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Otto

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Everything posted by Otto

  1. BLIS = Bactieriocin-like inhibitory substance. They are generally antimocrobial compounds produced by bacteria that kill or inhibit the growth of closely related bacteria. A biotech company in Dunedin (BLIS technologies) was set up a number of years ago to commercialise BLIS produced by beneficial bacteria that live on your tongue. Their commercial strains produce BLIS that inhibit the bacteria that cause Strep throat.
  2. Did some monitoring on some of my hives over the last 2 days. One site with two hives in Dunedin had 2 day natural mite fall counts of 8 and 14. It's been 4 weeks since Bayvarol strips came out of these hives so suggests to me there are mites coming in from elsewhere. The other site on Pigeon Flat - 7 hives monitored, no mites found. This includes the hive that had the highest mite count pre-treatment in spring. All up I would re-iterate that hives in town are going to be under significant invasion pressure this season.
  3. In your hives seems a little odd. Description sounds like they could be March Flies (Dilophus nigrostigma). Lots of these around at the moment but have never seen them in hives. PS. If you can supply a photo I should be able to work it out for you.
  4. Had a similar experience last year where I homed a swarm at one of my apiaries. Came back a few days later to check it - no bees. Came back a few days after that to check the other hives at the apiary and the 'empty' swarm box was humming again. Don't know if it was a different swarm or the same one that came back but this one stayed.
  5. Homed a small swarm into a nuc box that had settled in a pohutukawa on Otago Uni campus last Thursday. Was at the perfect height for collecting (around 1.7m off the ground). Went out Friday lunchtime to run an errand, looked up at the sky as I got outside and couldn't help but notice another swarm just flying by. Followed it briefly and it settled in an American Oak about 20m from the pohutukawa. This was a much bigger swarm and settled on an outer branch around 7m off the ground - didn't try housing this one as it was on Uni property and if you want to go over 5m off the ground you need all m
  6. I would argue that 50 hives is too many for any site. There's no way a beekeeper should have an apiary like this in an urban area. The only result will be complaints and negativity towards bees (which is no good for any of us). While there are always some morons who have nothing better to do with their time than complain about a speck of bee poo to their local council but the vast majority of people are pretty happy to have bees around. A few well positioned (hidden from plain sight) hives in an urban section will most likely go completely undetected. As others have said, those that compl
  7. If you're selling honey play by the rules and don't have apivar in the hive when the honey flow is on. If it's for your own consumption it is completely up to you. From what I've read I think you'd have to be amazingly super sensitive to amitraz to be able to suffer any side effects from amitraz in honey as a result of having Apivar in a hive. But this is ONLY AN OPINION.
  8. Basic properties of these chemicals: Amitraz (Apivar) - is readily absorbed into honey but not into wax. This is why it is not recommended during a honey flow. Fluvalinate (Apistan) - very readily absorbed into wax. The reason it is not recommended during a honey flow is that the dose of fluvalinate in an Apistan strip is very high (from memory around 800mg per strip) Flumethrin (Bayvarol) is also very readily absorbed into wax. The dose is only 3.6mg per strip though so a treatment uses only around 1/100th of the chemical compared to Apistan. This is why it is the recommended e
  9. Thanks Alastair. Nice pics and good advice.
  10. Would be very interested to hear more. I very much doubt the problem would be robber flies though - you never get them in high enough numbers. They are pretty awesome flies to see in action.
  11. I've been using 19mm panel pins nailed horizontally for nailing my frames together. Seems to work well, no problems so far. I use a 12V car battery charger to melt foundation into the frames. I sit a piece of mdf over the top of the foundation to add little weight. Around 3 sec of current running through the wire seems to do it pretty much perfectly every time.
  12. I agree - singles overwinter just fine. I overwinter most of my hives on a single 3/4 box (8 frames plus a 2-frame feeder) and they do fine. I also have no problem getting 4-frame (3/4 frames) nucs through the winter here in Dunedin. Provided they have a good population of bees going into winter they get through fine. Once the weather warms up a bit and pollen starts coming in they can build up really quickly. Some of the colonies that I had as nucs last winter are now sitting on 3 boxes with most of a box of honey on them. I do find that there is a bit of variation from one site to the nex
  13. I work with Associate Professor Peter Dearden at the University of Otago. We have funding through a sustainable farming fund grant to screen the genetic diversity of honeybees in New Zealand. For this study we are doing a survey of sex alleles present in New Zealand's bee population. To be able to successfully carry out this study we need the help of New Zealand beekeepers. We need honeybee samples from different regions of New Zealand and from different beekeepers. We are particularly interested in samples from commercial beekeepers and queen breeders, as these beekeepers supply a very h
  14. Completely agree Dave. I did quite a bit of reading a few months ago on the natural gut microflora of honeybees - there are some pretty good papers on the topic starting to come out. My main aim was to find out what bee health outcomes there were in bees that were fed antibiotics as a rule to combat AFB. I was disappointed as I couldn't find any papers that even mentioned a possible effect of treating with antibiotics. Good to see that it is being worked on. Will have a read of the paper when I get some time. Thanks for pointing it out.
