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  1. 26 points
    Hello everyone I am a Male father of 3, Geographer, Master in engeneering that as a good renegade became beekeeper in 2003 because of fighting corruption I lost my job and probably will never have a job again in what I used to do: Rural Services (water, electricity and the like). As I decided to became beekeeper when having wife, kids and a mortgage there was no way to start small and grow. So I decided to try a new model and associated with an avocado grower that need 1000 hives for pollination. Looks like I became a good beekeeper because I was invited by another grower, this time blueberry, to started in 2006 a second project for 2500 hives. I ended my relation with the avocado grower and keep on growing in hives with the blueberry producer, that became also an avocado, cherry and almond producer. We manage between 4000 and 5000 hives at Chile at the moment (you know, we grow in spring and lost hives in winter ) ... in 2015 I was invited to assist another company at Peru, here the project is for 12.000 hives and we are already close to 9000 hives La Libertad province. As a good engenier I like to solve problems, so started to develop diets for the bees, ways to eliminate virus, a good varroa control and now developing schemes forplanting for the bees. There is no way to get bored. Well, the use of Oxalic with glicerin was develop by argentinian beekeepers The Prieto brothers who had been using oxalic in all there form (dribled, sublimation, etc) and with the help of another beekeeper Fernando Esteban ended up with this great Idea of mixing with glicerin and develop monoxalate that when soaked on cardboard strip became an excellent contact treatment. I have been using it non stop since end of 2014 at Chile and end of 2015 at Perú. Fernando and I pushed Randy to try it because we new that if it had his approval lots of beekeepers around the world will benefit with this solution. Still do not know why Randy changed the method for those towels, since it is a contact treatment It must be placed between the frames. The way it is deployed with in the hive is directly proportional to its results. To have over 90% control you MUST cover 8 of the 11 between frames (or super) spaces. I recomend to change the strips after 15 days for a full treatment and also do sugar shaker monitoring before and after treatment. We monitor constantly and treat when varroa is getting closer to 1% (3 varroas in 300 bees). After all this years that end up been between 3 to 4 months between treatments. Because at Perú temperature is constantly higher - much like a constant spring - we still have lots of noise in our monitoring (Varroa Bombs?) so we will change the protocol to 3 repetitions separated 12 days one from the other so as to been able to break the varroa cycle. I end up saying sorry if I do not participate muchand lurks lots, but really I do not have much time with so many hives and people to manage ... Cheers and thanks for existing because I learn lots of you kiwi beekeepers !!!!
  2. 21 points
    . A beekeeping expedition with my son, his wife, and 2 of their children. Gotta train the grandchildren right. ? Soon as we got there, this happened, he is staying VERY still ? But didn't take long and he was fine with the whole thing. And even his normally timid sister started to enjoy. Nobody stung, a fun day for all.
  3. 18 points
    spent a quality hour at the local school spinning a few bee yarns to kids aged from 5-13, highlight for them was the obs hive which I made them wait til the end for. Followed by some honey tasting. Some very intelligent questions... curly question of the day was “why does the drone only mate once” from a 6yr old.. I printed some A3 photos and glued them to coreflute so had pics of each season which gave them images to look at while I explained the goings on. Great fun had by all. Cheers Loburn school.
  4. 17 points
    Result of a thoroughbred queen for ya ☺️
  5. 16 points
  6. 16 points
    This person has asked for help and advice. After seeing some of the answers on this thread if I was a beginner in trouble I might hesitate to do the same thing. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has to learn and those lower on the learning curve will do a lot less harm if they feel confident about asking for advice without fear of condemnation.
