2013 Spring is here – Part 3

Spring Buds

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your feedback on the ‘Spring is here’ blogs. Great to find out what you are really wanting to know – most commonly you are asking about how to spot disease and the last blog talks about learning what is normal. From understanding what is normal you will pick-up problems.

State of Play

Firstly, Health of your girls at the start of the season is paramount.
Secondly, Food stores may have depleted due to the winter feeding.

Take action and inspect, record your findings and put together your new season strategy.


Disease, Varroa, PMS, Sac Brood, Chalk Brood, AFB, Deformed Wing Virus ….bee aware that you need to look out for these things.
AFB – you can’t fix-this ! Hives to be destroyed within 24hours – burn all hives and gear used on this hive at site, bleach all gear suit, footwear, hive tools, etc.
Check out : http://afb.org.nz/

Obviously you can learn about disease from other resources…
– read books which help identification
– talk to older Beekeepers, go to Bee clubs and get a mentor local to you.

But…my advice is actually getting in the hive and beeing hands-on is the best way to learn;
– open your hives
– open caped cells
– walking Bees – are their wings well-formed? …watch them as they walk on the comb are they beehaving normally, that kind of thing.

    look at frames …brood, what type?

  • drones?
  • workers?
  • honey?
  • pollen?
  • nectar?


Nice Honey CombChecking honey stores is important, honey from their own hive is the best food for your girls. Sugar Syrup feeds should only bee considered if the hive has no honey stores.
Handy hint, if you have lots of new Bees hatching, you may want to pierce the cappings as new Bees are not as able to deal with the hard wax.


Handy hint, if you notice Bees gathering at the front of the hive they could bee looking at swarming or if they are like our girls and been trapped due to the wet weather, they may just bee having cleansing flights – best way to tell is to check space and Bee population in the hive – you certainly don’t want your girls to leave!

Have you noticed the change in the temperature over the last week?
Well we’ve had more rain and some pretty heavy, this kind of weather really does make it difficult to plan things!
Here at kiwimana the temperatures at our place are still cool but over the last week I definitely noticed a rise in warmth, this could be the trigger to Bee activity, swarming!

Despite my best efforts I was only able to achieve part-inspections.

What else have we been up to?

Over last weekend we had some visitors ( check out blog Queen-Rearing and Visitors to kiwimana HQ) a bit of a queen rearing lesson
…so I inspected one of the hives to see if there were some eggs for the lesson, I did find some which meant we were able to experiment.

    What else did I see?

  • drone comb and a couple of new drones
  • we had two drone management frames in this hive and it was full
  • I spotted new eggs, lovely white larvae and lots of capped brood
  • as I inspected I saw some new Bees hatching
  • I didn’t spot the queen but she is definitely doing a great job…she needs some more room for laying so I added a new frame for the workers to draw out

Over winter we always leave the girls with plenty of honey stores – but geez lifting the box was a real effort !


Closeup of Drone CombAt our apiary I haven’t seen a lot, other areas of Auckland appear to have flying drones but our girls only started laying them about a week ago.
Handy Hint, start now and add a kiwimana Drone Management Frame ( DMF ) to help with your IPM.

…more info…
At the start of the season the queens will naturally lay new drones, add your Drone Management Frames ( DMF ) the workers will create drone-comb in them, these will be the next tool you’ll use at the start of the Bee Season to monitor and manage mites as part of your IPM program
Handy hint – add one per brood box – if the DMF has worker brood in it you need to create more space for worker brood.


Last week you should have completed your mite checks and this week you should be on to your treatment plans.
Handy Hint, if considering a split, treat your hives before you split so you interrupt the mites breeding cycle + treat over 28 days

At kiwimana…..
….we are already inspecting and will be treating regardless of mite levels
….we’ll bee aiming at treating all our hives at once, we’ll also probably go for a total of 28 days to catch the newly laid eggs as well. That means 1 treatment – then wait 7 days then repeat again 4x.
… Most of you will know that we use only organic treatments and this is our third season and our Bees are doing well
By the way…
…our inspections will also include our own DECA checks so we know our splits will bee disease free.

We released our new product “Beekeeper Services” and thanks so much to those of you who booked us in for your annual check…..I will fill you in next week on how we all went.

Enjoy Spring 2013

Its the kiwimana buzz…

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