Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'BOP'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • News & Announcements
    • NZ Beekeeping Announcements
    • Swarm Removal Requests
  • Tradebee & CommercialBee
    • CommercialBee: Sales
    • TradeBee: Beekeeping, buy, sell & exchange.
  • New Zealand Beekeeping
    • General Beekeeping
    • Commercial Beekeepers
    • Beginner Beekeepers
    • New Zealand Beekeeping How Do I ?
    • Alternative Beekeeping
    • Hives & Equipment
    • Disease & Pests
    • Breeding Bees
    • Bee Products & Recipes
    • Bees in the Media
    • Plants and Blossoms
  • International Beekeeping
    • International Beekeeping Forum
  • NZ Equipment Suppliers
    • Ecrotek
  • Beekeeping Groups and Clubs
    • BOP Bee Interest Group
  • Forum Support & Bug Reports
  • Archived area
    • Archive
  • BOP's BOP Bee Interest Group Forums
  • Marlborough Beekeepers Association's Discussion Forum

Categories

  • Tutorials

Calendars

  • Community Calendar
  • BOP's Events
  • Selwyn Beekeepers's Events
  • Marlborough Beekeepers Association's MBA Calendar

Blogs

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Categories

  • Documents
    • General Beekeeping
    • Hives & Equipment
    • Disease & Pests
    • Breeding Bees
    • Bee Products & Recipes
    • Plants & Blossoms
    • Bees in the Media
  • Club Newsletters

Categories

  • Retail Produce For Sale
  • Retail Bees & Hives For Sale
  • Equipment For Sale
  • Commercial Produce For Sale
  • Commercial Bees & Hives For Sale
  • Retail Produce Wanted
  • Retail Bees & Hives Wanted
  • Equipment Wanted

Group


Swarm Collection Area


Business name


Beekeeping Experience


Business phone


Business email


Facebook


Google Talk


Skype


Twitter


Location

Found 26 results

  1. Our October meeting was joined by the BOP Branch of the New Zealand Tree Crops Association (NZTCA) which is a voluntary organisation promoting interest in 'useful' trees. The Association had its beginnings in 1974 and, in its own words, thought that; "If farmers could be persuaded to establish a gentle landscape of shelter and windbreaks, woodlots, orchards, fodder crops and mixed associations of all kinds of trees and useful plants, then those farmers would benefit from enhanced pasture production through the combined effect of leaf litter, shelter and nitrogen provided by the judicious use of nitrogen-fixing tree species. As well, the combined effects of soil and water conservation, increased bird and bee population, and the revitalizing of our much-polluted atmosphere would vitally enrich the land. Other benefits would be an increase in the quality and diversity of fruits, nuts and timbers and their many useful by-products — in sum, an enrichment of all our lives by pursuing our tree crops goals." It's a vision that beekeepers must have some sympathy with, and I know that the organisation we are more familiar with as far as bee forage goes, 'Trees For Bees' ("smart planting for healthy bees"), have involved Treecrops in some of their work. The organisation now has a wide range of members, farmers and life-stylers, scientists and gardeners. Like us, the Association holds monthly gatherings, and recent topics have included planting tips, growing hazel nut trees, rongoa Maori with Rob McGowan, and a guided visit to McLaren Falls Park. I'm not sure either of us were quite sure what to expect on this occasion. I didn't think the weather was on our side, I left home in misty 40 - 50m visibility and continuous light rain, but by the time I got to Katikati an hour away it had dried out a bit, but it was still a surprise to find over hundred people gathering in and around a double garage listening to the host introduce the day, and me! The anticipated topic was 'Pollination' so I talked about the season, the main tree crops for the Bay, some of the difficulty there is in achieving, and knowing we have achieved, cross-pollination. My own interests in pollination encompass more than just honey bees, so the scope of the discussion included other bees and pollinators, how we can tell what is going on in terms of behaviours, and some of the sheer complexity involved, from nectar variability to bee attractants, to spays and chemicals. Interestingly beekeepers responding to the "what if I wanted to keep bees" question were on the whole quite guarded and cautious rather than encouraging! How times change. Nevertheless Seaside Bees were on hand with an empty hive to demonstrate, and that prompted an another slew of questions. The weather had given us an opportunity to go an open up some of the hosts hives for the visitors to see. I've really no idea what they saw as I was kept busy responding and advising the Treecropers that hadn't managed to speak earlier. There were a lot of bees flying around the garden, but no reports of any trouble over tea! Membership of the NZTCA costs just $50 a year, including the quarterly magazine, and promotes a range of interests closely aligned with many beekeeper's passions. I rather hope we can meet up again sometime.
  2. BOP 2017 - Spring jitters

