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Posts posted by Otto


    11 hours ago, Goran said:

    For maximum result on black locust I have to " dance" with swarming. The colonies must be roaring when black locust start, few days late  - I miss my opportunity.. 

    The best honey flow we have in many parts of Dunedin in through mid-Spring. Same scenario, if hives are at full strength they can collect quite a decent crop. The problem is keeping them home...

  2. 11 hours ago, Maggie James said:

    Lately, I have been inudated with numerous phone calls from students of a tertiary provider (who appears to be v disorganised) delivering beekeeping courses at level 3 & level 4.  Students want answers to their questions on their assignments, and students seem to think they would like to be mentored by me.  They just don't seem to understand it's not my place to help them with their assignments, and whilst I don't mind mentoring people, I can't go mentoring what seems to be like half the population of mid Canterbury; particularly when a tertiary provider providing zero fee courses is probably making megabucks from government funding.     

    This tertiary provider wouldn't happen to be further south from you? I'm hearing some interesting stories coming from one being run here... 

    • Like 1
  3. 1 minute ago, JohnF said:



    Err, what's your definition of a 'large' swarm then @Otto - versus 'quite big'?  ?

    Yeah, okay. This was large. I gave it two FD boxes of foundation to play with. Had a peek in the top this morning and the top box was pretty much all drawn and filling with nectar and pollen.

    • Like 2
  4. I went through the hive this came from yesterday. There were lots of swarm cells but not one that was even close to emerging yet (3 days after collecting the swarm).

    They obviously got excited and decided not to wait. That happens a bit here at this time of the year. Very difficult to completely control swarming when they up and leave well before the books say they should. As I say to hobbyists quite frequently, the bees don't read the same books we do...

    • Like 1
    • Agree 1
  5. 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.

    • Like 1
    • Good Info 3
  6. 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
  7. 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. 

    • Agree 3
  8. 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
  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 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
  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. 


    20200918_133518 copy.jpg

    20200918_133529 copy.jpg

    • Like 4
  11. 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
  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.

    • Thanks 1
  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.

    • Like 1
  14. 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.

    • Agree 1
    • Good Info 1
  15. 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
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