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Everything posted by Apihappy

  1. I know; photo or it didn't happen. But I live in the Waitaks with no cell signal which just confuses people, so no phone. Yes it may well have been some other signifier, UHF, NGO, UFO, or what ever. I was too absorbed with the idea of the imminent collapse of the manuka industry to double check. Still cheap honey for the supermarket.
  2. Shopping today, jars from the wholesaler and labels from the stationers. Then pak'n'slave for groceries. UMF 40 manuka $9.50 for 500gms. I seriously considered buying the lot (not that much left) but thought that maybe they knew something that I didn't. Are manuka sales this much of a bust elsewhere?
  3. The 'icy blast' for the Waitakeres was a temperate 14C. a bit damp today but the dam we walked to was 2/3 empty. Dry July. I'm really surprised that drought stress hasn't been included in the mix for Kauri dieback.
  4. Dodging squalls today to walk the dog. Two clematis in full flower, that puts spring about four weeks early.
  5. Hi Rob. What do you look for to assess if a hive is newly formed? That could save some time. Photo or it didn't happen.
  6. The hive / hives are 10m up in the superstructure of a concrete road bridge. You can see three, half metre sections of comb dropping down from the join. So no monitoring is possible. Yes it is probable that it is just swarms inhabiting a pre loved space but I'm interested in testing them to see if they are super hygienic bees. The only way I can think to do this is with a swarm trap but like you say there are lots of bees in these hills, so I might pick up the wrong swarm! Any thoughts?
  7. The Arista article suggests that honey bees with high varroa hygiene do show a decrease in honey yields but would still be good pollinators. A wild hive that has survived for several years must be getting enough stores to at least make the hive viable. Same with the Kauri in the Waitaks' rather than spending hundreds of millions growing a resistant tree just let nature take its course and hopefully there will be a cohort of resistant trees to regenerate the forest.
  8. This guy thinks there are. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/105582644/no-regional-development-cash-to-breed-the-perfect-varroaresistant-honey-bee and this. https://aristabeeresearch.org/varroa-resistance/
  9. Oh. How can you be sure?
  10. I took the dog for a town walk today as the Waitakeres are still closed. We went on a track that I haven't been on for several years and was surprised to see a bee hive in the structure of a bridge. It was either three discreet hives or one super hive . The big surprise was that I saw these hives more than four years ago. Of course the hives may have died off and been replaced by new swarms but I will be putting some bait hives down there in case it's the grail of varroa resistant bees. Anybody else seen long surviving wild hives?
  11. FYI https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/34329/direct
  12. Alistair I agree that the issue will be solved by attrition but I disagree with the process being natural, I think it is planned and in business is called loss leading. Big commercial operations can put tens or hundreds of hives along margins of land that are already at maximum bee numbers. Many of these hives, both existing and the newcomer, will be unproductive or starve off but the keeper with the largest number of hives will survive and thrive in the long term. The abandonment of the failed apiaries is predictable and those sites being a locus of disease is also a predictable medium-term problem, one that should be the responsibility of the big commercial operator for creating the problem in the first place. If an area is overstocked by lots of similar sized smaller apiaries, communication and collective downsizing (maximum hives per apiary per hectare) would be a way forward.
  13. I'm out of hardware and have been wiring up frames out of the freezer and boiling up last years cappings to trade for wax sheets. And the main flow hasn't even started. I'd like to combine some of the hives but they are all over the place, some with supercedure cells, some with virgins some queenless that I've given brood. I've got nine hives, two of which are already combined, plus two nucs after m4tt gave me the word about pink hive swarming. I only wanted four this year. Harry has discovered the delight of eating the dropped honeycomb, her reckon is, it's worth the stings.
  14. The cells that were being built. I guessed that the newly hatched queen may have stung the capped cells. I don't know why there were new ones, swarm or supercedure, and the egg choice must have been minimal. I won't be entirely surprised if the hive is queenless in the near future but say enough to recombine from the nuc hive.
  15. Thought it best to check the pink hive today, it's the oldest box, homemade and starting to rot along one corner. I'll probably retire it at the end of this season. The pink hive swarmed on Tuesday, a big ###### that lodged in a juvenile tanekaha tree. That was all sorted out by Wednesday morning, so I thought I'd see what the damage was. Seeing a capped queen cell on the excluder spelled trouble. Seven capped cells, two with larvae and jelly and one with a popped cap. No eggs and after three run throughs no queen. I found her on the fourth try, big and black and fast, she was removed straight away. It was amazing to see all of the queen cell stages in the hive at the same time and keep my bees. Lucky.
  16. Just having morning tea when I heard the shrill swarm hum. I'd just managed to hive yesterday's lot and thought this was an afterthought. They were hanging on a saw horse next to a hive with a virgin queen, so far so good. Then I spotted a cluster on the ground and dug around with my finger. There was a very dead queen, she looked to have been snapped by a bird. I didn't really know what was going on so I threw her little corpse back into the hive. Quite a few bees followed her in but not all, there were two more clusters in the plum tree next to the saw horse. I banged those into a box and straight away spotted a mated queen, I caged her and put them into a new hive and decided I should probably leave bee keeping to the experts. By then Harry the dog had eaten my morning tea.
  17. Hi James. All up about six acres of mixed costal regrowth in the Waitakeres. Mainly Kanuka and Rewa Rewa, Agathis on the ridge. Lots of Puriri, Nikau (we must have 50 on our acre) and Harakeke in the swamp and Ti. Absolutely no Manuka, it will not grow here, we put in dozens when we cleared up the land,as an establisher, but they all carked.
  18. There will be bees on the flowers.
  19. Hi Jimmy, no bees just trees. The ideal site would be at the end of a peninsular, that way other honey harvesters couldn't line the boundaries with hives. You would only have the one boundary to worry about. Northland does have the highest UMF strains in the country, so I'd be talking to a botanist about identifying these strains and propagating them. The great thing about this idea is that if it goes pear shaped and you walk away, you have put in a really good establishing cover for bush regeneration. Unlike goats. Good luck.
  20. Yes i think it will be a boomer, there was none here at all last year so I'm guessing it will make up for it this year. Also the harakeke was a bust last year and it adds a certain dark flavour.
  21. The Rewa Rewa has just started flowering in this valley, along with kowhai and the little delicate fushia, kotukutuku, which has blue pollen.
  22. Yes I did! They all resolutely walked out. I figured someone would start laying if they were queenless for too long, so I took the hive up to the ridge site and paper united them with my weakest hive. They are all happy now.
  23. Hived a swarm this week from Victory Rd. Easy to box as the swarm was on a roadside crash barrier. Ten minutes and they were all in the box. Oddly pedestrians were complaining of getting stung. I got the bees home and they attached themselves under the front step beside but not under the ramp; for three nights. Rain, hail, equinox winds and cool 4 degree nights, I thought they were doomed. After a couple of, failed, attempts to find the Queen, I decided to put a feeder in the box (I know this is bad practice but I knew where the bees came from and they are as safe as any swarm). They finally went in yesterday but there is no getting anywhere near them without full armour, talk about grumpy. I will give them a couple of days to settle before putting in treatments and checking to see if they really do have a queen.
  24. Spring treatments out today. 3 of the 4 home hives needed supering. Kowhai and clematis flowering and Rewa Rewa budding up unlike last year.
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