    For our first apiary visit of the year the weather was reasonably kind to us, the temperature somewhere in the 15-17C range, a gentle breeze rising on a sunny but increasingly overcast afternoon. Our host had one hive to look at, the biggest problem so far being wasps, responsible for the loss of two others in the past and worrying at this one. The hive had three full depth boxes, and had an entrance screen doing a passable job of defending against the constant presence of wasps, although they were elsewhere today. The top box was full of unused combs, pretty well devoid of bees, so we put that to one side. The next box was clearly being used so we took that off too and stood it off on the up-turned lid. Going through that box on the hive is unwise; it just drives bees down into the other box. Far better to stand it off, check the undisturbed lower box first, and then return to our box. It helps that flying bees are leaving this to return to the hive-stand, making it easier to check. If you intend to inspect the whole hive starting at the bottom makes life a lot easier. The bottom box, with the entrance to the hive, was empty, the comb old and, in many areas, damp and mouldy. This is not at all unusual. The bees tend to work up through the winter into their stored honey and when colonies are small the bottom box gets abandoned. If the comb was in better condition one option is to simply ‘reverse’ the position of the two boxes putting the empty one on top to be used, but it is also an opportunity to get rid of old comb, melt it down and give the bees new. The only combs that will be kept in good condition are the ones that can be covered by bees. Now is the best time to check and replace or repair the equipment you will be working with for the rest of the year. In this case we removed the box, emptied out the frames, scraped the floor clear and put it back. Then we transferred all the combs from the second box, a pair at a time, into our empty bottom box. That was just because of the physical condition of the equipment; usually we’d just swap the whole box. For my spring inspections I keep a spare floor (or floors) with me, rather than clean up a floor in-situ. Spring inspections are best done briskly, minimising brood chill and robbers. By putting all the bees back on the floor we also improve the defence of the nest considerably; the empty box with an entrance was an open invitation to robbers. So our hive is now a single box and we turned to assessing the condition of the colony. For me there are two important things at this time of year, I want to know what food stores are like, and I want to check the brood. Here we had sealed brood in small patches over (I think) five frame-sides, and a high proportion of open brood (eggs and larvae) compared to sealed brood. We shook the bees off every brood frame so that the condition of the brood could be examined very carefully. Call it a foul brood (AFB) check if you like, looking for signs trouble especially with the sealed cells. While the pattern of sealed cells was very sporadic there was nothing actually wrong and it’s quite likely that was a reflection of the awful season so far; a reflection of the equally sporadic foraging conditions. The high proportion of open brood (without getting too clever) just tells you that the queen hasn’t been laying long, and that the laying rate is increasing. If we had more sealed brood than open, we’d assume the opposite, laying would be decreasing or may have ceased. If the brood pattern continued to be erratic we’d have to think about the condition of the queen. The hive was collecting a lot of pollen, many of the foragers we could see were laden with a good assortment pollen loads and there was some stored. In this location the pollen supply can be brilliant. Nectar too was present, but actually, by imagining it all collated, it probably amounted to one frame. Let’s think about that ‘nectar’. Whether it came from a sugar feed or direct from flowers it’s likely that it’s less than 30% sugars – it’s not honey. We can say honey is at least 80% sugars. In very rough numbers, finger in the air style, we know an average colony (20,000 – 30,000 bees) in the absence of foraging would use 2kgs of honey a week doing very little, and that’s about a frame’s worth. So if bees can’t successfully forage for some reason you will want more than twice that volume if the sugar concentration is less than half, so shall we say three frames of ‘nectar’? Minimum. And the space to put it in. Every week. Envisaging all the brood gathered together, sealed and open, we’d probably occupy the equivalent of two full frames. We can also estimate how many bees we have. Maybe I’ll explain it another time, but in a full-depth hive every seam of bees (by ‘seam’ we mean the space between frames) will contain 2,500-3000 bees IF it’s full from the bottom bar to the top bar. Here my guess was that at most only three frames could have been fully covered (by counting four full ‘seams’). As a complete unit then, we have about 10,000 bees or less occupying four frames, with two frames of brood and limited pollen and nectar stores. While it appears to be perfectly healthy the limited food supply is a cause for concern, particularly when the foraging conditions are so poor and considering that most of the bees are likely to be quite old. What we have is a nuc. in a big box. In practice we had condensed the hive down to one box that could be defended, conserved heat, and improved sisterly love. The next thing to do was to supplement its food supply. Without going through all the possibilities the best solution for this hive was to start giving it some pollen supplement – a flat patty over the brood, and feed it sugar syrup in a contact feeder just above the nest. The bees will use these as they need to, but my guess is we have another month of tricky conditions, so we’ll just keep them always on hand. With only half the frames being used there would be plenty of room to grow and store food between now and the next visit. Before tea we had a look and chat about some varroa management equipment – a professional and a DIY vapouriser, and the famous ‘Crowley cup’ for monitoring mite levels (presented by the ‘inventor’). I considered checking mites on the hive we opened but decided against it. First, I think it was a mistake having too many things to focus on – better to look another time, specifically at mites. Second; with such a small amount of brood the mites were hardly going to expand their number much before a second visit. Third; with a high proportion of open brood, and with young bees so important at this time, in my opinion it's pretty silly to use oxalic and risk the open brood without good reason. There is a time and a place for everything. Now I wonder if @Judy K took any pictures?
  3. BOP August/September meeting

    until
    @ TECT park. Arrival Centre, Whataroa Road, Tauranga. We will discuss swarming and AFB checks, Certificate of Inspection and DECA. Please bring something to share for afternoon tea and a gold coin donation for the club.
  4. @Dave Black you are listed as owner at the moment @Judy K you are listed as a leader Now you may need to bear with me but I think an owner and a leader can create options under management So in topics, I've re-created your forum and called it BOP Bee Interest Group Forums. You can create a gallery, your own group calender, your own downloads and classified adverts. Also please ad a club profile picture and a cover photo, you make it look nice.
  5. BOP Clubs feature

    Hello, Please excuse the interruption. You should all now have been invited to join the new facilities within the clubs feature of NZBees. https://www.nzbees.net/2/clubs/ If you haven't seen your invite, please just request to join. Upon arrival you will have your own forums, gallery and calendar, which can be run as you see fit, giving you more autonomy within the NZ Beekeepers umbrella.
  6. Invites to all previous members of the BOP Bee Interest Group have gone out to join and test the new "club features".
  7. BOP April 2017

