Jump to content


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/01/2020 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    There is a lot of money being invested in goat and sheeps milk. Local goat farm, milks 3000 will double production this spring - have built another 3000 goat operation almost next door to the first farm. And a friend is building a brand new dedicated sheep milking and plans on milking 800 ewes this spring, so long as he finishes the milking shed. It is his second year of operation and the returns out perform dairy cows....
  2. 4 points
    Dreaming Big. Mr Boot has asked several times for my marketing strategy for selling honey to the world. In the the predawn quiet of mid winter a gentle snow falls in the foothills of New Zealands Southern Alps. The log burner simmers. The coffee brews . And the old kitchen is lit by the glow of the computer screen that allows me to communicate with the world..... google searching trails of names and jobs and connections that unearth people of influence in far flung corners of the world. It is that quiet time of reason and thought ..... The dream is a story of the people of Aotearoa , The Beekeepers, , The farmers, the Families ..... the people with the passion to create and craft and market to the world a story that draws the customer in to become a part of that dream ..... to taste the buzz and the sweetness of the nectar from the mountain valleys, that is sold for money that feeds and clothes and shelters the people of the land to raise their families in peace with full bellies ..... that the circle of life may go on. And by choosing a jar of Honey from the far flung islands of the earth and cracking the seal and dipping the spoon and savouring the sweetness and aroma and sharing the experience, the customer closes the circle and secures the link in the chain that is Humanity. The Dream is Big, but as we all know, The world is round.
  3. 4 points
    Last site upgraded for the year, hives like it way better 16 inches+ off the ground
  4. 3 points
    I can and do put apiarys into a quarantine system in which I can identify that hives either to an apiary or having come from that apiary. I have never done quarantine on my own honey boxes but I have many times used a gear quarantine when taking over someone else's hives, normally just for the first season. When it comes to finding AFB in newly purchased hives I have found over the years that it is least likely to show up in early spring and very likely to turn up during a dearth period in late spring followed by a splattering when taking off honey in autumn. When purchasing hives I used to be really keen to change everything over to decent standard gear but found it was much better to just run the hives on their own rubbish for the first 12 months.
  5. 3 points
    On my Facebook feed ... never mind about Manuka, and love the 35+ !!
  6. 3 points
    I get a bit tired of hearing how we should all 'unite behind a levy'. A lot of beekeepers have been quite bruised by what has been going on in the industry over the past years since Manuka boomed. While the more honest ones will admit that they are better off financially many lament the state of the industry as it now is and the sometimes cut throat process that has gotten us here. The vote against the levy, rightly or wrongly, was as much about this I suspect, much like Brexit and Trump were a reaction against the status quo and those running things at the top. Apiculture NZ and many of their cheerleaders seem increasingly tone deaf to the situation facing many beekeepers and increasingly focused on a relentlessly positive message around the industry...probably driven by a few outliers who own their value chain cashing in on big returns. If a beekeeper can't sell their honey for even a break even price then he or she won't likely be voting for a levy any time soon I would think. When you hold up those who potentially step on other beekeepers throats to get sites and export to the top end you naturally get resentment from the majority who love beekeeping as a job but are doing it to support families not investors. How many of the newly covid redundant will believe the press.. all of the press that is touting our industry as one that is booming? Might be a second round of Honey speculators entering the industry in time for the new season. Supporters of the levy will say that the low price, inability to sell your honey is exactly why we should have a levy....do the potential payers have faith that the levy will actually bring the majority of beekeepers in NZ a benefit rather than the 'elite' few? This is the issue I suspect. Just in case anyone is under the incorrect impression that I am anti Apiculture NZ as an entity the work that they did around covid and lobbying for beekeepers to remain working was excellent and very much appreciated (especially as it allowed me to winter down mating units into viable winter hives).
  7. 2 points
    @ChrisM all sheep and goat milk is A2. These farms are supplying driers that convert the milk to powder and incorporate in infant formula.
  8. 2 points
    We 've had an issue this year that I think stemmed from an issue last year. We all like to point the finger , so I will ! Last summer we had bees in the Greendale Hot zone where large number of one operators hives were burnt. All those bees went up to the Dew in late January .... where more disaster fell as the O/A treatment of choice failed to control the mite, but that is another story. This past spring we amalgamated the survivor hives and packed the dead broods up on pallets and stuck them in the shed. We then set to splitting to repopulate as many hives as we could. Of the live hives left, we picked up very few AFB in the spring. This autumn check we had a plastering with over twenty burners. It doesn't sound a lot in an operation of 1500, but considering we were down to almost zero three years ago, it's a big jump. With the AFB dogs retired from unemployment and old age we were a bit lax in finding replacements as we thought we had sorted the problem. So, we are back to square one, so to speak. Detector Dog Chief has been returned to us from the coast and is undergoing refresher training. We have several truckloads of pallets of the dead brood boxes earmarked for melt down as I am not brave enough to put them out again. All the honey boxes from yards that had positive AFB in the autumn check when we took off honey dew have been wrapped and are destined for melt down. Next spring , as we make up duds we will follow a pallet quarantine. NO brood swapped between pallets. DD Chief will have another good look around in a month or so. Yards that are free of AFB will be used for nucs. The X factor is all the honey boxes in the shed that never went out last season . We've tried quarantining honey boxes and putting them back on the yards they came off, but it needs a really slick tracking system. We'll probably run the dog around them before they go out ..... pity we can't irradiate them !
