Having a terrible year?

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kaihoka

Gold
231
197
whanganui inlet
Experience
Hobbyist
Caught up with beek friends today and was shocked to learn that every beek in our area is having a terrible yr.
Everything may be flowering fantastically but the weather has been cold and the bees not collecting.
My hives are not great but I thought that was just mine cause they had difficult spring matings. But all the beeks had the same issue.
True honey overwintered hives on a farm down the coast and cause we had a real wet windy spring , 250mls in nov, they lost a lot of hives.
They have now flown their hives away.
I do not know how they did . But if it was too cold down on the flat I can not see how they did ok up in the hills .
One beek I know is not taking any honey off this yr . But last yr they had a great yr with a pure manuka crop and good prices .
It will be a difficult yr for some local beeks who are having to deal with loosing sites to big pushy outside players and a bad yr .
The weather is good now but too late .
 
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Reactions: Trevor Gillbanks
5,526
5,842
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
The thing is Frazz, the big players are vertically integrated, and are putting the honey from their loss making hives into retail packs and moving them on at $1800 a pot .
Simple arithmetic really.🎅🏿
 
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kaihoka

Gold
231
197
whanganui inlet
Experience
Hobbyist
The thing is Frazz, the big players are vertically integrated, and are putting the honey from their loss making hives into retail packs and moving them on at $1800 a pot .
Simple arithmetic really.🎅🏿
True honey would not have to sell much manuka from elsewhere to cover their looses.
Local beeks were pretty surprise at True honey wintering their hives on the farm down the coast.
No one does that unless they live there and have too.
It makes me think the company never did any historical research about beeks experiences in the area.
Two decent springs in a row certainly does not guarantee a third .
 
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Reactions: frazzledfozzle
5,526
5,842
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Uh Huh .... It's hard work running a company when the decision makers are drawing a wage whether they succeed or fail. I suspect that if their wage was dictated by the crop they produced, things might have been a little different.
 
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Alastair

Founder Member
8,080
9,292
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Some of my best sites got badly damaged by (i think) Karaka and I was expecting about my worst season ever.

But amazingly, although they missed the early part of the flow, they bounced back. I'm harvesting atm and most hives have chock full boxes, I've been pleasantly surprised. I did not super up quite as much as i may have done otherwise. Only downside, the guys who do the extracting gave me an ear chewing because the boxes are so choca that they are gummed up and hard to get the frames out of.

Plenty honey down below for winter feed, I'm expecting another season where I hardly have to buy any sugar :)
 

yesbut

Staff member
11,700
6,763
Nelson
Experience
Hobbyist
I haven't enjoyed my honey harvest or subsequent manipulation this season. I've got two boomer hives instead of my usual two strugglers, something to do with the commercial down the road disappearing. Heavy boxes, bees for africa, ripped comb left right & centre, impossible not to #### the bees off trying to arrange a couple of splits....sticky crap all over everything, you can shove these prolific hives !!!
 
62
47
New Zealand
Experience
International
The thing is Frazz, the big players are vertically integrated, and are putting the honey from their loss making hives into retail packs and moving them on at $1800 a pot .
Simple arithmetic really.🎅🏿
Not sure it is that simple. Vertical integration also means the company is carrying a large fixed overhead each year regardless of the quality of the harvest both in volume and UMF/MGO grade. A few jars sold at $1800 does nothing to solve the issue. All the big players really on profitable volume across 5+, 10+, 15+ etc
 
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Bron

Staff member
Platinum
2,901
3,036
Gisborne
Experience
Commercial
I haven't enjoyed my honey harvest or subsequent manipulation this season. I've got two boomer hives instead of my usual two strugglers, something to do with the commercial down the road disappearing. Heavy boxes, bees for africa, ripped comb left right & centre, impossible not to #### the bees off trying to arrange a couple of splits....sticky crap all over everything, you can shove these prolific hives !!!
Yep! It’s a sticky job. I’m washing the suits more often at the moment as like Alastair we have purposely put less supers out there. Whats out is pretty heavy and sticky and surprisingly chockablock with bees!
Using a smoker is a bit of a waste of time as well as problematic because of the dry. The bees just don’t seem to care, they ain’t moving.

Oh! I love your comment about earning our $$$ dealing with jam packed hives! Us little guys don’t get paid, we do it for the lifestyle, picnics & good chats with our farmer hosts!
 

Sailabee

BOP Club
1,235
1,289
North Auckland
Experience
Hobbyist
Oh! I love your comment about earning our $$$ dealing with jam packed hives! Us little guys don’t get paid, we do it for the lifestyle, picnics & good chats with our farmer hosts!
The truth is that most of the big players aren't really turning a profit on funds invested by shareholders, but they have by and large taken the picnics and chats out of the game, so all in all, no need to envy their workers at all I would think.
 
3,371
6,239
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
I have seen worse honey years but I don't think I remember any quite so variable. Generally if one site in an area is doing well then the rest will be similar but boy are they up and down this year.
It's interesting how the corporate's continually move into new areas after deciding that this area or that area is obviously no good despite local beekeepers having made a living from for decades until they came along and pushed them out.
They have always grossly underestimated the importance of local knowledge on stocking rates , timing et cetera and grossly overestimated potential production based on nothing or one good year. When you couple this with an extraordinarily high rate of PPB it's just as well they have their hands deep in somebody else's pockets.
 

tommy dave

Gold
BOP Club
166
183
mostly wellington, sometimes dunedin
Experience
Hobbyist
going to be taking honey off my handful of scattered hives over the next few weeks.

The backyard hive got split in early November, donated a few frames of brood to a neighbour's hive in late November, then in mid-December it got split from only medium strength again and the queen taken away in the daughter split i was giving away, and left to raise a new one. I'm left wondering just how much honey it would have pulled in if i'd let it remain full strength from November through the season - still looking like it's going to be an alright haul.

Taranaki hives - I had my first hive starve in years, perils of remote and low interaction beekeeping I guess. The others pulled through, although weren't as strong as i would have liked. It's been a little while since I visited them, will be up there this weekend or next to see what their honey load is like.

Dunedin - apparently 4 boxes per to be dealt with. Not quite the 100+kg per when i lived on site, but guess that's how it goes with the whole leaving multiple boxes on, leaving too much space, no excluder, no spring feeding, etc. It's not like i need the honey, but it still feels like a bit of a shame. Likely that a mate of mine will start managing those hives and dealing to the honey if I don't end up spending a lot of time down there in 2021/22
 
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Reactions: Fieldbee (Mary)
340
305
Mosgiel
Experience
Hobbyist
This season is late. There was nothing until 2nd week in January. Some were feeding until then. Some are reporting a good crop and other very poor. Depends where they are. I am semi rural with lifestyle blocks around with some clover paddocks around.
 
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Reactions: kaihoka and Grant


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