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Everything posted by WebKiwiNZ

  1. I've txted. Tried pm as well but couldnt. I'm crap at spotting queens but can pull frames while you look. However if there are eggs, larvae etc that would indicate the queen... those I can spot the box with no handles .. what if it becomes bottom brood box. Never shifted again. Put current brood box above it. I think I have 4 spare frames .. never used. I could bring them out and make a 9 frame honey with your five spare frames.
  2. @Wildflower I could put the boxes on your hives this weekend if needed. Eyrewell .. near ohoka and eyrewell forest?
  3. I will do that. It's a newish hive .. maybe 8 weeks or less. Added second box 2 weeks ago. With the bees investigating tin lid thought it might be robbing. Thanks.
  4. Just wait until you see green and purple pollen. Quite the sight.
  5. The video shows the entrance but heres a screen shot of it. Smothered in bees. A ball of clumped bees below. Bees crawling all over the front. Bees on side trying to get under the lid. Hive doctor. 60mm opening
  6. I went up to check the girls today ( external .. no hive opening as its showers, grey and not too warm) and found what looks like robbing. Someone suggested putting a things over door. Like leaves. Any thoughts? I think they are robbers as heavy investigation of under the tin lid, clumps at door. Tons of bees zig zagging in front of hive. Video added. 20201126_124455.mp4 WWW.DROPBOX.COM Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share...
  7. Thanks for that. Checked them today and they looked happy with just the 60mm open. Some congestion but not too much. Might open it up more later in the year if it gets really hot. Shane
  8. Cheers. I'll look up your suggestions. I had a guy come in wanting to make bee gear out of pallet wood. I think I disuaded him as most is not robust enough. Degrades quickly and the sized wood is all wrong. But it did get me thinking about modifying a current box for observation. Being in a community garden we get people wanting to look but I dont want to crack hives too often for entertainment. Thanks again
  9. I h I have the original. Single 60mm disk opening. The location is very sunny. I'm going to add second brood box today so that should help if it is too hot. Thanks for the reply
  10. Hi. With a hive doctor base the front door is 60mm. They have 6% under floor ventilation unlike a solid floor base. How have people found them in hot weather? The new hive is in a sun trap and its amping up to be a hot year so wondering if heat is an issue. Any thoughts welcome.
  11. Hi Daniel Would you be interested in sharing your plans? I run a mens shed and it might be a peoject of interst to a couple of the guys. Cheers
  12. The two hives are going well. @CHCHPaul CHCHPauls queeen is settling well. Warm day saturday so bearding on both hives .. all through the night and still some today - tuesday - even after two cooler days. Normal activity both hives and the latest check for swarm and supercedure cells found none. The extra space is working. Watching the new hive its gone from a few bees to busy so i think the extra frames have hatched. A good start.
  13. Tree nursery. No spray. We do have kids in the community garden ... but bees are well back in a fenced area.
  14. Yup. A friend in sheffield has caught a swarm he doesnt want and .... my wife has given me permission to start hive 4. Two birds, caught with one stone.
  15. Hive number one made it through winter in fine fettle. Its in my suburban back yard in Chch. Two boxes heaving with honey and brood. Was worried about being honey bound and @CHCHPaul confirmed my thought its time for box three over a queen excluder. Found supercedure cells so have been in a couple of times and last check there were no supercedure cells. Also took out frames of brood and dropped them in with a nuc into hive number two i just started. Plus honey. Ive freed about 5 frames in the brood boxes to make space. Hive number two started: its a flow hive i purchased years ago before starting keeping...long story... so am interested to see how it goes. Im cutting a full sized box down to an 8 framer to make a second brood box .. as they are off to a good start with the donated frames. The community gardens at the center i work in agreed to a hive after 2 years of discussion. Put it in using a hive doctor base...again trying something different. Im dubious the size of the entrance will be big enough when it gets stronger. One of the gardeners was a bit unhappy when i put it in ... then said he looked at the hive, saw the bees, and half an hour passed as sat watching them. We have a convert. The council have a nursery next door and asked if we can put a hive in there.... im saying no right now ... but they can visit ours. No sprays in use as both areas run organic. The community garden next to ours has one hive about 800m away. When taking the nuc to my location got seriously buzzed by a bee ... presumeably from there. It would not leave me alone. Second visit same thing. They seem to be a little aggressive or pushy so will keep an eye out for robbing of my new baby hive. The hive doctor base may be handy keeping the entrance small until it builds up. Trees down linwood ave in flower, we have had daffodils as well and brassicas / silverbeet etc all bolting so lots of flowers around. Three hives .. who knew. Im wondering how infected with the bee bug ive become. Is the smell of fresh honey and hives narcotic? Im already thinking a second hive to help the first hive at community gardens might be good.....
