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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/31/11 in all areas

  1. 26 points
    Pulled in at my favorite cafe today to pick up some 20 litre containers, and immediately got approached by a young lady who says Hi Alastair which way you going I got a vehicle problem can you give me a ride. So I grab the containers, she jumps in the truck, and we go. I knew I'd seen her before but couldn't place her and without being rude I'm trying to figure out who she is how she knows me. But that wasn't the main surprise. Then I recognise her, maybe something around a year ago I had arranged with her to put bees on a kanuka site her Dad owns. Then before I moved the bees, I get a phone call, another beekeeper offered them $2,000 to put bees on the site, I told them I couldn't match it, so he got the site. I actually posted on here about it at the time. So she's sitting in the truck and tells me the story. The other beekeeper put his bees on the site, left them through the season, then removed them and vanished. No money was handed over. I had to laugh. So she said the site is yours Alastair, a few jars of honey will do. We also drove past another place she is leasing, she said have a look you could put bees here too so we drove in & checked it out, nice spot, I'll be putting bees there on Sunday! Maybe the moral of the story is be kind to strangers who need a ride.
  2. 26 points
    Its our 20th Wedding anniversary and we have a party planned for tomorrow. My wife arranged for a special anniversary cake to be made, and we saw photos of it it today, it looks awesome. This afternoon a very good friend of ours who cant make it to our party delivered an absolutely awesome present, she is also a cake maker/decorator. What do you reckon? We are absolutely blown away at the generosity and time and effort she put in to this.
  3. 25 points
    Spent the last day of January harvesting honey in the back of nowhere, 6 staff, 3 trucks, 1 for foundy and blowing gear 2 for honey, left the shed at 5am ( to beat the heat) finished the last site feeling rather deflated and craving one of those flash "energy" drinks I call JD n Coke.. I sent the team off ahead for a swim in a mean river hole while Pete and I took our time driving the big girl out with 9 packed out pallets on, and the crane...a solid load. I should've taken note of the pre 7am wasp sting to the neck as we drove into the valley as an omen... As the tail lights of our crew faded into the twilight and thick dust ahead I clicked her into top gear along a nice straight, yarning yarns and smashing darts with Pete, aircon on full tit... Should we stop for a swim to wash a solid days work off ourselves or just chug on out of this hot baked landscape...? The bees were beautiful to work, a good harvest and plenty of brood coming through to see them well into there next crop of godly nectar. Feeling good... til, BOOM! That solid shotgun type boom that makes ya gut sink and ya foot hit the brakes, damn it. We had just been talking about food and man were we starvin. The damage was a fist size hole in the outside dual.. ok we can sort that... crack open the side box shuffling through smoker sack and not seeing the Bharco tool box had me slightly concerned but once I spotted the empty chain hanging under the deck minus the tyre things got real. 1.5 hrs away from cell reception, no tucker left, a couple of trucks gone ahead and no way to contact em.. and already 15 hrs of the workday gone as history. No tools, no spare... and it's my fine lady's Birthday.. 30mins pass and out of the dust comes our chance, Hilux, dog crate, worn out oilskin hat just like mine and a big smile " you fellas need a phone call?" as a cooling bottle of speights gets shoved out the still moving wagon.. A good honey industry yarn later and the SOS call was made, followed by a call to work for a rescue operation. watching satellites pass high above in the silence we waited and waited.. and waited. Cattle called out in the distance... . finally Laura's ute pulls in her big smile a happy sight to see, as was the Nachos she had kindly whipped up for us which somehow were still hot. You beauty! "I called your partners for you, and grabbed a spare wheel " she said as we demolished the nachos. What a girl, its good to know someone's got ya back when your out there doing it. After a drive to a farm workshop for a tool raid and a fair bit of sweat the flat tyre was replaced and I kicked her into gear to hit the seriously currogated windy goat track out. Wouldn't it be great if there was an understanding of the amount of blood dust and tears that goes into the commercial bee industry to get out a haul of honey that may or may not be worth the drum it's pumped into. I wouldn't change these adventures for anything ... except a wee bit more time with my family, but then that's beekeeping isn't it? They never stop.
  4. 22 points
    My oldest (15 yrs old) is starting to get some recognition around the Waikato. She has been doing commissioned work of pets and wildlife. This one is getting picked up today. Colour pencil and acrylic.
