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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. Some of us whose memories go back a bit remember what happened to one poor beekeeper who thought he had discovered EFB . I personally once made the mistake of ticking the box on my harvest declaration that the honey might have been collected from near a crop that had been sprayed. MPIs response in both cases was slow unwieldy and Draconian and certainly in the case of my harvest declaration they were completely unprepared with how to deal with somebody actually telling the truth. It's a long story but suffice it to say I would report a potential incursion but I would want to be pretty certain about it first. The penalties in New Zealand for being honest are pretty severe.
  2. Pain is in the hand of the bee- holder!
  3. People being shot at run faster on average than people that aren't. This makes them fitter and by definition healthier at least until they get hit.
  4. Both kanuka and especially manuka can range from extra light amber to quite dark . I have seen uncapped kanuka with a bit of a green tinge but the honey itself does not appear green to me. Kamahi at least tiny bit we get round here can be quite green and the only other honey I know that seems to be green is sorrel. Sorrel never seemed to be the bees first choice but if a frost took out the clover as it often does on the central plateau then the bees would work it quite freely.
  5. Went back today and placed the hive onto plastic trays filled with water. Huge ants nest directly under the floor. One and a half boxes of bees a week ago down to four frames now. The bees had completely abandoned the brood which was still hatching with the bees being dismembered as they emerged. Lots of bees being pulled apart outside as well. We laid two types of bait plus the water and trays so hopefully they will survive but I'm not holding my breath. The bees were behaving like hives I have seen that have been totally overrun by wasps and they just seem to lose the will to defend themselves.
  6. I tell you what, if these ants can do this to a healthy hive in one week then we are all in a power of trouble.
  7. Last Sunday I checked a hive for a friend who is way too pregnant to do it herself. The hive had swarmed sometime before but had a new Queen laying with plenty of brood and was reasonably strong and on a honey flow.It was also getting full and needed a box. This Sunday I went to give it the new box and the first thing I noticed was hundreds of ants on every outside surface. When I opened the hive there were ants everywhere, two thirds of the bees from last week were gone and those that were left were huddled on one side of the hive. Ants were actively cleaning out what had been healthy brood the week before. I have seen thousands of hives with ants being a nuisance but I have never seen a hive destroyed like this. I will go back tomorrow and lay poison as well as setting the whole hive up on a tray in which I will put water with a few drops of oil. It's not often I see a beekeeping problem which I have never seen before and really don't know the best way to deal with . I would appreciate any words of wisdom from people who have had this problem. I think I might collect a few of the ants to and just see if I can find out what species are in case it has some new bio security catastrophe.
  8. If people want to live in the country they should accept that livestock and the noises and messes they make are part of the deal. They should go back to town.
  9. They are better than average but not as good as my best hives. Definitely slower building up when there was no natural or artificial stimulation and probably faster building than mine when there was natural stimulation. Temperament wise I think they are slightly edgier than mine but it's hard to be objective. Having grown up around black bees I can't help but be nervous whenever I see them. Two of the five have attempted to swarm this year but it has been a bad year for swarming and I did let them get a bit full. They are certainly a lot better than a lot of the run-of-the-mill bees you see these days and very even.
  10. You do have to be careful that you don't breed one characteristic to the detriment of another but I do know that if you don't select for overall improvement with every generation you very quickly lose any gains you have made.I have known several beekeepers who used the leave them alone approach and they invariably ended up with nasty, swarmy and thrifty but unproductive bees.You would expect these bees to be as resistant to disease as they are to beekeepers but that does not seem to be the case.
  11. Martin's are related to honey Badgers and skunks both of which can destroy hives. Not sure about stoats weasels and ferrets, I have never seen any damage from these but they all eat insects to some extent and I'm sure they would take drones given the chance.
  12. Comparing strains of bees whether they are different strains of New Zealand Italian or carniolan and carniolan crosses cannot really be done with just a handful of hives. Any results would only be applicable to the area they were done in and really need to be done with hundreds of hives over several seasons. Even comparing the temperament of different strains needs to be done under varying honey flow and climatic conditions. My final test for breeders after two years of production evaluation was to have them all on the same apiary and work them under sub optimal beekeeping conditions. It was surprising how often one or two hives that appeared perfect would spit the dummy when worked in a light evening drizzle. Constantly selecting your very best hives for breeders won't give you perfect hives but it will give you a constant improvement.
