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Posts posted by NickWallingford

  1. Here's one I've just figured out...


    For most of my earlier years in the industry, the National Beekeepers' Assn had admin, accounting, and Executive Secretary services provided by the Pork Industry Board.  For my first conference, 1975, Graham Beard was the Exec Secy, followed by David Dobson, and then Steuart Goodman.  All up, the NBA worked with the Pork Board for about 20 years...


    Whenever anyone would ask "Why does the Pork Industry Board" do the admin stuff for the NBA, I had always assumed it was just some other primary producer body who saw the chance to take on an outside contract...


    But I think I've figured it now.  There was already a long standing connection for the PIB to the honey industry!


    Graham Beard was the connector.  In his younger days, Beard qualified in his early life as a cheesemaker ("Blessed are the cheesemakers!").  By the late 1940s, he was working for Marketing Dept (in earlier years, known as the Internal Marketing Division), and served as one of the government representatives on the Honey Marketing Committee.  




    When the Honey Marketing Authority came into being in 1953/1954, with the Govt clearly signalling that it no longer wanted hands-on involvement in honey marketing, civil servants such as Graham Beard went often to something similar to what they were already doing, with with an industry authority, or a board, or some such.  A.C. Bridle, the chairman of the Honey Marketing Committee, for instance, went to work with poultry marketing.  Beard went to work as the superintendent and chief technical officer for the Pig Producers' Council, which later became the Pork Industry Board.


    From 1953 to 1974, over the next 21 years, he worked for the Pork Industry Board.  And then, in late 1974, the Pork Industry Board took on the NZ Beekeeper's Association, after the previous Executive Secretary gave notice.  Graham Beard must still have had some friends and interests in the beekeeping industry!


    And a year or so later, Beard ended as the NBA's Executive Secretary (retired?) and David Dobson, of the PIB, took over.  And then in 1983 or so Steuart Goodman became the Executive Secretary, to be followed by Ron Rowe, Harry Brown, Tim Leslie and ultimately oblivion for the NBA...

    • Like 3
  2. 3 hours ago, Kiwi Bee said:

    @NickWallingfordhow many liters of water you need for one of those systems?

    One box can be up to 35kg, and one hive of 5 boxes will get close to 160kg. Just estimating.

    I try to visualize the 0.8m of tubing filled with water (80-90%) lifting the hive.... 3mm.

    Barely more than a cup or two!  When the water level rises in the tubing, it is exerting a force into the wine bag equal to the column of water - not the column of water in the tube, but the imaginary column of water of the same size as the wine bag. 


    So in the case I described, with 9.7 mm water rise in the tube equal to 1kg of weight, if you were weighing a 160kg hive, the water would be 1.6m up the small tube.  Admittedly, the models I made back then were not working with that weight - I was designing mostly for something more like half of that - I think I had the scale marked up to 100kg. 


    When you pour the cup of water into the tube, the hive lifts a bit and you can steady it with your hand as it sort of floats on the thin layer of water in the wine bag.  If you keep pouring water into the tube, the hive will continue to rise, this will distort its overall 'footprint' (h x w), and make the measurement inaccurate.


    The most amazing feeling was to stand on the platform yourself while pouring a cup of water down the tube - and feeling it lift you up!


    Sometime after I did this, I saw a Kiwi designed scale for weighing cattle.  It was basically a platform with 4 tyres tubes under it, with valves disabled and tubing between them.  Put the cattle on top, pour water until the platform rises, and read the weight on the vertical scale.  It was homegrown Kiwi No. 8 wire at its finest, and for a long time I would point at it and claim discovery of the principle!

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  3. Weighing beehives

    Some years ago I asked an engineering friend how *he* would
    weigh a beehive.  I expected some sort of tripod lifting
    arrangement with scale and lever.  Instead, he thought about
    10 seconds and said "Using a plastic wine bag!".  Took him
    the best part of an hour to explain it to me and convince me
    it would work.

