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Everything posted by Otto

  1. Not so sure it would be a major concern in this case. The more likely scenario is that since it is now a 3 brood box hive (with the top one being a nice shiny new one that the queen will be super keen on) the queen is probably ignoring the bottom box for the moment and there is still some emerging brood in there. I'd try to find a local beekeeper that breeds nice gentle bees and buy a queen cell or two for your splits rather than doing walk away ones.
  2. Restrictions on harvesting honey that has been collected while Varroa treatments are in the hive mostly apply to those wanting to sell their honey, especially to high-end markets in China, Europe etc. If you are harvesting honey for your own consumption or to give to friends my advice is to have a quick read up about the chemicals you have used to treat for Varroa and work out whether you are okay with eating honey that could have a trace amount of these in it. You would need to be extremely sensitive to them to suffer any effects from eating honey as the amounts that might be in y
  3. @Maggie James You were interested in Barberry flowers? Took these photos here this afternoon. This is the barberry we have locally (Darwin's barberry). It is coming into flower at the moment. It looks different to the photo @dansar posted in the September diary. This is another quite weedy plant, especially down in the Catlins where some hillsides are covered with it in the same way gorse covers things elsewhere in the country.
  4. I assume they try to pack it into their sacs but the stringy nature of it makes it difficult so it loosely sticks to the legs. I have not managed to find bees actually working the flowers for pollen to see how they are trying to do it. Yes - the brood does look good:)
  5. One other thing. I find if I make mating nucs up stronger than what I described above they are too full and the queen from the cell you provide often flies off with many of the bees. You end up with a queen from one of their emergency cells instead.
  6. Plenty of advice here already but I think your plan sounds good. My ideal set-up for mating nucs (in spring) is a frame of brood, a frame of food and enough bees to keep the brood warm. My nucs are 3-4 frames with a 1 frame width frame feeder. I also like mixed-age brood but prefer to have some close to emerging if possible so that there are new bees coming through all the time. I tend to put cells in the next day. I make the nucs and move them to a new site. They get opened up and left to settle in for a day before I put the cells in.
  7. Can't say I've had obvious issues with grumpy bees at that time of year. Down here the hawthorn and broom often come in to flower at the same time. That is when the bees get properly difficult to keep at home. A glut of highly nutritious food just as they are reaching full strength = swarmy bees.
  8. Possibly hawthorn. That has a definite greenish tinge to it.
  9. I do get a bit of it in hives at times. This is what it looks like in a shiny new frame (photo is a few years old).
  10. I am not a big honey producer and don't produce quantities of this honey to make it worth selling on in bulk. So I have never had a pollen analysis done on it. Given the shape of the flowers my assumption has always been you wouldn't get much of the pollen in the honey anyway. My calling it Fuchsia honey is based on knowledge passed down from other beekeepers in the area (such as Peter Sales and Allan McCaw) who know the area well, kept bees here for a long time and carved out a niche knowing and selling our local honey.
  11. It wasn't collected for nutritional analysis and I don't know the breakdown of different nutrients. These samples were taken to aid methods development for sequencing DNA extracted from pollen, both from single clumps and mixed samples. My bees seem to have access to good and varied quantities of pollen in spring so the fact that they collect the fuchsia pollen certainly suggests that they get something out of it.
  12. Can't say I eat a lot of pollen - not really something I enjoy. Would be surprised if different pollen didn't taste different though. Fuchsia honey is very nice though. Crystallises very quickly, almost white) and has a subtle lemony tang to it. Probably my favourite local honey.
  13. Remembered that I had a photo from some of the pollen sampling I did last season. Collected at the end of November. Lots of blue pollen...
  14. They definitely collect the pollen. Have only really seen it on their back legs where pollen is supposed to be. It is often very untidy looking though, in stringy bits rather than a nice solid clump and it falls off more easily than other pollen. At a number of my apiaries the hives get a dusting of blue in front of the hive entrance (usually a little later in spring but have already seen some this season). Will try to remember to take a photo next time I see it.
  15. @southbeeThis is a cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). Quite a few around here too. I think they're considered a weed but bees quite like them.
  16. Sure is. Comes from Kotukutuku - our native tree fuchsia. Very common in the regenerating bush around here and the bees collect lots of nectar and some pollen from it.
  17. Yesterday I was at a Spring Festival for Otago Organics. Had been asked to go and talk about bees. Had a few laminated photos of bees to put up and was looking for a decent way to do it. Was rummaging through the shed looking for something I could use as a notice board and noticed the box of new hive mats. They work quite well as photo frames.
  18. I've got a bunch of 2-in-1 boxes that sat idle last season so I'll be putting bees back into these to get queens mated, which will be sold as queens or as nucs depending on what's in demand (mostly local hobby beekeepers). Since I'm in a city there are also quite a few local hobbyists who come to me for queen cells. They might only buy them in 2s or 3s but I still find it worthwhile. I think it is important for hobbyists to have access to nice gentle bees for their urban and suburban beehives.
  19. First cells of the season. The bees seem to be in the right mood:)
  20. I also have got reasonable results grafting straight into plastic cups (Buzzco). I certainly prefer putting them into hives for a day or two first though. I use recycled ones quite often. These get cleaned up by heating in a pot with some dishwashing liquid until the wax has melted off them. Then rinsed 3-4 times with cold water. These have a little residual wax left on them and bees are very happy to use them. I have a vague recollection from a conversation with my brother, who uses the Ecrotek ones, that they work better if the bees get a chance to polish them up (and the Ecrotek websit
  21. Given the amount of pine we produce here I'd just go with it is crazy rather than only seeming crazy...
  22. I hate hobbyist-bashing when it comes to AFB. Yes, some get caught out using second-hand gear etc but AFB is primarily a disease spread by commercial beekeepers.
  23. I certainly find the text alerts frustrating. All they say is: LOCAL AFB ADVICE Notified within 2km of your MAF site IDs ... Increase frequency of inspection for 18 months. Pretty sure a rob out notice is different to this but it really in not very informative. For me, if a hive is found with some cells of AFB 1.5km away I am not that concerned. If it was a heavy infection 50m down the road I need to be far more concerned. I agree with @john berry. A scale of severity would be good. As would a more accurate indicator of how far away it was (why no
  24. @Kiwi Bee You could try Farm source. That is the glycerine I use and I am happy with the job it is doing. https://store.nzfarmsource.co.nz/catalog/ecolab-glycerine-5l/212374
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