  5. 19 points
    Just a little FYI (because I am quite proud of it!) The photograph on the banner is one I took a couple of seasons ago in my garden. The bees were out fairly late in the evening and the sun was low in the sky. The Lavendar Flower is a plant that @Trevor Gillbanks gave me about 5 years ago. One of those photos that you feel really chuffed about
  6. 19 points
    What a wonderful place this site is, full of great people always ready to help out with really good advice and in my case much more. @M4tt and his lovely wife arrived at our place this afternoon complete with replacement bees plus practical help and advice and chez Duncan is buzzing with the comfortable hum of bees again. To emphasise my lack of understanding @M4tt brought 10 frames with more bees on them than were in both hives I bought last year put together. I thought that both my hives were thriving last Summer but in truth I could (and probably should) have combined them both to make one. Thanks as well to @Beefriendly for your lovely gift and encouragement, sorry you couldn't make it this time but I am sure we will meet up eventually. Once again thanks to all, this forum is the best. Duncan and Carol plus one happy Golden Retreiver who was made an enormous fuss of.
  7. 19 points
    Bees! Bees! I have bees!. Thanks to our marvellous beekeeping community I am back in action. Thanks a million to @tommy dave for the hive, and @tudor and his friend for the delivery. I can't emphasise enough, especially for newbies, how important it is to network with other beekeepers. They are a pretty nice bunch.
  8. 18 points
    Russell is part of a family beekeeping business. If he moved in on someone else I'm sorry for that but is anybody surprised that he is starting to act like the rest of you. I'm only guessing but I suspect he's lost about half of his sites in the last 10 years and those he hasn't lost are being crowded out like the rest of us. It's not scaremongering to say there are too many hives. We have the same number of flowers as there were 10 years ago but hive numbers have doubled trebled or worse almost everywhere. Russell has and does put vast amounts of his own time, energy and money into enhancing and protecting New Zealand beekeeping. One of the proudest moments in my life was standing with him and other beekeepers outside Parliament trying (successfully) to prevent the importation of honey from Australia. It's no secret that Russell is not a fan of apiculture New Zealand or MPI for that matter and his views have made many staunch enemies as well is staunch friends but he does what he does for the benefit of all beekeepers not just himself. I don't always agree with what he does but I have never doubted his integrity or motives. As for nature not playing ball, Russell has been around long enough to know that better than just about anybody but he has also been around long enough to know that you have to give nature half a chance.
  9. 17 points
    I definitely need to get out more, but it's too peopley out there. I know that I could easily do more work and make more money, but I work to live I don't live to work. I used to do a lot more work and make a lot more money. I can work 5 months of the year and make a living and spend the rest of my time living my life and enjoying myself. The last few years have been basically concentrated on keeping my grandparents alive and making sure they have quality of life. I will never be rich, not because I don't have what it takes, but because I don't care about being rich.
  10. 17 points
    I see that the link to the submissions on the Risk Analysis(RA) for the Importation of Carnica semen from Germany and Austria was posted on this Forum. Remember first that this was 2003, but it does show that the Risk Analysis was thorough, and detailed. At the time, I thought that the Import Health Standard(IHS) that resulted from this RA was fair, mitigated the risks we faced to an acceptable level , and it was workable. By workable, I mean that it allow for the importation on a scale necessary to insure that a closed population of carnica type bees could be established then maintained and improved for at least a decade. I sourced the semen from 3 Institutes(2 in Germany and one in Austria). All 3 Institutes ran breeding programs concentrating on Improving Varroa Tolernance(Remember they had been working with Varroa for 16 years before Varroa arrived here in 2000). All the mating were controlled using Instrumental Insemination. So I will quickly answer the question about Cape Bee Genetics- it is true that Cape Bees were imported into Europe, usually for research purposes under very controlled(usually totally confined) situations, but crazily, Cape Bee Queens could be legally imported into the Netherlands willy nilly, and Europe has no borders, so the Import Health Standard assumed they were a risk, and the conditions on the Queens from which the semen was collected was that the Queens had to have been raised in Germany or Austria, be at least 12 months old(Cape Bee colonies can not survive a European winter), be marked and clipped and Instrumentally Inseminated, and the drones reared from them had to be confined until the semen was harvested. Back to the Importations, the first importation was in June 2004, then again late August 2004, the next 2 were June 2005 and late August 2005, and the last 2 were in 2006-yes I was rearing significant numbers(at least 100 for each importation) of virgins in June and July! Even though the IHS did not require it, I processed all the semen that was imported, diluting it, homogenising