  7. 16 points
    good stuff, thanks M4tt thats saved me a failed experiment:-) and to finish up heres a pic that sums up the weather at the moment
  8. 16 points
    But we have Kaka. Taken through the lounge window last September. The flowering cherry 2mt from the window had already been claimed by the tui who created quite a fuss. Kaka just ignored him till ready to fly off. Neither bird was concerned about us observing the antics.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 15 points
    Hi CraBee, MPI and Govt significantly hurt the industry. Their delay after delay to publish their standard meant the whole industry was on hold for ~1-2 years. Then MPI came out with a standard that wasn't a standard i.e. got modified. Uncertainty over product status meant buyers weren't confident, demand decreased, product stockpiled, prices dropped. This plus the extra and long drawn out attention meant news and uncertainty filtered out to all and sundry, affecting retailer and consumer confidence, therefore decreasing demand and pricing. Lastly re. the standard, I think we're all agreed now that it is not accurate enough. Conventional thinking is: Only Manuka honey has DHA/MGO. Only the best and/or purest Manuka honey has the highest MGO (containing anything else would dilute it down). So how can much of the highest MGO Manuka honey not pass MPI's standard? Something wrong with the standard that's what. So beeks that used to get top $ for top MGO now get much, much less for it. Govt should have just done what the now Deputy PM said before the election "Just adopt the UMFHA standard", quick, simple, scientific, already adopted by 80% of the Manuka industry. Support this rather than erode confidence in Manuka, UMF and the industry. Poor weather over the past 3 years, and overstocking has resulted in reduced hive yields, this and the preceding point have been a double whammy. So, overall the gloss has gone off the industry. It is less not more than it was. By trying to 'help' it become a $1.2b industry, MPI/Govt's help actually helped it go backwards, certainly in the short term. Agree they had to set or support a standard, but... As for consumers and markets. In general, there isn't the hysteria/mystique/intrigue that there once was when it was the latest, new/hot thing and (some of) the rich just had to have it. But on the other hand, Manuka has become more widely accepted and written about as factual by more and more in the mass media/lifestyle publications/social media. So it is trickling down from the richest towards those who are well off. We're recently seeing Manuka start to get acceptance and distribution into large format retailers in the States, so taking it's availability and awareness (but not price) to another level, and reducing reliance on Asia, especially China. Awareness, distribution and availability has spread out down the wealth triangle. Australian (and others in future?) "Manuka" is an issue. They can plant/grow/harvest much more leptospermum than we can. Theirs tastes worse than ours does. If allowed to piggyback off NZ's, with very loose standards both of definition and what they write on labels, different taste, higher MGO (in some cases), higher volume, it's not good for us. Let's support and hope UMFHA's Mānuka Honey Appellation Society's efforts starting several years ago succeed. This would result in protection, higher value, demand and prestige for NZ Manuka. So overall we're in a different phase of product life cycle and market maturity.
  12. 15 points
    My 6 yr old son suffered anaphylaxis last October following a bee sting at home, it was his 3 rd sting with the first 2 being on his feet off the lawn (kiwi as) with no real reactions. Yesterday was his first day of the RUSH treatment at CH CH hospital, the plan was 5 stings 1 hr apart starting with a dose of 1/1000 of a full hit. Everything went well up till the last dose.. 15 minutes following it he developed a tiny cough, concern was noted and coughing was timed by the fantastic team of nurses.. increased cough timing was the only symptom, heart rate remained the same as pre treatment hours earlier. We were then seen by the specialist by which time Caleb had become wheezy. Within 30seconds of the wheezing he had the adrenaline needle hanging out of his thigh.. damn. This kicked things up a gear with us bundled into a single room, hooking him up to monitors etc, all pretty scary for him who moments earlier had been quietly watching dirt bikes on the I Pad. With no decrease in his wheezing a 2nd shot of the good juice was delivered, followed by me spending last night in the chair beside his hospital bed... thinking about my chosen path in life.. All his early life I had been pretty casual about my bee suit in the house, I work gloveless and if hot have my sleeves rolled up meaning the venom both on my skin and leaching out in my sweat he was exposed to. Also the dried venom on my suit being spilt into the house as a fine powder to be breathed in. Also washing my filthy suit in the house machine with other clothing on the odd occasion. There is a high number of beekeepers kids doing this program.. this isn’t a coincidence. Bee venom can kill, think about that.. think about the exposure you may be giving your wee ones or even grandkids.., their wee bodies can build a really strong reaction to the venom you can’t see on you or your gear and no one will know until that sunny arvo on the lawn kicking the ball around and you get caught holding a big filthy surprise. Epipens in an easy spot, beesuits not in the house, beesuits soaked and washed with the hose outside, wash/ change before playing with the wee ones. Just some small snippets of advise from someone that found out the hard way.
