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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/31/2011 in all areas

  1. 29 points
    Some of you (those most important of my friends and customer base ??) will know I have taken up a position with Pacific Coast Technical Institute as an Apiculture Tutor. Currently we teach an NCEA credited course in 5 schools the course is called “Bees in Schools”. I share the role at the schools with another tutor Lyle Gilmour. I also care for the Business to Business tutoring. Last week I spent two days down in Fielding with Kiwi Bee staff from across the country (the beekeeping side of Comvita). And there are plans afoot for training and assessment with other businesses. There is also a public course being held at the Hull Rd trading centre at Mt Maunganui. And so it is that my beekeeping career has taken another turn. I will still be making and supplying wooden hiveware and look forward to tackling the current lot of orders and future orders. I still have a modest holding of Bees and the way I have structured my training work schedule it should see me spending lots and lots of enjoyable physically demanding hours with my head in a hive box for a good while yet. Today our Bees in Schools Students had a chance to observe the AFB Detector dogs demonstrate their abilities and we also had a visit to Comvita HQ. I am really happy where my passion for Bees has led me. 9 or so years ago I could not even have dreamed I would be where I am now. Thank you everyone who has helped me up to this point, whether it was as a customer or beekeeping friend (of which I think most of my customers have become). With out you I wouldn’t be where I am now. Dan.
  2. 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 !!!!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 24 points
    Having been posting on the forums re: APINZ’s desire to represent the industry and claim a Commodity Levy (to cover their work on the industry’s behalf) I decided rather than continuing to spout my own thoughts I’d get on the blower and talk to a number of Commercial Beekeepers and see where the Commercial Sector really stands. I put together a simple survey and started ringing: I thought I’d do it over a couple of days and get representations from beekeepers keeping up to approx. 20,000 hives. Well a week later and I’ve spoken to a good many Commercial Beekeepers all whom have been happy to answer my queries/survey: They represent: Beekeepers: 36 Hives No’s: 73955 Apiaries: 3488 Hive range: 200 – 9000 Note: The beekeepers polled covered a good many areas of the North Island with a handful from the South The survey was simple: Did you attend the Conference Yes: 9 No: 27 Do you know about the APINZ proposal re: collecting a Commodity Levy on Honey Yes: 32 No: 4 Do you support it Yes: 3 No: 33 Reasons for your position: As below (Note some comments are combined and some beekeepers didn’t elaborate /give specifics) APINZ don't represent or listen to commercial beekeepers: They're dividing and conquering Poor timing for new or increased levy's APINZ aren't relevant to the commercial sector / don't represent the beekeepers on the ground Proposed levy unfair on beekeepers producing lower priced honeys Support levy's for R&D, marketing and industry good but aren't convinced APINZ are the ones to do it If levy fly's should be based on sales not volume and catch all sectors incl pollination and queen rearing Can’t see value for money and additionally we're to become APINZ's tax collectors and law enforcers APINZ need to show structured and defined proposals / budgets and more than cursory liaison with commercial sector to be considered APINZ need to present Budgets / KPI's / Specific Aims before asking for consideration APINZ need to represent the commercial sector more directly to be considered Same #### different day! Support at 5c not 10c: Would like to see work on protecting brand 'Manuka' and dealing with the C4 issue No contact / no introduction / no idea who APINZ really are or what they intend to do If we need a levy ('If' being the operative word) it should be controlled by an independent board / authority. Hard for non-manuka producers to afford: Needs better explaining to be considered Absolutely not! Don't want this Resent APINZ meddling in the industry and looking for money to throw at issues? Seen it before and sick of it! APINZ short on details Too much / too big of an increase and can't see the benefits Don't consider APINZ have exhibited support and input for the commercial sector Could be convinced APINZ not favouring the commercial sector and don't have a mandate Real issues around APINZ budgeting; the collection of the levy and the compulsion to pay and join APINZ Absolutely object to having to collect any levy at extraction: Will actively not-collect! Unless a co-operative won't work been through this in other industry's Not in its current form: Not at the moment Don't really know what it's for: Don't see the value: Would need way more details On the fence: not happy for other groups to take over APINZ Feel we're paying enough already Support a Levy but with independent management (Not APINZ) NOTE: I’d have liked to have continued talking to even more beekeepers but quite bluntly I’ve got to get a bit of work done! I’ve previously said on these forums that APINZ should park up their Commodity Levy aspirations and get out and engage with the Commercial Sector and win their support; If they can’t or won’t do this then they have no place in representing themselves to the Crown as the representative body of the Industry. MESSAGE TO APINZ: Forget quoting vague majorities (re: hive holdings) as over 90% of the beekeepers I polled don’t won’t you representing them at this juncture: If you don’t believe me get on the phone and talk to them; almost all would welcome your call and be pleased to talk to you. You were born out of a desire from many to unify the Industry (inclusive the writer): If you feel you’ve got the goods engage with and then win the hearts and minds of the Commercial Sector (on the beat, on the phone, one to one or group meeting), and frankly while you’ll never satisfy everyone or win everyone over if you exhibit the will to engage with the engine room of the Industry and earn their trust, backing and a mandate I’ll undoubtedly come on board as well: If not the Commercial Sector needs to look elsewhere for representation! Additional survey notes: Not one of the surveyed beekeepers backed the (defunct) rise in the AFB Levy with the negative feedback for the current service being universal and scathing: Additionally there were some pearls/bloody good ideas for improving things bandied around! There was also a lot of unsure comments and discussion re: the proposed GIA Levy: Plenty of dialogue/discussion required on this one before it fly’s! Cheers: Keith ‘Frederick’ Rodie
  7. 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.
  8. 21 points
    . A beekeeping expedition with my son, his wife, and 2 of their children. Gotta train the grandchildren right. ? Soon as we got there, this happened, he is staying VERY still ? But didn't take long and he was fine with the whole thing. And even his normally timid sister started to enjoy. Nobody stung, a fun day for all.
  9. 21 points
    Hi All I am not convinced by the argument that we need an increase in the AFB levy. The funding levels must have doubled over the last ten years as apiary sites have more than doubled. The problem is, that the AFB eradication strategy designed in the 1990's, and voted on, has never been fully implemented. If it had been, we would have mostly eradicated AFB by now. The Management Agency got confused about its role soon after it was established in 2000 and this confusion has continued until now, and is reflected in the discussion on what the levy increase might be spent on. What we learnt between 1990 - 2000, when we caused AFB levels to drop from 1.2% of hives to 0.25 % of hives, was that beekeepers inspect all hives each year for AFB, and they are responsible for the spread of all AFB. To eradicate AFB, all the strategy has to do is to get beekeepers to do better inspections and / or spread AFB less. We also worked out that using the strategy to try to find and burn AFB for beekeepers faster than beekeepers can spread the disease is a no win game , although it appeals to beekeepers who think their neighbors are the source of their AFB problem. The role of the strategy here should only be to be carrying out default inspection where beekeepers are in breach of the rules of the strategy Following this model, and the other things we did in the 1990s that caused AFB levels to plummet, could easily reduce AFB levels with the current budget if we stopped t using the funding for trying to control AFB for beekeepers Just a reminder to those who are not happy with the proposed levy increase, the most effective thing you can do is write to the Minister of Agriculture and explain why you don't think it is a good idea Mark Goodwin
  10. 20 points
    Aw gee thanks everyone. Here she is! Riley Brooke Hewitt Very fresh and a bit squashed, 8 pounds, born at 1:23am 18th May currently having a big snore off, and I’ve had about 2 hours sleep because I can’t stop looking at her ??
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 18 points
    spent a quality hour at the local school spinning a few bee yarns to kids aged from 5-13, highlight for them was the obs hive which I made them wait til the end for. Followed by some honey tasting. Some very intelligent questions... curly question of the day was “why does the drone only mate once” from a 6yr old.. I printed some A3 photos and glued them to coreflute so had pics of each season which gave them images to look at while I explained the goings on. Great fun had by all. Cheers Loburn school.