    OK, here goes: cheapish wine in NZ comes in 3 or 4 liter
    cardboard 'casks', with plastic bag with valve out the side.
    The bags, once empty (ahem...) are in fact flat in
    construction - find one that is pretty big.  Small bag means
    greater accuracy, but harder to measure (hence less
    accurate, if you see what I mean).  Best I ever made was
    with a commercial sized bag that was almost the same size as
    the inside of a bee box.

    Build the floor arrangement.  Basically, a flat base with a
    telescoping lid that fits over it.  Hole cut in base to
    accommodate the valve arrangement of the bag.  Take out the
    'guts' of the valve, and glue 10mm diameter plastic tube
    about 800mm long into it.  I added a 20mm x 50mm piece of
    timber, fixed to the telescoping lid thing with a hinge, to
    support the plastic tube up the side of where the hive will

    Fit it all together, put it under a hive.  Now, here's the
    part I couldn't really figure: how much water would you have
    to pour into the tube in order to lift the hive off the
    base?  Hardly any!  After only a bit, water starts to 'back
    up' the tube to a certain height, then doesn't come up any
    further!  If you keep pouring water, the hive will lift
    higher, but the distance from bottom of hive to top of water
    in the plastic tube remains constant.

    The proper name for this thing is a manometer.  If you can't
    get it from this description, go to a good engineering book
    to get the concept.  By pouring only a little bit of water
    into the tube, the telescoping lid thing 'lifts' off the
    base, and the hive is floating on a waterbed type thing.
    The height of the column of water can be converted into the
    weight of the hive!

    The height of water is the 'head'.  Imagine a column of
    water the same size as the plastic bag, and as tall as the
    head.  The weight of that water would be equal to the weight
    of the hive.  So you can calibrate a scale up beside the
    plastic tube to give hive weight.

    Weight of hive (gm) = Area of bag (cm2) x Height of water in
    column (cm) x 1 gm/cm3 (weight of cubic cm of water).

    For the bag size I used (the only variable), it worked out
    that each kg of hive weight equated to 9.7mm of water height
    in the column.  It meant you could go some pretty accurate
    weighing, but the cost of the thing was just about nothing.
    You *might* want help drinking all the wine...


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  4. At one time I took quite an interest in weighing hives, back before the 'world of digital'.  Here's a bibliography I created.


    IT hive stand.  Gleanings in Bee
    Culture.  SepBusker, L.H.  The WATDt 1970 pp 521-525.  Hive stand with built in
    bathroom scales under back of hive (WATDIT stands for What
    Are They Doing In There).


    Bryan, Ernie.  If there is a will there is a weigh.
    Gleanings in Bee Culture (?).  April 1977 page 161.
    Bathroom scales inserted into frame below hive.  Scales not
    permanently fixed.


    Shaw, F.R.  An improved device for weighing colonies.
    American Bee Journal 96(8):322.  1956.  Uses spring scale
    with two people lifting hive off the ground using pipe
    across hive.  Hive supported on sides and back.


    Owens, C.D.  New hive scale for use by one man.  American
    Bee Journal 98(4):140.  1958.  Two wheeled cart with forks.
    Foot operated pedal with 4:1 advantage used to lift hive.
    Commercial hydraulic-compression unit between lifting lever
    and moving frame to read weight.


    Harding, J.P.  A simple method of weighing a hive.  Bee
    World 43(2):40-41.  1962.  Pipe inserted into permanent
    stand below hive. Hive lifted from sides using spring
    balance.  Total is sum of two sides weight times two.


    Al-Tikrity, W.S., Hillmann, R.C., Benton, Dr A.W., Clarke,
    W.W. Jr. Three methods for weighting honey-bee colonies in
    the laboratory and field.  American Bee Journal
    111(4):143-145.  1971.  Modified pickup truck hive loader
    method: boom off truck using block and tackle and hanging
    spring scale.  Lifting method: one person on each end of
    rod, lifting hive with hanging spring scale.  Leverage-lift
    method: Wooden bar is pushed down, pulling wire cable to
    lift hive in building.


