Apiary Diary October 2021

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PS.
What I should have said was that this, and all our pallets this spring, have had the O/A treatment.
Four strips in the bottom brood box, if they were coming up into the second we threw a couple in there for good measure.

As we have been going around splitting bees and making up deads, we've been adding another two or three strips per brood.
 
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PPS.

I got another email from Pike today about the colony loss survey.

At lunch today we were talking abaout the winter losses.
Most died from starvation. We got it wrong.

And I wondered whether we go back to weighing hives in the autumn.... like we did when I started with Airborne.
Have a base weight for an empty pallet.... eight boxes, four feeders, lids etc, and then a weight for a nice pallet with good stores, and then add syrup as needed to the underweighs.
With a scale on the crane it would be very easy, almost idiot proof.

But back to the hive survey.
Winter losses have been climbing since 2015.
That sort of coincides with the growth of the industry, and the rise of the corporate empires...... I'll say no more.
 
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I guess those girls had been feelin' the luv
Agreed.
These were my 'hobby' hives.
Did nothing special to them over the winter, applied Apivar in the autumn and O/A about a month ago and checked they had a couple of frames of honey.
The yard is a cold place in the winter with not a lot of sun and gets pounded by the wind.

I think the secret was that they were all young queens and had some early nectar trickles from the garden. ,
 
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Southland
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Most died from starvation. We got it wrong
We all get it wrong sometimes. I agree with the weighing of pallets, been thinking about that. We run double pallets and no scale on the crane, so do a lift and guess check, but it leaves it open to variables, like who's lifting or how strong you feel on the day....
 
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alc

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bream bay
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Caught my first swarm for the season last Saturday. Small swarm, so from an overwintered one broodbox at a holiday home perhaps? (pure speculation). Bees are happily coming and going from the hive. Todays job is to have a look and try out my AFB test kit, and give them a dose with oxalic vapour before there's capped brood.🤞
 
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alc

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bream bay
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Just to be safe, Maybe its a waste but I bought two test kits a while back when I got an AFB within 3km report last summer. They are about to expire anyway, and I'm interested to give it a go.. I would also like to move it from home close to another hive of mine elsewhere, and be able to swap frames between them if needed. From memory the kit was $20, worth it for some peace of mind for me at least... :)
 

Trevor Gillbanks

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Sure, I understand that. You need to wait until they are into the second brood cycle before defective cells will show up.
Did you put the swarm on foundation or drawn comb.
You should always use foundation if you do not know the origins of the swarm.
 

alc

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bream bay
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Sure, I understand that. You need to wait until they are into the second brood cycle before defective cells will show up.
Did you put the swarm on foundation or drawn comb.
You should always use foundation if you do not know the origins of the swarm.
That's good info to know, re: the brood cycle.. And you are absolutely right to point out that its not necessary to test swarms for AFB straight away.
I always use foundation only for the few swarms I have caught.
As far as this one goes, small was an understatement! They only cover three frames, (hopefully many more were all out foraging!). I spotted the very small bottomed queen which I would say was a virgin, as there were no eggs to be seen 5 days after homing them. I've given them a few eggs from my favourite hive just in case, after a quick OA vapour treatment. Hoping that was the right thing to do, perhaps anyone who has homed a swarm with a virgin queen could share their experience?
 
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nd be able to swap frames between them if needed.
Personally I wouldn't be swapping frames back and forth between hives if one was a swarm of unknown origin. I have always quarantined swarms for two seasons, and kept the gear separate.

If the swarm has a virgin queen, just let it do it's thing and don't disturb for 7-10 days. If left undisturbed, she will go out and get mated the next suitable day, and hopefully return. Once there's covered brood, you can assess AFB and other diseases, and laying patterns.

No doubt you are about to get 10 different opinions,
 
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alc

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bream bay
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Sounds sensible Maggie, I hate to think about having to destroy all my gear due to one swarm! I only keep 2-3 hives an apiary, and quarantine/scorch equipment between apiaries, and (hive tools) hives.. Funny/sad story though, I was checking hives at a friends, and they mentioned they had driven through a swarm in the area I caught the small one, same day and sadly many bees didn't make it! She was thankful her windows weren't open..

Thanks for the advice re; the virgin swarm.. we have a few nice days ahead hopefully she can get mated, she should've been out and about at that time of day though! I don't think northlands new L3 restrictions apply to her so hoping she's been out and about (and scanning)..
 
246
176
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Sounds sensible Maggie, I hate to think about having to destroy all my gear due to one swarm! I only keep 2-3 hives an apiary, and quarantine/scorch equipment between apiaries, and (hive tools) hives.. Funny/sad story though, I was checking hives at a friends, and they mentioned they had driven through a swarm in the area I caught the small one, same day and sadly many bees didn't make it! She was thankful her windows weren't open..

Thanks for the advice re; the virgin swarm.. we have a few nice days ahead hopefully she can get mated, she should've been out and about at that time of day though! I don't think northlands new L3 restrictions apply to her so hoping she's been out and about (and scanning)..
If she comes back mated and she ain't much chop, when you have nurse bees in the colony, then requeen
 

Josh

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Christchurch
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Cranking spring build up for anyone with hives on Banks Peninsula.

I always wish I had hives here, some clearly due with so many busy ladies on the banks of Lyttleton Harbour. 3 hours round trip is just too far for a hobby keeper.

You can’t get away from the sounds of happy bees collecting nectar.
 
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I don't go out of my way to collect swarms but over the years I have collected a fair few and I have never got AFB from them. Swarms are extremely low risk and I find invariably when someone tells me they caught a swarm and then the hive got AFB it was because they put the clean swarm into old infected gear not from putting an infected swarm into new clean gear. Getting AFB from a swarm is possible but so is getting hit by lightning and I don't worry about that too much. By far the biggest risks from swarms is bad genetics and re-queening solves that problem.
 
5,526
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canterbury
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This is a photo taken today of one of last years survivor bees from last years pollination contract.
Last week I put 24 hives into the same farm, and had a chat with Dad when I did my state of the nation tour.
He was pretty proud of the fact that his Boy had sprayed the whole farm over the weekend.

You gotta laugh or you’d go mad...eh.

As an aside, eldest boy herecquit his job two weeks after a week of nosebleeds.
He had been spraying blackcurrants with no ppe.
I got grumpy and threatened to ring the boss.
He went to the Doc who said the nadal passage was inflammed .... classic chemical poisoning.
Boss rang later that night to smooth the water and suss out whether we tske the issue further.
I never really realised there were still so many ignorant cockies out there.
A7F50EEB-4078-404E-BE98-B98F018F6F3F.jpeg
 
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