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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. I am afraid I would never waste my time doing a cut out. It's just not worth the effort. Better to put your time into looking after proper hives in proper gear.It can be a fun exercise if you've never done it before but once was enough for me.
  2. If cell raising during a honey flow then it pays to put a frame of foundation a frame or two away from the cells. This gives them something to do and they normally leave the cells alone. Autumn re-queening. I'm only talking for Hawke's Bay here but I imagine a lot of the country is similar. If you start to early you can get poor results probably because they can end up swarming. I normally start around 15 February and personally would never re-queened beyond 15 March and I prefer to finish by the end of February. I re-queen the areas that are doing least first as they will lose their drones earliest. This varies from year to year depending on rainfall et cetera. This year it is the dry areas that need doing first. In a wet year it's the other way round. The one exception I make to 15 February is when we have a severe drought year i.e. everything is burnt right up before Christmas and in that type of year I would normally start about 1 February. If the bees keep getting a flow then you can mate queens right up till the end of April but you never know what the weather is going to do.. Those late matings sometimes don't even start to lay until spring . Autumn re-queening suits me and what I do. Spring re-queening can be fantastic and it can be really awful. I suppose you could say the same thing about autumn but in general the weather is more settled. I have seen a few absolute disasters re-queening in autumn due to crappy weather but nothing like what I've seen in spring. At least if something goes wrong in autumn you have the spring to fix it up.
  3. Hives today were on a light flow. What a difference it makes to the bees. No smoke but they were completely calm as was I. A much nicer day. Hot but.
  4. Re-queening today. Bees robbing like crazy, it's years since I have seen it this bad . Using liquid smoke today but I don't think it makes much difference. I have re-queened hives like this before and it normally works out all right but working in these conditions is no fun and it was one of those days when you think- why am I doing this job.. PS. I have seen a dead dingo. It was beside an old abandoned railway stationon the old Garn railway. It's pretty dry here but it would have to be a lot drier to get as dry as that dingo was.
  5. Certainly looks like a wool carder bee . They are a relatively recent species that got through our wide open bio security doors. They can attack and sometimes kill honeybees and while I don't seem to do too much harm they certainly don't do any good. They might be cute but I kill them on-site.
  6. I have no doubt at all that your South Island honeydew has great medicinal properties. Anything that taste like that has to be medicinal.
  7. I have been told that a bee smoker is a tool of trade and therefore exempt from fire bands but I would hate to have to justify that in court. I haven't used a smoker in weeks and won't until we get some rain. I have tried liquid smoke but I think it's more of a feel good thing than any real benefit. When past one of my sites today and was shocked to see a relatively large fire had been within about 50 m of the bees and that was in one of my greenest areas.Re-queening today without smoke and some of the hives were a bit grumpy but not unworkable.
  8. One of my sites has a hillside of koromiko just across the road from it or it did. I was up there today and the whole hillside has gone up in flames. Fortunately it didn't get to the bees but it was close enough..
  9. Worked on a flail Uncapper many years ago and it took me three goes with a file to get all the sharp burrs off. Beautifully made piece of machinery and worked exactly as it was supposed to but the finishing touches let it down and man can those sharp edges make a mess.
  10. One thing that varoa sorted out was those hives at the back of orchards that didn't get looked at from one decade to the next. Two people and a spade was standard equipment for doing such inspections. You laid the whole hive down on its end and then prised each box apart hoping not too many would disintegrate in the process. I also agree on the bee space not always being perfect on boxes but I still maintain that even with perfect bee spaces bees will gum up plastic frames much worse than wooden ones. I make my own hive tools and they are pretty tough but I have come across all plastic hives that I couldn't get apart by myself and I look forward to trying out a wedge.
  11. Wooden frames are far easier to get apart than plastic ones. The bees do stick them together but nowhere near as bad . Might have to get one of those wedges for the next time I help a friend with plastic frames. I have more trouble with her two hives than I do with all my own hives put together.
  12. Get all your breeders in one spot and work them on a grotty day without a smoker and then discard the ones that give you a dose of negative reinforcement. Commercial beekeepers often have to work under sub optimal conditions and sub optimal behaviour from your bees doesn't help. I am also convinced that all bees are more aggressive in some areas than others. A hive that you can work in shorts and T-shirt down Canterbury way would probably be better with a veil in Hawke's Bay and you would need to add gloves if you took that hive up to Coromandel.I suspect relative humidity has a lot to do with a hives temperament on the day.
  13. Lots of half-truths and distorted facts. Perhaps they could do an article on how the increasing numbers of vegans eating vast quantities of things like lentils and soybeans is causing a shortage of protein for poor countries in which they are grown.
  14. Just had a few hives to do this morning and when I got there the wind was so strong it was scary. Bits of tree flying through the air and then a mini tornado full of leaves and grass. Back home here it is just a stiff breeze.
  15. I asked my doctor a while back about electrolyte and he told me just to drink water.. I don't chill it as I find it hard to drink enough when it's cold.. Warm, wet and plenty of it is all I ask for.
  16. Name and shame, won't get you your money back but it will make you feel better and give the rest of us a heads up. At least your guy was found guilty. We took someone to court once for stealing hives and even though they were guilty as sin a stupid Judicial system and a slimy lawyer saw him walk free.
  17. What gets me is that when he doesn't pay absolutely nothing will happen. These fines should be paid by the government and it should be up to them to recover the money.
  18. The frames I have for demonstration purposes are normally frozen and while these are better than nothing they are not as good as fresh. If you learn to recognise what healthy brood looks like then you will recognise disease when you see it . There is considerable crossover of symptoms between different diseases and even the experts occasionally get it wrong or need confirmation from something like a test kit. Personally I think phone app is really good and carries no disease risk. If the person teaching the class doesn't have a rotten frame to show everybody surely that shows they are doing their job properly and they don't let their hives get to that stage.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. I have no real problem with the board except that it is appointed rather than elected.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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