Norway

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3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
I've just come back from six weeks in Norway which is mainly holiday but I did get to help my son with his hives and also visited a couple of beekeepers and a bee scientist. It's a very short season over there but we averaged 30 kg of wild raspberry and 40 kg of heather honey. I got to play with a radial extractor which is something I've never used before and I have to say I was quite impressed and it even handled the heather after it had been pricked. The bees were carniolan and impossible to upset. I have never seen bees so quiet. Stunning wild flowers everywhere along with the odd moose and a couple of capercaillie . Also did a quick side trip to Yorkshire where we saw the Moors in full flower. Walked in the little way to take a photo of some bees and got attacked when we got within about 30 m.
I have come home to what would have to be one of the wettest Springs in many years and I have to say I'm glad I don't have to go out working and shifting bees any more in this sort of conditions. The few hives I have kept seem to have come through pretty well.
 

southbee

Gold
285
243
Southland
Experience
Commercial
That sounds like a very good crop, I didn't realise that Norway has so much wild raspberry! What do their hives look like over there, do they use Langstroth? Just being nosy, I always wanted to go to Norway, but haven't managed yet!
 
3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
The boxes I was working with were square . The frames are shorter and deeper and as far as I can work out the boxes hold about 10% less than one of mine. They are all heavily insulated with walls about 50 millimetres thick. The wild raspberries come up after logging or fires and while their rotation is round 60 to 80 years there is a huge amount of forestry everywhere and there are always patches that have been cleared and they take close to 10 years for the trees to start covering them up again. The beekeepers in Norway are masters at overwintering hives and we could probably learn a thing or two from them . It was quite strange working with frames of a different size after over 50 years of just one size.
This was my son's first season in the area but from what I could gather from local beekeepers the raspberry crop was a bit below normal and the Heather crop was pretty good which is surprising because a lot of local beekeepers didn't shift because all the signs pointed towards a poor crop.
Even if we got no honey it still would have been worth it to be up on top of the mountain in the early hours of the morning with mist all round below us and expecting a troll to come striding out on the clouds at any second.
 

southbee

Gold
285
243
Southland
Experience
Commercial
Thank you for that, John, we used to run a few hives in the south of Germany, there's also a lot of wild Raspberries and the bees loved them. So did I, my grandmother used to take me in the forests to pick them and I have lovely memories of that and eating the resulting raspberry jam. Norway sounds amazing, maybe I'll have to plan a trip and try to find that troll.....
 
397
293
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Thank you for that, John, we used to run a few hives in the south of Germany, there's also a lot of wild Raspberries and the bees loved them. So did I, my grandmother used to take me in the forests to pick them and I have lovely memories of that and eating the resulting raspberry jam. Norway sounds amazing, maybe I'll have to plan a trip and try to find that troll.....
Can't say I have ever done a raspberry varietal, but have done a light clover colour with raspberry, and it makes for a very nice fine grain product of export quality
 
3,513
6,576
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
I have some lovely photos on my phone but have no idea how to get them from there onto this forum.
I ate lots of wild raspberries and blueberries along with cloud berries . Even found a few patches of tiny wild strawberries. We would quite often pick a surplus for jams et cetera but it was hard keeping them away from the three year old grandchild. I have never seen anyone eat so many berries and that includes me. I have a lovely picture of him with the area around his mouth completely blue.
The ideas I picked up on overwintering are mainly about how they get bees to survive for 5/6 months and whether doing the same thing here with the extra ventilation , insulation and damp prevention would make much difference here to hive health and winter honey consumption. I don't think it was really necessary in the past but with varoa becoming worse every year anything we can do to keep our lives healthier would be beneficial and perhaps one day essential. As a first step I might try out some of those new wool hive mats I saw at conference.
 
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yesbut

Staff member
11,892
6,999
Nelson
Experience
Hobbyist
In autumn I put a 50mm layer of polystyrene immediately on top of one of my hive lids, under the roof. The top frames were most definitely drier
than the other un insulated one a three weeks ago.
 

Mummzie

Staff member
1,246
1,131
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
I used a think chunk of polystyrene under the lids last winter and it made a big difference to the dryness of the hives. I left it there over summer to reduce the heat under the tin lid , so largely they are permanent.
Despite being tough Kiwis, we have (eventually) learned to insulate and double glaze our houses, and the results are evident.
I know the climates are different, and we are not dealing with months of snow, but I don't see why the bees wouldn't benefit from a warmer environment.
 


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