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  1. 16 points
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 15 points
    Got my offsiders first set of PPE, shame the smallest size is a 4, apparently babies don’t go beekeeping 😆
  5. 15 points
    Things are tight in the industry and people are looking to cut costs and generate income from sources that they hadn't previously. That all makes sense but rather than looking to grow the pie it seems that everyone is looking to get their bit of other people's slice. In the past week I have heard of 2 overseas clients being poached from those who developed them by other NZ beekeepers who are selling honey at well below cost. Similarly everyone seems to be attaching 'queen breeder' to their company name in the hope that the queens that they have carried through from last spring can be sold as 'overwintered' and that their beekeepers ( who arent breeders) can produce quality, consistent queens to sell to others. I guess this is what the industry has become at least for the short term until a few beekeepers and companies are shaken out but geez it is depressing. Honey is not really my game but queens are, and in my mind an effective breeding program is much more than just throwing some cells into a nuc. There are a lot of things that we do, developed over years that increase our productivity, quality and consistency that someone playing af queens wont have a clue about. I just hope that the $10 or $15 some people save on queens from fly by nighters at the front end doesn't cost them $100's in lost production at the back end.
  6. 15 points
    This is an issue that comes up often There tends to be two ways that Beeks place Staples and one way results in less Brood damage. Some Beeks remove an edge frame, spread the remaining frames out, insert the staples then press the frames back to their original position by replacing the edge frame that they initially removed. This method often results in Brood damage because if there happens to be burr comb or any other proud contour in line with the Staple when the frames move back together this proud feature will cause the staple to be press firmly against the comb which in all likelihood will contain capped Brood. The preferred method is to refrain from placing the Staples until you have completed your inspection and replaced all frames. The burr comb near the top of the frame is cleared away at the desired location and the Staple is jiggled down between the frames This results in a looser fit of the Staple and results in much less brood damage. The newer Staples are now 25% thicker for the wides and 33% thicker for the narrows so are much more rigid, aiding insertion. Another important but unrelated point that needs to be clarified This point came up at the ApiNZ Waikato Hub field day on Saturday. There are photos on this thread and possibly other places that show Staples in Honey Supers above the Queen excluder I also make reference to such arrangements when speaking about the Staple. This is not a practice that I recommend and not one that I use in production hives. In my case this practice is for observation purposes and the Honey is being left on for winter feed. There is one substantial Hive in my operation that has has 20 staples in 4 boxes above and excluder for 2 seasons continuously. This Hive is one of those freak hives that sometimes appear but then fade to mediocrity or die over winter. One of the purposes of this observation Hive should the opportunity arise is to have its Honey stores checked for Oxalic Acid residue. The Hive currently has a Mite count of 1/350 bees and considering its size and forage /robbing power I consider that count to be very low.
  7. 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.
  8. 14 points
    Short on money, but I do have honey. 🙂 Here's a little good news story how a little honey can oil the wheels of industry. A few months back a truck arrived with 2 pallets of bee gear. The driver, a Fiji Indian, saw I did not have a fork lift and was pretty grumpy, thinking he would have to unload by hand. Told me right in my face he should not have to deliver to me, and he wasn't smiling. Anyhow the truck was on a slope and I've done all this before. Backed up the ute to the right place, gave the pallets a push and they slid right off onto the ute. Job done even faster than a fork would have. Driver cheers up a little. Then the main psychological trick, i got a jar of honey and a squeezy honeybear out of the ute and gave it too him. He cracked a big smile and said thanks, my kids will like this, everybody should be like you. Yes, he actually said that. So today a delivery arrives, same guy, with a buddy. I drive down, this time he is all smiles. He says, don't worry, we will unload. I back the ute up and they do the whole thing. I give them a jar of honey each, they are both smiling.
  9. 14 points
    We are coping with temps over 30C and at least next week also.. Really dry and hot.. Bees strong ( too strong), not rarely with 10 frames of brood.. Now I can see starting of making honey arches.. There will be quite an army to feed overwinter.. But I believe they know what are doing.. Some queens failed and I will merge mostly with others, since I am motivated to reduce the colony numbers.. The hazelnuts are now in focus for me..
  10. 14 points
    @Markypoo not my hives , the migrants , nice guys . The coast at the bar is eroding fast . Back to cliffs with coal seams. We found some fossil rocks in the sand a month or so ago . Big chunks of compressed layered leaves . Very heavy rocks , early angiosperms I think , 80 million yrs old .
  11. 14 points
    The Management Agency has recently implemented changes to its apiary inspections: 1. The number of AP2s inspecting apiaries has been increased from 21 to 37 2. The Management Agency is now actively searching for beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB, and we have changed our processes for managing AP2 inspections to facilitate this. Regrettably - the Management Agency believes that there are many more beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB yet to be identified. Beekeepers can assist the Management Agency to identify beekeeping operations with high levels of unreported AFB by ensuring that they report all cases of AFB they find, both within 7 days and as part of their Annual Disease Return. The Management Agency uses this information to identify geographic clusters of AFB and prioritise apiaries within the clusters for inspection. If we find one or more apiaries with a higher than expected level of AFB we schedule further apiaries owned by the same beekeeper for inspection to make a more thorough assessment of the level of AFB in their hives.
