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

  1. 26 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. 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]
  3. 16 points
    My clever daughter has made me a spectacular cake
  4. 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.
  5. 14 points
    We are coping with temps over 30C and at least next week also.. Really dry and hot.. Bees strong ( too strong), not rarely with 10 frames of brood.. Now I can see starting of making honey arches.. There will be quite an army to feed overwinter.. But I believe they know what are doing.. Some queens failed and I will merge mostly with others, since I am motivated to reduce the colony numbers.. The hazelnuts are now in focus for me..
  6. 14 points
    We have been over in Norway visiting family but I also managed to nip over to England and visit two beekeeping friends. Saw all sorts of beehives including WBC and National. WBC hives are fairly impractical but they sure looked pretty. Honey prices for locally produced honey were roughly around $20 per kilo retail. My hobbyist friend had mostly black British type bees and while they weren't unworkable you definitely needed veil and gloves. The commercial beekeeper I spent two days with users Buckfast queens from Denmark and they were superb both in productivity and temperament with it being quite possible to take honey off without a veil. Best honey tasted on the trip was yellow sweet clover from the Salisbury Plains, different from anything I've ever tried before and absolutely delectable. Looks like of come back to a bit of a bunfight with all as talk of new levies.
  7. 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.
  8. 14 points
    Hi Everyone I'm George from Bayer. I see some of you have been asking for someone from Bayer to join the discussion so here I am. Thanks to those who gave me access to the site. I have read your posts and understand your concerns so hopefully I can help with some of them. I will start by saying that all Bayvarol that Ecrotek have supplied to date has been entirely fine so there should be no concerns with any Bayvarol you have on hand or have used already. Bayer has very high quality standards which include testing of product from all batches before it is released for sale. About a month ago, we had 2 batches fail quality release in Germany, where it is made. The issue was too much active ingredient on the strips. Too much active ingredient could have a potential impact on hive health and honey residues. We take the quality, safety and effectiveness of our products very seriously, so we cannot release product for sale that is not within the normal product specification. When the initial batches failed, we implemented a contingency plan to make more and get it here via airfreight. At that time we had enough stock to meet demand, until the new product arrived. Last week we were told it had also failed quality release and we immediately informed Ecrotek. Ecrotek and Bayer plan stock well in advance, but the quality issue meant we had little remaining stock on hand. Ecrotek normally order stock from us as they need it so they had very little inventory also. It is Bayer's fault that Bayvarol is out of stock, not Ecrotek's We have identified the root cause of the issue, and have taken steps to fix it. The issue is due to new equipment that was recently put into our production line. All product that has been supplied in the NZ market to date was made before this change. Bayer stands behind the quality of all Bayvarol supplied to the NZ market since 2005. This is not a product recall situation. We are very sorry for the current out of stock situation. We are working extremely hard and with urgency to get new stock of Bayvarol back to market. We hope to be able to supply Bayvarol again by mid October. Going forward we intend to build much higher levels of safety stock in NZ to ensure continuous supply of Bayvarol to Beekeepers. If any of you would like to discuss this with me in person, please send me an email at George.reeves@bayer.com and I will get in touch. Kind regards George
  9. 13 points
    Headed out to this apiary yesterday arvo to check on things...the 2 FD brood box hives have and are bringing in good loads of nectar. The first 3/4 hive was from an overwintered nuc with a queen from a breeder.It swarmed cos I was too late and didn't keep up,so its on the rebuild. The furtherest 3/4 hive has taken awhile to pick up ,through lack of bees and my rough handling of Queenie during early spring.A new one has been bom and layingll...but excluder was put on and its first honey super with newly waxed foundation. All bar one hive,received a honey super.I'm happy.
  10. 12 points

    Version 1.2


    A Summary of the OA/GL Staples Thread.
  11. 12 points
    Thanks for the compliment. I'm male and my moniker is my name. Why hide if you believe in what you say. Ill skip the previous 100 years that formulated a lot of my views, but three years ago we had industry unification in the palm of our hands. I was a supporter, but Unfortunately a small group of individuals pushed through a hasty agenda that was arrogant and completely disregarded a precious and hard fought history. We requested an extra year to work through all the issues and build the best from NBA history, with a modern future. The actual became smaller family run business were dumped on, branch social networks disbanded, NBA history was ignored, and we were told ApiNZ was the only group like it or lump it. Instead of getting an 80% to 90% vote in support of change, ApiNZ had already created enough disconnect to scrap through just over 50%. Personally this was a sad day as an opportunity was lost. Now this same group is asking for $2 million dollars for activities that have not been discussed enough to truly make a decision of this magnitude. Personally if all this was put on the back burner for 12 months to set up structures that took the best from the NBA, family business interests, and yes, larger operators we would have a different situation. Use transparent and truly contestible trusts to hold research money, and put "industry good/administration" money in a trust contestible but all industry groups. So many people have requested ApiNZ to connect to grass roots beekeeping. How long would it take. Probably not long.