  13. 15 points
    Hi All, I don't have time to follow every chat group, but I got a notification about this one. I'm interested in your experiences with OA/gly in NZ, so please feel free to contact me directly at randy@randyoliver.com. >From a practical point of view the Hive is very tolerant of high doses of OA/GL that do not go as far as to wet the Bees That is also my impression. For a strong colony, 9 g total OA in glycerin on towels did not give great mite control. But neither did 40 g (4 strips) of the Argentine formula in double-deep hives. But 80 g total did when applied in hanging strips. But the mite control was no better than 18 g OA delivered on towels with the right OA: gly ratio. It's clear that there is a substantial margin of safety for OA between what is needed to kill mites (very little), and the amount that will cause adverse effects to the colony. What appears to be most important is how quickly the OA is delivered to the bees' bodies (via the "wetting" of the bees by the glycerin). And that appears to be a function of the ratio of OA to glycerin. As Philbee said, the key balance to reach is enough delivery of OA over time, but not too much. With the Argentine 1:2 ratio (1 g of OA to 2 mL of glycerin), the acid appears to get distributed too quickly, causing jittery bees and sometimes brood kill. This does not appear to be a problem with the 1:1 ratio. Since I've found that 18 g of OA/hive results in very high efficacy in my climate, I see no need to apply a greater quantity. The thing to keep in mind is that some OA will remain in the cellulose substrate (the staple, strip, or towel), so that amount does not count towards the 18 distributed grams.
  14. 15 points
    On your marks, get set.... Flow
  15. 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 .
  16. 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.
  17. 14 points
    Another day, another ton. Manuka too. ☺️ Well actually, gross laden weight a tad over a ton, but once extracted probably around 560 kg's of honey, so, 1/2 a ton.
  18. 14 points
    There’s no way in heck your gonna make these bees not make honey. They were pulling the stuff in today.... high on Philbee’s staples or somthing. At the end of the day bees make honey.... ‘an this trains bound for glory’
  19. 14 points
    So an update on first graft progress. It’s 22 days since my first graft of 66 cells were due to hatch. Went through them this morning and counted 54 mated and laying queens. By my rough calculation that’s over 80%. Very happy with that!! Weather over the last week has been warm 18 - 19 degrees (definitely not 20) with a couple of very windy days thrown in.
  20. 13 points
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 13 points
    Ha ha ..... I thought that last season too ...... big time , small time ...... seems we all got tooo much honey and are storing it ! I paid my debts at a West Coast drinking establishment last night. It's amazing how the costs rack up when you take a crew of Beekeepers away on a roadie for a few days ..... food, beer, accommadation ..... more beer ...... more food ...... more accommadation.... It goes on, and pretty scary when you're trying to run a high octane business on the smell of an oily rag. Our host agreed to take honey in lieu of our habit as he has busloads of Chinamen passing through every day for Sweet'n' sour and was grumbling at the price of the honey he has to put in the recipe. So I parked the truck on the street and started unloading buckets of honey ...... primo Dew of course. "A man of your word James ... said the publican ... with a big grin on his face. "To be honest, I never expected to see you again". The two old ladies drinking gin on the outside bench gasped in amazement ..... they did'nt realise you can get honey in anything other than a 250gm jar. So sixty kilos of Dew sorted the tab. And then the publican wanted to pay me . I enjoy trading more than selling . " Beers good thanks !"