  9. 2 points
    I don't quarantine any thing if I find AFB. I haven't done for many years. I found yrs ago when working for others, that when they stored boxes and other gear to paraffin dip at a later date, they seem to never really get on top of the problem, all ways a few hives each year showing signs of AFB. When we started to pick the hive up when found with AFB and burn it that day or within the next couple, we got on top of the issue and have had yrs with no symptoms.
  10. 2 points
    Shame we can’t market our honeys using TA. im pretty sure I remember being “outlawed” because we had to fit into the same labelling laws as Australia . if that’s true it’s a shame it doesn’t work the other way.
  11. 2 points
    And they say marketers have no souls.
  12. 2 points
    Don't even get me started on sunblock! The way that's tested it's no wonder there's so many exposés about it. At least with TA, I suppose, a high number of equivalent magnitude to an NPA reading is still going to give you something with decent efficacy. It just may not necessarily be effective against the same things.
  13. 2 points
    I'm torn about these total activity ("TA") measurements. One the one hand they're a perfectly legitimate measure of the activity of a honey, though on the other hand the use of the "+" designation rides the coat-tails of manuka's non-peroxide activity ("NPA") and confuses the labelling issue further.
  14. 2 points
    July 1995 NZ Beekeeper - Peter Molan awarded his MBE
  15. 2 points
    Have you had a covid test? Wasn't Napier one of the ports where boat workers were able to come and go freely for quite a while longer than perhaps was ideal? Edit: more importantly, get better soon!
  16. 2 points
  17. 2 points
    The mayor of Tauranga tv a few weeks ago saying that the CBD is dying because of Covid & hinting about some govt intervention. To me the reality is that the CBD died sometime ago. My understanding is locals refused to pay high parking fees and small shops started moving out. Then Farmers moved out to a suburb, and the shops that were left either followed or shut down. I like the Mount for shopping & I like the boardwalk. Have they reopened the Mt walk yet? The hot pool at Fernland is just one pool, v clean, surrounded by bush & has camping ground, and they give pensioner discount.
  18. 2 points
    It’s a complicated thing. There are plants that do not require pollination of any kind to produce fruit and seeds. There are some that require the stimulus of pollination, but not actual fertilisation, to fruit. Where pollination is required a plant may use pollen that it has produced (in the same or a different flower), or may have to use pollen from another, distant, plant of the same species. Unfortunately too, there are plants that have a bet each way, both ‘cross-pollinating’ and ‘self-pollinating’. Pollen is passively dispersed by currents of air and water but animals can be induced to visit flowers for rewards like pollen itself, nectar, resins, and oils, or even by deception, in order to carry pollen to another plant. A pollen vector has to transport a quantity of viable pollen to a receptive part of the plant (the flower stigma), and we look for direct (pollen grains) and indirect (fruit or seed set) evidence that this has happened. That’s pollination. We have to understand the possible plant reproductive arrangements to work out what contribution any given pollinator might be making, and we have to understand a lot about possible pollinators, their morphology, seasonality, nutrition, and behaviour, for example. Many of our fruit and seed crops benefit from being assisted in this way, and for some it is essential. In these cases the important visitors are almost always insects. We call this ‘entomophilus’ pollination, and improving the circumstances in which insects (and a few other small ‘bugs!) operate can result in quantitative and qualitative improvements in yield, and better financial and nutritive outcomes. Observing pollination in order to make such improvements is not however straightforward. We have to be able to look at the biology of both the plant and the animal in unaccustomed detail and understand how each has to respond to fluctuating environmental conditions. Not only that, but consider that ‘crops’ are a social construction and a part of a market economy. ‘Crops’ are much more than their biology. Studying pollination Agents capable of pollinating flowers can be abiotic (wind, water, gravity, electrostatic forces, rain) or biotic (such as birds, bats, insects, mammals). Any one of these may be capable of meeting all or part of a plant’s requirement. Biotic pollinators are different in that the relationship is built on some form of exchange (even if a fraudulent one) that is advertised, desirable, rewarding, social, and constrained. There are then questions to be asked about how the potential exchange is communicated and to who, the costs and benefits of the ‘reward’ to each party, choice and competition between the interests of the individuals and the populations they are part of, and the ‘rules’ that affect the trade (physical, chemical, and biological), things like pollen presentation, anther dehiscence, flower duration, stigma receptivity, and the physical ability of particular pollinators. Much of the 'mechanics' of observing pollen transfer is tried and tested and standard methods have been worked out. Often, pollination studies tend to stop short of including fertilisation; the conditions for good pollen viability, germination, pollen tube growth, and pollen (in)compatibility have to be found elsewhere but actually form part of the ‘whole picture’. Rarely do studies give much thought to the actual transportation; how does the pollinator find, collect, and carry pollen? In the case of honeybees the COLOSS Beebook describes protocols for identifying and evaluating pollen quantity and quality transported by bees, evaluating the same deposited on stigmas, estimating the proportion of foragers from a colony visiting a crop, observing bee densities in field plots, appraising the effect of competition between plants for pollination, and conducting pollination research in unusual environments like greenhouses. DNA meta-barcoding is beginning to be used to identify pollen loads, sigma deposits, and track pollen flow. These kinds of protocols are generally equally applicable to most pollinators and are intended to ensure studies are robust, comparable, and repeatable, but beyond collecting observations about the process of transportation, pollination studies have a long row to hoe. The ‘Nature’ of advertising Plants, and pollinators, have options, some more than others. Before any kind of exchange can take place plants have to prompt pollinators to come visiting (plants are, literally, rooted in place), but leaving food rewards out for all and sundry will hardly achieve the required outcome. Successful pollination has come to rely on signals, simple, elaborate, and occasionally dishonest, for communicating necessary information. From one perspective, plants 'advertise' in a marketplace for service, and the most obvious representation of that advertising are flowers. In markets, supply and demand fluctuate. At any point in