Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by Otto

  1. You could buy a branding setup that you can change the letters, don't know anyone in NZ that sells them. But a few people in the US sell them. Has anyone here used them?

    Had thought of this but hadn't really checked it out as an option as I am pretty sure it won't fall into the cheap category - penny pinching dutch genes kicking in.

    • Like 2
  2. My wife makes stencils with the Beekeepers reg No.. Just use a spray can and job is done.

    Latest stencils even have a picture of a bee on them so that the bees will know it is a beehive.

    Will post a photo when I take one.

    PS. Are you advertising these stencils on the forum? If not, you should.

    • Like 1
  3. Sorry Otto,

    some beek around the world use bar codes printed on paper and laminated and stapled on the hive.They are easy to remove, but also easy to read/identify with an Iphone or smart phone.

    Printed and laminated numbers sound straight forward and simple.

    I'm not a smart phone user (and hope never to be) so just numbers and record keeping on paper will do me fine.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Like 1
  4. My wife makes stencils with the Beekeepers reg No.. Just use a spray can and job is done.

    Latest stencils even have a picture of a bee on them so that the bees will know it is a beehive.

    Will post a photo when I take one.

    Thanks Trevor - have one of those.


    Sorry should have been more specific. I want unique identifiers on all my hives/boxes as I want to easily collect and collate data for all my hives regarding performance and varroa monitoring.

  5. I'm looking for a cheap, permanent system for numbering my hives/boxes. I've had a quick hunt around but haven't found anything useful as yet. If anyone has a good system in place could they please share some details?

  6. Happy to help. I have taken a few people thinking about getting some bees out and they have all loved actually going through beehives. Keen people in Dunedin are welcome to get in touch via a forum conversation.

    • Like 2
  7. There can be many nests in not that big an area. I remember one year (around 20 years ago) I spent a bit of time tracking them down during the summer holidays. Around our house and surrounding farmland in the Western Bay of Plenty (within a radius of a kilometer or so) I found more than 50 nests.

    With bush around your only option is really bait stations of some sort.

    • Like 2
  8. I remember reading somewhere that wasps are apparently pretty good at detecting carbaryl in food and won't take it back to the nest.

    DOC or Landcare (I think) did a decent trial a little over a decade ago using fipronil in cat food. Is supposed to be extremely effective. Apparently they neglected to get permission from Bayer to use Fipronil for killing a Hymenopteran species though and Bayer were very unhappy as wasps are too closely related to bees (Fipronil being a neonicotinoid).

    You might of course be morally opposed to using an insecticide of this class or a Bayer product...


    If you're into reading try this link: http//:hilo.hawaii.edu/hcsu/documents/FooteVespulaFipronilTR-028Final.pdf

    • Like 1
  9. I did ask my self this question also the one that interested me the most was the high pallet this was an outside pallet so there could be a drifting issue which we do see regularly doing our counts but generally its only the outside hives not the whole pallet, as i mentioned some of these hives are splits and have come from different locations and it could be possible that some of them came from one location and ended up on the same pallet other than that, yes they have at some stage been into pollination and honey locations, it is possible that they have been shifted and jumbled up up to 6 times in a season but i don't track pallet shifting so much i probably could but it would take me couple of days to figure it out, because of those reasons i would say thats why we are seeing that pattern. I am of to conference next week so it will be at least a week before i follow up any treatment.

    I was under the impression that as well as a bee colony getting robbed out as they collapse from varroa, the last bees from the dying hive are quite likely to bail and find another hive. If this does happen it is quite likely this would be where your hives on the ends pick up the extra mites (e.g. swarm or poorly managed beehive on a neighbouring property).

    Thanks again for sharing your data - really interesting stuff!

    Enjoy the conference.

    • Like 1
  10. Ok went to do counts this morning but my right hand man bought the trays home after the last count which i was not able to do with him, never mind will do some more counts at 20 days after the trial began, so here it is fell free to pick at it and i welcome any suggestions for improving it not sure i'll do another trial at least not this year, I've seen enough for myself, The questions i have is in the 21 days after treatment application i was thinking to put bayvarol in, Is this what i should do? and how long should i leave them in for? i, was thinking a couple of days, also should i go though the hives again and check brood quantity? Included some photos of the site and the hives in the trial.

    Hi Tony,

    First of all - pretty encouraging results! The oxalic is obviously doing a good job.


    Given that only the odd hive has brood I don't think it matters too much when you put a post-treatment in (probably the sooner the better - just in case you have some mites coming in from an external source). You are doing this to get an idea of the percentage of mites killed by oxalic. Given your numbers (bigger average mite drop in the oxalic treated hives) I'd be very tempted to give the ones that got bayvarol in the test some oxalic as a post-treatment (to test how well Bayvarol is working). In both cases a 48hr mite count should be sufficient to tell you what you need to know with regards to how many mites were not killed by the first treatment.