  24. 13 points
    I have seen all this before. The collapse took three years longer than I thought to arrive but it is here . All those jealous of high manuka prices need not worry too much as the crop for a lot of the country is zero so a lot of those guys will be hurting more than clover produces and have way higher costs and commitments. The next thing you will see is everybody trying to sell their honey on the local market. That won't increase honey sales, it will just mean that existing honey packers sell less and supermarkets use the competition to screw everybody down meaning that those packers that are still buying honey will be forced to pay less and buy less. Prices going up and coming down is nothing new and has happened many times. Perhaps the only thing that is new in all this is that the price of honey for the last few years has been way higher than it has ever been. In the past I have seen hives offered for free. I have seen hives left to die. I have seen things come right. What I haven't seen is just the sheer number of hives involved and what appears to be a deliberate attempt by certain parties to collapse the price of honey below the cost of production. The only rational reason I can see for this is to try and remove a large percentage of New Zealand's beekeepers for corporate interests. Panicking and fighting over limited markets is not going to help anybody. There are only so many things you can do at a time like this but one simple thing is to keep some honey back for feeding the hives in the spring and to leave plenty of honey on this autumn rather than feeding sugar. It's going to be a bit of a bumpy ride but I suspect some of the rats will soon start swimming from the sinking ship leaving those of us who can to man the pumps and in the long run the ship will be a lot nicer without their droppings everywhere.
  25. 13 points
    I had'nt finished .... but Grant cut me off on my edit. To all you beekeepers out there on the forum, and apparently there are over 6000 silent watchers because there are only about 20 or so who seem to commit to cyber space and poke fun at life ... in all seriousnes, don't sell your honey too cheap. It is a valued product that is not just food to be flicked off because you need room in the shed. It is more than food. It's a life giving sweetener that is full of pollen and life giving anti microbials that enables the heart machine to keep on ticking whilst under extreme duress. It is the David in the Goliath battle of life.
  26. 13 points
    It's interesting opening a honey shop 10k's up the end of a gravel road ..... people come to visit. OMG ...... customers ! We had a family show up today un announced ..... they had brought their two wee little nieces up to see where honey was made and could they get some comb honey ? Well, as a matter of fact yes ..... I had some comb honey in the shop and everyone was happy and fascinated !
  27. 13 points
    Hmmm ..... not sure why this has created such a stir .? Many commercials run single brood box hives because they are quicker to work. When staff are employed they can get lazy and the bottom box is never gone into. We went to singles with the advent of varroa as it halved our bill for the synthetic treatments. So these days we run everything as a double over the winter as that gives the bees lotsa space to store food - honey and pollen. By the time we get to this time of year the queen has been pushed down into the singlebrood box. Any spare brood is left above the queen excluder to hatch out, after which the bees will fill the combs with honey. The advantage of singles is that when running many hives with not many labour units, disease checking is very fast ..... you don't have to go into the bottom box. We generally put three honey boxes on for the season. Sometimes four if things are looking exceptional. When flying in we ran everything as a single brood box with three honey boxes. Four hives to a pallet. Generally three boxes was enough on the Manuka. Anymore and they were too heavy four the Hughes 500 to lift out and we'd have to fly in, pull honey boxes off full of bees ,no disease check, number boxes to tie in with brood boxes , stack them on another pallet, strap and fly. then restack them on their original hive when on the load out. Too much honey was time consuming and expensive ! Flying in is only economical on top quality manuka. On the 5 plus stuff at $18/kg I would suggest it is marginal ..... unless you own the machine ! I see the O/A staples as the way of the future. They are cheap, effective and leave little or no residue in the honey and wax. The tape is biodegradable and you don't have the issue of "what do we do with 10,000 plastic strips at the end of the season." And it should give us an edge in a competitive world market to be able to say with hand on heart "Chemical Free". Signed, JC
  28. 13 points
    We saw a few nice frames today and I thought we may give @Alastair a run for his money but he's still got the best one. The last two photo's are both sides of the same frame. The last photo has the tell-tale impression of an oxalic/gly staple.
