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Everything posted by deejaycee

  1. Agree with Yesbut re treating them immediately. As for the 48 hours though, I understand the logic in that they're aiming to get rid of any varroa travelling on the bees and 48 hours will work since there's no brood for varroa to be hiding in.... but I always give mine a full treatment. First, I'm not going to reuse the strips anywhere, so there's no value in 'saving' them. Second, I'm not going to be taking any honey off that hive in the near future, so residue is not an issue. Third, I want that swarm well protected from any varroa stress through their establishment phase, including reinvasion by varroa on drifters, drones, etc. Finally, (and this applies mostly to earlier season swarms), I want that swarm to have treatment at least until my other hives have completed their treatment, to ensure that they are able to last until the autumn treatment as well as my other hives. (I also use apivar in spring and save bayvarol for autumn, so you need to consider your schedule as to which treatment you'd use when to avoid re-treating with the same chemical). And then I don't touch mine for three weeks. The more you mess with them until they're settled, the more chance they'll up stakes and leave.
  2. Don't feed. At least not for the first week. They travel with food enough to get themselves established, so shouldn't need it anyway, but it also ensures they eat that food they're carrying instead of perhaps storing it and later feeding it to young brood.. which carries a small AFB risk. After the first week, you'll probably find at this time of the year that they're finding enough to eat on their own. If it were earlier in the season or the weather were to turn rough feeding might be worthwhile, but not often.
  3. Read up on Peter Dearden's work in genetics in bees at Otago (?) university. He's done quite a bit on genetic diversity including surveying the sex alleles present in NZ's bee population to address that exact question of whether we're heading for a bottleneck. The outcome was basically that there was a ton more diversity than expected, to the point that we have (I'm going by memory here.. someone will be along any minute to correct me) darn near as many different alleles as were known to exist worldwide, and in fact new alleles were identified that have not been identified anywhere before. He commented that it appears that not only do we have diversity, but the bees are developing new alleles, ie 'evolving' at a rate previously unsuspected. *pops neck on chopping block* tell my kids I love them..
  4. no, didn't really look for any. Given dogs, rabbits, kids, etc the backyard has been a much more 'functional' than decorative space until now. I did, however, keep my succulent collection along the driveway, all of which flower, and bees do rather like, but they don't go stupid over them. If they did get too active, the succulents tend to flower in large heads of flowers, so it's easy to snap off a head and problem solved (as opposed to plants covered in lots of individual flowers like our jasmine vine that was removed). wouldn't be difficult to find foliage based planting guides that give good decorative options that don't involve flowers.
  5. It's exactly what we did to our backyard after Emma was diagnosed as allergic at 2yo. Sprayed out all clover and flowering lawn weeds, and took out any flowering plants. Meant she could have free access to the backyard like any other kid. Now that she's 7, being desensitised and old enough to handle being around bees better, the garden is making a comeback. It's called personal responsibility. More people should try it.
  6. wondering if they mean salicylic acid? scrap that, bet it'll be oxalic acid. quality reporting as usual.
  7. Yep, especially if the hive isn't boiling strong. Helps to take a couple of frames of brood - one from top and one from bottom - into middle of the middle box to act as sort of a ladder to connect the two areas. Can't do that too early if overnight temps are an issue though.
  8. very, very well said Rob. Antihistamines help with general reactions, but have no effect on an anaphylaxis - they won't raise your blood pressure for example, which you need to do super fast when your blood pressure drops, because the next thing that can happen is cardiac arrest. That's what the adrenaline is for.
  9. oh yeah.. I did enjoy that..... a very good day indeed.
  10. oh, it's Jurgen Tautz! Definitely worth a read, thanks Christi
  11. Kiwifruit pollination really comes down to two positives for me - cashflow, which can't be underestimated, and in a year like last year and this year they're being fed, which means on average they'll actually come out better than the average hive because we're in such a hard dearth. Really weird extended flowering in the greens this year. Gold went fine, but where we're usually in and out in 11 days in the greens, we've had two little dull weather snaps and t's looking more like 16 days this year.
  12. Are they in under the canopy, or on the row ends, Daley? Mine under the canopy are snotty as hell and need a full suit, but my block where they're on the row ends are sweet as as long as the weather is ok.
  13. oh, if the hives aren't crackable... go in a bit earlier and take a photo of the top bars of a (really good) hive, and just pass round your phone or preferably tablet, so they can get an impression of the number of bees packed in. The front doors look impressive to our eyes if they're flying, but non-beeks have no concept at all of how many are inside.
