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Nick Spoon

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About Nick Spoon

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  • Beekeeping Experience
    Hobby Beekeeper


  • Location
    Lower Hutt
  1. No. They get a bit warm and feel like a bee sting, but it's in the upper arm so there aren't many nerve endings. Apparantly each jab had the equivalent of "one sting" worth of venom, but when I asked the immunologist why I couldn't just grab a bee out of the hive and sting myself instead of all the hassle, he said the standardised amount was important for the process. The amount of venom you get from a sting varies hugely, depending on type of bee (guard/worker etc.) and time of year and probably other factors.
  2. Those systemic reactions can be very serious. I had a systemic reaction a few years back, from multiple stings from very pissed off bees over spilt honey. I got the rash over the body (mostly groin and armpits) and a very different kind of swelling than usual - the GP took it very seriously, I ended up taking an amulance to hospital (I thought I could drive, DRs disagreed). Anyway I ended up going through a desensitisation program. If you live in Auckland or Wellington this might be an option for you - a bit rough if you live outside the major cities as you have to do it at a hospital. You have 2 days of being give increasingly large doses of bee venom, and being carefully monitored. And then you get a followup jab at your GP once a month for the next 3 years. I only ever got the one systemic reaction and it was from lots of stings so I'm not necessarily a good example. But the stings I've had since have always been "normal" - I still get swelling and itching, but it's local only so far. But whatever you do, make damn sure you've got an epipen handy. As John Berry said, these things tend to get better or worse over time. If it's worse, it can be much worse.
  3. Thanks for all the good advice here everyone. I decided to just split and see what happened. And then I just couldn't wait to see how things were progressing (despite all advice to just leave them, it's so hard!). What I found is lots of capped queen cells, made from the queen cells/cups I had been waiting for the queen to lay in! I know that there was no egg in these cells when I split, so the bees have taken eggs and transferred them! Either that or workers have laid in them, but these cells are now capped and I don't think they'd let an unfertilised larva get to that stage? Well, fingers crossed now, but seeing a big crop of capped queen cells has made me feel much better.
  4. OK thanks for that @tristan. So you don't recommend mucking around with trying to graft eggs into queen cups?
  5. I guess that's what I was thinking, and that a hive that wants to swarm is a hive that has hopefully left behind a nice strong queen cell. But I don't know if it's safe to leave them until they have laid in a swarm cell - will they always lay in swarm cells before swarming (i.e. I split them), or is there a chance I'll miss them if I'm only checking every 5/6 days? I want to split them as swarm management (and because I want 2 hives), but I don't want to play with fire - if there's a chance they'll swarm without the queen laying in a queen cup, I suppose I'd be better off splitting now and letting them raise an emergency queen?
  6. Hi all, I realise that the question of when to split comes up a lot, but I can't find anything conclusive about waiting for the queen to lay in queen cups. I have 1 hive, and an empty 2nd hive that I really want to populate, to give me some insurance against losing a queen etc. The spring buildup has been great, and the hive is pretty packed with brood (including a lot of drone brood and hatched drones) and honey. I've been working on the theory that before swarming, the bees will prepare cups and encourage the queen to lay in one/some. My understanding is that this is the best kind of new queen - as opposed to an emergency queen made from a worker egg in a standard worker cell, which is too small. So I've been waiting and waiting through spring for my excellent queen (a Daykel Carniolan) to lay in the multitude of queen cups dotted through the hive ... but she isn't. Our weather has been very hit and miss through spring and I don't think the temperature has been high enough so I'm not totally surprised, but there have been a few swarms in the area (but possibly from hives that are more sheltered than mine, which may feel the cold more, I don't know if that's a factor). So, my question is, when trying to get the best result from a home split, do people generally wait for the queen to lay in a queen cup, or just get it over with, split, and let the bees make and emergency queen - and possibly supercede her if she turns out to be bad? I'm also contemplating forcing the issue by attempting to graft some eggs into queen cups...
  7. Hopefully one of the mods like @Grant or @Trevor Gillbanks will be able to fix it for you, very interesting post, thanks Julia.
  8. I don't know about anyone else but I found this quite shocking. Alternating treatments is the one thing us beginners are told again and again and again, and that the 5 beekeepers who give you 5 different answers otherwise seem to agree on. Have you guys just given up on Bayvarol entirely then, and are waiting for the Apivar to lose efficacy before moving to acids or something?
  9. Yeah the white on yellow is quite hard to read, sitting in my office. I imagine outside on a sunny day it would be impossible. I had no trouble scrolling though, on my Android Samsung Galaxy S5. The pictures are nice and clear (although it would be nice to have multiple images that you could flick between to help recognise each symptom) and the info and flow are very good, I think it would be a good resource. (I've added most of this as a review on the Google Play store)
  10. Hangouts can be used as a very good and easy video chat tool, which you can use from your smart phone, or your computer internet browser without installing other programs. Basically like Skype, but a) you don't have to install anything and b) you can video chat with more than one person for free (to do this in Skype, 1 of you needs a paid account). So I've used it to have video chats with my parents and 2 sisters at once, all living in different cities, pretty cool. It's also a very easy way to send free texts, pictures and videos. As for Google+ ... there are communities that use it, and I vastly prefer it to Facebook, but no it hasn't had a roaring start. I wouldn't write it off just yet though.
  11. Yes there are, but not since the 1890s, according to Wikipedia
  12. OK, it just seemed like Trevor's post was about protection. I prefer not to wear gloves when the bees allow, and I find working them without gloves keeps the hive calmer as there are fewer accidental squashes. But after having a severe reaction recently, I need to change my approach.
  13. Are those disposable gloves Trevor? Are they really tough enough to stop bee stings, even when the girls are pissed?
  14. I disagree with this. Having experienced drone layers and unmated queens, I strongly recommend starting with 2 hives. A frame of brood is the best resource you have when something goes wrong, and 2 hives won't be much more work then 1. When you only have 1, you can really get stuck.
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