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Posts posted by Otto

  1. Here in Dunedin I get red pollen in town hives. I'm pretty sure this comes from horse chestnut trees, which are commonly planted large trees. These are flowering around town at the moment. 

    Pollens come in many different colours and more colours appearing in your hive is only a good thing. It means the bees are getting a good, varied diet.

    • Good Info 3
  2. On 30/09/2020 at 8:15 PM, Maggie James said:

    What's the white stuff Otto.  Never seen that here in the boondocks

    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.

    • Like 1
  3. 3 hours ago, Sailabee said:

    The test will help flush out hidden AFB spreaders. Some may see that at draconian, but I see it as science doing it's job for beekeepers.


    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).


    18 minutes ago, Maru Hoani said:

    Need to have more beekeepers out there inspecting each area not wasting money on testing 1000 samples, it's not going to do much is it?


    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. 

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  4. 6 hours ago, tristan said:

    thats is of concern.

    usually with boomer hives brood pattern is pretty solid.


    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.

    • Like 1
  5. 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 your honey (if treatments were done correctly) will be miniscule.


    In your case, I'd aim to harvest some of that excess honey now rather than waiting until Christmas. You have to lift that honey every time you go into the hive for a look, which I would find a pain. Some honeys also crystallise in the frames with time which make them very difficult to extract. Plus, the frames can be filled up again and have fresh honey in them by Christmas...

    • Agree 2
  6. @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. 


    20200918_133518 copy.jpg

    20200918_133529 copy.jpg

    • Like 4
  7. 11 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

    I have heard the term Blue Socks before.  Is it an incidental gathering?  It looks like it is on their legs.  Or is it because they can't pack it in the sacs?


    Fab brood pattern! 

    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:)

    • Like 1
  8. 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.

    • Thanks 1
  9. 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.

    • Like 1
  10. 15 minutes ago, Maggie James said:




    That's interesting.  Out this way, all the old railway tracks were planted in hawthorn hedges, but I have never seen that colour pollen in my hives.  The first two years of T4Bs they were based at Lincoln and I supplied a large amount of pollen and plant specimens, but I don't recall that colour, and I definitely supplied bees with pollen sacs full of pollen.  I do know it came up quite high in the nutritional values.  


    What I can tell you from my experience is that apiaries near the Hawthorn, in spring, I would only inspect on a warm day prob middle of the day.  Cos if the air temp dropped, the hives got s....y  It was like the nectar and pollen flow stopped at a certain temp, and with a hive of grumpy old field bees in spring, I valued my comfort! 

    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.

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  11. 40 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

    What was the reason for the DNA sequencing?

    Re the fuschia honey - what is the pollen count required for this or are there other parameters?

    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. 

    • Like 1
  12. 2 hours ago, Maggie James said:

    What was the pollen quality on analysis?  

    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.

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  13. 2 minutes ago, Maru Hoani said:

    Does it taste any different?

    I got grey propolis one season and it smelled and tasted way different, havent had it since though.

    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.

    • Good Info 1
  14. 1 minute ago, Maggie James said:

    That's interesting.  I didn't think they packed it in sacs.  My understanding is that when the bees go for the Kotukutuku nectar, the filaments break and they travel back to the hives with the filaments and anthers hanging off the bees as an incidental gathering.  Have you seen that?  Maybe they pack it in the sacs, and also take it back hanging of them

    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.

    • Good Info 2
  15. 50 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

    Otto - Is that blue pollen in the sacs?  What is it?

    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.

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