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john berry

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john berry last won the day on October 19

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About john berry

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay

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  1. Once I Queen is two years old if the bees have replaced her then I will.
  2. Hives swarm because they are strong and short of room or because they are strong and doing nothing. Most years the majority of hives will only swarm if they are short of room so give them a box. If you have a dearth period in November then your hives may swarm from boredom regardless of how much room they have and only regular checking and brood removal will solve that particular problem. As for making splits I do it all the time but in autumn. I basically even up the amount of honey and brood in the two brood boxes but shake the majority of the bees into the top as a lot of those bees will drift back to the old entrance. If I am leaving the old Queen I put a few less bees up the top as she tends to hold onto them better than a queenless hive. I normally kill the old Queen and put a cell top and bottom. The top hive has a completely separate entrance and is not connected in any way to the bottom hive. You could split your hive now for swarm control but it's getting pretty close to the main honey flow and the stronger the hive the more honey you will get. If your hives are really swarmy then get some decent queens of a breeder. This won't guarantee that they won't swarm but they will be a lot less likely to.
  3. There is only two things that look like this. Starvation which from what you say is not the case and spray poisoning.. I have seen thousands of sprayed hives over the years and while it is not a good thing,provided is not too bad most hives recover without any problems.Very occasionally you will lose a queen and the hive will end up queenless. Your photo looks quite dramatic but I have seen an awful lot worse and your hives should be fine.
  4. I have been held up with my bee work for nearly a week with family commitments and then bad weather. It's important to do bees at the right time and today I was a few days behind the eight ball. The hives had had a exceptional willow flow and were basically just too full of honey and needed a box. Fortunately only two or three were raising cells in each apiary but it was still hard work. Yesterday I had a hive that was crammed in the second box but not in the bottom box at all so I swap the two boxes. Some beekeepers do this with every hive every year. This is probably the first time I have done this to a hive in five years. I also had a strong hive with a queen that had suddenly gone bad with a terrible brood pattern . I didn't have time to look through two boxes of bees to find her so I just put a hatching swarm cell in to try and induce supersedure. I know I have said never use swarm cells but these hives will be re-queened in the autumn anyway and anything will be better than the Queen that is in there at the moment.
  5. Tongues sticking out is normally a sign of insecticide poisoning. The way that dead bees are positioned outside the hive also indicates insecticide poisoning but without seeing it myself it's hard to be certain. Generally hives will survive a light dose of poisoning and yours don't look too bad. Having said all that ,spray poisoning is nowhere near as common now as it was 20 years ago so it may just be bees damaged in the shift.
  6. There are times and places when feeding sugar has huge benefits over feeding honey and there are also times when feeding sugar can be detrimental in many ways. The secret is knowing when to do what. Hives that have been through a long summer drought are often full of bees but they are all old and feeding sugar in autumn whether they need extra feed or not encourages breeding and means you have some young bees to live through the winter. Friends of mine in Canada had a really good autumn a few years ago and the hives all filled up on some sort of honeydew. Bees eating this honeydew over winter needed to defecate more than bees fed on sugar and winter losses that year were massive. These days I think the biggest downside to feeding sugar is the fact that it stirs the bees up and with some moron putting 100 hives across the fence sugar feeding can lead to hives being robbed out.
  7. Afternoon sun means any late bees can get home. I have always thought that urban hives should be placed as close to the owner's house as possible and as far away from neighbours as possible. I have seen a lot of hives over the years that are the other way round. It's you that wants bees and you that thinks they are adorable friendly little creatures . Your neighbours may not be so understanding. Fences and hedges are good for getting bees to go high but even with them you wouldn't want to be across the fence on the footpath when someone was actually working them. I have no objection to people having hives in town but I think they should be as considerate of their neighbours and the public in general as they possibly can be.
  8. It's a worker bee. All the body hair has either fallen out or been rubbed off. Lots of theories about why bees look like this from high Nosema load to be paralysis virus. Personally I think that at least most of the time is just a bee that has done a lot of robbing and hence a lot of fighting. Unless you see a lot of them, don't worry about it.
  9. There are major advantages to feeding frames of honey rather than sugar especially early in the spring. Done properly there is very little risk. If you don't do things properly then there is a considerable risk but if you're not doing things properly you will already have a problem whether your feeding honey or not.
  10. Thoughts like these have led many beekeepers onto the path of total destruction. They fall into the same category as; a little bit pregnant or an almost honest politician. I have seen the results of beekeepers ignoring both the law and the science and it is never pretty.
  11. Making quality foundation is an art as well is a science. I have seen it done and I'm sure I could make my own if I had to but it would be half as good for twice the price. I am not a fan of foundationless but it would certainly be better than using a slab of flat wax. Some of the really old bee books will tell you how to make your own foundation and it may be possible to get a set of embossed rollers as there are a few floating round but it will not be as good as the modern equivalent which is much more even in thickness and has raised cell walls.
  12. If you mean do hives die from AFB then yes absolutely I have seen plenty of hives that have died. Once the infection has established the hive will fall off its metaphorical perch 100% of the time. That wouldn't matter except that when it dies it gets robbed out by all its neighbours and eventually they die as well. I have inspected apiarys where there were dead robbed out hives, dying hives and infected hives and I have also found apiarys where all the hives were dead and robbed out but the hives were so decomposed you couldn't tell if it was AFB or not. The major outbreak in the area the year before might be considered circumstantial evidence in court but it was enough for me to persuade the landowner to burn everything. Never found out who owned these unregistered hives but I do know that at least some of the gear have been appropriated from neighbouring beekeepers without their knowledge.
  13. Swarms can theoretically carry AFB but I have never seen it happen. For a start if a hive has significant AFB it is not going to be in a fit state to swarm. If it only has a few infected cells then the risk is probably not that great and while it is sensible to put them onto foundation I don't normally bother and have never had any problems. The normal way that swarms end up with AFB is from them being put into already contaminated gear. I once had to inspect a whole lot of hives where the brood and queens had obviously been stolen from another beekeeper's hives. All the inspected hives had AFB and it wasn't from where they were stolen it was from the old crap infected gear they had been put into. I knew the gear had been stolen but it would have been difficult to prove in court and at least the perpetrator didn't gain from his crimes and we found and burnt everything before it had a chance to spread to someone else. I have often wondered how many AFBs came from when the crooks original hives died out.
  14. I grade frames like that harder than I would clean frames but if it was reasonably new and in good condition other than the mould I would give it to a strong hive to clean up.Cleaning up old gear is hard work and bees like hard work more than I do.
  15. I don't use protection for the cells whatever the age. I have been thinking about trying a few protected two day cells to try and induce supersedure.I have tried protected 10 day cells in the past (without dequeening )and found the results to variable.
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