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Otto

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Everything posted by Otto

  1. I do exactly the same when I teach an introductory bee course for our local club. I stress the point that you need to learn what healthy brood looks like. That way if something shows up that is not right you can spot it. If you are not completely sure what is wrong then it shouldn't be that difficult to find someone more experienced to come and have a look at it with you (as it is in every beekeepers interest to make sure that AFB is dealt with swiftly).
  2. Not really sure sorry. This was from the March sample. One light coloured pollen that does come in that time of the year is Koromiko/Hebe pollen. There's lots of that in our regenerating bush and in suburban gardens. There seem to be multiple shades of light coloured pollen though.
  3. @Braiden Dunedin has a couple of suppliers: Beeline Supplies Ltd (Brian) Bee Supplies Otago (Eric) Both Brian and Eric are pretty helpful. If you are willing to drive up to Dunedin I can sell you a nuc but it won't be until late October that I have more ready to go.
  4. Do you have a local supplier of beekeeping equipment? They often have a reasonable idea of who has bees available in their local area.
  5. I agree @Sailabee provided that samples from beekeepers that return a positive for AFB are properly followed up on. There is little point in doing the testing without putting some serious time and resources into followup (including prosecution). I don't think this needs to be about trying to exhaustively test samples from every different beekeeper. If the testing is done and an example is made of a few flagrant rule breakers then more will fall into line because they know they are more likely to get caught out.
  6. These were a couple of pollen samples I collected in town earlier this year (one in January and one in March) that both have purple pollen in them (not Fuchsia). Hopefully will find out what they are sometime...
  7. Honey testing is not about identifying specific apiaries/sites that are problematic. It is all about identifying beekeepers who have AFB problems. Which sites their hives collected the honey from is irrelevant to their AFB management protocols, but the honey samples can give the management agency a chance to identify which beekeeping outfits have issues.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. @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.
  11. 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:)
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Possibly hawthorn. That has a definite greenish tinge to it.
  16. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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...
  21. 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.
  22. @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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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