  15. 18 points
    Unregistered sites are a problem but there are plenty of registered beekeepers who are just as bad or worse. I think the proposed increase is unnecessary and unjustifiable mainly because the current System while better than nothing is outdated. We will soon have far better tools for identifying afb ln Honey samples Which will allow for far better targeting and should actually reduce costs.mpi is responsible for prosecutions and is not willing to do so just as they are not willing to follow up on honey coming from unregistered apairies. Until we get new laws or they in enforce The laws we have no amount of new funding will change things. Charging competent beekeepers more will not improve things, identifying and dealing with incompetent beekeepers will.
  16. 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.
  17. 17 points
    Result of a thoroughbred queen for ya
  18. 17 points
    As a hobbyist, not being legally allowed to sell small quantities of honey unless you have jumped through many many hoops, some of which may be invisible and some which change depending where you live. How I would love to have a simple standard checklist for home producers extracting and selling honey at the farm gate.
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. 16 points
    Finally my boys big enough to help do a job one less thing for me to do, he smokes my hive I'm working then moves ahead of me smoking and he's really keen too, proud daddy moment
  22. 16 points
  23. 16 points
    This person has asked for help and advice. After seeing some of the answers on this thread if I was a beginner in trouble I might hesitate to do the same thing. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has to learn and those lower on the learning curve will do a lot less harm if they feel confident about asking for advice without fear of condemnation.
  24. 16 points
    good stuff, thanks M4tt thats saved me a failed experiment:-) and to finish up heres a pic that sums up the weather at the moment
  25. 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
  26. 16 points
    But we have Kaka. Taken through the lounge window last September. The flowering cherry 2mt from the window had already been claimed by the tui who created quite a fuss. Kaka just ignored him till ready to fly off. Neither bird was concerned about us observing the antics.
  27. 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.
  28. 16 points
    Small things: Why would a disease control agency discourage multiple small sites that are more suitable for containing diseases? Isn't charging a disincentive to register all your sites? Why would you promote a permanent form of large ‘dump’ sites? How come, over five years, the fees increase 255% (!) and the annual expenditure 314%? There is already a lack of clarity about how big an ‘apiary’ is (200m diameter, radius or chain) so that better be revisited if it’s to be a chargeable unit of measure. If the additional $2mil spent each year ‘saves’ 4,100 hives (0.5%approx of the national hive stock) valued at $1200ea, at a cost of $770 each (3,160,000/4,100), is that good value for money? Big thing: The compromise between acceptable risk and logistical or financial constraints is revealed by the application of an analysis of Acceptable Level Of Risk (ALOR), which should make clear what uncertainties are included in the proposition. Like it or not, there is a level at which AFB becomes an acceptable risk. What is that level, and why is it where it is? Where is the analysis?
  29. 16 points
    Sure. But not everyone reads the news, and what's old to you, is new to someone else. Because I interact with a lot of beekeepers, a constant thing I see every year is people thinking their hive in autumn is looking great. - No need to treat. Especially for first season beekeepers the well populated look of their hive can be very beguiling. They delay treatment, then a month or two later they are mystified where all the bees went. The other sad thing about death by varroa, is that right till near the end the bees stay very active at the entrance and flying. Which can camouflage a real mess of dead brood going on inside the hive. People without looking in the hive will say wow they look so healthy! The explanation, and the maths, in this article should be a must read for new beekeepers. And a few old ones LOL.
  30. 16 points
    I got around to taking photos of the set of blocks John made Riley. They all fit perfectly inside the little beehive. @john berry Thank you. This is by FAR the coolest thing baby has, I absolutely love them! ? Everyone I have showed them to has also said they are amazing.
  31. 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]
  32. 16 points
    My clever daughter has made me a spectacular cake
  33. 16 points
    It must have been the day for scraping and jarring. I got some lovely light honey with a lemony tang to it.
  34. 16 points
    Cracked the lids on ours today, finally some progress! Looking good for Xmas presents☺☺
  35. 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.
  36. 16 points
    Off to pet day at Hiwinui school, didn't win anything but had the most interest of all the animals.
