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Beehavn

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Beehavn last won the day on February 17 2012

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About Beehavn

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  1. Tend to agree. When AFB spores are viable up to 45 years (maybe more depending on where located) a levy will not solve the problem, and diseasathons would need to be repeated every six months (even more often) for at least 50 years and still NOT guarantee all AFB was found and eradicated. The spores do not need to be in another hive, they can be in the ground, or in trees - in houses, anywhere where once was a bee nest or beehive (apiary) registered or not. Basically if you want to keep bees around Hamilton, expect to burn a few periodically. And this state goes back to WWII when there was sugar rationing and every man and his dog decided to keep bees. Most knowing nothing about AFB which then became endemic. The then inspector old Alf Bennett got to the stage of burning whole apiaries if he found one diseased hive there. It reduced the problem but didn't resolve it. Beekeepers cannot control where their bees go to find whatever they want - probably even to just water at a communal district bee watering spot, getting AFB can be entirely random and NOT simply the beekeepers fault. Though there have been known to be beekeepers who must turn a blind eye to what they see - if they inspected their hive(s) properly. Also generally inspectors would like the beekeeper present to use their own hive tool, smoker and do the lifting, but if the beekeeper cannot be there then inspections are done with due diligence in respect of hive tool flaming or sterilisation etc. Control of AFB is achievable, eradication I would very much doubt. I think that aim is just going to be an extremely costly process and still not succeed, but it will cost beekeepers. AFB is not a human problem, it does not threaten the health of humans at all and the possible presence of AFB spores in exported honey being a reason for this eradication program is simply a trade war barrier instigated by overseas interests, and our authorities are skipping to their command. Another reason to tax New Zealanders and wave big sticks. Probably the inflated value of Manuka honey and it's effect on international honey markets is part of the the trade-war type reaction. Greed and avarice. Now supported by legislation and threats of fines and even imprisonment. Welcome to the implementation of NWO and controls your never dreamed of as a child. or youth.
  2. The native trees, Kowhai and Karaka produce toxic nectar. Bees fall to the ground and never return to the hive.
  3. Before the European brought honey bees to NZ there was NO HONEY produced here in NZ. Absolutely none. Therefore all honey, Manuka included is a European product, a European taonga if you like, but definitely NOT a Maori taonga. In fact Manuka honey isn't even produced by Manuka scrub/trees or whatever. Sure there is nectar that the plant produces and that the European Honey bees collect but ALL honey is produced WITHIN a beehive by honey bees and never by a plant. The 'honey bees manufacture' honey by a process of ingestion and regurgitation while adding natural bee enzymes to, and dehydrating, the original nectar. No native insect has the ability to manufacture honey like honey bees. As the honey bees were brought here by Europeans and the concept of beehives as well, long after the TOW, plus the fact the European bees work inside the beehives to produce the honey, previously never produced in NZ, I fail to see how Maori can claim any taonga status on any honey, let alone Manuka honey.
  4. Just been reading more about tutu, tutin toxin and the Industry unification project. More admin and costs onto beekeepers. If we look at the subject of tutin toxin and toxic product, the base problem is the plant when growing in urban and rural farming regions. OK it's a native plant/shrub so the plant may be a 'holy cow' but...... frankly it's a poisonous plant and should be classified as noxious. It is far easier to identify the plant than a few honey comb cells of contaminated honey or a contaminated sample taken from a honey tank or drum. If contaminated honey is a food safety issue and can affect local or international trading of NZ honey then the source of the problem should be attacked. The plant is the source, not the passion vine hopper (it can survive on other plants), not the bee, nor the beekeeper. The costs could be shared around the greater agricultural industry by declaring the plant noxious and controlling it just like gorse, blackberry and broom among other noxious species. And councils should be stopped from using it for urban plantings! Or perhaps they could be sued if you find tutin when your honey is tested, at least for recovery of cost and loss of income from the non-sale of contaminated honey. If they plant it they should have public liability insurance to cover tutin toxin problems! If I saw the plant in my bee territory I would destroy it before it flowers.
