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Old Timer

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Old Timer last won the day on April 7 2018

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About Old Timer

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    Egg

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    Semi Commercial

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    Dunedin

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  1. Thank you John for 7 very worthy reasons against my earlier response. Seven, eight and nine are looking like you are scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel to fill your quota. Down here in the lower South Island we don't suffer from ants, cockroaches, humidity nor aggressive bees. Every hive that I have seen that has died from varroa has had less than 100 bees left remaining, therefore no rotting/maggots and no smell. There are reasons why people usually keep the bees within, usually the cost of removal outweighs the nuisance value. As a beekeeper I would try to remove them or at least use expanding gap filler to lock them in and encase them in their own tomb.
  2. Old Timer

    Storing supers

    Utter bs! I have wax moth in my shed, if I don't regularly go through my stored blocks of beeswax and rub the moth out then in a couple of years there won't be much left. Also, I have to seal all cartons of foundation otherwise it'll be chewed away too. I'm lucky that we don't have the greater wax moth down south, we would then have to wage war against them, we don't have time for that.
  3. Old Timer

    Storing supers

    I agree with Alistair and John Berry. Basically clean all the wax from the frames, stack the supers (with frames in them), don't cover the stacks. As long as the supers aren't in direct sunlight they'll be as good as gold till you return.
  4. Why, may I ask is there a problem with having a resident colony within the exterior walls of your home? Over my lifetime of beekeeping I have met numerous people who are quite proud of their resident bees, always wanting to show them off to visitors, especially those with an interest in beekeeping. Many years prior to the onslaught of varroa mite I was shown a bee nest in the wall of a house by the owner, a zoology lecturer. He had hives in his back garden, but insisted that the bees were residents prior to him buying the house. Using some heat detection equipment he borrowed from the zoology department he discovered that the nest covered an area of about 5 sq metres. The bees were in the wall above the head of his bed. Every night he would go to sleep to the sound of a gentle hum. I cannot for any reason think why someone would want the bees removed. If they are using a vent that would be problematic for the human residents, then you block off all vents excluding those that are above head height or are in a position where the bee flight does not affect you. If you leave them there they may die off from varroa mite, in which case there won't be many dead bees to cause any smells. If they survive many years you can sell them to a breeder for being varroa resistant.
  5. Old Timer

    Honey Super Storage

    I had my honey supers stored in a 20 foot insulated container. A full container holds approx 640 3/4 depths. Only last year I discovered an infestation of wax moth, probably due to a non-season last year so the supers didn't go out. In autumn I removed all the supers and sent 200 away for rendering down, and the remainder I stacked on wooden pallets outside. That is where all the supers still are, open to the weather all winter, spring and into summer. When I stacked them on the pallets I spaced out the 8 frames as if they were being put on the hives thus making it impossible for the grubs to move from frame to frame. The wind blows through them, it has rained, snowed and hailed onto the exposed supers. The top two supers of each stack have been bleached by the sun and all burr comb has fallen off the most exposed frames. The wax moth is DEAD! Now I'm trying to sell all my hives and beekeeping equipment to retire from the business. I'm still tossing up whether to render down the remaining 300 odd supers, hardly worth it for the wax and nobody wants to buy second hand empty honey supers. Any ideas??
  6. Old Timer

    Re-using Queen cell cups when grafting

    Most queen breeders I know have an old saucepan and gently boil the cell cups. Not too hot or they'll distort in shape. Tip saucepan out (NOT down a drain), rather onto some dirt outside where you want to kill the weeds, but tip it through a large sieve. Give them a jostle (gentle shake) in the sieve to release the water, and there you have it, clean cell cups! Repeat this process till all cups are ready for use again.
  7. Old Timer

