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Everything posted by Otto

  1. Hi Greg, If you're interested I can give you my brother's contact details. He's a commercial beekeepers and has been doing it for 20+ years and just happens to live in Waikino. I don't think there's a better way to learn about bees than some hands on experience with someone that knows what they're doing. Otto
  2. Yes. One that I'll start playing with once we're through the invasion phase. Next couple of seasons are all about getting through the invasion phase and synthetics are really a must for that (fingers crossed there's no resistance here). My main aim in terms of Varroa management for this season is to work out what form of monitoring works best for me. For this season I plan to put Bayvarol in around mid-September (8 weeks), Apivar end of Jan (10 weeks) after honey is off and a second round of bayvarol if required after the apivar. Just depends on how many mites are coming into the hives from
  3. Had worker wasps regularly visiting my compost heap for leftover fruit etc over the last few weeks. Bit concerning as we don't usually have wasps this time of year - cold winter usually nails them. Could make for a bad wasp season coming up...
  4. PS. Interesting that the two hives with standout high mite counts on the seven-day counts post 2nd treatment both look to have had brood the whole way through winter.
  5. Just out of interest, I see you are doing 7-day mite counts. Is this just leaving a sticky board under the mesh floor for the week? No problems with mites being cleaned off by ants/other scavenger insects?
  6. Hi Tony, Have had a play with the numbers. Looking at the first treatment both Bayvarol and Oxalic look like they are working. Gets more interesting when you start looking at the second treatment though. Counts for both treatments are 48-hr mite drop post treatment. Bayvarol did not remove many mites at all in the second treatment and these were the hives treated with Oxalic the month before. The mites removed with oxalic acid in July were not surprisingly quite high for the June controls but not insignificant for those tested with Bayvarol in June. Have to be very careful to read too much i
  7. These are definitely the sorts of tests we need queen breeders to start playing with.
  8. Really?!?! Sugar mixed with a potent insecticide? I sincerely hope that never sees the light of day.
  9. No, same sub-family but different Genus/species. The ones in my hive were either down in a bottom corner or in small gaps between the box and hive mat. Tend to hang out together in small groups rather than by themselves. No idea what they eat, could be pollen, wax, general hive debris...
  10. On the topic of scavengers, I have one hive that seems to have a fairly steady population (a few dozen) of small beetles. I knew they weren't small hive beetle but was interested to know what they were. I gave them to Anthony Harris (Entomologist at the Otago Museum) and this was what he came up with: "They are a species of spider beetle (Subfamily Ptininae, family Anobiidae). I first thought they were Ptinus tectus Boieldieu, the Australian Spider beetle, but the antennae are too wide apart at the insertion for them to be that species. In a key in one of my books, they key out to
  11. Just to clarify - centipedes are all predators (from memory pretty general predators - i.e. not that fussy). The things they like to eat will no doubt include many scavengers.
  12. A single centipede is never going to bring a hive down. A hive going backwards quite quickly for some reason is likely to have dead bees in it. That is in turn likely to attract scavenging insects. I would expect that these are the likely food for the centipede. Centipedes cannot cope with drying out very well. They lose moisture quickly in the wrong environment which is why you tend to find them under rocks/debris etc. It is quite possible that this one thought the bottom of the hive was quite a good sheltered place to spend the day. We only have smaller centipedes down here in Dunedin.
  13. They've been available here for years at garden centres, supermarkets etc. I remember buying a bottle of Confidor from the supermarket around 4 years ago to use in my orchid greenhouse. Didn't check the label at the time and was annoyed with myself when I read it many months later and found it to be imidacloprid. I don't think an outright ban will happen anytime soon. Many people rely on insecticides and the neonics are in many ways a considerable improvement on the organophosphate chemicals they replaced. Yes they are extremely toxic to insects but that is the point of an insecticide. I t
  14. I took advantage of some mild weather last week and had a quick look through all my hives. Some were sitting tight, others had some brood in them. No unexpected surprises which is always good. Unlike most of the country, Beekeepers down here will be hoping for a repeat of last season. The only thing I can accurately predict for this season is that the year will bring mites - no doubt many of them.
  15. Xcluder's price seems to have reduced significantly too. I'm pretty sure a 30m roll was more than $900 a couple of years ago it, now it's $721 for a 30m roll. I guess there is good demand for it.
  16. Thanks for the pic. I'm still a varroa novice - will be putting my first treatment in this spring. Ants seem a likely option but how do they get over the sticky board? Is it possible that there is something in the hive eating the mites (ridiculously optimistic suggestion I know).
  17. Any chance of a photo? I know they're pretty small but could help.
  18. The '6 mesh' refers to the number of wires per inch. Xcluder sell 6 mesh and 8 mesh, i.e. 6 wires per inch (hole size 3.4mm) or 8 wires per inch (hole size 2.5mm). They source their mesh from a leading manufacturer in China...
  19. The only bracken I've ever used is dry and long dead. Beekeepers have used it for many, many years and I've never heard of bees suffering any ill consequences. Had a quick hunt around but couldn't find anything about the levels of Ptaquiloside (the carcinogenic compound found in bracken) in dry, dead bracken. Would be interested to know if anyone else knows if this information is out there somewhere? Never heard of this compound being found in honey either.
  20. I do what we always did growing up. Stuff the feeder full of dried (dead) bracken. There are two reasons for doing this. 1) Prevents bees drowning in the sugar solution. 2) Prevents the bees building comb in the feeder. The bees not finding the sugar immediately is only really an issue if they are starving. If they have honey stores they'll find it in their own time.
  21. I'll confess that I have not looked at any of these papers as yet but have some serious reservations about this technology being anywhere near ready to use in the field. We use RNA interference a lot in our research into bee development. Won't get into that here but if people are interested I can try to write something about that a little later. My first reservation is $$$. To produce the RNA we use to knockdown the expression of one gene for our research costs hundreds of dollars. I doubt if targeting a Varroa gene or virus gene this would be enough to treat more than a few beehives
  22. Check For Sale - High Quality Pest Exclusion Fence Mesh & stainless steel mesh for Conservation and Commercial Projects | Bee mesh, Varroa mesh, Welded mesh & Woven mesh
  23. That is something that had crossed my mind too. I imagine the electronic devices don't like propolis much either.
  24. Not so much an aversion. I know they are useful but I don't think I'd be that good at only using it for work. I'll end up wasting a lot of time on pointless stuff just because I can. At this stage it's easier to not have that temptation. Beekeeping is also only a small part of my job and I like being 'off the grid' while being out with the bees. The smarter the phone the easier it gets for people to interrupt this quality time. I managed to resist getting a cell phone of any sort until 5 years ago... I am getting reasonably efficient at collecting data on my visits to the bees so that it d
  25. Had a quick hunt for plant labels as these are made for outdoor use also. Found: Barcode Products - Outdoor Labels Haven't sent a query email yet as to price but will let you know once I have.
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