  12. 13 points
    A mates wife went to collect what was thought to be a swam. looks like we’ve got a job to do this weekend.🤔 Two armchairs dumped under some trees down a service alley in our little town. looks like two boxes worth of comb and bees 🐝
  13. 13 points
    Great but unexpected result: Truck found via social media just a few miles away locked up and undamaged. Police recon it's one of the only undamaged finds in a long time: seems like a joy rider from somewhere pretty close to home? Bloody good lesson to keep the security levels high. Cheers Keith
  14. 13 points
    I have heard this sort of argument before and for me it really depends on who was their first. If you're neighbouring beekeeper had bees there before you bought your property then I don't have a problem but if you were keeping bees before him and he has moved the bees in on top of you I suggest you do something along the lines of trying to make sure you take your honey off before he does and then Feed a large amount of colourfully dyed sugar right across the fence from his hives. Heating the sugar beforehand would also increase its hmf. It's time some people learnt that for every action there can be a reaction
  15. 13 points
  16. 13 points
    Hi All, I have observed this discussion in full over many weeks and thought it might be a good time to add some of what I know and the views of a different packer/marketer. Manuka multifloral as per the MPI definition is a reasonable seller for us as a company. We also sell a large amount of Mono Manuka as well because we we sit at the premium end of the market in Europe and duty free. I am quite happy in this space because we have kept a large number of our bee keepers in business being happy to buy full packages and not pick the eyes our of stock or leaving them with a shed full of honey. Importantly the Honey is good quality and consumer demand is strong and has not been effected by adding the word "multiflora" to the pack. While there is much debate around the multi vs mono Manuka a lot of which is agenda driven (which is fine) I personally met with MPI Deputy Director General and head of Science last week in Wellington. The current definitions are here to stay and both were more than happy for me to let the industry know this once again. Despite some of the scare mongering, they reported that there has been absolutely no indication at govt to govt level that any overseas regulator does not accept the definition or will deny access in the future. Some have called me out in the past for supporting the multi definition but we are quite happy to say that a number of bee keepers who would otherwise be in a fair bit of trouble have manged through these tough times with our ability to shift their honey. We clearly label the product as per the regulations and we have not seen any push back from retailers or consumers. There is a consumer demand for this type of honey as not everyone wants to pay $100 ++ for a single jar. It also pains me to see some preach a monofloral only approach as it supports their brand stories while still packing multi flora Manuka for private label clients and tendering for new work in this space with Supermarket. As an industry we should accept the MPI definition, work with it and show a united front to the rest of the world. Market our own products and brands on their merits and not run down the direction that competing brands choose to take because that ends up effecting the entire industry. My overall observation of the industry without any agenda other than to sell plenty of ALL NZ HONEY is that consumer demand is there across all grades but a correction in price is here to stay for the immediate future. NZ clover was once very prevalent in a number of markets but priced itself out as we all know. We have recently obtained a new listing into 900 supermarkets overseas for 2 x clover honey products. The price we we have to pay bee keepers is pretty lean but current suppliers have been pretty understanding and see the bigger picture and happy to play the longer game while we do our best to put NZ clover back on the map. We are realistic and don't want only 0-9m clover when we are buying. It is not my intention to get into any endless debate on this page but I will be at conference next week if anyone wants to have a chat. If you want to sign up to our database you can do so by emailing procurement@egmonthoney.co.nz (if this is not allowed under Forum rules, my apologies) Hope this info is useful to some. James Annabell Egmont honey.
  17. 13 points
    Sometimes the Forum is a bit of a gossip column .... but anyway ...... I had a fascinating day today ..... meeting Bruce from Ceracell on his road trip to bolster enthusiasm in the honey industry. Thankyou Bruce, for taking the time to get out and about and care about your customers !! We talked about setting up a Co Op to market honey. As the poet John Donne wrote many decades ago "No man is an Island" ..... and that was the basis of what twenty plus of us came together to talk over. And as the talk flowed North, and the talk flowed south, I was struck by the range of talent who had come together. Beekeepers, marketers, those who steered products through the paperwork for export regulation and packers of honey with a lifetimes experience. Something like this has to be a move in the right direction ..... producer ownership of where our product ends up. So Thanks Bruce for reinvigorating us, and leaving me your "card" , which on one side says 'Three things I want to be remembered for' and on the other is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt .... 'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievment and who at the worst , if he fails ,at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.' Thank you Bruce, for being daring and embarking on the road trip ! On the way home I picked up a hitchhiker ..... a German man who had come to see if all he had heard about New Zealand was true. We have lived up to his expectations. We talked about Europe and Brexit , and how as a hard working German he felt about paying to support his Greek Cousins to drink Ouzo and suck Olives on the beach. His response was that good things take time, and those who can need to support those who can't.
