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john berry

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john berry last won the day on September 2

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About john berry


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Commercial Beekeeper


  • Location
    Hawke's Bay

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  1. john berry

    What are bees foraging on 2017/18 season

    Not sure about the quality of Blackwood pollen but there is plenty of and volume often makes up for quality, willow being a prime example. Karaka was just coming on to full flower yesterday but fortunately there wasn't a bee on it and no sign of any poisoning (yet).
  2. john berry

    September 2018 Apiary Diary

    Chicory when grown for seed yields a remarkable amount of honey. It's thin and a bit bitter to my taste but there is bound to be someone out there that likes it.
  3. john berry

    What are bees foraging on 2017/18 season

    Bees work Blackwood quite freely round here. I think it's probably the first time I've ever seen ake ake flowering as I haven't had plants in my garden and it's very rare in the bush around here. These were part of a revegetation project. They were definitely collecting pollen and I'm not sure about nectar but the bees had a reasonable shake of fresh honey today. Don't think there's enough ake ake near the hives to account for what they were getting.
  4. john berry

    What are bees foraging on 2017/18 season

    My bees were working some ake ake today which is the first time of ever seen bees on this plant. It's not that common round here and mostly only found in gardens. Has anyone else seen bees on this plant.
  5. john berry

    Document Frame wiring air tool

    Traditionally carpet tacks sometimes called gimp pins were used and if you can get the right size these are still the best. I have seen stapled frames and I believe you can get the wires a lot tighter using tacks or small nails. The whole idea of wiring frames is to get the wire as tight as possible.
  6. john berry

    Asure Quality & AFBNPMP

    Feral hives do cause AFB outbreaks but very rarely. I once found I think 15 out of 16 infected when doing some ap2 work and managed to get samples out of three wild hives within a stone's throw of the apiary- all clean. My guess is 99% plus is caused by bad beekeeping practices either by the beekeeper or a bee having neighbour. Old boxes can and should be burnt which leaves 1% of the foul brood that we have at present and a lot less chance of any feral's becoming infected. I agree that total eradication is unlikely except in the longest term but area freedom and the end to continual reinfection from neighbouring morons is surely achievable.
  7. john berry

    September 2018 Apiary Diary

    I would think long and hard before breeding from a hive that strong. A lot of my hives come through winter with less than half a box of bees but they will be ready for the honey crop and in the meantime they have not consumed much stores. I have seen Italians that would breed until they starved and those strains are one of the reasons Italians have a bad name. If my hives can't survive the winter on six frames of honey (most do it on three) then they don't survive. Hives lost to starvation last winter, three, but they had obviously been robbed out in the autumn.
  8. john berry

    Bavarol, is it still working?

    Taking out strips a week early is not a risk factor when it comes to resistance. Having three or four years worth of strips in a hive, leaving strips in all winter, cutting strips into small pieces to make them go further, not alternating for over 10 years. All things I have seen done in Hawke's Bay. Viruses do have an effect on hives and are much more noticeable since varoa but my average production has gone up since varoa. One thing I did see in England was hive suffering from bee paralysis virus and that is one scary thing. Reading about it suggests that it is often fatal. Only saw a few hives with this virus, not pretty and apparently they weren't bad examples. I have not seen the same symptoms in New Zealand. Bees can and do move away from strips and I reposition them when necessary. I'm not a complete tyro.
  9. john berry

    Bavarol, is it still working?

    Up until last year I never had any trouble with the efficacy of bayvarol , indeed I generally found that 5 to 6 weeks treatment was more than enough especially in autumn to give me zero mites. I have no reason to dispute Bayer's findings, they have been extremely helpful and good to deal with but they just don't seem to realise that something new is going on. I think they have a wonderful product and would like something done to try and keep it useful for as long as possible in as many hives as possible. I am now in the situation where I have only one synthetic treatment which is not good for resistance with apivar either. I would love to try some oxalic staples but I also have to be sure I can sell my honey and it's way past time MPI got off their butts and gave us a definitive answer as to whether we can use it or not. The official gobbledygook that I got in reply to my request as to whether it was legal or not just doesn't answer the question.
  10. john berry

    Bavarol, is it still working?

