2013 Spring is here – Part 4

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Week 4 of the start to the Bee Season

Its been a buzy time. The weekend before last, on the Saturday, we went to the Auckland Bee Club (ABC), it was a ‘field day’. There was a good turn-out and even the weather played a good one. Great to see the opening of hives and lots of heads all focused and hovering over the hives. Tristan did a great job explaining things as he worked the hive – well done. Turn-out included young and old …. Check out this photo! Young and old You can read more this field day in Gary’s article:- Auckland Bee Club Meetup – Swarming Season We also saw Andy and his friends who had visited kiwimana HQ the other week, when we all had a go at grafting larvae, unfortunately the larvae failed – just shows we need more patience and more practice. You can read this article here:- Queen-Rearing and Visitors to kiwimana HQ Check out photo of us all (thanks for the photo Andy):-
Andys Group and Us, Thanks for the photo Andy.
Andys Group and Us, Thanks for the photo Andy.
Blooming good news…. Great to see some lovely flowers like lavender blooming at the ABC apiary, here at kiwimana HQ my red kaka beak is blooming lovely, and forget-me-knots are doing well. Check out this photo …got one of the girls to pose, just for you guys 🙂
Bee Closeup
Red Kaka Beak
Red Kaka Beak

DECA inspections – AFB checks – Our NEW service

Margaret doing AFB ChecksWe’ve had lots of requests for our new Beekeeper services – these inspections have given us wonderful opportunities to see how hives from all different areas of Auckland are responding to the Spring weather – our girls seem to be the slowest off the spring block! Sunday was customer DECA inspections day for us…so no time for our own hives…. Its interesting to see how others are managing and siting their hives. Wonderful comments from our customers, who are beeginners, ” …really good to get some valuable tips on what to look for in the hive as well…

Taking the p*ss….

One of our customers we praised for having his hives off the ground….(you know ” cause it keeps them dry and free of mould …”)….anyway, he said “.…well, its mainly to stop our dogs from peeing-on them…”….two Jack Russells at perfect peeing height on beehives when sited on the ground! …hee hee… I’ll have to add that to my ‘handy hints’ 🙂
See, always learning new stuff when you’re a Beekeeper! Luckily all our customer hives were AFB free …yay…good work guys. We were happy to sign-off their annual disease return forms.

Week Four…

The plan for the week was to inspect more hives and begin actual treatments. Rain, cold prevailed plus lots of other work priorities…..made it difficult.


The plans of mice and men…got myself sorted to treat a couple of hives which have our kiwimana meshboards with the a Vaporizer. Took all the gear down, oxalic acid + vaporizer + battery, timer, gloves, sheets to cover entrance, inspection board, etc. Thought this will bee eazy. Popped the oxalic acid in the vaporiser, turned the inspection board ( IB ) upside down and placed wood piece on the IB ( so as not to melt the IB ) placed the vaporiser in from the back of the hive. Then covered entrance and slotted-in the vapouriser, put the clips on to the battery and switched timer to 2 minutes. Happily sat there while the vapourising took place. Once the 2 minutes were up I unclipped the vapouriser from the battery, then I put the timer on for 10 more minutes leaving the IB in place and the entrance sealed-up so the vapour could settle. SIMPLE….well so I thought, 10 minutes up, removed the cloth from the entrance, then took out the vapouriser only to find the oxalic acid still there !! Well, they say some things are sent to trial us….the battery was dead! So my ‘Handy hint: always check your battery is properly charged when using your vapouriser! Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.
Unfortunately the weather had other ideas….grrr….


Managed to get into 2 hives…

First Hive:

…one hive box was basically empty – the bottom one – so removed it (obviously the queen had moved up so the cluster were not looking after the bottom box as vigilantly as they should). The top box which I removed had a bit of mould on the pollen. In the second hive box there were young larvae, about 3-4 days old but didn’t spot the queen – had to use my magnifying glass to check for eggs, couldn’t see any. I will need to go back in in a couple of days and check if they are queen right. Did not spot any drones in this hive. I reduced the hive down to the one box. Disease Check: Checked cells, looked clear, 3-4 day-old larvae nicely formed and white, opened some capped brood – nice white well-formed. AFB clear. I did see a bee with deformed wings – flicked this one out of the hive. The comb in this hive is probably over 2 years old so is quite dark, it may need removal? Treatment: As this hive box had brood in, I treated with Api Life Var = 1st of 4. Consideration: This hive may need feeding due to low stores – will review when I go back in to check for queen.

Second Hive:

This hive had good population, this was the one that had capped drone brood (the other week) which have now hatched. These drones were different colours, some had quite dark abdomens and others more orange. Since the drones have hatched the queen is now laying more worker brood. The new frame I added the other week is nearly drawn-out. This hive still has capped honey stores, queen laying in both levels – possible candidate for splits for our beeginuzz kits. Disease Check: Checked for American Fould Brood (AFB) – clear, good white larvae, well-formed and capped brood looks even with no sunken cells. Frames clear of mould and comb bright (newer wax). New eggs, so queen present. Checked for other usual suspects like sacbrood, chalkbrood – all clear. Treatment: Treated this hive with Api Life Var = 1st of 4. Handy hint, when using Api Life Var, the Bees may gather out front. If you have a kiwimana meshboard, leave the inspection board in. Any meshboard requires the mesh area to be sealed to help the Bees to circulate the treatment. Please note that Api Life Var is an organic treatment NOT synthetic so will not contribute resistance in the varroa destructor mite. Results of inspections of these two hives, basically shows that no matter what – each hive responds differently to weather and proves that monitoring your hives is crucial. PLUG The beeginuzz kits hardware parts are coming along and preparing them to be ready for the splits…(funny listening to the lean on yachting and they were talking of ‘splits’ …a real ‘buzz’ word even in yachting circles!) queenless hive update…. So far, no results in the queenless hive and the queen-rearing experiment still waiting – the queen cups had no result but because I added a frame with eggs – there may bee a chance – so I will check them this Saturday – weather permitting. This experiment has made me more determined to learn more about queen-rearing but one thing I have learnt is that you do need to make sure you prepare well for your new queens and you must have enough gear to house them and feed them. Watch this space.Close up Bee 2 I hope you are well on the way with your treatments and keeping good records. Keep an eye out for our swarm blogs, prevention and monitoring are your best approach. I’ll keep ya posted on further developments this coming week. Enjoy Spring 2013 Margaret Its the kiwimana buzz…

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