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Everything posted by NickWallingford

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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...
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. I'll add another aspect of Trevor's bee management back in the middle 1970s. In the year I worked for him, he did not feed any sugar at all. I'm pretty sure he didn't even have any feeders to put syrup in. Most of Trevor's apiaries were on dairy/sheep land around the south side of Mt. Egmont/Taranaki. For that part of the country, it was pretty light coloured honey through the main part of the season. But Trevor also had sites up the Taranaki coast as far as Urenui, and some in the rough land out behind Stratford. Those hives produced manuka, and plenty of it.
  7. OK. I guess this fits into the thread of ‘finding your niche in beekeeping’. And yes, it is history. And yes, it is all true. I guess, given these are real people, I should check with the family - they are still active beekeepers! But I hope that, given my genuine affection for Trevor, they’ll be OK with it. I came to NZ in very early spring, 1974. I’d left the US on the day that Richard Nixon resigned… Damn, that was a long time ago... And I came to NZ as a 23 year old to work for Trevor Rowe, in Eltham. Trevor had gone through the paperwork to enabl
  8. Yes, that is a start - better than the industry used to have. But if it could be extended to better indicate to some degree the quantity/nature of the risk, while still adhering to privacy requirements, it could be even better, I feel...
  9. And I agree with @Otto agreeing with @john berry! I was not anticipating that this might be a 'self-reporting' system - I was thinking more about hives inspected by someone trained for consistent reporting of the severity of an AFB infection. But (as I do not receive the warnings, not owning hives as I do, er, ah, don't) I am not sure if the TXT alerts you to the number of infected cases, or just that there are one or more? Again, the provision of the more detailed information would not have privacy implications, but could lead to better management decision-making.
  10. I have heard beekeepers say that the TXT notification of nearly AFB is useful, but does not provide enough information to respond appropriately. I can understand that for privacy reasons the PMP would not allow for divulging the hive owner's name, or detailing the exact location of the AFB found. But is there a reason that additional information such as the number of diseased colonies found, and/or information about whether any were deadouts/robbed. Either/both of those bits of data could help a beekeeper know how dramatically to respond. Multiple cases and robbed out
  11. There seems to be some upset that ApiNZ has generated publicity indicating that the industry is in good shape... If she had said 'the industry is suffering', she would be widely roasted for pessimism. If she had said nothing, others would be wondering 'why support the industry body if it doesn't do anything'. I share the concerns about the economic state of the industry, but as others are saying (I think) the resolution, the future profitability, is more (not all) in your own hands and decision-making.
  12. Don't get me wrong. I can certainly appreciate the nectar secretion - I remember the bees working it quite avidly. And it (as I remember from 40 years on) was a pretty bush (apart from the spikes). Nice (white?) flowers - but that one encounter kind of soured me on it. Sort of like the purple lolly water that made me sick when I was about 9 years old - I'll never be able to drink that stuff again... Maybe I'm just a 'speciest' - is that politically incorrect now?
  13. It has been many years since I worked bees in the South Island, and I'd forgotten completely about matagouri. I remember one vicious spike that led to me having an infected thumb. I do not like matagouri...
  14. Many years ago Steve Bozi of Rangiora used to make a sugar fondant sort of stuff - but I don't have the details... He made inner covers with about a 40mm rim on the side facing the colony. He would make up his sugar 'fondant' and pour it into the inner covers. Took some time to 'skin' over, but ultimately was quite firm and able to handle easily. It was just a last ditch chance for a colony winter survival. They most times would just ignore it. But if/when they were really getting hungry, they would work it, keeping them from starving until his next visit...
