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Dave Black

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Everything posted by Dave Black

  1. My experience suggests no-one looks at the document library any more... Crown copyright permits non-commercial use with attribution as long as it is accurate and not disreputable, and they didn't voice any concern when I told them what I did previously.
  2. I haven't read through this thoroughly yet, but perhaps someone can explain this apparent contradiction to me (from the summary)? "Average honey prices paid to New Zealand beekeepers in 2018/19... fell significantly for most honey types apart from monofloral mānuka honey. The value of New Zealand’s pure honey exports increased by 2 percent in 2018/19... with higher export prices (up 10 percent)..."
  3. Like it says on the tin... 2018-Apiculture-monitoring-report.pdf
  4. I'm a little behind in seeking this out, but it's always a useful reference point, and I see 2018 is not there at all so I've added that in a seperate post. These have been made available on the Forum since at least 2012... 2019-Apiculture-monitoring-report.pdf
  5. Varroa have been a part of my beekeeping life forever. In the Forum archives (back to 2012) I have posts whinging about going to beekeeping conferences here and abroad full of promise and short on delivery when it comes to ways of managing the problem, and I retain what I think is a healthy scepticism about what I will call the ‘selective breeding’ route to a solution. From selecting for hygienic behaviour using pin or freeze killed brood assays in the mid-eighties, to the first Bond test (“Live and Let Die”) in 1993, selection for post-capping duration in the mid ‘90’s, and more recent work w
  6. Thanks Chris, over at the apiary we hadn't a clue what was going on! Far from the Madd(in)ing Crowd and no romance...
  7. Propolis is a mysterious material, not so much a thing bees produce but literally a collection of ‘things’ they use. Beekeepers view it as a bit of a nuisance and frequently selectively breed honeybees that use as little as possible. In some respects, that’s not a good idea. Apis, euglossine, meliponine, and megachilid bees, and, occasionally, other social insects, all use a kind of propolis to a greater or lesser extent, which in its simplest description consists of plant resins mixed with wax (propolis and cerumen) or mixed with clay or sand soils (geopropolis or batumen). There
  8. Yes. Left-click for synonyms. I must have more faith in the members than you.
  9. The worrying thing is just that this is an extremely difficult question to answer. While I worry, I know that, especially in New Zealand, we know very little about the possible plant-pollinator networks here, and next to nothing about how pollinators are partitioned within the landscape over time. At the moment my reading of the few studies 'worrying' about the local situation is that they point to a possibility, nothing more, and the ones about the situation elsewhere irrelevant.
  10. It's interesting sometimes to back at people's past posts...
  11. If the referendum says so, the Govt will eventually introduce a Bill, subject to the usual public consultation and Select Committee. Once that has Royal Assent, that will create another committee, a Regulatory Authority who, bit by bit, will work out what can and cannot be done. Edibles are way, way down the track. This all takes years; don't hold your breath.
  12. There have been, and are, members from the group that show an interest in providing hives for pollination. It’s not easy, and not a game. This can involve a contractual obligation to provide hives to a written standard on a defined time, and affects someone else’s income too. While most of us can muddle along and manage whatever the bees decide to do, for pollination the beekeeper is definitely in charge, even when the bees disagree. One of the essential skills, useful for beekeeping in general, is the ability to assess a colony’s size or strength, the number of foragers and the amount
  13. Do you beekeepers not want a 'Bee Aware' week then?
  14. Yes, I read that, and I couldn't think of anything to say about it either. I just can't...
  15. Agreed, an age-old problem and I'm not sure what the answer is, but doesn't mean we try a few things. I sure wouldn't be the best demonstrator in the house!
  16. So two posts for this meeting. We want more stories every time, don't be shy! The most important inspection you will do this year will probably be your first spring inspection. I’m not thinking of those alive/dead visits, or the quick peek and heft to check the food stores, but the first proper visit to go through the brood nest, what I’m going to call the ‘disease inspection’. It’s not a good description. In this case the concern is about one disease, AFB, and these days with so many hives around you will always have an eye open for AFB, and everything else. But the moniker ‘disea
  17. Going back to the hypothetical 'normal' hive the assumption underlying that would be 30,000 bees in the box, and that you treat without the supers, that is, it's nearly all brood nest. The absolute number I suggest is less important than the density of bees on the frames, and that might have some relationship to their activity. Bees manage the number they have covering brood as part of stablising their temperature and gas exchange. Mites remain in the brood nest mostly, with nurse bees or in cell, so that's what we are interested in treating. I do think think this is part of what can go w
  18. Fair but facetious I suppose, sorry, but taken in a very literal sense that is what we do. In our case we poison a hive with enough of a chemical that will kill the very small things but leave bigger things pretty well unharmed, it is a calculated risk. So we calculate. None of this is rocket-science. The maker works out how much is lethal to what, hopefully using good science, and builds in a safety margin accordingly. They design a release rate from the strip, and do some arithmetic to figure out, in most circumstances, how many strips to use. They guess that it is smart, given the l
  19. While you guys get busy deciding how best to poison your hives just consider that honeybees have relatively few detoxifying enzymes for dealing with pests and pesticides. Besides the expense, just doubling everything up gives them more to do with less, and may leave an overwhelmed immune system open to other toxic nasties and diseases they may encounter. As ever, balance your priorities. Just saying.
  20. With respect, this is very confused post (all of it). Using low dose treatments can be a problem, but not because it ‘promotes’ resistance. Resistance is like Lotto; sooner or later the right ‘get-out-jail’ number will turn up. Resistance might arise even when you are not treating at all. What a low dose will do is allow a resistance to multiply. Rotation of treatments means that, even if one number comes up, nek-minute, you’ll need another because I’ve added another lock. Combining treatments with different modes of action doesn’t increase the possibility of resistance, it decreases it. The
  21. If you’re a gardener (aren’t all beekeepers?) you’ll know a little about what biologists call the ‘stress induced flowering response’. As a lad some forty-something years ago I think I knew that, even if scientists have just got around to studying it in the last decade. You know, stop watering whatever it is, or provide a bit of a temperature shock, and it’ll burst into flower. We already knew that right? We suppose plants can survive as a species if they flower and produce seeds, producing the next generation although they themselves cannot adapt to unfavourable environmental conditions. The
  22. I'm quite sure the Management Agency would fail an audit from the Privacy Commisioner. Principle 10 of the Act applies here regardless of what beekeepers may think. I can find no statements about the information collection, retention, etc. that relates to the registration form provided. However, let's wait to hear where the mailing information comes from.
  23. As mentioned last time, for some reason mead generates quite a bit of interest. It baffles me somewhat because, judging by what people will pay money for, mead hasn’t been popular for several hundred years, and can no longer be used for paying taxes. Anyway, for this month’s meeting we had decided to gather and discuss it, and make some. If you are the buying and selling type you can't do this with mead ('cos it's alcohol), but you can turn your mead into Vinegar! I make it occasionally, mostly because I’m lazy about dealing with cappings and wet extractors, but I’m a bit ‘old scho
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