    One question for you:

    1) There seems to be some sort of 'pallet effect' (i.e. some pallets have all high counts and some have all low counts). Any idea why (did these pick up extra mites at kiwifruit/honey sites)?

    • Like 1
  11. Might be a good idea (with regards to refresher training) if commercial beekeepers who find a hive with AFB can then get in contact with a local club and offer to show whoever is interested the positive hive. I realise it would be short notice but I find it hard to imagine no one would have time. Actually seeing AFB is a whole lot better than photos.

    • Like 4
  12. Bayvarol should work pretty well as a positive control. That might be the best way to do the experiment if there is brood in the hives. Both treatments only target phoretic mites so counts at 24hr/48hr post treatment for oxalic, bayvarol and just sugar syrup should give a reasonable idea as to how effective the treatment is. If you can split the treatment groups a little more evenly (eg 4 pallets oxalic, and 3 each of Bayvarol and sugar syrup) it would give more robust results.


    Will you have a look through the hives to see roughly how much brood is in each? Would be useful data to have when analysing the results.

  13. That's exactly right. It's all about seeing how well it works and if that equates to well enough to make it a regular part of your treatment regime.


    I think how long you leave the Bayvarol in for is your call. You know much better where your hives are at. The main thing is to have sticky boards in place when you put the strips in so that you can compare counts between the test and control hives.


    When it comes down to it I what I know comes mainly from reading and talking to others. I found varroa in my hives for the first time around 2 months ago. You have been dealing with it for years and seem to be developing a good understanding of what is going on in your bees. Trust your gut. After reading what you were intending to do I just wanted to see if I could help so that you can get the most out of the experiment. Nothing worse than spending time and money only to look back and think, ######, I should have considered that (been there, done that).

    • Like 2
  14. Hi Tony,

    I've just spent a bit of time reading back through this forum thread and having a look at some of the European data. Became quite a heated debate for a while there! I think Finman did his best to tell us that oxalic acid works well as a winter treatment. I would take his advice over anyone else's as he has experience on his side (and this almost always trumps a well read but inexperienced point of view). I hope he is still a member of our forum.


    In terms of this experiment, I would certainly include all the hives. What I described above was an ideal set of conditions for doing a scientific test but field conditions are probably more valid. You want to know how all the hives respond, not just a subset that meet all of the above criteria. What you're interested in is how does it perform in your bees. If you adopt it as part of your varroa control then you will do it on all your hives.


    I think ideally you would split the test and control bees 50/50. If you want to set up your controls in a scientific manner go round and label 5 pallets for test and 5 for control before you look in them again and before you do your counts. That should randomise the weaker ones and variations in varroa levels okay.


    By far the hardest question to answer will be "how well did it work?". Presumably you will get an increased mite drop but what you want to know most is what this equates to in terms of percentage mite kill. Are you confident that your natural mite fall counts give a reasonably accurate estimate of total mite numbers?


    In the trials done in Europe they did the oxalic acid dribbles, counted mites post-treatment and at 3 weeks treated with Perizin (Coumaphos-based miticide) to see what was left. Are you willing to do say a Bayvarol treatment on all the hives at a similar time point after your oxalic acid dribble to see how many mites are left in the hives (and are you confident that Bayvarol will kill nearly all the mites that would be left)? This would hopefully give a fairly definitive answer as to how well the oxalic treatment worked. Of course, it is easy for me to give you this advice as I'm not the one spending time and money at this point.


    I'll leave it there for now as I have an unhappy 1 year-old to go and comfort.

  15. I laugh a little when we say our scientist says this our that its almost a joke compared to world grand scheme of research, don't get me wrong total respect for them and they are doing some good work but so are you as bee keepers, sometimes we are the best scientists and i think that this will be the case with oxalic treatments in NZ. We'll be trialling it this autumn and monitoring and will make up our own minds if it works for us. I'm not going to try something just because someone says it wont work sure ill listen, I heard that not so long ago about thymol it works for us, sure you can't just chuck it in your hive like the synthetic treatments we have and wake up happy your mites are dead and your varroa under control (is it really) you just can't do that anymore you need to be onto it. good luck to those who are going to give it a go and im sure well all hear about it.


    Couldn't agree more Tony. The great thing about science is that anyone, anywhere can do it. Oxalic acid has been used in Europe for a long time already and is a preferred choice, especially during the winter break. I highly doubt they'd still be using it if it didn't work.