    Bell, Roland.  My homemade hive scale.  American Bee Journal
    February 1979: 97.  Uses screen door spring, piece of baling
    wire, short chain and three iron straps.  Long bar (beam)
    suspended at the one foot mark, weight can be lifted from
    the short end when long end is pressed down at 2 to 1, 3 to
    1, etc.


    Hofmann, Chas. S.  Wintering its in's and out's.  American
    Bee Journal 105(1):6-8.  1965.  Telescoping device used to
    lift back of hive. Pointer moves up given distance before
    hive lifts off ground, indicating weight.


    Anonymous.  Introducing hive monitor(tm) weighing base, a
    revolutionary advance in hive management.  Gleanings in Bee
    Culture  105(4):138. 1977. Base to sit hive on, mirrored
    scale with pointer. Claims accurate readings to within 1/2


    Anonymous.  Fuers bienenhaus.  Chr. Graze catalog 1973-74
    (German bee supply company). "Plastikwaage"  DM 21.80 (1982
    price).  Appears to be a manometer/hydrolic scale, with
    water being poured in tube.


    Wedmore, E.B. A manual of bee-keeping. (publication details
    not available).  p 228-229, items 880-883.  Describes value
    of scale hive, use of spring balance to lift hive.


    Reid, G.M. Personal communication.  1974.  Describes use of
    spring balance with lever arrangement (fits into handhold on
    bottom box, to measure 1/2 weight of hive).  Commonly used
    in South Island, NZ.


    Gilberd, Darcy J.  Make your own bale weigher.  NZ Farmer,
    September 25, 1986, page 57.  Uses four car tires with tubes
    filled with water, joined by stems with copper tubes, then
    up to plastic tube against scale on wall.  Will take up to 2

    • Good Info 2
  5. In the early 1950s, a sort of black-mildew-blight was found on the manuka plants in South Canterbury.  Farmers (remember Rabbit Calicivirus?) quickly began to spread it.


    Reading between the lines, I think the beekeeping community was somewhat split between "Don't kill our significant honey producer!" and "Maybe those hillsides could be clover, too!" over the issue.  I haven't come across many unambiguous statements of industry position...




  6. There is one part of me that doesn't much care who the bkpr is.  If the colonies are within the realm of 'abandoned or neglected' (however that would need to be objectively defined...) I would be pleased if they were (1) immediately destroyed if any AFB at all is found (2) go through the process - probably must notify the land occupier, notice under lid, perhaps even newspaper notice? - to end up maybe 30 days later and then destroy the hives.


    I guess if I think about it long enough, the only reason I have for wanting to identify the bkpr is to charge back for the privilege of removing these hives from the NZ situation, since the bkpr so obviously didn't/can't/won't.  But generally, given the situation that preceded the 'abandonment/neglect' of the hives, no money might be forthcoming anyway!

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  7. I was meaning to say that by about 1950, the Dept of Agriculture had stopped allowing the 'shook swarming' method.  The reduction in AFB overall, and an industry-wide interest in dealing appropriately with AFB led to calls such as this to reduce the risks that are out there...

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  8. Up until about 1950, NZ beekeepers continued to try out 'remedies' for AFB...


    The methods almost always involved shaking hives off the frames, sometimes multiple times, to try to use up the last of their stores.  Equipment was variously scorched, boiled and disinfected, using the methods and beliefs that were common.


    It wasn't until about 1950 that (1) 'shook swarming', shaking bees off the combs to treat for AFB and (2) a serious attempt to reduce the risk created by abandoned or neglected apiaries.  Even with the calls by the industry at the time, the Dept of Agriculture was loathe to move too much in that direction, probably expecting a serious backlash should they make a mistake.