  15. I agree, not that we have them in Dunedin. The brood of paper wasps (and common/german wasps) is carnivorous and paper wasps collect a lot of caterpillars to feed to the larvae, such as those of the white cabbage butterfly. I do remember my Mum complaining about Monarch butterfly caterpillars disappearing though.
  16. Had another look through the hive today. Initially thought that the queen must have had an accident last time we looked. No eggs, almost no larvae and a couple of queen cells. Not to mention lots of honey and pollen being collected. After having a think about it I decided to split the hive as it has a very healthy population and being at a school in suburbia I do not want it swarming. Found a queen while doing this. Looks like she's stopped laying and is being superseded. Will go back and check both the hive and the split soon.
  17. Other beekeeper's probably got a DECA too so no COI. Presumably you just fill in the AFB declaration on his behalf? If it was me I'd probably 'officially' take over the hives by registering the site and hives as my own for the next five years.
  18. Not sure I completely agree. I have to agree with Daniel Paul that getting input into pre-border security is what counts for us. To say that we are not being listened to now is being a little unfair. As far as I know there is still a complete ban on importing bee products? The kiwifruit pollen thing can only be viewed as a colossal mistake. Blaming the presence of Deformed Wing Virus in NZ on sperm imports is however very misinformed. Many strains of this virus existed in NZ before Varroa was found here. The mites just do a very good job of selecting the most virulent one and spreadi
  19. Move down our way:) The only ants around here are a few native species that don't associate with beehives (or with people).
  20. If at all possible get an experienced beekeeper to help populate your TBH. They can help shake the bees in and take away the frames with brood and put them into an existing hive so that they don't go to waste and aren't left to rot. Do you have a way of feeding the bees when you first introduce them? Shaking them in they'll have pretty much nothing.
  21. Have just had a skim over this review so far - interesting theory! Immune suppression by Neonicotinoid Insecticides at the Root of Global Wildlife Declines Authors: R Mason, H Tennekes, F Sanchez-Bayo, PU Jepsen Summary Outbreaks of infectious diseases in honey bees, fish, amphibians, bats and birds in the past two decades have coincided with the increasing use of systemic insecticides, notably the neonicotinoids and fipronil. A link between insecticides and such diseases is hypothesised. Firstly, the disease outbreaks started in countries and regions where systemic insecticides
  22. I've talked to a few people wanting to start with bees and my advice has always been to start with a Lang hive. They are simply an easier format to start with. The frames are easier to handle and won't get built onto the sides of the hives. If you want to do a natural comb hive then you can always start with foundationless frames and let the bees do all that as well. There is plenty of information around as to how to do this. There is quite a lot to learn and work out when you're starting with bees and there is little point to making it harder. If, after a year or two of keeping a Lang hi
  23. Quick update: I put bayvarol strips in all my hives yesterday and put monitoring trays under 11 of them, spread around my different apiaries. Did 24hr mite drop counts. Opoho School hive: 104 mites Glenleith site: 12 mites and 30 mites for two hives monitored Pigeon Flat: One hive with around 220 mites (this one picked up the mites in Dunedin before being moved to Pigeon Flat in February this year). Seven hives at Pigeon Flat had zero mite drop after 24 hours. I interpret these results to mean that in Dunedin itself the mite situation is more advance than in the country surroundin
  24. The hive has now been there 4 weeks now so still early days. So far the feedback has been very positive. I've been through the hive a couple of times with a different group of 5 kids each time and they really enjoy it. I believe the Principal is still dealing with one concerned parent but I haven't heard anything more about that for a week or two now. It is a pity that there are teachers have such a short-sighted attitude. I would expect every school to have at least a few concerned parents but not so much the teachers. I've attached some guidelines that I gave the main teacher involved. Thi
  25. We gave the school hive some extra room yesterday. Also put in Bayvarol and a monitoring tray underneath. Took it out this morning and the 24 hour mite count = 104 mites.
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