  16. Hi @CHCHPaul Yuo. I had left the honey on in a third box so i think youre right about the space and moisture. I have one full frame of honey in storage if they need feeding and the plastic top feeder if i have to suppliment. The girls get visited a lot. Always sweeping away dead bees. Getting good at spotting the change in flight and sounds. When youre ready will buy that nuc off you. There is a lot of keeness at the cimmunity garden to have a hive. Got a nice spot all worked out. All day sun and dry. Take care. Shane
  17. Australians all let us rejoice... ...golden soil and wealth for toil Our home is girthed by sea .....eeerrr honey?
  18. Thought i had lost the hive today. A bad moment but all is good. There has been a lot of robbing, dead bees, weaving flights, bees looking at cracks etc and different coloured bees. I was due to remove strips and one box had come apart so decided to get into it today. Taking the top mat off .. lots of mould and moisture. Cleaned it with hot water and a rag. Removed top box to put aside ... lots of bees. Went through bottom box, removed strips and checked. Plenty of bees, nectar, capped honey but zero brood. Put new top box down and started swapping second box frames across. First 5 frames ... nector and capped honey but zero brood. Now convinced ive lost the queen. Oddly no swarm cells but 3/4 of a hive and no brood. Was tempted to call it and close up but kept on. Next frame saw the queen. Frame after full off broodand also the next two. Whew. I was very careful moving the queen frame. Lots of checking she was still there after the move. I dropped in a full frame of honey from the removed top box replacing a partially drawn out frame, put a top feeder plastic lid on, added the tin lid and closed up. @CHCHPaul that queen you supplied is going well. Not much uncapped brood seen but i guess winter is different. Looking forward to spring and the second hive. If anyone has suggestions re the damp / mould happy to hear. The entrance is about 4 bees wide. They seem to be jolding their own but lots of bees on back doorstep and concrete so watch where you walk. These bees way less agressive. Got pinged a couple of times in the hood but pulling a hive apart in winter would make me grumpy too. No stings although plenty landed on hands. The banana like smell has gone. Smells like honey now. Tum. Roll on harvest.
  19. Hi, Its been a while - Covid 19 had me super busy (working in a food bank) and then trying to get back on my feet with the community centre I work with opening up. We also used it as a time to teach people to extract honey from frames by hand. Crush and strain - then boil down the wax. I tried making meed with the rinsing water. It was too cold so got honey vinegar - but that's still quite nice. I had requeened (thanks @ChchPaul )and things seem better. I also did a round of apivar a while back - and need to remove the strips but the rain is likely to make the girls niggly. Hopefully remove them tomorrow - if the sun gets around far enough to make it slightly warmer. We are getting robbers still, but have the entrance small and they are doing their jobs. The girls are still finding white and yellow pollen. Much quieter - but it is colder. Three weeks ago the boys got turfed out - lots of dead been on the concrete. I also intend to reshuffle some honey around - hoping we have an empty space or two as I had two full boxes and a few spare frames of honey needing to be used up. I thought I would share this video - my hive was a bit nasty - but this one gives me the screaming heebies just looking at it. I really appreciated the guy taking time to explain his rationale to why he terminates this hive. Its got a few points worth thinking about - no matter if you are in town or out in the country. Hopefully I never meet a hive like this. Looking forward to spring - With the amount of food the hive has it should be strong start so hopefull a bumper crop. I'm only glad lock downs dont apply to bees. Shane
  20. It turns out I not only suck at Where's Wally (my kids beat me every time) but that it also extends to 'Find That Queen'. How is it that I have heard so many disaster stories of people killing their queen but when you want to find her she is as elusive as truthfulness at an impeachment hearing. Having decided the hive is aggressive, and having @CHCHPaul help me source a calm queen (thanks -for that and the advice - really appreciated) I ventured out to find and replace my current queen. So I donned my bee suit, gumboots, my new leather gloves, put on a hat to keep the net away from my ears and went forth to find the queen. Smoker loaded, kids warned to stay away and off I went. After taking off the tin cover and lifting the lid I knew I was in for an epic and any doubt these girls are aggressive was dispelled. The top box is a lightly populated honey box above the Queen Excluder. More