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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. Arataki honey, Rotorua branch would be worth a try for propolis. Royal jelly production in New Zealand came to a grinding halt years ago with the importation of (unbelievably) cheap Chinese Royal jelly which gets packaged in Flash boxes with pictures of the Southern Alps et cetera and sold back to the Chinese tourists usually with the proviso of contains local and imported ingredients. I assume that the local bit is some added water. The local market for propolis has been severely affected by similar imports.
  2. All my wintering down was finished a month ago. Other than stock or weather related damage I won't go near them till mid August. A friend of mine had a call from an AP2 wanting to inspect his hives the other day and his answer was the same as mine would have been. Forget it and come back in spring. Messing round with hives at this time of year is harmful. What to treat with in spring is my biggest worry at the moment with synthetic pyrethroids having failed in this area several years ago and Maverick showing strong signs of doing the same.
  3. As I have said before. If they can't make a profit during good times how are they going to make one now.
  4. Uncle Russell tried for years to get me to try peanut butter and honey and I refuse to try what sounded like a revolting mix to me. I finally tried some against my better judgement and it's now one of my favourite spreads. Clover comb about 50-50 with peanut butter is my favourite.
  5. This stuff is in blocks and could be bought by a hobbyist wanting to make their own foundation. Any risk is too much when it comes to things like European foul brood. Given the reputation of Chinese bee products that would be interesting to see how much paraffin is in this pure beeswax.
  6. The other day my wife found some beeswax blocks for sale in a craft shop. They appear to come from Australia and to have been packed in China. I am struggling to find out whether this importation is legal or not. Anyone have an opinion?
  7. If varoa have a different refractive index than bees then it might be relatively easy to identify infected bees in flight and then mechanically remove them at the entrance.Keeping the camera outside the hive would really help keep it clean. Bees are quite capable of killing varoa, they just don't seem to be able to identify them as an enemy. It might be possible to train them to hunt and destroy the varoa themselves. Varoa scented sugar water fed to bees would be the simplest if it worked. Artificial varoa coated with a heat sensitive glue which activated at hive temperatur
  8. Beekeepers who have been living in the synthetic dream need to wake up and realise that they are failing. Unfortunately the organic acids are either dangerous, not always effective or both. For thermal treatment to be practical for me it would have to treat a pallet of hives at a time without causing damage to the bees or brood. Given that bees are remarkably good at controlling their own temperature and the fact that they die very quickly when overheated I somehow doubt there will ever be a successful commercial treatment but then scientists and engineers have been coming up with brilli
  9. It's a long time since of shifted any hives using a cradle but I have done many thousands and one thing I found very useful was to get some bobbles of weld along the top surface of both forks. It didn't happen very often but every now and again a hive would slip forward slightly off the forks which would create a wobble effect leading to more slippage and the whole pallet on the ground. I was with my father once when he was showing a kiwifruit grower how the new hoist system worked and next thing the whole pallet was upside down on its lid. Never had any trouble with single hives. I have used
  10. Just took the grandkids for a walk and there was willow honeydew raining down like a fine drizzle.
  11. It's over 30 years since I've had any bees near some hakea but I used to look after a lot of hives which was surrounded by thousands of acres of it and I don't remember a bee ever going anywhere near it. I wonder if the plants on Coromandel are the same variety as down south.
  12. All your autumn work including any top up feeding and varoa control should be well finished by now. I will not be going anywhere near my hives until 15 August at the earliest. I certainly wouldn't be taking boxes off or adding any to any hives. If your hives are light then you will have to feed them regardless of the harm that you do by feeding them at this time of year but like I said get them ready before the end of April and leave them alone. Some of my hives will die over winter (hopefully only a few) but fewer will die if I just leave them alone compared to continually checking and c
  13. When I used thymol I noticed increased robbing and also I believe increased honey consumption. I could put up with both if it actually worked but I found that while it reduced mite numbers somewhat it certainly didn't kill enough to be useful in one application.
  14. How many hives you can look after depends on a lot of different factors including how far you are going to work them and what else you do i.e. do you extract your own honey,shift hives for pollination et cetera. We used to run 2000 hives with two people including a lot of comb honey production and pollination but no extraction. I now run 370 hives by myself with comb honey but no extraction or pollination. On the other hand I'm now considerably older and work about three days a week on average and generally less than eight hours a day. There is a beekeeper who comes down from Cambridge(Five ho
  15. I think the 800 to 350 figure is more a reflection on the gross mismanagement of corporate beekeeping than the extra workload involved with varoa. It does increase your workload but varoa control can usually be worked in with another job and I can't see how it could increase workloads by more than 20%.
