Jump to content

John T

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Days Won


Posts posted by John T

  1. Last evening I was surprised to get a text to say there's a swarm in a tree in a reserve/playground. It was a few minutes drive away so went for a look. It was a small swarm, about 3-4 frames worth. Being a small swarm I didn't bother putting on the beesuit. I shook them into a container and gave it to a hobby beek.


    What I didn't expect was an audience, including children. I gave them a bit of a talk about bees and swarms etc, so that was good. I guess because I wasn't wearing a suit that gave them the confidence to walk up close to the container for a close look at the bees - I managed to find and show them the queen.


    And yes, a bit late in the season for swarms. Or too early?


    Unfortunately the photos I took exceed the 2MB limit, I'll have to work out how to reduce them.


  2. A friend sent me this link:


    “The world’s honey bees are facing an unprecedented crisis. Since the 1940s, the number of honey bee hives in the United States has dropped from 6 million to 2.5 million. A combination of colony-killing mites, viral pathogens, and possibly pesticides is largely to blame. Now, researchers are tapping an unusual ally in the fight to bring the bees back: a bacterium that lives solely in their guts. By genetically modifying the bacterium to trick the mite or a virus to destroy some of its own DNA, scientists have improved bee survival in the lab—and killed many of the mites that were parasitizing the insects.”


    (continued here)


    • Like 2

  3. 5 hours ago, yesbut said:

    I have a little problem. I have four harvested hives. I am about to squash two Qs and combine to end up with two hives. Three Qs are nice yellow jobs, number four is a swarm Q I scored who is jet black and produces really attractive stripey/grey bees  which are a rarity around here.

    There are no temperamental or production issues apparent. The problem is I can't decide....


    @yesbut Perhaps you could put in a (second, perhaps) excluder placed between two sets of two brood boxes, with the Q in each. Then monitor their laying, and see which performs best.


    But, that said, who knows whether your selected Q will continue to perform well, as well as how long she will live for?


    I have no idea how Q's will perform when they live close to each other - perhaps put a honey box or two between the two sets of brood boxes? Perhaps someone might know.


    Perhaps put your unselected Q in a nuc as a back up should the selected Q fail after a few weeks?





  4. @john berry , do the ants look like these https://www.google.com/search?q=argentine+ants+nz&sxsrf=ACYBGNRVb-3xysyUsDebeXgRfi2Drmpbiw:1575793050192&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii1fvHzqXmAhVFWysKHbI7BbEQ_AUoAXoECBIQAw&biw=1366&bih=657


    Another way of identifying if they're Argentiine ants is put your hand touching the frames - if the ants immediately crawl over your hands, then they're likely to be Argentine ants. (Be sure to wipe them off before going to another place.)


    Our club hives have been infested with these ants. We've installed containers filled with water, that the hives sit in. So far they have reduced the ant's infestation, but some ants somehow still get across the water. I have used dishwashing detergent in the water, but I'm not sure yet if that works. I am still monitoring this. I have also used ant poison but I don't think this is having an impact.


    From what I have been reading (via a Landcare webby), there is no 100% effective poison that will exterminate these ants. Reduce, maybe, I don't know.

    • Good Info 1

  5. 11 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:


    Swarms must always go into undrawn frames, so that any AFB spores are used in wax building and not stored for baby food.



    @Trevor Gillbanks If one doesn't use undrawn frames for housing swarms, how long does it take for AFB to establish and/or symptoms are able to be detected? 

  6. 53 minutes ago, Jhah said:

    Is anyone with a deca available to inspect my single hive in Kawerau.I have completed the AFB recognition and competency test and passed but still require someone to sign off my hive 

    for this year.I believe this is a good thing a years beekeeping with an inspection done by a deca holder,helps solidify the learning.


    If you haven't had a response, have a look at this list and make contact with someone near you who can help. 


    • Good Info 1

  7. I don't know  if anyone has seen this or aware of the latest research, but this article is about breeding bees to resist varroa mites.

    It also suggests doing nothing and let natural selection take place - eliminate bees that can't resist mites.

    The article also mentions the continuing search for genes that are resistant to mites.



