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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. If testing has shown anything it is that our old understanding of when bees collect honeydew from tutu is wrong. Comparatively wet seasons can be very high and dry seasons can be low. This year in Hawke's Bay has been very dry but high results were not seen until very late in the season whereas last year was comparatively wet and results were high and early. Passion vine hoppers live of sucking sap from plants. They have to suck a lot of sap to get the required amounts of minerals et cetera and this leads to a large surplus of water and sugar which is excreted as a honeydew.
  2. Yesterday we were told we would get over 100 mm and ended up with 14. Better than nothing but trees are starting to die around here. Stayed at home because of the forecast and made frames all day. Put on the music and get in the zone. The only way to survive wiring.
  3. Hospitals in New Zealand are not under stress yet or no more so than normal.That may change pretty quickly of course. If I catch it then end up in hospital I think I will give a false name and date of birth.
  4. A high percentage of my hives today had no eggs and only a a few cells lift to hatch. It's still very warm here but there has been no fresh honey for months. Big strong healthy hives often stop laying before weaker ones.
  5. Fascinating video. I have seen queens being balled but it is uncommon and I have never seen it out the front of a hive like that. I doubt you will ever see it again but if you do you could try blowing on them as human breath seems to disrupt a lot of bee behaviour. Thanks for sharing.
  6. I have known beekeepers that ran 2000 hives by themselves but I was not one of them. Arataki like a lot of other beekeepers at the time had beekeepers that mostly kept bees but they also helped out with other work around the place and likewise some of the other staff helped out with beekeeping during busy times.
  7. I run 360 hives and agree with Alistair. It's a bit of a hobby. When I started we would run at least 1000 hives per man and that included pollination, comb honey and doing a fair bit of the extraction.The odd day off was spent tramping. Varoa has increased the Workload a bit, but the main change it has caused is the need to get jobs done in a more timely manner. I was helping a friend on the weekend. Here's a part-time beekeeper with a full-time job and sometimes is a week or two late with things like varoa treatment.. Sometimes he gets away with it and sometimes like this year you c
  8. To the question. Am I too late taking of my honey my answer would be yes you are. Pre-varoa you would have been fine but now your hives are likely to be heavily infested and severely damaged and you may not have time to bring them back to health before winter. Back in the day a lot of honey didn't come off till April or even May but anyone who doesn't have the honey off and the strips in by the end of February is seriously pushing the hives health. Sometimes you get away with it and often you don't.
  9. MPI's manuka standards are complete and utter rubbish. I had some very good manuka last year with a high UMF and it was graded as non-manuka yet mix enough clover with it and it becomes multi floral manuka. Either clover is magical or MPI don't know what the talking about..Interestingly this honey came from plantation manuka with the plants sourced from Northland and they look completely different from our local plants. I know I have said it before but it bears repeating. I have seen some very good lines of manuka fail and I have seen even more lines that I wouldn't dream of calling manu
  10. I have seen plenty of blackberry honeydew over the years and it's always very dark and relatively easy to extract. Dry honey can be a problem and what you generally see is the honey from the centre of the cell coming out with a lot left on the cell walls. Forget the 3 km. I have on rare occasion seen bees working honey that could only have come from 5 miles away. I have also seen manuka turn up in apiarys when they have produced nothing but clover for 20 years and were a huge distance from any manuka plants. Bees can do some strange and amazing things at times.
  11. A 50% drop in prices is not a new thing in the industry and has happened before. I agree that some packers are trying to get honey as cheaply as possible and using that cheap honey to undercut competitors who are paying a fair price. If this continues for too long we will end up with no packers left in the industry except for those who are just out to make as much as possible and have no feeling of responsibility towards beekeepers. When things improve and they always have eventually then I hope everyone remembers those who treated beekeepers fairly and those who screwed them royally. A
  12. I feed nothing but heavy syrup. It may be less stimulating for the bees but it also ferments less and still stimulates the bees a significant amount.
  13. Half the country seems to be in drought and the rest permanently flooded. For those of you who don't normally suffer from drought here is my two cents worth. Drought is a normal part of Hawke's Bay so I am quite familiar with the effects it has on beehives. Prolonged summer – autumn droughts cause a lack of nectar and pollen. Hives affected in this way often look quite normal in late autumn with good bee numbers but the majority of those bees can be old and come spring affected hives will have dwindled down to a frame or two of bees.If your hives have some fresh nectar and pollen coming i
  14. Dennis I was never intending to suggest anyone received a bribe. I was bringing to the attention of people what I had heard and this was that some corporate's had a financial arrangement with MPI. Why, when and how much for I have no idea and I am sure it was all above board . The question is whether any private company should have any more contact or influence on a government body than anybody else. The government makes laws but bureaucrats interpret them and therein lies a lot of our problems.
  15. I wish I knew. I believe that money was paid by some corporate's to MPI but I don't know any of the details. I am not that deeply into beekeeping politics . I assume it was all legal but I do wonder about conflict-of-interest. Hopefully somebody on the forum knows more about it than I do and can enlighten us all.
  16. MPI actively encouraged an increase in beehive numbers and even had special arrangements with some corporate beekeepers. They also imposed things like harvest declarations and honey traceability but completely failed to do anything with this information. I absolutely believe that there was criminal behaviour by some beekeepers but I also know that MPI failed in its duty to keep those beekeepers in line. I agree that a few prosecutions for fraud would have done a lot more for the industry then a set of arbitrary and very doubtful so-called standards.
  17. I suppose if you charged enough for your mouse someone would buy it but I always found the best use for this type of creature was to put it into your work mates smoker when they aren't looking.
  18. I no longer care if they destroy themselves. It's the damage they do to everyone else that upsets me.
  19. I had a beekeeper come over for a chat at the farmers market today. He told me that he had had a very good crop because less people were chasing honey in the area where he had hives and that he had sold most of it at a reasonable price. I think there is still a reasonable living to be made beekeeping but anyone who expects the prices to go back up to $10 plus in the near future is dreaming and if you can't get by on five dollars you should get out now.
  20. 26° in the shade with high humidity and high cloud. To hot to sleep properly last night. We always have the best weather once it's too hot and dry for any honey to come in.
  21. 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.
  22. 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 dr
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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