Battling for Honey Gold – KM105

This week we are talking about Winter Storage, Mites may not be the issue and Beekeeping in Prisons. This is Episode One Hundred and Five of our beekeeping podcast.

Thanks to our Patrons for their support.

This week we would like to thank Chris, Laura and Jasper Brown from Britmana

They have been supporting the kiwimana buzz for over 6 months

Thanks for your support!!!

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You can download the podcast directly HERE, or click on the play button above. Feel free to share it with your friends.

Welcome To the kiwimana buzz..

Hi, it’s Gary and Margaret here, We are beekeepers from the hills of the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand. Our podcast is about beekeeping, Gardening and bit of politics about environmental issues. We also have been known to go off on tangents about other issues.

Big Shoutout to our listeners at the Adelaide Urban Beekeepers Collective in South Australia this month.

Did you know that Adelaide is Home to the biggest glasshouses in the Southern hemisphere.
You can find them at Adelaide’s exotic Botanic Garden

Big Shout out to Mark Rose and Josh Bottrall, thanks for the Bananas.

Thank you for listening to our show, we know life is busy for you and appreciate you have taken the time to join us today and speaking of thanks…

Thanks to Aaron for his donations which have really seen us being able to make progress on our work in the education apiary.

Thanks as always Aaron and also for the link to this VERY interesting article;
From the Guardian in the UK – Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’

Here’s the link: – Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides

What’s happening at kiwimana


  • Shout Out to Kevin from the BK Corner – If you like to watching Beekeeping Videos, please check out the Beekeeper’s Corner Podcast brand new YouTube Channel HERE
  • Gary is trying to walk more, Join Me on FitBit 🙂 Gary is over on
  • We spoke to Berwyn Hoyt about a New indiegogo Campaign launched in New Zealand from HiveMind, they are developing a Hive Monitor system that uses WiFi to feed the data back their website.
    Checks Brood and Ambient Temperature and the Number of Bees Coming and Going.
    They also looking a doing and Smart Phone application, so you sync it if you don’t have WiFi. Find out more HERE
  • Inspection of Quarantine Apiary – solitary swarm hive and treating with “Api Life Var” and Monitoring mites with sugar-shake method – new Sugar Shake Video is coming soon….


  • Third treatment of Kiwimana HQ
  • Starting to do some beekeeper services again
  • Inspection on status of the Hives at the education apiary – but weather interfering with my plans !
  • Old hive-woodware being cleaned and old stuff to the rubbish – wood stuff by fire when the fire restrictions are lifted – rewiring the useable frames and sanding and re-oiling boxes
  • Apiary lawns mowed and starting task of weeding out the over-grown (going banaNas!) little garden beds which have been sorely neglected and look absolutely wild ! – will look at getting some new herbs
  • Setting up a small patch of wild-flowers as inspired by our awesome Evi and “Trees for Bees” – about 4 square meters (= 12ft)
  • Reconfiguring the hives’ positions in preparation for next Bee Season 2017 – which by the way – starts 1st September 2017 – looking at one top-bar, two lifestylers, 7 frame hive box colony and one langstroth
    If they survive – I am looking at breeding all of them and doing it with nuc’s after using our usual artificial split method…so setting up a nucleus area at HQ once the splits are successfully up and running.
  • Blog about the very basics to starting Beekeeping – Part 1 released
  • Strong reminder to overseas folk who have varroa – get all your treatments completed by start of Spring – monitor
  • Strong reminder to our kiwi beekeepers – finish your treatments – then MONITOR and if using organic methods re-treat

Email Question from Elizabeth who lives in Auckland New Zealand

Hi Margaret and Gary

I have a mesh base board on one of my hives – it’s new this summer. Do you think I should leave it in place in winter, or should I put a solid base on it to keep the cold out? Auckland has pretty mild winters, but it still gets cold, right?

Thanks for your really interesting and helpful newsletters and podcasts.