  29. 13 points
    I always enjoy receiving the BeeKeeper Magazine. As part of our belt tightening measures we trimmed down on subscriptions so it's good to see what's happening in the wider community at least once a year ! I took the time to sit down and read the Commodity Levy Proposal. I'm sorry if I sound like a stuck record, but ...... As an industry I don't see that we have a problem with producing honey. Any beekeeper in business these days has generally mastered to art of the trade and can make honey. We have private enterprise funding research and development because they got so frustrated with the inaction of the Gvt agencies ..... read into that Phil's staple and O/A work, AFB control with Dog technology, track and trace systems with RFID and Barcode systems to name just a few. As an industry we know how to make honey - quality honey that can be traced to source and scientifically proven to be what we say it is. Within the levy piechart I see 3% is allocated to market access. What ever that might be and 40% to science and research, which focuses on bee health, colony loss survey, pesticides .... these are things we as Bee Keepers have mastered. When we get pesticide damage we curse and swear, shrug our shoulders and remake the hives. It's a pain in the butt, but we doit. When we loose hives to varroa we breathe a quiet prayer of thanks to the likes of Phil for having the inquisitive mind and generosity of spirit to share his findings with us for next to nothing ..... If we as a business are going to be paying out in the region of 6 - 10 grand into a levy pool I don't need some one to tell me how to keep my bees. I need someone out there selling the darn stuff, and I'd probably be better off using the 6 - 10 grand myself for building a marketing network. But that does'nt garner and favour the common good and well being of the industry. We need happy and smiling beekeepers, and do that we need to be producing a product that we can sell. Correct me if I am wrong, butI don't see an allowance in the pie chart for that.
  30. 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..
  31. 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 .
  32. 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.
  33. 12 points
    Slave labour... making my first 4 layer staples.
  34. 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
  35. 12 points

    Version 1.2


    A Summary of the OA/GL Staples Thread.
  36. 12 points
    Right. Page 13. Finally. It is late, but my kid seems to like waking up every hour so it’s not like I’d be sleeping anyway. This thread was painful to read, I respect Keith a great deal and while I have never actually met him I think he is a thoroughly nice guy. I also know John F and he has always been lovely and friendly to deal with. It is sad to see people being attacked and criticised for having an opinion, I actually don’t feel the need to justify my choices to strangers on the internet but I can give it a go because I think it helps to create a balanced argument. Vote No. APINZ may or may not have mine, my fellow beekeepers who make a living from beekeeping - regardless of size, and my bees best interests at heart, to assume that they do is a fanciful notion but considering they have done nothing to endear non-members to them and expect everyone to come to them via their material leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not that long ago I would have been willing to join APINZ, however I was put off by what I considered to be overly steep membership costs with very little if any benefits other than a glossy magazine filled with advertising that I didn’t have the time to read. I refuse to willingly front 10 cents per kilo of my hard earned money to pay a levy that may or may not be well spent. That 10 cents to me is a lot of money considering I have to pay it upfront before I have been paid myself. I really love beekeeping, but I really hate politics and stupid rules and regulations that do nothing for the safety of our product. I believe APINZ really let us down with the MPI Manuka definition and I believed this was their time to shine, the industry basically stalled, which may or may not have happened anyway, but the point is, why weren’t our advocates advocating, it made me quite happy to not be paying them any money that I didn’t have. Both sides of this argument have been 100% what if’s. While I definitely admire taking a positive stance, and I would hope that this was the case, life experiences in general tell me that if there is a chance it can go wrong it probably will. The simple fact is, we don’t know what will happen if the levy goes through. To me, the safer option is to continue on the path we are currently on where a heap of people are going broke and beekeeping is getting less and less profitable. Sure, it sucks to work for nothing, but I think it’s worse to work for something and have it taken off you by someone who hasn’t earnt it. I believe there are hundreds of very intelligent people out there working on more beehives and learning from what is happening right in front of them on a scale that could not be recreated by any research. Because when you are working on hundreds if not thousands of beehives you will see natural variation unlike anything that could be recreated by researchers. I have a hoodie that says “Beekeeper, I do precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge” obviously this is not true of all research, but a case study on 50 hives? I’m not even going to waste my time. I look at more hives than that in a days work, I visit those hives regularly, and I take notice of every little thing happening and generally I know what I’m looking at. Research is the carrot because not a single person can outright say we don’t need research, without it we wouldn’t have varroa controls, but I would go as far to say that quite often it’s common sense based. I had a hive that I provided samples for, I was surprised to see how apparently sick it was on paper - nosema x2 and lotmaria, ay varying degrees and times during the study. I found it very interesting. It still went on to produce 3 FD boxes of honey and I would eat my hat if I couldn’t fix it with 2 frames of brood, a new queen, and a placeswap unfortunately I didn’t have the cash to pay for extra testing at the time to test my theory. I can fix sick hives just like these, as can many beekeepers with the time to do so. I don’t really care why they’re sick, as long as it’s not AFB, perhaps if it was the majority of my hives I might feel differently. Generally the amount of time and resources from other hives spent doing so makes it easier to just make another hive. And if you keep your hives strong then they don’t get sick, this is also easy, don’t get greedy. I am happy to admit what I know is only a drop in the ocean, I enjoy learning and there is always more to learn, and I am happy to admit when I am wrong. Paying for research is a smart move, even if some of it is not helpful and has zero practical application, even if you only get one useful bit in 10. What I don’t like, is paying for all of these other things. The thing with this levy is that it is incredibly flexible, some people might think this is a positive aspect, I see it as a liability. I have zero faith in anyone getting such a large sum of money without an exact knowledge of what they are going to do with it, and to know that if I am unhappy then I will be stuck with it for some number of years without much chance to do anything about it. Now is certainly the time to ask questions and to be suspicious, call me what you like, I consider myself to be incredibly risk adverse some people might say that I was negative, that’s fine, maybe I am. But until I can be told unequivocally where my money is going then it’s a No from me.
