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Dennis C Earnshaw

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Everything posted by Dennis C Earnshaw

  1. To overcome some of the over heating we have experienced this summer, my wife sewed reflective insulation foil on top of the head gear, it works a treat.
  2. We are having a very dry winter here, but the frames do stay dry in the shed even if and when it does rain, enjoy your moisture any way, many farmers around here would envy you guys there in NZ.
  3. I would suggest freezing frames for 48 hours after which they can be removed and placed in clean supers, stack the supers with a ventilated lid on top which helps to reduce moisture. We store all our honey frames over winter this way. I recommend "drying' the stickies out by placing them back on the hives after the final extraction for a day or so before freezing, you should have no mold or moisture problems if stacked in a dry place until needed in the spring.
  4. What we require here in WA is an honest marketing strategy for the active honeys being discovered, our beekeepers need to market their own brand & not ride on the back of all the promotional hard work of the Kiwis in order to be taken seriously in the developing world wide market.
  5. In my opinion, there is a lot of wishful thinking about Tea Tree honey in Australia at the moment......the talk is about "potential" not "production", there is quite a difference. This last November I took a look at a Tea Tree stand in the South West, after talking to the local farmers in the area who told me "generally the Tea Trees flowering in the area only lasted about three weeks", and further, I could not see any nectar at all in the open flowers. As it happened common sense prevailed and we did not move in our bees to the site. Plantation Tea Tree honey will not work in our State of WA, we have far to many feral hives in the bush in the higher rainfall areas. We also have a number of beekeepers both amateur and sorry to say, professional, who would gladly send in their bees to a nearby flowering Tea Tree plantation for "free Manuka". New Zealand beekeepers should concentrate on doing what they do best, it seems you are very good at it, sure you are the envy of some Australian beekeepers, should that worry or distract you?
  6. The plant that Aussies collect Manuka honey from has been known for generations as "Tea Tree", not Manuka Tree. The only reason Aussie packers are now calling the tea tree honey Manuka is so they gain from all the hard work done by the NZ beekeepers to promote their honey. It may be legal for us Aussies to call our brand of honey Manuka, I for one Aussie beekeeper do not agree with this decision, we should be able to do better in our promotion, without the need to ride on the Kwi back. When ever I hear some one talk of Manuka honey I think of it's NZ origin and so does rest of the world, we should be able to promote an Aussie brand name honey which would make the world think of Australia, not New Zealand.
  7. @frazzledfozzle The Aussie Manuka grown around Yarloop maybe much more active than expected due to the toxic pollutants pumped into the air every day by one of Australia's big aluminum refineries situated nearby. The town's residents have had major health issues directly related to the pollution of this refinery, such that the operating company has bought up a large portion of the houses to prevent being sued for liability, and the previous owners were happy to move out of there asp.
  8. "It's Australia", we do have different rules governing beekeeping here. All beekeepers must register and fire brand their hives with a brand "number/letter", granted by the Dept of Agriculture. It is illegal to keep diseased hives period. It is illegal to keep and to abandon unbranded hives in the bush, whether private property or Government property (crown land). Commercial beekeepers usually place their bees on registered sites (on crown land) or on private land with the owners consent. The general rule is that private landholders give the commercial or amateur exclusive rights to one beekeeper at a time. Unbranded hives have no legal rights here in WA. It is fair game to put a cup of petrol into an unbranded & diseased hive and close up the entrances to prevent the spread of AFB, and if it is safe to do so, a match will complete the exercise. Hives that are branded and appear to contain AFB, can be/must be reported, and the owners are traced by the Dept of Agriculture, a work order is given immediately and must be complied with or else the Dept will do the job of eradication and the cost passed on to the owner. ( a very costly exercise)
  9. I personally do not think amateur beekeepers are any threat to commercials except for the possibility of their untreated and abandoned diseased hives within flying distance. In my case I inspect the amateur hives nearby, should I see any containing AFB I take the appropriate action and solve the problem there and then.
  10. In my first year of beekeeping in 1960 I received 6d per pound (11 cents per kg) from wescobee for my honey, so when I think honey prices are low I take a trip down memory lane and thank my lucky stars. I survived in 1960's because of youth and optimism, now I recon we will survive the next crash because of age, wisdom and planning.
  11. I was shocked to see the numbers of hives quoted above (We have increased from 290,000 hives in 2000 to over 600,000 hives today, driven by profitable times.) surely these numbers are unsustainable on such a small land mass. Obviously hive numbers have increased with rising honey prices, and these prices are a result of international demand. What the NZ honey industry has now is a typical bubble, over capacity and over capitalization. From what I have been able to glean, your exporters (and ours) are beginning to resort to fraudulent marketing practices to try and maintain their shrinking margins. I also read here on this forum from time to time of the squabbles among beekeepers who are having beehives dumped on or adjacent to already claimed and traditional apiary sites. To compound beekeepers approaching financial problems is the collapsing global trading model, to be replaced by one of national protectionism, I see these trends to be the early signals of coming financial pain for the honey industry. The effects of collapsing world trade, value of national currencies and lower honey prices all at the same time, to extend the pain world wide and to be felt here in Australia as well. On the other side of the coming financial and apiary size restructure I see a much healthier and honest honey industry in both of our countries.