  5. If you suffer from deep cold cracks on the end of your thumb (or finger) and you get stung inside the crack, it's hard to decide if that or the sting under the end of your nose is worse or better.
  6. As a ball-park consideration bees use roughly 6 units of honey to make 1 unit of wax required to build comb. That's why heavy brood or Manuka foundation is really good. The bees decide the foundation is over thick and use the wax up by drawing it up as cell walls - it's much quicker for them to do this and they don't consume honey to do it, so enabling more honey production. As mentioned above the bees will work thick foundation even without a nectar flow on, so it means gains all round - for the bees and the beekeeper. A wax coating on plastic foundation (frames) encourages the bees to work them. It disguises the plastic. The thicker and more uniform the coating the more evenly and more quickly the plastic foundation will be drawn into useful combs. Part of logic behind returning the "wets" (i.e. boxes of extracted frames of combs) to hives after taking the first cut of the honey crop is saving the bees work and the consumption of energy to make wax. This is more effective than dropping a box of foundation on the hive at that point because of the time and cost in honey to draw it. Depending on time and quantity of honey taken, it is possible to remove the honey off the hive, extract it the same day and return the empty boxes the next day, so saving the bees the effort of building from scratch and having to consume honey to make wax. At a hobbyists level with access to a two or four frame honey extractor - honey extraction can be at frame level instead of box level. You simply return the extracted frames back to the relevant hives.
  7. Well the coloured sugar will end up not only in their hives but probably yours as well, and anyone elses hives that are able to access the sugar from within the next 5 km or so. Especially now we're due to go into the robbing season shortly. How much are you thinking of? It is indeed inconsiderate to locate hives within easy flying distance of someone else's honey shed. It's also risky as that is often where unwanted organisms can come from if "collections" are in poorly stored situations.
  8. The way I read it Wayne, anyone who doesn't want anything but top bars in a TBH are against frames in a TBH. Why else would they NOT use them? I've understood several posters have moaned about the concept of possibly having to use frames. The DECA aspect is OK for inspecting your own hives for AFB, BUT in Exotic Surveillance Programmes your hives will be inspected by Authorised persons (AP's AP2s) or an Apiary Officer (AO) in the employ of MAF, AsureQuality or contractors perhaps representing the PMS / NBA / Industry. Your hives are required to meet the inspection standards expected of the Apiary/Biosecurity regulations. Having a DECA is no great deal it simply means you have passed a test, can recognise AFB in any of it's stages and are therefore competent to inspect hives for AFB, primarily your own hives. During a more detailed inspection by an AP or AO looking for AFB and or other organisms, each comb will be moved around held sideways and so on. If the combs fall off the top bars because the inspector has to hold them sideways or horizontal and the whole comb breaks off and lands wherever, the comb would obviously not have been within a frame. The inspector has to be able to do the job required of them and if your hive contents aren't suitable - "c'est la vie". I'm sure others on the forum realise that. And some like me, know that such does happen even when you're looking at your own TB only combs more times than you care to admit. "Mangled mess" as used by one person, describes the result quite well. Top bars are not a new fangled concept. Quite the contrary. They simply are a primitive beekeeping mechanism. Everyone that has a job is driven by money. In fact even Government beneficiaries are, otherwise they wouldn't queue up and hold their hand out. So too are certain types of herbalist. Many commercial and semi-commercial beekeepers ("commercial operators") are such because they were hobbyists initially, loved working with bees and realised they could enjoy working with their bees to make "sweet money" instead of "slave money" . The fact they sometimes have to slave for themselves is just something that occurs and is done willingly. I still haven't read anything that is proof that TBs are better than proper frames, or that proper frames are not the intent of the NZ beekeeping regulations and required by law, as has accepted by the industry for decades. Precedent is a powerful part of the system. I'm also sure this debate will be resolved by a tightening of the regulations as are seen to be required by the industry as a whole. The whole criteria is the practical complete and secure handling of combs by all beekeepers, especially by official inspectors performing their legal tasks in anyone's beehive(s), and that includes unregistered ones too.
