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Everything posted by Norm

  1. Hi From the UK, The Swarm season finished and we are up to 47 colonies from 17. We are addicted amateurs and we got 1200lb of honey against 260lb last year, when neonics were still legal. Only one major wipe out of bees due to pesticides at the beginning of the year. We have set up a group in S Oxfordshire using the Swarm coordinators app called Bee.Watch (www.bee.watch) where anyone can report a swarm without having to make phone calls. There is an app and api to go on any web page for those that don’t have the app. Collectors are notified in seconds and it sends a picture, gps and contact details. Once one collector has adopted a swarm, others can’t. Also bee keepers who use the app can register to receive a swarm. You also end up with a map of where all the swarms have been for the season. The whole secret is speed. Get to the swarm BEFORE they go into buildings and become a pest ; so in our area, we have farmers, golf courses and pest control companies using the app. One pest control company has delivered us 14 swarms this year as people also use it to report wasps so they are part of our local team and they deal with the wasps. On the subject of wasps a guy has developed a new entrance that stops wasps getting into your hives and helps significantly reduce robbing and other pests. Its been entered in the “innovation” section of the National Honey Show (England) at the end of October, his name is Filipe Salbany and he has kept bees in N America, Africa, Portugal and now in the UK. Apparently it is easy to fit and more importantly will be cheap! Check out the Pest controllers web site with the API installed. https://www.shire-pest-solutions.co.uk/bee-swarm-removal On a serious note 1) He needs to read up on the "attack" pheromone and have smoke ready to mask it so he only gets stung once 2) That swarm probabaly weighed a kilo so dropping it from that height was not clever, raise the box up 3) Put the box under the swarm! clip the branch and lower it in 4) Put the frames in the box once they are in and lastly dont wear blue or eat bananas
  2. INFO: never wash your bee kit with your normal washing. Any bee venom very dilute gets on the other clothes and your body then gets sensitive to it at low levels., then reacts extremely when you get the real thing. Especially important for kids clothes.
  3. The threat of Pesticides: Be warned, NZ needs to get control of the pesticide industry like Denmark did and tax pesticides at source so government can fund research with the proceeds. In the UK Tony Blair did a deal with the pesticide industry to voluntarily regulate itself. He got elected and now university research is funded by, and delivers, the results the pesticide manufacturers want to hear. We are running a scheme in South Oxfordshire UK where local farmers, golf courses, pest control companies are using smart phone apps to record pesticide applications as part of their existing countryside stewardship schemes and HSE regulations.. These are immediately notified on a map on the app to bee keepers and bystanders displaying both treatments and locations of apiaries. The notification displays a Toxicity indication in the form of traffic lights for 6 environmental health groups humans, fish, bees, bumble bees, birds and aquatic insects derived from the Uni of Hertfordshire’s pesticide research. The fundamental aim of the system is to educate pesticide users and collect valuable data on cause and effect links, be it bee deaths or us, in the food we eat and the 21st C diseases caused by the pesticides in it. The problem in the UK is the unhealthy influence the pesticide Industry has and supposedly reputable organisations like the Institute of Hydrology and Ecology, who run a honey quality testing program which inexplicably "ran out of money" when it came to pesticide tests for the honey submitted. The program is funded by the pesticide industry and the top man is funded by Syngenta. Unbelievably they did tell us that our bees, and others, had been foraging on ... wait for it ... peanuts! Unfortunately, the British Bee Keepers Association support an initiative funded by the pesticide industry that only reports on Insecticides. At the start of this year (March) we lost 75,000 bees from 3 colonies. Our apiary of 17 colonies was fully inspected immediately by the Govt. National Bee Unit and they could find no diseases or varroa. It took them had them 4 months to get the dead bees tested, and the only noticeable level of any chemical found was a fungicide which under the BBKA promoted scheme does not need to be notified to bee keepers. The system, amongst other things manages swarms without the need for telephone calls sending swarm images, individual hive registration and delivers colony loss reporting, geospacially, as it happens, i.e. in real time. The system www.bee.watch is approved in the UK by Red Tractor and the system security by the UK Police. Education is the key so support and attend the Canterbury Hub.
  4. Getting rid of Varroa is not a one hive solution. you need all your local apiaries working together to reduce the population. The problem you have is not you, its your neighbour. They have a weak varroa infested colony and your bees will rob it and bring home the "bacon"!
  5. Hi .. Get hold of a steam paper stripper, an eak and two hive boxes and the metal off a hive roof. Sit the eak in the up turned metal and drill a hole in the side the size of the pipe from your paper stripper. Stack the boxes with frames in on the eak and put an unvented roof on top Fill the steamer and leave it run. later you will have wax, sterilized boxes and frames. Put a mesh floor above the eak to prevent stuff dropping into your wax and make an insulated cover/roof to quicken up the process. Great way to kill of wax moth in infected hives, throw the gently steamed grubs to your birds. The left over detritis will compost.