    Our garden visit this month was in Tauranga, with Seaside Bees. This top-bar hive was kept in a local communal vege garden, sitting slightly exposed on a ridge that kept the flight paths over the heads of the reapers and tillers. It hasn't done particularly well, with a poor queen that has been changed and a bout of chalk brood. We have talked about chalk brood before; if you want to cause chalkbrood (and some people do) chill brood the day before its sealed down to 19C, and then keep it cool-ish (25C) for the next three days. Other combinations of time and temperature will cause some chalk, but the above apparently comes with an 85%+ guarantee. Your mileage may vary. For the disease enthusiast you can see some rather old and dirty 'mummies' in one of the pictures. We were also able to have a close look at a the latest toy, a new oxalic acid vapouriser. The 'Sublimox' vapouriser is powered from a small generator or inverter and designed with commercial use in mind. The tool is preheated and charged while inverted. Turning it over dumps (in this case) 2.5g of acid crystals into the hot chamber which instantly turn into a gas. The resulting increase in pressure in the chamber drives the vapour out of the nozzle and into the hive. Looking through a glass window into the hive we could see that the actual 'charge' was instantly and evenly distributed through all the frames. We 'treated' a small empty hive and examined the frames, and there was no obvious 'impact site' or any noticeable deposits anywhere. By having a series of 'cups' pre-filled by a helper the tool can deliver consecutive doses every twenty-five seconds or so, ideal for a large apiary where all the hives are within a few steps. It certainly is pretty efficient and I have little doubt that it is capable of dealing with large blocks of hives held in a Continental winter apiary very quickly. New Zealand apiaries tend to be smaller, and kilometres apart. More often than not we are also treating hives with brood too, where more than one dose might be required, and this is where it gets a bit tricky. You'll have to make your own mind up about humping a generator around, with a buddy to fill the dose-cups ahead of you, and about repeating that dose within a few weeks. In another account of the tool the dose was said to be 1g, with three repetitions 5 days apart. I haven't studied the matter but you might be getting into territory in which you are damaging your wintering bees with repeated treatments, so you need to determine an appropriate dose. While it looks beautifully efficient, its also in a price category that might be larger than the incremental cost of replacing your losses, even if you already have the generator and the buddy is free!
  8. BOP February 2017

    This month's meeting was not too far out of Katikati, on a warm and sultry afternoon. Herman and Natalie have roughly half a dozen hives they keeps for pollination in an avocado orchard on a lifestyle block, and intends to split some to increase the count slightly. While the main hives are double broods this year has not been particularly kind and the hives are not particularly strong or well provisioned. Taken together, it should be possible to take a couple of nucs out, but it's getting a bit last minute and there could be a cost trying to take them though the winter. There could be quite a bit of 'intervention' required to see them through. All the main hives are fitted with plastic queen excluders that have an entrance-way integrated. I have come across these more often lately, and I struggle to find advantages that out-way the disadvantages. Fitted to conventional wooden hives they appear to be a pending disaster if you are moving hives, because there is hardly any friction preventing the boxes from slipping - even when quite heavily propolised. Like other plastic designs they are prone to distortion, mess with the bee-space producing bur-comb and more distortion, and peeling them away from whichever box they are half attached to doesn't make friends with your bees. If you are making splits, making a Demaree, or blanketed in snow I can see a top entrance might matter, otherwise I have them in my book of pointless fads. You're welcome to try and change my mind. One consequence of the second entrance is that exposes the hive to robbing, and recruits extra guards to defend it. Neither of these things are good. At this time of year I wouldn't have been surprised to have experienced some robbing as we worked through the hives, but actually there was none even when working through quite slowly and handing frames around. We looked through one small hive very closely, sparked by people telling me they could see the eggs when there were none in the frame! The bees were all well behaved, and the day hot enough to make doing without a bee-suit a really good idea. I am always very cautious about initiating robbing, at this time of year especially - it can get very nasty. I make sure the smoker works, all the time, I carry hessian sacks to cover boxes, I expect to need a full suit and veil, and have gloves handy somewhere. When you arrive look around the hives for bees investigating box joints, screens, lids and they like; if they are you need to be cautious. You might expect flight activity to be lower, and less 'purposeful'. Bees are robbing because there is nothing to gather and they are not occupied foraging. I smoke all the hives, not just the one I am working on, and go in with a plan and no nonsense. Don't leave boxes or combs lying around, cover them, and if you must drip honey make sure you drip it into the hive not all over the grass. Either way, it is not a good idea. For some jobs a water mist can be very useful, and helps to keep the bees on the comb rather than driving them to fly. If it turns out to be a nice day you can throw back the veil and enjoy it, if you create a battle you need to call it a day quickly. Close everybody down and go home, it's not a time to grin and bear it. The meeting wrapped up with tea and cake, and an offer to go and watch the harvesting of some honey from Flow frames just along the road. Hopefully we will hear how that went. Next month's meeting will be at the Open Day for the TECT activity park so perhaps we'll catch up then.
  9. BOP January 2017