time there may be a surplus or deficit of flowers relative to the number of pollinators. Increasing competition between flowers might result in an increased investment in rewards and display; reduced competition might have the opposite effect. Advertising comes at a cost and in the end a plant’s pollination and reproduction will depend not only on the efficacy and ‘value for money’ of its own signals but also on the signals of co-flowering species, their distribution, and relative abundance. We do not see the world as others see it. Signals that plants can produce that can be perceived from a distance fall into two types. There are those that make use of the electromagnetic spectrum, (that we refer to as colour – a limited part of the spectrum), and the emission of volatile chemicals (some of which we smell). Such signals can be tailored so that they are detected by a broad range of pollinators, or only by a few specific pollinators, perhaps one, and not necessarily by us. They may indicate the reward is available, exhausted, or located in a specific place. Comparatively well known, colour and ultra-violet ‘nectar-guide’ patterns can be accompanied or supplanted by far more important but cryptic ‘odour-guide’ patterns. Olfactory signals appear to be especially easy to learn and remember, at least for bees. Some recent studies suggest ‘odour plumes’ sometimes used by pollinators can be disrupted by anthropogenic pollution, such as ozone and diesel. Signals are easily overlooked or misunderstood in pollination studies because it’s necessary to recognise if and when a specific animal will sense a particular signal, and how that will be understood, prioritised, and remembered. Temporal change in food networks Nectar is essentially a modified phloem exudate available as a carbohydrate food reward for pollinators, mostly a source of energy. Plants can control nectar secretion and can adjust it according to rate of consumption, temperature, or humidity. In some plants there is a daily rhythm to production, in others it is clearly under the control of a hormone. The ‘transience' of the secretion serves to conserve an expensive product; in some examples nectar secretion was estimated to account for nearly 40% of the total carbon absorbed by the plant. The main carbohydrate is sucrose which is metabolised in a time/temperature-dependant way, by enzymes (‘invertase’) on the cell walls of the nectary tissue, to hexose sugars. Some invertase remains in the nectar, so the nectar sugars continue to change composition with time. Sugar solutions are also hygroscopic to varying degrees, so their concentration is not fixed, nor is the viscosity. The environment has an effect on the nectar itself, humidity and heat changing the physical properties of the solution. Besides sugars, there are other constituents that matter. Minerals, amino acids, enzymes, alkaloids, volatiles, and antimicrobials are selectively attractive and unattractive to various flower visitors, by design. Microbes (like yeasts) come to inhabit the nectar and are also responsible for significant changes to its composition, and its allure. Pollen is foremost in the mind looking at pollination of course, but besides the obvious function for the plant it is also a food reward for the pollinator, but, unlike nectar, directly linked to a plant’s reproductive success. It, and its compliment of microbes, is the major (perhaps the only) source of food required for pollinator activity, growth and repair, comprising amino acids, fats, oils, and minerals. It comes ‘packaged’ in a huge variety of perishable forms, sometimes ‘labelled’ with aromatic or gustatory compounds that try to protect it from or limit herbivory (for example, alcohols and phenols like linalool or perseitol). Bees’ aversion to chemically defended pollen depends on what else is available, and they can be put off the whole patch by a few unpleasant flowers. As a valuable product pollen supply can be constrained by things like morphology, by environmental factors (for example, temperature and humidity restraining antithesis), by its longevity, and by competition or theft. There is an obvious tension between pollen being both food and the object to be transported. Some pollinators specialise in one, or one or two, types of pollen, while others require a great variety. Lately there is a suggestion that stoichiometry may be a guiding principle when it comes to what pollen suits a particular pollinator. While there is scant evidence that pollinators are able to assess its food value, there is plenty of evidence that they select on the basis of its physical form, its presentation or accessibility, odour, or taste, and that their appetite or tolerance for different pollens changes depending on, for example, scarcity or abundance. In practice then, nectar or pollen can be harvested by a parade of visitors as time and circumstance change; visitors with different mouthparts, different appetites, and different priorities. Pollination studies consequently have several questions to think about. How, and when, is the supply of nectar and pollen regulated? How do we account for depletion by visitors, by wind, rain, heat, and humidity, or by the plant conserving it? How can we determine if and when the temporal changes in its chemical and physical properties affect its attraction and utility for different visitors? Last, how well does a given pollinator compete with the other flower visitors, and do they need to? The importance of memory In recent times navigation and memory have become topical and the subject of some studies that suggest impairment of these functions can occur following exposure to agricultural chemicals, although so far it is hard to see how the comparison is being made with only a rudimentary understanding of what the ‘baseline’ is. Pollinators are thought to acquire information about the location of their nest-site and food sources in ways that are common to most if not all insect orders, the hymenoptera being the most closely studied. An insect monitors and stores distance and compass metrics derived from its own movement and is able to compare its current sensory experience with a memory of the desired sensory experience (in one expression, by matching ‘images’). Various guidance strategies allow pollinators to travel at a distance from their nest site, and with experience, to embark on, and return from, complicated journeys. With increasing experience accuracy emerges automatically as more precise or reliable cues have more successful outcomes and information from the various strategies is evaluated and refined. While these strategies work together one may be prioritised over the others at any particular time to resolve conflicts or deficiencies, and importantly each can be used train or 'calibrate' the other guidance systems. It's clear that memory is a crucial part of the system, and that different memories are recalled ‘on-cue’ and depending for example on whether an animal is seeking food, or has gathered food; what has been referred to as 'motivational state'. We also know that memories are ‘layered’, and time dependent – they are acquired, reinforced, and extinguished in ways yet to be understood. There is a complex relationship between