  37. 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.
  38. 16 points
    Plenty of pollen coming in off the buttercup that has started flowering.
  39. 15 points
    Here’s a photo taken by a local night sky photographer, carol comer. The Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud are two irregular galaxies which orbit the Milky Way once every 1,500 million years and each other every 900 million years. Very easy to see with your naked eye from our stunning Dark Sky Sanctuary, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. Here they are seemingly watching guard over a collection of bees in their hives, resting for the night.
  40. 15 points
    In the great depression of the 1930's although farmers walked off their land and businesses folded, no beekeepers went bankrupt. That was because some years earlier, banks had loaned money to beekeepers who then got AFB (which had been rampant), which along with some bad beekeeping meant the investment became worthless, and not recoverable. So leading up to the depression, banks had a policy of not lending on bees. If you had bees, you wouldn't have a debt against them. That has been my policy all my life, don't borrow to get bees. When I started my own bee business i started small, and funded growth from the profits. Worked a day job also, never borrowed anything. That's because I had already worked for other commercial beekeepers a number of years and knew the financial story at the time. Didn't take that long to get established though, my view, if you cannot make enough money to fund decent growth, you probably can't make enough money to risk taking out a loan either.
  41. 15 points
    Got my offsiders first set of PPE, shame the smallest size is a 4, apparently babies don’t go beekeeping
  42. 15 points
    Dear Diary ....what a crappy old day it's been..... But brightened by a young fellah who came up looking for a job on the bees. It's not exactly the time to be hiring labour, but he'd been laid off by another operation and I'm behind the eight ball on the schedule of getting bees into the winter. And I had a big think about it ..... how our thoughts and actions dictate how we move forward, and if we are focused on the D-Day and selling bees and winding up, then as sure as eggs is eggs that will happen ..... but if we are positive and plan for the future, then our plans may move forward , perhaps not in the direction we thought, but forward for sure. For life is a journey ....and we need to be open and ready to travel it. So I put a stake in the ground .... and hired him. The bank can go and take a hike, because youth are our future.
  43. 15 points
    Hi CraBee, MPI and Govt significantly hurt the industry. Their delay after delay to publish their standard meant the whole industry was on hold for ~1-2 years. Then MPI came out with a standard that wasn't a standard i.e. got modified. Uncertainty over product status meant buyers weren't confident, demand decreased, product stockpiled, prices dropped. This plus the extra and long drawn out attention meant news and uncertainty filtered out to all and sundry, affecting retailer and consumer confidence, therefore decreasing demand and pricing. Lastly re. the standard, I think we're all agreed now that it is not accurate enough. Conventional thinking is: Only Manuka honey has DHA/MGO. Only the best and/or purest Manuka honey has the highest MGO (containing anything else would dilute it down). So how can much of the highest MGO Manuka honey not pass MPI's standard? Something wrong with the standard that's what. So beeks that used to get top $ for top MGO now get much, much less for it. Govt should have just done what the now Deputy PM said before the election "Just adopt the UMFHA standard", quick, simple, scientific, already adopted by 80% of the Manuka industry. Support this rather than erode confidence in Manuka, UMF and the industry. Poor weather over the past 3 years, and overstocking has resulted in reduced hive yields, this and the preceding point have been a double whammy. So, overall the gloss has gone off the industry. It is less not more than it was. By trying to 'help' it become a $1.2b industry, MPI/Govt's help actually helped it go backwards, certainly in the short term. Agree they had to set or support a standard, but... As for consumers and markets. In general, there isn't the hysteria/mystique/intrigue that there once was when it was the latest, new/hot thing and (some of) the rich just had to have it. But on the other hand, Manuka has become more widely accepted and written about as factual by more and more in the mass media/lifestyle publications/social media. So it is trickling down from the richest towards those who are well off. We're recently seeing Manuka start to get acceptance and distribution into large format retailers in the States, so taking it's availability and awareness (but not price) to another level, and reducing reliance on Asia, especially China. Awareness, distribution and availability has spread out down the wealth triangle. Australian (and others in future?) "Manuka" is an issue. They can plant/grow/harvest much more leptospermum than we can. Theirs tastes worse than ours does. If allowed to piggyback off NZ's, with very loose standards both of definition and what they write on labels, different taste, higher MGO (in some cases), higher volume, it's not good for us. Let's support and hope UMFHA's Mānuka Honey Appellation Society's efforts starting several years ago succeed. This would result in protection, higher value, demand and prestige for NZ Manuka. So overall we're in a different phase of product life cycle and market maturity.
