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About WebKiwiNZ

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  • Beekeeping Experience
    Beginner Beekeeper


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    Bishopdale / Christchurch

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  1. I've got to give a thumbs up to Ekrotek - if it is the same lady who (wo)mans the store - have found her to be helpful with advice - and encouragement. how are the hives going?
  2. White flowered - thats manuka isn't it? No - jsut checked and I'm wrong - Kanuka can be white too ... Ma (Maori) - White - but its not the case However the bushes we saw had dense white flowers - where as I understand Kanuka is more sparse - not as clumped. It looked like the bushes had light greyish snow all over them. Like the photo below. Up near View Hill / Oxford Forest I see there is a big bee farm - 2,500,000 bees according to the gate sign. They were flying over 1km away at the view hill car park and getting into the Manuka?? bushes there.
  3. The weather in Chch got slightly cooler last week....not by much but a little. I opened my back door one morning to find about 100 to 150 bees all around it. Most were clumped around an outside light we keep on for my son who lives in a sleep out. They stayed there until the sun started to reach the back door then flew off one by one. An unexpected welcome to the day. We were in Arthur's Pass Park last week. Lots of manuka blooming. All through Cragieburn and Oxford as well. Bee keepers near lake Pearson area moving hives so they are busy. In Oxford forest lots of bee flight lines visible when looking across the valleys. So its manuka time in Canterbury.
  4. We made a salve with bees wax and olive oil. Add in infused oil or essentials as required. Tea tree for grapes etc. Tried a cocoa butter and coconut butter and olive oil lotion mix. Slightly grainy but rubs in well. Hyper alkeginic wife loves it ... except for the way my head swings around and 'mmmm chocolate ' comments follow her .
  5. Looks like wind might be keeping them closer to home. We have majarum(sp) at home and the bumblebees have been at it for a couple weeks but no bees. Today lots of bees too.
  6. Im really greatful to this forum. Having access to this resource is a real help and the experience offered much appreciated. Im not sure how you got through a year isolated..thats a tough way to start. The NZ beekeeping book is a great help and having been shown the site resources am looking forward to watching. A course was a good start but so much was theory until you get hands on then it all comes home. Im almost tempted to redo the course with experience under the belt ... would retain more thats for sure. Im considering blogging a list of resources for newbies .. there are some great youtubers as well. I think you have hit the key ... relaxation. Relaxed with the bees. Relaxed about the keys. Bees are a survivor species with lots of strategies we learn from .. so as long as i dont drop a box, watch for verroa and help feed as required they should do okay. Kids are like that too ... except for the veroa .. but its so easy to get stressed when a life bump hits you. Surprisingly looking back 6 months the crisis of then arent an issue now. Have relaxed and Merry Christmas. Thanks for the advice. Crown board on top...will do. I used my lid to keep stuff together but didnt to the board. Ill reopen them on a nice day. Interesting you say to do it during the day. Much advice says early morning or evening when they are calm but looking back ive had it open middle of the day with less aggro. Queen temperament ... will look at that. Its been a not straight forward run. The nuc had veroa when i got it as chewed wings showed 16 days or so after getting them. Then it swarmed 2 to 3 months ago during a strong pollen flow. Both thi gs im told can reflect on the queen. Continued aggression will have me looking for another. Thanks for the advice. Merry Christmas Shane
  7. @yesbut and @mummzie Thanks for the advice. I went into the hive this evening around 7.30pm. 14 degrees with 34km/h wind. Wanted to get it done before Christmas and although it was more windy than I normally open them up in thought they should be okay / sheltered. Was I wrong!! I fully geared up - so I would take my time, got the smoker working, opened the top box up. Nothing going on again. So went to the second box. Second box (which is under the queen excluder) is chocker full of honey and bees but no brood - except a little in the very middle frames. No change there since two weeks ago so went to the bottom box. The bottom box was absolutely heaving with bees. Its worth noting I had already had a couple of bees getting a bit investigative around my head gear, and also my daughters who was standing about 2m away. I lifted a frame from the bottom box - capped brood, some uncapped larvae (small) and nectar / pollen and honey around the edges. At this point the visit went southward. The girls decided they weren't happy (not sure why) and suddenly had bees pinging off my head gear, hitting my hands (no gloves) and generally being niggly. The noise also went up. I got my daughter to go inside and walked away for a