memory acquisition and extinction, with physiological age being a factor. Older foragers are often more likely to show evidence of the progressive loss of some types of brain function, particularly spatial memory. On the other hand younger foragers are thought to have a shorter memory. Forgetting what they knew yesterday encourages them to try new locations and food sources and so builds experience. This might be particularly useful for pollinators that forage on much more transient and distributed flora. We should not expect all pollinators to be the same. Bumble bees and solitary bees are masters of the local search and have progressed from simple Levy search patterns to develop very effective routes (like 'trap-lining'). Honey bees are not as efficient in the same way, however, their ability to recruit nest-mates to exploit the same resource, and their ability to navigate more effectively over large distances, ensures efficiency at the colony level. Many pollinators, and particularly honeybees, also display a learned preference for particular flowers based on memory of a previous experience. They become especially adept at recognising and manipulating a type of flower and remain loyal to it for a significant period of time, a phenomenon now known as ‘floral constancy’. It’s possible this is more important for foragers that use image matching navigational strategies. In observing pollination, a forager's motivational state, its sensory and locomotive abilities, and how and when it stores, manages, and retrieves memories is of fundamental importance if we are to understand how pollinators make decisions. Just as much as varying nutritional demands or sensitivity to signals, varying aptitude for using the same basic neurological tool-set is responsible for stratifying pollinators within a landscape and across time. Business practices and Commerce Flowering crops are unlike plants that exist in a natural ecosystem in that they are significant aggregations of selected plants purposely planted and cultivated for food or commerce. These plantings can take many forms such as pasture, field crops, agroforestry, and greenhouses, and are generally monocultures with different degrees of human intervention. The planted area can be sufficiently large that it can test the foraging range of some pollinators, modify their diet, and reduce their density to a point that limits full pollination. This can be aggravated by the displacement of local nesting sites through shading, soil tillage, and overzealous ‘horticultural hygiene’. The cyclic overabundance and famine that characterises a flowering crop is not necessarily an advantage over the lifetime of an embedded pollinator. These simplified environments are less resilient to changes in weather, season, and climate, when a single adverse event can produce unsuitable conditions that curtail the activity of insects and disturb the pollination of the entire crop. Pollinators will respond to all manner of changes, like flower abundance and diversity, climate change, land use change and intensification, and introduced species and pathogens. These responses change their distribution, physiology or seasonal phenology and so synchrony between visiting behaviour and the timing and duration of flowering. The consequences of fluctuation and change in the environment can be buffered or offset by the presence of a variety of flower visitors that can assume complimentary roles under changing circumstances. Besides one of scale, the pollination of these plants has extra dependencies that stem from sociocultural or horticultural practice and pollinator management. In horticulture the organisation of things superficially quite peripheral to pollination, for example, crop-load, rootstocks, pruning, irrigation, windbreaks, pest management, and the use of dormancy breakers or growth regulators, can have a significant impact on pollination success. Likewise, pollinators can be ‘managed’ but this only applies to a quite limited subset of possible pollinators, nearly all of them bees. Honeybees have become the most popular managed crop pollinator largely because of their persistent, perennial life-cycle, and portability. A few species of bumblebees can be managed, but like the few solitary bees that are used their colonies are fundamentally seasonal and year-round availability requires specialized controlled environments. The supply, placement, and timing of introduced pollination units, or the maintenance of pasture grazing, ‘set-aside’, headland, and field margins, are activities with their own financial costs, benefits, and risks that relate to the economy they are part of. A social enterprise The ‘outcome’ required from a flowering crop is may not be full pollination nor, necessarily, is there a long-term plan. The prominence of financial drivers and assumptions about ‘value’ quite possibly mean that what biology might see as sub-optimal may remain a preferred state when the costs of labour and horticultural management are considered. Value is at the core of many pollination studies and, as such, they need to be quite explicit about the time and spatial scales the data relate to for it to support future planning. There are useful examples that provide a social context for the relative importance of pollination compared to other interventions, and that illustrate the interplay between ‘social’ issues and crop pollination. Here are three. In New Zealand a significant number of kiwifruit blocks are now covered by a canopy. These canopies consist of a hail resistant netting supported by cables attached to rammed posts, and can cover a considerable area, thousands of square meters. Many, but not all, are fully enclosed with netting down to ground level along the sides. From a grower's perspective these provide some substantial benefits. Obviously, one is protection from the elements. Even unnoticed hail or wind damage can cause a significant fall in the return a grower gets for their fruit. Another benefit is a significant reduction in bird damage to buds and fruit, and any waste due to bird lime. The factor that may have pushed these expensive constructions 'over the line' was an introduced bacterial disease that can rapidly destroy an orchard. The canopy provides an element of phytosanitary security and protects the plants from wind damage, reducing broken shoots in the spring that are an important point of entry for the bacteria. Considering the effect these covers would have on the honeybees that are universally used to pollinate the flowers had not been a priority; unless the disease could be managed there would be no flowers. Under the covers large numbers of foraging bees failed to return to their colony and died. Those that did return delivered pollen that is mono-floral and without the proper balance of amino acids the bees require for adequate protein nutrition. A hive starved by both quantity and quality of pollen deteriorates very quickly. The loss of bees also affects the colony's ability to regulate temperature and care for brood, young bees that normally care for brood begin foraging prematurely, protein deficiency encourages brood cannibalisation, the queen will stop laying eggs that produce new bees, and the hive enters a spiral