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Found 12 results

  1. Hi all, Thank you for having me 🙂 I'm the Key Account Manager for Honey at Hill Laboratories. If you have any questions regarding honey testing, or showing compliance for the most cost effective way possible, I'm happy to help. Ask away!
  2. Do you have honey but no buyer in sight, or prices too low to cover costs? Let’s get together and talk about it. Bruce Clow, Managing Director of Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies (NZ) Ltd is travelling through-out the country in April hosting meetings with beekeepers who might be interested in starting a honey producers’ co-op, or looking at other ways to improve the financial returns for commercial beekeepers. Ceracell has always said that we are here “to help beekeepers”, and quite a number of our commercial beekeepers have expressed serious concerns about their ability to sell honey at a price that makes their business viable. Well Bruce says, “we are here to help”. Let’s see what we can do together. If things look dark and desperate, you are not alone. Come to one of the meetings and we’ll see what we might be able to do together. Also, let your commercial beekeeping friends know about the meetings, just in case they haven’t seen this notice. Topics that we might cover: Is there really a problem? What is a Co-op? What might be involved in setting up a Co-op? Are there other things a beekeeper might do to improve his/her bottom-line? If I want “out” how can it be done and recover value from my business? Is there “hope”? You are not alone! If you think you might like to come to one of the meetings, please email: bruce@ceracell.co.nz and leave your contact details. That way Bruce can contact you in case anything untoward happens (such as a car breakdown or illness) which could result in a meeting being cancelled. Meeting locations (all times are 10 am to 12 noon): Tuesday, 2 April, Cargill Room, BNZ Partners Centre, Level 1, 84 Esk St., Invercargill. Wednesday, 3 April, Conference Room, The Mill House, 2358 Herbert-Hampden Rd., Herbert. Thursday, 4 April, Avon Room, BNZ Partners Centre, Russley, Chch, Level 1, 5 Sir William Pickering Dr., Russley, Christchurch. Friday, 5 April, Railway Hotel Restaurant, Railway Hotel, 120 Mawhera Quay, Greymouth. Saturday, 6 April, Conference Room, Admirals Motor Lodge, 161 Middle Renwick Rd., Blenheim. Monday, 8 April, Korimako Room, Walter Nash Centre, 22 Taine St., Lower Hutt. Tuesday, 9 April, Te Mata Room, BNZ Partners Centre, 1st Floor, 205 Hastings St. South, Hastings. Wednesday, 10 April, Waipaoa Room, BNZ Partners Centre, 67 Customhouse St., Gisborne. Thursday, 11 April, Rotoiti Room, BNZ Partners Centre, 1202 Amohau St., Rotorua. Friday, 12 April, Whanganui Board Room, BNZ Partners Centre, 124 Victoria Ave., Whanganui. Monday, 15 April, Growers Board Room, BNZ Partners Centre, 10 Massey Ave., Pukekohe. Tuesday, 16 April, Manaia Board Room, BNZ Partners Centre, Level 1, 57 Bank St., Whangarei. Wednesday, 17 April, The Foyer, Les Munro Centre, Te Kuiti. If you want continued updates please go and like our Facebook page for updates on the matter or want to follow the progress, otherwise email Bruce and get in touch so we can start getting numbers, we already have a lot of people coming so please don't hesitate to contact us. We have tried to spread the meetings evenly throughout the country and allow a minimum of 2hrs drive to a major town where a meeting will be held.
  3. Are there any things I can do to help the bees dehumidify the honey more quickly? I would like to extract a number of boxes before Christmas, but I’m waiting on much of it to be fully capped. Someone suggested propping each super up on matchsticks.
  4. So it’s been a steep learning curve so far in my first year beekeeping,. I’ve started out with all full depth (brood + honey) on all 6 hives. Idea being that next year I’ll have heaps of drawn comb and brood boxes for splits and expanding. A few of my hives ended up being stacked 5-6 high, and full with honey. I’ve run two brood under excluder. Today I killed so many bees and felt like such a kook. I was heaving heavy supers off all the way down to brood chamber and then realised that much of the brood area was honey bound. I replaced with foundation etc. I’d appreciate some advice on better maintenance of the hives in this regard. is it better to extract before the hive goes 5 high? > too much of a mission to take off a million honey supers just so I can eyeball the brood. Ends up honey bound and neglected.
