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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/24/18 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
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 ??
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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]
  11. 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..
  12. 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".
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 14 points
    I suspect it will result in even more unregistered sites both small and larger @Chris B.
  16. 14 points
    I'm enjoying this thread. I I think that the "save the bees" publicity would have to be one of the biggest challenges, other than those already mentioned above. NZ is not short of bees, as we can see by the rapid increase in the number of hives in the last 10 years, trying to educate the general public otherwise,when they are bombarded by media (mostly generated from overseas) is a real struggle. I agree @Jake Schultzthat putting the focus on planting for bees would be a much better way to "save the bees". However it's not as attractive to the media. (Case in point the recent publicity over bees in the red zone.) Secondly, we have become an industry that shares little amongst its members because so much of what we do has become "commercially sensitive". Where our bees are, who we sell our honey to, how many hives we have, how much honey we make, where we get our honey extracted, the list goes on... Once apon a time before Manuka beekeepers worked together, had good long standing relationships with colleagues and landowners, now there's always someone waiting to offer to pay more. Cheque book beekeeping. Thirdly, the divide between hobby and commercial beekeepers creates unwanted smoke screens. There needs to be more responsibility placed on those who sell hives, and those that buy them, with no idea of what they are getting into, to ensure that they are gonna be healthy in their new homes. This forum has probably been more beneficial than anything to "save the bees" @Grant This is a real shame because beekeepers on the whole are awesome folks who just love bees.
  17. 14 points
    Got a new bee truck today. 1929 Willys Overland Whippet.
  18. 14 points
  19. 14 points
  20. 13 points
    One of the great things about beekeeping is going to some lovely places. Especially for a city dweller like me, very therapeutic! So let's see some of the views people have of their hives. Here's some of mine, each of these is such a nice scenic place it's a pleasure to go there. They are all fairly new sites, that my good beekeeping buddy Jessie arranged for me.
  21. 13 points
    Hello folks, thanks for having me on your site. Im very interested in how ya'll are keeping bees in NZ. I've been in a bit of correspondence with Alastair for a few days about what we have going on in the operation I work in. We inspect every single hive and monitor for disease. Any AFB at all gets burned. Period. Thus far we've been pretty fortunate, but it does happen on the occasion. There is talk of scaling back as we both are aging and slowing up a bit. Its not so easy to implement when one is a workaholic and completely immersed in the madness. Other help never lasts very long and the boss' is realizing some health issues now from grinding away at it for years. My family is encouraging me to wrap it up and just raise queens and make some honey. William
  22. 13 points
    There is no way that I would touch it. The fact that he burnt hives with suspected sacbrood(because he thought it could be AFB) and he no longer has a DECA screams at me. Run like heck and get out of there. Burn the lot. How much do you value your existing hives in both time and money.
  23. 13 points
    All harvesting completed. A good harvest this season. Bees all wintered down. Varroa treatments in. The bees are looking great. Heaps of bees in every hive. All queen right and top box full of honey. No feeding for me this Autumn.
  24. 12 points
    Dubba do time Meet the Flintstones.. This cutter is doing 30 triple laminates ever 23seconds Each of the 3 rolls feeding the machine is a 150m roll of triple laminate https://youtu.be/FiOHNzMkc-A
  25. 12 points
    Hey @john berry thank you so much for the beautiful gift you sent me, Chris told me it arrived yesterday and he had no idea what it was just that it was really heavy. I managed to walk out to the car this afternoon to see what it was, I’ll definitely take some photos when I go home tomorrow because I have never seen a set of blocks that beautiful, I actually cried, I love them and I’m sure Riley will treasure them ❤️ Me and baby are really good, looking forward to going home to sleep in my own bed
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