  12. There is an issue with the blended Aussie honeys no doubt, much of the poor flavored honey is sent to Capilano by the big commercial beekeepers and is "mixed and blended", into something called honey and sold in the big super markets. There are some quite vile flavored honeys in WA, Peppermint, and some of the banksia varieties for example. Blends of honey in my opinion pollute the original distinctive flavors which if a variety were presented on it's own would taste quite nice. Multiple flavors in a single honey can confuse the palette of the consumer causing customer resistance. As policy, our company only sells non blended and true labelled varieties of honey direct to the consumer and get raving reviews for them. I think it is called honesty in marketing.
  13. @kaihoka Sorry, but I have to disagree with your statement "all honey in Australia tastes like eucalyptus", sounds like you have never been to our wonderful country or tasted all the many honey varieties we produce here. Our clover honey taste just like your NZ clover honey, there are so many honeys here that have no connection to the eucalyptus tree, that would include the "Jelly Bush" honey you mentioned.
  14. @M4tt, Most beekeepers with experience would have observed the behavior of their queens in different situations, time of year, weather, and most importantly the nectar source or the lack of one. A poor queen can look good in a heavy flow, just as a good queen can look very ordinary in a dearth of nectar. Before we use the thumb and finger as Matt says, it makes sense to consider first the whole situation in which the hive is subject to, be it a ME or conventional a design.
  15. Our MidEntrance hives here in WA are on a very good honey flow at the moment, the best hives are producing 20kg + per week, we are having to use 4 supers on each hive which is a bit of pain because of the high lift, not a young as I used to be.
  16. @frazzledfozzle Well since you mentioned the hazards of a beekeeper working in the Aussie bush, Mosquitoes bites would be No 1 (sitting around the dull camp fire after dark, with no bee suite on with a can in one hand and potato chips in the other, and no way to defend ones self). No 2 bee stings in the hand during working hours, No 3 tick bites that extend for weeks after getting back home in places that we do not mention, and finally No 4,5 the bites of spiders and snakes that I've yet to experience. Life is full of fun.
  17. @Philbee There is nothing quite like having a beer sitting around the camp fire, in the middle of the Australian bush as the sun sets after a long day with the hives. For that moment there is no desire to go into the caravan and knock up tin can meal..... the magic is in the silence interrupted only with hearing the calls of the little birds looking for a perch to rest on for the night.... and if the bees have had a good day I can breath in the perfume of curing nectar above the smell of the golden liquid in my can. Kiwis can have their beautiful white fields of clover and their squabbles over the crowded stands of Manuka, but let me rest this evening in the Aussie bush.
  18. I agree with those folk who are saying wax moth infection does not of it self kill a hive, rather they finish off the hive that's weak. My experience says it was the queen failing and she should have been replaced months ago. One of the first lessons to learn as a beekeeper is the skill/ability to identify a failing queen. To many times we just look in the top box to "see if they have got any honey", when we should have looked in the brood chamber to see if the queen is ok .........queen comes first honey come latter.
  19. I would suggest breaking the hive down to a nuc of 4 - 5 frames add a frame of sealed brood from another hive, replace the old queen with a young mated queen and do the health checks as advised above. The queen bee is the boiler room of the hive..... if it is a poor queen, you will have a weak hive, and moths will take over, it is as simple as that.
  20. @Kiwimana, The news of Capilano screwing up our Australian honey has gone viral on Facebook, consumers are now boycotting Capilano honey products. Just like Capilano's honey, their brand name is now sh't. I am seeing the public's willingness to pay a 50% + premium over the supermarket prices.
  21. Capilano are in big trouble here in Australia, take a look at Kangaroo Court of Australia One wonders if they will survive this onslaught, local beekeepers are being approached by the public to sell direct, our own direct sales are up more than 120% and climbing. This is due justice for importing contaminated honey from Asia and selling it as???.
  22. @Pbee Your original take on the late laying queens appears to be spot on, though the queens in question may have been 28 days old, it appears there was a problem with the mating so late in the season, my guess now is that the breeder ran out of drones OR the other less likely reason was the weather during those few critical days was not conducive for the bees to fly. We are in the process of moving the hives north now to the early Jarrah and once they build up some I will split off enough nucs to replaced the hives lost, meanwhile for the record we will keep a close eye on the 3 remaining queens just to see how long they last. Queen Breeders beware: A study released on the 27 July 2016 by Royal Society Publishing shows the link between Neonicontinoid pesticide and low fertility in Drone bees. For the general beekeeper the same study showed contaminated pollen from the same pesticide reduced the life span of the worker bee from 22 days to 15 days. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/283/1835/20160506
  23. Drone laying would suggest no successful mating. Weather conditions in late autumn were not conducive to successful mating's with the short daylight hours and cold mornings. From what I was told by the breeder the queens were 28 days old.....I now doubt this but give the man the benefit of the doubt. I see no reason why a laying queen would turn drone layer within 28 days ...... some of you out there may be able to enlighten us.
  24. @Pbee I promised I would report on the progress of the 12 late laying queens introduced to our hives on the 16/5/16, sad to say 8 out of the 12 were drone layers, one queen was thrown out by the hive and only 3 ended up laying .... how good these may be ?, I'll have to wait for the spring build up, I'm not holding my breath for any success at this stage. This has been an expensive lesson, having lost 5 hives completely we will not accept any queens now latter than end of March.
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