it, recovering it, and the semen diluent I used had a cocktail of grunty antibiotics in it to give me piece of mind about EFB, and they would have given Nosema a. (we didn't know about Nosema c. then) a real fright as well. The RA took seriously the viral threat, and several submitter voiced concerns about DWV. It was believed that it was probably here already, and one of the consultants Dr. Ball, believed that semen was probably not viable vector for DWV. I knew she was wrong(Dr. Anderson had tested the semen I brought in from W.A. in 1988 and 1989 and found every virus he could test for), but I believed DWV was already here- as I have said before I was already seeing deformed wings in 2003. The truth is that Honey Bee Viruses have a very uniform global distribution, where ever European Honey Bees have gone, they have taken all their viruses with them. Viruses do change, they can become more or less virulent- for example, the IAPV which we claim not to have, is thought just to be a Kashmir variant which we do have. The other truth is that we already have all the real badass viruses we need to wreak havoc on any colonies that come under stress. Back again to the importations, a RA was completed, the industry was consulted, and an IHS was developed. I adhered strictly to it, and took even more precautions than was required. Carnica are a very good commercial bee, and I believe NZ commercial bee stocks have been much improved with their inclusion. People go on about the racial hybrids, and blame any nastiness on carnica, but that is totally unfair, both(all 3 races because A.m.m. still plays a big part) are equally to blame. When you cross unrelated individuals you get heterosis(hybrid vigour), it is unpredictable and it will at times enhance defensive behaviour, but you can't blame one race. When I came to the Far North 37 years ago, I faced in some colonies the most viscous bees I ever encountered, they we A.m.l.(Italian) X A.m.m. hybrids. I have never had any carnica crosses that have come any where close to the nervous, nastiness of those first hybrids I encountered. Ligustica and carnica are very closely related- carnica are just the hardier, more cautious version of the Italians. In fact, it can be said that the Italians descended from carnica, because as honey bees moved north and west up into Europe from Asia where they originated, those that stayed in what is the carnica homeland evolved into the carnica we know today, while those that moved down out of the mountains into the Italian lowlands where life was easy, turned yellow and soft,and evolved into the Italians we know today! A.m.m. on the other hand, are more African then they European. They found their way into Europe from Africa, again, as honey bee moved west from Asia, one branch turned south down into Africa, founding the African races, and they colonised there way across northern Africa, then crossed up into Western Europe at Gibralter- and they let you know their roots whenever you work them! When it comes to race, it comes down to beekeeper preference which type of bee they want to work with. One of the things I wanted to do with the importations was give beekeepers choice- it wasn't the most important reason, the 2 most important reasons for the importations was to increase genetic variation, and improve varroa tolerance. I guess that is more than enough for 1 post!
  11. 16 points
    We have a famous blogger/ Youtuber in our midst Trevor Gilbanks didn't intend for his recent trip to the United States to be about bees http://www.timesnews.net/Home-Garden/2017/06/22/New-Zealand-beekeeping-blogger-finds-himself-much-in-demand-on-American-tour.html?ci=featured&lp=1&ti
  12. 16 points
    There has been a major AFB outbreak in the greater Hastings area with numerous confirmed cases including several dead rob outs. Anyone with any hives in the orchard areas around the plains area should be very concerned including anyone who did pollination or those with mega dump sites along the river areas. In most cases I don't know the names of those involved but I do know that there are many beekeepers affected and at least three and probably considerably more sources of infection. If you don't have time to learn how to look after your hives properly or enough time to look after your hives properly then you should get rid of them. AFB outbreaks are always caused by someone's ignorance or apathy. This outbreak affects many thousands of hives and potentially threatens the viability of pollination in the area.. I am no longer an AP 2 but I can of course inspect hives for anyone at their request. Due to time constraints my preferred option is for people to bring me a bee free frame of suspect brood for inspection which I am happy to do for free. It's a nice weekend people, you have been warned, get out there and inspect them before you to become part of the problem.
  13. 16 points
    With the rise of science-related questions and topics in our hobby & profession (varroa resistance, nosemas, pesticide issues), the Science & Research Focus group of Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) is now on the forum. Posting on behalf of the 9 member group are Barry Foster (chairman of the group) and John Mackay (member - and already on the forum as @JohnF ). We're keen to engage on science or research topics that can benefit beekeeping in NZ. Other stuff? We'll pass it on. . . . [BF & JM]
  14. 16 points
    My clever daughter has made me a spectacular cake
  15. 16 points
    It must have been the day for scraping and jarring. I got some lovely light honey with a lemony tang to it.