  13. manuka, white manuka, kanuka ,kahikatoa, Red tea tree were all names used for both manuka and kanuka. They are closely related and have been known to naturally hybridise. The two honeys are very similar and certainly in this area almost always come in at the same time or at least overlap. They were always sold together as manuka and this was not to try and rip people off, it was just the way it was. There is more difference between Hawke's Bay and Northland manuka as far as taste goes than there is between Hawke's Bay manuka and kanuka. I have never had a problem with the two being mixed together and up until recently was impossible to tell them apart anyway. It's ridiculous that good manuka honey with a high UMF and a little bit of kanuka doesn't even make manuka multi floral and yet if you mix enough clover with it becomes manuka multi floral. The current standards are plain wrong and I believe should be challenged. The problem with adulterated manuka did not come from beekeepers who have always packed manuka\kanuka together. The problem came with people who mixed everything else in with their manuka\kanuka honey. If you want a high UMF honey then you're going to need some reasonably straight manuka from the right area(or some suntan lotion) but if you just want a nice pot of reasonably priced table manuka with arguably a better flavour then Hawke's Bay manuka\kanuka every time. I wonder if those areas that traditionally called manuka- kahikatoa or kanuka will be selling their honey under those names. I keep feeling like blaming MPI for this debacle but beekeepers had years to get their house in order and didn't so it's no surprise that we got something imposed on us and being that it was done by government no surprise they got it wrong.
  14. There is poisonous that makes you feel unwell and teaches you a valuable life lesson and poisonous\Darwin award. I tend to draw the line at the Darwin award plants like oleander. Had one by my gate many years ago until I found a leaf in the mouth of my toddler which he had grabbed in passing from his pushchair. Fortunately no repercussions except for the oleander.
  15. Airborne have been doing mono floral honeys for a long time and good on them. It seems to me they concentrated mainly on the top end of the market but lately they seem to be buying up a lot of cheap honey and undercutting everybody else. A producer\packer doesn't want a race to the bottom. A straight packer sometimes does.
  16. We had 4 mm in about four minutes yesterday and that was it. It came through with of the strongest wind squalls I have seen in years. It's getting pretty dry around here.
  17. I have always sought the most likely cause of bee losses in organic orchards is just the field bees being destroyed by the blast sprayers that seem to run almost continuously on these blocks. They seem to spray a lot more than conventional orchards.
  18. It's not all that often that Adam and I agree with each other. His main interest is marketing and mine is beekeeping. The only real marketing I do is at the farmers market and while I really enjoy it there is no way I could sell all honey produced even off my meagre number of hives these days.I do make a profit at the farmers market but wouldn't do if I paid myself a wage. When honey prices were high and stocks were low, supermarkets had to take what was offered and packers had to pay a good price to obtain stocks.Now supermarkets can get any amount of honey and prices are being screwed right down. Those packers that stuck with the local market are now being forced to drop prices which means they are paying less for honey and with increased competition they are also buying less honey. This leaves more honey to be dumped on the local market and the downward cycle continues. Producer\packers have always been the backbone of New Zealand's honey industry and being beekeepers themselves they have to get a decent price to survive. Have a look round and you will find that the worst price cutters are solely packers and as long as they make their margins they are better off if they can buy honey cheap. This cheap honey is being used to undercut producer packers. If the current trends continue we may look back on this year as the good old days.
  19. Sorry, I never check the link. They had an article in the local paper a month or so back all ra ra ra and aren't we wonderful.
  20. Hives that had been used to pollinate organic apple orchards were on average noticeably weaker than those from conventional orchards. Personally I like organics but being on those orchards for some reason seemed to knock the hives around. You certainly see a lot less cases of spray poisoning now than you did 20 years ago in all orchard types.
  21. Have a look in the supermarkets. Two years ago you were lucky to see three different brands of honey. Now everybody and his dog is out there cutting each other's throats.
  22. One of the reasons for having someone outside the district check hives for AFB is that many beekeepers don't want a local checking their hives. When I was an AP2 I tried very hard to be impartial but it is certainly easier to be impartial when you're checking hives that haven't been dumped right on top of you or your friends hives. I have always checked hives for free and will continue to do so for hobbyists but I think in these days and times I probably should be charging if it is for a commercial beekeeper.
  23. every time we get research into Neonics we seem to get the same answer that they may be causing problems. My own conclusions from doing pumpkin pollination are the same. There wasn't enough damage to the hives to prove conclusively to me that it was causing damage but those hives had higher losses and were below par for three years afterwards.
  24. The point I was trying to make is that you will never get a sensible discussion about 1080. It is nevertheless a naturally occurring product that is found in some foodstuffs including apparently tea.
  25. Marco is playing hardball with a few people and interpreting the legislation a little bit differently than I do. On the other hand, in all the cases I know about I personally think he has been justified in the actions he has taken and the beekeepers involved have reaped what they sowed. Finally those with a major AFB problem are being forced to face up to what they are doing and it makes a nice change that it is costing them money . Too often all the costs have fallen on innocent neighbours.
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