    We have been visiting the (TECT) All-Terrain Park for a while, but only for ‘non-beekeeping’ meetings. This weekend was first time the group was to see the apiary at the Park. We met up at the Visitor Centre as arranged, and car-pooled for the five minute drive through the park to the apiary. The apiary is currently being operated, with the help of a local beekeeping business, for teaching students on a tertiary-level Apiculture course and has about ten FD Langstroth hives. Often, the back-yard hives we meet on our apiary visits are not particularly well populated; the colonies, by commercial standards, are small. I think that’s mostly because hobbyists (and sub-urban ones in particular) are less keen to walk the cliff-edge that separates strength from swarms. These hives were all reasonably strong, nothing remarkable but a pleasant surprise given the weather this year; all double-broods, although the supers above were little used. We split the visitor into two groups so people could get a better view and hear what was said. A student member took one, I took the other and we had a look inside. There were two main things I was interested in, how well were they foraging, and what tips can I pass on for handling larger hives. Commercial stands are typically fours (a pallet) which can limit your manoeuverability. The site is about 30km from any urban centre, elevated (@450m asl.) and exposed to the north. Most hives are moved into this area for a crop, and then moved away to somewhere more benign. There are no year-round commercial apairies. It’s a fairly typical mix of wooded gullies, cleared pine slash, native tawa/rimu bush and drystock grazing. All the usual bush nectar sources, like rewarewa, tawari, kamahi, are finished and nectar sources are now usually pasture or scrub plants, like blackberry (mostly gone), lotus, clovers, and the asteraceae. The switch to shallow-rooted plants makes nectar flows much more ephemeral, and the strong winds we’ve been having don’t help. These hives had some store combs, but were also bringing nectar and pollen in. One count found five different pollen colours. The nectar was mostly in the brood boxes, which is what I’d expect if it’s opportunist or interrupted collection of dilute nectars. Six-to eight weeks ago, if I recall, some of these hives were close to starving, so that was comforting. The queens were laying and the larvae were fed. In this late summer period here working hives can spark robbing, and hot thundery days covered in convective cloud and defensive hives make manipulations miserable. These hives were busy foraging but at this time of year caution is worthwhile. Bigger hives anyway take more skill and expose sloppy practice. I like to work with a plan, and don’t advise tourism. There is very little to be learned from supers above an excluder (the weight tells you what you want to know) so I take them off and stand them on the lid. I like to stack the boxes off-set on each other so I have eight small contact points and not all four sides. They don’t stick together when I pick them up and I don’t squash too many bees. I keep the crown board/hive mat on top of the stack and that keeps the bees calmer. If I think robbing is on the cards I’ll stack normally and limit exposing the combs any way I can. When I get to the excluder the quickest thing to do is take it off, turn it over, and add it to the stack. Now, you turn it over because the queen might be on it’s underside, especially if you’ve driven her up by pouring smoke into the entrance, and by turning it over you don’t transfer her into your stack of supers. You’re supposed to check she isn’t, but… The thing to understand is that as soon as you expose the queen to the light she heads for a dark place – that’s how they’re wired. If she is now on the top of your inverted excluder she can’t go down into the supers but she can walk to the edge and down the outside of the boxes. If that isn’t exciting enough for you when you take the first brood box off (if you have two) and put it on your stack you can squash her using the bottom of the frames, or on the edge. While it isn’t as thrilling my preferred method is to pick off the excluder, hold it over the box, and strike the hand holding it with my free hand to jar the bees off into the box below. I do not jar it on the edge of the box because banging on the hive sides is a really successful way of drawing attention to yourself (but not in a good way), and because you’ll put plenty of bees (and your queen) on the ground and not in the box. If I’m doing a full inspection I’ll always examine from the bottom box on the floor UPWARDS. If I work down to the bottom box the tendency is to drive bees down into the dark. By the time you get down to the bottom box these bees have been reinforced by flying bees, and by those from any of the equipment you are taking off and it will be so full and active bees will be boiling over the sides and you’ll never see anything. On the other hand, if you go straight to the bottom box you’ll get there before it gets busy, it will be much easier to find the frame ends to pick up and you’ll have a much better view of what is going on. As well, when you go back to the box on the stack you set aside, the bees will be leaving and flying home, easing your inspection of that box. Look at that box BEFORE you put it back. The second box is usually the trickiest to put back. If my stack is off-set I can quickly smoke the bottom of the box (to chase clustering bees out of the way), then the top of the receiving box. Wait until the bees have mostly run down into the frame gaps and then move the top box over. If you can, put it down on an slight angle, and rotate it into line, otherwise put it down on one edge and then lower it slowly jiggling it up and down to give the bees in the edges a chance to move out of the way. You will find your own way, and judge the result next time you pick up the box! By not squashing loads of bees every time you put a box down you will limit the amount of alarming sting venom in the air and your life will be sweeter. Of course all the other tips for working bees still apply. Learn your smoker skills (most people are poor because they don’t pay attention to how it works), pick your weather, stand in the right place, don’t pass the ‘tool between hands over the top of the box, ease out frames vertically without tilting or twisting, create plenty of working space, handle frames sensitively, and work confidently, calmly, without jarring or dropping anything. I thought about it for a bit, and the best single word to describe it was ‘mindful’. Big colonies of bees will test you. Be mindful.
  10. The mixed weather continued this weekend for our visit to Aongatete. A blustery wind tempered what sun there was, and we just got a look in the hives before the heavens opened. Two hives had been set up to be 'flow' hives, and another had been fitted out with a super full of Ross Rounds. There has been quite a bit of discussion of Flow hives and frames on the Forum already, and there isn't much to add to that. They still generate a bit of interest, often sceptical, and equally, incredulity at the cost. Some group members come across these from time to time but as yet none in ...(ahem)... full 'flow'. These were no different, all as yet unused. The crowd was three deep, so I didn't have a close look at the hives, but my guess would be that it was a bit early to have these on; I wouldn't add them unless you had a strong hive starting to store. The hive used to try out the Ross Rounds had been a swarm from one of the other hives. It had been recaptured and in place for about a month, a single deep box with an excluder and the super. A handful of bees were up in the super but didn't seem to be achieving anything; none of the foundation discs had been started. A swarm would certainly be a good candidate for the job. I have never used this product, although I know a little bit about the 'father', the 'sections' popular in the late 1800s to about 1930, largely before extractors became commonplace. The main difference is that the new ones are round, the old ones were square. In effect, rather than cutting up and packaging a large frame, the idea was to get the bees to produce comb honey actually in the retail pack. The beekeeper was trying to get 24 or 36 or 48 servings of comb honey that all looked and weighed the same without the laborious and wasteful process of cutting and packing it. As you will know looking at your own frames bees often don't draw and fill right into the corners and edges of the frame, and that's a problem when a series of small boxes multiplies the number of edges by a lot. By having no corners the idea was that the individual unit would be filled more evenly, and that seems to be true. The other fundamental problems with this kind of set-up remain. To draw wax bees have to from a dense curtain to keep the temperature up and this is more difficult to do in lots of separate little boxes. Old section crates were built to go in double-walled hives and they were packed with insulation to keep the chamber warm. They also have a tendency, having started off a comb section, to continue to draw it and fill it, rather than move to another. To stop one compartment being too full, and the opposite one being half empty, a set of metal (or nowadays plastic) plates had to be used to constrain the length of the drawn cells. Nor can you have the 'section rack' as it was known, on for too long. After a while the bees' dirty feet would cause an unsightly 'travel stain' to discolour the pure white cap, lowering the price. Honey sections are a real art, a real test of a beekeeper's skill, and deserve their place in the more traditional Honey Shows. There are many more nuances to using sections than I can write about here. One dodge for getting the best 'show' quality' sections was to extract the honey from ordinary frames and then feed it back to the hive once the section rack had gone on and all other supers had been removed. Another was to get the combs drawn on a previous flow, so it just had to filled and capped. Because bees don't like working in that kind of space to get this to work you have to give them no other choice. You want bees boiling out of the box and hanging out of the front; stringy bees with a real drive to construct comb and gather nectar so they will quickly occupy and fill every and any available space with comb. This hive hadn't reached that stage, and few bees ventured up above the excluder. Going through the frames revealed a laying queen but little nectar, and sparse pollen deposits. That hasn't been too unusual around here, many hives needing feed, and I hear plenty of pollination units are failing to make the grade. If this hive was going to do anything with the super it would need stimulating with syrup, and as it was available, a slice of pollen patty with Agrisea. The bees certainly moved on to that very quickly! I suggested the super stayed off in the meantime, it could go back on once the hive was moving again. I would add the super without the excluder in the first instance, but slip the excluder in once the bees were working on the foundation. At that point the rain arrived. A good time to retire for some refreshment. As these bees were in an orchard full of pollination hives feeding syrup should be postponed until the evening to avoid sharing it with all the visitors, so the rain was actually a good thing. With the right care we can hope to see some good 'rounds later in the year.
