good at this time of year. Found one only mite in the cracked drone brood we opened up. He reminded me that last autumn I gave him some spare OA strips, he was not sure what to do with them so he ended up after he pulled his synthetics, he put one OA strip in centre broodnest of each hive, and a few hives got 2 strips. His hives are mostly double brood box, the strips stayed in all winter. None of the hives were in poor shape or badly
    6 points
  30. All this talk of queen raising.. I did a walkaway split yesterday, so kinda in on the act. my version = a mate wants a hive, well, mainly his 10 year old son. A couple of months ago I chucked beesuits on them and they went through some hives with me. Still keen, so I recommended they get and read practical beekeeping in NZ. Went through a couple of hives yesterday, clearly the kid had been doing his reading! We found the queen in the first hive, and he explained what was going on to his dad. Much focus on the description of what happens to a drone when it's lucky enough
    5 points
  31. Yesterday I was watching bees foraging on some blue lupins I planted on the hillside. I did it to remind me of Texas bluebonnets of my childhood - on which I had never seen a honeybee. Those blue lupins reminded me also of a time when I had some 'inter-species communication... 1975. I hadn't been in NZ long, and was working for Harry Cloake, living near the Pareora River. I had made a 4 (vertical) frame observation hive and was enjoying watching the dancing foragers. I'd been told that lupins weren't attractive to bees - not sure who or why. So when bees with a so
    5 points
  32. Today I had to rush to a site, 2 hives starting to hang and one had swarm cells, things are a few weeks ahead this season. Thought one of my wintering sites was swarming on first sight too but nah just pumping, lucky my Kanuka wasnt extracted until june, wets are heavy az, still 5kgs in them so no more feeding syrip.
    5 points
  33. Agree that levels of severity would be interesting. Something to bear in mind though is that a lot of reports are generated from hobbyists that have found a hive with a mild infection. The bees are still actively guarding the hive and the hive poses little to no risk to other hives. But here's the thing. For this hobby hive to have caught AFB, there has to be something else going on in the area, likely an AFB robout. So often the source is never found, but it must be in the area somewhere. So a mild infection in a hobby hive can indicate the likelihood of other bees in
    5 points
  34. With so many people trying to move their crop on the local market, you have to have a point of difference to other marketers.Mine is sustainability.I use glass jars which are returned to me, sterilisesd and used again.I try not to use plastic frames as these cannot be recycled yet. I leave honey on my hives so no sugar is fed and at the moment have not had to treat for varroa but that may change.
    5 points
  35. Well, Spring has sprung and we are now into the 2020/21 season. I wish everyone all the best for the current season and everything goes as you deserve. Beautiful morning here in Manawatu but it is supposed to rain this afternoon. I see parts of the South Island have snow falling this morning. Let's hope the snow and rain they are getting will put out the big fire down that way. I have completed my first round and only had 1 hive death with a queen failure, so I am pretty happy there. I will be putting in my varroa strips starting on Thursday and doing my AFB sprin
    4 points
  36. True .... I don't understand it either. They partnered with a west coast bee company a few years ago .... big fanfare ..... west coast development sunk a couple of hundred thousand in, Comvita a couple of million ..... couple of years later, little snippet in the paper that the company had been wound up. Some people have too much money and some people have too much spin and some people are just plain ignorant.
    4 points
  37. Must be the season for pressing the flesh. Politicians are hard at it ..... so are beekeepers ...... securing sites for the season ...... losing sites for the season. I met with a landowner today. He owns a rough block with a bit of Manuka on it ....... pulls a low 30-40 mgo ..... but it has the magic M honey and we put half a truck load of bees in. It gives us a bit of leverage when trying to move other honeys .... the carrot in front of the Dew, or the Clover ..... or the Kamahi ..... I got the heave ho ..... the corporates moved in and promised the earth with
    4 points
  38. Good beekeepers have always subsidised bad beekeepers and they have always had to clean up after them as well. At least the legislation does enable the bad beekeepers to eventually be tracked down and dealt with. I don't mind paying a bit more money if it goes towards tracking them down faster. I do however have a problem with paying what is really a tax with no representation. Under the National beekeepers Association the AGM might have been interminable but at least everyone had a chance to speak their mind. Under Apinz the AGM is over before it starts and dissenting voices ar
    4 points
  39. Oh I am late finding this thread. How are things now Freeslave, the bees still alive? I have bees at Muriwai. If your queen is still alive you could drop your nuc to one of my apiaries and I will fix it for you. We would need to talk on the phone first, about disease and a few things, my phone number is in my profile give me a call.
