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Nicholas

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  1. It's a good question.. 1. A hive environment that supports the development and retention of hive nest scent, biochemical composition and most importantly heat. - Employ a hive design and management methods that support these three elements. We must consider here that the Langstroth hive operates in the opposite direction to a natural colony in a tree; from the bottom up as compared top down respectively. Also the management of a Langstroth dictates opening of the hive from the top, regularly compromising the development and retention of hive nest scent, biochemical composition and heat. Bees are heat organisms par excellence. - Starting at the least dramatic change, one could manage a Langstroth more naturally by 'nadiring' boxes under the brood nest, and the brood would continue to progress downwards. I understand Tudor is closer to this method of than to supering? - The most dramatic would be to transition his colonies to a more suitable hive like the Warre. Note the Warre was developed to mimic (as closely as reasonably possibly whilst maintaing the bee and beekeeper relationship) the average hollow tree and cluster size in a temperate environment. 2. Natural comb Straight forward enough, allow the bees to draw all their own comb. Paired with nadiring boxes sees the comb renewed and cycled out of the hive every season or two, minimising the build up of contaminants in the wax. 3. Natural foods No feeding feeding or pollen substitutes, only honey and pollen. As per organic standards. 4. Breeding from local survivors Allowing open mating, not purposefully reducing drone numbers in the hive (natural comb and not drone trapping), in the extreme allowing and hiving swarms depending on apiary location. 5. Chemical free In this country, avoiding synthetic treatments and using organic and/or biomechanical methods of varroa control. There are a number of certified organic beekeepers in NZ that manage just fine (so far) like this. 6. Apiary stocking densities Reduce the number of hives per apiary in line with natural stocking densities, unless local forage is more supportive of more colonies. This will of course be site specific and seasonal. If in doubt, see Gilles Denis in France and Timothy Malfroy in Australia, both full-time commercial Warre hive beekeepers achieving all these points and more with 500+ hives each. Useful?
  2. I was told that the thread of a video was the not right place to discuss the content of that video, and so I left it. This thread now has the warning 'Claiming censorship for not following forum rules'. I have read the 'forum rules' and am unclear, in the first instance, which of the 9 I broke? The closest I came to was #6 but I focused on the logic not the individual. I am getting used to this forum and I respect the need for moderators. I would ammended my opening however the option isn't there. Can you please remove the warning at the top of the thread and lets have a genuinely constructive discussion about the topic presented? Apis mellifera choose vertical hollow trees as their preferred nests in cold to warm temperate climates. The KTBH for instance is exactly that, Kenyan, as in the tropics bees prefer and choose long horizontal hollow cavities. That is the context. What we are seeing is exactly that, sick bees from how they are being kept. The research papers appended above that describe the natural state of affairs are the research papers that directly support my statement that 'the way they are kept is in direct opposition to their natural lifecycle and hive environment, and severely compromises their immunity and health.' For example, the average density of honeybee nests in forests is 1 colony per 1km2 or one every 800m as the crow flies. Apiarys of even 20 hives side by side are extremely unnatural and allow disease and varroa transfer between colonies at rates far higher than in the wild. Yes I and others are doing so, and will let you know how it goes. In the mean time I feel the conversation is a good place to start?
