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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. Most beekeepers don't have a major AFB problem but we're all just one mistake away from having one.
  2. I occasionally see fuchsia pollen and my understanding is that it's quite sticky and if the bees bump into a piece of grass on the way into the hive then it will stretch out like a piece of blue cotton. I have heard of fuchsia honey but have never tried it although I would love to. Possums cleaned out most of the trees in Hawke's Bay many years ago. We mostly see it way up in the mountains but I have seen a growing naturally right on the coast as well.
  3. They weren't dying or anything. The worst couple were down to about 1 1/2 frames of bees and their brood was a bit spotty but most of them had lots of sealed brood for the number of bees. They average about three frames of bees which is down about one frame from three weeks ago. I was helping friends do their hives last week and despite being way up in the mountains they were actually looking pretty good so why my hives down on the warm coast should be going backwards I don't know but these things do happen.
  4. The karaka Is flowering so that would have to be a possibility although there is no obvious sign of karaka poisoning. I have three small sites out there and they are all some way from spring pollen sources so my guess is they have to fly a fair way to get anything and maybe they just wear themselves out. I haven't had bees there very long and wouldn't have them there except it's on a friend's property were I do a lot of voluntary conservation work. There has been a lot of native planting including things like five finger so hopefully the sites will be better over the years.
  5. The last couple of days have been typical spring weather i.e. cold and miserable and now it looks like were gonna get a killer frost tomorrow morning which will wipe out all the good work the bees have done on my fruit trees . Thursday was a beautiful day so I went and checked a few hives out on the coast and to my surprise they have lost strength in the last three weeks. Plenty of pollen and stores and as much brood as they can handle but the bees have disappeared.Oh well at least I will have somewhere to put spare brood from other areas that are a bit strong.
  6. I do the survey every year and think it's a really good idea. I do however struggle with some of the questions as they don't take into account the myriad different ways beekeepers look after their hives. There are a lot of different examples but one simple one comes to mind is the question; do you feed any protein supplements? Yes/no. My answer has to be yes even though I only feed it to a tiny fraction of my hives. I do realise however that they can't make the questions to suit everybody and when I have raised a few issues in the past with Pike he has been both appreciative an
  7. If I am interpreting them properly they are saying that someone once tested one sample of there honey and it was negative for roundup therefore all their honey is negative for roundup .I hope they don't have the same attitude to tutin or STDs.
  8. Frames are one of the few things that fast grown pine is really good for. Even New Zealand grown pine from places with harsher winters is not as good as it often contains hard winter growth rings. These are fine if they are vertical or horizontal in the timber but when they run at an angle they can deflect the frame staple. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the slow-growing foreign timber.
  9. I like to put mine in 12 to 24 hours before grafting. If you leave them in to long they tend to build wax on them or even put fresh nectar into them during a honey flow. Many years ago we used to use home-made wax cells and they definitely needed a bit of time in the hive before grafting. These days I use plastic cell cups and I have occasionally grafted directly into them with reasonable results but I still think they benefit from a bit of time in the hive.
  10. Your hive is effectively dead as it is just too weak to survive. It's hard to tell from the photograph but there is some brood that I don't like the look of as well and I strongly suggest you get an experience beekeeper to have a look at it. If it is dying of American foulbrood and you put syrup in the combs you risk the whole lot been robbed out and causing a whole lot of trouble for surrounding beekeepers. If the hive does not have American foulbrood then you can use the gear to hive a swarm or a nucleus hive sometime in the next few months. If the Queen is any good then adding bro
  11. It's had nine new boxes ,three lids, two floors, 126 frames and 27 new Queen's over the years and it is still going strong. Actually to be completely truthful my very first hive ended up with AFB and was burnt. A sad but useful life lesson for an eight-year-old.
  12. It seems crazy that wooden frames are imported from overseas. I accept that slow-growing Baltic pine is a superior product but radiata pine frames are good enough and have been the industry standard for a long time. I can remember when wooden sections for comb honey were made from white pine. I assume frames were made at some stage from native New Zealand timbers but I don't know which one. I still have a few White pine, kauri and totara boxes.Pukatea was used for wooden Queen cages.