  18. 12 points
    Well, What to say. Another decade is rapidly fading into the past and all the doomsayers are still with us. We did not enter a new Ice age in 1970's. We did not run out of oil in the 1990's. We did not lose the polar ice caps in 2000's. We did not all drown in 2010's (Rising sea levels). And I am not sure what we were all meant to die of in the 2010's (oh yes Global warming) (Climate change) Have a fantastic 2020 people. May your God give you everything that you need in your life. Let's hope for a fantastic bee season also. (however that looks for you) Let's all say a prayer for the victims of the Australian bush fires.
  19. 12 points
    Had to get in on the act. This is from 2 weeks ago looking south from up in the Ruahines. Canon 6d, Samyang 14 mm F2.8 lens, iso3200 and 20 second exposure.
  20. 12 points
    wow, my phone can barely even make out stars... heres i timelapse panorama i took down cape palliser a couple of months back blending the afternoon through to full dark. not sure if it will show the whole thing its quite wide
  21. 12 points
    First of the Pohutukawa's in full bloom. May not be the best of honeys but it sure is keeping the girls busy!
  22. 12 points
    Finding the queen in an aggressive hive with 3 brood boxes can be a daunting experience for a new player. Or an old player for that matter! Here's a tip. - If you can beg, borrow, or somehow russle up enough queen excluders, go to the hive and put a queen excluder between each box, a week before you need to find the queen. Then a week after the excluders went in and it's queen finding time, look through all the boxes, only one of them will have eggs and young brood, that is where the queen is. Carry that box to at least 20 meters, or more, away and put it down on something solid. Return to the original hive and re-assemble it so flying bees will go into it normally. Then, go look through the one box to find the queen. As you look through, most of the older aggressive bees will fly, and find their way back to the original hive, leaving you less attacked, and with less bees on each comb to look at. Find and kill the queen, and if you don't find, shake all the bees onto the grass. Re assemble the hive, along with your new caged queen.
  23. 12 points
    I did some work last spring comparing Bayvarol treatments (among others) with Phil’s OA strips. I saw the same thing you did @Alastair the Bayvarol hives grew noticeably faster and stronger and OA hives were delayed. I mentioned it to Phil at the time that I did have a honey yield impact as well. My thought at the time was that I had put too much acid into the hive too early as they were building and they struggled to deal with it and recover in time for the flow. the interesting thing though was mite numbers - these were WAY higher in the Bayvarol hives and by mid season those hives still “looked healthy” but were carrying a high mite load. The OA hives by comparison were carrying zero mites. It was a startling difference. I was late getting post-harvest treatments in, the Bayvarol hives collapsed over winter and the OA hives are still going strong now. this spring I have managed my OA introduction a little differently and matched numbers of strips to strength of the brood nest adding strips each visit as I thought appropriate. Our hives are in great shape right now. Unfortunately I’ve been using up old strips with no edge protection and these strips are being destroyed in as little as 3 weeks in most hives now. James your comment on Phil’s photo of a hive not treated since April - I could easily achieve that on higher-altitude sites here (and in fact have done in the past) they would be right on the edge of swarming now Most seasons, but build up has definitely been delayed for us this year. I’ve found autumn treatments like that, going into winter clean with good queens and plenty of food, will run through until the following summer - at which point they typically collapse.
  24. 12 points
    Hi @morporksthere are hobby, commercial , newbies and experienced beekeepers on this site and all those in between. We are here to help and learn from each other. We also hope to nurture, promote and protect the industry at the same. For some it is our lifestyle, living and for most our obsession and passion. Feeding honey is not best practice, even if it’s your own honey and you are as sure as you can be that it is safe. Feeding someone else’s honey to your bees is a bit like bungy jumping with a dodgy cable. (Or buying and using secondhand bee gear.) Might be okay, could be a down right disaster. Burning hives because of afb sucks if you have two hives, two hundred hives or two thousand hives. Listening to them die after you’ve poured petrol into them when you’ve nurtured them is down right heartbreaking. If we can stop people from making mistakes because they didn’t know any better or weren’t aware of the risk, then try we will. If that makes us vigilante then perhaps this isn’t the site for you.