  12. 12 points
    Growing like a weed Hanging out with her grandies tonight while her daddy’s in Rotovegas
  13. 12 points
    Hey @john berry thank you so much for the beautiful gift you sent me, Chris told me it arrived yesterday and he had no idea what it was just that it was really heavy. I managed to walk out to the car this afternoon to see what it was, I’ll definitely take some photos when I go home tomorrow because I have never seen a set of blocks that beautiful, I actually cried, I love them and I’m sure Riley will treasure them ❤️ Me and baby are really good, looking forward to going home to sleep in my own bed
  14. 12 points
    Day 1 of the 2 day Mini conference done. Lots of interest and it was really good to catch up with past customers and put faces to names of forum members. ?
  15. 12 points
    December here already. I am hoping for a great season this year. Hives are in the best condition for years.
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 11 points
    I haven't heard anything but then if I had they would be dancing on the end of a rope. Feel free to send me any information on this is am quite happy to cause problems.
  19. 11 points
    Here’s is a cheaper and fairly long lasting solution to securing hive boxes together. The other alternative is ratchet or camlock straps or emlock straps, both are very good systems but I always like looking for an alternative (cheaper way?) to do something. I know some beekeepers use the poly strapping that is either the blue or black one. This doesn’t have very good UV resistance and eventually breaks down, which is fine because it’s a cheap strap anyway. Usually it is only tensioned hand tight. If an over zealous animal rubs up against the hive it is more likely to separate when it topples over. I have been using Poly woven strapping for many years in the timber industry. This strapping is UV resistant and uses heavy duty metal buckles. Couple these components with a manual tensioner and you have a very well secured hive. When it comes to opening the hive again all that is required is the hive tool to slip under the buckle and lift up (as shown in the photo) to cause the strapping to loosen. Use the tensioner to tighten again after closing up the hive. Also, just use the tensioner in such a way that you buy-pass the strap cutter as you’ll need to keep the extra length to use as additional boxes are added through spring and summer. Yes it does taken a fraction longer to tighten up the strap vs using an emlock or ratchet strap but at around half the price across 100 colonies and cheaper again after the initial purchase price as you won’t need to buy the tensioner or buckles for a while (buckles are sold in lots of 1000) it certainly makes it a very attractive option for securing hives.
  20. 11 points
    I see you've have a few good answers... I've been at it for almost 25 years, at various times teaching, commercial, and hobbyist, here and abroad. I know enough to know what my risk is. Here's a few things to consider. Accidents happen. Honey bees have killed people. Never mind allergies, enough stings can cause cardio-respiratory failure, or several days later, kidney failure. The LD50 is estimated at 19 stings per kilo body weight. A sting on the eyeball sometimes leads to loss of sight in the eye. The risk to a business whose staff don't use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is highly significant. Your manager would need his head examined these days to let you. Lost-Time Injuries cost money. Beekeeping (even hobby beekeeping) at times is dirty work. Propolis, bleach, acids, honey, cow pats and lots of other things ruin your clothes and squeeze into your shoes. Cows lick you. Sometimes you work at night; that's when you'll find out about stings. Your significant other many not want to sleep with a kipper. You frequently stumble or trip, and a box on the toes reminds you which bit of your PPE you have forgotten. Hive lids are, funnily enough, really sharp. Getting into a beekeeper's car or truck can be an unpleasant experience. The steering wheel and gear shift are sticky, the seat is 'icky, and you'd be surprised how many of his girls live in the vehicle. You can't always choose when something has to be done, or give up when things get unpleasant. I have opened hives in a thunderstorm when the most dangerous thing was probably the umbrella my mate was holding. Putting your venom-laden clothes into the family wash may be one of the things that increases the chance of family members becoming allergic. Given time and a few stings, I encourage people to work without gloves, that's as far as I will go. I think it makes them more skillful, and in that way, they pose less of a risk to everyone else. It takes a long time to be able to read the bee's mood. As far as mood goes bees are not all the same. Nucs are always cruisy, hobby hives can be stroppy, but are usually small, and commercial units can reach attack-dog status. Most hobbyist never see the full range of possible bad behaviour, thankfully, but it makes them a bad judge of character. If it was so easy, beekeeping suits would have disappeared many years ago. They are around for a reason. Sometimes you will see experienced beekeepers (me included) without some or all their PPE when they are just tinkering, or know something you don't. When they are taking their work seriously I think you'll find they are properly equipped. All the ones I know are anyway.
