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The Frasers

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About The Frasers

  • Rank
    Nu Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Beginner Beekeeper


  • Location
    Lower Hutt

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  1. Maggie, as a kid I would run around in bare feet and collect bits of glass, sharp stone fragments, and 'prickles' regularly. Mum had a tin of patent remedy but when we were out, she mixed grated Sunlight Soap with a warm slurry of Cremoata and bandaged that on overnight to draw the object out. Gotta wonder where the idea originated for the soap ingredient for dressings. Back then we bought a cake tin of bulk honey once a year from Arataki and it was strictly rationed to us kids. I think that if I'd had honey applied to my foot back then, I'd have gone off quietly and licked it off! Same now, if only I wasn't so old and creaky.
  2. Thank you for that. Much appreciated. With our so-called trial, we found that the mix firmed up the strips slightly, and they needed to be stacked flat on their sides in a container under a strip of coreflute and light pressure once drained to stop them curling longwise. No pressure to experiment with this, you have all winter :-) No, two strips across the top of the frames of 3/4 brood boxes above the cluster.
  3. I could email you some...
  4. So out of all this, might someone with more experience than us two have a go at oxalic delivered with some of that tape and report back valid findings to the Forum so that if it is an improvement and of benefit, us beeks are better off? Or if not, at least we'll know.
  5. Sorry. Yes, that was the post. The consensus was that it was a probable mite associated "dis-ease" and ought to be treated immediately with a patent remedy. We removed the tape and installed Bayvarol at 4 strips per box and removed them last weekend. Whatever the source of the odd behavior was, both our hives are a bit low on stores but otherwise fine. No increase in mite fall was seen with the Bayvarol but then, no more odd behavior either.
  6. It's called Cosio Tree Tie Webbing W: 50mm, L: 5m Beige in Mitre10 (not to advertise) catalogue, but we got ours from a Masterton nursery. We cut strips 250mm long and saturated them in a plastic box with a 2:2:1 mix of Oxalic Crrystals, Glycerine, Water by weight. When saturated they were rollered to remove liquid and reduce their weight to 10g more than an untreated strip weighed. Not very scientific admittedly. Two of these were sat across the top of the frames in the bottom brood boxes of two hives. The bees and brood did not appear to be affected by the strips' and they got sparingly propolised to the frames over three months. Sugar shaking was done once and returned 2 or 3 mites and mite fall on sticky boards was minimal throughout. The strips were removed on Forum advice as being a possible contributor to wobbly bees at the hive front (see post on that) and the experiment hasn't continued. Perhaps this is worth pursuing, but we'd leave it up to those more learned. So far it has been at best a left-field idea to get around the durability problem towels and dishcloths have and showed some promise. Having come across the idea of toothpick suspension between frames recently, that too might be an idea.
  7. We found a horticultural tree-tie tape that we were trying out as a way of exposing the oxalic juice to the bees last year. It is a vegetable fibre weave with a black stripe down the center and 50mm wide, sold in a roll. It stayed moist and wasn't chewed as towels were.
  8. When we bought our first hive-ware from a retiring keeper four years ago, and then attracted a swarm to put in a box from the collection, two of these pictured bases came with it. With experience has come curiosity, and we dug the bases out and cleaned up the best one. It appears to be a pollen trapping device with mesh ventilation openings and a variable entry set-up to permit free entry or entry through the pollen stripper and a minimal size entry option via the plastic tubes in the corners. The pollen falls into the slide-out tray shown, well, slid out. Can members recall these bases? Are they practical and what are the drawbacks? Ought they to be fitted only under a really strong hive and what sort of harvest/non-harvest swap interval should be practiced to keep the hive healthy. We are "gorse farmers" and thought to harvest when the stuff is in bloom. Any advice yea or nay welcomed. Missing from the photos is a hardboard insert with a half base area port that sits inside under the frames. Thanks.
  9. Agreed, Yesbut. Yes, but, leaving them in a shaded area with a single brood box with a few frames of patchy stores in a super above, and with a feeder above that was a fatal flaw. Too much "room" to keep warm in. Chilled brood, damp boxes, cold winter.. So many things could have been done better, like the site, frame feeder, just the one box. If there had been another hive back then they ought to have been merged with it. As it was we caught a swarm that spring and the few hundred remaining in the first hive were merged and died with friends in the warm.