of decline that takes months to correct but is very quickly an ineffective pollinating unit. Many beekeepers refuse to place their hives under covers, and were in a position to send them to honey crops instead. The industry is trying a range of 'work-arounds', including alternative pollinators, aids to navigation, supplementary feed, and even supplemental artificial pollination (mechanical hand pollination if you like!). The introduced native bumblebee Bombus terrestris is a possible alternative, although not without ecological risk. Commercial supply of these is available, and it is it is possible to rear colonies locally albeit on a seasonal basis. However, where local annual production has been tried it has not been able to out-compete the supply from continuous, year round, and sometimes counter-seasonal production of large multi-national suppliers, increasing the risk to local ecosystems, and local pollinators. Further afield, in Maoxian County, Sichuan, China, by the 1980s land-tenure customs had produced quite small holdings from which farmers were being incentivised to maximise a cash return from a crop to market (rather than as food). The rules and standards in a commodity market are entirely different. The apple orchards are located in cool, mountainous regions with differences in sub-climate and elevation altering the flower phase of every orchard. Pollinators struggled. To make the most of their land-use growers reduced or eliminated polliniser trees, maximised fruiting trees, and focused on high yields, confident people could pollinate the trees reliably. Pollen could be sourced from the few remaining pollinisers however distant, shared, and people could apply it in the frequent conditions that were not favourable for bees. Relatives or neighbours might get pollen free of charge. The different flowering times enabled neighbours to help each other pollinate and close community bonds kept the labour costs down. Polliniser trees were often planted in home gardens so that flowers would not be stolen and where it was convenient for flower harvesting and pollen extraction. Pesticides could be used extensively, a disincentive for beekeepers who anyway preferred to use their bees for honey crops elsewhere. Nor was it ever clear how a beekeeper would be paid for a pollination service. Faced with a multitude of 1/5th ha land-owners, whose trees was he responsible for pollinating? Whose pollen was being used? A decade later the economy had changed again. By 2011, apple growing had considerably reduced in the most marginal areas. Climate change had increased the amount of cool, rainy, cloudy weather, the farm gate price of apples had dropped substantially, and production costs had risen, exacerbated by young people drifting to work in the cities. The famers had adapted by shifting away from apples, a crop that requires cross-pollination, to fruit and vegetable crops that were not cross-pollinated, like lettuce, Chinese cabbage, tomato, celery, onion, along with other fruit trees, such as plum, loquat, and walnut. What was the value of pollinators now? An almost identical story comes from south of Chengdu where Hanyuan County is the biggest pear producer in Sichuan. As in Maoxian, since the 1980s the area has been undergoing a transition from subsistence cereal crops to cash crops, especially pears. Most pear varieties are self-incompatible and need cross pollination to set fruit and keeping one to two colonies of honeybees (Apis cerana cerana, the Chinese honeybee) was common for some households. Until about 1985 wild insect pollinators were mostly common, and erratic fruit yield and quality were not a concern. Traditional land tenure was fragmented, land owners were often absent engaged in off-farm activities, while the small plots were managed season-to-season, the insecurity stalling investment-led change. As pear trees became more abundant insect pests (mainly fruit moths and Pollination factors.pdf aphids) flourished and entrenched extensive broad-spectrum spray programmes that also killed off the potential pollinators. This established hand pollination, but also ensured that pear trees were always over-pollinated, producing unsustainable fruit-sets and heavy, labour-intensive, fruit thinning. Returning to bee pollination is not proving to be easy, even if pesticides are controlled. Native pollinators were not scalable. Pears do not provide a nectar surplus and the bees cannot produce honey, so beekeepers in pear orchards end up incurring a cost for feeding bees with sugar syrup that they argue compounds the lost income from honey. These days China’s government agricultural officers spend their time trying to unravel these archaic interdependencies, while the rest of world uses them as poster-children for ‘bee-mageddon’. In both these cases from China some commentary framed them in terms of ‘pollination failure’ and its mitigation by (low waged – exploited) human labourers. An alternative framing might see farmers managing a family business driven by financial decisions and choosing cost effective pollinators. Looking ahead Observing pollination is an absorbing, multi-disciplinary challenge at every level of study, and one with real, tangible consequences. It can only become more important as climate change rapidly introduces yet more uncertainty about the conditions pollinators will operate under in the future. The speed of change appears to be such that some pre-emptive management is preferable to a conservative or even reactionary, response; relationships formed over millennia might alter in decades. Understanding what these are and how they operate now is vital to sustain these processes, and to construct a flexible, responsive, diversity of pollinating mechanisms that will work whatever the circumstances. We will be unable to predict the specifics of our changing climate with any certainty, and continuing a dependency on any single species of pollinator seems unwise. *“Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose”. Richard Dawkins.
  19. 2 points
    I thought the lockdown would've put paid to the flu and colds this winter...turns out I was wrong...again four out of six here got unisex flu
  20. 2 points
    I was going to start up the forge yesterday and make some hive tools. This was going to be my last beekeeping job for the winter but a bad dose of man flue has kept me inside for the last four days. I was really crook yesterday so my darling wife gave me some Harker herbal deep lung support. It's stronger tasting than Lanes emulsion although perhaps not quite so unpleasant and once you start breathing again you seem to get a different flavour or scent every time you breathe in or out.If I had to guess I would say it had almost every essential oil you can get plus a bit of horse liniment mixed in with a base of drop bear droppings to give it that eucalyptus plus flavour. It could definitely use a teaspoon or 10 of honey . I wouldn't touch it again with a bargepole except that last night I slept just about right through with hardly a cough and no more choking on excess saliva. I think a bit of honeydew may complement the flavours and that is what I'll try to tonight. It's either that, a teaspoon of cement or trade in my Y chromosome.