  25. 12 points
    Yes it's possible and has been done. By human intervention, and by nature. In nature, swarminess can be a good or bad thing for the species, depending on conditions, and conditions have produced bee phenotypes with high or low swarminess accordingly. So in Africa, bee types have been produced that swarm prolifically, all season round, and will even swarm (abscond) if the hive is attacked. They store little honey and breed prolifically. That strategy does not work in cooler temperate climates and is why africanised bees have never been able to establish in the cooler parts of the American continent. Italian bees have low swarminess, they are from an environment where the life of a hive (pre varroa) was long and stable, stores were needed for winter but summer flows could be relied on. Throwing out huge numbers of swarms was wasteful as once all nesting sites were used all other swarms would perish. Throwing out lots of swarms was a pointless drain on the parent colony, and gave survival advantage to the bees with low swarminess who instead provisioned themselves well for the winter. That is the work of nature. Man too has been able to produce low swarming bees. But more critically, in the modern commercial way bees are kept with high survival of nearly every colony, if swarm cells are constantly used, the general bee strain will gradually shift towards predominance of the swarmy types. This not by natural selection for what is best, but by human intervention. Why? Not swarming has nothing to do with a hive starving, other than that a non swarming hive is less likely to starve. It need not die when the queen gets old, that is what supersedure is for, and supersedure is very common in the low swarming Italian bees. One does not equal the other. A hive with low egg laying characteristics would certainly be less likely to swarm. But a hive with low swarminess phenotype does not necessarliy equal poor egg laying. Plenty of low swarming Italian hives build up massive bee populations.
  26. 12 points
    The best pigs are always found on the neighbours place .... right. Contrary to many thoughts, ..... this little Whare did'nt cost a lot to build. I borrowed a book off my neighbour on log cabin building. If you got no land .... then you got find a piece of dirt, then you if you got no trees , you gotta find a truck load of trees .... trees are cheap right now .... all you need after that is a chainsaw and 40 litres of gas.... and the skill of a Bee Keeper with three months down time. Nothing to it !! Oh yeah, the thing I forgot, and this is the main thing guys ..... you need a woman that don't mind living in a log pile house..
  27. 12 points
    There isn't a way. The folk who have or are spending big $$ on special plantings should have thought things through a bit better before blasting ahead then bleating to the council .
  28. 12 points
    There is no problem selling honey at the moment. There is a problem with the price. Before the manuka bubble, the one where people were selling all honey as manuka and frantically stockpilling (removing from the market) honey to increase its activity, New Zealand produced a surplus to the local market which consumed about 1.3 kilos per person per year. Since the export market was the only outlet for this surplus honey, it set the price. Why? Because who would choose to sell on the export market when the local market was better, but in order to get a share of that, one had to....... reduce the price..... and the incumbents on the local market would reduce their price to match.... so a sprial down until..... the export market was a viable alternative. Ergo, the export market sets the price. A review of the export statistics shows that over 90% of the honey leaving the country is sold as manuka. Less than 10% is non manuka. We used to have export markets for things like clover and honeydew and occasionally other named sources that would maximise the opportunites available. These would return 20-30% above generic prices on the World market and specific honeys such as Clover and Honeydew would return prices similar to competing countries with similar honeys such as Canada, Argentina and Turkey. However now we have 3 times the number of hives, an annual surplus of production over markets of 100,000+ tonnes, a current surplus of somewhere between 30 and 40,000 tonnes of honey that has been produced hoping it is (once "was") manuka with the result it is a multitude of blended honeys with no traditional export market. So we can sell this surplus. But the price is not good. Ukraine produced approx 70,000 tonnes last year, as of January had 45,000 tonnes in stock and has reduced this to 10,000 tonnes with the new crop about to start. The price? 1,800 Euros delivered to Europe with duty (17.3% into the EU) to be paid, and US$1,900 CIF USA destinations. This is around NZ$3.00 and NZ $2.85 respectively. Canada is selling at US$2,800 delivered US destinations (drive it across the border) or NZ$ 4.20 landed there. Turkey is selling into EU destinations at NZ$4.45 delivered. Usually these transacations have a few percent commission along the way, plus freight and you lose your drums. Take around 50c off these prices. Until we have a shortage of supply in the country, there will be no change to this outcome where the World price sets the price paid to producers. If a new entrant were to come into the market, and focused on the local market (usually because it's easier than exporting and marketing overseas), this would simply ensure that the price locally collapsed to the World level more quickly as the incumbents locally defended the attack on their markets, and the $4.00-$5.00 per kilo plus prices being paid would reduce closer to the World market. The only way out of our present situation (one that we have always dealt with except during the manuka bubble) is to sell at higher prices on the export market. Around 20 new packing plants (with 100 tonnes or more capacity, some with 1,000+ tonnes) have gone into NZ in the last 15 years. All of these have been trying to create export markets for their products and most have considerable expertise in doing this. A History Lesson In 1982 the New Zealand Honey Marketing Authority (a producer board) had total right of export for all honey from New Zealand (except for honeydew and comb honey). They had the market leader (Hollands) on the local market plus numerous other brands. Because government was no longer prepared to fund their activities (they had close to $1 million of reserve bank funds at 1% interest), a proposal was put forward to create a cooperative. This cooperative was sold all the assets of the HMA including 3 factories and all their stocks at a significant undervaluing, and then $600,000 (2.4 million in today's value) of the sale monies were lent back to them, 300,000 at 9% and 300,000 at 3% (interest rates at the time were over 15%). The model included beekeepers additioanlly buying $1 shares (for each kilo of supply) and then having retentions (20% and sometimes 30% or their "sales" to the Coop) held back for 5 years - at 15% interest rates your money halves in value in 5 years. After 5 years they were asked to turn those into "Capital" i.e. pay for more shares. So they had the factories, the brands, the suppliers, the infrastructure, the NZ market leading products on the domestic market and the entire history of export markets from NZ. There were many capable people employed by the coop along the way and on the board. Some went on to have extremely successful businesses of their own. Laid out like this, one would think there was no way they could fail. After 30 years they were sold to Comvita for pretty much the value of their honey stocks. Comvita attempted to sell Hollands honey on the local market, and even after rebranding and applying their marketing expertise, finally withdrew from the domestic market. It is tough out there. Sorry, typo that I missed. "an annual surplus of production over markets of 100,000+ tonnes" should read 10,000 tonnes.
