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Everything posted by Otto

  1. @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 introduci
  2. February is a great time to get queens mated down here. Usually plenty of warm and settled weather and drones are still being tolerated. Down here (Dunedin) hives can start kicking their drones out in March, although this is often only some hives and not all.
  3. Is the honey just for personal use? There is always much emphasis placed on only harvesting capped honey, which for commercial beekeepers that potentially need to be able to store their honey for decent periods of time can be important. For a hobby beekeeper wanting to harvest and eat their own honey it really doesn't matter at all. Just be aware that if it isn't capped the moisture content will likely be a bit higher and therefore the honey can be prone to fermenting if stored for longer periods of time. To reduce the likelihood of this storing it in a cool place helps.
  4. Why would this need to be expensive? Could surely be done electronically now...
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe Nothing particularly new but gives perspective to the joys of beekeeping in the US of A.
  6. Will try to find some time to read the actual paper but this quote from the article doesn't inspire confidence: "The study also showed that the bumblebee colonies close to the thiacloprid-treated red clover fields grew larger in comparison with bumblebee colonies in landscapes without red clover fields." I fail to see how a landscape without a red clover field is a valid control for a landscape with a thiacloprid-treated red clover field!
  7. @Alastair Do you know what kind of ants these are? If not, can you collect some and either send them my way or to your local museum for identification?
  8. Beekeepers have stated that they see increased superseding of queens when using the oxalic staples. I claimed earlier in this thread that I have not seen this and at that point in time this was correct. I have had more unexplained turnover of queens in my colonies over the last 5-6 weeks than what I usually see and I am struggling to understand why. Seemingly healthy queens in strong colonies suddenly disappear and get replaced. They are not particularly old and the cases I refer to here the hive hasn't swarmed. My question is: When you've had supersedures does this coincide with p
  9. I mark queens whenever I come across an unmarked one as it makes them easier to find again. I make splits for various reason quite often throughout the season so finding queens is essential. Anything that makes them easier to find is worth doing in my opinion. I also supply nucleus colonies and some queens to hobbyists, often people new to beekeeping and marked queens makes it easier for them to spot their queen/s. I mark queens by picking them up and holding their thorax between my thumb and index finger, then putting a dot of paint on the thorax. Handling queens can b
  10. Yes, oil based paint. Doesn't have any negative impact on queens. Have plenty of queens where it never wears off, some where it does...
  11. I use these paint pens to mark my queens. I get them from a local art shop. I also know a couple of beekeepers that use the CRC ones available at Repco, Bunnings, mitre 10 etc and they also work well. I have not noticed marks disappearing more since using oxalic but will be more conscious to check now.
  12. Also just realised I haven't mentioned anything with regards to actually putting the strips in the hives. I shake as close to all the bees off the frames as I can when putting the staples in place. This includes the frames beside the ones with the staples. I hate squashing bees and creating situations inside the hive that result in dead bees. I shake off the bees, put the staple in place and then push the frames together before the bees have started moving back up onto the frames. I also have no evidence from my application of staples for it causing some superseding of queens (which from
  13. No stitching. I thought it the easiest place to start but was fully prepared to bail and start stitching if needed. I would have to get my 15 year old son to show me how to use the sewing machine though... So far I'm quite happy and yes, I find the mixture holds them together well. They are folded at the ends rather than being three separate pieces of paper tape. It would be interesting for someone using the stitched ones to try it this way and compare. I find they stay together pretty well although I do try not to pull hives apart too much in the first 3-4 weeks after putting them i
  14. I hope the information helps. While I am very encouraged by my experiences so far I am aware that I am really a novice user so please don't take what I say as gospel! I am simply sharing my experiences to date.
  15. @Alastair I started with the summary that was put together by @cBank which is available in the downloads on this site. This is an outstanding resource to start with. The summary has pictures of staples hanging for drying and I had read enough comments to suggest that wet staples were going to be problematic. That is why I went with hanging them out to dry. Hanging them over frames seemed logical to me as that would mean they dry into the right shape for use in hives. Mixing and making staples: I have attached a wee slide show of how I make mine. I started with
  16. I am using (homemade) staples. Most of my hives and nucleus colonies were treated with them in Autumn and this Spring it is all I have used. I make my staples by cutting 1m length of gib paper tape and folding into thirds. These then get soaked in oxalic/glycerine mix and then hung to dry for about 2 days (have attached a photo). Some observations... 1) Hive populations. I definitely see a knock in populations when putting the staples in. This was quite noticeable in the Autumn but overall was not detrimental to the hives making it through the winter (not that we had a w
  17. Otto


    @kaihoka No, this is not true. A nucleus colony with plenty of bees in it can produce very nice queen cells. A key attribute of a cell raiser is that whatever set-up you have for it, it needs to be well populated with bees. A good way to think about it is to look at how quickly the colony might start building swarm cells. A nuc full of bees will very happily do that so makes a perfectly decent cell builder.
  18. Red on Apiweb means that AFB has been found within 2km of the apiary, not a rob out. My understanding is that if a rob out is found then every beekeeper within 3km of that gets sent a letter stating this. If AFB got reported properly by everyone I think most apiaries in the country would likely show up as red on Apiweb...
  19. @Sheryl I believe you have a Farm Source store in Oamaru. They sell the Ecolab glycerine. I use this and am completely happy with it.
  20. Got a call from the Valley Project. They were a bit worried given the proximity to the school and footpaths and school finishing with bees everywhere. Some people from the Project and NEV school showed up keen to take some photos for talking to the kids about it. Another guy showed up taking photos and asking questions. Found out after he left he was a stuff reporter...
  21. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/115932126/hundreds-of-bees-swarm-house-in-dunedin Can't say too many of my own bees look ready to swarm just yet but someone else's bees are obviously doing alright.
  22. If you have any native bush nearby the really light coloured pollen is likely to be five-finger pollen.
  23. Bees don't need supplements when they are kept in sustainable numbers. Put too many bees in one place and there will be times of the year when they struggle to forage for what they need. I doubt that 100 years ago we had more beehives in an area than that area could sustain. Generating more beehives was almost all done by collecting swarms from existing and feral colonies (i.e. the bees decided when more colonies could be in an area). Beehives would not have been moved around to chase flows. The number of beehives an area can sustain obviously changes drastically with changes in lan
  24. Australia does not have varroa so no, absolutely not.
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