Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by BeeBob

  1. I just checked with Hill Laboratories in Hamilton and they are still doing honey testing, including tutin, but may well have to prioritise commercial beekeepers.
  2. Thanks yesbut for pointing me to the right place. There clearly is a lot of useful information in those (now) 60 pages. It would be helpful for beginners like me for someone experienced with the technique to condense this down. TaylorS's post is a good place to start. Thanks
  3. I've used oxalic in glycerine soaked paper towels with moderate success. Main problem is that the towels reduce access between the boxes as the bees can be slow at removing it. The "staple" method seems to work well and is probably described in the Oxalic Acid thread. I've searched the thread and got snippets of information but have not read all 58 pages for the details. Can someone please provide a summary of the method? Thanks
  4. If this is a permitted activity, then no permit is required.
  5. Correct, but these bylaws could potentially also apply to rural areas. I recognise the risks of increasing council control, but it seems likely to be more effective in encouraging landowners to get the owners of hives on their land to be registered. More registered hives, more AFB levy income sources, so less per hive. And a better handle on where hives are and the AFB risks.
  6. I wonder if a different approach is needed. I had to get council approval for my hives as landowner. If councils would make beekeeping a permitted activity conditional on hives being registered, this would put the onus on landowners to check on the owners of hives on their land. Landowners could be prosecuted for non-compliance for having unregisterered hives on their land, but more importantly, this would provide an incentive for them to sight the registration before giving approval to place hives on their property. For registered beekeepers this would be little to no extra hassle. It also puts council staff in the position of monitoring compliance (and there are many more council staff than AFB people). Given the direct and indirect benefits of beehives to the district, this would provide an incentive for council engagement.
  7. A comment was made that the winners are beekeepers with four or less apiaries. I have two hives, so currently I pay $20 plus $15, so $35. This will rise to $40 plus $50 ($90) in 2023. This is more than 2 1/2 what I am paying now. Let's say an apiary has 5 hives. So someone with four apiaries with five hives (20 hives) pays the same as me with two hives. So proportionally, the increase for me is as much or greater than others. I acknowledge that the AFB risk per hive associated with amateur hives will be greater than for commercials. My concern is that this will be a big disincentive for small scale beekeepers to register their hives, which the AFB people recognise is the basic step for management: "For effective national control of AFB, apiary sites must be accurately identified and registered. The register of apiaries defines the locations where honey bee colonies infected with AFB may be present.". The consultation document then states: "The current apiary registration compliance programme is largely based upon beekeepers’ honesty as the Management Agency does not have the funding to investigate and follow-up on non-registered apiaries. Three aerial surveys have revealed that 20%, 47% and 48% of apiaries in the locations targeted were unregistered. It seems to me that raising the levy disproportionately for small producers will be a disincentive for voluntary compliance by those who probably present the greatest risk.
  8. Mine were very buzzy over the weekend...
  9. I believe the monitoring as the data would be discoverable. However, if done in the middle of winter, even a robust monitoring program might have limited value. Perhaps 1080 drops are mainly in winter when possum food is more scarce. Did you suggest monitoring in summer? When do 1080 drops occur in your area?
  10. My hives are still increasing in weight (using a digital luggage scale lifting from the front and taking the average of two readings). Both still very active today. The dips in the graphs are during cold periods.
  11. Don't seem to be able to edit a post. I wanted to replace the photo with this one.
  12. Its been pretty cold here for the last couple of days, but as soon as the sun comes out, the girls are back out there working. Photo taken a few moments ago.
  13. Here is a photo of an undertray with 397 mites. You can just see the vertical lines that demarcate the vertical counting strips. This is a horrendous number of mites. But looking at the bee behaviour coming and going in the entrance and activity/brood in the hive itself, and considering that I counted perhaps a dozen bees over summer with DWV, everything appeared rosy. This shows how insidious varroa is.