  29. 12 points
    Slave labour... making my first 4 layer staples.
  30. 12 points
    Interestingly , the bees have developed some sort of tolerance to the staples because wher they had mined wax from under them last time I checked , they have rebuilt and either filled with capped honey or brood
  31. 11 points
    i ran a little "backyard beekeeping" workshop today as a voluntary exercise for a little community project i support. Started by asking everyone why they were interested in beekeeping. That was interesting, not too much "save the bees", plenty of "bees seem really interesting", "honey sounds good", and "fruit tree pollination" type of answers. My immediate out-take from that was that i'd got lucky with the people attending. did a full hive inspection of a hive consisting of a brood box of undrawn frames, a queen excluder, and two fully full honey supers. One honey super was full depth, and one was 3/4. Zero bees in this made up hive Discussed the pros and cons of 3/4 vs full depth. Got everyone to try lifting full honey supers of each. Think i might have imposed some bias there... went through a lot of different gear, including passing around a variety of beesuits - from $10 junk from one-day through to decent stuff. spent a while lighting a smoker. Opened up a hive that i'd prepared yesterday (hence brood frame in top box) with people wearing various beesuits from the spectrum i'd shown earlier... Pulled out a frame of brood and a couple of frames of honey from the top box and passed them around. Extracted the two honey frames we'd just taken from the hive, plus a few more. Jarred up the resulting honey after discussing tutin etc, then everyone who wanted a jar took one = everyone. Loads of good questions by a bunch of onto it people. Think it went fairly well. Nice way to spend an afternoon.
  32. 11 points
    Alaistar......please ..............let it go
  33. 11 points
    Totally agree, change will not happen without the will to change. There are heaps of things we can do, both big and small to make a difference. We don't have to totally give up flying, driving, or go back to wearing a horsehair shirt. At a personal level we need to fly less- stop flying off to Europe every winter just because we can(every long haul flight increases your carbon footprint by as much as driving your vehicle for a whole year), drive less, change over to an electric vehicle if you can. The internal combustion engine has to go, and fuel cells and electric have to be our future. We need to consume less, live with less, live more simply. Simply put we need to de-carbonise. Ancient carbon needs to stay in the ground where Mother Nature had safely locked it away. Carbon emitters have to either offset their carbon emmissions, or be penalised. Low carbon alternatives have to be incentivised. At government level, we the voters have to change so that those seeking election don't see it as suicidal to propose policies that will make a difference. Dinasaurs like Trump, and Morrison across the ditch have to go. Why does Australia produce 73% percent of their electricity from coal, and export much more, the Adani monstrous coal mine has been given the go ahead, meanwhile their country burns and turns to desert- they have the potential to produce vast amounts of efficient solar power, or wind. There is so much more we could do
  34. 11 points
    Here's my take, and i get this not only from my own hives but also that i get numerous requests from hobbyists with near dead hives to go fix them. If the issue is mites but the queen is still alive, the hive can be fixed. First i agree with many of Christi An's comments, but if a hive only has a few sick bees left and will be dead in 2 weeks, shaking them onto new empty combs will not save it because it will be dead before they can get a new cycle of brood through. However the method may be effective in less severe circumstances, and Christi An has found that in his own experience. Katrin you never did say how many bees produced the 40 mites, but by just about any commonly used method or number of bees, a mite count of 40 is very high, and I suspect your hive will be a lot closer to death than you realise. Once all brood is dead or close to it, and the adults are not going to live long, what can look to a beginner like a still well populated hive can go to no bees very quickly. Here is how to save pretty much any close to death (by varroa) hive. From another hive, find a comb of healthy brood that is very close to hatching and put it middle of the brood nest of the sick hive. This is because without that, the hive may be dead in less than 3 weeks. The hatching bees from the healthy comb will at least keep the hive alive long enough for some healthy brood to start emerging once mite treatment has been put in the hive. The brood comb put in must be close to hatching because the sick hive may not be able to care for brood that still has a couple of weeks before it hatches. It must start hatching immediately. If the hive is down to a few hundred bees, more adult bees must be added with the brood, enough to keep it warm. Jiggle the comb a bit so older bees that can fly will fly, the ones still hanging on are young bees that are less likely to kill the queen or rob the hive. In the sick hive put the brood comb with bees next to the comb with the queen, but have the queen on the other side of the comb she is on, from the new comb. This will make for a slower introduction and if all this is done right it is very rare to lose the queen. Me, I don't bother to remove the sick brood, but i do respect the idea of doing it. Bayvarol is my treatment of choice for these situations, a strip should be placed each side and middle of the healthy comb, and other strips placed as needed for whatever the bee population is. Do not place the strips at the end of the comb or outside of the brood. They must be middle of the brood. If it's robbing season reduce the entrance to very small and have the entrance nearest to the bees cluster where the guards are closest to it. Check the hive in 3 weeks. The broodnest might be much smaller, but should be healthy. Bees don't like varroa treatment strips and the small brood nest may have been moved away from the strips. If that has happened, move the strips to centre of the brood nest. Over the next few weeks the hive will start increasing in population and will start cleaning out dead brood and expanding the size of the broodnest. That's my method and i get pretty much 100% success regardless how bad the hive is, I've even brought back hives with a queen running around plus 20 or 30 scattered bees left alive. Only other thing I'd say is that the other hives likely have high varroa levels also, would pay to treat them all. Leave the strips in 10 weeks.