  21. 2 points
    The group's long CoVid lock-down has been punctuated with Web-hosted virtual meetings for those able to join. This month it was out of the web-world and back to the wide-world with the group's first Honey Show. The BOP group exists to facilitate shared knowledge and experience, in a social setting where potentially everyone has something to contribute, including people that have never (or never intend to), keep their own honeybees. Keeping bees, as a hobby or a business, benefits from good information about many things, for example information about biology and horticulture, carpentry, engineering, business, to legal, employment, and compliance matters. It’s valuable then, that the group appeals to a wide range of people with different life interests. With beekeeping at the core of what we do, providing opportunities to lift the skill of beekeepers beyond proficient to real expertise is an essential process. Rather than teach, our collective role is to provide opportunities to learn, and to learn by doing, by participating, communicating, and by seeing what is possible. Honey Shows are supposed to be a test of some essential beekeeping skills. They examine the ability to harvest and pack honey and other bee products while maintaining the highest standards for quality and hygiene. They should also be aspirational and provide examples of the best that can be achieved. Some of the more peripheral talents, like brewing, making polishes and cosmetics, and cooking with honey, provide an opening for more diverse interests and supply ideas for innovative revenue streams. Creative arts exhibits celebrate novel perspectives on what we do and broaden our horizon. These are all things that provide opportunities to grow, learn, and improve. We are aware that some members are not confident about being 'tested'; about the competitive nature of such 'Shows', but that needn't be so. Yes, larger Shows can seem merciless, and pedantic, to the uninitiated. In our event you are meeting the standards we explain in advance, testing only yourself. For some classes of entry there may be guidelines or no standards. If you think you have created something that merits sharing and discussion amongst our social group then display it, it need go no further. If you wish to 'practice' or test or exhibits for larger Shows you can do that too. The BOP event is intended to be a greater test of the group than of its members. This month's test produced a range of outcomes. I can confidently say that none of the many entries in the honey class could have been prize winners in any Show so you have nothing to beat! However, every one had something to teach us, (like the use of a torch!) and all of them were available for tasting, so even bystanders got tips and a taste. The wax exhibits however included one or two entries of a high standard (potential 'winners' elsewhere) as well as some 'tutorials'. The mead section too overwhelmed us with varieties. We used a lot of lolly-sticks and tasting glasses. The DIY entries were all versions of robbing guards (!), and the 'Crafty' people supplied a decorated hive, photos, a photomontage, and pieces of wool and needlework and so on. We had more than we could comment on in the two hours-odd we had available, and more than we expected given the short notice exhibitors had to prepare.
  22. 2 points
    Through the 1990s, we came just *so* close to losing the regulatory protection of what is now in our PMP. That is, unless the industry developed the (then) PMS that we did, there would have been nothing to stop the feeding of antibiotics. Nothing to compel a beekeeper to inspect for AFB. Nothing to make them destroy infected hives so they don't threaten the rest of the industry. No way that anyone else could destroy them, either... As as industry, we held firm, and got the regulatory environment that we wanted. The industry had enough confidence in the industry body, the NBA, to vote for a commodity levy to pay for the NBA (reputable and effective), disease control (the first PMS actually produced *by* an industry such as ours) and marketing (raising the profile of honeys generally, but - in hindsight - with manuka taking the centre stage). I am sad that the industry, even through those years of incredible prices, doesn't have the same feeling toward 'organisation' that it once had. And a clear and unwavering belief that the PMP can and should be seen as our plan, not one that has been imposed upon us...
  23. 2 points
    I will be declaring honey sent by post as natural sweetener or something similar in future. how many of us have friends and family overseas that we send honey too. its ridiculous of course and just another layer of bureaucracy to keep the boffons in their Wellington offices employed. i get so tired of all the rules and regs that are constantly dreamed up all throughout life in NZ.
  24. 1 point
    Sorry Adam it was not meant to be harsh. It was intended as a wry comment on the difference between beekeeper dreamers and marketing realists. I tend to side with the beekeeper dreamers but I have been round for a while and understand that the price you can get for export honey basically sets the price for local honey. I also know that 10 new brands on the market doesn't mean 10 times as much honey sold. It just means someone gains some sales and someone loses them. The other thing that seems perennial in marketing is that producer packers do everything they can to maintain the price of honey at sustainable levels while some packers(Not all) are more than happy to buy honey as cheaply as possible for short-term gain without a thought for the long-term damage.
  25. 1 point
    We been given a tip that the landi could be in a church yard in mangere being loaded into a container to be sent to the pacific islands in the next few days, there’s supposed to be 7-8 containers being sent. Do any auck beeks have any idea where this yard might be ??
  26. 1 point


    Hello Yesbut - Interesting comment. Is there something happening I should know about? This weekend to & fro to Whangarei with Air NZ was absolutely farcical & incredibly stressful. When I arrived I felt like doing a Pope act to kiss the ground, because I started to think I would never get there. I have got some healthy credits with Air NZ, but I will not be booking anymore until they get their act together. I cannot deal with the timetable changes on a daily basis. They have so many timetable changes it is impossible to plan your life. I am grateful that living in the South Island, I don't have family north of Auckland, cos I would never see them, it would be too much drama to attempt to do so. I cannot waste my life away dealing with all their timetable changes, changes of routes, cancellations of routes, phenomenal transit times in Auckland.