Elizabeth Rutherford

Heres Margarets Reply;

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your comments : )

My thoughts are that you will need to consider the positioning of the hive first, if it’s going to be in a sunny spot over Winter then leaving the inspection board and regularly checking it will mean they still get air-flow then a solid-bottom board.

If it’s a cool spot over Winter then a solid-bottom board may be better as long as the hive is raised off the ground.
Both of the above are based on the fact that the hive-boxes are all level and not letting any rain in – I guess the biggest question is…will the hive get damp over Winter? Perhaps getting some wider boards for the hive roof which may stop too much rain on the hive boxes.

As long as the girls are kept dry, they will be kept warm by the cluster – also remember to Winter-down unnecessary space but consider doing that more closer to May.

A few things for you to consider.

I hope you listened to episode 100, we mentioned your question about insuring hives…created some food for thought.
Cheers Elizabeth. And as always thanks for beeing part of the kiwimana buzz…

Blog Recap

Top three Blog Posts Last Month

Beekeeping News

More bad news in this article from up north, it appears that Comvita “One of New Zealand’s biggest Honey packers”, is placing hives near other beekeepers hives and destroying bush land.

Manuka honey exporter Comvita is being accused of chopping down forest on disputed Maori land, snubbing protocol, and driving small-scale beekeepers out of business.

Amanda Saxton

Battle of the bees between manuka honey giant Comvita and Northland beekeepers

Interesting tests being undertaken over in the Us of A where a new facility has been set-up in Idaho for winter storage for bees, the new system is working well and winter losses are only 6% in this new system.

  • Controls temperature, humidity and CO2 levels
  • Potato-cellar storage doesn’t control the climate, noise and lighting.
  • Mold and Pesticides build in dirt floors

A love of bees and an entrepreneurial spirit has driven one Southern Idaho beekeeper to tackle storage issues that take a huge toll on the pollinators every winter.

Carol Ryan Dumas

Beekeeper develops ‘smart bee’ winter storage system

Your Feedback

Genene Cochran Wight I’ve heard of some folks who move their bees into a shed or garage type thing but I don’t know about large scale beekeeping. I’d love to have a way to minimize the impact of winter.
Brett Hyde I know a few that load them into potato cellars.
Dustin Kristie Dusenberry We store ours in a controlled warehouse
Dave Burrup Dustin, do you store them up here or take them back to Utah?
Dustin Kristie Dusenberry This last year we stored them in Utah, but there is a warehouse in Burley also
Margaret @ kiwimana My latest beekeeper service was at a customer’s ’ property, who had her hive in an old farm shed, she said they just turned-up and made their home in some very old hive boxes – don’t ya love the humble honey bee – but lots of work as they had heaps of crazy-comb

Always interesting to read what Rusty has to say…
In this article from Rusty from Honey Bee Suite talks about her recent talk at a bee club, she ponders that we should all be talking more about viruses that mites spread (such as Deformed Wing Virus). Should we be less concerned about the virus or the vector that spreads virus. She believes DWV is what is causing most hive losses.

I think we are still missing the point when it comes to managing Varroa. Mites are nothing more than bad guys with hypodermic needles. The true demon, deformed wing virus (DWV), rarely gets a mention.

Rusty Burlew

It’s not about mites any more

Is this correct? What could possibly go wrong or right…or really ‘sweet as’

Commercial Beekeeper Brian Alexander is running a Beekeeping program at the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility. He is teaching prisoners skills on how to keep bees in the hope of future job opportunities.

Prisoners at the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (ARWCF) have started off the new year on a sweet note. Department of Corrections instructor Phil McEvoy who supervises them says the ladies “love it”.

Kymberlee Fernandes

Prisoners get the sweet taste of empowerment

Article Gary mentioned about our Prime Minister

Prison inmates applauded, commended by Prime Minister at Howard League graduation

Your Feedback

Reg Dragan Not good.
kiwimana Well it’s good if they are going straight and need some skills to get a job, what is your concern Reg?
Reg Dragan Too many crooked it is. Call me cynical, but don’t about 70–80% of crooks re-offend? To say they’re going straight is perhaps a little naive.