  21. 11 points
    This week I’m going through my hives , rounding up my queens and putting them below the QE with all the very best frames of brood. Up till now they’ve been free range with plenty of space. Nothing has swarmed and the urge to build queen cells seems to have almost past . There is honey getting capped and nothing is getting fed I’ve taken four nucs out of my strongest and calmest hive with swarm cells so they will make nice queens and I’ll use them to requeen some hot tempered hives once they have capped brood . After the great wet of the past months , there is more buttercup about and I cut the barberry hedges early last autumn so they are flowering as well . Happy Bees , happy beek
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 10 points
    It won't be long Daley believe me... my boy is 5 and a crack shot on the tree bears... me holding the light, "under his chin son" crack goes his wee RASKAL .22 thump goes the tree bear. Better than a video game anyway.
  25. 10 points
    Well @Philbee, your OA gib staples absolutely work?. Its rather nice to go into hives that were on the brink of collapse , to find healthy bees covering healthy brood and bringing in a little nectar . These are two to three part framers , upwards . It takes a full breed cycle to see the change . Some queens won’t/ can’t lay under the staples , while others do. I didn’t feed any syrup so the turn around is surprising . Even the weakest of hives have started chewing the staples . One very happy beek here. Thank you very much
  26. 10 points
    John , you are right about the apparent lack of enthusiasm for breeding for increased resistance to AFB. Seems crazy that we have a PMS with the stated goal of eradicating AFB, and no part of that strategy involves stock improvement. My belief is that an AFB problem requires both bad beekeeping and bad bees. If you have vigorous, hygienic bees, you will never have an AFB problem. In the 1970's, I idolised an American Bee researcher named Steve Taber. I only knew him through his contributions to the American Bee Journal, and he seemed a bit of a rough rebel who believed the answer to controlling AFB wasn't dusting OTC and icing sugar across the top bars of the brood box every time you worked a hive, but was instead breeding for resistance. I went to work for him in 1984, and didn't last long because I found him to be nothing like the man I had built him up to be. But, he did convince me that that selecting for hygienic behaviour was the answer to AFB. I had read that in his hygienic stock he could stick a frame rotten with AFB into one of those colonies, and they would clean it out , and raise 100% healthy brood over it straight away. It seemed impossible to me, but while I was there, I did it, and he was right- every since then Hygienic testing has been my major selection criteria. I never use a breeder that isn't 100% hygienic using the 24 hour pin-killed brood test. With hand on heart, touching wood, in the more than 30 years since, I have never had a case of AFB in my outfit. Hygienic Behaviour Testing is easy, but it has to be a Selection Criteria that is used in a Breeding Model that guards against inbreeding, or in other words- maximises variation in your breeding population. Basically you are killing areas of capped brood, and you can do this using the pin-killed brood method, or by using liquid nitrogen. I find the pin-killed brood method gives me more control. It is essential that when we are doing the test that we kill brood that is all exactly the same age, if we want to achieve a meaningful result. For AFB resistance, it is best if we are killing brood at the pre-pupal stage because this is when the brood usually succumb to AFB. With liquid nitrogen it is hard to stay age specific. Basically, you kill the brood, put it back, check exactly 24hours, and record the result. I am not interested unless 100% of that brood has been uncapped, and totally removed in less than 24 hours. See image attached- I went overboard with this test, but you can get creative, usually I just use at least 15 of the 7 celled circular patterns you see in the image.
  27. 10 points
    First week of December v last week of December. Same hive, same location!
  28. 10 points
    Spent the week up country harvesting the target crop, solid 14-16 hr days. 2 farms done 2 to go for my unit, very happy with amounts also VERY tired from the amounts! Sent the crew into the river for a dip after the last site and was rewarded with big smiles all round. A few days off now then back into it. The bees never sleep.