  5. I stole ten frames of honey from one of my hives today 90% capped and no liquid came out of remaining ten percent when shook. It was an unplanned robbery, so I ended up just brushing and smoking (heavily) the bees off the frames. Will this have tainted my honey with smokey flavour?
  6. These two hives started as nucs a couple of months ago and all brood boxes are now wall to wall. Lots of solid brood, with very heavy honey and pollen frames too. Today I decided that it’s time to put the first honey supers on. Is this too early? Is there such a thing as peaking before the flow? I think that because the weather has been amazing here for three weeks now maybe there’s an early flow happening anyway. I’ve used a couple of their brood frames to even out other hives, so they should be kept busy drawing and filling those plus the honey supers now. It will be interesting to see how much honey I get from these strong hives in total. I suppose I’ll leave them 7/8 frames of honey as stores.
  7. A couple of days ago the results of a global survey began to hit the headlines; A worldwide survey of neonicotinoids in honey, Mitchell et al., Science 358, 109–111 (2017) 6 October 2017. The study was based on a collection of samples from 'local producers' all around the world donated by colleagues, friends, and relatives connected the the University and Botanic Gardens of Neuchtel in Switzerland. Of the 300 received, gathered from apiaries, markets, and commercial sources, 198 were selected, in theory representing a broad range of environments but also avoiding an over-representation of European-sourced samples. Most but not all the EU samples were collected before the 'ban' on neonicotinoid use on bee-visited crops. Only 7% had the name of the beekeeper provided. The researchers point out this 'citizen science' aspect meant they had only a hazy (or no) idea about the honey samples and their provenance, whether they were blended, what nectar sources might be present, or the time period involved. Nor did they have any idea of the potential pesticides the sample was exposed to, or how the sample was stored prior to them receiving it. They are limited in what they can conclude about the potential environmental contamination by their ignorance about the behavioural and ecological aspects that many have affected the sample. There are four New Zealand samples in the data. One from near Marsden Point for thiamethoxam. Two from near the Korowai-Torlesse Tusockland Park outside Springfield for imidacloprid. One between the Tekapo military camp and Mt Cook, positive for imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, thiacloprid, and acetamiprid. I've had a look and acetamiprid is not in the current ACVM list as registered for use in New Zealand. Imidacloprid has bee registered since 1992, thiamethoxam and thiacloprid since 2000, and clothianidin from 2003. The seven Australian samples presented a simpler picture, one with no detection, four for imidacloprid (one including thiacloprid), one with only thiacloprid, and one with only thiamethoxam. Of the 198 samples tested, 149 had a measurable amount of at least one compound - 75%. Several compounds were found in 60% of samples. It's curious that three tests, for Italy, Portugal, and Spain, list thiamethoxam as 'Not detected' (ND, rather than >LOD - Limit of Detection). In the other 987 tests results are reported as an amount or as below the limit of quantification (<LOQ). If the distinction is correctly made, in 990 tests 987 must positive (but not quantifiable), or 99.7% This is not the claim being made. They do say that 48% of their samples exceeded a 'biologically relevant dose. The biologically relevant dose they chose has been derived mainly from a study on bumble bee brains reporting harm to neurons after several days exposure. I'm not really able to say if their choice was a valid one, the evaluation of the scientific literature on this is very difficult. My only observation would be that there are good reasons to think, behaviourally and ecologically, bumble bees, honey bees, and other pollinators are not the same, and neither are the five neonicotinoids. In the New Zealand results, most are very low and seemingly not significant. The two thiamethoxam results are relatively high, but it's difficult to draw the conclusion they are significant from the table of concentrations given in the Supplementary Data. Overall I'd say this is an interesting attempt at answering some important questions about the use of these pesticides. That they have become so ubiquitous in (for NZ) the last 25 years is startling, and from samples in, to me, pretty unlikely places. The claim neonicotinoids have been found in 75% of their samples isn't helpful, in that newspapers and consumers just hear "contaminated honey". Science magazine reported the study with the headline "Nerve agents in honey". Whether or not we can say it is harming pollinating insects (it isn't harming people!), it is actually an indictment of the way in which we are managing our landscapes, and the fact that so many samples had two or more of the compounds says something about the persistent and pervasive nature of these pesticides. There is a case to be made for a well designed long term monitoring programme, even in New Zealand.