  9. The observation hive is best if queen-right (with a marked laying queen) so that visitors can see the queen and the growth of bees from egg through to grub, pupa and hatching bee. One problem if the observation hive is more than one frame wide, the queen will tend to stay between the frames for more time and so not be visible often enough.
  10. If they're too wide the bees will use the frames away from the glass. When not being observed the colony is best kept in the dark. Frames above each other is the way to go - as at Mossops. Often observation hives are maintained by having another "donor" hive somewhere handy - so that frames of capped brood can be added from time to time to keep the observation colony at optimum visual strength.
  11. It is very nice to see the frames you've made up. The sides and bottom bars could possibly be made lighter - no real need for them to be thicker or heavier than those used in Langstroth hives, but if you experiment with the thickness you'll determine what you like best. The waxed grooves will definitely help. You could even hot wax in very long thin strips of foundation wax to help encourage and guide the bees.
  12. You can have both, and use either, or both depending on the location the hives have been moved to. Side entrances (on the long aspect of the langstroth box) mean the combs are aligned across the entry point. This in my experience is the usual alignment in wild colonies (but not exclusively so). Cold airflow into the colony is impeded by this alignment. So it is good in cold or drafty locations. Normal front entrances with comb aligned away from the entrance (our hive standard) are by us assumed to give the bees better access and better airflow, especially in hot weather. Most hives have this format. I have seen hives using one or the other and others where bees had both available and were using both. I've seen hives with both, using one as their main entrance and just guarding the other, or having far fewer bees using that second entance for whatever reason they chose. The bees will utilise entrances their way however the beekeeper sets them up. If reduced to a very small gap, that's what they have to use. If a fully wide open hive front, the bees might use a portion and perhaps just be standing guard elsewhere, or they might use all of it. They choose. Entrance format would relate to the direction of sun, wind and rain. Hive entrance away from the prevailing wind direction is common, but if not possible then the hot alignment of combs is thoughful. For calm hot (stinking hot) conditions the cold aligment is more appropriate. My grand-father, who kept bees in Northland, reckoned as many entrances as possible were essential. Often a corner (or corners)of each box was raised at one end, on beespace size twigs to provide more ventilation and access. Some people in really hot conditions use a sheet of corrugated iron as a bottom board. Bees get in and out from every undulation in the corrugated iron. Such would be a summer bottom for the hive with a normal bottom board being used in winter. In any apiary during spring and early to mid-summer, bees clustered outside a beehive entrance indicate more space and more ventilation (more or larger entrances) is required. Obviously if in late summer when the flow is over and honey boxes have been removed, any bees clustering out the front is entirely different, and of no real concern. So running beehives 'hot' or 'cold' can be our evaluation of the apiary site and what the season/weather is like and what the conditions (eg. nectar flow on or off) are in relation to your management thoughts. Having bottom boards able to provide both options is not a silly idea. It gives greater flexibility to meet whatever conditions an apiary site might present in regard to vehicle access and unloading methods, which determine hive placement.