  29. 10 points
    Only took me 3 days to figure out how to resize, but here it is
  30. 10 points
    went through dunedin hives yesterday. Well, i sat on a chair near the hives and supervised - occasionally getting up to take a look as three people in various stages of beginner-ness discussed and debated things. All healthy and well with plenty of stores, enough space for now, and brood in all stages. After various false alarms involving drones, someone on her first ever time through a hive even spotted a queen (unmarked in a hive with plenty of bees = nice work!). A two box hive is going to one of these people to have at their place, another is labelled "for @Janice", and the remaining ones are likely to stay here and be tended well with occasional remote mentoring/advice. Very relaxing hive day.
  31. 9 points
    Okay. I'm going to be a bit harsher here. Feral hives living in rotten old trees still die from varroa. Pseudo-scorpions were a nice idea that was looked at quite closely and found to have no real relevance in varoa control. It's another one of those small cell size, foodgrade mineral oil, nasturtiums planted out the front of the hive, top bar hive, AMM, screen bottom boards et cetera ideas that might have worked but didn't and never will. There is little enough money for research without throwing it away. If you want something useful to spend research money on then how about looking at getting parasites from Australia to deal with the passion vine hopper. It's costing beekeepers millions of dollars each year and the kiwifruit industry over $30 million a year, plus it is implicated in the spreading of cabbage tree die back as well as debilitating other native plants. It may be that there are no suitable parasites and it may be that even if there are they won't work but it has got to be worth a try. Pseudo-scorpions have already had their chance.
  32. 9 points
    So this year I got no honey at all... But ive learnt about swarming, queen failure, varoa and wasp pressure. I’ve also rediscovered the fun of local honey, yum. Nothing better than going out for a coffee and leaving with an extra treat for later. Or being given a sympathy jar from a more successful colleague at work Get out out there and buy local.
  33. 9 points
    Randy found that in the dry climate of California shop towels worked in singles However in the humid State of Georgia they were much less effective because Georgia has a humid climate and the Glycerol in the towel outside the Brood nest absorbs that moisture ruining the Oxalic solution. Our New Zealand climate can do the same. However when the shop towel is used in a Double there is a higher chance that it will be within the climate controlled zone of the Brood Nest and therefore work better than in a single. This contributed to the inconsistent results from OA/GL Shop Towel system in New Zealand. Staples on the other hand are much more suitable than shop towels for placement between the frames within the Brood Nest where the Humidity is highly regulated. Shortly I will post a video of still shots of Late Autumn Hives in outstanding condition, all with Staples inserted within the Brood Nest. Here is a Video of stills that I threw together today while out and about tending to my Staple Efficacy trial The hives in the video are Hives opened consecutively for photos and not the pick of the bunch, just typical Hives in my operation. They have all been treated exclusively with Staples for 2 or more seasons and this season just spring and Autumn. Vast majority have low to zero mite counts after a month of treatment and will bolt through to Spring Every one of them has Staples in the Brood nest https://youtu.be/VmFuFjc8JZQ There may be a couple of double up photos, That 4 parts/6 parts works out to 31% OA by weight Does that sound about right to you?
  34. 9 points
  35. 9 points
    @Philbee Mate, this forum thread is about ox and gly. And a lot of it is about your gib staples method. Again Im not knocking it. Just sharing my experience with it so you and others who have used this method could give me some advice from what I have seen so far. And some of the advice given makes sense. I hope you arent taking this personally. Just wanted to share my experience so far and get help. Hope this doesnt mean you are going to charge me double next time
  36. 9 points
    Thanks for putting some of the miscommunication to rights Dennis. While not wanting to belittle any of the hard working people in APINZ who have had the decency to put their heads up above the parapet for what they consider is for the good of the industry I make the following points / queries for your comment: Have APINZ misread things? Have they pursued their aspirations for the Industry to early in the piece in that they've missed the boat in engaging the grass roots commercial sector in their vision prior to setting out on the Levy journey Would it not be better to actively engage with the commercial sector (on a one on one basis if need be) to sell them the APINZ vision as well as assimilating the engaged individuals ideas and concerns into the overall picture where appropriate. APINZ are the stand out organisation in the Industry but have failed miserably in winning the hearts and minds of the commercial sector. I note their will be more Commercial board representation should the levy idea run at some time in the future and while seeing the rational here wonder at the current Commercial representation which gives a obviously talented person such as Kate Kimber a seat as a Commercial representative with little or no beekeeping experience (either in the field or the industry): I see no problem with her being on the board of any Industry good entity, however I suggest on a Marketing seat not as a Commercial Beekeeping representative The vast majority of the commercial sector are watching these proceedings with angst! There's never going to be 100% agreement in the Industry any more than there is in Damien O'Conner's field of politics and the Ministers references to the Industry of late show his advisors and confidants have less than a little knowledge of beekeepers, beekeeping in general and the Industry as a whole! With the excruciating and public mess this is turning into may I suggest: APINZ pull the Levy application, AFB application and GIA application until further notice Engage effectively with the commercial sector (one on one, small groups and road shows) and win their hearts and minds: You're never going to win everyone over but if you're on the right track I'll be on your side! And if this all doesn't work: well maybe there's an alternative idea/organisation that needs looking at: That after all is democracy - Where as the current manic, rushed Minister / APINZ driven side show isn't!