  8. Have you ever wondered about honey, what it is and why it’s like it is? What about quality and honey, what should beekeepers know? Honey comes from Nectar Nectar is a solution produced by plants that animals collect for food. Plants have special structures that make this solution usually from water and sap flowing in the plant. Often these are found in flowers and attract animals that pollinate the plant, but that is not always the case, and they can sometimes be found on any parts of the plant above the ground. Nor is nectar always there to facilitate pollination. The composition of the solution varies, but mostly it’s a solution of sugars in water, with small amounts of minerals and organic molecules. The nectars we are interested in contain something like 10% to 40% carbohydrates, mainly sugars like sucrose, fructose, and glucose. As well as the sugars the plants produce other chemicals that, for example, help the nectar store, make it attractive to a particular animal, or repel animals that might steal it. Nectar is a very dynamic product. It varies for every type of plant, and for the same type of plant growing in different places. It is presented outside the plant’s tissues, so its properties change with the weather and with time. It is a very expensive product, in terms of energy and raw materials, so it’s highly conserved, even re-absorbed, by the plant. It contains enzymes that gradually change the proportions of sugars in the solution, and these sugars make it hygroscopic. All sorts of animals use nectar as food, from yeasts and bacteria, to insects and birds. Because nectars have such different properties the relationship between the producing plants and the consuming animals can be very specific, but often are not. For example, the consumer may have special mouth parts that specialise in harvesting liquid of a certain viscosity, or it may rely on a solution that contains lots of amino-acids. These relationships can alter as the secretion of nectar changes over time. What is honey? If honey comes from nectar it’s obvious the composition and physical properties of honey originate with nectar, but honey bees alter nectar in two important ways. As they collect the liquid they add a collection of enzymes, (mostly α-glucosidases, generally referred to as ‘invertase’ or ‘sucrase’) that will split a long sugar into small sugars; each sucrose molecule is split in to two sugars, fructose and glucose. They secrete these enzymes from glands in their head as they imbibe the solution, and ‘swallow’ the mixture into their honey stomach (or ‘crop’). During the intake and expulsion of the nectar it’s likely to be contaminated with pollen grains and spores from the environment. An organ in the crop is able to filter some particulates like this out into the bee’s digestive system where they are digested or excreted. After they have transported it back to their hive they regurgitate the liquid and then concentrate it by evaporating water. Whereas nectar is mostly water, honey has four to five times as much sugar as water. By splitting most of the sucrose into smaller sugars the ‘bees end up with a warm (about 34oC) fructose solution that has a lot of glucose dissolved in it, and a little sucrose (1-2%). How this solution behaves when it cools depends on the exact mixture of sugars in it, but as a rule some or all the sugars will not remain liquid and the honey will slowly granulate. The honey will also still contain any of the minerals and organic molecules that were produced in the nectar. The minerals are what gives honey most of its colour, the trace molecules contribute to its flavour, aroma and ‘mouth-feel’. It will now be much ‘thicker’; it has a high viscosity – 200 times that of water, ten times that of an oil. Different densities may have some effect on packaging and container size if sold by weight. Some honeys have such high protein contents they exhibit a property called ‘thixotropy’ and need special handling and packing. As honey it will also absorb water even more quickly that its parent nectar did, which it why ‘bees and beekeepers are careful about exposing it to moist air. And it will contain some (uncertain) quantity of pollen grains and microorganism spores as a result of its natural origin. So honey is concentrated nectar, but honey is a food, defined in law governed by a principle in an international Codex. The Codex alimentarious defines honey too, and if you’re thinking about honey as a commodity, that’s much more important. To paraphrase what the Codex says, “honey is …an unfermented, sweet substance… produced by honey bees from nectar or secretions from living plants… collected… and transformed in honey combs… without objectionable flavours, aromas, or taints absorbed from foreign matter or during storage… or natural plant toxins in an amount hazardous to health.” Honey quality Everything we need to understand about honey quality can be read from the Codex. The first thing is that it is not fermented. If it’s fermented it’s something else, not honey. What prevents honey from spoiling, and fermenting, is its high sugar concentration. As a result, the amount of water in honey is usually regulated by statute. Above 20% water we know honey is likely to ferment, below 17.0% fermentation is not likely. Between those two points the chance of fermentation depends on the count of yeast spores in the honey. This all assumes the honey is homogeneous – the same throughout. If honey has begun to crystalise (we call it granulation) clearly it is no longer homogenous. As honey naturally granulates, the possibility of fermentation increases. If we incorporate air into honey, it is no longer homogeneous and the possibility