minute to let them calm down. They followed for about 5 -10 metres - pinging off my head gear. I got some leather gloves, put them on and went back. When I got within about 2-3 metres of the hive a group of 10-20 or more bees lifted off and started pinging my head gear again. They were seriously ticked off. I backed away, went inside (after they finally left me alone) and got a brimmed hat to push out the head gear. One ear was feeling too close to the mesh for my comfort. I gave them 5 minutes to calm down - went back. Again a wave of bees up and went for me when I was about 2m or so away from the hive. They were seriously ticked off. To cut a long story short - I inserted a new frame into he bottom box to fill the gap I had left with the one frame out, put the brood filled frame from the bottom in box two, slapped on the queen excluder (to stop the bees attacking me from there - both boxes having a go at me) and Got the smoker working (they go out at just the wrong time don't they) and smoked the bees off the bottom box, placed box two with the QE on the boxes (slowed them down getting at me) and put the honey filled frame from box two into the top box (above the QE). I was going to take the advice of swapping them out - every second one - but will work on the top two boxes on another day when the bees aren't so cantankerous. Lessons learned: Wearing a bee suit was a great idea. I still dont know enough to go gung ho. Even wearing a bee suit wont keep a newbie like me calm if they are pinging off the hood and really trying to get at you. I stayed slow and careful but my t-shirt was definitely a little sweatier than normal. Once I had got the brimmed hat under the hood I spent some time standing still near the hive, even though they were going for me. It helped get me more confident in my gear. I'm not suggesting newbies annoy their bees then stand in the resultant barrage to get experience - but I think taking time to experience being among annoyed bees in a suit is a good thing. I'm more confident in my gear now. The suit has some yellow spots on the hood and other parts that werent there before. Thankfully there was no brown spots where my undies are .. but when they first lit up it was a spooky experience. I don't know what set them off. I had removed the frame well before they lit up and hadn't done another frame. My theories are: The wind. Possibly an open hive with gusts of wind up to 34km/h was enough to upset them I am wearing a new deodorant based on tee tree oil. Normally I don't wear anything I can smell when working the bees - I can smell this stuff. Maybe it was the tea tree, maybe the smell. Something completely different. 5. Your smoker will go out when you least want it to. I was trying some pine shavings but I think they were too fine. I think I'll stick with sacking - it has never failed me yet. I'll get some photos up soon - after I go talk to them tomorrow - see what the story was I read somewhere a lot of new bee keepers don't make it past 1 year, little less two. I think days like today might be part of that - it is off putting - but that's why getting along side some old hands is probably a good idea. I'm planning on going up to the Cashmere group next month if I can or drop into the Kaiapoi group. Possibly will try to find a commercial bee keeper that needs a hand for a day or two - get used to what bees being worked more vigorously than I do as a novice looks like. Gain some skills and insight. The things we go through to get honey hey ...
  8. Wow a follower...my first...thank you @cBank The girls are doing well. I opened them up last week and had a look. The bottom box is full of brood and honey around the edges, the second box is absolutely heaving with honey, but no brood to speak of and the third box above the queen excluder has absolutely nothing happening in it. I was wondering if the Queen excluder was doing it's job too effectively but some bees are getting through so I suspect that it's something else. Over the last month or so there has been a lack of pollen coming in as I've been watching them. There was some robbing attempts last week and the girls did really well, lots of scraps on the doorstep, and they seem to be winning so that's awesome. In the last couple of days I've seen pollen it again (orange, white, yellow) and so I'm thinking it might start to flow again and if that's the case they may start building into the third box. Looking into this other people have done several things. Some of them have sprayed sugar water onto the frames, some of them move frames between Box 3 and box 2, some of them have added a feeder into the top box to draw the bees up. I think I'm going to go down the track of putting a feeder into the top box, in line with what at @CHCHPaul suggested. Hopefully that will draw them up as well as giving them a little boost to get started on drawing out comb and honey into the top box. As Paul says there is no rush and the hive looks like it's really really healthy. Up until now I've kept the front door 30% closed as the bees were still growing the hive. The way they are taking care of robbers and the amount of bees that are in the two boxes I think it's now going to be safe to open up the door a little bit