Apiary Diary 2023

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3,576
6,701
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
It's been fine here all week which is a bit of a miracle although other parts of Hawke's Bay have had a lot of afternoon showers. I took off my honey crop from my 32 hives this week and it will average out at about 30 kg per hive . Disappointing but nowhere near as bad as the hives up in the hills many of which will do a negative crop. Grafted two boxes of cells this week mainly for my mate and got 40 out of 40 in one box and 36 out of 40 on the other which is not too bad. Got varoa strips into all my hives at the same time as I took of the honey. Most of the hives had no visible varoa in the drone brood but one had some PMS. Helped my mate shut down his hives up in the mountains today. They were getting a little bit of fresh honey but no surplus to take of and most will need feeding several times before winter. A lot of the drone brood was showing signs of what I call purple death which makes the grubs turn various shades of purple and can occasionally be fatal but generally doesn't seem to cause much problem. I believe it is caused by the bees eating koromiko pollen. It varies from hive to hive but with hives with a lot of purple death you also get a good smattering of very dark brood caps which cannot can look very much like AFB. If the brood does die in the cell you end up with a fairly small mummified purple bee. It is nothing to worry about and I've never seen more than a very tiny percentage that die. I wish I had my camera today as there were some magnificent purple drone brood.
 
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347
449
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
Yep same here in the bop Tauranga /Tepuke area; sugar tanks have stayed on the back of trucks/utes all summer, the tawhari flowering was good and some crops from it but nothing else. I fed mine when I dropped them back on site after pollination, and I went around last week and feed them all again. they have been able to keep themselves alive with a small amount of flow but no crop. lots of bees so after this lot of weather goes through I'll be splitting.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,749
9,965
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
And talking sugar, the cost of it is now horrific. I'm leaving plenty honey on the hives, hoping to feed no sugar at all although there will no doubt be the odd hive somewhere needs a feed at some point.
 
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Mummzie

Staff member
1,284
1,161
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
A lot of the drone brood was showing signs of what I call purple death which makes the grubs turn various shades of purple and can occasionally be fatal but generally doesn't seem to cause much problem. I believe it is caused by the bees eating koromiko pollen.
I'm curious - is only the drone brood affected? and if so, any idea why ?
 
3,576
6,701
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
I'm curious - is only the drone brood affected? and if so, any idea why ?
It seems to affect all brood it's just that it's a lot more obvious in the drone brood when you split the two brood boxes apart.
In some hives in the apiary you will see very little or none while others most of the brood will be affected to varying degrees.
 
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3,576
6,701
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
We just got power back on. It was getting worried about the freezers but they are still frozen. Not too bad at home here with only minor flooding and lots of trees blown down including eight really big ones . We have had no contact with anybody. I don't know how many hives have been lost but I suspect it is closer to thousands rather than hundreds. Yesterday we could hear the tukituki River roaring from home and it would be about 2 km away. We had about 250 mils total plus gale force winds and areas up in the hills had a lot worse.
Last evening reminded me a bit of the covid lockdown as everybody was out and about chatting and checking up on people.
The damage to horticulture and agriculture is extreme. I went to check up on my brother this morning (he's fine) and had to divert several times around flooded areas one of which was completely full of floating apples.
I have been through quite a few of these cyclones over the years and this one would be by far the worst as far as widespread damage goes.
I think my hives will be all right but won't know till I can get in there to check which will be a few days.
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Hmmm .... Kia Kaha guys up North.
Down here we just got low cloud and easterly drizzle, which is great for moving bees up ino the honey dew.
Been a crap of a day.
Main man quit friday,
Blew a hydraulic hose on the the Palfinger today.
Not a lot of honey so far.....

What the heck else could go wrong ....????

I heard a joke the other day.... brought on by the fact that I took my faithfull Arab Nag to the races last w/e.
It was a blast. We came last every time as his legs were too short for the Station hacks.

Anyway,

Sandy Fernel takes his horse to the OutBack meet.
His family are real worried, as Sandy is a bit .....
"I'll let yah know how it goes" he said as he piles his Nag into the truck and heads out into the red dust.

Thursday night the family get a telegraph from Sandy.
SFSFSFSF.

When he got home Mother accosted him ....
"What the heck ..."

"Well" said Sandy, "telegrams are expensive.... you wanted to know how I went ...."

Started, Farted, slipped , Fell , See Yah Friday, Sandy Fernell.

Kia Kaha Pig Islanders !!
 

