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john berry

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john berry last won the day on June 20

john berry had the most liked content!

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About john berry

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay

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  1. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    I have a hobbyist friend with one hive (rural) that has been badly attacked by robbers two years in a row. This autumn I know for certain that it hadn't been opened for at least three weeks, was strong and healthy and had a reduced entrance. Fortunately this year my friend noticed what was happening and put the sprinkler on it and the next day I blocked it up to almost nothing but this has to be something you can blame on neighbours because they did nothing wrong.
  2. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    The strips I sent off for testing were found to be fine but I'm still waiting on the genetic testing. I believe the genetic tests are not too far away so it will be interesting. They look for specific genetic markers and it is possible that we have had a different genetic mutation in New Zealand. I will let you know when I get the results.
  3. Unfortunately I can't make it this year but keep up the good work.
  4. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    I too am a personal friend of Frank and Maryannes and agree with everything he said. I don't agree with all as beekeeping practices but there is a lot more than one way to do things. Up until this last year the only time I had to treat more than twice a year was the year after varoa arrived when all the feral's were dying. Since that time I have lost the odd hive to varoa but it wouldn't be more than five hives average per year. Beekeepers I know in Norway treat with oxalic acid dribble once a year when the hives are broodless and that's all they need to do. Varoa is definitely a lot worse than that here. If I lose a hive to varoa I totally agree it is my fault but that doesn't mean that my problem wasn't caused by someone else. My father lost 500 nukes over winter just down the road from where I live. Don't think it was varoa though as it was 60 years ago.
  5. john berry

    Secondhand Boxes

    Foundation wax can and sometimes does contain AFB spores and they are definitely not killed by the processing. It definitely behoves all of us to ensure any wax we process is uncontaminated but having said that for whatever reason foundation is not considered a risk material and I have never had an AFB that I could even remotely attributed to it. Paraffin dipping does kill AFB spores but only at temperatures above 160° for 10 minutes. I'm sure there will be someone out there who would love your gear.It all boils down to whether you are competent at identifying AFB or not. If I was setting up myself I would be quite happy to have the gear but would keep it quarantined for the first season just to be sure. Just be honest and upfront about the risks and try and make sure whoever you give it to is competent at dealing with AFB. As you would have gathered I am not a huge fan of secondhand gear but I'm also not a big fan of waste or burning plastic for that matter. Years ago when I had a 20% mortgage and no money I set up some hives of my own very successfully using someone else's AFB boxes which I paraffin dipped myself and I still have a few of those boxes. You cannot get AFB from clean gear. You cannot not get AFB from unclean gear.
  6. Lots of New Zealand queens go overseas where they could be fairly easily and cheaply monitored for EFB resistance. This is something I advocated for years but got little support. I'm not sure with AFB but I think they 'select for resistance using hygienic behaviour i.e. you kill some brood and see how long they take to clean it out. Whether you could actually breed bees that are less susceptible to the disease itself I don't know but it is possible to get permits for AFB research. I suppose you could always start with the survivors from one of those 90% plus outbreaks that occur occasionally
  7. Like David I am amazed we haven't got EFB already, our border controls have been pretty successful at keeping out rogue elephants and hippopotamus but anything smaller than that seems to be getting In without too much trouble and EFB is really small. David, I am interested in your comment on breeding for AFB resistance. There never seems to have been much enthusiasm for this in New Zealand but I have always wondered whether it was possible and assume that breeding for hygienic behaviour must lower your AFB risk at least a little bit. AFB resistance would be one study I wouldn't be too keen on taking part in but I would be happy to donate some hives to such a study.
  8. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    Overpopulation is fairly easy to quantify. Many times over the years I have increased hive numbers at different sites and sometimes it works out and sometimes your average yield goes down. A one third increase can make a substantial difference and I'm sure a statistician given access to my 60 years of records could have a lot of fun proving it. One interesting thing with varoa is that my 10 year average increased after its arrival and this would suggest there was considerable competition from feral's. Most places were probably under stocked for the best two weeks of the best years but it's the box at the start and the finish of the season that gives you the really good crops. A few places will stand 50 hives and I believe some of the honeydew areas will take even more than that but I have plenty of areas where 16 is the maximum so when somebody dumps 160 hives 300 m away yes I can be pretty bloody certain that that area is overstocked.
  9. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    I have lost hives to varoa and have always been upfront about it. Fortunately not too many. I just reread your original question and you asked for opinions. In my opinion what your neighbour does has a direct effect on your bees including reduced crops, increased varoa and AFB. Half the time at least you don't even know they are there until you see the effects. I have said many times I believe it is getting more difficult to keep bees every year and while overstocking and plonkers don't help it is varoa that will ultimately bring everybody to their knees. As for alternative treatments I am interested in them but very weary as I have seen so many people lose so many hives through believing things that just aren't true no matter how much we want them to be. The more hives you or I or your neighbours have the bigger the potential for resistance, new diseases et cetera. Honey becomes an unimportant byproduct when you look at the benefits of pollination and that has been put in jeopardy by the current goldrush. I hope you enjoy your exclusive beekeeping area at least till someone else comes and takes it off you as I assume you did to someone else. Still that's business. I was going to answer this with a simple.... And people wonder why prefer hobbyists! But I am a bit bored and argumentative today.
  10. john berry