  37. 9 points
    I have a simple 80/20 view of AFB. I believe 80% of Beekeepers truly aim at controlling AFB and complying with all rules, but through a multitude of reasons they still get caught in the AFB net. 20% are criminals who knowingly have unregistered sites and keep AFB gear because of a perceived financial benefit from not burning it. Unfortunately in recent times our AFB program has put the 20% in the too hard to prosecute basket, despite the current PMP program having all the required laws to push enforcement. At the same time the 80% have been left to fend for themselves. There is no branch support, and worse as with increased beekeeper pressure they do not even know their beekeeper neighbours. AP2 numbers in NZ have plummeted and even if you find one they are now prevented from providing constructive advice to people with problems. In fact they can be dismissed if they provide any service outside their contracted audit. Funding is blamed for this reduction of services combined with increased pressure from hive numbers. While this is partially true, a million dollars is still a lot of money for AFB and all the laws exist. So will 4x funding solve all the problems. If I thought yes I would have the cheque written out by lunchtime. Sadly my cheque is not being written for two reasons. First is beekeeper buyin. Every levy this industry has ever implemented has increased the number of people hiding their hives/honey/apiaries from regulators. There are multiple reasons why this happens, and not always because they are "bad" beekeepers/people, but they come from the 80% group who were actually trying to do the right thing. The second reason is cheque book passing the buck. If you charge people too much they stop being connected to the problem. Beekeepers say "I have paid all this money it is now the AFB managers job or AFB committee job to manage my AFB and everyone else's AFB." These are my thoughts ( I am passionate but not an expert.) I Would like to see more counciling and practical help provided by AP2 staff. Rule change from PMP management required and physically more AP2 staff in total. PMP need to work on guidelines through the H and S and privacy system to provide full support to branches to hold local inspection/social days to generate buyin. Have Less focus on big stick auditing for Chinese trading partners, and more on what actually gets grass roots Beekeepers involved. Restrict any new funding to 2x existing before having to go back to industry and proving systems are working rather than blanket 4 year increase. The 28 days registration rule needs changing for honey collection sites (makes sense to stay for true pollination) but this might be a 2023 problem as this requires ministerial input. Cap admin and office based AFB management to say 15% so we know our money is being spent in the field on real world issues. Actually prosecute someone to prove the wet bus ticket does not exist. time for a coffee before moderators get me for waffling.
  38. 9 points
    No idea what the bees are doing ..... we have gone onto 8.30 starts as it's too darn cold to hit the shed at 7.30 and have gone into building mode ..... building a smoko room so we have a place for team building chats on a morning and the monthly H&S meeting. The smoko room table is interesting. It's an old egg incubator made , I think of Redwood with a tin plate saying it was patented in Santa Cruz, California in 1918. The wood has a lovely red hue, is tongue and groove and very soft. The smoko room is fast turning into a Man Cave as the table makes a nice bar top and the beer fridge sits snugly underneath. And as we sand and oil the the bar we muse that when it was made the first world war was drawing to a close, TV was un heard of and silicon valley still a desert. It's an erie feeling touching history.
  39. 9 points
  40. 9 points
    The big beekeepers have far more to loose than the smaller operators. I can run my 600 by myself- I work damn hard when I need to. The newer ones are used to running 300 or less per body, these will get a shock and have to rethink strategy. Another thought on what Dennis said re crop average. Beekeepers are now very mobile, they 2-3 honey flows a season. And take their bees to remote places and use helicopters the average could be the same over the years. Just a lot more energy/effort goes into the mining process. Average could be the same but the cost could be a lot more. We shouldn't talk 'average' but 'return' per unit. Someone could say "I made a 100kg a hive" but they are hardly going to share the cost to produce that. If I were to produce 20kg of pasture and I don't drive too far, can requeen my hives, monitor varroa, avoid placement fees, run fewer vehicles, manage more hives, have holidays, deal with fewer landowners, have time to chat, diversify, leave stores on hives, and do this all by myself I could be better off financially and holistically as someone chasing manuka around NZ. Man, this daylight going back is giving me lots of morning time.
