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Posts posted by Otto

  1. 18 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

    So the season’s chugging along quite well and the girls are bringing in the nectar… Filling up most of the box, so I add another super… then they fill that up… and the honey flow stops.


    Is there any way to get them to cap the honey?


    I was wondering if I could feed them some light syrup to stimulate wax production or something… but don’t want them to mix sugar in with honey. 

    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.

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  2. 22 minutes ago, JohnF said:


    This would make it rather expensive to hold these elections each time John . . . there are calls that go out for nominees to the board (in fact, one recently)

    Why would this need to be expensive?

    Could surely be done electronically now...

    • Agree 3
  3. 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!

    • Agree 3
  4. 17 hours ago, Alastair said:

    I had one site that had argentine ants, then one day I went there and under the hive lids, instead of argentine ants, there were a large black ant. I can only assume these ants have been able to defeat the argentine ants, and these ants do not bother the bees. So I have intentionally captured some of these ants and spread them to some of my other apiaries. 


    I have had other people opening hives with me and they go "Wow so many ants!" I go yes, and I love them. 🙂


    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?

    • Good Info 1
  5. 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 putting the oxalic staples in? In my case it seems to be happening a couple of months down the track. I am not convinced that it is the oxalic that is causing it but would like a bit more detail from others to try and work it out.

    • Good Info 1
  6. 1 hour ago, M4tt said:

    They kind of tell me that you have high virus loading both from the nasties that cause Cororapa, plus Lotmaria Passim thrown in for fun , just in case the other two didn’t hit them properly . 

    Nosema is not a virus😶


    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 be quite daunting and takes a bit of getting used to. To work out how much pressure to use the easiest thing is to practice on drones. No big deal if you accidentally squash one and they cannot sting.


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  8. 1 hour ago, Alastair said:


    Lives in a coffee cup holder in the cab of the truck. Not too much drama but may involve a little more time than a pen. But hey, having to re mark all the queens every few weeks or months would also be a pain no?


    Otto are those actual paint, and how long do they last on the queen?


    Maybe i could dispense with my paint tin.

    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...

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  9. I use these paint pens to mark my queens. I get them from a local art shop. image.png.8c47b9a61cb771baa9abbc9546b45d72.png

    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.


    • Good Info 3
  10. 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 reading comments is somethings others do find).

    • Good Info 3
  11. 41 minutes ago, Mummzie said:


    No stitching at all @Otto?

    do you find the mixture alone sticks them together adequately? Do they curl when they are in the hive and maybe the outer layer looses mixture?

    It would be wonderful to loose the need to stitch..its such a mind boggling boring job.


    I wonder if running them thru a mangle would speed up the making and drying process....or if the drying is an important factor in their success?

    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 in. Once most of the mixture is gone from them and they've been part chewed up the layers do come apart quite easily. I figure at that point they're not doing much anymore anyway.

  12. 23 hours ago, kaihoka said:

    I have read that to produce good queen cells hives need at least  two boxes very full of bees of all types , nurse, foragers etc.

    Is that always true .



    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. 

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  13. On 23/09/2019 at 8:35 PM, Sheryl said:

    Hi everyone! I am going to make my own strips this season - I already put some in 4 weeks ago which were made by a friend. I have sewed my staples, but my question is around the type of Glycerin to purchase. I saw a mention somewhere on the forums about  Glycerin purchased from Farmlands not working in the way it soaked into the strips in the correct dose. Please correct me if I am wrong?  I rang Farmlands to ask which types they sold and the ones they sell are: Donahys; Ecolab; GSE Ecolab; Farmguard.   I have not yet asked PGG.  Does anyone have any advice here?

    (Also - where would I purchase Oxalic Acid?)  Thanks!



    I believe you have a Farm Source store in Oamaru. They sell the Ecolab glycerine. I use this and am completely happy with it.

    • Like 2
  14. 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...

    • Like 2
  15. 10 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

    Otto, yep I agree with you, but sometimes a grey area, some times it is a big gamble with no comebacks, I wonder if consumer guarantee (wont for commercials, but might apply for hobbyists) or fair trading act could be applied.

    I think that would be very difficult. The problem is the queen/cell provider has absolutely no guarantees about how their product is being introduced. You can give all the correct advice and instructions but people still refuse to follow it or interpret it in a way you never anticipated...

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