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john berry

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john berry last won the day on August 17

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About john berry

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay

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  1. We have had a lot of typical cold, showery and windy weather. Not a lot of rain but not many nice days either.
  2. Finished my spring round yesterday. Total losses just under 5% made up of 50% queenless 25% robbed out in autumn 15% drone layer 10% wasps . Still only treating twice a year and losses to varoa over winter were zero. One or two mites seen on some early drone brood but no PMS or deformed wings. Hives generally in reasonable order but a bit backwards. The flowering season here is at least one week behind normal. Feed consumption over winter was mostly normal or below normal with only a couple of hungrier sites.
  3. Benzaldehyde burns both figuratively and literally. I would never apply to exposed skin and it would be pretty doubtful on clothing as well.
  4. I saw some matagouri mermaids on my trip south. Maybe I'm getting old but I preferred the cheese rolls which are another South Island speciality. The muscle pie I had in Havelock was my favourite for the trip but cheese rolls were a close second.
  5. The colour blue tends to attract bees so avoiding that may help a little bit.. I once had bees on the farm and for a while the bees were attacking one of the children for no apparent reason. I eventually tracked it down to the parents using apple shampoo which bees hate and cause any bee that gets close enough to smell it to attack. There may be other shampoos, deodorants soaps et cetera that have the same effect. I learned about apple shampoo the hard way and now and never use any scented product.
  6. Only halfway through the spring round but so far very few losses with a couple of drone layers and a handful of queenless. Fed a few sites on pollen substitute last spring but most got none and not using it this year.
  7. Some of you guys have been working in the hills wayyyy too long.
  8. The bees look like they have died of heat stress either from too small an entrance or being blocked in too long.
  9. Spent the last two days doing the spring round on some hives. Thought they would be way more advanced given the warm winter but they were behind on what I would expect for this time of year even in areas with plenty of early spring pollen. About a third of the hives yesterday had not even started laying although they had plenty of bees and honey. Most of them were still heavy and I'm feeding honey to any that need it. There is plenty of time for them to come away and just working them will stimulate them to some extent. Filthy day today with screaming Norwest winds and showers up against the Rangers were I was working. I hate the north-west wind.
  10. If it is UMF 40 then it must have a lot of suntan lotion in it.
  11. Everywhere I went in the South Island looked far wetter than what we have here although it's a lot better than it was. It's way too soon to worry about droughts or floods. I remember one year when you couldn't go anywhere without getting stuck until the end of October and then it didn't rain again for six months. I've also seen plenty of nice winters followed by filthy springs. The old beekeepers used to say that the worse the spring the better the honey crop and I think there is some validity in that saying but only some and I do remember one or two golden years when spring, summer and autumn were almost perfect. They help to make up for the years when it did nothing but rain, not rain or blow the whole season.
  12. I lost my nerve today and opened a few hives a week before I intended to. They were bits and pieces around home and the main one I was worried about was an autumn swarm which I found in my boxes when doing my winter sorting so it didn't receive any treatment. It had survived the winter but was showing some PMS and chilling along with one bee with deformed wings. I mainly wanted to check this hive to make sure it wasn't infecting everything else and it certainly needed treatment plus I gave it a frame of sealed brood with young bees to make sure of its survival. The other half dozen hives I checked were all looking good. All hives had good frames of sealed brood, more than I would expect at this time of year and one breeder had drone brood between the two boxes with only one varoa evident. The autumn swarm could not have arrived before early April and I hate to think what happened to that hive to make it swarm. I don't think I could make a hive swarm at that time of year even if I wanted to.
  13. I saw this near Te Anau and went back for another look. He was still there the next day so I suspect too many sweads in his diet.
  14. I just spent two weeks wandering around the South Island taking an old mate on a boys trip. South Island roads are so much smoother and less potholed than the North Island roads. Beautiful bush almost everywhere and manuka all over the place including hundreds of acres sprayed to death on the Milford Road. Saw lots of hives but most seemed well spread out and not big sites. Roads were almost empty anywhere away from towns but I was a bit disappointed with roads like the hast pass and the Crown Road over Cardrona which while picturesque were not anywhere near as rugged as I was hoping for and we have more exciting roads here. Milford was a bit more real especially with heavy snow around both ends of the homer tunnel. I like where I live but the South Island is dropdead gorgeous.
  15. Your party starts well before mine .. Years ago I had some Northland queens that worked beautifully up Coromandel with its early flow but they died down here. The right bees for the right conditions and if yours is right for you go for it.
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