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Alastair last won the day on December 10

Alastair had the most liked content!

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About Alastair

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    Field Bee


  • DECA Holder
  • Beekeeping Experience
    Semi Commercial


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  1. Alastair


    Great information Ali, thanks, and enjoy your Christmas also. 🙂
  2. Alastair


    Thanks Sailabee you give great advice! I'll just find a bottle that works, and hang onto it. As a slight aside, I read the Mafia control olive oil in Italy and several other countries, and blend it with cheap oils, or make fake olive oil that does not even have any real olive oil in it at all. As a result, around a third of olive oil on USA supermarket shelves is fake. So I only ever buy NZ produced olive oil just to be safe.
  3. Alastair


    Handy to know Sailabee, I haven't bought one yet so that's something to consider. Guess I could get one, calibrate it with their solution, then test it with some olive oil. If it gives the right result I'll keep the bottle for future calibrating.
  4. Alastair

    Laying Worker

    I see that also occasionally John, the odd worker cell with a drone in it, then next visit there is a bigger % of drone brood in worker cells, then she goes full blown drone layer. I assume it's because she is running out of semen but fertilizes most of the eggs but things gradually worsen. Interesting thing, bees often don't recognise the problem and don't attempt to supersede until it's too late. If I don't have any alternatives on me, I'll just kill such a queen and force them to raise an emergency queen, which is not perfect but a better alternative than having her fail completely and leaving the hive with no worker eggs to raise a new queen. The way I differentiate between that and a queenless hive with laying workers, is that laying workers lay many eggs in one cell, a drone laying queen will still place the eggs properly, one per cell.
  5. Alastair

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    Or, perhaps too many consultants were employed, and instead they should have asked a small child to think of a name that would work. I always think of that fiasco when Auckland Council decided that City Of Sails was no longer the brand they wanted and spent around 3 million on consultants to think of a new logo. They got one, spent another fortune on removing all the old logos around the place and putting the new one in. The new logo was frankly, ridiculous, and the public hated it. To such an extent the Council had to backtrack, remove the new logos, and return to the old one. The biggest tradgedy? The grossly overpaid consultants kept their money.
  6. Alastair

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    There is still an elephant in the room. Or in fact, 2 elephants. The first is that the scheme is trying to increase it's per hive revenue, arguing it needs this to provide a more thorough service. The second elephant is many people don't want to put their hand in their pocket, they think someone else, but not them, should pay more instead, and that they themselves, should pay less. So from a psychological perspective, just how the levy is calculated is semantics. What it seems most people want, is any method at all, long as it means that they themselves pay less. And somebody else pay more instead. The NIMBY phenomina. That is why this whole thing has hit a wall.
  7. Alastair

    Honey Price Collapse

    Agree with that one. I love 4WD'ing, and I love the beautiful places I go. I also take a lunch with me and where possible stop to have it in some nice spot that restores the soul. Just what an urban dweller like me needs. ?
  8. Alastair

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    Then you don't read facebook, rental dude from Tauranga was super wound up, and talked about all the letters he's been writing etc.. Re super big sites, I don't like them either. But, nobody puts bees in big sites to avoid afb levy, it's done for other reasons and won't change with a different way of calculating the levy. Me, I'll accept whatever changes come in, that's life. The fairness of it will depend just how much you get charged for purely being a beekeeper, and then after that how much per hive. If it is not much for being a beekeeper, then most of it is per hive, it will be too unfair to be workable and will eventually change back. That's because if it's a dollar or two per hive regardless how many you got, there is no way the one or two hive people will be able to be inspected without incurring the scheme a finacial loss. While at the same time, large beekeepers paying thousands who never see an inspector and cost the scheme nothing, will object. Also, unlike most people participating in the discussion, I am not arguing purely out of self interest. I have a large number of sites with only a few hives on them, I may end up better off under the new scheme. So my views are not purely selfish, they are just about what I see as fair and workable. Could be wrong though ?
  9. Alastair

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    Well, can't fault them as far as listening to the people goes, and attempting to do what the people want. The way it has to be i guess. Me, I personally disagree with this change, because for an AP2 (or for that matter anyone), to inspect 20 hives at one apiary, is FAR more efficient than inspecting 20 hives in 20 different apiaries. I suspect there may be a vocal rental hive operator or two, who have badgered and letter written their way to getting what suits them to pay the least amount of money. Even though that now with the dropping price of honey, rental operators are the group who can most afford it. They forget that the next group to feel they have a grievance, will be commercial operators with bigger and more efficient sites, who for the most part do a good job of managing their own AFB, so are never seen by an inspector. But will now feel they are shelling out thousands of dollars, just to subsidise rental hive operators and such. Especially now many of those commercials are struggling financially, while rental hive operators charge on an entirely different basis. There will be problems as some commercials struggle to come up with the money. Anyhow, that's democracy.
  10. Alastair

    December 2018 Apiary Diary

    The two are likely related.
  11. Alastair

    December 2018 Apiary Diary

    Well put it this way the winch does get used. Main issue with heavy loads is if you hit a soft bit of mud with no hard bottom especially if cattle have been wading belly deep in it, the weight is a negative, pushing the vehicle all the way down. That's the beauty of having a winch though it gives confidence to take the odd risk which mostly works out, but the odd time it doesn't, you got the winch. Yes some of the coastal areas here are interesting it can be sand quite a few km's inland. The sandy bottomed creek pictured has a good hard bottom, could drive a car through.
  12. Alastair

    December 2018 Apiary Diary

    LOL can't say where it is of course!
  13. Alastair

    Honey Price Collapse

    Collecting it is tough on the bees. Normally you run a trap on a hive for a few weeks, then remove it. I do not know the current price of pollen. It used to be a nice little side earner for smaller beekeepers who needed to maximise every dollar from each hive, and it was advertised on TV constantly. Then we got flooded with cheap Chinese pollen and killed the NZ producers. Then the main pollen sellers were busted for selling Chinese pollen but saying it was NZ pollen. They were fined heavily and closed shop. And that, was the end of pollen as a popular multi million dollar fad in NZ. The lesson here, is about greed. Had those businessmen been honest, they would still be running their business. But no. The nice profits they were making were not enough, they had to resort to fraud and make even bigger profits. Now they are gone. Sound familiar?
  14. Alastair

    Honey Price Collapse

    Live on pollen. I've sometimes thought that if I were stranded on an island with 2 or 3 beehives, pollen traps, and all needed equipment, long as there was a source of fresh water there would be a basic survival level there. Add in seafood and whatever else could be found, the pollen would give all the goodies you need, you could stay fit.
  15. Alastair

    December 2018 Apiary Diary

    I'm new to this area so don't know what is normal, but didn't seem like a huge flowering to me. Manuka still flowering now but kanuka is starting so trying to get the pure stuff, sorting out fully capped frames one at a time. Uncapped will have to stay and be harvested later, will see how it tests after that. Other factor has been incessant rain, i don't even know how the bees got the crop they have. Rain finally stopped so have pulled 3 truck loads last 3 days, still plenty to go.