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Everything posted by NickWallingford

  1. The Basics of Beekeeping This article appeared in the NZ Beekeeper No. 190, Winter 1986, pp 11-13. It appeared under the pseudonym 'Skep'. As I cast about for topics suitable for this column, this issue is always the hardest. Though as I write this, the weather is still warm and pleasant, I know that you will be reading it in the throes of winter. My first thoughts were to write about sources of information for the beginner beekeeping. I've decided to save that topic for the future, while optimistically writing this to give the beginner an overview of the cr
  2. This photo from a few years ago now - one of my favourites. Ian Berry once said to me that when he was at the NBA conference each year, it felt like he was with his family. His smile in this photo says it all. I've got several photos of Kevin Ecroyd when he was only a child. He and his sister used to get used in a range of honey-promoting photographic advertisements. Town buzzing with beekeepers | Guardian online WWW.GUARDIANONLINE.CO.NZ Beekeepers from far and wide celebrated their centennial year at the annu
  3. Notice that even as early as this, Allan Bates was active in the bee industry... He was involved for more than 60 years, and would have seen many changes...
  4. In 1910 Mr W Lenz had extended his operations to Taranaki, but in 1913 decided to sell his Taranaki holdings. A small co-operative was formed to buy the bees to sell them out to the members in lots, and to act as a marketing operation. The New Zealand Co-op Honey Producers' Association Ltd (HPA) was formed by HW Gilling (Matapu), HR Penny (Okaiawa), GH Buckeridge (of Eltham, the agent of the Farmers' Co-operative Organisation Society, which handled produce for export to England on consignment), HW Warcup (Hawera), HB Nicholas (Hawera), AR Bates (Kaponga), WJ Melville (Kaponga) and CE Grainger
  5. Russell Poole also played a mean string bass... And he appeared in some NZ quiz show and won a prize? I'll have to look that one up...
  6. In the late 1970s, only a few years or so after I came to NZ to work as a beekeeper, I had the chance to meet Allan Bates. At the time, Allan was in his late 80s. He had started beekeeping in Taranaki before the first war, and he even attended the first NBA Conference ever, in 1912. He served on the NBA Executive on numerous occasions over the years, and as president for two years in the early 1920s. He was made a Life Member by the NZ in 1960. At some point, he moved to Matamata and was a well-respected queen breeder. So I met Allan Bates at a Waikato Field Day - I
  7. @Maru Hoani I certainly do like those tall pallets. My back feels better just looking at the photo...
  8. Again, hives are not going to be destroyed because of a positive test. It would only alert the agency to better target the inspections that will happen. A positive honey sample from a packer will not be the basis burning hives, and it is malicious to imply that . The testing will be used to better target inspections that might follow. Arguing about how the results came to be is sort of interesting, but beside the real intention - improving tools and procedures to identify elements that have and do lead to the spread of AFB... I have a hard time underst
  9. If it were not for the PMP, AFB would effectively be de-regulated in New Zealand. Nothing whatsoever could be enforced: no one could be forced to deal with their AFB. Nothing could be done if AFB is exposed to other hives - intentional or accidental. Nothing. No one could be made to do just about anything related to AFB (and nor could anyone carry out inspections without the beekeeper's approval). If the (very small percentage of turnover) AFB levy provides nothing else, the fact that it provides for a degree of regulation of AFB makes it more than worthwhile. As for the empi
  10. Another ad that someone may need to explain to me. The one on the roof is obviously having a good time, but the other bee seems to be sneaking about to break into the house???
  11. Percy Berry and the other Hawkes Bay beekeepers of the late 1940s and 1950s faced the first of the really bad pesticide damage to their hives. Orchardists sprayed quite indiscriminately and there were large bee losses for the first time on such a scale.