  44. 15 points
    My 6 yr old son suffered anaphylaxis last October following a bee sting at home, it was his 3 rd sting with the first 2 being on his feet off the lawn (kiwi as) with no real reactions. Yesterday was his first day of the RUSH treatment at CH CH hospital, the plan was 5 stings 1 hr apart starting with a dose of 1/1000 of a full hit. Everything went well up till the last dose.. 15 minutes following it he developed a tiny cough, concern was noted and coughing was timed by the fantastic team of nurses.. increased cough timing was the only symptom, heart rate remained the same as pre treatment hours earlier. We were then seen by the specialist by which time Caleb had become wheezy. Within 30seconds of the wheezing he had the adrenaline needle hanging out of his thigh.. damn. This kicked things up a gear with us bundled into a single room, hooking him up to monitors etc, all pretty scary for him who moments earlier had been quietly watching dirt bikes on the I Pad. With no decrease in his wheezing a 2nd shot of the good juice was delivered, followed by me spending last night in the chair beside his hospital bed... thinking about my chosen path in life.. All his early life I had been pretty casual about my bee suit in the house, I work gloveless and if hot have my sleeves rolled up meaning the venom both on my skin and leaching out in my sweat he was exposed to. Also the dried venom on my suit being spilt into the house as a fine powder to be breathed in. Also washing my filthy suit in the house machine with other clothing on the odd occasion. There is a high number of beekeepers kids doing this program.. this isn’t a coincidence. Bee venom can kill, think about that.. think about the exposure you may be giving your wee ones or even grandkids.., their wee bodies can build a really strong reaction to the venom you can’t see on you or your gear and no one will know until that sunny arvo on the lawn kicking the ball around and you get caught holding a big filthy surprise. Epipens in an easy spot, beesuits not in the house, beesuits soaked and washed with the hose outside, wash/ change before playing with the wee ones. Just some small snippets of advise from someone that found out the hard way.
  45. 15 points
    Well , we are truly stoked . The powers that be in the NZ bee industry had no interest in the Million Dollar Nose, but Sarah Hights documentary about Georgie the AFB detector dog has been nominated as Best new comer at the 2018 Jackson Hole science media awards , to be held at the end of September in Boston , USA. I don't think Georgie will be going .... but if anyone would like to help Sarah get there .... let us know. It will be a great plug for NZ 's drug free honey and a little countrys' ability to think laterally when confronted with seemingly insurmountable problems.
  46. 15 points
    It is different in taste, but rarely I get pure lime. It always come with blackberries, tree of heaven, honeydew - in various ratios. It is to me nice, I like it that mixed way. Pure lime is also nice honey. In fact if I have to choose between the rain or drought, I choose this rain. The world cup.. I don't feel such euphoria, while the country is pure mess..and most of us struggle to survive ( around 300 000 people runaway form country in 3 years and still go at same pace..). I am also teared should we stay or should we go.. I keep pushing myself to don't give up and try to stay even I got some ways to go abroad.. Don't want talk about grim things more, here are couple random pics from this year..