  35. 11 points
    I witnessed an unusual event today. Went to inspect one of my hives and took off the metal lid before I could remove the hive mat there was a sudden increase of bees at the front of the hive. I stopped to check to see if I had interrupted the start of a swarm coming from the hive, and there landing on top of the hive mat in front of me was a beautiful young very black queen surrounded by 20 or so bees. Before I could pick her up she flew down to the landing board and ran into the hive. The mini swarm of flying bees went into the hive as well and all was calm again. I have had a lot of superceedure going on so didn’t open the hive. Will give it a couple of days and have a check. I read somewhere that mating queens attract workers from other hives and bring them home with her. There is always something new to witness.
  36. 11 points
  37. 11 points
    Thanks. I've looked at one club but its first Sat of the month - completely coinciding with a previous commitment and also my sons gradings. I checked he clubs on this site - but none in chch. Kaiapoi and Rangiora yes but Chch no. Will keep looking. A big thanks to @CHCHPaul He did the inspection for me and took time to talk me through a few pointers. So - I had no queen. The eggs seen Monday were from previous but none there now. None seen on visible inspection. Had swarm cells. Paul identified a couple of good ones (one uncapped and one capped so if the capped one hatched it would not compete with the uncapped one) - and then as we were removing one it hatched and a healthy queen stepped out. So: All swarm cells removed. New queen left to the hive. Will check in 2.5 weeks or so for new eggs and then for capped brood a bit later. Paul's theory about the swarms that went out and in is it might be a queen with damaged wings - who couldn't fly to swarm. Again my thanks. I learnt tons - and having been in the middle of a newly pulled apart hive with bees shaken off frames etc am more comfortable with what I am doing.
  38. 11 points
    Spring has sprung. The ducks are all paired up and walking all over the roadways and trying to find a place to nest. The bees are into the pollen and getting ready for the big expansion. Have a great season everyone and try to keep the swarming under control.
  39. 11 points
    I’m due to do my first graft tomorrow. It’s a bit early for splits in my opinion but it’s ok for requeening with protected cells. When the weather settles a bit more and the temps are consistent I’ll split. Took my mate to work the other day. She did some wax destruction, and mooed at cows, we did find an Emu so that was novel.
  40. 11 points
    I thought you got yours later on in the season james? We also don’t mix our own brew, they come ready to use. We had a big learning curve in our year of staples.. from colonies bleeding bees half a metre out the front door to mite ridden DWV affected colonies losing half their population in one foul swoop... nowhere to be seen.. very alarming to see .. and followed by many sleepless nights thinking about 3500 colonies we may have killed.. we have been trialing different placement methods and numbers of staples all last season, this is still in my view a rather large self trialed experiment.. theres no instructions or rules.. I have placed them into crashing colonies with 2 mites per bee visible. we have placed 2 per box of bees.. to find mites building up.. then 3 then 4 then 6-7., checking discussing, tweaking methods etc , really keeping an eye on things. these things do work but ya gotta do some grunt work as well. The old synthetic treatment mentality doesn’t work with these. My view is these things are absolutely perfect for suppressing mite invasion in colonies with light infestation to begin with, they will turn around heavy infestation but are much slower than say Bayvarol and also may reduce some population also slowing the eventual turn around.. once the bees are fairly “ clean” these really come into there own maintaining very low single digit mite numbers per 300 bees washed. Reinvasion on some sites becomes alarmingly obvious with regular washing also. If I find a small colony now that has visible varroa damage I place synthetic treatment first, give it some love, let it come away nicely then switch it over to the staple.. just my thoughts anyway.. if our experiences with staples can help one beekeeper deal with mites better than they were then it’s all been worthwhile.