  41. 9 points
  42. 9 points
    Not sure if anyone remembers me, but I was a beginning beekeeper who posted a lot a couple of years ago. I thought I'd rely what happened to me and my hive for any other beginners. The short version is a thought I'd done a great job and my bees were set for winter. However... Once we got to Spring, a lady from MPI (I think it was) responsible for AFB checks asked if she could come around and go through my hive. I invited her around for my first opening after winter. When we did there was only a Queen and about a cup full of bees, they didn't even touch the entire box of honey I left from them. Probably too late on my varroa treatment, but the real kicker was when she did the AFB check: POSITIVE! ropy bast*rds everywhere. Turns out my productive girls were nothing but thieves robbing every collapsing and AFB hive in all of West Auckland. Suffice it to say burning your first hive after having it only 6 months is not cool, especially if you left every last drop of honey on there for your girls! Lol About the same time in April '16 I started a business, which miraculously has been going great guns and we are up to a few employees now. I've been busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger but things are starting to stabilise. We just moved to a new house much more suitable for multiple hives and has a bigger garage as well so my thoughts have turned agin to bees. Anyway I really appreciate all the help, advice and genuinely impressive selflessness everyone showed to me at the time. I'll be lurking around again and may even comment from time to time. All the best, Jeremy
  43. 9 points
    Oh gosh, here we go again . The Queen Excluder Debate. Double brood box hive in the winter and spring, knocked down to a single in the summer for the flow. Queen excluder above the brood in the bottom box. Honey boxes above. It's sooooo much easier to take honey off. No worry about where the queen is or sorting out brood and honey combs. Done deal. After the main flow, leave a second box on with no excluder for the drips and drabs that might come in and leave that for the bees for the winter. Finish.
  44. 9 points
    Have you ever wondered about honey, what it is and why it’s like it is? What about quality and honey, what should beekeepers know? Honey comes from Nectar Nectar is a solution produced by plants that animals collect for food. Plants have special structures that make this solution usually from water and sap flowing in the plant. Often these are found in flowers and attract animals that pollinate the plant, but that is not always the case, and they can sometimes be found on any parts of the plant above the ground. Nor is nectar always there to facilitate pollination. The composition of the solution varies, but mostly it’s a solution of sugars in water, with small amounts of minerals and organic molecules. The nectars we are interested in contain something like 10% to 40% carbohydrates, mainly sugars like sucrose, fructose, and glucose. As well as the sugars the plants produce other chemicals that, for example, help the nectar store, make it attractive to a particular animal, or repel animals that might steal it. Nectar is a very dynamic product. It varies for every type of plant, and for the same type of plant growing in different places. It is presented outside the plant’s tissues, so its properties change with the weather and with time. It is a very expensive product, in terms of energy and raw materials, so it’s highly conserved, even re-absorbed, by the plant. It contains enzymes that gradually change the proportions of sugars in the solution, and these sugars make it hygroscopic. All sorts of animals use nectar as food, from yeasts and bacteria, to insects and birds. Because nectars have such different properties the relationship between the producing plants and the consuming animals can be very specific, but often are not. For example, the consumer may have special mouth parts that specialise in harvesting liquid of a certain viscosity, or it may rely on a solution that contains lots of amino-acids. These relationships can alter as the secretion of nectar changes over time. What is honey? If honey comes from nectar it’s obvious the composition and physical properties of honey originate with nectar, but honey bees alter nectar in two important ways. As they collect the liquid they add a collection of enzymes, (mostly α-glucosidases, generally referred to as ‘invertase’ or ‘sucrase’) that will split a long sugar into small sugars; each sucrose molecule is split in to two sugars, fructose and glucose. They secrete these enzymes from glands in their head as they imbibe the solution, and ‘swallow’ the mixture into their honey stomach (or ‘crop’). During the intake and expulsion of the nectar it’s likely to be contaminated with pollen grains and spores from the environment. An organ in the crop is able to filter some particulates like this out into the bee’s digestive system where they are digested or excreted. After they have transported it back to their hive they regurgitate the liquid and then concentrate it by evaporating water. Whereas nectar is mostly water, honey has four to five times as much sugar as water. By splitting most of the sucrose into smaller sugars the ‘bees end up with a warm (about 34oC) fructose solution that has a lot of glucose dissolved in it, and a little sucrose (1-2%). How this solution behaves when it cools depends on the exact mixture of sugars in it, but as a rule some or all the sugars will not remain liquid and the honey will slowly granulate. The honey will also still contain any of the minerals and organic molecules that were produced in the nectar. The minerals are what gives honey most of its colour, the trace molecules contribute to its flavour, aroma and ‘mouth-feel’. It will now be much ‘thicker’; it has a high viscosity – 200 times that of water, ten times that of an oil. Different densities may have some effect on packaging and container size if sold by weight. Some honeys have such high protein