    4 points
  40. Thing about that is the cost of NOT funding the AFBPMP is a lot higher, as anyone who has had a decent swag of AFB can attest. Many of us have not had a big AFB problem that has cost a lot of money, so may not realise. However that happy situation is because of the work of the AFBPMP. Prior to the creation of an organised AFB control program, AFB infections in NZ were running at an estimated 30%. Yes, 30%. Like probably most, I am not looking forward to getting my bill. But I do believe it is cheaper than the alternative.
    4 points
  41. It has a really biting smell, but it doesn't seem to travel far....eg a Miteaway Quick you might smell held at arms length upwind. Any closer and it'll feel like it's taking a mouthful out of you.
    4 points
  42. I was helping a friend work his hives to day when I saw a brood cell with a darkened cap with and an irregular hole . I would have bet money that it was AFB but upon uncapping it had a live healthy bee. This was a good outcome but it emphasises the need to look. If you never see these false alarms then you won't see the real thing either. I treated my first hive ever with formic acid today. I have done an alcohol wash so I know how many mites there were and I will retest it in a month. I used formicpro which apart from excessive packaging seemed easy enough to use. The war
    4 points
  43. I'm sorry guys ..... but the bio frame is a big yawn from me..... sort of. We've spent over three weeks washing wax out of frames and cleaning them up ready for new foundation. These were frames that came off hives from a disease outbreak zone two years ago that we decided we really didn't want to put out again . The final part was putting the frames and boxes through the paraffin wax bath and giving the boxes a new coat of paint. It's been a big job . The end result is some upgraded gear and several potato boxes full of plastic combs that I am scratching my head a
    4 points
  44. Same here, a herniated disk in my lower back many years ago plus constant bending over broodnests for years has left my back where bending over hives for any length of time can leave me in a fair bit of pain, so now if it's stuff that can take a few minutes like finding queens or whatever I do it sitting on a box as below. Looks slow and maybe is but for me not as slow as screwing my back. This pic taken yesterday helping a hobbyist mate turn his 2 hives into 4, had to find the queens in 2 strong double broodbox hives, make the splits, and put a queen in the 2 queenless units.
    4 points
  45. unlike you Gino I tend to mouth off first before thinking too hard. i also wonder if it’s bitten us in the bum at times. Thing is if we don’t speak up nothing changes and others don’t know about what’s going on in the industry. I have a user name rather than my own but people who know me know my forum name and every now and then I get a remark about being a bit Bolshy. Ive always been opinionated I’ve tried to tame it somewhat but actually seem to get worse as I get older. I don’t care what people think about my opinions , the way I look , the way I dress or
    4 points
  46. New to the site, but I can comment on this. I'm on Vancouver Island, I got 10 NZ packages this spring on March 8. Mine were of the Kintail variety in the square shipping boxes. I know others that got a bunch shortly after I got mine, Aritaki variants that come in the tubes. I can say with some good certainty, at least two palettes of the Kintail packages made it to the Island this year, and a similar amount of Aritaki were in the lower mainland of BC before the flights stopped. With that said, there was a significant kafuffle with our shipment, originally we were supposed to ge
    4 points
  47. I have heard beekeepers say that the TXT notification of nearly AFB is useful, but does not provide enough information to respond appropriately. I can understand that for privacy reasons the PMP would not allow for divulging the hive owner's name, or detailing the exact location of the AFB found. But is there a reason that additional information such as the number of diseased colonies found, and/or information about whether any were deadouts/robbed. Either/both of those bits of data could help a beekeeper know how dramatically to respond. Multiple cases and robbed out
    4 points
  48. I dunno I think a lot of us are still beekeeping because we have to. Theres no one interested in buying a going concern down this way so just gotta keep going. Not at the highs of a few years ago ? Still in good shape ? not if you are sitting on your entire crop of honey from last season.
    4 points
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