  14. "You have a good system to have persisted". That made me chuckle! If I knew I'd be counting 23,000 individual mites, I might not have started! I expected counts to die away much quicker than what happened. As an aside, I expected Bayvoral to kill the mites, but I found a significant number (perhaps a few percent) on their backs still wriggling and alive - mites landing legs down always die - presumably smothered by the oil. But my "system" worked well and was quite efficient, so happy to share. By the way, there are many scientific papers published using mite fall as a method for monitoring mites. This is an indication of total mite load and not the infestation rate (mites per 300 bees). However, it is non-invasive and I believe quite consistent. The photo shows the gear I use. - One white corflute undertray that fits below the mesh bottom board. You can see the detritus that falls from the hive, so this is good way to monitor what is going on. - A can of cheap spray on cooking oil. I tried vaseline as often recommended, but this is messy, is more difficult to get even, and may not hold the mites as well. The oil also traps ants, so I do not think that ants carrying mites away is an issue. Note that live mites are mobile and I expect them to walk off a dry board. I use the paint roller to spread the cooking oil evenly. - A magnifying glass to identify the mites. Mites come in three forms: dark (sometimes alive), pale but legs visible (never alive), what appears to be just the mite carapace (this could be from bees grooming). I just count the first two. When I have large numbers of mites, I run the handle of the magnifying glass (or similar scribe) down the corflute and it creates a line in the hive detritus. I think it is possible to buy undertrays marked in a grid. I try to do this parallel to the lines (and therefore frames above). For large numbers of mites, I create up to 8 vertical strips. I count each strip and write the numbers down. Note that I did not subsample areas for counting as the mite distribution is not even - there are more mites in the middle (presumably below the cluster). You need to be systematic if counting 100's of mites. I enter the individual strip counts into Excel to do the adding. - White plastic scraper to scrape the oil, mites and detritus off. This goes into the garden - another advantage of oil over vaseline. - Toilet paper to clean the residual. - Then spray and roll and you are away. (This sounds a bit like the awaful TV ad about "Spray and wipe away". I wish I could deal to varroa in 30 seconds! I have two hives right next to each other and use the same equipment for both. You might use a different roller and scraper for different hives if worried about AFB contamination. I will continue counting perhaps twice a week to keep a tab on what is happening. I have left the trays for two days and some say 3 days is okay.
  15. Dave, yes some dedication - 23,000 mites later! Not sure if my wife would describe it as such. Some interesting observations about mites in capped brood. Also: - I presume that the initial peak relates to phoretic mites. - There seem to be two peaks that may relate to the emergence of two brood cohorts. - We were away during the period between the two peaks - hence the straight line. I wonder what happened during that time. - The two hives responded differently. The B Team is somewhat quieter and had more localised brood, whereas the A Team queen laid eggs throughout the hive. - I think mite fall is a reasonably objective low impact way to monitor mite levels. I will do more sugar shakes next season to get a relationship between mite fall and phoretic mites. Numbers this morning were 2 and 13 respectively. Its not as if the colonies are dying and giving low numbers. They've both been very active during warm weather of the last week (but not in today's miserable rain). So to answer the title of this thread - it seems like Bayvarol does work, albeit more slowly than I expected. Yes, Alistair, patience is a beekeeping virtue! One (among many) that I have yet to master!
  16. And the trend has continued. Today just 1 mite in the A Team and 25 in the B Team. Would like the B Team mite count to drop further but the trend is looking good.
  17. Bayvarol certainly had an impact as can be seen by the spike. I was concerned about your second scenario, hence my desire to put an oxalic acid / glycerol towel in the hives. There was a mini-spike in the mite count in the A Team (blue line) three days ago that could have been a response to the OA. You're right, in hindsight, I should have done a sugar shake when I consolidated the hives. Can't bring myself to do an alcohol wash ..... yet! I couldn't see either of the queens. My father who kept 200 hives in the pre-varroa days was with me and couldn't see the sneaky queens either. So I will check for eggs and new brood in a fortnight (there was quite a bit of capped and uncapped brood a few days ago) and then do a sugar shake. Great resource, this forum!