  12. Haha I hadn't thought of that but now that you've said it I can't unsee it!
  13. I like the truck with the crank handle in place. And the implications of standing on two boxes to do an inspection - one of them on end! And notice it is only one 'son' at this stage in the business - Ian Berry. @john berry - is that intended to be Percy? I don't remember him with a pipe, but mostly knew him from bee meetings over the years - maybe he smoked a pipe when he was younger?
  14. Or any other removal/swapping of equipment. And base it on risk: think about how many hives might end up with the equipment. I remember one of Mark Goodwin's explanations, giving (I think???) the example of equalising brood between two hives. You put two hives at risk, so you should take reasonable care in inspecting. But take a box of honey from what turns out to be an AFB hive and the risk goes up to 8 or more hives put into possible risk. Any removal or swapping of equipment is a time to remember (possible) consequences - and if the risk is higher, make your inspections more thorough a
  15. I found with small nucs - polystyrene box type - that putting the cell in as you put the cup of bees in worked well. It seemed to 'anchor' the bees a bit better, rather than them just drifting off as soon as they could...
  16. Ripe cells are somewhat resilient. We used to carry them in a small chilly bin with a warm water bottle underneath a towel. Another outfit I worked for had a special box of queenless bees to keep the temperature steady throughout the day of distributing ripe cells. By this stage of development, the almost ready to emerge queens should be able to tolerate some temperature changes, but try to keep them warm - just like the middle of the brood nest...
  17. I'd venture to say it is more like 100%. I don't think there are any of those 2006 bees still alive today... I delivered a bee talk based on the idea "Don't worry about saving the honeybees - save the beekeepers. They'll take care of saving the bees..."
  18. No, that sounds fine. Bees are amazingly resilient, really. More likely to lead to loss would be a too-early-too-often look to see if there are any eggs, leading as @john berry says the 'balling' of the queen. With a 'reasonable' cluster of bees (more than a mere handful), stores and esp. still emerging bees, the virgin should be well catered for. Queen cells are funny things - amazingly tolerant of bumps and bounces at some stages, but incredibly delicate at other stages of development. We put out a bunch of 2 day old cells with one outfit I worked for, but if you were too e
  19. Absolutely. Most of the hard feeding work is done now, in the creation of the queen cell. You're just wanting to have a nucleus (so to speak...) of bees to care for the emerging virgin up to the time after mating when you are ready to utilise her. So a mix of emerging, sealed and unsealed brood doesn't make much real difference - there might be some larvae still to feed, but it shouldn't overwhelm the colony as it establishes into its new role of getting a mated queen into place. And your cell will be emerging almost right away, long before they'd be raising more cells off any last young la
  20. If you have never stopped by Geoff Ernest's museum, just out of Tirau on the road to Rotorua, you should make a plan to visit. Geoff started beekeeping in the middle 1960s, and now is down to no hives - he has to buy honey, he says! Geoff is a collector of many things, but my own focus was on his honey tin collection. It is without doubt the finest collection of NZ honey tins I've ever seen. The tins hold a history of people and places. Anyone who has been around the industry for any length of time will recognise some of them, beekeepers long gone. I spent a delightful couple
  21. Remember, this has always been *our* 'empire' - the PMP was created by and for NZ beekeepers. The objectives and the operational plan are quite clear as to what the levies will be spent on. And if *we* are successful, our little 'empire' will go away. Eliminating AFB from NZ is possible, preferable and profitable for the beekeeping industry overall...
  22. One of the most striking pollens I ever saw - it often seems to stretch and drag off the bees legs, rather than remaining as a pellet. Absolutely beautiful.
  23. Yesterday I was watching bees foraging on some blue lupins I planted on the hillside. I did it to remind me of Texas bluebonnets of my childhood - on which I had never seen a honeybee. Those blue lupins reminded me also of a time when I had some 'inter-species communication... 1975. I hadn't been in NZ long, and was working for Harry Cloake, living near the Pareora River. I had made a 4 (vertical) frame observation hive and was enjoying watching the dancing foragers. I'd been told that lupins weren't attractive to bees - not sure who or why. So when bees with a so
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