    Document Frame wiring air tool

    There is a bit of talk about jigs. I've been using a jig for 35+ years, I've used other peoples' jigs but I always prefer mine. My jig is home made from wood, can be screwed down to the workbench in a position that suits me. As for tension of the frame/wire, it is really not that important, as long as there is a little bit of tension in the wire. The frame must be held firmly so that it doesn't pull out when you are pulling on the wire. The wire tension doesn't have to be so taught that you can play a song, just tight enough to embed. As soon as the frames go into a warm hive the wire will expand anyway but won't sag. The problem we face these days is that the quality of the frame wood is very poor due to the early harvesting of trees and the genetic modifications that have been carried out with Pinus Radiata. The trees are growing too fast so there is no strength left in the wood. With this in mind, pulling tight on frame wire can result in the wire cutting through the wood, so it pays not to pull too hard.
  8. Old Timer

    Document Frame wiring air tool

    I bought a cheapie from Bunnings ( about $40.00 ), I've had it for about five years and done in excess of 30,000 frames. No problems with it so far, does not require lubricant, (it is a dry running stapler, as a lot of them are these days). When it eventually will break down then I'll buy another cheapie to replace it. I have Bostich staplers that do not last as long and cost a small fortune to be repaired. With a stapler you put in the first staple near the inside edge of the end bar, then bend the wire back over it and staple. Twist the wire until it breaks, leaving no wastage. I purchase boxes of 10,000 staples, enough for 2,500 frames. There is no need to spend heaps of money on small staplers, there are plenty of cheapies to choose from. You have to 'feel' each stapler in your hand to ensure the grip is good for you, not too heavy, nor too light. Happy hunting.
  9. Old Timer

    tall hive pics

    The tallest hive I've ever had the displeasure of harvesting exceptionally full boxes from, was when I worked for Keith Herron of Greenvale Apiaries back in the early 1980's. To remove the top four supers we used a step ladder that was on the deck of his big Ford truck. All his honey supers were full depth, and in that particular season the average weight was between 35 - 40 kgs.I remember the yard, in the Waikia Valley, a real sun trap. That season, I think it was either 1980 or 1981, he had the best honey crop of his life. From 1600 hives we pulled off slightly over 130 tons of bulk honey and he filled two refrigerated containers of cut-comb honey for export. It went to Saudi Arabia if I remember rightly, got some serious coin for that. The hives were run at either two or three full depth brood nest, and every hive had a half depth on all year round, that was their winter feed box. I think the tallest hive had 12 or 14 supers above the 1/2 depth. It was Keith who insisted that these particular hives be supered excessively. Can anyone beat that? Personally, I have never experienced a crop like that.
  10. Old Timer

    Paraffin dipper

    When I started beekeeping this is what I used. The drum was an ex-petrol drum, heavy gauge steel that is galvanized inside and out. The drum lasts for about 10 years, usually the bottom burning out. Mine was outside on a red brick base, a fire underneath at first. After a couple of boil-over wax fires I bought a 4 ring gas burner, 15' (5 metre) of hose and regulator, and hired a 45kg bottle of gas from the local bottle filling company. With the gas I could control the temperature of the wax, and keep the heat constant when dipping and turn it up when melting more wax. Don't use a standard honey drum because the metal is far too thin and will burn out within two years. If you don't mind spending a little money then it would pay to seek out an engineer or someone who is an excellent welder and get them to make a rectangular box dipper, ideally with two bars in place that will hold the box(s) under the surface of the wax in the middle of the tank, with a feed in and out feed trays at either end. with this arrangement you would need two either three or four burner gas rings and two standard gas bottles. I don't like the idea of having a fire anywhere near a paraffin dipper, it is a dangerous threat. Use gas, it is much safer and less likely you'll have to explain to your insurance company how you set your neighbourhood alight. My friend Brian (Beeline Supplies) had a dipping tank made for the business. Made from stainless steel; holds five boxes under and one half under at either end, plus a drain shute at either end, so you could say it holds nine boxes. Three x two ring burners in the middle and two four ring burners - one at each end. A box pushed in every 30 seconds. The top of the tank has a lid, to be removed when waxing smaller items, - mats, excluders etc. The dipper was expensive to be built, I think around $8,000. But it has proved its worth many times over. It can be stored outside, as it has covers over the ends so rain cannot get in. You are a commercial beekeeper, it would be cost effective to have one made to your specifications, it would last your lifetime of beekeeping. Brian's dipper is transferred inside using a forklift the day before dipping, then you can dip in any weather.
  11. Old Timer

