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Posts posted by Otto

  1. Yeah, but its our mate Kerry..and I'm quite sure I don't agree with a single word he says.

    Blimin media, they'll talk to anyone, if they found someone who was credible it wouldn't be an issue, but no, they want to use someone who's already cried CCD wolf, when really it was PPB.

    Couldn't agree more. They need to have squeaky clean beekeepers who are well known for how well they look after their bees to front up for an article like this.


    I complained to TVNZ, I feel better, I'm sick of their useless irresponsible reporting, its absolutely ludicrous.

    I also dislike misreporting. They talk about our wild bee population being decimated while showing footage of a bumblebee on a flower and then head straight into how Varroa is to blame.


    Pretty much every time someone asks me about Varroa they ask if they're killing our native bees and bumblebees. No wonder when this is how they learn about it.


    Try a little harder please TVNZ.

    • Like 3
  2. While you're not introducing a permanent DNA change into an organism (think Roundup resistance crops which carry the resistance gene to glyphosphate), you'd still be introducing foreign DNA/RNA into an organism and silencing (modifying) the particular gene. Perhaps just semantics but do you still think that such a method would carry GMO connotations Otto?

    No, very definitely not. I wouldn't consider silencing a gene using RNAi any different to using a chemical to inhibit a specific protein or pathway (which is what most commercial pesticides do in some shape or form). With RNAi you are not mucking around with the DNA of a cell/organism, just the expression of a gene product.

  3. RNA interference is not genetic modification. Calling this 'gene therapy' is not really very accurate. It is better to call it gene silencing.

    A gene is a piece that gets transcribed into RNA. This in turn is translated into a protein. There are mechanisms within cells to degrade specific RNAs and proteins. RNA interference is one such mechanism. I don't think it will ever have the potential for large scale use in the field as a pesticide but it is a very useful research tool.

    • Like 2
  4. It is one of our native bees yes.

    If anyone's particularly interested in the bee species present in NZ have a look for a copy of this Product information: Fauna of New Zealand Number 57 Apoidea (Insecta : Hymenoptera)

    Unfortunately quite expensive but is recently published (around 4 years old) and has keys for identification down to species level, location information for where each species has been found etc.

    Not sure how many public libraries hold these - Dunedin's does.

    • Like 1
  5. Is there variation in severity of symptoms between apiary sites? If there is this would be one reason to produce a map. Sites severely affected are obviously close to the source while those less severely affected a little further away. Could help you get closer to pinpointing where it is coming from.

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  6. This is the problem with poisoning, not all cases are the same. For example some types of carbamate poisoning they don't die with their tongues out.


    I read one of Randy Oliver's articles a while back (can't seem to find it at the moment though). He talked with some researchers (I think in Wisconsin) about bee die-off around the corn belt.

    The researchers did a test. Two apiaries of hives (not around corn). One apiary got moved in amongst the corn over summer, then taken back to its original location.

    The following winter almost all the hives that had gone to the corn died, while the other apiary was fine.

    Didn't have a specific answer for why. A suspected/possible explanation was poisoning. Could be that pesticides persist in the stores and that the bees that have to get through the winter end up getting exposed to more when they eat the stores and not making it through the winter. Don't have to knock that much off the longevity of winter bees for the hives to get into trouble.

    For me this highlights how difficult it can be to work out why bees are dying. These bees were dying from something the hive was exposed to many months earlier. Not necessarily the case here but shows that things are complicated.


    A couple of questions for Gisborne beekeepers about bee die-offs on the flats are:

    How seriously have nutritional differences between the flats and hills been looked into?

    Was this problem present pre-Varroa?

    • Like 2
  7. Hi all. My lovely wife has given me a beautiful Top Bar Hive for Christmas, and I'm keen (actually have been keen for years...) to get started with some backyard bee keeping. I live in Dunedin, and am wondering what advice you all might give for me to get started. Are there any Top Bar friendly people out there with some advice on how to get started and who to talk to ? (most people I've spoken to so far have been pretty negative about it). Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks

    Have you had any hands on experience with bees? If not I'd be happy to take you through a few beehives sometime. I don't own a top bar hive but know the set up pretty well and have nothing against them.

    • Like 4
  8. In a brood box you should be aiming to have the frames close together. 10 33mm frames is the better option. The main reason is that the bees keep the brood at a constant temperature of around 35 degrees and the more compact the brood nest is the more efficiently they can keep it warm.