Dansar

Founder Member
BOP Club
6,224
5,708
Putaruru
Experience
Commercial
Lost 5 hives from the river flooding in Paeroa. Recovered one hive about 300 meters from the apiary. The sheep that were in the paddock all gone except one luck one.
I haven’t had a chance to get up to my hives in Karaka. At worst I’d say maybe one or two blown over or missing roofs.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,749
9,965
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Harvest underway. Track to this site washed out so had to bulldoze in through the manuka.

Harvest quite a bit less than normal this year. But on the positive side none of the sites I have been to have had any storm damaged hives, other than one got knocked over by a tree but wasn't damaged, just put it back up.

Can't see in the pic, now I wish I'd taken a pic, one of the hives at this site had a tree trunk land next to it and missed by a few centimeters, but no harm done :).
 

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3,576
6,701
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
My mate and I took my ute and a load of sugar up to feed his hives as the road was finally somewhat passable at least for four-wheel drives. It was a beautiful day and the bees were actually getting a little bit of fresh honey which is the only reason some of them were still alive. It is the first time I have driven far from home since the storm and the devastation in some places is catastrophic. I have lived through some pretty bad storms including the Easter storm at Paeroa over 40 years ago but even that one wasn't as bad or widespread as this one.We saw one house where the silt was up to the roof. The only reason we could get where we were going was because local farmers have cleared the innumerable slips on the road but they are now been told they are naughty boys and don't have resource consents to do this work. I also hear on the grapevine that civil aviation are considering prosecuting a helicopter pilot who rescued nearly 200 people.
There have been some truly horrific hive losses. Some of them are not surprising as keeping bees on the wrong side of the stop bank is always going to end wrong but most of them could not I believe have been predicted.
A local beekeeper has offered a burning site for flood contaminated beekeeping equipment and while I appreciate the sentiment I strongly doubt the legality of burning plastic frames unless they are a clear AFB risk.
 

NickWallingford

BOP Club
293
425
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
"...the Easter storm at Paeroa over 40 years ago." I remember Theras Broadley, commercial bkpr, who had bees all around Paeroa and Thames talking about how many of his hives were completely submerged or floated away. He said the yards had been fine for all of his beekeeping, and suddenly they weren't.
 
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269
316
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
A local beekeeper has offered a burning site for flood contaminated beekeeping equipment and while I appreciate the sentiment I strongly doubt the legality of burning plastic frames unless they are a clear AFB risk.
Unknown frames lodged against fences must be a risk surely John? Same issue here in Gisborne but a landfill operator has very kindly offered a deep bury of frames
 
5,764
6,323
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Challenges eh .... don't yah just love a challenge. Gets you outta the pit on n a morning.
This week seems to have seen a few of them.
The one of note is that the Big MAN is out of action after it suffered a dislocated rear differential.
The Big MAN can haul almost 300 boxes back from the coast in one hit. We are reduced to olde favorite Beani Bee which has a payload of 96 boxes.
It is what it is.
But the biggest challenge is the bills that keep rolling in .....
I had a chat with me old mate 'The Doc ' tonight .... Doc Speights.

It kinda went like this ....

"Doc , I been plagued with breakdowns lately and the bills just keep rolling in. True, I 'aint been to church for a while to ask for forgiveness for my cussing and swearing .... but....
The Honey Hummer crapped out and I sent it to the fix it shop and they charged me $180/hr to fix a f'up that they created at the last service. Then the honey lift pump crpped out and the engineer chraged me $1200 to fix a pump that I only paid $200 for a lifetime ago.
And then i got slammed with the Big MAN's dislocated back difeerential and the fix it man quoted me 30k to pop it all back into place.
Hows a bloke supposed to make a dollar in this tough game?

Old mate Doc looked me crooked in the eye ..... Jesse James..... you 'aint her to make a dollar. You are here to provide sustenance for the great unwashed , and will recieve your reward in Heaven!

Old Doc was always pretty philosophical .... too much weed and Dylan...

Mama take this badge off me
I can't use it any more
Gettin dark, too dark to see
Feel like I'm knockin on heavens door...

Knock knock knockin on Heavens door.

'Look on the flip side' , said the Doc..... 'only 42 sleeps on you'll be on that big Sky Waka wingin it to some spring sun and yanking that Triumph Tiger's tail back into life and hitting the road again.
Sticky side down ...eh !'

He's a good Man, my mate Doc.
 


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