  37. 12 points
    The levy debate is very much like Brexit vote in Uk. Be careful what you wish for before voting Yes. What you are really voting for is ApiNZ existence. I don't have a crystal ball to call who will be right or wrong in this debate, but there are some simple facts that can not be denied. Research still appears the only reason people are wanting to back this plan and less than half the money is going in that direction. Knowingly giving a 50% discount is never a good business plan. Research is generational. Every dollar being invested in this proposal if successful will only deliver results to select groups 5,10,15,20 years from now. Passing on something worthwhile to the next generation is a responsibility we all have, but don't vote yes if your only goal is for someone to save your business in next 5 years. Saving your business in next two years might happen from some other event already in play, but not from this ApiNZ levy. The initial research funding for Dr Molan was provided by individual Beekeepers and private funding and took over 10 years before anything concrete came through. Yes the media push from Bill Floyd was funded by NBA marketing levy, but the real Manuka boost in mid 2000 was massive corporate investment and then three poor seasons in a row creating huge supply problems. The harsh reality is any results created from ApiNZ research will only be useful if commercialised by wealthy corporates or coordinated small group of individuals. The rest of the "industry" might benefit as a result from the trickle effect, but ApiNZ will never deliver a golden ticket to every beekeeper individually. Domocracy is a loose concept in business and make no mistake, ApiNZ is a business. The actual influence of the average beekeeper levy payer in how money will be spent will be about the same as the average dairy farmer with Fonterra. Pretty much zilch. Yes we can vote on board members and then ring them every night, but actual control or influence, no. Regardless what happens in this vote, current conditions in our industry will dictate some tough changes over next few years, and in every other industry that has gone boom/bust/boom successfully, the outcome has been a massive consolidation and power shift to larger companies. Putting all your eggs into the ApiNZ basket needs to be done with eyes wide open. I actually think there is room for multiple groups providing beekeeping services on a more personal basis, and an independant research trust set up for a research levy identical to the existing honey industry trust. Voting yes now will prevent Beekeepers taking control of this process. The best thing about living in NZ is we have a democratic system that allows divided debate without being locked up and stoned. Happy honey gathering.
  38. 12 points
    well i haven't said much on here for a while, but love reading whats going on, I'am with jamesec on alot of what he say's and i think the only way for alot of us smaller honey collectors to survive is to sell our own, market, package and to further process our honey. we are are putting up a little honey shack in the back yard and will be selling honey six different sorts, hand creams etc, soaps, honey powder, tablets, Also we currently sell at three different markets as well as online sales and return buyers, i for one know how i will be voting after spending all my spare time and then some on all things bee related, spending endless hours in the stinking hot sun stuck in a bee suit with salty sweet running into my eyes,
  39. 12 points
    Thanks Ali, like everyone I got the odd nasty hive, but not at that site. Doesn't show in the pics but there was a lot of bee activity in a small area, so I just opened the one hive that I know is a very gentle one. Went through the whole thing looking for the queen to show them but missed her. But anyhow they got to see how the brood nest works, with eggs, larvae, a bee hatching, pollen in the comb. I tried to show them how the bees run their house, and let them hold bees, it was all super interesting to the kids. For the kids there was that hint of danger to get their attention, but they followed instructions absolutely, and it all worked out, they loved it. And a fun day for their poppa, I will admit ?.