  27. 1 point
    for the odd afb hive that shows up, just burn asap. hives are not usually in quarantine but those hives generally don't get moved or if they have to be, they don't get mixed with others. its usually easy enough to store the gear off that site separately. however when its a lot of hives, then it quarantined to the site. the gear that comes off the site goes back on it. i've had it where 3 years later its poped back up.
  28. 1 point
    My point exactly. Nesspresso have already done this story wonderfully for Coffee beens to capsules from South America - amazing natural landscapes and a human story. The same could apply to honey from the region. The story is great but not that special or unique to NZ.
  29. 1 point
    I thought Adam's comments were politer than my own thoughts. Sorry James. But if we take your thoughts - and change a word or two . . . then I can imagine this is was Adam was getting at: In the predawn quiet of mid winter a gentle snow falls in the foothills of *Andes*. The log burner simmers. The coffee brews . And the old kitchen is lit by the glow of the computer screen that allows me to communicate with the world..... google searching trails of names and jobs and connections that unearth people of influence in far flung corners of the world. It is that quiet time of reason and thought ..... The dream is a story of the people of *Chile (or Argentina)*, The Beekeepers, , The farmers, the Families ..... the people with the passion to create and craft and market to the world a story that draws the customer in to become a part of that dream ..... to taste the buzz and the sweetness of the nectar from the mountain valleys, that is sold for money that feeds and clothes and shelters the people of the land to raise their families in peace with full bellies ..... that the circle of life may go on. And by choosing a jar of Honey from the far flung islands of the earth and cracking the seal and dipping the spoon and savouring the sweetness and aroma and sharing the experience, the customer closes the circle and secures the link in the chain that is Humanity.
  30. 1 point
    How about sending one down to NZ Beeswax open day in a couple of weeks ?
  31. 1 point
    I am not clear on the expectations that some beekeepers have of the work of APINZ. It appears that APINZ is being help responsible for current lower prices and various aspects of not being able to sell honey at the desired price. Industry organisations can do many things, but making beekeeping profitable is not, IMHO, one of them. Here is something I wrote back in 1994. Though referring to the NBA, the same applies today to APINZ: --------------------- The NBA cannot make beekeeping more enjoyable or profitable... Sound like heresy? Let me explain what I mean. I hope it will help focus on what we expect from our organisation as we 're-design' it over the next few years. As a beekeeper you can manage your beehives. You feed them, re-queen them, replace worn out equipment. You site them in areas that you hope will have good honey flows. You manage them by understanding the bees' natural impulses; you get to know their capabilities and their limitations. You take advantage of the opportunities while trying to minimise the threats. You probably can't eliminate the threats, but you can try to anticipate them and plan for how you might deal with them. Even the effects of the weather, which you can't control, can lead you to contingency plans - if it gets too dry, you could move the bees to another location. But no matter how you look at it, you can't MAKE the bees produce a crop of honey for you. You can create as favourable an environment as you can, you can anticipate as many problems as you think is prudent. But ultimately, the production of honey is not really within your control - only the bees can make honey. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? Now take a couple of steps back and consider the beekeeping industry. The NBA (using the Executive, the branch structure and the hard work of its members) can try to manage the affairs of the overall industry. The NBA can (and DOES) do a number of useful things, including: · representing the beekeeping industry's interests to government · maximising opportunities available to beekeepers and making sure the information is communicated to them · identifying and trying to remove obstacles · anticipating potential threats to the industry and trying to minimise or eliminate them Again, no matter how you look at it, the NBA can't MAKE beekeeping more profitable or enjoyable. Only beekeepers can do that. The NBA can assist by making the environment as favourable as possible. The NBA can try to minimise the threats (organise lobbying against Australian honey imports, developing a Pest Management Strategy). It can maximise the opportunities (marketing activities, ensuring market access for bees and queens). But ultimately it is only you as individual beekeepers who can make your beekeeping more profitable or more enjoyable. I am committed to the use of effective planning and sound management practices to make the NBA as an organisation that can help beekeepers as much as possible. Having said that, I am realistic about what the National Beekeepers Association CAN do, HOW it can do things and HOW MUCH IT COSTS to do things - only after you examine each of those can you really decide what SHOULD be done, and get on with doing it. And though most of the work done by our organisation is done by volunteers, I don’t believe that we need to appear unprofessional! Admitting that the NBA cannot do something like ‘make beekeeping more profitable’ is not a weakness, or an admission that the NBA is inadequate. It helps to focus on what CAN be done by the NBA to assist beekeepers to assist the bees to produce that crop of honey!
  32. 1 point
    worth a watch? or waste of time? Honey Wars Catch Up - Prime WWW.PRIMETV.CO.NZ
  33. 1 point
  34. 1 point
    Symptoms for covid are very similar to common cold symptoms except for covid having a dry cough. I along with half my friends have a wet cough which is not one of the symptoms fortunately. I don't know why everybody is worrying about the foreign seamen, I'm sure they behave themselves impeccably and keep at least 2 m away from the ship girls.
  35. 1 point
  36. 1 point
    Yes. Teresa managed to get right around on her travel scoot. Track is a bit rough. We could only manage to the water tank on the summit track
  37. 1 point
    I have spent a few days in the Mount, killing time while bikes getting looked at. It's completely unfathomable to me the attraction of a place where you have to fight for a cafe table.
  38. 1 point
    So , I'm gonna jump the gun and say welcome to July ....... Dry July ...... only another four weeks til we start cracking lids and looking at the State of the Nation. And with that comes some big decisions for a lot of people . You gonna work another year for nothing ....? You gonna think lateral .... find another job .... or maybe you're gonna Dream Big , take a risk , tie in with with a few neighbouring beekeepers and take the world by storm .....