  11. On Sunday we visited the Seaside Bees home apiary in Papamoa that we saw at Christmas last year. The turnout for the occasion was great; I'd have thought more than 40, maybe 50 people. Some new, some young starting out (teenagers), and some old friends. It must of made it hard to see and hear everything that was going on. We worked on the same two hives, a large Top-Bar, and a hybrid TBH/Langstroth. We seemed inundated with photographers but unfortunately none of the output has come my way yet! Com'on you people, share! Four caged queens had been obtained, and the plan was to use the hybrid's top-bar boxes to set up three nucs, leaving the old queen in her original Langstroth home, and to take another nuc from the other Top- Bar. The hybrid boxes had to be separated with a long (salmon) knife to cut any brace between the boxes, although I didn't think there was much. I suppose any brace comb was likely to put some strain on the bar-comb junction and could tear the comb off the supporting bar. As these were all boxes of brood there was always the frisson of risking the queen! I remember I have seen a similar thing done with honey boxes. Boxes above the excluder were frameless, or minimally framed, and they were removed using a large 'cheese-wire'. The whole box was extracted, none of this frame by frame nonsense. Anyway, for the job In hand it may have made things a little trickier. Maybe it was the short hailstorm just before, or that the colony had been smoked a while, and the box separation did excite the bees a bit (just a bit), so finding the queen could have turned into a marathon. We expected her to be in the bottom box, which we looked at first, but of course she was in the top box, the last one we checked. At least we didn't have to go through twice. She was the same queen I had marked (orange!) last year. With her caged we could safely share all the brood and food combs among the three new nucs and only release her when the job was done. The TBH queen also turned up on the last few combs. (The entrance was in the end, like it should be.) The combs were nice, big and regular, and the hive was clearly being worked frequently so there were no attachments or cross combing to worry about. They were two or three play cups about, one with an egg. I don't get too excited about that sort of thing; when the cups have new wax, and a larva being fed jelly, then I pay attention. Eggs don't mean much. A good number of combs of brood and store were collected for the nuc (five or six I think) and everything reassembled once some extra bees had been brushed into the nuc. All the nucs were being moved to new sites so bees were not going to be drifting back to the parent hive. The cages (with escorts) were simply hung from an empty bar level with the brood on the combs either side. While this seems to work it was clear that the bees were not that impressed by the caged queens or escorts - quite aggressive 'arched back' stances on the outside of the cage. Let's hope a good bumpy ride to the new home and a 'queenless', cool night will change that attitude. I think these cheap new cages that everyone seems to use are rather nasty too - the hard plastic, two halves sliding sort. Ugh. Over a fine large tea (we ran out of cups - sorry!) people chatted bees before they drifted away. Someone making boxes had come along, I talked to @dansar, and @Phil46; I sure there were others. We got to talking about requeening. Seaside have used cells, virgins, and mated queens. The favoured method for re-queening a hive uses a mated queen, and relies on the rearing operation to do all the work. Which you pay for. Another popular method is to use a developing cell (found or produced), and this has the advantages that you needn't find the queen and it works well for hives with laying workers. You take all the risk, accept the necessary time limitations, benefit from the reduced cost, and, it terms of quality, get whatever turns up. Although not popular, opting to use virgins in preference to cells or mated queens is not an irrational choice. For a start: They're cheap. Tested, mated queens are expensive for a reason; you have to provide a suitable home, and time, and budget for the 'sparrow factor'. Add in the cost of the fathers and their upkeep, and all the 'support colonies you need (in several separate apiaries) to provide the bees and combs you will need to mate queens and the price soon escalates Virgins are quicker to bring a hive back into production, albeit not much, and poor weather can negate the advantage. You can evaluate them for defects. Although you can candle cells, you can be even more selective with virgins. A small piece of wing or hair can provide DNA to check lineage, or you can weigh her and breed heavier queens. (On balance, size matters for queens.) You can 'bank' them for a while, making the timing of their installation more flexible. For some types of research, you can mark ( or number) a virgin The reason smaller beekeepers in other parts of the world rear virgins for their hives is that they take advantage of co-operative schemes to run mating apiaries. It's one way of keeping what we might think of as a 'heritage strain'. A collective running a mating apiary (isolated and with its own drone line) receives virgins from many, many beekeepers, gets them mated, and sends them home again. These islands have not reached such giddy, sophistication, for several reasons, but not because it's impossible.
  12. If this weather keeps up I’ll sell my chickens and buy ducks. The winter ‘talk-fest’ meetings are over, or so we thought. This weekend the first of the apiary meetings kicked off at one of the member’s home apiary in Katikati. A good number made the trip out, despite continuous rain and mist, so we retired to the shed and sat around on the hive boxes. Luckily even with all the equipment there was still enough room for the thirty or so in attendance. Our host had a number of unusual bits of equipment to keep us all amused, and about 100 hives around the Bay to try it all out on. Half of the hives were to be converted to Hive Doctor floors, and Barry was going to try out queen excluders fitted to provide a second entrance into the honey supers above the excluder. A new ventilated roof for the hives was also up for trial. It was neatly made, but would depend on having the right arrangement of crown-board and feeder to prevent robbing. If you have followed some of my posts here lately you might know why the last thing I wanted to see was a dead-out. In one apiary with twelve hives two had succumbed to something-or-other and Barry had brought one as an example to look at. Of course, it was a useful thing to do. The single hive box had been a normally developing colony; was clean and the new floor still bright white. The internal woodwork was clean and in good condition. Several honey frames, at least half full, were present, and the honey was sweet smelling, not granulated, and still tasty! The combs were clearly being robbed, they were torn and wax and caps litter the frames and floor. What at first sight looked a bit like varroa poo was actually part of the detritus from the robbing. There were still good-sized areas of pollen, both dry and wet, in the frames. The only brood consisted of small patches, perhaps six or seven centimetre diameter, with number of sealed cells (@30) containing dead but whole pupae with no obvious disease, just as you would see in an uncared-for frame. Nothing less than 21 days old and no drone brood. Some were very close to emerging and had started to break though the capping. When I removed the cap and pulled some of the pupae they came out whole leaving a clean empty cell. The floor was covered with bits of wax and 200-300 adult dead bees, most of them lying below the occupied brood frames, and no pupae or newly emerged bees. No varroa. As I sifted through the workers I came across the lifeless queen, intact and in reasonable condition, but strangely with the last abdominal segments parted to expose the sting duct and vaginal fold. The bees had no deformities; wings were un-hooked as normal but otherwise fine, their colouration was, as far as I could tell, normal. A few had gone a bit mouldy where they had been piled up and about 1/3 lay with their tongues (and, in some cases, hind legs) extended. So, what do I think? With apparently palatable food and no faecal staining anywhere nosema and dysentery ought to be ruled out. I found no evidence that implicated varroa, and we were told it had been treated with Apivar and Bayvarol. The hive was still well provisioned with plenty of palatable pollen and nectar, so I’d rule out starvation The small brood area, and the age of brood, suggest to me the queen had not been laying for several weeks. The open brood was not being cannibalised The number of dead bees was very small; I think the hive had been in a state of decline for a while. Nothing suggested a virus. There was a queen. It’s possible she stopped laying when there were not enough bees to warm and care for brood. She was not drone-laying, neither were the workers. I don’t think it’s queen failure, and I don’t think she met with an accident. If I’m right about the size of the colony it would not have survived the several cold nights we have had lately. That was probably the last straw. Extended proboscis and hind legs accompany poisonings, both natural and agrochemical. I can’t think what could cause the former in spring, and it’s surprising only two hives would succumb to the later. It can also signify starvation, which I ruled out. It’s possible some spray drift started the population collapse. The robbing was post-mortem, limited in scale and not completed. No evidence there were wasps. We didn’t manage to consult Barry’s extensive hive notes , and didn’t know enough about the hive site to understand the potential for spray damage. It was time for tea, and unfair to keep the catering staff waiting. Tea is of course when all the real business gets done. We were all delighted to have some visitors from the Kumeu Beekeeping Group at the meeting. It’s a pity they had to bear a long drive in nasty weather, so we’ll try to improve that next time. Like the BOP group my impression that their membership was independent, sociable, communal and supportive, and we will try and keep in touch. I hope they had a worthwhile day.
  13. Taratahi is running a beekeeping course in Tauranga, starting in August. This programme is ideal for: existing beekeepers wishing to obtain a qualification those wanting to take up 'backyard' beekeeping employment seekers with no previous experience wishing to obtain entry level skills to help obtain a junior position in the beekeeping industry. Modules include: how to construct and repair beehives, seasonal management of bees and hives, requeening hives, identification and treatment of diseases, shifting beehives and honey extraction. For more info, please visit: Taratahi
  14. Mornin, Looking at options for small time extracting of honey,if need be this coming season and if there is a facility to do this in the BOP? ie registered kitchen,shed , that can be hired etc. I do have access to extraction for end of the season from a known commercial,however, from the info I have gathered,heard and read about kanuka/pohutukawa honey,that there could be a problem with this honey crystallizing and the sooner its extracted ,the better. So,without removing comb by scraping/crush strain methods ,I thought better to extract and then have frames back on hive sooner. Any info greatly appreciated....mauri ora! Phil.
  15. BOP Surprise!