    A standard box usually has some space with 10x 33mm frames. When needing to inspect hives use your hive tool to push all the frames together and make a gap at one end. Start with the side frame and leave this one out while inspecting the others so that you have a big gap to work with.

    • Like 3
  9. Several items from the research related to the temperature, it may help.

    In addition to physical attacks on varroa with temperature, there are three types of physical attacks against varroa mites.

    Light, sound, pressure, (what bothers Varroa) except this,...

    There are three components in addition to these attacks on the body varroa, ....

    rodeo, wind, (changing the acidity of air)

    One by one, but if at the same time it is hit (hit the moon)


    may be unclear but I made ​​an effort to translate

    Thanks for the information Spomenko. I think there is some information being lost/misplaced in translation. Could you send me some references of the scientific papers that this information is in (if in English)? I work at a university and have access to many papers and E-journals.

  10. The idea is to be applauded.

    If you can close the hive (almost hermetically) a few minutes to get the temperature 37-38 degrees Celsius inside.

    When it reaches the temperature and edit this,hive go back to normal, open it.

    Immediately remove the floor, you can expect what you see, ...

    I am not really set up to play around with temperature in hives at the moment. I was thinking the initial ones to cover would be sugar shaking, alcohol wash, accelerated mite drop using icing sugar and natural mite fall.

    I think it critical to monitor so that you have some idea of what is going on in your beehives. At the same time I'd have to admit that part of the reason I want to run such a workshop is selfish. More local beekeepers monitoring and treating their hives properly will hopefully mean slightly less invasion pressure on my hives!

    • Like 3
  11. This

    Not a Dunedinite so wouldn't know, but " late January or early February after honey is off the hives"?


    When does your flow end in Dunedin? I thought end of March or sometime April would have been more appropriate?

    More a personal hive management statement on what I do with my hives than anything else. Only been keeping bees here for a few years and don't really know what others do. I intend to have honey off by early Feb to give me plenty of time to sort out mites before the bees winter down.


    In my limited experience the main honeyflow where my hives are is December-January. I got some earlier honey for the first time this year (this is the first season where I haven't needed to make splits from all my hives for work). I had a number of hives that had shut down (no brood at all) in March last year. Of course we had a glorious April and they all got going again... I've found that it is hard to get much of a surplus after January as the coastal weather is so hit and miss.

  12. If I read that site correctly, however, they don't include a queen. So maybe the buyer was hoping to try and breed them...

    They have different products available. We've occasionally bought them for research. We ask for colonies that were smaller but growing (queen plus maybe 20-30 workers) and that's exactly what we get. They measure the size of their colonies in worker number but they do come with a queen. Colonies come with a sugar feeder, which may be what limits their life span as I'm not sure how much honey they have to forage on in commercial greenhouses. You can top up the feeder without disturbing the colony too much.

  13. Otto, the first Saturday in Feb is the bee club meeting. I wonder if the two could be combined.

    Yes, possibly. How many people would be likely to attend this if it were a club meeting?


    I'm not all that comfortable hosting dozens of people and haven't got enough space around my home apiary for that anyway. I guess we could use club hive/s (although I'd be more comfortable using my own nice, gentle bees). Are club hive/s on mesh floors?

  14. I'd be very interested in running a (small) workshop for Varroa monitoring. The idea being that it would be a hands on, practical workshop. I am very much a beginner learning the ropes so the idea would be to try a few different methods and get input from everyone attending as to what they are doing/are intending to do.

    I would be happy to host it - maybe late January or early February after honey is off the hives and just before treatments would be going in again. Should be mites around to monitor then.

    • Like 3
  15. hmmmm.

    you can buy bumblebees and ladybirds for your garden, wonder how hard it would be to raise pseuodscorpions...

    Barry Donovan (bee researcher in Chch) is working on Pseudoscorpions. Like Tony said, my brother has been involved quite a bit, especially collecting them for Barry's group to work with.

    I believe Apis cerana colonies have Pseudoscorpions associated with them (in their natural habitat) that live and breed in the bee colony. Some of hitch a ride with the bees when they swarm. One of the main problems is that we don't necessarily have the right species of Pseudoscorpion here in NZ, hence the need for research. Would love to see a biological control solution for Varroa...

    • Like 4
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