contents they exhibit a property called ‘thixotropy’ and need special handling and packing. As honey it will also absorb water even more quickly that its parent nectar did, which it why ‘bees and beekeepers are careful about exposing it to moist air. And it will contain some (uncertain) quantity of pollen grains and microorganism spores as a result of its natural origin. So honey is concentrated nectar, but honey is a food, defined in law governed by a principle in an international Codex. The Codex alimentarious defines honey too, and if you’re thinking about honey as a commodity, that’s much more important. To paraphrase what the Codex says, “honey is …an unfermented, sweet substance… produced by honey bees from nectar or secretions from living plants… collected… and transformed in honey combs… without objectionable flavours, aromas, or taints absorbed from foreign matter or during storage… or natural plant toxins in an amount hazardous to health.” Honey quality Everything we need to understand about honey quality can be read from the Codex. The first thing is that it is not fermented. If it’s fermented it’s something else, not honey. What prevents honey from spoiling, and fermenting, is its high sugar concentration. As a result, the amount of water in honey is usually regulated by statute. Above 20% water we know honey is likely to ferment, below 17.0% fermentation is not likely. Between those two points the chance of fermentation depends on the count of yeast spores in the honey. This all assumes the honey is homogeneous – the same throughout. If honey has begun to crystalise (we call it granulation) clearly it is no longer homogenous. As honey naturally granulates, the possibility of fermentation increases. If we incorporate air into honey, it is no longer homogeneous and the possibility of fermentation increases. If we leave bits of leaf, pollen and dust, and the odd bee’s leg in the honey it’s not homogeneous (and we add to the bacteria/yeast content). Not only will various sorts of foreign material set up concentration gradients that permit fermentation we increase the chance of there being ‘objectionable taints’ and the like in our honey. Particulates in the honey can also ‘seed’ premature crystal formation leading to early granulation, and it’s common to filter out most or all particulates. The other important part of the Codex is that we should expect honey to be a product of living plants, transformed only by honey bees. It should not contain anything (like chemical pollutants) or be adulterated with products that are not ‘a product of living plants’. It should contain the natural enzymes and biological products that are ‘a product of living plants’, insofar as they are not a hazard to human health. We should not be destroying constituent enzymes by over-heating or processing honey, and in any case, we should be able to tell only honey bees have ‘collected, transformed, and combined’ the nectars to honey. There are many tests in use that can check the integrity of honey, but measuring 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), one of the main volatile alcohols in any honey, has proved a useful general standard. The compound is produced by sugary solutions at a rate that depends on time and temperature, and the ‘HMF’ quantity has proved to be a good proxy for indicating change in the chemical properties of honey. HMF can tell us whether or to what extent we have ‘transformed’ the honey, and not the ‘bees. Being true to quality It is important to adhere to local legislation about trade descriptions, food labelling, and weights and measures. There may be specific regulations that deal with food safety, (in NZ the Tutin regulations are the prime example) or standards that must be met to conform with export regulations and compliance in local or overseas markets. None of these take anything away from the principles in the Codex. There are also conventions (with varying degrees of ‘authority’) that attempt to define how honey shall be described, especially when trading between countries. For many years honey colour has been described using the ‘Pfund scale’ using a colorimeter, and while there are now more sophisticated spectrophotometric measures the Pfund remains part of the beekeeping vocabulary. Several countries have attempted to standardise the descriptions of the aroma and flavour of honeys using tools like a ‘flavour wheel’ (not New Zealand), and as the interest in ‘varietal’ or ‘gourmet’ honeys has grown these have become widely used to describe and classify the variety of honey available, rather like wine tasting. You can find one you like on the ‘web. Representing the ‘honesty’ of honey is essential in preparing and describing the product. When preparing honey for consumption and sale seemingly small ‘defects’ create doubt about the provenance and preparation process in the mind of the observer. Are those small bubbles from fermentation or sloppy preparation? Why is there sediment at the bottom of the jar and scum on the top? Worldwide, different consumer groups have different attitudes to filtration, clarity, and shelf-life, some more discerning and selective than others. It is also important that descriptions, of any kind, are true. Apple blossom pictured on the label of a jar of pasture honey is misleading would not be permitted in some jurisdictions. Putting a sprig of lavender in your lavender honey may not be smart, but putting it in clover honey can be construed as a lie. As consumers become more discerning your product also characterises how you run your business; “You said it was ‘honey’, not ‘honey with added ‘bee bits’!”. Are the fragments an indication of how roughly you treat your bees, an errant wing an indicator of your insensitive beekeeping? Consumers may regard the possibility of mite treatment residues in the honey you supply as a betrayal. While these details may or may not be part of the regulatory environment, they are part of the ethical framework beekeepers have established over many years. Disregard them at your peril.