    Transferred a natural hive from a kiwifruit orchard into a langstroth hive today. What an amazing sight! The bees in their winter cluster were still keeping some brood and had quite a few stores after all the bad weather we've had. They build themsleves a little roof from comb to stay dry and at the same time collect water. While cutting away the combs at the top, water came pooring down. These little creatures keep amazing me. We couldn't find the queen so hopefully she made it into the box. I got stung on the cheek while on the phone but it was totally worth it. Thank you @ChrisM for giving me a hand!
  16. This month's meeting gathered to look a three suburban hives, and consider the difference in how they had performed and how they could be improved - only one had provided the beekeeper with a honey crop. In the first hive it was obvious right away that bee numbers were quite low, and going through the frames revealed small patches of sealed brood, little in the way of open brood or eggs, but plenty of pollen stored in a number of frames. There was honey stored, enough but not a lot, and a petite, golden queen, not obviously old and still a little 'fuzzy'. For a small colony it lacked any clear structure - everything was there, but spread all over. No sign of disease and the varroa strips were taken out. There were a number of old, single, queen cells scattered around in the middle of four or five separate frames. To try and get a bit of sustained growth we gathered the brood frames together in the bottom with pollen and honey frames on each side, and left some honey and a frame feeder in the top box. That way the nurse bees might coalesce, and a little 1:1 syrup fed after flying has stopped might encourage a warmer and well tended nest for the queen to lay. Without a clear history, speculating about the condition of the hive is just guesswork, but if the queen doesn't 'snap out of it' soon she'll need to be replaced. It's a hive I would winter as a single or not at all. The other hives were better, one quite strong, the other somewhere between the two extremes. This one had eggs and young brood in the bottom box, with a broad, distinct honey band along the top of the frames. Above, in the top box, was all the sealed brood! These bees clearly haven't read the books, running two 'brood nests' like this can't be easy. All three hives had full-width entrances, something I'm not in favour of, especially when the hives are grouped closely. The weak hive was closed down to 50mm or so. It was a glorious, hot, Bay afternoon, a real treat after some of the weather we've just had, and the bees were beautifully benign and all flying well. It's difficult to diagnose the cause of differences in the performance of individual hives without hive notes, because top of the list is husbandry. In a single apiary the effect of environment can be pretty much ruled out, so the rest is down to breeding (or selection) and management. It's so much easier when all the hives are the same, and easier to understand cause and effect with a detailed diary. Easter Sunday is a day for family commitments (I was at work ) but is was great to see a good group of members in Bethlehem still up for a squint in a hive, a bit of tea, and a yarn or two. See you all next time.
  17. The new owner of the Oropi Hot Pools phoned me today, complaining about the amount of bees drinking from the pool. The bees all seem to come from the direction of Oropi road. The new owner really likes bees and said they used to kill them with fly spray but he likes to find a more bee-friendly solution. He is going to put a bee-waterer down on the side where the bees come from, hopefully they'll prefer that water. If you have any bees in that area, please make sure you have a good water source nearby so we can all keep our neighbours happy. And go and say hi to the guys at the pool, it is a neat place and they have a cafe too!
  18. BOP Welcome