    From a scientists point of view - we do have to set up experiments in such a way that results are reliable and reproducible in order to stand up to peer review and get them published. I don't know what our Bee scientists did in the way of experiments with Oxalic acid but my assumption would be they couldn't get consistent results (have they published something somewhere?). If they haven't they certainly shouldn't be telling people not to use it.


    The thing to keep in mind if you're trying a new treatment and want to be able to definitively say to people 'yes it works' or 'no, don't bother' is to set up the experiment with adequate controls in place. The important thing in a scientific test is that you only test one variable at a time.


    By way of example; if setting up a scientific experiment testing an oxalic acid dribble (oxalic acid in sugar solution or whatever formulation) as a varroa treatment then ideally:

    - all the hives should be located in one apiary

    - all hives should have the same strain of bee

    - hives should all be similar strength

    - mite counts should be similar in all hives

    - all hives need to be tested at the same time

    (For all these points test and control hives could be randomised to deal with variation)


    - monitoring methods need to be the same for all hives

    - the control hives should also get the same amount of the sugar syrup dribble (without the oxalic acid)

    - there are probably other things too but I have a cold and my brain isn't functioning at full capacity.


    That way, if your mite counts drop you know for certain that it was due to the oxalic acid.


    One of the problems with many scientific experiments is that they get done without enough information in place to be sure that the right thing is being tested. What you are doing Tony, with your mite counts and data collecting is setting up a great platform to be able to properly test things in a way that the results will be meaningful. Please keep counting and publishing the data.

    • Like 1
  16. Unfortunately I think it is a very long way off. Breeding for varroa tolerance while treating with miticides is very hard work and progress will only ever be very slow. The same can be said for breeding for varroa tolerance without the use of miticides when the beekeeper down the road is using them.

    I'd settle for bees that only need treating say once a year...

  17. I asked Margaret Roper of Asure Quality about the bee database not that long ago when I registered another apiary. She told me it is limited to beekeepers with 50+ hives at the moment but will become available to all registered beekeepers in the near future.

    I agree with Greywulff - as much as I'd like to know exactly who has bees and where it would expose everyone to the few dishonest beekeepers that are out there. It is more difficult to keep bees in good shape with Varroa and with Manuka honey prices a year with good weather at the right time can make beekeeping very lucrative. This combination makes beehive theft a very real problem.

    • Like 3
  18. That would be a great asset. It would be nice to be able to put in coordinates and see if there was AFB nearby or not.

    I also got this letter. Frans (Laas) told me this was in North East Valley somewhere. He knows of all goings on with respect to AFB so is a good person to get hold of if you want more information.

    I believe there have been at least 4 AFB hives found in Leith Valley (where I live:() and a couple in NEV too over the last couple of seasons. The Leith Valley had apparently been clear of AFB for around 20 years prior to this little outbreak. It certainly makes me a little more nervous knowing AFB is close by. All we can do is check our hives thoroughly and frequently so that if it crops up again it can be disposed of without spreading any further.

  19. I for one am intrigued that the AFB.org website has no current information on it relating to Deca courses, at present it shows a schedule for 2010/11 and its last newsletter is dated 2009, whats going on there. There is no reference at all to annual field days. The NBA is slightly better but they even early this yr were still showing details for last yrs conference and last yrs Deca course schedule as well. Comments?

    I would say there is no excuse for the AFB.org website to be out of date. It really needs to show up to date information and details on courses to come rather than ones that are in the past. I think the best thing to do is take it up with the Management Agency. I imagine many of these things are done by beekeepers who are elected representatives and that things will be up to date again soon as they have some downtime during the winter break. If this is the case then it could perhaps be an area where the Management Agency and NBA could enlist the help of some willing hobby beekeepers who are not flat out all Spring, Summer and Autumn.

  20. It is exciting to hear that there are beekeepers that actually have a large number of hives doing this. I certainly look forward to hearing all about it. Do you know of any other commercial outfits doing this level of monitoring with an eye to being able to select the most varroa tolerant bees to breed from?

  21. Well the first sc hive I set up and regressed the bees, has been going around a year, has not been treated, is booming, and I recently did a drone brood sample on it and can find no mites.


    So this spring I caught a swarm that had come from a wild hive in the wall of a house, which had been there a year. The bees looked small, so I assumed they had naturally regressed, so I put them in a box of small cell foundation, which they have drawn perfectly. The swarm did have a heavy mite load though, but I haven't treated so I can find out what happens. At this stage, they still have a heavy mite load and it is affecting their ability to build up, but is not yet critical. However they have gone from one box to two boxes, so I recently split it as I'm aiming for 5 sc hives by winter.


    Crunch time will probably be this winter or next season, when I find out if it's possible for them to survive treatment free.

    Hi Alastair,

    Just wondering how these are going?

  • Create New...