  15. Oh, and the mini-conference in Taupo has been cancelled: Hello Everyone, The NZ Beekeeping Mini Conference Committee have advised that as a result of the threat of COVID-19 the Organising Committee has decided to cancel this event. As the Conference numbers exceeded the 100 people gathering threshold, they had to consider how the friendly conference atmosphere would disappear. Due to the need for social distance the decision was inevitable, but the Committee believe the right one to make. They are committed to refunding everyone their money paid and will be in touch to
  16. "Back in the day" they were a lot more than just inspectors. They provided an important extension service for a government that ("back in the day") would overtly support industries to be successful... In later years, parts of the industry castigated them, saying they were only interested in seeing what beekeepers were doing so that they could sell that information overseas. And then, for most purposes, they were gone... Ironically, I have heard NZBeekeeping Inc call for them to be re-instated so that *they* could run/manage the PMP, rather than the beekeeping industry
  17. You referred to this trial earlier, but I am not sure of any reference. Can you find any more info on the trial? I'm not too sure how manuka honey is able to tell an arm from a leg...
  18. Another storm in a teacup, it seems to me. Going back to the original vote for an NBA Commodity Levy, back in 1996, it was the same situation. MAF (MPI of the time) held and maintained the apiary register. In order to conduct a reliable ballot for support/non-support of a levy proposal, an attempt has been made to ensure that any beekeeper who would potentially have to pay a levy would have the opportunity to vote. In that case (and with this?) the ballot papers were sent out by a third party. Remember, a Commodity Levies ballot is for the Minister to be convinced t
  19. A high infection rate is not a sudden thing. It indicates a breakdown in the inspection systems (frequency and/or quality) that are expected of responsible beekeepers. And if, in the interim while the infection rate grew, the beekeeper has not put some serious traceability into place, it seems to me that the supers will pose a real and significant and ongoing risk, both to this beekeeper and to all the other beekeepers who are nearby...
  20. Congratulations, @Dennis Crowley. A bit over 20 years ago we set off on the *possible, practical and preferred* option for dealing with AFB. The introduction of varroa into the mix only a few years later took the focus away, I feel. But with the ownership of the beekeeping industry, and confidence that if you want to eliminate AFB in your own outfit, you can, the goal of the AFB PMP can be achieved. The knowledge that a combination of more and better inspections, and some degree of equipment quarantining, can cost effectively eliminate AFB - that is what it takes... I look forward to your
  21. The concept of "needs someone or a group to keep it in check" strikes to the heart of it, IMHO. This is a PMP developed by beekeepers for beekeepers. It was not imposed from 'the outside'. My understanding is that APINZ has offered NZ Beekeeping Inc the opportunity to have someone join the Mgmt Agency Board. If NZ Beekeeping Inc is serious about a positive contribution to the elimination of AFB, surely this should be a step forward?
  22. Yes, indeed. The powers of compulsory inspection of beehives on private land go back to the Apiaries Act 1906. And yes, it is a serious power, and one that the Govt does not let loose of easily. The ability to enter onto private land to inspect beehives for AFB is one of the essential powers of the AFB PMP if AFB is to be eliminated, I would suggest...
  23. I take an interest when I hear statements that can potentially undermine the efficacy of the AFB PMP. I know that if those statements get repeated often enough with no one challenging them, that some people can end up believing they are true regardless. In this case - asserting that the Mgmt Agency should not use powers from both the PMP and the Biosecurity Act - it simply leaves a taint on the PMP, even though what is being done is fully being done with the legal powers available. I recall something in the original drafting of the OIC relating to us having to spell o
  24. I heard something of a complaint, a cry to "this should be wrong", regarding the powers being used by the AFB Pest Management Plan... The issue was that some of the powers being used were specifically spelled out in the AFB PMP order, but that other powers were being used that were authorised by the Biosecurity Act. "This type of thing is not under the AFB PMP but under the Bio Security Act. They seem to be switching things around to suit their agenda to target beekeepers." (Source: Waikato Branch of New Zealand Beekeeping Inc., AGM and General Meeting, 25 May 2019)
  25. If nominated, I will not stand; if elected, I will not serve. (No, those aren't my words, but the sentiment is there.) Richard Bensemann was the best vice president one could ever expect to have. I miss his good humour.
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