  39. 1 point
    I think back in the day we had Beekeepers with Mana ...... Beekeepers who were running large operations that produced, packed and sold their honey, run by people who had done their time in the bee yard with a hive tool and smoker and aching back. These days we have the corporate bee companies dictating supply and price ,run by people who have hardly cracked a lid, let alone pulled a frame out to check the brood pattern. Unless you have done your time on the tools, it is my thinking that you don't appreciate the finer complexity of the bee hive which follows through to the grassroots problems of the industry.
  40. 1 point
    the problem is its a very inefficient way to run beehives. its horrendously time consuming to run hives spread out like that. a lot of the early players have gone away from it or run at least 2 hives per house. i think one of the ones mentioned only do it in a very small area and charge extra for outside that area.
  41. 1 point
    But anyway.... I is on holiday now....so won’t volunteer to melt yer wax....
  42. 1 point
    There is a company owned by 8 beekeepers based in Mosgiel called Honey Products NZ. They have already established a Brand, set up a packing and exporting facility and made a substantial investment in taking control of their marketing. It might be a good idea to talk to them and see if they are keen for new shareholders considering how much blood and sweat it takes to get something like this started.
  43. 1 point
    @jamesc I went into the hive today where they had moved off the Apistan during it's course. Strong hive, but saw a few bees with DWV, so didn't even test, in with the OA strips. Will check/count in a month or so. Will test other 2 tomorrow.
  44. 1 point
    The only thing I can think of is that the staples absorbed water via the glycerine, which resulted in a larger immediate dose being applied to the bees and bee death, and the bees wanting to stay away from the staples. All speculation really...
  45. 1 point
    I think a flow makes a big difference . can not logic out why yet .
  46. 1 point
    Id love to get a better handle on how to use staples successfully. I tried staples again this autumn. My results were the same as last year. Hives in a warm and humid climate all moved away from the staples and had massive loss of bees. Queens off the lay. Some hives still had visible mites. (Possibly a side effect of reducing bee numbers ) Hives in the same area that didn’t get staples kept better bee numbers and didn’t have any varroa issues. The hives in a cold, dry climate got the staples about the same time and they kept high bee numbers and have just carried on as if the staples weren’t there. The hives in the cold area were still on a flow when the staples went in, the others had very little coming in, could that make a difference?
  47. 1 point
    I have 45 hives at the moment. I know... it’s an obsession. I also had 18 mating nucs. Some mini’s and some queen castles. Will be taking the last mated queen from them on Monday to replace a really late supersedeure... virgin running around. The rest are amalgamated into single story colonies. And other than the frightening varroa episode up one valley apiary in the last couple of months, all are treated with OA/GL and have been exclusively for three seasons. (I’m quite diligent)
  48. 1 point
    Good points Fieldbee, I did move honey down in some of the other hives. But this hive had wasps walking in and out unchallenged so i didn't want honey by the door. To counter the wasps I moved the bees from the edge where they were to the middle and put an entrance gaurd with the entrance also in the middle. If it was real serious I would have removed all unused frames and just left an empty space except for frames the bees are on, but in this case I think the bees will get healthy enough soon enough to take back control, we shall see. Re the corrorapa, you are right, I'm just lazy. I think in time the bees will start to reclaim and clean the frames of dead brood, rather them, than me. Yup, I'm lazy.
  49. 1 point
    I use solid fibre board from Oji fibre solutions , but we buy by the pallet enough board to make around 22000 strips. smaller quantities you should be able to get from somewhere like Attwoods, Their Hamilton store will cut board to size , so I assume there other stores will also do the same. I know others have found more suppliers out there but I don't know who they are . I don't see a need to try gib tape as the board works very well for me, we soak for 48 hrs , then leave to dry for about a week before using
  50. 1 point
    Good points Chris, I've decided to change tack. After finding all those mites i worried about the other hives i treated with these strips, so last night made a bunch of new strips with 8 grams of OA per strip (250 strips with 2 kgs OA & 3 kg's Glycerine, 100% absorbtion so 8 grams acid per strip). Went out this morning and checked 2 of the sites, 64 hives total. They were treated on the 20th february which is 3 weeks ago. The hives that were treated with 3 gram strips, still had quite a few mites, plus had chewed out the strips, in some cases completely. So I've decided that 3 gram strips are a waste of time. The ones treated with 6 gram strips had chewed the strips somewhat, as per the pic. So chewing seems to be related to how much acid is in the strip, the more acid, the less chewing. These hives were much better on the mite count, the general vibe of the hives was good, I only washed 2 hives and was satisfied things are working, one hive 2 mites the other 3, I'm thinking that after 3 weeks of treatment that's fine, probably wouldn't have been any better with Apivar. Depending how much the strips have been chewed I have added from one, to four, of the 8 gram strips, per hive. I am happy things are moving the right direction so will not bother those hives again for a month, hopefully at that time the mite counts will be zero. What I can say thus far anyway, is I found no damage to the bees at all, caused by the OA. Be interesting to see how that aspect is in a months time. Nail on head Jamo, I realised that looking at the hives today. The hives today have a better bee population and have been interacting with the strips, chewing, and presumably walking on them. The sick as hive yesterday had no evidence of any bee activity on the strips they looked just like the day they went in. The bee population of that hive was sparse, and I think they have been avoiding the strips completely. They certainly were while I was looking at the hive. There has been comments from other people that you have to get the OA strips in before the hives are really bad, and perhaps that is the reason.
This leaderboard is set to Auckland/GMT+12:00
  • Create New...