    Last spring I suspected it didn't work as well as I would have expected. I tried it on a few hives which was showing too many mites in January and it appeared to fail completely. I then did some trials at home on four single brood box hives each receiving four strips. Hive 1 2 3 4 52 33 55 72 6/3 initial alcohol wash before strips went on the same day. Four strips per hive 37 15 23 63 27/3 31 22 45 105 6/4 at this stage hive 4 was unsurprisingly showing quite bad PMS and all hives were treated with apivar for the next two months. Surprisingly all of them survive the winter and came through very strong. Samples of the strips I used in spring and samples from a separate batch used in autumn along with varoa were sent to Bayer who were very helpful and the testing suggested there was nothing wrong with the strips and that the mites were showing no genetic signs of resistance. I used the correct dosage and the strips were very carefully spaced through the brood nest. Other hives in the same apiary treated with apivar 6/3 were not recorded but I did test a couple of hives after one month and they had few or no mites. I should have done a couple of controls and I regret not doing so but they all survived The winter and had no obvious varoa damage in spring. There was no obvious reinvasion and anyway I have never had any problems with reinvasion while strips are actually in the hive. To me these results show absolutely that I have resistant varoa but I am interested in other people's interpretation. The strips were in for only one month but I believe if I left them in any longer I would have lost these hives. One month is more than one full brood cycle and there should have been a marked reduction in varoa numbers. PS. I am not the only Hawke's Bay beekeeper to encounter this problem last season.
  11. john berry

    September 2018 Apiary Diary

    Green gauges flower much later than other plums . I'm not even sure if they are compatible with Japanese plums. I have English green gauge, French green gauge, Coes Golden drop, Angelina Burdett and a prune plum all of which are English plums and I have no trouble with pollination other than having to do a lot of thinning. Angelina Burdett is a dark red skinned green gauge and very nice although I think the English gauges my favourite. Damson should be good for a pollinator but unless you like the jam they are not much good for anything else being small and I would have said inedible.
  12. john berry


    I saw some of the new strips on Tuesday. I will probably change to them if for no other reason than they don't need ripping apart and are easier to hang between the frames. I now have moderate arthritis in my hands which doesn't normally worry me but after a day tearing strips in half they can get quite sore.
  13. john berry

    September 2018 Apiary Diary

    There is more than one right way to do things but here are some observations based on 50 years of beekeeping. One varoa is one too many, my treatments are based around keeping levels as near zero as possible. And yes I still get it wrong sometimes. Small cell size is discredited hokum. I know that sounds a bit blunt but that's the way it is. If you want it to work you also have to have Africanised genes and if you have those you don't need small cells. You need to visually inspect your brood throughout the year (except winter), this is not just for disease but also to assess general health of the Queen and the general health of the hive. Sitting watching bees going in and out is a remarkably peaceful and wonderful thing.
  14. john berry

    September 2018 Apiary Diary

    Drones were flying today. Nice to see some sunshine. Looks like swarm cells but it is pretty early. Sometimes supersedure can turn into swarming. If it is swarming I'm not sure I'd want to raise another Queen from that genetic line. Round here if I saw something like that at this time of year I would assume it to be supersedure and I would just leave them to it. I'm probably in the just leave one cell behind Brigade as two virgins fighting can end up with two virgins dead or damaged. I would think green gauge plums would do well in Christchurch. One of their advantages is their late flowering which means they are less susceptible to frosts. They also taste fantastic, I had home-made bottled fruit salad for breakfast made up of home-grown fruit including green gauges. Has anyone tried bottling with honey?
  15. john berry

    Fake honey news

    I saw one estimate today that one third of the honey sold in the world today is fake. Take that out of the equation and things would be looking a lot brighter.