Jump to content

john berry

  • Content Count

    3,090
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    186

Everything posted by john berry

  1. Beekeeping is best learned by doing. I just wiped out a whole page of my thoughts on the subject but those six words sum it all up. James. If you want your children to learn then send them off in the off-season to Canada or England. I wish I had done that when I was younger.
  2. And the scary thing is they are far more honest , competent and financially sound than a lot of the rest.
  3. Three years to learn how to overstock, site steal and lose money. Wouldn't have thought it took that long.
  4. Well. It is just as well I didn't name and shame because it turns out that that 5% of uncertainty was someone else entirely. I have just had notification that the inspection team found evidence of rob outs and as per the rules they can't tell me who but I do know is not who I thought it was. Sounds like who I thought it was has also got a dose at the same time as I did , of course they wouldn't have if they hadn't dumped a big site between two of mine. This is a good example of why we pay a levy . I reported a problem and it was followed up and dealt with.
  5. They are not always but supersedure cells are often huge. I do find that cells raised during swarm season tend to be bigger than those in the autumn but as long as they still have some royal jelly left in the bottom then they are big enough. I suspect that the cells I raise are a hybrid between emergency response and swarming because my cell raises are both queenless and highly populated.
  6. It's hard to tell what happened from the photograph but as others have said protected cells are not necessary when cells are being placed into queenless hives. It can be quite common for the Queen to emerge from the cell and then the cap sort of falls back into place and they look like they haven't hatched when they actually have. If I have any doubts at all about a line of cells I will cut open the smallest one and if that once find the rest are normally good. Holding them up to light also works well. You do have to be careful handling them and also not to chill them but overheating them will
  7. There has been little or no research into Karaka poisoning For over 40 years. I suspect it is narcotic rather than actually toxic but that doesn't stop it from killing the bees as they sit apparently stoned of their little faces in little clumps outside the hive and succumb to the cold night air or bad weather. It only seems to become toxic when there is nothing else coming in so if you are in an area with plenty of other nectar sources you don't have any problem. Around here probably the next three weeks are the worst as a lot of spring sources have finished. Feeding liquid sugar will
  8. Paraffin dipping is basically to preserve the boxes but modern fast grown pine still goes rotten within five years. I strongly suggest you spend a bit more money and get either Thermo wood or eco-wood. The first is heat treated and really light but a bit brittle. Eco-wood is tantalising without the arsenic. If you can get old pine weather trees are at least 50 years old that is also suitable as is macrocarpa. In England you can get all sorts of timber including cedar boxes. Metal X has been used over the years by many beekeepers to preserve the timber but there is some risk of contamination a
  9. I have reported the AFB to the AFB PMP website which went reasonably well except that some of the details they want are on apiweb so I had to go on that as well which took three goes to get it loaded. I will be very happy when they get their new system online.
  10. I went through the whole apiary very carefully today . I started with the hives I thought were least likely to be infected and found nothing until the 2nd to last hive which had one newly infected cell on the third frame I checked. Infected material was a very light chocolate colour and had no visual sign on the brood cap. I only checked it because it hadn't hatched when most around it had. Having found four infected hives last time I knew there was a good chance of finding more this time. I have not been doing my normal evening up because of the heightened disease risk. There are t
  11. The best shifting story I know is from years ago when they were shifting hives with a Kelly boom . The lads were unloading an apiary in a bit of a hollow and some of the local farmers who had been on the turps all night saw the lights on the boom floating backwards and forwards and thought it was a UFO. They opened up on it with a 303 and fortunately nobody was hurt probably because they were too drunk to hit anything.
  12. Honeybees undoubtedly have an effect on the local invertebrate population although I think you'll find that wasps have a far greater effect probably by a factor of 1000. It does however worry me that hundreds and in some cases thousands of hives are placed in or near to native forest where they must have an effect on our native honey eaters. I don't think this was too much of a problem in the past but with the vast number of hives out there it's got to be having some effect on the birds. As far as native bees go I can't speak for every species but I know plenty of areas where there are hu