    Welcome @Michelle @Phil46 and @John Espin to the forum and to the BOP Beekeepers. You now have access to this part of the forum and are on the list to receive our newsletters via e-mail.
  19. Sunday was far from the wash-out we had all expected, 30+, humid, and occasionally overcast, the sort of day that can make bees, and people, a bit tetchy. These hives though, were on their best behaviour, and the smoker lay smouldering by the fence, unused. They were a nice introduction for the half-dozen or so visitors that were new, or newly unsure, and it saved the rest of us putting on sweltering bee-suits! Treating for varroa in Top-bar hives can be a little more challenging, and trying anything in a novel environment demands monitoring. The mission here was to check the efficacy of Apiguard, thymol in a slow release gel, in two TBHs with a sugar shake. The product is normally put on top of the frames above the brood nest, the vapour must fall into the frame spaces and the bees must have access to the product as they will try and clear it away, distributing the active ingredient in the process. Here, the bars had been spread slightly, and a bespoke metal cover had been fitted to seal off the spaced frame and protect the hive. TBHs don't normally have spaced top bars. The first hive appeared to be in good health, although the brood seemed to have 'moved' (away from the thymol) and there was less young brood than we expected, and not much fresh nectar. The found the queen and as she was unmarked (a split from the other hive) we caught and marked her with a Posca pen. While she was held, a sample of bees was shaken off and collected into a jar for shaking with powdered sugar. This turned out to be pretty clear of mites, just three I think. The parent hive was a little more excitable, but healthy and nice to handle anyway. The queen was already marked and found easily, so the monitoring sample was taken from another frame. In this case the mite count was much higher, 13. Like a lot of hives locally, these were 'treading water', eating most of the nectar they were collecting during the wet weather that has punctuated the summer this year. In both cases the consensus was that there was still time to continue Apiguard treatment, but that the bar spacing need to be increased to at least a bee space between bars. It was likely that the original spacing was not allowing much bee access. A second sugar-shake monitor was booked in for two weeks time, and at that time, if the parent hive shows no improvement an alternate treatment would be needed. The difference between the hives might be because the parent had a lot more brood, and therefore more mites not exposed to the treatment. It's important that mite treatments, and 'organic' treatments in particular, are started in plenty of time so that, when your monitoring reveals all is not well, there is still time to do something else before winter sets in. The late-summer/autumn period is crucial for rearing healthy young bees that will carry the hive through the winter and beyond. The meeting also had a visitor from Ohio; it was great to have someone to expand our view of the world. Wintering a hive is very different, and we don't have beetles, but varroa is a common enemy. Let's hope the many, many photos of the queen turn out okay Thanks to all the regulars, and to our new friends, for making the meeting, and leaving some passion fruit for me. Pictures and the host here; Hive Journal: - The Valley TBH Buzz The audience is practically naked!
  20. BOP Wasp/robbing screen