  14. *blink* I did? Musta been having a good day LOL You'll do fine Daley. You know there's male and female flowers, and the flowers have a window of only a couple/few days each for them to be viable, and the more pollen each flower receives, the better the size, shape and dry matter of the eventual fruit. that's about all you need to know about the plant side of it - throw it to your grower for details. Then just talk about the bees mostly. tell them how every hive is grown for weeks to be in a specific condition at just the right time... not just to be strong, but to be in an active growth phase. throw in numbers of bees in a hive, multiply it by the number of hives on the site - that always impresses. Explain WHY the bees gather pollen, but then explain that they don't pack or eat nearly all of it, that their hairy little bodies are electrostatically charged and they are pollen magnets, that a lot of the pollen mixing and exchange happens in the hive as the bees are so tightly packed and rubbing against each other (shoulder up to your grower and shimmy a bit for a laugh). Explain why we need to feed syrup - that there's none, and that while they have food stores in the hive, the bees are so clever about feed supply that if they hadn't that nectar substitute coming and had to crack into their stores, then they would become conservative and reduce or stop brood rearing, which in turn would lower their interest in pollen gathering and see them looking outside the block for nectar as a priority. Explain how the weather plays in and affects the bees, and have your grower throw in how it affects the flowering. Explain how we have to be very careful with the amount of syrup because kiwifruit shoulders up against the honey flow, or even runs through it. Explain how tight the timelines are for you to get the hives into and out of the orchard. Basically show them it's not a luck of the draw or a casual thing, that it's a skilled service and you take it seriously, for your grower and yourself. And, as always, that it's a beautiful thing.
  15. yeah, I think I might reverse them when the cell goes in - either backwards or upside down until she's settled.
  16. That's what I'm hoping for - quick mating. Swarm season doesn't work for me, because I've got them on the hop with pollination so much - far too much disturbance between moving, grading, and inspections to get queens mated safely. I honestly can't imagine having to go round cutting swarm cells every ten days. I only had swarm cells in three out of the 150 this year (but I think it's been a relatively low-swarming year here in general). One got away on me (it's the one yard I didn't need any for pollination, so only seen it three times this spring), one had AFB and got the ultimate solution to swarming, and the third I pinched the old girl, cut all but one cell, graded off about a third of the hive and left them to it - settled nicely. As to why they're so low-swarming.. I think it's a combination of genetics and that they're working hard with pollination - anything with any strength is graded at least twice, moved three or four times. On the genetic side, I'm not claiming any great responsibility for selection, although I swear by John Dobson's and Frazzledfozzle's Italian queens (note to self: need more Frazz Queens). More that those that supercede well have been allowed to continue to supercede, and anything that swarms get marked for requeening. They'll often then supercede through summer, and it's been really surprising since I've been pulling a lot of autumn nucs how often I find the queen in the parent hive... only to later find a laying queen in a new nuc as well. You can probably imagine how with that sort of stability I'm actually a bit reluctant to go to systematic requeening for fear of losing it. but you've hit the nail on the head.... more crop with younger queens. I know my age mix actually isn't bad and production is pretty good... but I also know there's a margin there that I'm missing out on with the odd ones that don't manage themselves so well, and these days every little extra helps.
  17. I think you're onto it Ali. Yes, a bit of a brood break (though hopefully short) works in favour of both varroa reduction and nectar collection.
  18. no go, Kiwi Bee. About 150 to do, we're town based with a suburban backyard, and my daughter is highly allergic. Plus the time required to find the old queens to place the new ones is a killer. Good thought though - if I had my druthers I'd be going that way.
  19. I have to admit, I've always been rather... ok, really.. lazy about requeening my production hives. I have a really good supercedure rate, and unless there's an apparent problem with a queen, hives will usually take care of requeening before I get round to it. I need to tighten up on this though and get a bit more systematic about it. The question is when to fit it in. I do a lot of pollination through spring, with most hives working either stonefruit or apples, and then a round of kiwifruit, so they're on the hop from late August through to about now. Spring mating is always a bit of a dodge in HB anyway, between rain, high winds from October on. November is dearth time in HB, and there are still high winds around. By mid/later November they're all home to their honey sites and I'm screaming round getting them set for honey, because come about the first week of December school breaks up... and then I'm home with the kids until the first week of February. I do manage to get out to the sites on weekends when Kev's home and usually get a round of harvesting done in the second half of January. February is full on dealing with honey. March I've still got honey coming, and as the honey tails off I'm taking off nucs to overwinter. I'll take the chance on mating queens for nucs right into early April, but I'd rather not bet my production hives on a late mated queen. I'm looking at that window from early December through towards mid January though... and thinking if I dropped in a protected cell it'd have a good four weeks of not being disturbed. Maybe that's my window. so.. pros and cons, anyone? Assuming they've enough room in the supers, they won't backfill the brood nest if there's no laying for a while? If I'm using queen excluders, the cell will have to go below that, but most of mine have a top entrance cut in, so how likely is it that i'll have queens returning from mating ending up in the supers? (can face the excluder to the opposite side in most cases if that's a likely issue).
  20. nah, Bron. Not really much to speak of - didn't water the new vege gardens yesterday, but probably back at it tomorrow, or as soon as the temperatures lift. Still, every little helps at the moment. Got cold with it though, so between the bit of rain and cold yesterday morning Kev was able to do three hive shifts back to back between 5 am and 11 am, because the girls were all still tucked up in bed. We've got showers on the forecast for the next couple of days, but I'd be surprised if there was anything in it.
  21. you beauty, kaihoka thanks. and yeah.. we're probably plot fodder
  22. oooo can you get prime on demand? is it part of tvnz?
  23. *snort* sounds like a dang good excuse for more beekeeping flexibility.
  24. ###### the slippers... need a sock.. for the stuffing in a certain mouth of.
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