of fermentation increases. If we leave bits of leaf, pollen and dust, and the odd bee’s leg in the honey it’s not homogeneous (and we add to the bacteria/yeast content). Not only will various sorts of foreign material set up concentration gradients that permit fermentation we increase the chance of there being ‘objectionable taints’ and the like in our honey. Particulates in the honey can also ‘seed’ premature crystal formation leading to early granulation, and it’s common to filter out most or all particulates. The other important part of the Codex is that we should expect honey to be a product of living plants, transformed only by honey bees. It should not contain anything (like chemical pollutants) or be adulterated with products that are not ‘a product of living plants’. It should contain the natural enzymes and biological products that are ‘a product of living plants’, insofar as they are not a hazard to human health. We should not be destroying constituent enzymes by over-heating or processing honey, and in any case, we should be able to tell only honey bees have ‘collected, transformed, and combined’ the nectars to honey. There are many tests in use that can check the integrity of honey, but measuring 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), one of the main volatile alcohols in any honey, has proved a useful general standard. The compound is produced by sugary solutions at a rate that depends on time and temperature, and the ‘HMF’ quantity has proved to be a good proxy for indicating change in the chemical properties of honey. HMF can tell us whether or to what extent we have ‘transformed’ the honey, and not the ‘bees. Being true to quality It is important to adhere to local legislation about trade descriptions, food labelling, and weights and measures. There may be specific regulations that deal with food safety, (in NZ the Tutin regulations are the prime example) or standards that must be met to conform with export regulations and compliance in local or overseas markets. None of these take anything away from the principles in the Codex. There are also conventions (with varying degrees of ‘authority’) that attempt to define how honey shall be described, especially when trading between countries. For many years honey colour has been described using the ‘Pfund scale’ using a colorimeter, and while there are now more sophisticated spectrophotometric measures the Pfund remains part of the beekeeping vocabulary. Several countries have attempted to standardise the descriptions of the aroma and flavour of honeys using tools like a ‘flavour wheel’ (not New Zealand), and as the interest in ‘varietal’ or ‘gourmet’ honeys has grown these have become widely used to describe and classify the variety of honey available, rather like wine tasting. You can find one you like on the ‘web. Representing the ‘honesty’ of honey is essential in preparing and describing the product. When preparing honey for consumption and sale seemingly small ‘defects’ create doubt about the provenance and preparation process in the mind of the observer. Are those small bubbles from fermentation or sloppy preparation? Why is there sediment at the bottom of the jar and scum on the top? Worldwide, different consumer groups have different attitudes to filtration, clarity, and shelf-life, some more discerning and selective than others. It is also important that descriptions, of any kind, are true. Apple blossom pictured on the label of a jar of pasture honey is misleading would not be permitted in some jurisdictions. Putting a sprig of lavender in your lavender honey may not be smart, but putting it in clover honey can be construed as a lie. As consumers become more discerning your product also characterises how you run your business; “You said it was ‘honey’, not ‘honey with added ‘bee bits’!”. Are the fragments an indication of how roughly you treat your bees, an errant wing an indicator of your insensitive beekeeping? Consumers may regard the possibility of mite treatment residues in the honey you supply as a betrayal. While these details may or may not be part of the regulatory environment, they are part of the ethical framework beekeepers have established over many years. Disregard them at your peril.
  9. Good afternoon. I have a certified organic property that has hives which produce honey and we also produce bee venom. We are looking to sell the property and business as a unit and require it to be valued for sale. Is there any firm that does this kind of work? Recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Hi, I'm currently looking to buy a couple of bee farms and possibly a honey manufacturing/processing factory/business. I would like some advice on where I can find information on this. Thanks you!
  11. The need is growing to address unethical practices. UNETHICAL practices by beekeepers who install hives on land in the vicinity of manuka is basically theft, says Victor Goldsmith, chairman of a number of East Coast land trusts. Mr Goldsmith is calling for local and central government to regulate the industry. “We cannot allow this practice to continue. With no regulation it will get worse.” As the East Coast manuka honey industry grows, hives are appearing on adjoining lifestyle properties near manuka plantations, says Mr Goldsmith. Call to regulate manuka honey theft
  12. I am a business trader from China, I have good interest and slaes channels for all farm products, I hope to visit some good beekeepers in South Island NZ to take a look and may discuss the cooperation, I may invest or purchase some shareholding of the apiary, in order to sell the NZ honey in Orient market.
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