  40. 12 points
    Feeling like a proud father... ? I had a single box hive that I discovered that the queen had stopped laying in a couple of weeks back. She had definitely been laying two weeks before that. I found the remnants of a supercedure cell, but didn't look too hard for the virgin as it was cold. I gave them a frame of brood to look after and hopefully start a Qcell. When I went in again this morning to give them another frame of brood I noticed that they hadn't built any Qcells from last time... so I dug around a bit and found a patch of eggs, then a lovely new queen! Hooray! Wasn't really expecting mating success in Christchurch during September.
  41. 12 points
    Thanks for the compliment. I'm male and my moniker is my name. Why hide if you believe in what you say. Ill skip the previous 100 years that formulated a lot of my views, but three years ago we had industry unification in the palm of our hands. I was a supporter, but Unfortunately a small group of individuals pushed through a hasty agenda that was arrogant and completely disregarded a precious and hard fought history. We requested an extra year to work through all the issues and build the best from NBA history, with a modern future. The actual became smaller family run business were dumped on, branch social networks disbanded, NBA history was ignored, and we were told ApiNZ was the only group like it or lump it. Instead of getting an 80% to 90% vote in support of change, ApiNZ had already created enough disconnect to scrap through just over 50%. Personally this was a sad day as an opportunity was lost. Now this same group is asking for $2 million dollars for activities that have not been discussed enough to truly make a decision of this magnitude. Personally if all this was put on the back burner for 12 months to set up structures that took the best from the NBA, family business interests, and yes, larger operators we would have a different situation. Use transparent and truly contestible trusts to hold research money, and put "industry good/administration" money in a trust contestible but all industry groups. So many people have requested ApiNZ to connect to grass roots beekeeping. How long would it take. Probably not long.
  42. 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.
  43. 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
  44. 11 points
    Aah how the mind wanders while hauling loads.. ideas are born and forgotten... plans are made or modified... Questions are asked and answered.. this is the cab my thoughts thrash around in.. shes no 500 horse MAN but she gets up some gnarly goat tracks and delivers.
  45. 11 points
    kia ora mo ena ki nga whakaaro koutou katoa...ka mau te wehi!! Thanks for all your thoughts/info on how to go about this duty.I will bee staying near the apiary for the whole weekend,so the idea of splitting the duties into two days will work in well with that.I also have a helper (my babe) who can lift the lids/covers on and off as i place supers onto the trailer. My hives and boxes are all numbered individually already,so thats a head start....my leaf blower was modified last night and has a new vac hose extension fitted.Plenty of fuel,oil and water and check vehicle/trailer over and dont forget the spare for trailer!! ohh and lots of smoker fuel!! Ill post up a panui of my adventure next week.
  46. 11 points
    It is a common practise overseas, and I've been surprised there are even some reasonably intelligent beekeepers doing it. To do it in NZ, just about anywhere there are bees, there will be other bees within range, even on a 2,000 acre farm. You will be feeding all bees in the area and there may be more than you think. Overseas it is often done in holding sites with no other bees anywhere near. The main issue i have with bulk feeding is the needs of each hive are different. In many autumn apiaries there will be some hives with a good amount of stores, right down to some with near zero. It is good to assess each hive and feed it the amount it needs. Bulk feeding means that some hives will have more than needed but others may not get enough and could starve later. Another factor is that in Canada and USA they fed cheap HFCS, at a fraction the cost of what sugar syrup costs to us in NZ. So it could be they don't mind in the USA if they have to overfeed, to ensure even the lightest hives get enough. But here, even my own modest size bee hobby cost me $7,000 in sugar last year, it's not like I'm a fountain of money, so if I can save by not overfeeding, it's money in my pocket. Or at least, not money out of my pocket. Re robbing, yes, something to be very aware of in a dearth. But, it can be done, it's about beekeeper skill. Even in the very worst conditions hives can be safely fed individually. The trick is firstly to have strong hives with no holes and correctly sized entrances. If there's robbing, don't even feed the weak ones. Next, don't feed while working the yard, do them all at the end, that's because soon as you feed one in a dearth, the bees will get excited and start attempting to rob. If you are still working other hives and have them open it can become a nightmare. So, work all the hives first and maybe have some marking system so you can mark how much feed each one needs. Then once everything is done feed all the hives and close up asap. And, don't mess with robber screens, which are a stupid idea that should never have been invented. Strong hives, correctly sized and placed entrances, and good beekeeping practises, that's all you need.