  16. 16 points
    Cracked the lids on ours today, finally some progress! Looking good for Xmas presents☺☺
  17. 16 points
    Common law, is that a swarm of bees is the property of whoever captures it. But. Several times I have had bee swarms removed, after I have boxed them. To me, this is taking a liberty with the common understanding. Most recently, only a couple days ago I was called to a North Shore school to remove a swarm in a tree. The teachers allowed a large crowd of kids to watch, they were fascinated. The bees were completely docile so I even allowed a couple kids to hold a bee on their hand. I told the kids how the bees were wanting to start a new home which is why they were going into the box, and 100 or more kids went home with a whole new appreciation of bees. Because it was a school I wanted to remove every last bee, so left the box there for retrieval after dark. Put a hive bottom board over it to keep the heat of the sun off. Come back after dark, and find the bottom board thrown out of the way, box of bees gone, and clusters of bees scattered around. At least he did not also steal the bottom board, maybe it was the wrong design for him. But what is particularly disgusting about the lowlife who did this, is it was clear the swarm had been boxed by a beekeeper because of the hive equipment. And that after I had done what turned out to be such a good job educating the kids, this moron scatters bees all over the place, in the dark there was no way I could clean them all up, I did not want them causing issues the next day so had to walk around trampling them. I am sure that the next day the kids would all have run over there to see what happened, and they find dead bees all over. Just not the kind of positive imprint I wanted to leave. Although this idiot probably justified this by telling himself a swarm is the property of whoever gets it, to me, that's a step too far if it is clear another beekeeper has boxed it, and is in the process of dealing with it properly. And if the moron who did it is reading this, hope you feel good about yourself, your stolen bees, and the dissapointment you have caused to the kids who saw the dead bees. And, the only way you could have known about this swarm is if a kid told you. Kids talk, and if word gets back to me who you are, you will be publicly named and shamed. Think about that.
  18. 16 points
    Off to pet day at Hiwinui school, didn't win anything but had the most interest of all the animals.
  19. 16 points
    Comvita has certainly been around for a long time but it is completely different to what it was and under different ownership. The other two I don't know much about but they certainly weren't major players. I was also around 30 years ago and have taken advantage of the increased price of manuka but not by stomping on anybody that got in my road. The irony out of it is I have probably done better than they have. I certainly have more friends.
  20. 16 points
    Plenty of pollen coming in off the buttercup that has started flowering.
  21. 15 points
    As I have said before, I would love to run some double-blind tests using AFB dogs but that aside they seem to have really proven themselves. Accreditation of dogs and handlers by the AFB board seems to be a no-brainer. Being certified AFB dogs would also help with gaining access onto farms. One thing I do know is that we don't have anywhere near enough AP2s to check all the corporate hives that are appearing in enormous sites. At the very least a good dog would show very quickly which companies needed extra attention. Compulsory AFB testing of extracted honey samples would also help point the dogs in the right direction. I would support trained dogs for one other reason and that is that I don't like other people inspecting my hives. Full brood inspections do find AFB but although they are generally done with care they don't do hives any favours. Times and technologies have changed and it is time to change with them.
  22. 15 points
    Hi All, Yes, it was our FREE Swarm Catchers list that was used by this individual. He called everyone on our list to try and get beekeepers to join his paid service, without our knowledge or permission. Some of the beekeepers thought we were involved in this business, please understand We have nothing to do with this individual. If you are a new beekeeper, please understand you don't need to pay for swarm calls, Please join our Free Bee Swarm Catchers List. We want to help save bees from Exterminators killing them, which is what was happening in Auckland. We were involved in a submission to Council for their call centre to call Beekeepers rather than Pest Exterminators. This is why we created this free resource for the Beekeeper community in New Zealand. Thanks Gary and Margaret kiwimana
  23. 15 points
  24. 14 points
    First batch of hives into G3 kiwi’s last night, thought I’d better double check my second batch as some of them hadn’t had a check since I prepped them about 2-3 weeks ago, assuming of course they’d go in tonight. Man was I surprised, considering I gave them a right womping then, had myself a whole lot more work to do ? Ended up having to make 8 frankensplits to knock them back to standard to stop them hanging in the kiwifruit vines, and I’ll still have to cell check them in 10 days! Cracker bee day. And don’t have to move hives tonight wooooooooop woop.
  25. 14 points
    @tommy dave, I'm here. We are more than comfortable discussing Bayvarol with NZ Beekeepers. Sorry I haven't posted recently. I have been busy working hard on resupply of Bayvarol. I can't speculate about the reasons why some mites are been seen in hives treated with Bayvarol. @frazzledfozzle is right, 4 strips per hive should do the job. It takes time for the active ingredient on the strips to spread around all the bees and any varroa in the brood cells won't be exposed to the active until they emerge so it is possible that varroa will still be seen early in a treatment. Bayer takes any claims of lack of effectiveness of Bayvarol very seriously and it is our duty as the holder of the registration under the ACVM act to investigate all reports of lack of effectiveness as thoroughly as possible, so anyone who has concerns should contact Bayer on our Drug Safety number 0800 266221 or email nzanimal.drugsafety@bayer.com or post their contact details and we will be in touch with to arrange to visit to investigate. This isn't an attempt to take a discussion offline, but we can't properly investigate reports in an online forum. We can even take varroa samples and have them genetically tested for resistance. To date none has been found. We share the findings of all investigations with you, so if you want to post the outcomes to bring it back into the forum you can. We need Beekeepers cooperation so I urge anyone reading this, who has a complaint, to get in touch.
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