activity than previously but as soon as I took off the lid a wave of bees starting pinging my face and ears. Apply smoke, put them to one side, cover them and look at box two with the queen excluder on. Wow - I didn't even get a chance to touch them and what felt like half a frame of bees lifted off and I had my own mini swarm. Smoke, loosen the box, put it to one side, cover it and attend to the base box first. Double Wow - I thought the second box was aggressive - I get close and another wave of bees. My daughter (who was watching from a safe distance with a bee net on - abandoned me at this point - even she could hear the noise level change...again!!). After smoking them I put my hand towards the frames and got wave two. Loosened the first frame and got wave three. Lifted it - wave four. I must have looked like that kid Pig Pen from Charley Brown cartoons ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig-Pen ) I never knew bees could growl - wow!!! I have to confess this was the moment I asked myself if I really really really wanted to keep bees. I could either close the lid, turn away and find someone to sell them too or suck it up and move forward, knowing that I was likely in for multiple stings and a lot of sucky work. It turns out my wife is right (again) - I am just too dumb to know when to quit. Either that or adrenaline, fear and large doses of masochism are really my thing. I removed two outside frames (light barrier method) peered in - but that was pretty much a waste of time. The frames were heaving, bees flying and moving in all directions, so lifted out the frames and started checking - a quick look on both sides (outside of edge to inwards) then a slower inch by inch inspection of both sides. Nothing..nada...zip. I can spot drones, but not queens. Lots of brood, less honey and nectar than I would like - two bumble bees (one in not so good condition) occasional drone cone but not much (I think that's expected coming towards winter) no swarm cone, larvae on three frames at least but no eggs spotted. Finish off the frames, put it back together, resist the temptation to put the second box on top (it would have been a better height to work with) , cover it and on to box two. Lots of honey, lots of nectar, a few brood frames (but not many) a repeat of the bombing runs of box one - but interestingly less so than box 1. Someone had told me to hit box one first as it means you have less returning workers to join the fray. Box twos bees were still awful but less so than box one. Good advice I think. No queen found. Pretty sure she is in box one - where there is more larvae and brood - but possibly was on the floor or walls - or hey - as I said I suck at Where's Wally - and these girls are all wearing stripes. I will revisit them on Thursday - and try again. I had heard of a process of putting a QE on the base of the hive, adding the boxes above and tipping all the bees in front of the door step to re-enter the hive. @CHCHPaul told me about the bee sieve method - empty box on top, with QE below, tip bees into that and smoke gently downwards leaving the queen and drones. If I fail to find them on Thursday will do a bee sieve. Looking at the bees in the hive - still lots of nectar, saw a number with orange pollen in box one so there is still pollen coming in, saw 2-3 bumble bees inside and a couple try to enter the hive. So some bumblebees robbing at least box one. Box one less honey than expected - but box two absolutely heaving with it - so not worried about feeding or starvation. Lessons learned: 1 - Leather gloves rock. I will have to pull out a number of bee stings stuck in there, but with just nitrile gloves this wouldn't have been a good outcome. 2 - Check your gumboots before visiting the hive - mine had a split in the back I hadn't noticed. Saw it in time - thanks gaffer tape. 3 - A brimmed / floppy hat inside the net really keeps the ears protected. 4 - Staying still, moving slow, does help - mostly helped me get more confident in my gear. Being in a mini swarm of angry bees is freaky - but good gear works. 5 - Hive work is sweaty - and even the 'ventilated' bee suits will keep you sweating. 6 - Details. Check the details - like the last few millimetres of zip are done up, or the velcro is clipped down. Bees will find a way if you let them. 7 - Bees rock. This was not a pleasant trip to the hive but watching them communicate is cool (less cool if they were passing info on about where I forgot to do up a zip or something) , seeing the pollen on their legs, different colours of brood cap, the progression of honey, the work they do cleaning, building, feeding, how amazingly strong propolis is, their fanning, bearding, activities .... plus all the things i am learning along the way. In the long run I think they are worth the effort. Last thing learned - You can say to your bees - you're beautiful when you're angry - but it turns out that's not a good line to say to your wife. Another lesson learned. Click to choose files Hi @Paul Beer - thanks for the offer - but I'll decline. Its not about honey for us (that's just a bonus) but if you are trying to divest of some, I know of some community houses / projects that would gratefully accept. ... or I know a school that would possibly appreciate some - as part of their food process. It might make a good session getting people to extract their own honey Again thanks for the offer. Shane