  47. 11 points
    I have attempted to summarise the thread here. This thread is well worth reading in its entirety as it has much that is useful, but I found it a little hard to know current best practice when making my own. Hopefully I do now! I have been over it many times, but am sure there are many errors. Apologies if I have misstated what someone has said or incorrectly attributed content. Let me know and I'll fix it.
  48. 11 points
    hi, I've got a bunch of hives that I've just moved into flowering manuka, they're already around 4 stack (yes, fun to move). the top boxes on all of them are around half filled with bush/clover, none capped. the box below also partially filled with top third capped. Id like a clean seperation so i dont dilute the manuka, and of course Id like the bees to get cracking on the manuka:-) Ive heard if you put an empty super (no frames) below a box and it causes the bees to switch to robbing mode and pull the honey down. Im thinking this is a possible way to get the bees to finish off box 3 and leave box 4 nice and clean for the manuka. Has anyone tried this? if so, how effective is it and how long does it take? if it works, it sounds like a useful way to clean up half filled honey supers in autumn so I can do treatments as well thanks! and heres a happy bee on clover before the move
  49. 11 points
    I have a few other snippets of information that I believe will be enough for the ministry to find her, hopefully she will be dealt with in the next few days. But the purpose of this thread was not to go after this particular person, but was to use this example of what goes on to put the idea out there that some legal requirements about pre sale hive inspections would be a good idea. The buyer in this case said he wanted to register the hive, but was told by the seller he shouldn't bother. There was also no support, result, another rob out, more hives likely infected and more innocent hobby beekeeper victims. This type of thing should be punishable in some way.
  50. 11 points
    As promised Ive been out and about and have learned a bit Id say. I went out to the site with the big overwintered hive that got 20 Staples last week end. The idea was to look at how it responded to such a hit of OA/GL First thing I do is jump out of the truck and check the entrance for any dead Bees, there were none so then I lite the smoker, assemble some testing gear, tarp up etc. First thing I noted about the Hive as I pulled it down was that it had lost some population, not a lot but noticeable.They wernt dead at the door so must have died in the field. The Brood was good and there was plenty of uncapped larvae and eggs Minimal brood damage from Staples and overall a healthy strong Hive, however there were without a doubt bees missing beyond those that were out working. An alcohol wash showed no mites. I put the hive back together. Then beside it was a Hive that I decided to test as well, just an average hive and from this Hive I learned a lesson today and maybe another next week By absolute chance I missed it last week and it didnt get any Staples. It still had its overwintered Autumn treatment in and it has zero capped Brood. There were two full frames of egg to 6/7 day Larvae It was obvious that this Hive hadnt reared any Brood for a long time The Queen was good and as Ive mentioned, her new uncapped Brood was very good What really surprised me was that the Hive was full of nectar, and it struck me that her overwinter Bees were foraging as there were no young Bees. Not only were they foraging but they were feeding larvae etc and the Hive was really nice. So I treated it with 4 Staples. If our theory that the OA is killing the overwintered Bees early is correct then this hive will lose most of its forages and also most of the Bees that are feeding that Brood, so the Brood will die also, and so then will the Hive. What this may demonstrate is that it is unwise to treat with OA/GL untill the hive has a couple of Brood cycles behind it and therefore a new foraging force. This may explain the opinion of some that OA slows Spring expansion. Some observers have assumed that the observed slowdown is due to the effect of the OA on the Queen when it is obvious to me that the Queen is unaffected The slow down is likely due to the timing of the OA treatment
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