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Everything posted by Otto

  1. I'd just reiterate the point: MONITOR MITE LEVELS IN YOUR HIVES!
  2. Sorry - forgot to give the authors credit! Authors are: BROCK A. HARPUR, SHERMINEH MINAEI, CLEMENT F. KENT and AMRO ZAYED Web Link: Management increases genetic diversity of honey bees via admixture - HARPUR - 2012 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library Also check the perspective written on this article by Benjamin Oldroyd (Domestication of honey bees was associated with expansion of genetic diversity - OLDROYD - 2012 - Molecular Ecology - Wiley Online Library). Humans have been keeping honey bees, Apis mellifera, in artificial hives for over 7000 years. Long enough, one m
  3. Published in "Molecular Ecology" Haven't read it yet - hopefully get the chance a little later today. I believe it is free access. Abstract The process of domestication often brings about profound changes in levels of genetic variation in animals and plants. The honey bee,Apis mellifera, has been managed by humans for centuries for both honey and wax production and crop pollination. Human management and selective breeding are believed to have caused reductions in genetic diversity in honey bee populations, thereby contributing to the global declines threatening this ecologically
  4. I gotta say if I'm going to try to get 'free advertising' it wouldn't be in this form. Surely people would rather get a beehive from someone who can keep it alive! No matter how you spin it - this isn't CCD. There are people here that say we have all the ingredients for CCD in NZ - I'm not so sure. For me all the evidence points to CCD being a cumulative results of the many different stressors (diseases, pesticides, nutritional etc) bees are faced with in the USA. We may have Varroa and the odd area of monoculture etc but there are still quite a few stressors to bees that we are thankfully
  5. That can always happen yes and we certainly get those summers here too. Lucky for us we had the opposite last year. All I meant was that a single beehive in a backyard garden tends to be spoilt for foraging choices.
  6. From my experience hives in the city do extremely well. Unless you pilfer all the honey you rarely need to feed. There are always things to forage on with the variety of plants in people's backyards.
  7. It all points to some chronic hive neglect to me. I would be very surprised if this was anything other than death at the hands of Varroa and it's entourage of viruses. Couldn't agree more. For my money an urban hive needs to be checked a minimum of every two weeks during Spring and early summer - you just don't want hives in suburbia swarming. It pisses off the neighbours.
  8. That makes more sense. Was a little confused by the sudden switch to wasps. I agree wasps are wild animals and I guess bees are pretty much all managed by someone now. Unfortunately means that people can find someone to blame if they have a bad experience with bees. In that regard it becomes important to make sure bees being kept in urban areas are of a suitably gentle, non-aggressive breeding.
  9. I think you'll find that this attitude is changing a little. Bees (and their supposed disappearance) have had much positive publicity in recent years. Wasps are a problem everywhere, especially in late summer and autumn, and are a completely different problem. The children at my sons school certainly know the difference between wasps and bees.
  10. Yes, that's correct. I'm still hoping the hive gets to stay put.
  11. Technically yes. Remembering that strong allergic reactions are not that common.
  12. Yes, this was one of our arguments. Last year an AFB rob out was found in North East Valley - between 1 and 2km from the school. Every beekeeper within a 5km radius of this got sent the letter that this was found. I discussed this with Frans at the time and he said that 38 letters were sent to beekeepers for that AFB incident. That means a minimum of 38 registered apiaries in that area, plus feral colonies (which we still have). If the bees stay in the school we will also put up a 2m light shadecloth screen to force the bees to fly straight up on leaving the hive.
  13. I tried to explain this - if you have not been stung you cannot be allergic. You can only get an allergy response to something you've been exposed to before - in the case of bee stings, you have to have been stung before.
  14. If this school is anything to go by - schools are very active in managing allergies. For any child with a serious allergy the principal and relevant teacher sits down with the parents and they come up with an allergy management plan which can include epipens. The teachers are fully instructed on how these need to be used too. They go through all the potential places/events where their allergy could be an issue and work out how to manage the risk. There are no children at this school with known bee allergies. The problem is the 'possible allergy'. I have a pretty good understanding of how
  15. Bit slack on the updating front. I moved a proper hive into Opoho School during Bee Week 2012. It currently sits in the schools garden area. A little up in the air as to whether or not it will stay there at this point as there is one parent of one child at the school who is taking it upon themselves to try and derail the project. On the positive side - I have had two sessions going through the hives with some of the school children. The first was a five minute peak in the hive (was a bit rushed for time). Last Friday five students joined me for a full hive inspection. The hive is cur
  16. Having been through my hives in Dunedin I don't think I share his confidence about a lack of mites. I also don't think being 'unfazed by varroa mite' is a good starting point for dealing with it. I hope he's monitoring...
  17. Apivar is not recommended during a honey flow. The active ingredient (Amitraz) is readily absorbed into honey while the active ingredient in Bayvarol (Flumethrin) is not (but is very easily absorbed into wax).
  18. I assuming you mean "Perizin"? This is a coumaphos based treatment not available in NZ. I kinda hope it stays that way too. Coumaphos is an organophosphate and isn't particularly good for bees. Varroa are resistant to it in the USA.
  19. I'd go through and do a full brood inspection on the hives. This needs to be done to check for AFB and while you do it you may well spot the queens. Separate the two boxes (put the top one beside the hive), go through each frame in the bottom box, then go through the top box, shaking the bees from the frames into the bottom box as you go. When you finish some liberal use of smoke should push the bees down into the bottom box and you can put the excluder on and the top box back into place. Should improve the odds of the queen ending up in the bottom box and seeing her if she's still o
  20. Native bees are very different to honeybees. They tend to be solitary, making small nests in places like clay banks. No, varroa does not affect them in any way. Their life cycle is completely different to that of Apis mellifera so Varroa can never jump across that species barrier. Consider that there are a number of different varroa species that parasitise honeybees. These all parasitise different sub-species of Apis cerana and only two have been shown to be able to jump the species barrier to the very closely related Apis mellifera.
  21. If you're comparing people and bees with bacteria - yes it's close. If you're comparing people, chimps and bees then no, not so close. Bees do share many genetic pathways and cellular mechanisms with people though. Like Dee said - it is when the queen is replaced that counts. I would probably say the overall ability of the queen to do her job in a hive is what counts. The questions that then arise for me are: Does feeding sugar alter this? Does feeding sugar change the make-up of what the queen is fed by workers? I haven't studied the literature (if there is any) but I would be surpris
  22. I've always viewed it as feeding sugar is done to keep a bee colony alive. Every bee colony kept alive will increase the available genetic pool. I think no-one would question that honey collected by bees is a better food source for them than refined sugar. While honey is mostly simple sugars it contains small amounts of many other goodies for the bees.
  23. I plug both smoker entrances with a wad of green grass when I finish with the bees - kills the fire very quickly through lack of air. By the time I have packed the other gear back into the car it's dead and cooling quickly. I would prefer to get a metal box to put it in but haven't got round to buying one. Too many other things to buy.
  24. I would leave it on a single brood box (a queen cannot outlay a brood box of 10 good frames). If they need more space stick the second box above an excluder.
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