  8. Hi @kevin moore, no, not making foundation but I have thought about it - especially since I thought wax prices were going up (still?). Someone here a few years ago was making foundation and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.


    But here's the link the of the mould making process I think the forum member was using: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j35YXwcP2E 


    It seems since then, there are new Youtubes on making foundation. Thanks to this thread, I'm now re-looking into this issue.






    Found the thread - here - https://www.nzbees.net/forums/topic/7959-silicon-moulds-small-cell-for-casting-foundation/?tab=comments#comment-122892



    @Matthew Brajkovich and @HSV_Darren, are you still around?

    A correction - I was meant to say:  Someone here a few years ago was making foundation MOULD and was going to offer them for sale - I will have to do a search for that thread.

    • Like 1

  9. 7 hours ago, Mummzie said:


    Home processed wax is not as purified as commercial wax- I would love to know the process it undergoes, but that will be commercially sensitive. At the very least it will go thru finer filters than chux cloths.


    @Mummzie, I am sure you can purify your wax as much as possible to be of a commercial standard.


    The trick is to melt the wax 3-4 times, and scraping off the gunk (when the wax is cold) from the bottom of the wax each time. Initially, for the first two steps (or three, if you like), the wax is melted in water (use boiling water from the jug to speed up the melting).


    Strain the molten wax through a wire mesh with approx 1mm square holes (heat the mesh prior to pouring), and for the latter stages I do the double boiler method, and again, I scrape off the gunk from the bottom of the wax. The final pour goes into silver lined containers (eg milk, fruit juice etc containers - the wax doesn't stick to the sides) - put in half a cup of boiling water first. Once cold, peel off the cardboard. There should be little or no gunk at the bottom - scrape off and/or melt again if needed.


    A tip I learnt from asking a question on here - to prevent the wax from cracking, let the hot wax cool till there's a sheen on the surface in the pot before the final pour. 


    I did try straining molten wax through muslin cloth, but while this worked okay, this left with wax stuck to the cloth which was hard to scrape off and hence wasted. Better to use metal mesh.


    There's some Youtubes on melting wax should you be interested.





    • Like 2
    • Agree 1

  10. 2 hours ago, kaihoka said:

    Any advice on the best trap to buy and best bait is greatly appreciated .


    These traps are said to be the best - get the DOC 200 version:



    Box design (but you can buy them, trap included, all ready to go):



    Bait (the advert says they last for three weeks but I find they can last up to five weeks - give them a buffing up to freshen them when they start to look stale):



    But you could try raw or dried meat - especially rabbit - the mustelids may go for these. We've not tried these.


    I don't work for the two above companies but I am a volunteer at a wetland restoration project. In fact, yesterday it was my turn to check a trap line - two large ship rats were caught.





    • Thanks 2

  11. 10 minutes ago, Fitzie said:

    @John T did you end up solving your problem? 


    Apologies, I keep meaning to give an update. Yes, I followed the advice given above - I let the wax cool, until a skin formed on the surface. No more cracks on the surface.

    However, one minor issue is that with the wax starting to cool some wax remained in the pot - ie it wasn't fluid enough to pour it all out. But that's not a biggie, as it it can be re-melted again. I guess it's just a matter of melting more wax than you need, to allow for this.

    • Thanks 1

  12. A couple of years ago I was in the Mega Mitre 10 shop looking at poison powder for wasps. While I was reading the label a staff member comes up to me and says that I could add jam to the powder. I was shocked. I told her, no, don't tell the customers that, that would attract and kill bees. 


    I'd have thought that labels on containers for wasp poison should say that any sugar based substance should not be added to the poison.


    • Agree 2

  13. I have been melting wax and putting them into moulds or pots but unfortunately when the wax sets, it splits or cracks at the surface. See the pic below. How do I prevent this from happening? I'd like to have a smooth top surface.

    I note in the "Practical Bee..." book it says that if 'wax cools rapidly the blocks will crack.'  I have been doing this on warm/hot days so not sure what the solution is, apart from a warm-turned-off oven which I don't think is ideal.



  • Create New...