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Everything posted by NickWallingford

  1. 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???
  2. 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.
  3. Haha I hadn't thought of that but now that you've said it I can't unsee it!
  4. 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?
  5. 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
  6. 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...
  7. 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...
  8. 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..."
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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...
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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...
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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?
  22. 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...
  23. 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...
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