  47. 15 points
    Found this post on Beesource, written by user Grozzie2, a Canadian beekeeper. It is stuff that every beekeeper needs to have a good understanding of, and is a very well written piece. So with Grozzie's permision I have copied it here. Just be aware that their summer is our winter. So add 6 months on to any months or time he mentions. Also, their season and drone raising timetable can be a little different to ours, but the principles are the same. The original post is at http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?347723-Anatomy-of-a-mite-crash QUOTE - "Anatomy of a mite crashTo understand the anatomy of a mite crash (often mistaken for a late season abscond by inexperienced new beekeepers), it's important to first understand the biology of the honeybee, as well as the biology of the varroa mite, and more importantly, get an understanding of how the two life cycles interact.I have read extensively on the biology of both the honeybee, and the varroa mite. For this summary, I will forgo the tedious process of finding and quoting all of the references, but summarize what is now my understanding of how the two life cycles interact, along with some basic arithmetic to show the interaction. Over the years I have always equated the progression of a bee colony to the brood cycle of the bees, and just assumed the progression of the mite population would follow the same cycle since the mites are raised in the bee brood. This is a huge mistake.As beekeepers, we should all understand the life cycle of a honeybee during the summer season already. An egg is laid, it emerges as a larvae 3.5 days later. A worker is capped 6 days later (day 9) and emerges as an adult bee 11 days later (day 20). The drone is different, capped on day 10 to emerge on day 24, spending 3 more days under cappings than the worker. Most of us think of a 'brood cycle' in terms of 3 weeks because it is a timeframe that is easily remembered, easily transferred to a calendar, and closely approximates the progression from egg to adult bee of a worker bee, the vast majority of the population in a colony of honeybees.The varroa mite has a completely different life cycle. A fertile female varroa mite has an average lifespan of 27 days during the summer season. The female varroa mite will enter a cell shortly before it's capped to do her reproductive magic in that cell while it is capped. For a worker cell the capped phase is 11 days, and during that time the female will produce one male offspring and averages something like 1.5 female offspring. Since it's not possible to produce half an offspring, for this discussion we will assume the lower bound, and it's one viable offspring. The end result then becomes this. The female varroa goes into the cell, to emerge 11 days later along with one viable offspring. The average length of the phoretic phase is 4.5 days according to much reading on the subject, at which time we will have two viable mites entering cells to reproduce. Both of these mites will produce one viable offspring, but the original foundress mite will be reaching end of life, so at the conclusion of this mite brooding round we will have 3 viable mites in the colony as offspring derived from the original foundress mite. Accounting for 4.5 days of phoretic behaviour before these 3 enter cells, we are now 31 days from the start of the cycle, and have 3 viable mites in the hive. So the simplified way of looking at this, the mite population will triple in 31 days, about once a month, during a period when the mites are propogating in worker cells.Things change when drone brood is present. The drone brood is preferred by the mites because of the longer capped period. After 4 days of phoretic behaviour a foundress mite will enter a drone cell that will be capped for 14 days instead of 11. Literature suggests that the average success rate for offspring in drone brood is 2.5, so again, simplify the numbers and conservatively call this 2 viable daughters for a mite that propogates in a drone cell. After the capped period, we have 3 viable mites emerging, which spend 4.5 days phoretic then enter drone brood which is capped for 14 days. When the 14 days are up, we have 9 mites in those cells, one of which is the original foundress and dies from age, leaving 8 viable mites. This process took 36 days to grow from 1 to 8. An increase by a factor of 8 over 36 days equates to doubling the population of mites every 12 days, for easy comparison, lets call that 2 weeks.So, in a vastly simplified and somewhat conservative set of estimates, we can say the mite population will triple in a month where only worker brood is present, and it will double every two weeks when drone brood is present. Keep in mind, I have ignored the 'half' part of the averages, so this is an extremely conservative description of mite population growth thru the season.Now we look at a honeybee colony that has a stable population after building up. The queen is laying 1500 eggs a day, so there are 1500 bees emerging each day, and another 1500 dieing off. If you do the math on population size, there will be roughly 30,000 house bees, and an equal number of foragers, this is your proverbial 'booming' hive with about 60,000 bees in total, managing on the order of another 30,000 brood cells in various stages from egg to emerging bee. On July 15 we do a mite wash and count 1%. We washed house bees, and, will make another conservative assumption. Mites prefer house bees, so all the mites are on the house bees, foragers are clean. 