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john berry

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john berry last won the day on January 21

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About john berry

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay

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  1. I generally only use breeders that have been super productive for two years. When I retire I may go back through the books and work out statistically whether new Queen's are more productive and swarm less than two-year-old queens. I know this is the common consensus but it is not what I see in practice especially since varoa.
  2. A copy of the New Zealand beekeeper goes out to every registered beekeeper twice a year so they have everybody's names and surely it wouldn't be that expensive to have an election. The current system is you put your name forward with some references and the successful person is chosen by some sort of independent and I guess paid for organisation. Like I said I have no problem with the current board but the criteria for selection of board members seems to be heavily weighted towards governance rather than actual on the ground AFB experience. Personally and it is only my view I think governance is something you employ a competent person for and the board should be there to direct that person. Beekeepers like myself and Alistair who have had decades of experience dealing with both AFB and more importantly beekeepers with AFB problems could contribute a huge amount of practical advice on just how to make things work.
  3. Actually kanuka was ever so slightly more desirable than manuka as it was slightly easier to extract and filter. What has really upset me about the standard is that clover with a high percentage of manuka will pass the mono floral manuka test with flying colours but manuka with a bit of kanuka will fail. The two were always packed as the same thing. Manuka from my hives has always had a low UMF rating so I have never chased the ridiculous high prices and have been more than happy with getting a reasonable premium for my manuka and manuka\kanuka honeys and then we had all those criminals coming along and deliberately adulterating manuka to make it go further and now we suffer for their crimes and crimes I believe they were. MPI should have prosecuted those that were deliberately committing fraud and left the rest of us alone.
  4. Blue borage is the common name used . You could equally call it Patterson's curse honey or salvation Jane honey. Names are changed all the time. Tamarilo /tree tomato. Venison /cervena (or something like that) kiwifruit/Chinese gooseberry or way back in the day CITRUS apiarys HONEY /manuka . A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
  5. I have no real problem with the board except that it is appointed rather than elected.
  6. My brother and I have somewhat different views on AFB control. I tend to side with education and helping beekeepers with problems get up to speed. My brother feels that it's better just to put up with the AFB that comes over the fence and deal with it when it comes but leave the offending beekeeper alone to get there well-deserved Darwin award. It's certainly disheartening to spend a lot of time helping somebody learn how to identify and control AFB only to have them dump hives across the fence from you. AFB has been in New Zealand for a long time and there have been good and bad beekeepers for the same length of time. Personally I think the system has some flaws but it has improved and is also starting to show some teeth. The alternative is no inspections and therefore no control over rogue beekeepers. Deliberately spreading AFB has also become a lot more common with some pretty well known figures in the beekeeping industry having the finger pointed at them with a fair bit of justification. I would like to see the compulsory testing of bulk honey to find out which beekeepers have high spore levels so that they can be targeted for both inspection and education. I would like to also see a mandatory one million-dollar fine for sending in a deliberately falsified sample. There has never really been a problem with identifying and eliminating AFB. The problem has always been identifying which beekeepers to target.
  7. I heard today about a beekeeper who saw comb honey from overseas advertised for supply New Zealand and so they ordered some and then without opening it reported it to the authorities. Instead of thanking the beekeeper for showing up a problem they are intending to prosecute. The government should be thanking people for pointing out serious flaws in their bio security and on the face of it this looks like an absolute travesty of justice. Perhaps the beekeeper shouldn't have imported it but the site should have been taken down as soon as it appeared and the product should never have made it past the border. Making somebody a scapegoat for your mistakes is not acceptable in a decent society.
  8. Your description sounds very much like a drone layer but like others have said a picture would really help. If it is varoa or a drone layer then at three frames of bees it's probably beyond help but knowing why it happened are still important.
  9. We had an email from friends in Canada this morning and it was -40°C. I don't think any bees will be flying across the border today.
  10. Bad weather is the most obvious cause of Queen losses but location also has an impact and I know from years of record-keeping that some apiarys always have worse mating percentages compared to other apiarys at the same time. The best sites can average pretty close to 90% and the worst around 50%. I would love to know why some sites always have poor mating percentages. The most likely cause I can think of is that there is no drone congregation area nearby and that they have to fly a long way thus increasing the risk but that is only a guess. I did wonder in your case if it's because you are near the sea with a lot of sea breezes but then the one apiary I have by the sea had 100% mating last year. I put some cells out this spring at my home site and the mating weather was fairly indifferent but eventually 14/15 were laying. I kept a fairly close eye on them and about a third laid when I expected them to with another third about a week later and the last of them a week after that. You don't say how many hives you have and if you only have a few it might just be a really bad run of bad luck.
  11. As far as I can see manuka is still getting a pretty high premium but there is definitely not the clamour for manuka like there was and prices at the very least have stabilised and are certainly not increasing. Round here manuka is a nice table honey but never highly active like Northland or East Cape but you still have to pay a lot to be on a farm and couple that with overstocking causing pathetic crops and there is not much margin in it. On top of all that most of the manuka in this area anyway is in the mountains where the weather is unreliable and if you get a crop two years out of three you are doing well. Up till a few years ago we had an exceptional run and a lot of new beekeepers thought it was the norm. New Zealand's average production is now just over 20 kg a hive which is pathetic and an embarrassment. Most of us would be better off moving to England where you can get better crops and good prices for local honey without the overcrowding (until we get there). As far as Clover goes I think I can survive on five dollars but I won't be getting a new truck anytime soon.
  12. I am no expert on live bee exports but as far as I know you're only allowed to send bees. It would be an interesting exercise to ship hives to North America. I believe it takes under two weeks by ship these days and would be far more economical than airfreight. If MPI wanted to take the idea up I could give them a list of bee havers who I would be delighted if they sent a few thousand hives away.
  13. I'm too old for one and too young for the other.
  14. An old apiary inspector called Sid (way back in the day every province had its own apiary inspector) once told me that solo beekeepers came in two different varieties either sex maniacs or religious maniacs and you could tell which one they were by the types of books they had behind the seat in there truck'.
  15. When I was 12 I met an old beekeeper somewhere north of Auckland who told me that he had seen his bees working pohutukawa by moonlight. I have found over the years if there is something for them to do and it's warm enough they will work. I have seen a tremendous honey flow happening on a day with low cloud\fog and very light drizzle. Today was beautiful but with Hawke's Bay baked dry the hives were very disappointing.
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