    Now?  I'm guessing there would be a massively more complex process needed to get rid of 'abandoned or neglected' apiaries...  But it still should be happening...


    Here is an unambiguous request by the industry in 1953, by way of a remit to the NBA conference of that year.




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  9. 16 hours ago, dansar said:

    New Zealanders propensity to top the tall poppies?

    Sadly, in N.Z., I think it is simply that there has been little effort to preserve our beekeeping history.  The industry has just never been large or important enough for anyone to focus on ensuring the continued availability of the old books.  After all, "Everything is on the Internet"...  


    And for sure, if you're going to read these old materials, you need to be clearly aware of the *current* conditions and practices for such things as AFB control and the (then quite indiscriminate) use of agricultural chemicals.

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  10. I just returned from a short time in Wellington, where I again took the opportunity to visit the National Library/Alexander Turnbull Libraries.


    Edgar Earp was one of the very first apiary staff in NZ.  Upon his retirement (?) in the late 1930s, he donated his own collection of books and other items - about 400 items in all.


    They are not really easy to get at - you can't just browse them on the shelf.  You have to order them from the catalog.  But to be able to hold the programme for the 1913 beekeeper's conference in your hands, with E.A. Earp's signature stamp on it - pretty amazing.


    I'm hoping at some point to make some of his earlier writings more available.  Earp worked through that period when AFB was to be controlled under legislation - but control often meant 'shook swarming', a less than effective measure to eliminate disease from one's colonies...



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  11. 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.




    Beekeepers from far and wide celebrated their centennial year at the annual conference on Sunday, welcoming New Zealand funny man Te...


    • Like 4
  12. 13 hours ago, NickWallingford said:

    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 (Te Kiri) on 17 December 1913. It was initially built around the packing operation of Mr HW Gilling in Hawera.
    There was no initial capital, with share capital being obtained by deductions from payments for honey supplied. Payments to members were financed by bank overdrafts secured by Joint and Several Guarantee for £8,000 by the Directors and by advances on honey shipped to the Company’s British agents.

    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...

  13. 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 (Te Kiri) on 17 December 1913. It was initially built around the packing operation of Mr HW Gilling in Hawera.
    There was no initial capital, with share capital being obtained by deductions from payments for honey supplied. Payments to members were financed by bank overdrafts secured by Joint and Several Guarantee for £8,000 by the Directors and by advances on honey shipped to the Company’s British agents.

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  14. 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 can't quite place which year it was!  Russell Poole was delivering an address to the crowd of beekeepers, loud enough that all could hear him well - he told of the Honey Marketing Authority, somewhat beleagured by that time by the honey industry.


    So the whole crowd could hear Russell Poole just fine.  All except for Allan Bates.  He sat in a chair immediately in front of Russell, and he had a massive ear trumpet.  I have never seen one before or since.  But Allan sat there with this device sticking up into Russell's face as he spoke, with a continual "What?  What was that you just said?  What?"  Russell held his composure and finished his remarks.


    Allan died a few years later, in 1979.


    So it amazes me that I met him.  I probably shook his hand.  But sure didn't know he'd been such an important part of the beekeeping industry for about 40 years before I was even born...



    • Like 2
  15. 10 hours ago, tristan said:

    keep in mind that testing only works with those that sell their own honey.

    many brands are made up of a lot of different beeks honey. eg it can be 30 different beeks honey in that jar. which one had the afb ?

    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.


    18 hours ago, morporks said:

    My point is that there are too many questions/possibility about the  AFB testing of honey sample to make claims that a positive sample means the beekeeper in non compliant with the AFB PMP

    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 understanding the mindset, seemingly encouraging beekeepers to stay just barely on the right side of the line of what could be deemed 'illegal', then challenging the agency to make the determination of which side of the line the beekeeper is on.


    My children used to do similar in the car's back seat: "She put her hand on my side!" "No I didn't. I had it as close to the middle as I could, but still on my side!  You can't get me for that!".

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