1% on 30,000 bees is 300 mites (it would be 600 if we include foragers in our population estimate). Keep in mind, this is just the phoretic population, for every phoretic mite, there are 3 more under cappings, so, the actual mite population is 300 phoretic and 900 under cappings, for a total of 1200 mites. There is drone brood present till Aug 1, so for another 2 weeks. Two weeks later on Aug 1 the total mite population is 2400 mites, but we have reached the point where new drone brood is no longer present, so the population of mites will no longer double in two weeks, it triples in a month. This brings us up to 7200 mites on Sept 1, and left unchecked, that mite population will grow to 21,000 mites by Oct 1.Now lets look back at our bee population. On July 15 we had a booming hive with 60,000 bees, but the laying rate of the queen is already starting to reduce and by mid September she is only laying 500 or so eggs a day. The bee population still looks huge as we still have roughly 40,000 bees in the colony, but, the dieoff rate of foragers from age now far exceeds the rate of replacement bees being raised. By early October we are down to 30,000 bees total in the colony as they reduce population going into winter. But we have long reached a crossover point by now, 30,000 bees and 20,000 mites, the infestation rate is more than 50%. We have the queen laying 500 eggs a day, so only 500 worker cells available for mites to go into, and we have a few thousand mites looking for a cell to enter. Every cell ready for capping has a mite, many of them more than one mite.The net result of all this, is very predictable. Timeframes vary by climate, but you can basically set your clock based on when the bees stop raising drones in your area. At this time, the queen rate of laying eggs is reducing, and the mite population triples over the next month, while the bee population decreases and the brood rate cuts in half. By the end of the second bee brood cycle without drone brood present, the mite population is large enough to infest every worker cell that is developing. This results in the perfect storm of bee deaths. We have a generation of foragers dieing off due to natural aging. At the same time, we have a generation of house bees that should be graduating to the forager role, but, many of them were compromised by mites during development, so they are not really healthy and many dieing off prematurely due to various mite related virus issues. At this same time, we have a generation of new bees emerging, all of whom are totally compromised and much of this population is to sick to be of use in the colony. The population is now dwindling so quickly that there aren't enough bees to incubate what brood is left in the hive, so the next generation (which should be your long lived winter bees) are dieing in the cells, chilled. The timing of this rapid decline will correspond with the 3rd brood cycle after they stop raising drone brood in the average case.A 1% infestation based on a wash or sugar roll in mid July left unchecked, is a dead hive in October or November, they just dont know it yet. Ofc, these numbers are based on averages, so, there will be outliers in both directions. Yes, there will be colonies that survive unchecked with this level of mites, and yes, there will be other colonies that dont make it this far into the cycle. But the averages suggest, you can set your clock starting at the time your bees stop raising drones. Count ahead 2 brood cycles, and the colony will look strong, lots of bees coming and going, nothing to worry about. But that's exactly the time the perfect storm of bee deaths due to mite infestation starts to accelerate and manifest itself in the form of a hive that crashes from 'looks strong, going to be a good cluster for the winter' into 'no bees left' just two or three weeks later. An autopsy of the colony will show virtually no bees left, brood frames with a fair amount of spotty capped brood, now dead, probably a few with heads sticking out as they tried to emerge but didn't succeed. For those who have never seen it happen before, these symptoms must add up to 'they absconded' because it doesn't seem realistic for that many bees to die off so quickly. Reality is, they died, and that many bees did die off that quickly".
  48. 15 points
    Little Buddha spam! Starting to get real smiles now, but still very serious! Me and Mum, mostly Mum are setting up for a market soon, Riley is supervising and like your typical foreman she’s asleep on the job. Mums been very productive making soaps and happy feet (slippers). I made a human though so I win.