    Blame Thy Neighbor

    It is perfectly legal to use bayvarol while honey supers are on (except for comb honey) in an emergency situation i.e. when there are varoa. How much varoa comes from neighbours and how much comes from feral swarms is hard to tell but I do know that nearly every year I get one or two sites invaded over the winter and they are normally different sites from the year before. AFB is a completely different matter and I have not had one for 15 years that I couldn't with a high degree of certainty blame on a neighbour. I thought Frank did an excellent job in his interview. Those who criticise should try it sometime. You get asked a question and you know the answer but you know you don't have half an hour to answer it properly. It makes a nice change to hear some on the radio saying that the sun is not shining out of the beekeeping industrys backside and that MPI don't understand the damage they are causing when they encourage evermore beehives. As for Frank's knowledge of beekeeping, it is huge and he would be the most well travelled and scientifically aware beekeeper that I know and I know a lot of very clued up beekeepers. A lot of the overseas speakers at the conferences are there because they were recommended by Frank.
  11. john berry

    Lindsay & Pattimore Nine to Noon 12/06/18

    And why not blame others. Greedy barsteds dumping hives on top of everybody else when they should know better and we have to suffer just because we were there first. And people like Frank and me went out of our way to help a lot of those new beekeepers. There are only so many flowers and I have more right to mine than one of the jumped up foreign funded corporate's that are fast going broke because of their own incompetence and seem quite happy to take everybody else with them. Beekeepers have always suffered from other beekeepers mistakes, but man there's a lot more mistakes being made by a lot more people these days.
  12. john berry

    Rusty Queen excluders - Stainless Steel?

    Run them through the paraffin plant hot or change to plastic which I have found much better than the metal ones. I know not everyone agrees with me but there is no comparison as far as I'm concerned.
  13. john berry


    I would be amazed if supermarkets didn't sell well over 90% of honey sold in New Zealand.
  14. john berry

    New genetics (legal and illegal importation)

    I haven't heard anything but then if I had they would be dancing on the end of a rope. Feel free to send me any information on this is am quite happy to cause problems.
  15. john berry

    Secondhand Boxes

    I can think of about 20 outfits that my father or uncle have brought up over the years and can only think of one that was clean. Most weren't too bad (5% or under) but some were close to 100% in a lot of those didn't show up till a second or third round in the spring. Would I buy secondhand hives that I could inspect?. Absolutely. Would I use any empty boxes that came with them? It would depend what I found in spring. Would I buy secondhand boxes with no live hives to check? Yes if they were dirt cheap and I had time to give them a full paraffin dip or in one case I remember well I brought two truckloads because I knew the history and I took them home and burnt everything except for the best of the boxes which got a full treatment. One of the main reasons I have downsized in the last few years is that I have seen way too many good old beekeepers become unable to cope with their hive numbers and AFB always appears at this point. Another thing to remember is that secondhand hives and gear were always cheaper than making new stuff in the past, in many cases way cheaper or even free. This is no longer the case and I would far rather have new gear for the same cost as old.