  41. 11 points
    Latest Death Strip update, went back and checked the site today. You can see at the entrances the bees have been chewing the strips, and most of the hives now have brood, and the bees are not lethargic like they were last visit. I didn't do any mite counts but brood looks healthy. Populations have increased over last visit, have taken a pic of an averagely populated hive. This is about the max sensible number of bees i would want in a hive at this time of year, so no complaints, end of day the VDS's have done their job.
  42. 11 points
    A while ago there were threads on the new food act and NP1. The new food act (2014) is actually not very new any more. Since that time (moaning about costs) the situation in Tauranga has changed. Current details are rego under NP1 $290, biennial rego renewals are $150 and verficiation can now be done by TCC $142/hr and likely only to take one hour if you have your act together. So, this means for $433 you can "expand" your business into extract/buy/sell of honey in Tauranga with ongoing costs of only $75 per annum. Whereas before there were no verifiers at all based in Tauranga, and quotes from private verifiers were quite high, the situation has flip flopped into something quite manageable. RMP beekeepers in Tauranga could consider local retail direct selling to give themselves a second form of outlet. Hobby beekeepers who were put off by the high costs could review the situation because the audit is a one off cost and the ongoing costs amount to only $75 per annum. So, even if you have only 30kg of honey annually to sell it enables you to get something back to cover costs. This scenario was actually one of the justifications for having the new food act where you can extract the honey in your kitcken at home; provided the methods you use are shown to be safe. So, I think that counts as one piece of good news. I know the domestic honey market in NZ isn't enormous, so this doesn't 'solve' all the problems out there. But I do think that people at Farmer's markets are more likely to buy local honey whereas at the supermarket they might walk right past the honey section altogether. Having some online cottage industry presence seems logical too to allow customers to conveniently repeat their purchase with a follow up jar. National Programme 1 Guidance.pdf National Programme Factsheet & Application Form.pdf Scope of Operations - May 2016.pdf Template - Verification Agreement with TCC (Final) (A8062247).pdf
  43. 11 points
    My apologies for the delayed response. I have just had a very busy and rewarding trip, bouncing around the world promoting wonderful New Zealand honey. I can only give my opinion and view on this topic. There is no single answer that explains the current market position of Manuka honey and the demand both domestically and internationally. There is no doubt that change is occurring and that some markets are maturing and new markets are emerging and others are just starting to really blossom. Whether you are busy and successful or not is dependent upon your brand or brands and the markets you choose to target. I see growing awareness, acceptance, appreciation, reputation and want for Manuka Honey in more and more large international markets. I also see buyer confusion and concern over standards and quality. I still see confusion with labelling and grading systems. Anecdotal, word of mouth, positive feed back for Manuka Honey is spreading faster than I have seen before. Yet, as an industry we are not ready to capitalise on the opportunity. We are not unified in our direction and approach. As an industry we are very immature and a short term, fast cash get rich quick mentality still permeates many quarters. We are very poor at self policing. In fact there are plenty in the industry that treat standards and labelling laws as a burden and costly interference. There will never be a $billion Manuka industry for NZ while these people companies exist. As fast as markets emerge and grow they will be the first to undermine and cause long term damage. I have just travelled extensively and the junk I have seen offered and portrayed as Manuka honey is in my opinion a disgrace and embarrassment. Firstly lets put to bed the Australian issue. It does not look smell or taste like real Manuka. It is like treacle or molasses. It is just honey with MGO. On its own this would be no threat to a united industry with fortitude, foresight and 20+ years of science. As it is, not only can we not agree and join together and garner Government support for the defence and the protection of the name Manuka. We actually have New Zealand producers trading in and offering Australian Manuka as an alternative at a lower price. What does this say for our position? What does it do for our argument? Next we have companies that flaunt the essence of the law. Those companies that ship bulk honey off shore to knowingly pack under far looser, less stringent labelling requirements. The MPI Manuka Honey definition is there for a reason. Like it or not it is there to formalise compliance and strengthen the New Zealand Manuka honey brand and reputation for quality. Those that look for legal grey areas to avoid or get around the standard, simply reduce respect, quality and value of the industry. Next we have the often deliberate confusion and false, detrimental marketing surrounding the use of variable grading systems. UMF and MGO still cause confusion. While UMF appears to be strengthening standard requirements, MGO on its own seems to be often used to confuse. There are many brands that promote MGO 30, 50 and 70 as Manuka honey with the words 'blend' or 'multi floral' very small, unclear or obscurely positioned. The UK is a prime example of a large market that has been saturated with lesser quality product, poor product education and now has a unnaturally low perception of the real value. Then we have China. The golden goose. The number of brands available are countless. Most I have never heard of. Most will not be there next year or the year after but will probably be replaced by the next brand who thinks the market is easy only to realise that the only marketing tool they posses is price. Even the biggest brands seem to be forever chasing volume at the expense of value and credibility. Buy 1 get one free, 50% discount, buy 2 get one free etc etc is common place. I did not see the same discounting for top Champaign, caviar, perfume and branded clothing etc So back to New Zealand and Manuka Inc. One year does not define a market and direction. There are some major corrections taking place. Some very large producers and brands are suffering or reversing and have reduced or stopped buying. Previous errors and direction are coming home to roost. The converse is that other companies and brands are emerging and defining a new standard and direction and value proposition. Genuinely exciting New product development will move Manuka honey to a new level and into new markets. I see growth opportunity every where I look and many untapped markets. From a personal perspective we see multiple new business enquiries every single day. The majority are Manuka related. Many have agressive price expectations. Some tick all the boxes and are worth developing. Time scales are often quite long for new business development but I see a very strong sales pipeline for the next three years. I am not looking beyond that at this point. Adam
  44. 11 points
    Got a good pic showing tongue today. AFB hunting once again, this rounds incouragement for staff is a $50.00 supermarket or hunting and fishing voucher per find.. just to make sure the tempo is kept up and we don’t get complacent this close to winter break.
