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Posts posted by Otto

  1. 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 website suggests as much).

  2. I certainly find the text alerts frustrating. All they say is:



    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 not put the actual straight line distance?).

    I imagine that in fairly remote areas putting a distance on it might give away who had the AFB but in more urban areas this would be easy to do without any privacy issues. 

    • Agree 1
  3. 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 seeing any severe covid issues somehow means these people were protected from covid is nonsense.



  4. 2 hours ago, john berry said:

    Pine needles are definitely my fuel of choice. Dry needles are great on days when you just need a little bit of smoke but I like to have one dry bag and one quite damp bag. Once the smoke is going well on dry needles then top up with damp needles and it will go for hours. Do not  use Maritime Pine, needles unless you want to work with a headache all day.

    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.

  5. 19 hours ago, CraBee said:


    I like pine needles they burn well and smell great but they burn out far too quickly for me.  Hessian sacking for me, I get it from a coffee place and spread them out across the ground to age them for three or four months, bring them inside to dry.  They can burn for many hours.   I guess there are more coffee shops where I am than in the far North and the far South....

    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 grew up in the Bay of Plenty we used Cryptomeria foliage quite a lot.

    I find a well lit smoker jam packed with pine needles lasts for a couple of hours. Does depend on how much it is used of course as more use means the fuel gets hotter and burns more quickly.

    • Like 3
  6. 16 hours ago, David Yanke said:

    We have 3 Groups of Cell Builders, We graft every 3 Days, We work(move open brood above the excluder) the Group of Cell Builders 24 hours before the Graft.  That means that for any particular Group, we get back to work it 8 Days after the previous Graft. It is just the most convenient time to have the Cells come out  and go into the Incubator.


    I don't know this, but it might be best to leave the Cells alone after they are just sealed because there is a lot going on.  The prepupa is busy spinning her cocoon, then stretching out  and pupating.  Might not be the best time to be bothering them with a move into the Incubator.

    I routinely pull them out of the finishers 5 days post-graft and have never had issues with cells not emerging properly. 

    • Like 1
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  7. 5 hours ago, Maggie James said:

    I think the biggest issue with most people with Day 9+ cells in the carricell is that they get heat on the carricell.  At that age, unless we have sleet or snow the day i want to put out, I don't bother plugging in the carricell.  Day 9+ cells are a lot more durable than most people give them credit for.


    People have rocked up for cells using the polystyrene box, with hotties under the foam, and for their operation this seems ok.  I guess that the biggest issue could be too much heat, which is difficult to regulate.    


    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.

    • Like 2
  8. 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:


    <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 this is indeed the rule (need to be a registered exporter to send ANY quantity of honey overseas). It wasn't one I was aware of previously so I am wondering if this is a new thing? Would appreciate some feedback from people that know. 


  9. 45 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

    Agree, it is only a patent for a certain delivery method, if there's a better system lets find it, if not he deserves the kudos.

    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 treatment on other hive pathogens etc... None of these have much to do with a specific delivery system.

    • Good Info 1
  10. 1 hour ago, JohnF said:


    I guess if Phil has patented this work James, then there is little incentive for other NZ researchers to work on it . . .unless it was using another matrix other than staples.

    So putting aside the other honeys, then this gives similar priorities as previously - namely varroa and AFB. For AFB:

    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...

    • Like 1
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  11. 15 hours ago, john berry said:

    I leave my cells in the swarm box they were raised in and always treat them with kid gloves but I have seen things that made me wonder whether it's always necessary. I was once putting out some 10 day cells late afternoon at home and had two left over which I forgot about . Next morning I saw them on top of the lid and thought oh dear I forgot about them, had a look and they were busy hatching.

    My experience as you can kill a darn sight quicker by being too hot than you can with a bit of cold.

    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 amount of spare space putting a couple of decent sized bottles of water or a jerrycan or some bricks etc in to help stabilise heat and help slow cooling could work quite well (same concept as a nightstore heater).

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  12. On 11/05/2020 at 6:57 PM, frazzledfozzle said:

    Anyone here have any feedback for me regarding this incubator?


    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 length of a standard frame. The dimensions of these incubators are perfect for these. My cells stay on their cell bars until they are ready to go into colonies.

    Kids need the computer for school meetings now...


    • Thanks 1
    • Good Info 3
  13. I don't make my own but one of my landowners regularly gets some macrocarpa milled. He is a builder by trade so every so often I get him to make me a bunch of kitset boxes. I really like them but don't have the expertise or equipment to do it myself. I love having my bees in boxes made from trees grown on the same farm.

    Good luck with yours. I hope they work out well for you.

    • Like 2
  14. 22 minutes ago, crofter said:

    Does anyone know if the Argentinian product has stitching? Just thinking perhaps the heavier card stock would not benefit as much as the multiply paper ones.

    Don't believe so no and don't see it as necessary.

    Can't say I've exhaustively read this whole thread but I'm pretty sure the stitching came about once Gib papertape was decided on as a medium for holding the oxalic/glycerine mix. As multiple layers were required the layers needed to be held together...

    • Good Info 1
  15. 4 hours ago, Don Mac said:


    @OttoWhat I wish to understand are your ethical arguments against this research and or market development?

    That is why I support a return to this debate as we have a lot more techniques available that were not in our labs in 1998.


    @Don Mac Sorry, was obviously not very clear with my previous post. My disagreement with your post was only with regards to using this particular example to support the need to rewrite the rules as this was not a gene editing approach but quite a substantial genetic modification of a gut endosymbiont.


    I have no issues at all with using genetic modifications in research. It is an invaluable tool without which we would still know very little about how biological systems work. I utilised it extensively when I did my PhD and as part of subsequent research projects I was involved in but that was all in containment and using laboratory strains of organisms. I know that this is an area in science where new techniques and technologies are changing the way things can be done very quickly. Rules written >20 years ago will not necessarily fit with the tools available today and I am all for the these rules being overhauled. Ideally how well the rules fit with new technologies needs to be looked at quite regularly. 


    With respect to market development, my opinion is that our understanding of biological systems is not complete enough for us to be releasing genetically modified organisms into the environment (although I do realise that there are already multiple examples where this has happened). 



  16. 4 hours ago, Don Mac said:

    Last summer, Royal Society Te Aparangi called for a new discussion on Gene Editing and other new genetic techniques.


    This paper on RNA interference  by altering the RNA of the bacteria and feeding it to the bees demonstrates these new genetic techniques.

    At the moment in NZ this work cannot be undertaken and we cannot access it if it is developed commercially.

    Are the majority of NZ beekeepers ready to embrace these new genetic techniques?


    My concern is that we will all agree to disagree and we will get no where.


    @Don Mac

    Not sure I completely agree with you here. Other than it being a different bacterium that got genetically modified I don't think this is really a "new genetic technique". This is clearly an example of genetic modification and not one of gene editing. They have introduced DNA that does not naturally occur in the gut symbiont to constitutively express RNA that also does not naturally occur in it.

    While I like the idea of utilising RNA interference, as it can be made to specifically interfere with a single species (in this case Varroa), I really don't like the idea of introducing genetically modified bacteria into the environment. It certainly raises a few pretty big ethical questions. Once something like this is allowed out of containment there would be no controlling where it ends up.

    I am not sure about not being able to undertake this sort of research in NZ - pretty sure if you can meet the containment requirements then it would be fine. 

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