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john berry

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john berry last won the day on March 10

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About john berry

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    Guard Bee

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  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper

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    Hawke's Bay

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  1. Two interesting things working bees in the last couple of days. The first is that today there were a lot of hives that weren't laying. They were re-queened with two day cells over five weeks ago. A few were obviously queenless as I would have expected but a lot looked fine except for no brood. I have seen this before when you get no autumn stimulation because of drought (or cold) and I have found the easiest thing to do is just too assume all the good-looking hives have queens and give them a feed sugar (they were all a bit hungry anyway) and next time it will be obvious who does or doesn't have a queen. Hives that had a young Queen last time were also not laying. The other thing of note was wasps. A month ago there was no sign of them but they are definitely there now. Yesterday I found six nests in under five minutes. Poisoned them and put out some vespex . I know if I found six there will be a lot more. Turned up at a yard today and there were more wasp than bees. Couldn't find any nests so put out some poison which they were working before I left. Overall I don't think the wasps are too bad this year but in a few areas , man.
  2. If testing has shown anything it is that our old understanding of when bees collect honeydew from tutu is wrong. Comparatively wet seasons can be very high and dry seasons can be low. This year in Hawke's Bay has been very dry but high results were not seen until very late in the season whereas last year was comparatively wet and results were high and early. Passion vine hoppers live of sucking sap from plants. They have to suck a lot of sap to get the required amounts of minerals et cetera and this leads to a large surplus of water and sugar which is excreted as a honeydew.
  3. Yesterday we were told we would get over 100 mm and ended up with 14. Better than nothing but trees are starting to die around here. Stayed at home because of the forecast and made frames all day. Put on the music and get in the zone. The only way to survive wiring.
  4. Hospitals in New Zealand are not under stress yet or no more so than normal.That may change pretty quickly of course. If I catch it then end up in hospital I think I will give a false name and date of birth.
  5. A high percentage of my hives today had no eggs and only a a few cells lift to hatch. It's still very warm here but there has been no fresh honey for months. Big strong healthy hives often stop laying before weaker ones.
  6. Fascinating video. I have seen queens being balled but it is uncommon and I have never seen it out the front of a hive like that. I doubt you will ever see it again but if you do you could try blowing on them as human breath seems to disrupt a lot of bee behaviour. Thanks for sharing.
  7. I have known beekeepers that ran 2000 hives by themselves but I was not one of them. Arataki like a lot of other beekeepers at the time had beekeepers that mostly kept bees but they also helped out with other work around the place and likewise some of the other staff helped out with beekeeping during busy times.
  8. I run 360 hives and agree with Alistair. It's a bit of a hobby. When I started we would run at least 1000 hives per man and that included pollination, comb honey and doing a fair bit of the extraction.The odd day off was spent tramping. Varoa has increased the Workload a bit, but the main change it has caused is the need to get jobs done in a more timely manner. I was helping a friend on the weekend. Here's a part-time beekeeper with a full-time job and sometimes is a week or two late with things like varoa treatment.. Sometimes he gets away with it and sometimes like this year you can see the consequences of not being able to do a job when it needs doing.
  9. To the question. Am I too late taking of my honey my answer would be yes you are. Pre-varoa you would have been fine but now your hives are likely to be heavily infested and severely damaged and you may not have time to bring them back to health before winter. Back in the day a lot of honey didn't come off till April or even May but anyone who doesn't have the honey off and the strips in by the end of February is seriously pushing the hives health. Sometimes you get away with it and often you don't.
  10. MPI's manuka standards are complete and utter rubbish. I had some very good manuka last year with a high UMF and it was graded as non-manuka yet mix enough clover with it and it becomes multi floral manuka. Either clover is magical or MPI don't know what the talking about..Interestingly this honey came from plantation manuka with the plants sourced from Northland and they look completely different from our local plants. I know I have said it before but it bears repeating. I have seen some very good lines of manuka fail and I have seen even more lines that I wouldn't dream of calling manuka pass with flying colours. Still I only have 50 years experience with manuka so what would I know. New Zealand beekeepers brought MPI's standards on themselves but MPI could at least have got it right and now they could face up to their mistakes instead of trying to sweep it under the carpet and save face. The new standards haven't had that much effect on me but they have seriously hurt a lot of New Zealand beekeepers for no good reason and the inaction on this matter from the government is shameful.
  11. I have seen plenty of blackberry honeydew over the years and it's always very dark and relatively easy to extract. Dry honey can be a problem and what you generally see is the honey from the centre of the cell coming out with a lot left on the cell walls. Forget the 3 km. I have on rare occasion seen bees working honey that could only have come from 5 miles away. I have also seen manuka turn up in apiarys when they have produced nothing but clover for 20 years and were a huge distance from any manuka plants. Bees can do some strange and amazing things at times.
  12. A 50% drop in prices is not a new thing in the industry and has happened before. I agree that some packers are trying to get honey as cheaply as possible and using that cheap honey to undercut competitors who are paying a fair price. If this continues for too long we will end up with no packers left in the industry except for those who are just out to make as much as possible and have no feeling of responsibility towards beekeepers. When things improve and they always have eventually then I hope everyone remembers those who treated beekeepers fairly and those who screwed them royally. At the moment things are still getting worse and that is a real worry. Confidence has been lost and until it returns things won't get any better .
  13. I feed nothing but heavy syrup. It may be less stimulating for the bees but it also ferments less and still stimulates the bees a significant amount.
  14. Half the country seems to be in drought and the rest permanently flooded. For those of you who don't normally suffer from drought here is my two cents worth. Drought is a normal part of Hawke's Bay so I am quite familiar with the effects it has on beehives. Prolonged summer – autumn droughts cause a lack of nectar and pollen. Hives affected in this way often look quite normal in late autumn with good bee numbers but the majority of those bees can be old and come spring affected hives will have dwindled down to a frame or two of bees.If your hives have some fresh nectar and pollen coming in then you have nothing to worry about but with severe prolonged drought you can end up with very little breeding or stored pollen which will have an effect both on hive strength in the spring and their ability to recover in the spring. My answer to this problem has been to feed sugar syrup in autumn. This stimulates the hives to both breed and also to collect what pollen is available. I will do this even if they have enough stores. Stored pollen in many areas is vital in the early spring and one of the best reasons for overwintering in two boxes. Keeping hives in singles seems to be the new norm but when the weather turns to custard stronger hives with more stores of both honey and pollen survive and thrive much better.
  15. Dennis I was never intending to suggest anyone received a bribe. I was bringing to the attention of people what I had heard and this was that some corporate's had a financial arrangement with MPI. Why, when and how much for I have no idea and I am sure it was all above board . The question is whether any private company should have any more contact or influence on a government body than anybody else. The government makes laws but bureaucrats interpret them and therein lies a lot of our problems.
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