  45. 10 points
    A reality check for those with rose tinted memories. Here is the payout schedule of the NZHPCoop. Taking the reserve bank inflation calculator https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/inflation-calculator for the top line 0-9mm clover price (Cat 1) and calculating it for today's value using Quarter 2 in the relevant year you get the following values. 1995 $3.39 1996 $4.19 1997 $4.38 1998 $4.60 1999 $4.38 Points also needing consideration: The 0-9mm price was usually paid to very little honey (sometimes none at all, but a "price" was listed), most was in the 2,3 and 4 categories. Retentions of 20% held for 5 years were usual, at which point producers were encouraged to convert the retentions into shares. At times of high interest rates this presented a huge effect. And in the big crash in 1987 prices fell from $1.90 to $0.70 per kilo or $4.06 down to $1.50 in today's money. By comparison, we are in much better shape today.
  46. 10 points
    I have just finished tidying up my trial Data. No real surprises but an interesting point or two. Initially 44 Hives were randomly numbered for inclusion in the trial Of those 44 hive 2 were disqualified because when they were opened it was apparent they had already been treated in an earlier trial. That left 42, however the numbering remained the same only hives 4 & 8 were omitted. Of the 42 Hives that started the trial in April 2019, 6 were dead by 08/02/20 (today) Of those 6 hives, 1 went Drone layer 1 died for no apparent reason 1 Queen was accidentally killed 1 was killed by me in spring due to it being an out of control mite breeding untreated control hive. (100 mites/ 360 Bees) 2 died this spring from what was probably due to high Autumn mite loads, one of these an untreated control hive and the other had a 20% mite load at the start of Autumn treatments None of the trial Hives received and intervention other than treatment over the course of the trial. 6 dead from 42 = 14.3% loses and if you take out the hive that I killed the Queen its 11.9% and if you take out the untreated control that was killed then thats 9.5% loses So the trial ran more or less in line with national averages. Of the total loses (6), 4 including the accidental lose of the queen, occurred in one site which was the worst site for Autumn mites (site 3). Autumn counts at that site were 15,85,60,32,40,36 for 300 Bees more or less, lesson there. Overall the staples wee not chewed to any significant degree for the entire trial. The Spring aspect of the Trial began with treatments going in from 20-09-19 through to early December and the final Mite counts etc were completed 07-02-2020 so the spring trial dragged into the flow and beyond. Of the 36 Hives that survived the full 10 months of the trial, 32 finished the spring treatment with a zero Mite count for 300 Bees, 3 had a count of 2 mites and 3 finished the spring with a count of 2 mites for a nominal 300 Bees. The take away for me is that even if hives with high Mite counts in the Autumn are saved, the damage will show itself the following spring . Correction edit 37 Hives finished alive of which 30 had final Spring counts of 0, 3 hives had final spring counts of 1 mite and 4 hives had final spring counts of 2 mites per 300 bees. I didnt allow for there being a number 32 and 32A in the mix
  47. 10 points
    I’ve just finished reading the first issue of Apiarists Advocate a new NZ beekeeping E magazine aimed at commercial beekeepers. First issue covers Sean Goodwin’s talk on the the Manuka honey market that he gave at conference, Bruce Clow and his ideas for a honey co-op, Allen McCaw and Peter Smyth two South Island beekeepers who supplied the old co-op talk about how it worked for them. Plus a small article on the impact of any tax that might be imposed on beekeepers and others who don’t drive/own low emission vehicles Really enjoyed it and hope it’s a successful publication . https://www.apiaristsadvocate.com/
  48. 10 points
    Finders keepers on the beach/ river as far as I’m concerned.. I used to spend hours and days picking up building stone from riverbeds.. apparently if I used machinery I needed a consent but bare hands were fine- labour intensive but worth the effort.
  49. 10 points
    Why would someone vape a hive with OA when there are OA staples in a hive already?
  50. 10 points
    Definitely not AFB. The holes in the top of the brood are very symptomatic of AFB but the colour, texture and roping is not. Well spotted and well done for asking when you're not sure. Also well done on the very clear video.
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