  16. Regenerative, sustainable et cetera. I've done the endless hours of shifting, I have worked bees in the light of a torch to get the work finished and I've driven hour after hour to get to hives at the back of beyond. I no longer do any shifting, my hives are all within one hour's drive and even on a big day I'm normally home by 4 o'clock. I spend a reasonable part of the winter doing things like sorting combs, mending boxes and making my own frames from scratch but if I want a day off I just take it. I don't have so many hives that I fall behind and this means the hives get done when
  17. When hives get demoralised enough nothing will protect them from the wasps and it sounds like your hives are in this position. If you have a very strong hive you could swap it with the weak hive. You could hunt down and destroy the nests, this is often really quite easy but sometimes impossible. You could get some vespex. This stuff is amazing. It comes with proper bait stations which do work but I have found it far more effective to place one of the little bait containers inside a dead hive with all of frames removed. Top feeders also make very efficient wasp traps, they c
  18. I leave my cells in the swarm box they were raised in and always treat them with kid gloves but I have seen things that made me wonder whether it's always necessary. I was once putting out some 10 day cells late afternoon at home and had two left over which I forgot about . Next morning I saw them on top of the lid and thought oh dear I forgot about them, had a look and they were busy hatching. My experience as you can kill a darn sight quicker by being too hot than you can with a bit of cold.
  19. Blackberry honey is clear with a greyish sort of look to it. Bees love Bush lawyer but I have never seen the surplus. The way they work it you would have to assume if there was enough that they could get a surplus but on the hand I have had plenty of bees around plenty of lawyer and it hasn't happened for me. There are quite a few different species and subspecies of lawyer including leafless lawyer which is a fascinating plant and deserves to be grown far more as an ornamental. I've never seen it flower but I guess it must do. I generally associate yellow wax with strongly coloured pollen
  20. Beekeepers had to pay a seals Levie on all honey sold on the local market. This went to the honey marketing authority and many believed it was used to subsidise their own New Zealand sales to the detriment of other beekeepers. It was one penny per pound which doesn't sound all that much until you realise that manuka in the early days could be as low as 3p a pound. One and 2 pound pots of honey generally had a seals Levie printed on the lid but for things like 5 pound tins you had to buy stamps and stick them on. I didn't agree with a lot of what my grandfather Percy Berry did but he was i
  21. If you are going to get serious are wiring table with a foot operated clamp is the way to go. I can wire 60 full depth four wire frames an hour if I try hard and 50 if I'm taking it easy. Way back in the day we used to do three wire frames and one of the guns could do 90 frames in an hour. The main thing is to get the wires really tight. There is a photo of my wiring table in the May beekeeping journal. That one is about 25 years old and still working perfectly although I noticed the other day it had a few borer so I will dip it in the paraffin plant when the fire restrictions come off.
  22. In the good old days of the honey marketing authority you could always buy hives for less than the cost to build them . At least these days beekeepers are only poor some of the time.
  23. I like your enthusiasm but the reality is there are just too many hives in both rural and urban areas of New Zealand. Urban hives can do really well but urban areas are mostly roads and houses so it doesn't take many hives to overstock a limited resource. A large part of the world is suffering from a decline in beehives but New Zealand is suffering from a massive overstocking situation with all the problems associated with overstocking. Overstocking not only causes a huge drop in honey production and an increase in costs but it also impacts very badly on the bees health. Sorry but that is
  24. I am afraid your problem is just part of modern beekeeping with a huge number of new and especially corporate beekeepers who have no ethical standards at all. Apart from anything else 50 hives is a ridiculous number of hives to have anywhere except for a very few exceptional honey producing areas. I have to agree with Chris M that isolated hives do seem to be vulnerable to robbing . I was looking after a friends hive because she was a bit too pregnant and it was strong, healthy and doing really well yet it got robbed out completely and that happened at least two weeks after I'd been anywhere n
  25. Nope. It highlights that putting infected wets back onto an apiary is very risky, both for the hive that goes on and other hives in the apiary. You could make an assumption from this test that robbing infected wets out is also a risk but whether it is a higher risk or a lower risk can only be ascertained by scientific experiments or perhaps many years of observational data. There is a lot about AFB spread that we don't know everything about. For instance, I have seen plenty of AFB outbreaks caused by dead, robbed out hives and when these hives are in an apiary you often get qu
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