    Originally for protecting nucs from robbing bees I find these excellent for protecting against wasps too. While not perfect they are miles better than small entrances that hinder bees entering the safety indoors quickly. They are particularly useful for hives with projecting floors that lots of hobby beeks have. When wasps are the problem (not bees) needlessly complicating these with entrance holes stops them working properly - the bee's entrance is from above, between the hive face and the screen. When they are used on mating nucs then a small entrance IS provided for the mating queen to use, which can be later blocked. I'm starting to put these on now.
  21. BOP Contact Feeder

    So called because they are in close contact with the bees these are great for feeding small nucs. They can be made out of nothing for no money. Here are two examples, on a nuc, and used in a commercial pollination setting (in a kiwifruit orchard). More often they are invisible, protected inside an empty box. Any air-tight bucket, jar, or sandwich-box will do - a few ball-point sized holes in the lid (10-20) and you're good to go. Or you can make it nicely - like these.
  22. As beach lovers, the Tauranga crowd (the ones on mains water anyway!) have found the weather a bit disappointing lately. Last night the thunder and lighting over the Eastern ranges towards the other 'Bay' was disquieting, the morning showers had postponed a few jobs, and I thought @JudyK looked a bit confident about her bee-suit and jandals. It was probably wise to be cautious with strange bees today, especially with a good sized crowd gathering and light (or no) protective gear for most. Smoke a good five minutes before opening and a little drift if they looked uppity kept everything calm, and nature's lightest mist keep us all cool and most of the bees literally damped on the frames. The single Langstroth had a small cluster of bees hanging about the entrance-way and stood four boxes high, one for brood, a QX and three supers. It was solid and in good condition, populated with plastic frames. A peak under the crown board revealed bees, and a mostly empty box. With nothing to be learnt from the honey boxes these were all removed so we could get at the brood box, but bee numbers were quite good. The brood box was about 90% laid out, and had some nice solid slabs of sealed brood, The queen was laying, but with very little room; a fortnight or so back it was different, but now eggs and larvae were being fitted into leftover spaces, and we had a few queen cells. One, just below the excluder had been broken as it (the QX) was lifted; another, an open cell and grub, and two sealed, one very vulnerable on the very bottom of the frame. Swarm or supersedure? Who cares. Our hosts were quite keen to take the chance of a second hive, and had a spare floor, crown board and lid back at the house, so while these were collected I wanted to find our queen before doing anything rash. A nice dark queen appeared a few frames later, and we managed to pass the frame around for viewing without dropping her into the grass. To make up the new hive we took the two frames with sealed cells and sealed brood, and two frames of sealed honey and 'repurposed' one of the supers to be our brood box on the new floor, very gently and carefully. As we didn't have the ability to move this split out, (and didn't plan the split!) I wanted to take a number of steps to try and help it succeed. By far, most of the brood was sealed, requiring less nurse care and more tolerant of less than ideal temperature control. I wanted young bees emerging soon; they'll be my foragers. The queen cells were sealed too; normally I pick unsealed cells so I know they are alive and have a better idea of their age, but time is not on my side. The honey was sealed, just for emergencies. Really all the honey would stay with the main colony, which had the ability to defend it. An extra four or five frames of bees were shaken into the new colony as workers and carers, as we should expect most will go back to the parent colony we wanted 'extra'. I hope a dreary couple of days weather will delay that anyway. If I plan a split to stay 'at home' I build it above an excluder and allow nurse bees to move up and cover the brood before I divide it. This was less 'text-book' and more 'seat-of-the-pants'. Fingers crossed; the risk is we just have to put it back together. The old hive was rebuilt moving the excluder up one box and working a bit of empty space in, and the nuc entrance reduced to 2-3cm with some foam pieces. The plan is to buy a second box and use as an eke to contain a contact feeder, because it's important the colony is fed (without causing it to be robbed) so the new queen begins laying. After that we can see what resources can be shared between the hives to make sure they are set up for winter. I don't know what I've forgotten but luckily that all didn't take too long and there was plenty of time for a cuppa after. The home bakers were in evidence (we could fill an A&P show bench!) and thanks to all who contributed to make the occasion, especially the washer-up A couple of things that came up in conversation were 'contact feeder' and a wasp/robbing screen. I have put each in a topic of their own here in the group pages.
  23. BOP Permex Dust

    As part of another thread on the forum permex dust was discussed for killing wasp nests since Carbaryl is no longer on the market. I attach a link to it. $40 plus gst, free deliveries for orders over $100 plus gst. Flybusters Antiants - suppliers of professional DIY Pest Control products with online ordering, ecommerce and free advice Whilst many people said petrol was more effective, petrol isn't always possible. In any case I'd like to have 2kg of permex for helping to deal with wasp nests. If another two people are keen for a 2kg bucket we could buy three so as to get free shipping and distribute once it is in Tauranga. Let me know if you're keen. Not sure if we can get it delivered prior to meeting, but that would be neat and tidy. (note that it is different from vespex in that you can't using permex unless you find the nest).
  24. BOP Meetings 2016

    Hi Everyone, Happy New Year! I am looking for people to host meetings this year for the following dates: 31 January 28 February 27 March 24 April 29 May If you are able to host a meeting at your place, please let me know. Many thanks! Judy
  25. BOP Xmas Meeting 2015

    The Christmas gathering has become a ‘most of the day’ affair; rather than a quick tea, we enjoy an extended lunch. The promise of an afternoon at the beach looked a bit unlikely in the morning, but the rain and clouds cleared late in the morning, only delaying things by about an hour. Seaside Bees keep a few colonies at home in suburban Papamoa and our visit to see them was uncharacteristically organised. There were two colonies, a team each, and specific things to achieve. Both were checked for varroa with a powdered sugar-shake. After a somewhat checkered treatment past the results were good confirming the efficacy of the final (strip) treatments. One colony, a TBH, was to have the queen exchanged for a new one, with the old one put aside in a nuc. The second colony, a strong Lang/TBH hybrid, would provide three TBH nucs, after finding and marking the resident queen. New caged queens were housed in the nucs, which were to be moved to another site. The TBH hadn’t read the programme and decided to supersede the old queen so the plan was shelved for the time being, and we discussed the options after over lunch. The nuc-donor hybrid had been a success in the past. This was a fully conventional full-depth Langstroth brood box with a second, modified box on top. The top box uses TBH bars, and two wedge-shaped inserts so the comb was formed to match the dimensions of a ‘grown-up’ TBH. The queen had use of the whole area, had laid up all the bottom, and was found working in the top. With the nectar flow, she was running out of space to lay and the greater proportion of brood was sealed. She was caught and set aside in a hair-curler cage for safe keeping. All the bars in the top were fully formed and used in three TBH nucs in which we had hung a candy-caged queen. A good shake of bees off the frames in the bottom box topped up these which were closed up and put aside to move away. With a lot of capped brood to emerge the bottom should return to a good number of workers and empty space for laying quite quickly. Having completed the work on the hive it was now safe to return the queen. I could sit on the deck away from the melee, run her into the hand and mark her with @JudyK’s Posca pen. Despite the stormy morning and cool temperatures the bees were well behaved, and it was nice to see a hive with good bee numbers. The use of the hybrid hive was well thought out and handling the bars of comb a pleasure – it was nice to be reminded of some old skills. Many of our visitors had not seen caged queens, the different hive/comb styles, or bees, literally, handled. In my experience TBHs make much better beer-coolers than Langstroths, and so it proved. Lunch provided a ham and sausages from the local butcher, salads from the TBH ‘team’ and deserts from the hybrid ‘team’. The discussion went far into the afternoon, from bees to people, places, and work we all share, and we forgot about the beach. I’d like to mention our collective gratitude to our hosts, and to the cooks, fetchers and carriers that supported the day. Enjoy the holiday and best wishes for the New Year.
×