  13. This one was a free sample. I never smelt a thing and I even gave the empty packet a gentle sniff . Must be something in the product as the bees didn't look happy a few hours after I put it in. I once had some pollination hives on an apple orchard and they fumigated some adjoining paddocks along with the local Marae who weren't very happy about it.The leaves were scorched of the apple trees to a height of about 1 m so I was expecting the hives to be dead but they were fine stop
  14. I was helping a friend work his hives to day when I saw a brood cell with a darkened cap with and an irregular hole . I would have bet money that it was AFB but upon uncapping it had a live healthy bee. This was a good outcome but it emphasises the need to look. If you never see these false alarms then you won't see the real thing either. I treated my first hive ever with formic acid today. I have done an alcohol wash so I know how many mites there were and I will retest it in a month. I used formicpro which apart from excessive packaging seemed easy enough to use. The war
  15. There are too many hives in New Zealand. This has had a huge impact on productivity per hive and urban hives are some of the worst affected. There are only so many flowers and maybe one day the corporate beekeepers will realise that this is a reality . Saving the bees is a nice thought but they have to go somewhere and there is nowhere left for them to go.
  16. Apart from being environmentally unfriendly which is reason enough for me not to use plastic frames they also have the problem that they yet gummed up with wax between the end bar and the box far worse than wooden frames ever do. It will be interesting to see what these new frames are like and whether they are any better. I can remember we got a few plastic frames from America when I was still at school ,so nearly 50 years ago. I don't know what sort of plastic they had but the bees would rather draw foundation than work these frames even when they were drawn .
  17. Start work at Wiotapu 12 p.m. by jumping into an already loaded truck and we drive for a couple of hours before unloading 120 hives into five or six apiarys. Almost get back to the shed for a late breakfast when I get swapped into a truck going the other way. Back to where I had just come from and super hives all day till we run out and then meet another truck from Havelock North with more boxes and keep supering till we run out. By that time it was well after dark and we were doing hives using torches.Head back to Havelock North and get home at 11:30 p.m. and that was during the school h
  18. I used to shift a lot of hives but these days all my sites are permanent and life is just so much easier. As to looking in other people's hives, in the past if we ever saw a lid off or a hive knocked over even if it was someone we didn't like (and there weren't many) you would always hop the fence and straighten things up but not anymore. I have on very rare occasions Inspected hives at a landowners request when they have been obviously abandoned and un-worked for a considerable period. The last time was a few years ago and all the hives were well and truly dead and the apiary was also p
  19. This spring I wore a back brace every day on the hives and I really think it helped.
  20. A quick check on their website this morning shows that it was indeed insect that they meant. Funny how the correction didn't take 20 working days and I didn't even have to make an official complaint.
  21. If I had any doubts about television journalism then I have no longer. I just read an article on the TV one News online about how an incest repellent may help protect you from covid . I'm not sure if they were talking about an insect repellent or the fact that it tends to spread to family members .
  22. We used to save thousands of boxes of manuka to feed the hives in the spring but you could still end up with a season so bad you had to feed some sugar. They will certainly build up faster on sugar than they will on frames of honey and cold climate bees generally winter better on stored sugar than stored honey especially honeydews . I run all my hives in a double brood box and aim to have the second box pretty much full of honey by the end of the honey flow and I don't take it even if its solid manuka. Some years unfortunately nature doesn't play ball and also after a bad drought it is
  23. I don't generally mark individual hives except for potential breeders but I do record what's happening in my bee book every time I go to a apiary. This will include the date, how high, how heavy, average brood and bees, how much I fed and what type of feed along with recording any deaths or Queen problems as well as varroa treatments in or out and of course any disease. Most recording is done with abbreviations and takes about 30 seconds.
  24. Liability for negligence beekeepers would be a wonderful thing except that it would make it even more likely that AFB would not be reported by some individuals. I can see no valid reason however why when an AP2 inspector finds robbed out AFB hives why there should not be a large fine which could go towards the management programs running costs.
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