  13. I agree with Alistair. If you have eggs then you have queens. When looking for queens I normally put an excluder between the two brood boxes and then come back four or five days later and whichever half has eggs has the Queen. With older scruffy queens there can be a fine line between swarming and supersedure. If there is no reason at all for a hive to raise swarm cells and especially if the brood is a bit patchy then I will destroy all but one cell and also spread the brood out a bit amongst empty frames and try and persuade them to supersede rather than swarm. I have also seen the oppo
  14. There are thousands of pollen traps rotting away in beekeepers sheds and paddocks. Pollen as always been a boom and bust industry. Only a tiny fraction of New Zealand hives have ever been used for pollen trapping and it only takes one or two new players to flood what is a very limited market. Pollen trapping is a quite fascinating thing to do but making money from it is something that I don't think I've known anyone to do successfully in the long-term.
  15. I am not in Auckland but all my Maxis get sent back there. I know they don't reuse the liners so you might be able to get some from Chelsea.
  16. Does anyone know if the colour of pollen varies with the colour of the flower i.e. white anemones and blue anemones.
  17. You really notice the temperament of bees when you get a sub optimal day for working bees like today. I like to bring all my breeders home, let them settle for a week or so and then work them in bad weather or really early or late in the day. I would normally find one or two that would get scratched off the list for being uncooperative.. I got one sting today and that was from putting my hand on the top of my veil to pull it off and there was a clump of cold bees that I hadn't noticed. I can remember working bees when there would be hundreds of stings stuck into my clothing and we
  18. I worked an apiary today that was quite a bit weaker than I thought they would be , the brood was patchy which is a sign of pollen shortage. There were also very few adult bees in the hives. Apiarys 2 km away were really booming but this one was just a little bit close to the mountains and the wind.I killed one queen that was showing signs of becoming a drone layer. It was also a stroppy carniolan cross hives so I was quite happy to get rid of her.
  19. Since no one seems to want to say something nice about AMM bees I will give you my experience with them. They are nasty, unproductive , swarmy and disease prone. on the plus side they tend to be wasp resistant, frugal with their stores and produce beautiful white cappings. All the plus things can and have been bred into strains of Italian bees so unless you like being stung all of time there's not much point in keeping AMM's. There are societies dedicated to breeding AMM bees in England and when I was there a couple of years ago and worked with some they were every bit as
  20. Most of my hives were pretty good today but I found one weak hive that was obviously a partial drone layer. Luckily I spotted her running across the comb so it was a quick whack with the hive tool. Next thing I see her running away so I whacked it properly. Unfortunately I got the drone layer the first time and the nice young replacement Queen on the second hit. Sometimes when you have been beekeeping as long as I have your body reacts before your brain can kick into gear.
  21. I hear lots of stories about feral hives that have been there for years but they always turn out to have died of varoa and then been replaced almost straight away by a new swarm. Bees are quite selective about the cavities they use so they tend to go back time and again to the same spot and having wax in their already makes it even more desirable.
  22. I can't think of anywhere in Hawke's Bay that would never produce a honey crop but there are plenty of areas that don't produce enough on average to be worth keeping hives. They tend to be either the driest areas or the mountain areas. There are also a few areas that are natural wind funnels and they also tend to be a waste of time. The biggest problem I have at the moment is my dry areas which do produce a good average crop as long as there are not many hives. There must be some stunningly amazing beekeepers out there if they can make a crop off 32 hives when beekeepers that have been th
  23. Bees can and do work wind pollinated plants. Two days ago they were threshing the karamu for pollen even though there were other sources available. I agree with everyone else that they have to be pretty desperate to work pine trees however. I have seen bees collecting horse feed and also tar from the side of the road but I suspect the later was a propolis substitute.
  24. It's a bit before my time but that is my father Ian inside the mobile extracting plant with my grandfather Percy holding onto a 40 lb tin . The extractor is an eight frame reversible tangential which was pretty much standard gear for a long time after this photo was taken. 40 lb and 20 lb Tins were still used when I started beekeeping for storing extracted honey. I am sure that an in-depth study would show that there is more actual harm done from the stress of meeting modern standards than ever came from eating honey from a time when there were none.
  25. I wonder if the taste varies between different subspecies. Our local one has a distinctive chemical taste similar to brake fluid and people that try it are normally still trying to spit the taste out of their mouths half an hour later. I would rate it as worse than ragwort .
×
×
  • Create New...