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john berry

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Everything posted by john berry

  1. I don't suppose insulation and bottom ventilation does any great harm but I'm not sure it does any great good either. I have plywood inner covers now but for donkeys years we had tin inner covers and before that we had the telescopic lid sitting straight on top. I believe in doing everything necessary but no more than that. It saves time and money. If hives get a bit damp around the edges they will soon clean it up as they get stronger in the spring.
  2. By now there must've been an of beekeepers in the world infected to give some sort of idea of whether they react the same as normal or not. The whole thing is probably a waste of time but it might just have something in it. I have also heard that consuming large quantities of honey on a daily basis has a protective effect.
  3. I can certainly recall plenty of hive losses before varoa but there was always a reason such as wasps or terrible mating as a result of a very bad drought (we had moved a lot of hives away from the Bay to over near Taupo where they sat in the rain and did nothing ( They were re-queened there in autumn and from memory were over 90% drone layers). Since varoa there have been a lot more losses to Queen failure both over winter and the rest of the year. These losses have been manageable and are just a nuisance but I have also noticed that on average my hives seem to be getting just a little
  4. Pain is in the hand of the bee holder.
  5. I have never treated over winter. I do get the odd yard with a bit of varoa damage in the spring but the vast majority come through fine.
  6. I have seen an AP2 misdiagnose PMS as AFB although it was in the early days of varoa. I also new some beekeepers who claimed that PMS can look exactly like AFB and to be honest I didn't believe them until around 10 years ago when I found two hives that had obvious PMS but some of the brood roped out exactly like AFB. All symptoms disappeared after treatment so it wasn't AFB. Everybody treating at the same time would be nice but there's no point in legislating for it as you can't cure stupidity with legislation. I am sure I occasionally get reinvasion from poorly managed hives but I'm p
  7. I am a bit over halfway through my spring round and so far the hives aren't too bad but they are a bit weaker than normal. Given the extended autumn drought we had I am quite pleased with how they came through. Given the very warm early winter I thought they might have been a bit hungry but so far everything is quite a bit heavier than I expected.
  8. I am interested in whether things like seaweed are good for the hives. I am more interested in whether they should be fed to hives whether they do any good or not..
  9. Is high UMF a health problem or is it just a standard that we have to meet.? I know that fondant is used extensively in Europe and would love to be able to get hold of commercial quantities in New Zealand. Am I right in thinking that a high UMF in whatever form of sugar you feed is only a problem if it ends up in the honey..
  10. Forget long-range forecasts. They are extremely unreliable and only indicate general trends. The only really accurate one comes from NIWA and they can be relied upon to be 100% wrong. My father has also pretty good at getting it completely wrong but he's not quite as accurate.
  11. Fortunately it's a bit cold for kykuyu down this way. I remember 40 years ago on the Coromandel that the damn stuff would grow through any cracks in the floorboard and right up through the hive. I think I would be spraying if I had to put up with that.
  12. I know I have seen an article on this subject within the last couple of years but can't think where. I wonder how much HMF there is in jam.
  13. I don't use sprays at all around my hives. Most of my sites have stock and they take care of the problem but those that don't I either grub the grass out from the front of the hive which takes a few seconds or just ignore it. Long grass out the front of the hive might not do them much good but I have yet to see it make any difference to the honey crop. Long grass for me is more of a fire and trip risk than a bee issue.
  14. It's still pretty dry down here for this time of year.
  15. Don't ever leave your strip sitting in the sun especially once they are out of the packet. Reinvasion is usually blamed on bad neighbours and it can be but I think more often comes from swarms. I have certainly seen a correlation between bad swarming seasons and varoa problems the following winter. It was a few years ago that I talked to Mark Goodwin about using more than one treatment at a time and from memory he thought it would would be a good idea to use combined strips. I assume that the cost for the chemicals used in the strips is minimal and that a dual action strip wouldn't c
  16. Resistance starts with one or two individual varoa and then they spread because they are survivors. The theory behind using two different products is that those one or two individuals will be killed off by the other product and so never go on to reproduce and spread. On the other hand not all chemicals are compatible and combining them can make them ineffective or you can have a synergistic effect that makes them even more potent against the varoa or possibly the bee itself. In theory anyway combining two varoa chemicals should make it a lot harder for the varoa to become resistant
  17. There has been a lot of talk on and off about different additives you can add to sugar when feeding. This includes everything from pollen substitute and seaweed to various methods of stopping the sugar fermenting. I really have to question the wisdom of adding anything to sugar that might end up in the honey. Even without the modern ability to test down to 3/5 of 5/8 parts per billion I am not convinced that adding anything is a good idea. You can of course make the argument that feeding sugar in itself is a contaminant and personally I save honey to feed back to the hives but I norm
  18. What has happened to the marketplace section on the forum. Have I missed something.
  19. I must've missed your post Trevor. I'm sure the drought had some effect but willows and to a lesser extent poplars have been dying in Hawke's Bay from the effects of giant willow aphids for several years. The first tree I ever noticed them on was a really healthy crack willow hanging over my favourite swimming hole and that tree has been dead for two years. I was asked to take part in putting out giant willow aphid parasites this autumn and I sussed out a few sites. One month later when I went to put the parasites out the tree I had picked as the best candidate was still alive but all the lo
  20. I will attempt to get one up for you. You might have to wait a few days until my technical advisor comes home.
  21. It's a truly glorious day here. Fog this morning and then fine with not a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind. I'm still about 10 days off starting my spring round but if you want to do you certainly could have played with bees today . Spend the morning making hive tools on the forge. Must be getting old, five hours hammering and I have had enough for the day.
  22. And I wake up this morning to a Facebook feed from ATA regenerative leading with a picture of a dead bee. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and actually read the whole article. The video interview is actually quite interesting and a bit scary although once again it's really hard to tell what's pseudoscience and what's real. The whole thing is some pretty effective scaremongering. I really hope they are wrong , I don't have the background and knowledge to judge how much of it is factual except when they are talking about bees and in this they are 100% wrong which does nothing for their
  23. In the past we have been told that everything is safe from x-rays to licking your paintbrush when painting luminescent dials on watches. Agent orange was harmless along with thalidomide, DDT, lead in petrol, lead in paint, asbestos,tobacco, giving women the vote et cetera. Couple this with the fact that man is just a superstitious monkey who is still afraid of the dark , the bogeyman and Democrats and you end up with a large percentage of the population who will believe anything they are told. Even those who try and be rational will have that little doubt in their head after watching
  24. A few years ago I had a wisdom tooth removed and ended up with a dry socket which is quite unpleasant (seven on the male pain scale). The dentist plugged up the hole with some fibrous material. I don't remember what it was called but it had the taste, smell and texture that led me to believe it was probably made from the scrotal hair of an extremely old and unwashed bull camel . It fell out almost every night and you would wake up with a mouthful . During this time I was called up for a large search and rescue operation and had to get a jar of the stuff plus a pair of sort of bent tweezers and
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