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Posts posted by Otto

  1. 19 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

    BSB what are your queens like? and how do we as clients know that? its like cells we pay money and what do you do if a cell/queen dosen't take?

    To know what someones queens are like, the easiest way to find out is to buy some and give them a go. I would certainly recommend giving feedback to the queen breeder/producer, whether it be positive or negative. Not all queens will work well in all different areas of the country. I imagine experienced breeders will have repeat customers who may be happy to vouch for the product?


    If a cell fails to emerge it is possibly the fault of the person raising the cells, although cells are easily damaged if you're a little rough with them. If it "Doesn't take" (i.e. it emerged but no mated queen results) that is in my opinion in no way on the seller. Everyone surely knows it a game of percentages? The same goes for introducing mated queens. If they don't take it is probably how they were introduced that will be largely to blame.


    • Like 1
  2. The second insect is a fly rather than a bee, probably a kind of hoverfly but hard to tell for sure from the picture.

    The brown round 'object' is part of the fly, from memory this part at the posterior of the top of the thorax is called the scutellum.

    • Agree 1
  3. 16 minutes ago, Sandra-Lee said:

    Hi. Is there a company in New Zealand that can supply this type of indoor hive? Really keen for our Enviro School here in Waikato.


    On 19/03/2019 at 8:50 PM, Grant said:

    No. They're not legal in NZ


    Please read the post two up from yours. These are not legal here.

    I would suggest keeping a normal (Langstroth) beehive at your school instead. I have been keeping a beehive at my children's primary school (also an enviroschool) for quite a few years now. To get started the best bet would be to find a local beekeeper with some bee experience that is interested in helping out. Spring is the best time of year to start.

    There are also plenty of legal options for observation hives that would work in a classroom, they just need to have removable frames so that the brood can be inspected.

  4. Also from the same web page:


    “What this result illustrates is missing, is the common ground that is characteristic of other industries when identifying, deciding and actioning priorities. We recognise that we need to keep working with the wider industry to find that common ground and to build stronger relationships through shared goals and priorities,” says Mr Wills.


    Easy to focus on negatives and typographical errors but please don't just cherrypick the bits that suit your argument. The above sentence does demonstrate that ApiNZ are aware that it was more than just the financial situation of the industry that resulted in a no vote.


    Admittedly it is also easy to shoot this comment down as I think it should read "We recognise that we need to START working with the wider industry..." 

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  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190129195223.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fviruses+(Virology+News+--+ScienceDaily)


    The scientific paper on which this article was based is available at:



    The arrival of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor on the western honeybee Apis mellifera saw a change in the diversity and prevalence of honeybee RNA viruses. One virus in particular, deformed wing virus (DWV) has become closely associated with V. destructor, leading many to conclude that V. destructor has affected viral virulence by changing the mode of transmission. While DWV is normally transmitted via feeding and faeces, V. destructor transmits viruses by direct injection. This change could have resulted in higher viral prevalence causing increased damage to the bees. Here we test the effect of a change in the mode of transmission on the composition and levels of honeybee RNA viruses in the absence of V. destructor. We find a rapid increase in levels of two viruses, sacbrood virus (SBV) and black queen cell virus (BQCV) after direct injection of viral extracts into honeybee pupae. In pupae injected with high levels of DWV extracted from symptomatic adult bees, DWV levels rapidly decline in the presence of SBV and BQCV. Further, we observe high mortality in honeybee pupae when injected with SBV and BQCV, whereas injecting pupae with high levels of DWV results in near 100% survival. Our results suggest a different explanation for the observed association between V. destructor and DWV. Instead of V. destructor causing an increase in DWV virulence, we hypothesize that direct virus inoculation, such as that mediated by a vector, quickly eliminates the most virulent honeybee viruses resulting in an association with less virulent viruses such as DWV.

    • Good Info 2
  6. 3 hours ago, Sailabee said:

    I think we are at the top of the crest for numbers of commercial beekeepers - particularly small to medium, in six years there will be a far greater power base in the corporate sector, as already they are gobbling up the small guys by fair means and foul. The only thing that could impact that could modify that is the outcome of the Ngae Tahu / Watson court proceedings.

    Not sure I agree with this (although I am no business expert).

    Corporate beekeeping (I like @john berry's definition of a beekeeping business run on someone else's money) has only come through on the back of very high honey prices. I am not convinced this model is sustainable or profitable with lower honey prices. I think there will be more that just a place for the smaller, family business which used to be the norm and that these will likely out-compete the corporate model. I think a well run smaller business is very competitive as it does not have layers of managers that need to be paid.

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  7. 1 hour ago, john berry said:

    For many years I thought bees naturally had the brood at the bottom and honey at the top but I'm now pretty sure that they have the brood near the entrance and the honey further away. If you don't like excluders don't use them.

    I would certainly echo this. For various reasons I've got hives with entrances in different places (e.g. nucs with front entrances or side entrances). Bees always store honey furthest from the entrance.

    I also find this helpful to know with putting a hive back together (I like to put it back together exactly how it was). If you've pulled a frame out of a brood box and you're not sure which way round it was in look at which end has more honey and that'll be the end that was furthest from the entrance.

    • Like 1
  8. I still struggle to see how one could administer a quota-type system when the vast majority of beehives are on private property. Quotas may work for the fishing industry where the fish/crayfish etc live in the sea and you go there to catch your quota. How would you administer quotas on private properties? I doubt the government would have any interest in trying to set such a scheme up. 