  18. Hi James I started recording when the first mites appeared back in January (almost 23,000 mites ago!). The spike was when I put Bayvarol in the hives.
  19. My bees are still very, very active tumbling out of the hive at sunrise, off to work. Consolidated down to two hives, removed Bayvarol, added an oxalic acid / glycerol towel to each hive as my varroa counts are down but still too high (see "Bayvarol mixed success" thread in Beginner Beekeeping). Hives seem happy with brood and honey. Amazed at the heat coming out of the hive above the bottom board. Have the top mat sitting on matchsticks to help with ventillation. I have a 4 inch wide entrance as some wasps about - wouldn't want the entrance to be much smaller given the bee traffic. Wasps still attacking bees, rather than trying to steal honey. I am killing about 5-6 wasps with a swatter each time I visit, so wasps not really a problem.
  20. Well things have changed for the better since my last post. The "A Team is now at around 15 mites per day and the B Team has dropped to around 80. "80" sounds a lot, but is a heap better than last week! Consolidated down to 2 boxes, removed Bayvarol and added oxalic acid/glycerine towel to each hive. All looking very good with plenty of honey capped and uncapped, quite a bit of brood capped and uncapped. Couldn't find the queens - sneaky things.
  21. Hi Kaihoka I checked an hour later and there was normal activity (busy) with lots of bees coming and going and no beard. I'm not sure it is the entrance reducers as you can see there is plenty of room to go in and out. I visited a friend's hives yesterday. He has a wasp problem (I have some bad not as bad as him) so he had a 1 cm entrance. My entrances are like a highway in comparison. BTW, today I opened up the hive to consolidate them from three to two boxes for winter. Everything looks happy and healthy inside. Plenty of brood, capped and uncapped honey, and lots of happy bees. No indication as to why the bearding occurred the day before. I was concerned when I first saw bearding and thought my bees were swarming. But I've now seen it happen under a wide range of conditions (well, in my 8 months of beekeeping experience!), so I just shrug my shoulders and make myself a coffee.
  22. One of my hives was bearding this morning at sunrise (the other had a 5 o'clock shadow!). No logical reason for this that I could see. Not too hot, not too cold, plenty of room. The right hive has more a varroa problem than the left, but they didn't do it yesterday and the left hive has done it previously. I've had bearding occur through the night in drizzle. On Saturday we had light rain and there was a small pile (a handful) of bees in front of one hive getting soaking wet. Bees may be smart (especially for insects) but that doesn't mean that everything they do is smart or that we are smart enough to understand why they do stuff.
  23. Thanks, I read on the Bayer website 6 weeks. So I will hang in there....
  24. I'd like advice please on next steps to address Varroa in my hives. The thread "Bayvarol not working" under diseases has gone to sleep, so I thought I'd post here. I'm a newbee starting with two nucs in October 2017. A very good season and we harvested a total of 18kg from the two hives, plus some in storage to feed the hives if needed over winter. I've been monitoring Varroa levels on a sticky board since the start and the graph below shows numbers since varroa were first detected. I was advised to delay Bayvoral treatment as the honey flow was still on. In hindsight, I should have put Bayvarol in in February. The Bayvarol was installed with 4 strips per brood box on 19 March. This led to a significant increase in Varroa counts. There was a dip in early April (when we were on holiday), but numbers climbed again. Then the count in the "A Team" declined to less than 100 per day. Still too high, but way better than before. The weaker :B Team" has remained at over 300 per day. I did a sugar shake a couple of weeks ago. 5 in the A Team and 1 in the B Team. The 42 day treatment period for Bayvarol finishes on 1 May. So any advice on next steps would be appreciated. I'm considering oxalic acid in glycerol on paper towels. By the way, I've counted almost 20,000 varroa so far!
  • Create New...