  3. A recent censoring of posts challenging commercial beekeeping practices inspired me to catalyse a constructive conversation about how we as stewards of bees could better support bees to thrive. The truth is, most honeybee colonies in New Zealand are managed as a commodity for pollination and honey production. The way they are kept is in direct opposition to their natural lifecycle and hive environment, and severely compromises their immunity and health. This is not opinion but scientifically observed and recorded fact. We need a radical shift in the way bees are kept to most closely mimic the hive environment that bees create and thrive in naturally. It is in this environment they have persisted, without intervention, for hundreds of thousands of years. The five foremost important changes needed, as informed by their natural tendencies, are: 1. A hive environment that supports the development and retention of hive nest scent, biochemical composition and most importantly heat. 2. Natural comb 3. Natural foods 4. Breeding from local survivors 5. Chemical free 6. Apiary stocking densities Only then will bees even be in a position to develop and express vigour, immunity and resistance. Appended are papers for your information. The Seeley paper on colony crowding and varroa drift which Dave once mentioned is also attached. The abstracts of papers file might be of particular interest. All thoughts, opinions and comments welcome. bbka-varroa-article.pdf 11-08-2015-IJBM_flat_mailable .pdf do_small_cells_help_bees_cope_with_varroa.pdf bbka-varroa-article.pdf do_small_cells_help_bees_cope_with_varroa.pdf 11-08-2015-IJBM_flat_mailable .pdf Museum samples reveal rapid evolution.pdf Unique Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Hive Component-Based Communities.pdf Abstracts of scientific papers April 2015 edition.pdf Seeley Smith 2015 crowded colonies.pdf bbka-varroa-article.pdf 11-08-2015-IJBM_flat_mailable .pdf do_small_cells_help_bees_cope_with_varroa.pdf bbka-varroa-article.pdf do_small_cells_help_bees_cope_with_varroa.pdf 11-08-2015-IJBM_flat_mailable .pdf Museum samples reveal rapid evolution.pdf Unique Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Hive Component-Based Communities.pdf Abstracts of scientific papers April 2015 edition.pdf Seeley Smith 2015 crowded colonies.pdf
  4. Two swarms (most likely from managed colonies) hived into Warres with semi frames and starter strips only (no foundation). Swarm #1 big prime has been in for 9 days, has drawn and filled all of top box, drawn most of second box, and is chaining heavily into the third box. It was bringing in pollen on day 3. Waiting for a warm day +18degrees to measure cells.
  5. This apiary looks inappropriately located and therefore deficient in the diverse natural pollen sources the bees require. From FeedBee - "[I]We had to add many ingredients for their attraction, as alternative sources of nutrients and to obtain maximum palatability and digestibility."[/I] In other words, the bees didn't like eating it so they added stuff to make them want to eat it.[I] [/I]Icing sugar is the absolute worst thing to feed, no wonder Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae are flourishing.
  6. His team analysed pollen from Massachusetts and samples sent by a colleague in New Zealand, including dandelion pollen from a kiwifruit orchard, as part of their ongoing investigations of the impact of neo-nictotinoids on bees and human health. "We found a very high frequency of detections of neo-nicotinoids in the pollen. Unfortunately, the New Zealand samples contained higher concentrations than the Massachusetts samples." A pesticide with an additional sting?
  7. Another Italian swarm today 4/10 at Mangere Bridge Auckland, good prime swarm some 4m up a totora, filled two Warrē boxes.
  8. Oratia, Waitakeres - Acacia, wisteria, plums, crab apple (getting worked hard), flowering cherry, magnolias. Big prime swarm on fourth day in a Warrē drawing natural comb fast, the nectar is flowing, and they began pollen collecting today.
  9. Big swarm today 29/9 in Muriwai, head high in a Pōhutukawa, filled three Warrē boxes.
  10. Swarm in Mount Albert Saturday 26/9, two in Oratia and one in Piha Sunday 27/9
  11. It is the birthright of bees to build wax comb, as they want and need. The bees will still finish the cells and cap them, but how long before they will have forgotten how to build comb foundation from scratch? What are the yet unknown consequences of interfering with the evolution of a super colony organism for convenience and money? Complete plastic cell frames are a new extreme of exploitation and abuse of bees. The NBA must meet this and propose an amendment (private members bill) to the Animal Welfare Act of New Zealand to include Apis mellifera and outline ethical animal rights for this important and integral creature.
  12. I have been building and keeping bees organically in traditional dimension Warre hives in Dunedin, this being my second season. Two modifications, I have some boxes with glass windows with removable wooden shutters and I use semi-frames with 90mm side bars (made with the jig below). I first started with four Langstroths and populated the first Warre with a decent sized swarm that issued in summer. The 2013/2014 summer flow was terrible down south, especially on the coast, so it just managed one full box capped and the brood nest extended halfway into the second box. This was still enough to overwinter without feeding however and it came into the 2014 spring with strength and vigor. It was noticeable upon spring inspections how docile the bees in the Warre became as compared to the FD langstroth colonies with the same bee numbers - the thermal efficiency of the Warre is clearly greater. That hive is now moving into the fourth box with the top two honey after a small dearth in late spring/early summer. At the start of the spring flow in September I mounted the four Langstroths on top of Warre's though they have been hesitant to move downward and some required brushing with a couple still to complete the transition. The last photo is Timothy Malfroy's 50 strong Warre apiary in NSW Australia. Many beekeepers in Europe manage hundreds of Warre's commercially for an income and do so with the highest regard for bee health.
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