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john berry

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john berry last won the day on December 9

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About john berry

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay
  1. Clover season

    Checked some hives yesterday in an area that had had plenty of rain and they were doing almost nothing in fact there were quite a bit better in places where there be no rain at all. Had an interesting drive down to palmy this morning to pick up a Kiwi chick at Massey and it went from green to dry and back again almost paddock by paddock showing how variable rainfall can be from thunderstorms. There is more clover round this year than last year but it is still pretty disappointing.
  2. Hastings and area AFB outbreak

    The profile of those who spread AFB is extremely varied and I would certainly not blame it all on the hobbyists as I have known many semicommercial and commercial beekeepers who were hopeless at disease control. Age can pay apart and I have seen peoples beekeeping deteriorate with age but conversely with age also comes experience. I have found the worst offenders tend to fall into three camps. New beekeepers with little or no experience. Beekeepers who for health or other reasons just don't have time to look after the number of hives they have properly. Beekeepers who for whatever reason are not competent at detecting AFB and never will be. Of course we now have corporate beekeepers some of whom manage to encompass all three at once. With the new technology coming online it should soon be possible to economically test batches of honey on extraction and personally I would like to see it made mandatory. It would not identify individual hives but it would sure show who had a problem and enable proper targeting of resources.
  3. Hippo Head - Diagnosis

    It might be wax moth but doesn't quite look right for that. You do get hives in which the brood does not always end up fully capped and I suspect a genetic component. I used to occasionally see hives where around 50% of the brood was not capped at all, it never seemed to do any harm but was not something you would breed from which may have been a mistake as uncapped brood may and I do mean only may potentially help with varoa control.
  4. Cheapest and best frames in nz

    I make my own simplicity frames. I can assemble over 100 an hour and wire about 60 per hour with embedding foundation and drilling added I would think it takes me under three hours to complete 100 frames. I have tried plastic and they have many advantages but they are still plastic.
  5. Hastings and area AFB outbreak

    There has been a major AFB outbreak in the greater Hastings area with numerous confirmed cases including several dead rob outs. Anyone with any hives in the orchard areas around the plains area should be very concerned including anyone who did pollination or those with mega dump sites along the river areas. In most cases I don't know the names of those involved but I do know that there are many beekeepers affected and at least three and probably considerably more sources of infection. If you don't have time to learn how to look after your hives properly or enough time to look after your hives properly then you should get rid of them. AFB outbreaks are always caused by someone's ignorance or apathy. This outbreak affects many thousands of hives and potentially threatens the viability of pollination in the area.. I am no longer an AP 2 but I can of course inspect hives for anyone at their request. Due to time constraints my preferred option is for people to bring me a bee free frame of suspect brood for inspection which I am happy to do for free. It's a nice weekend people, you have been warned, get out there and inspect them before you to become part of the problem.
  6. Heatstroke

    I have only once ever seen hives melt internally from the heat and the honey we were taking off was melting on the back of the truck. Black scoria country. That was over 40 years ago but I still remember.
  7. Heatstroke

    I have a mate who has ended up in hospital twice with heat stroke from working bees. I take it really easy when it's really hot and in a big yard will stop several times for a drink of water. I find that if I start panting it's a bad sign and time to find some shade. I always have tons of water and and not shy about tipping over my head. When we get a real heatwave like there is at the moment I try and start and finish early and a quick swim in the river doesn't do you any harm.
  8. What constitutes a strong hive

    Plastic excluder on top of the paper but whether I'm using an excluder or not I always put a tear in the paper or simply leave a gap on one side. The hole\gap provides ventilation and communication while the paper acts as a barrier. Weak hives can take a long time to remove it all but for strong hives it is often gone the next morning.
  9. Mated queens disappearing

    Doug Somerville an Australian bee scientist did some fascinating work on queen supersedure . It's a long time since I read the research but from memory it was basically the younger you caged a new Queen the more likely she was to be superseded. Even when not using cage Queens it can be quite common to have hives supersede within a week or two of a new Queen starting to lay. Often there appears to be no good reason for this but I believe that generally the bees know what they are doing. While it is annoying to have a new Queen fail, supersedure queens usually superb. There is probably a genetic component with supersedure and many old beekeepers I knew did not like strains prone to supersedure but personally I like them and would much rather have a new supersedure Queen than a failing one.
  10. Bees dieing from sticky residue in hive

    Without seeing it I can't be certain of anything but given the description I can't think of anything else. Heat stress regurgitation certainly makes a nasty sticky mess and given that swarming bees tend to be full of honey they would be even worse than normal.
  11. Bees dieing from sticky residue in hive

    Overheating. They take a while to organise themselves inside a hive and on a stinking hot day this of thing can happen. I caught a large swarm two days ago and placed ventilation both below and above the two boxes (it was a big swarm) as I have seen overheating happen before. You aren't the first and won't be the last to have the sort of thing happen. A whole plane load of package bees died from overheating a few years ago.
  12. Virgin laying time

    I have seen them laying 10 days after emergence with perfect weather. Frankly anyone who sticks their nose into a hive that has just been re-queened deserves every queenless hive they get.
  13. The smells of a beehive

    Taste is a very personal thing but also one of perception. It wasn't that long ago that manuka was almost exclusively used to feed back to the hives. The perception was that was all it was good for. If you have a (different) honey then give it a fancy name or call it rare or exotic and charge twice as much.Kamahi varies a lot between different related species but I find it quite pleasant and it is very sought after as an additive as it gives a distinct honey flavour even in quite minute amounts.
  14. The smells of a beehive

    Hangihangi honey can stink a bit and would be a likely candidate at this time of year. Ragwort is another stinker but in the autumn. Purple Ragwort flowers this time of year but I've never had bees near it so I don't know if it's a candidate. AFB can certainly stink but hives have to be pretty bad before it is noticeable. Different nectures each have their own distinct smell and as long as you're confident it's not AFB I wouldn't worry. Some stinky honeys can taste quite nice once ripe and a few that smell nice aren't. Worst honey of ever come across was from the Taupo area. No idea what it was but it smelled and tasted like an open tin of sardines that had been left in turned off fridge for a month.
  15. Can coarse grained honey be made fine grain?

    When heating honey just remember that honey can be damaged by heat. It's a time\temperature thing. The higher the heat the less time you have before significant changes occur in the honey. For practical purposes granulated honey has to be heated before it can be processed just don't heat any more or any longer than necessary. To obtain a fine granulated honey add some fine-grained starter honey and then you need to keep it cool . I think from memory it's around 10 to 12°. A fridge is too cold. It also needs to be stored at reasonably cool temperatures. Leaving it in your warm shed over summer will cause the grain to become course over time. Some honeys naturally granulate courser than others. You can make your own starter honey by getting some fine-grained honey, mixing it with liquid honey and stirring regularly while keeping in a cool place. If you have liquid honey and want to stop it granulating then keep it frozen.