  6. what chemical are they spraying?
  7. Nothing is worse than a poster who does not reply .. hands up that me!!. However better late than never. .. to answer your questions I will start by giving you the background. Next post a bit more detail but check out the research on the web site. At this moment in time all the evidence linking pesticides and peripheral colony losses ( from legal chemicals) was circumstantial. See attached photo Worst months for colony losses April/November (UK) coincide with peak months for pesticide use (DEFRA statistics). No Summer colony losses this year for the first time for years possibly because of the very hot weather the farmers did not spray. The problem in the UK is the pesticide industry has fingers in every pie. In 2006 the hapless Tony Blair set up a thing called the Voluntary Initiative (VI .. vested interests?) where the use of pesticides would be rigorously controlled by the industry. “Pesticides of Mass Destruction?” Predictably it is 100% run by the pesticide industry and what they don’t want is any link between cause and effect. If pesticide users, Golf Courses, farmers, hotels, local government etc notified of any spraying then an illness of a bystander or loss of bees by a bee keeper could link the cause and the effect. The VI have a “system” called Bee Connected (https://beeconnected.org.uk/) which is supposed to warn bee keepers of pending spraying. We have had 1 notification in the past 14 months and 3 in 3 years yet 80% of the land within 5k of us gets sprayed. It only deals with pesticides! 7% of what is sprayed, while some herbicides and fungicides are detrimental to bees and who knows about cocktails? After 3 years out there, it is not used by hardly anyone and does not even have an app. Needless to say, its funded by the pesticide industry, and unbelievably … its voluntary!! You could sign up today as Donald Trump, put in a spurious e-mail and post spray alerts in the UK, and no one would know who you are! try it. However the problem that is coming to light now is something NZ should be aware of. That picture of the 10m high spray drift was delivering a chemical Pacifica, a herbicide which has other effects such as its a neurotoxin, i.e. brain poison to mamals, the 80-acre field is surrounded on 3 sides with residential property and just out of shot to the right is a day creche. In the UK people who are unknowingly subject to the effects of spraying are known as Bystanders and the problem all comes back to the density of population. Empowering the people to demand that everyone is notified of spraying is the way to go so we are developing a system to do exactly that. www.bee.watch I envy you guys, learn from the UK on how not to manage pesticides, Blair should have taxed their use (Denmark) and invested that money in University research. What we have now is research funded by the industry getting the results they want, and the Universities take the funds because there is not enough coming from Government. From November last year to April this year we lost 10 of our 16 colonies, we are backup to 14, but honey production will be down 70% to 110 kg.
  8. Hi Bron, thanks. Bee keeping is probabaly the same, but England is the 5th most densly populated country in the world so we have a totally different set of conditions including a lack of land to work with. Around us 80% of the land within 5k of our apiary is continually sprayed (golf course and arable) while i remember from several visits to NZ (Nelson mostly) that livestock is more prevelant. Beekeepers should be monitoring colony losses and swarm harvesting geographically to see if higher density arable is affecting bee populations. Its almost too late where we are as there are no swarms so far this year to monitor.
  9. You are lucky to have rules .. here in the UK bee keeping is a shambles .. no one here even has to register (appart from in the Channel Islands) you just go to the shop, buy some bees, a hive and a book and off you go....we are half way through the swarm season and the devestation reaked upon us by pesticides means this year i have not had a single call out for a swarm having lost 10 of our 16 hives since last November, 3 years ago we had 23 call outs. We tried running a seminar to highlight the problems to which farmers, pest control companies and researchers attended but the local South Chilterns BKA refused to send details to their members because of "data protection" .. so we had hardly any bee keepers. Thats what you end up with when an industry is run by unregulated amateur volunteers. Sorry for the rant but i wish i had your problem. Check out www.bee.watch to see what we are trying to do about it.
  10. There has been a trial in the UK by Reading University which apppears to have successfully produce a plague of varroa in our area. The problem in the UK is that bee keepers don't have to be registered which is absolutely rediculous, and anyone can do trials and tests on anything they like without telling anyone. One of their trials was 100m from our apiary and we did not know until we went on a visit. They have lost 4 of their 6 colonies this "winter" but the details as to why i do not know.
  11. In The UK we use a uWatch Cube .. if you have a 2g GSM signal it will alert you within 1 minute if your hive moves. Works anywhere in the world except Japan and USA where there is only 3g. Sends a Notification to your smart phone
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