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Posts posted by tudor

  1. Meaning "to move in a stealthy or furtive manner" such as a bee probing the defences with the plan of a robbing attack.

    Action: check the hive security so that boxes all fit snugly together and don't have broken rims,  and are bee proof.  Also reduce entrance size if robbing is starting.

    I lost one hive recently which I left with one frame poorly seated so that there was a gap between two boxes, and so that robbers could gain access.  When passing by a week later I noticed a few bees along the junction of the boxes but did not twig that they were robbing.  Only noticed the problem accurately when checking later for honey stores which had gone.  Grrr.


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  2. Hi,

    Minor edit:

    Convert a Full Depth to a Medium (3/4) hive is easy.


    START HERE: The queen is in the FD brood box under the excluder, lots of brood both closed and open.

    Place a drawn medium (3/4) box with some honey stores (it may well be the honey super that has come through over winter) on a hive mat on the ground and find the queen in the FD box. Get her to go into the medium box by picking her up (gently) or gently laying the frame she is on flat on top of the medium box with her on the lower surface – she will go to the darkness as fast as anything.

    Put the excluder on the FD box, and the new medium box on top of that, and maybe a honey super above that. Probably add the other ¾ box above the one with the queen if she is laying a lot or lots of honey is coming in – do the bees need the space ?

    The brood will emerge from the cells in the FD box after a maximum of 24 days (check arithmetic). Then unpack the hive with the medium boxes in the lid, and place the FD box to one side. By now all the brood will have emerged and most bees move up to where the queen is, who is laying. Check some of the FD frames and see if they contain honey (don't worry about pollen). If there is lots of honey, we will arrange “internal robbing” as follows. If not, retire the box.

    Place the 2 medium boxes on the base board, put on the queen excluder, and an empty medium box with no frames in it. Then place the FD box on that, and work through it frame by frame, scratching any capped honey with a scratcher – the bees then see this as “free honey” and should move it down to the hive below the excluder. Give them a couple of days, then remove the FD box after shaking off any bees, and retire it, and remove the excluder.


    The extra vacant space gives the bees the impression that the wets are not part of their own hive and rob it out and take the honey back down to their frames. This generally leaves the frames pretty dry.

    By this stage the new 2 box OSB hive may need another box depending on how the queen is laying.


    If you don't have drawn ¾ frames for START HERE above:

    A box of foundation may not be used by the bees, but if the queen is there I would be confident that the bees start drawing immediately as long as there is some flow, or you feed them.

    However, safer would be to remove from the FD box a couple of frames without brood, and put 2 3/4 frames with foundation just next to the brood frames, on each side. The bees will probably draw those frames quickly, and you can use them in the 3/4 box with foundation frames to draw the bees up. And there will be cells for the queen to lay in straight away. And put back the FD frames you took out.


    So it puts you back a week or so, no long time.


    And I would do this alteration in spring when the hive is active, not in autumn when it is closing now (like now).


    good luck, Tudor - and keep asking if you need more help.


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  3. It's not a pricker - the cells are already uncapped - and then the modified hair roller with its clever bobbles tickles (agitates) the honey which becomes runny and comes out in the spinner.

    "Rollers" that you can buy do nothing to help.

    I assure you, I have been there and done that.   Commercial extraction will do the job for you, but as a hobby BK you will/may have trouble getting it done.


  4. 1 hour ago, Maggie James said:


    13 years ago I went through this desensitisation programme.  In the field at the time, I often would take two tablets (20 mg dose).  I always carry Loratidine in my overall pocket, and this season I can't remember when I last took one.  When caging queens if a sting on my hand is annoying me, I just apply a local anaesthetic gel (Solarcaine) which a I purchased a number of years ago from the supermarket.  Anaesthetic gels usually have lignocaine or xylocaine in them.  

    I'm not quite sure why a local anaesthetic cream would be used rather than an antihistamine cream such as Anthisan (it contains mepyramine maleate) which works well for me if a big load of stings on a hand.

    Maybe just my ignorance.



  5. Each season I look forward to the kanuka-rich honey which comes out just fine using the "tickler" technique I have posted above.

    And its easy to do ...

    And my family and honey clients look forward to this honey as it's unheated in any way, and keeps all it's flavour.


  6. I sometimes get a bit grumpy when people don't bother to read posts about hobby bee keeping approach and learn about the thixotrophic characteristic of kanuka honey.  If the honey is agitated it changes from a gel to a liquid form and can be spun out, and over time becomes a gel again.

    And a half jar of gel honey won't flow, but will if stirred with a spoon - and demonstrates the principle of "tickling" I posted about.

    And I use a fruit press like the one described to get the honey out of the cappings if there are quite a lot.


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  7. Just re-queen with a protected queen cell and the virgin queen will be the assassin who kills the present queen for you.  In 6 weeks all the bad tempered bees will have died of old age and your hive will be nice again.

  8. 3 hours ago, okthen said:

    Nz  clover honey $7.50 , 500 grams

    on aussie supermarket shelves .

    Pure deliciousness.  Given up trying to find a nice floral tasting aussie honey. 

    It's like chewing gum leaves. Hats off  to the nz beeks that got there product onto the supermarket shelves. 



    Just try Yellow Box honey from Euc melliodora




    Very good honey, much more complex than NZ clover.


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  9. Hi,

    We have three hives about a Km from you, opened them today and they are doing very well, capping lots of honey, and not a varroa to be seen on drone larvae in bridge comb.

    How long did you leave the Apivar strips in for spring treatment ?

    Your sugar shake varroa load indicates an urgent need for treatment.



  10. 11 hours ago, john berry said:

    Sorry Tudor but those weightlifting suggestions are ludicrous. Even a three-quarter box would be well over.

    I am 62, have been beekeeping all my life and can still stack a 40 kg box of honey on the truck well above my head. Lifting hives and boxes of honey without hurting your back is primarily technique and not that much to do with strength.

    I sometimes think government regulations are designed to make us all weak, fat, stupid, dependent and lazy and  they seem to be working.

    PS. When I was in England a couple of winters ago I took off a few full honey boxes that were one half depth modified Dadants . I hate to think what those little beauties weighed.

    You are a survivor, long may it continue.

  11. So, when Margot C gets a back injury from lifting 40 Kg boxes, she will receive ACC support but only if she is within NZ.

    It may be appropriate to point this out before she is injured, and get her to help with non-lifting activities or up to 20 Kg .




    What Are The Guidelines On The Maximum Weight You Should Attempt Lift?

    The maximum weight you can lift depends on:

    • Your gender
    • The distance of the load from your body
    • The height of the load

    The following diagram depicts the guidelines:



  12. yes digitalis poisoned one toddler here who had to be admitted - a flower was given to him by his strange brother !

    We removed all foxgloves, and now they are returning after 15 years.  Lovely in the garden again, but new crop of grand kids is starting ...

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