  45. 8 points
    Hopefully me. I’m having another baby 😅🤣
  46. 8 points
    I gotta say as far as the staples go I’m very happy.. round 2 of my own bees complete. Drone production in full swing, no mites seen, fresh staples been in for 4 weeks, bees are clean as a whistle and building well. A trickle of nectar coming in at last.. willow still 3 weeks away. Have split anything building queen cups (14%) Only about 5% are chewing out the EPs. Around 12% lost population this time round.. with 7% creating supercedure cells upon fresh staple placement. Most have been torn down. happy as Larry.
  47. 8 points
    Looks like we are going to do something with UV detection. Setting out sugar water, with UVpens marking the trays somehow. Seeing if there is a colour preference. We may also look at the minimum sugar concentrations they can detect and will they go for a weaker solution that has a brighter UV signal. As she is a Year 12 their has to be a fair bit of science in it. We are going get on to next year's fair in spring for a bigger project. I have had this girl entering every year since year 9. She has won gold twice and got bronze for her first time in the senior section.
  48. 8 points
    I recently put a "Back Aid' crane on the back of me Landcruiser and changed the manual motor for a 12V one. Got the pallet fork from Waimea Cranes and then cut it down to a usable size and sleeved the inside of the pipes. So far its proving to be up for the job and far better than not having one. Ive made up double hive pallets and will be lifting two double hives as a max. lift. The crane can lift 450 kg's but I think I'll keep the max lift a bit below this so I don't tip my truck over. It weighs about 25kg's with the motor and it means I can remove it from the flat deck when I don't need it...... also means when I get a trailer soon i can insert a couple of mounting plates at either end of that and use it on there too.
  49. 8 points
    American foulbrood was first recorded in New Zealand in 1877, 38 years after honey bees were introduced. Within 10 years, the disease had spread to all parts of New Zealand and was being blamed for a 70% reduction in the nation's honey production. New Zealand was the first county in the world to implement a nationwide programme for the control of AFB. There is no legal or effective treatment for American Foulbrood Disease in New Zealand. Destruction is the only option as the disease is extremely infectious and the spores are very hard to kill. Everyone, just learn what to look for, then have a look, if found, BURN, end of story. Stop trying to fine a magic cure or a way to short cut the work that is involved to manage your hives.
  50. 8 points
    @DuncanCook I'm picking you are about two hours from me, which isn't out of the question, but November is. It's pollination time and I feel lucky if I get home to a good nights sleep. I will be human again about mid-December. Maybe I'll take a trip out, but until then; I think you perhaps worry more than you should. You appear to know more than a lot of people starting up. Your swarm trap was good work. Most new beekeepers over estimate the strength of their hives, and I suspect yours were weak from the off. 1.Glad to see your swarm trap worked. Is that the design I said was too small in the deep box? 2.You've lost some bees. Move on, we all do. Concentrate on the swarm and make the most of your good fortune. 3.I understand you want to learn what happened, and I can speculate with the best of them, but you appear to be able to eliminate AFB. 4.Secure those honey frames. Drop them in a freezer for at least 48hr, then store them somewhere ant/wasp/bee proof where they wont melt. I'd look at giving them to the swarm to look after soon. 5. Put strips in the swarm soon; it's good to treat with no/little brood and it sounds like you have a high chance or re-invasion from surrounding hives. 6. Inspect and post a report on the status of the swarm (with picture(s)) to the group asap.
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