  21. Well it's been a while so heres a progress update. 1. I'm pretty sure my bees are aggressive with the new queen. They lift off and ping my face net when I go near after even the top box is off. Running a hand over the top gets them stirred up and investigating. I'm now wearing gloves .. gardening gloves have material strips .. which bees exploit so now I've got proper leather gloves. Also gum boots. The little beggars can find that gap where a suit rides up even with boots and thick socks. Gumboots are excellent ankle protectors. In exploring if it's me or the bees I tried opening up in the evening (more workers bees back home so more pinging me) , middle of the day .. still an unpleasant experience and on a cooler day ... they were annoyed but then one wind gusts and suddenly a wave of 20 or so lifted off and came to get me. The final confirmation for me was when there were bees on the ground one morning. Normally I can pick them up with no issues but these had their butts in the air as soon as I put my hand near them. Very defensive. So it's new queen time. It's possible my new queen cross mated with a black bee. I've seen some jet black ones around. Things I've learned. Put your cover on a box you have taken off as it keeps them settled. It means there is one less annoyed bunch of bees that can fly at you. If you have 2 or 3 boxes ... take the top two off and do the bottom one first. It means you can get a cover on it quicker and its exposed for less time so there are less annoyed workers returning to bulk up the bombing runs. Bees can sting through suits. But not too often. Keep your net away from your ears. Bees sting through nets touching your ears. Bee suits rock!! If I'd worked this hive suitless I hate to think what state this newbie would have ended up in. If you have annoyed bees ... sometimes staying still and forcing yourself to be in their presence is good. It teaches you to trust your suit. It looks like this first season I'll be honeyless. The girls have the second box full so that is good for winter. I did stripe my third box with frames from box two so more brood cells in box two ... but I have a feeling they may have taken honey from box three, above the queen excluder, and moved it down. There were a lot of bees drinking even before I used smoke. Next week its treatment time... I've used baverol(spelling) previously so will use apivar?? The one different to baverol and that means I will not be able to use honey as it's got withholding periods. So no honey this year ... well maybe one frame. Considering their rough start .. chewed wing two weeks after getting them .. and the queen issues ... I'm pretty happy they have two boxes with brood and lots of honey so it should be a good start to next season. That and a new queen...hopefully not aggressive. Photo taken tonight... a heavy beard. It's not just my wife finding the weather hot.
  22. I've got to give a thumbs up to Ekrotek - if it is the same lady who (wo)mans the store - have found her to be helpful with advice - and encouragement. how are the hives going?
  23. White flowered - thats manuka isn't it? No - jsut checked and I'm wrong - Kanuka can be white too ... Ma (Maori) - White - but its not the case However the bushes we saw had dense white flowers - where as I understand Kanuka is more sparse - not as clumped. It looked like the bushes had light greyish snow all over them. Like the photo below. Up near View Hill / Oxford Forest I see there is a big bee farm - 2,500,000 bees according to the gate sign. They were flying over 1km away at the view hill car park and getting into the Manuka?? bushes there.
  24. The weather in Chch got slightly cooler last week....not by much but a little. I opened my back door one morning to find about 100 to 150 bees all around it. Most were clumped around an outside light we keep on for my son who lives in a sleep out. They stayed there until the sun started to reach the back door then flew off one by one. An unexpected welcome to the day. We were in Arthur's Pass Park last week. Lots of manuka blooming. All through Cragieburn and Oxford as well. Bee keepers near lake Pearson area moving hives so they are busy. In Oxford forest lots of bee flight lines visible when looking across the valleys. So its manuka time in Canterbury.
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