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  9. 8 minutes ago, CraBee said:

    I do it as I don't have an immediate use for the Queen and so keep her in the same environment.  I know others who do this.  The new Queen from the cell is always good.  I think the bees understand there is a problem with their original Queen - she is not spreading her pheremones on the comb and has stopped laying.....It is just the Queen left in the cage who sometimes dies.  It may be I am better to build something to hold multiple cages in and then bank them in a hive - is that your solution?  When you mention looking after them what are you referring to actually doing?  Any feedback appreciated.

    Okay. Not a method I have come across. Good to learn something new.

    Keeping queens in cages is relatively easy. Need to keep them at a decent temperature (others will have more knowledge than me but I tend to keep them at 20-25 degrees). I do not do it on any great scale so tend to use my hot water cupboard. The most I've had at any one time is a few dozen.

    Looking after them:

    A drop of water on each cage every day or two to give them a drink if they need it.

    Attendants need to be replaced every 1.5-2 weeks (put fresh nurse bees into a new cage and move the queen across).

    Make sure they don't run out of candy. If they're running low easiest is to re-cage the queen with some fresh nurse bees.

    • Like 1
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    • Good Info 2
  10. 11 hours ago, CraBee said:

    I've had mixed success caging Queens from mating nucs and putting them back into the mating nuc, and then putting a cell in.

    The problem is that sometimes when I next check....the mated Queen in the cage is dead.  I've been putting in attendants (8)

    with the mated Queen, placing the cage in brood on a well populated frame.   Any tips please?

    I'm interested in why you would be doing this? I understand caging queens from mating nucs and putting a cell back in for the replacement queen but why is the caged queen also going back into the nuc? The whole point of mating nucs is to use the queens elsewhere once mated. If you're not immediately using the mated queens they can be kept in cages with attendants for weeks if you look after them a bit. 

    I'm with @Rob Atkinson, why fight biology? The chances of getting a second decent mated queen from a nuc while leaving the first one in must surely reduce drastically? I have admittedly never tried this but would not expect it to work very well.

    • Agree 1
  11. 1 hour ago, Adam Boot said:

    I hope you are wrong on this one. If you take this direction then you will start undermining the one honey that is leading the way for NZ on a global stage. In my opinion we should do everything possible to defend Manuka and the stricter the standard the greater the credibility. 

    A little confused... Don't see how the statement I made could undermine anything.

    All I said was that if you take non-manuka honey (like honeydew) and blend it into manuka this is guaranteed to reduce the amount of manuka in that blend. Standard or no standard, if the brand is manuka this practice surely should diminish the value and credibility of that product?

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  12. On 2/01/2019 at 11:06 PM, frazzledfozzle said:


    What is manuka ? 

    You could talk to a dozen beekeepers and they will all have a different take on what is Manuka honey.

    MPI came up with a standard does it actually define Manuka a lot of people say no it doesn’t .

    On the flip side now there’s a standard beekeepers will have to work with it or around it whatever they need to do to make it stack.

    If you look at it in a different light with the emphasis not on the type of honey but on the activity which is what people were and are still buying on, then as long as the numbers on the label represented the activity in the jar the does it matter to the consumer how much actual “ Manuka” is in the jar ?

    I'm with @yesbut on this one. The question of what is manuka is irrelevant if you're trying to defend blending other honeys and honeydew into it. The only certainty with this blending into manuka had is that it's manuka content diminished.

  13. If you're set up for raising some cells at home I'd grab a frame with plenty of eggs and/or small larvae, wrap it in a damp cloth and take it home. Put that in a hive at home and graft when you have some small larvae to use.


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  14. I don't believe that a really good queen can outlay a box of 10 good quality 3/4 frames, if all that space is dedicated to brood. The problem is that the bees end up storing food in those frames as well and that is where I end up not being able to run singles. In spring brood frames can get clogged up with pollen very quickly and in no time the queen is struggling for laying space. My ideal is definitely 2 brood boxes either a 3/4 box and a FD box or both 3/4 boxes.

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  15. Personally, I am very happy that they have listened and are changing the levy to be based on hives rather than apiaries. After all, the unit every beekeeper bases their hobby or business on is hive number not apiary number.

    I don't think it comes down to a couple of vocal rental hive operators at all. For me it comes down to making sure that they are not encouraging large apiaries. For good beekeepers I wouldn't see these as a major disease risk but I have always seen them as detrimental to hive health. I firmly believe it is better for beehives to be spread out in small apiaries and I think it is unjust for beekeepers to be punished with higher levies for opting to keep their bees this way. 

    A big thumbs up from me for the Management Agency! I thank them for listening.

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  16. Laying workers lay unfertilised eggs which can certainly result in adult drones. I have done quite a bit of work with the University over the years looking at workers with active ovaries. In a queenless environment there is huge variation in how many workers activate their ovaries, how many eggs they lay and how much policing there is.


    16 minutes ago, CHCHPaul said:


    Yes, the pattern was regular and ordered. Strangely in both supers (two little arcs of drone brood). Wish I’d taken photos befor destroying it... the photo above is of the second brood box and that could have been messy with drone all along for all I know. 


    How good the (drone) brood pattern looks has less to do with the fact that it is workers laying the eggs and more to do with the size of the cells they lay into. If they are laying eggs in an area of drone comb you can get some decent looking drone brood, especially at this time of the season when bees are very keen to produce drones. If they are laying in worker comb then the pattern tends to be ugly. 

    Laying workers show a distinct preference for laying in drone cells rather than worker cells.

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  17. I saw the same thing in a hive I checked yesterday and see some of it pretty much every season.

    As @Scutellator suggested, this is due to workers that are laying above the excluder (anarchist workers). Not sure about there being at least some laying workers in every hive but I've seen it often enough that I know it definitely happens.

    If the queen is getting through the excluder somewhere there would also be worker brood in the super and I've seen it a number of times where it is only drone brood. It is frustrating when you are trying to run dedicated honey supers!

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