  49. 15 points
    I am a personal friend of Frank and Mary-Ann Lyndsey. Neither Frank nor Mary-Ann are members of this beekeeping forum. Frank has been informed of this thread and has asked me to post his reply to clarify both the radio interview and allegations made on this forum. All true. I had two sites I’d didn’t visit: grass up high, supers with rotted corners. These were the last in a days run and missed when you run out of time. The beekeeper was horrified at the condition but it was deliberate as someone had helped themselves to 5 two and three high hives but they leave them alone when left 5 high. The site going into Wellington had to be abandoned. Every Thursday a group of young guys had a party and their party trick was to see how many pallets of hives they could tip over. I didn’t realised they could see the apiary from above and when I camped out nothing happened. So one night I walked in along the railway line for a km and camped out and about midnight surprised them but couldn’t out run them. So moved the apiary. About this time a new railway manager thought it was unsafe to cross the railway tracks even though I had been doing this for 20 years and could advise train control The losses of 400 hives were due to resistant mites. Dr Mark Goodwin has been warning about this for three years. Beekeepers failed to check that their treatments had worked after a treatment round was completed One beekeeper sampling for bee exports found no change in mite numbers, swapped from bayvarol to apistan after a couple of weeks no change. Put on apiguard and mites fell. That beekeeper didn’t warn others so some suffered serious losses. I’m now getting resistant mites in sites close to those that move the hives around the country. Not in other sites. 6 strips in a hive and 10 % mites at the end of 6 weeks. Mite resistance is spreading. Be aware. I now used two treatments together and treat 4 times a year. Last season I used Formic acid flash treatment starting in spring once a month. I started treating weekly from Christmas with Formic acid. By Feb/ March no mites in my hives. IE alcohol washes and no mites dropping on slides under mesh bottom boards (All my hives have mesh bottom boards) Mite bombs name created by Denis van Engelsdorp USA. Any hive dying from mites within a 2 kl of your hives will take out a whole apiary in a month. I tried this in 2001 when I got mites from a log coming down from Northland. I killed or sealed in all the ferals I could find except one, and when this died from mites, the mite fall in my hives 300 metres away was huge. I left strips in to protect the hives. Now this is unlikely to work. So now every beekeeper is dependant of their neighbour. Don’t allow hives to swarm as these will die from mites and be robbed creating a mite bomb. All treat together or else you have wasted money if just one beekeeper doesn’t. AFB two reasons both beekeeper related. I was an AP2 and can pick a diseased hive when it’s just a couple of cell. A Commercial beekeeper left 4 hives behind after moving 40 hives away. The hives in my apiary gradually got AFB. I asked for these hives to be inspected. Free of disease yet I burnt nearly all the hives in two Apiaries. I was told but later the inspector had no sense of smell and didn’t like to wear glasses. So AFB spread. In other sites 2 or 3 AFB in each apiary. PMP would inspect and find disease in other beekeepers hives but no follow up next season so it would continue even though only new gear went on the apiaries. Last season commercials moved in around me. They got AFB but not me although one in the autumn ( over 200 hives now within 3km ) Left all spare boxes on hives as it easier to get rid of all gear when a hive gets AFB. Is AFB a problem. China has detected AFB spores in Canadian, Australian and now NZ honey yet we destroy all AFB hives and honey. What does that tell you. Old at 70 year. Yes slower. Used to have 480 hives but now down to 160. After varroa decimated my apiaries close to other beekeepers, now back to 160 hives again. Hives isolated still no mites at Christmas. Old boxes yes as bees do not mind the condition of the box and you get twice the amount of propolis. However with high densities, bees will now rob if hives not closed down tight. Lots of reports of hobby hives being robbed by the commercial hives 200 metres away. Some just after they opened the hives, some could be due to faulty or late treatment being robbed when bee numbers drop. One has wide open entranced - should have reduced them. Club now promotes robbing screens. Too many hives yes. My production has halved in the last 7 years. Thought it was me but then did a walk around. Where I was the only commercial beekeeper, now some sites have 100 hives within 2 km. Bee hives slow to build. Farming has changed. Scrub cleared, rotational grazing, nitrogen put on reducing clover. Clover cut before it flowers. Most commercials now feeding supplements to support hives. This is not sustainable beekeeping. Frank P.S Frank doesn't belong to any forums as he write for the New Zealand beekeeper and with almost 50yrs of beekeeping and reading, research and attending both NZ and overseas conferences I think he is more informed than most on any forum. Mary-Ann
  50. 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
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