  10. @cBank, thank you for that. Totally agree on point 4, and a lot of the advice to others on the Forum has produced light-bulb moments for us facing similar situations. We here are a team. Me the "poke it and see if it squeaks", hands on part of the pair, and she the "They're your bees but I would..." part. And with just so much to know and so little time, mistakes are made. Often. Killing a hive with too few bees and too much room for them to keep warm that first winter. Starving a hive to close to extinction with a top feeder beyond the reach of the cluster the second spring. Veering off the trodden path with home made Varroa strips... I'm with you on the alcohol wash. I respect their life and feel badly when any are killed especially in ignorance by lack of knowledge (see above) and by squashing between boxes for instance. Drowning them in a stinging toxic liquid deliberately needs to have no alternative so far as I'm concerned, and icing sugar is that alternative. Sugar shakes here are, well, an exercise. Getting 3-400 bees from a brood frame into a jar of sugar is an event of slapstick which is almost beyond me. She will suit up and help but this introduces an element that helps and hinders in equal measure: discussion. I'm just about comfortable with mashing drone cells for the greater good and the brace comb casualties are a bonus. That said, we seem to have a low incidence of mite and associated disease from what we see. Acting on the advice given, we applied 4x Bayvarol strips per 3/4 brood box (two boxes per hive) and the bigger 3-box hive. top box too. Both have sticky boards and the mite fall has been in the order of about 10 from the small hive and 20 from the big hive since the strips went in. Both hives have increased in vigour and numbers noticeably since then though. So much to learn, etc etc. Thank you again, Forum. Your advice is an invaluable and reassuring that bees can be kept and enjoyed with proper attention.
  11. We found and purchased Bayvarol on Saturday morning and as it calmed down to turn to the south in the afternoon, put four strips into the brood frames of each box in both hives. No dead bees outside the front of the small hive, or pedestrians. It's bare earth all around it and they are immediately visible. The oxalic home treatment was an experiment that grew out of a try with paper towels soaked and dried as described by Randy Oliver, laid across the brood box frames. Oxalic seemed to be a substance that mites don't evolve to tolerate. Our towels appeared to our VERY limited keeper experience to be working, with mites in very low numbers in brood and bees. The mixture was Randy's later 1:1:0.5 or as Alastair put it 2:2:1 Our bees left some towels alone except for gluing them to the frames but chewed most to bits in a fortnight or so and clogged the base with fibres. Changing from towels to tree tie tape was a left field experiment with no precedent and seems to have had a bad reaction. Again, with no proof. The tape was propylised, the brood pattern became patchy over the three months the tapes were in the small hive but not the bigger one. Mites appeared to still be controlled. But as the Forum points out, there is far more to healthy bees than applications of homemade remedies and wishes. We're going to patent remedies again, rotating, and listening closely to advice. And thank you for your guidance.
  12. Sugar shake Take #1 completed, on 250ml of bees, - "no, I don't want to go in that jar, and neither do the rest of us!" and 1 mite to show for it. Take #2 scheduled for when I'm forgiven. We have 2 hives, one that was always in full sun and one in part shade. The big one, the full sun one has moved slightly to a "more sensible" shall she say, spot and the smaller, subject hive, condensed to one three-quarter box and moved into the light and is now rid of wax moth evidence and condensation and brooding well. Not excellently, just well with a second year queen. Both hives have had homemade oxalic strips installed and the large hive still has one. These are hessian tree tie tape soaked 12 hours in 1:1:0.5 oxalic glycerine water and squeezed dry through old wringer rollers. One per hive, 300mm long, across the top of the brood. Too much, I'd venture, for one brood box but enough for two as the bigger hive has typically 1-2 mites per check over two brood boxes. We agree that a substitute treatment is about due and have used Bayvarol in the past before the oxalic. Apivar then probably. Hopefully this helps with the diagnosis but the mite disease portfolio sounds like being on the money. Thank you Trevor, Alastair, and CraBee for your input. Gold.
  13. Thank you Trevor. Breaking out the icing sugar....
  14. Last evening sat outside the "small hive" watching the comings and goings, I noticed a worker emerge, walk down the base to ground level and strike out on foot straight away from the hive. She seemed to pause three or four times then about a metre out, fell over and became inert. A minute or so later another worker repeated the performance almost exactly. I went over and picked them up looking for signs of wing damage, chewing, stings given or received. Nothing. Over a half-hour around ten bees did this as dusk fell. I noticed that the pauses looked like swift cleaning episodes, hind legs wiping down the sides of the abdomen, and not all of them did it. Some appeared hunched, some didn't. I came inside. This morning I fixed the roof of that hive, and sat and watched. There were no more bees on the ground out front than last night and in total there were about twenty of varying age among the litter. Then a solitary worker flew out and landed maybe twenty centimetres in front, and then walked the five metres into the bush stopping to groom a couple of times and not looking back. Bizarre. Supporting evidence: Last weekend a frame of brood and a frame of stores were put into a second brood box topped up with drawn comb and the box added to the hive since it was coming back from a slow build-up in shade this season. The nurses shaken back into the donor hive. An oxalic Varroa strip which was probably contributing to patchy laying was removed at that time. To relocate out of the site shade, the hive had been on holiday for a fortnight to the other side of the Hutt Valley and had fresh brood and more bees on its return a fortnight ago. The new site has good sun, little wind, is in ancient gorse and native regrowth, and has Red Wasps observed wandering by on occasion. Could they be attacking the hive? The hive is otherwise happy and healthy, docile enough to be looked into without gear but with caution, and foraging well. In a week they have begun capping the top third of one side of two of the drawn three-quarter frames. But we'd really like to know if you Wise Ones can explain the weird behavior and tell us what it means. Thanks.
  15. How did that happen? Sorry, my bad. Thank you Trevor.
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