    Vitahive Pollen Power Feed

    My personal experience, I don't use purchased supplements. I put pollen traps out on some selected hives (those that have an abundance of stored pollen), collect and freeze. When it comes to making the patties, I remove the large debris then mix the pollen with a 50/50 sugar syrup in my wifes' cake blender (it is a semi-commercial one). I add pollen to one litre of syrup, keep adding in small amounts till the mix is the consistency of a heavy dough. Remove the mix from the bowl and spread out on baking paper, then roll with rolling-pin. If the mix sticks to the rolling-pin then you need to add more pollen. Cut out the patties using a circular cutter then lay the patties on another sheet of baking paper, place the patties in the freezer. Each sheet of patties can be laid on top of the sheet before, as the patties will not stick to the baking paper. Keep them frozen until you need to take them out and use them. I prefer to use my own pollen, then I am sure that I'll not be picking up someone else's diseases. When distributing the patties carry scissors or a utility knife to cut the baking paper into squares, place the patties (on paper) on the top bars just under the excluder. It'll be devoured overnight and the paper shredded out the front door.
  12. Old Timer

    Moving Hives - Help

    I think you have enough advice on the shifting. Congratulations on your first house purchase, hopefully you'll have a nice level position to place your hives, no uphill - no downhill. It makes you think very hard why you put the hives in such a hard-to-get-to position, it is a mistake that a lot of 1st timers make. If a property isn't suitable to place said hives then all you need to do is ask a friend or relative if the hive/s can be put on their property. Either that, or cut a track wide enough for a store barrow for ease of removal of honey/hives.
  13. Old Timer

    Time For Seasons Start?

    It has been a mild winter down here in Duds, noticeably the bees didn't really shut down for winter, but it was cold enough that they didn't chew through their winter stores. Otto is feeding out some but that all depends on how much honey was left on the hives. Finding three frames of brood at this time of the year is not uncommon after having the warm days of late. I'll be starting to feed out syrup in 2 - 3 weeks just to stimulate brood laying for preparation for splitting in September. I only hope the weather stays mild enough for the drones to fly for mating. Last year I had to requeen all my splits after three weeks as a cold spell struck right when all my queens were meant to be out on mating flights, it set me back, having to apologise to customers for not having the hives ready for sale. Fingers crossed this year will be a better one.
  14. Old Timer

    Drawn comb

    I'm in agreement with CraBee. Personally I would give a super of foundation in spring and syrup feed to draw the comb. Visiting regularly to rotate the frames in the super so they don't cap the cells. Take the super off if it looks like capping has started and put another foundation super on, keep feeding. Sort frames as you go, taking home all that are either drawn or half drawn. Use a 50/50 sugar syrup mix for drawing/stimulation. When you have a number of supers at home extract the honied sugar syrup and feed it back to the hives for more drawing. By the time the manuka is coming into bloom you should have a reasonable number of supers of comb, it doesn't matter if the combs are not fully drawn, the bees will get the picture very fast and they'll fill 'em up much faster than if they were foundation. You can do this method for drawing foundation for any type of honey to save you $$$.
  15. Old Timer

    Document Crazy business idea?

    Claire, Dennis has the right idea, exactly the advice I'd give. Rent-a-Hive has very high overheads, low - medium honey crop of multi floral type honey (low value) and very time consuming having only one or two hives per property. Also most people who rent hives usually want new equipment painted in pretty colours to suit their taste/s. If you build up your own hive numbers as Denis says you'll find it far more profitable and further expansion made much easier. Usually most beekeeping bosses are quite happy to know that you are taking a keen interest in the bees and if you ask nicely they may help you accommodate your hives on a couple of farms if you are having trouble finding sites. A few years back when I took up a position running a 900 hive outfit, I moved my 250 hives into the same area. This was at the bosses' request, so it made it easier on me to keep everything in check. Hopefully your boss would be happy to follow the same line of thinking.
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