  13. Like John I think folk are missing the point. He says "The standardisation of beehives in New Zealand has always been one of our greatest strengths,". I absolutely agree. When you take into account research results and details, instruction information, construction costs and design, availability of standard beeware and the cost of such, compenentry, etc ... the costs and ability buy the stuff at all is far easier with standardisation. All this is hugely beneficial. About Long hives, he says "They do look pretty cool but then so do standard hives. They do have a big advantage in that they don't look like a conventional beehive and with a couple of pot plants on top your neighbours will never know you've got a beehive." I absolutely agree. That's the cosmetics of the subject. You can do what you like to the outside of a beehive. Even our standard beehives can be disguised, painted in all sorts of ways. They can even be wrapped to look like an old tree stump if you want. You can keep the hive in your garden shed, similar to the beehouses in Switzerland. There is huge scope for using a bit of imagination if the standard shape doesn't appeal. The bullying that people talk about is merely emphasis on the law of the land, or if you want to argue about that, lets just say the intent of the regulations. For a long, long time, these have NOT been a contentious problem. Neither heinous nor difficult to adhere to, frames benefit the bees because inspections and handling are easier. Long ago there were many generations of beekeepers used to keeping bees in log hives and skeps. For quite a period some superstitiously baulked at the "innovative" requirements of keeping bees in hives that had removable frames. Eventually they passed on or realised it revolutionised beekeeping methods to the advantage of everyone - including the bees. This single innovation also made national disease control and Pest Management strategies possible and more effective through the advantages of a basic standard. The fundamental concept of non-destructive removal of a comb from the hive, the ability to subject it to complete inspection and to replace it with complete security having not broken and damaged the comb, was and still is very significant. One could say that having to drive on the left in NZ is the result of bullying. The police and traffic laws can be said to bully you to enforce that, so too speed limits. There are many things in our society that seem to "bully" folk into compliance. Schooling and education are a similar aspect of our society. Most are to ensure compliance prevails to the common good. Such is life. I don't think the "rift" on the forum over frames is as serious as it appears. The few making comments against the use of frames have attitude and are trying to "buck a system" for whatever reason. The arguments against frames are not really able to present much except originality of box shape, shape of a comb, the lifting aspect, and now "bullying" - none are particularly enlightening or convincing arguments. More folk are just observing and learning from the information and aspects being presented.
  14. Also if varroa ambush bees out of flowers florets, after settling in there having jumped ship off another bee. What about some of the other mites. Lets hope they don't talk to each other and spread the word about how to hitch-hike around the world.
  15. An interesting thought. The primary infection area from recall, was in Manukau(Sth Auckland) city region, within the environs of Auckland International Airport. Any suggestions were highly speculative as there was no definitive answer. It did look by infestation spread that it was 2 years after the event that anything noticed by the affected beekeepers was though suddenly very critical. The whole thing suggests Risk Management, imports and bi-lateral trade agreements are simply open slather from wide open doors. How on earth could we go back to sailing ships and "hot-air balloons"??? One of the problems with our Hort Research bee science facilities is funding. Our Governments spend more on Treaty of Waitangi grievances and creating disharmony that could be more effectively spent helping critical industries - ours included, in the face of an ever increasing onslaught on the viability of the nation as a whole. Compare our meagre research facilites with such as the USA, but then compare our population; only 4.5 million. yes we have to understand small population, small budgets. To have all the things we do have and more besides we're not only lagging, but are already over-taxed and over-committed to international loan repayments. Plus all our governments continue to borrow from various sources such as the IMF, World Bank and other sources. On the other hand Australia imports tonnes of cut flowers as well, and these would be from the same sources we get ours. Why haven't they got varroa yet if flowers from the same sources are imported there? They are, but they fumigate the flowers. Do we not do this now under MAF implemented Risk Management policies? We have so many stable doors - why are they all open except the ones the horses have bolted from? There are lots of potential means that varroa got here, not least of all someone wanting "some bee strain from home" and doing what hundreds of returning immigrants, or their visiting relatives, do on virtually every flight from Asian origins try and do. Bring in food or something organic. And the concept or description of that's very subjective depending on comprehension (or deliberate miss-understanding). No food? Oh so sorry, didn't know food was what you put in your mouth and swallowed. Queen bee? Oh no! just candied speciality sweet-meat! But back to risk to bees. It is obvious they're at risk from a huge variety of sources. And to be fair varroa reached close to Wellington on a logging-truck, in a wild bee colony tucked away in a log. Meanwhile back on the highway, every beekeepers truck was a potential villain.
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