further and let them have full access. Watching them last week the little ######s are very good at looking out for themselves which is lovely to see. If I had any thoughts or worries of going forward it's if they don't start coming up into the third box, with the amount of bees that are on the bottom frames, maybe that look at swarming again. But that would be really unusual for them to ignore empty space and not go through the Queen excluder so we'll give it some time and see what happens. I'm hoping to open up the box next week and I'll take some photos and see how they're going I ran into a new website which has some interesting ideas about natural beekeeping. It's called girl-next-door beekeeping. She's very into natural keeping and has some really interesting ideas re not using foundation, the size of bees, resistance to diseases, and the potential problems of pesticide build up by using foundation on your frames. I'm not ready to go down the line that she suggesting but she does make a really good read and references some interesting works along the way, with some decent research as well. I've put a link below. As a beekeeper I got my first sting at the last week going into the boxes. A bee hit me in the head got trapped between my glasses and stung me in the temple. My recommendation is don't get stung there as it really hurts One of the things that the beekeeping next door girl says is this new Keepers like me often emulate more experienced Keepers by going into their hives without gear on and that actually make us worse beekeepers in the long run. She suggests that wearing a suit as a new beekeeper, even if the bees are quite friendly and calm, means that we are more relaxed as new beekeepers and so will do a better job of inspection , will get into the hive more often, and will actually handle the hive better because we won't be as tense if we wearing a bee suit. I think it's actually some really good advice for a new beekeeper so I'm not going to be going into The Hives is often without gear, and hopefully a more relaxed me will actually be a better beekeeper, and then as I get more experienced will then be able to go without gear. I like working with out gear .. it feels more connected .. but suspect I'm less focused on the frames and more focused on the bees around me. So am suiting up even for small explores. I'll see how it affects my keeping. Anyway thanks for the following and I'm going to upload some photos next week when I go back do another inspection. Cheers Merry Christmas Shane. http://beekeepinglikeagirl.com/
  9. I cant stress talking to your neighbors enough. Get ahead of this. As said above ... give them a date. Educate about the difficulty of moving hives even a small distance..etc People can be reasonable if they understand .. and if they aren't.. my commiserations... stroppy neighbors moving in have ruined many a happy home and neighborhood. People who move in and complain about prior stuff are rife in nz
  10. Yes. They lost a queen earlier so a new virgin queen started 3 weeks ago. Only 2 to 3 frames of brood. Put 10 frames on 4 weeks ago but will do another 10 as much of that is nectar and honey. About 20 plus kgs in weight.
  11. @CHCHPaul thanks. Will do that. Cant believe how quickly they filled the previous 10. If you need muscle .. let me know. Happy to help and gain experience
  12. Thanks for that. They were a new hive in mid autumn so blocked the hole to be a small one as we had a lot of robbing attempts. Its now open to about 1/3 the bottom but will open it up fully. They look strong enough again.
  13. Thought I would do an update. I opened the hive yesterday - 3 weeks after the new queen went in. It has two boxes - the second (top) one was put on about 4 weeks ago. Top box: Many of the frames have capped honey. Most of the frames have nectar. Feels to be about 20 plus kilos. No brood in the frames. Bottom box - outside three or four frames have nectar but not much capped honey. No brood. Fourth and fifth frames in found capped brood with some capped honey around them. Also uncapped larvae. I am going to assume the new queen has mated and is laying. There are only about 3 frames with brood so she is only just getting going by the look of it. Again @CHCHPaul thanks for your help - you have probably saved the hive and certainly saved me from a few worries. Thought you might like to know the queen is working. With such a heavy and full top box - I was thinking about putting on another box - however I put in Baverill three weeks ago at the same time as as the inspection. It ideally should be in for 6-8 weeks. If I put in a third box I wont be able to use the honey - but I am a little concerned about space again - and having had one swarm dont want to have a second. Is it worth putting a third box on now , only using four frames then removing them and putting a full 10 in (with queen excluder) in 3 or four weeks so I end up with a honey super and then use the four frames to help feed over winter? I just dont want them swarming again.
  14. I had a weird thing tonight. 11pm. The hive has a beard thats quietly humming. 20degrees. Not much wind. I assume they are cooling the hive.
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