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Everything posted by Otto

  1. It wasn't collected for nutritional analysis and I don't know the breakdown of different nutrients. These samples were taken to aid methods development for sequencing DNA extracted from pollen, both from single clumps and mixed samples. My bees seem to have access to good and varied quantities of pollen in spring so the fact that they collect the fuchsia pollen certainly suggests that they get something out of it.
  2. Can't say I eat a lot of pollen - not really something I enjoy. Would be surprised if different pollen didn't taste different though. Fuchsia honey is very nice though. Crystallises very quickly, almost white) and has a subtle lemony tang to it. Probably my favourite local honey.
  3. Remembered that I had a photo from some of the pollen sampling I did last season. Collected at the end of November. Lots of blue pollen...
  4. They definitely collect the pollen. Have only really seen it on their back legs where pollen is supposed to be. It is often very untidy looking though, in stringy bits rather than a nice solid clump and it falls off more easily than other pollen. At a number of my apiaries the hives get a dusting of blue in front of the hive entrance (usually a little later in spring but have already seen some this season). Will try to remember to take a photo next time I see it.
  5. @southbeeThis is a cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). Quite a few around here too. I think they're considered a weed but bees quite like them.
  6. Sure is. Comes from Kotukutuku - our native tree fuchsia. Very common in the regenerating bush around here and the bees collect lots of nectar and some pollen from it.
  7. Yesterday I was at a Spring Festival for Otago Organics. Had been asked to go and talk about bees. Had a few laminated photos of bees to put up and was looking for a decent way to do it. Was rummaging through the shed looking for something I could use as a notice board and noticed the box of new hive mats. They work quite well as photo frames.
  8. I've got a bunch of 2-in-1 boxes that sat idle last season so I'll be putting bees back into these to get queens mated, which will be sold as queens or as nucs depending on what's in demand (mostly local hobby beekeepers). Since I'm in a city there are also quite a few local hobbyists who come to me for queen cells. They might only buy them in 2s or 3s but I still find it worthwhile. I think it is important for hobbyists to have access to nice gentle bees for their urban and suburban beehives.
  9. First cells of the season. The bees seem to be in the right mood:)
  10. I also have got reasonable results grafting straight into plastic cups (Buzzco). I certainly prefer putting them into hives for a day or two first though. I use recycled ones quite often. These get cleaned up by heating in a pot with some dishwashing liquid until the wax has melted off them. Then rinsed 3-4 times with cold water. These have a little residual wax left on them and bees are very happy to use them. I have a vague recollection from a conversation with my brother, who uses the Ecrotek ones, that they work better if the bees get a chance to polish them up (and the Ecrotek websit
  11. Given the amount of pine we produce here I'd just go with it is crazy rather than only seeming crazy...
  12. I hate hobbyist-bashing when it comes to AFB. Yes, some get caught out using second-hand gear etc but AFB is primarily a disease spread by commercial beekeepers.
  13. I certainly find the text alerts frustrating. All they say is: LOCAL AFB ADVICE Notified within 2km of your MAF site IDs ... Increase frequency of inspection for 18 months. Pretty sure a rob out notice is different to this but it really in not very informative. For me, if a hive is found with some cells of AFB 1.5km away I am not that concerned. If it was a heavy infection 50m down the road I need to be far more concerned. I agree with @john berry. A scale of severity would be good. As would a more accurate indicator of how far away it was (why no
  14. @Kiwi Bee You could try Farm source. That is the glycerine I use and I am happy with the job it is doing. https://store.nzfarmsource.co.nz/catalog/ecolab-glycerine-5l/212374
  15. Had a quick read. I hate to be harsh but there seems to be a complete lack of science in this article. There are a few statistics that have been thrown together to sound like they might mean something but if you actually look at the official numbers they are meaningless: Covid cases in Hubei province (province where Wuhan is): 68,139. Population of Hubei province: 58.5 million (of which approx 11 million are Wuhan). So just over 1 in every 1000 people in Hubei province has (officially) had covid-19. To suggest that looking at a sample of 121 people and not se
  16. Maritime pine - looked it up, not a species I know... Not what I was referring to when in my previous post. The ones I use are radiata.
  17. I hate breathing in smoke and really dislike the smell of smoke from burning sacking material. I go out with the kids once or twice a year and collect bags of pine needles and these are all I use. The best place to collect pine needles is from large trees close to the beach where the soil is really sandy. You get a good thick layer of dry needles and there tends to be less contamination with other types of foliage (dry gorse is unpleasant to have in the mix). I have tried dry redwood foliage (we have lots of these growing close to home) but this is a little more difficult to get going. Where I
  18. I routinely pull them out of the finishers 5 days post-graft and have never had issues with cells not emerging properly.
  19. A polystyrene box is all I use when putting cells out. I fill a 2L milk bottle with warm water (around 35 degrees is fine when it goes in) which sits beside the foam. I tested the temperature inside the box when I first started using it and it holds it pretty well. Unless it is a cold day the temp inside the polystyrene box is still around 25 degrees after much of the day sitting on the passenger seat in the ute. Overall it holds the temperature just fine. The insulation works both ways. If left in the sun inside the ute it takes a long time to get warmer inside the box.
  20. This is the bit that get me too. You can take it with you in your luggage but sending is not allowed.
  21. A friend asked me a while back for some comb honey to send to family in Israel. I queried whether there were any issues getting things into Israel but she assured me there aren't. She went to send her parcel and was flatly told you are not allowed to send honey overseas. Did a quick search and found: Sending honey overseas | Biosecurity NZ | NZ Government WWW.MPI.GOVT.NZ <p>Honey is an animal product, and only registered exporters can send animal products out of New Zealand even if it’s a gift or for personal use.</p> Appears that
  22. I've struggled a bit with this patent. I wasn't a big contributor to that thread but I am of the opinion that discussions and brain-storming ideas on a public forum shouldn't lead to a product patent for one of the people contributing ideas. Then again, maybe Philbee was up front about his desire to get a saleable product out of it... I never did exhaustively read through the thread. I think there is lots of information to generate and share regarding treatment timing, where and how many staples to put into a colony, side-effects of the treatment on the bees, effects of the treatme
  23. My understanding is that Philbee's patent is quite specific for edge-protected staples. I think there is still plenty of scope to do work here. I hope to have a little more time to actually start collecting some data from my own hives from this coming Spring onwards. I predominantly used staples in autumn last year and this season they are all I have used. I am completely comfortable that they are giving me adequate varroa control but at the moment I don't have field data to back that up...
  24. I completely agree. It is one of the reasons I will never use a carricell. A metal box left in the sun for even a very short period of time can overheat and kill queen cells. I just use a polystyrene box with a foam insert and bottle of warm water. I live in town so power cuts are a rare thing. I do remember one time we had one during the night. I woke up and realised so got out of bed, filled a couple of old milk bottles with warm water and put these in my incubator with the cells to make sure they didn't cool down too much. @frazzledfozzle If your queen cell incubator has a decent
  25. Hi Frazz. I have been using an incubator like this for years but bought mine from TradeMe rather for around $200 rather than this $500 version (mine doesn't have the foam inserts). This is an incubator for keeping cells outside of a beehive environment (i.e. once they are sealed and you want to free up space in cell raiser/finisher colonies), rather than a carricell alternative. These would be rather clumsy for that purpose I think and you'd have to adjust the power input away from a mains socket. When making queen cells I (presumably like most) use cell bars that are the internal le
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