NB: According to the Department of Corrections the re-offend rates are around 49%, see report

Tui-Shalimar Maher That’s awesome!

Another good one from Rusty from in USA
This is a real dilemma for those who have put our hearts and souls in trying to keep a hive alive, is it really going to help the Honey Bee long-term ?…here is an article which covers some reality and risks

Lots of new beekeepers ask how they can save a failing colony. But the real question, I think, is should you even try? Could you be doing more harm than good?

Rusty Burlew

Should you try to save a failing colony?

Your Feedback

Rossy Ross No Bees, No Food on your table ????
Margaret @ kiwimana I am coming to learn that sometimes it’s best to let them pass – or get the bees tested to see if they have disease then you can make an educated decision !
Barry Oliver I was faced with this problem around Christmas time, one hive had a lot less bees than the others. I kept an eye on it over a couple of weeks & it got worse. I decided on a day, in between lousy weather, to find the queen & kill her & swap in some brood frames from my best hive. The day I opened it, it was full of wax moth. I used a fumigation tablet & wrapped it in plastic wrap. Cleaned that out after a few days & aired it off & then put in some frames of healthy brood, which I’ve done before. It stalled for a few weeks & is now picking up. I’ll be putting a few frames of honey in a 2nd box for them in a couple of weeks.

March 2017 – Email Update from Ian, also from Australia

Hi Guys, I enjoy reading your newsletters

I am in Queensland Australia on the sunshine coast.

I have 28 hives mostly in my backyard.

It has been really dry here,and trees haven’t flowered as have done in previous years.

after reading what you guys have to deal with in NZ think they are pretty strong, have had about three hives swarm but all have re-queened themselves, I took about 60kgs of honey today,have only been taking 6 frames per super.leaving some stores.

Well great work on newsletters.

cheers Ian

March 2017 email received from – Stephen in the UK (or is that Britain – England?)

Your Autumn is my spring and it is going fine for now considering I am in the north of England. could do with being two or three degrees warmer, then at least we would be in double figures. but hey ho there is time yet.
There was an item in the British media today about the high value of Manuka and the bee rustling in New
Zealand. Sounds horrific!!!
best wishes

Break with a funny from Lisa Allen

If you are in your bee suit and you feel sweat running down your back, that’s fine. When you feel sweat running up your back, it’s a bee.

William Snek-speare

A post by friend of the show, Hilary Kearney on…why Two is Better than one. Two becomes one and One becomes None!!!

On a personal Note…Congrats to Tim and Hilary, who just got Engaged : ) becomes two ; )

A look at the benefits and implications of having two hives, what you gain and what the costs are….really good points to consider.

Most new beekeepers make the mistake of starting with just one hive. It makes sense. Beginners are often hesitant to get any bees at all! A second hive might seem to you like more work, more responsibility and it doubles the cost of your new hobby. So, why do experienced beekeepers recommend you start with at least two hive? Read on to find out.

New Beekeepers have a tremendous amount to learn. You could spend months reading and preparing yourself for bees…

Hilary Kearney

Two Hives Are Better Than One

Your Feedback

Anita Pearson to Partner? Tim Pearson… A good excuse to get another hive 🙂
Tim Crosnoe I will say that starting with one (as I did) gave me a lot of confidence, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I was probably one of the lucky ones whose TBH did very well over the winter, and now are bring in a bunch of pollen, it’s exploding! Adding a long Lang hive/colony to the backyard. Now I’ll have two! 🙂

Questions from you

How Many Bees Would There Be on a Frame – Jade – Napier, NZ
This question was answered on the Michael Bush’s great site and the answer for a full Lang frames is 7000 cells.

German Wasp
German Wasp

Yellow Jacket How to find a Yellow Jacket nest – Morgan – Alaska – USA

I would look into BeeLining
Or watch in evening sun, when you see a trail of wasps flying in a direct line and then suddenly drop down. It’s probably to their nest.

If you have a question, email us at [email protected] and the team at kiwimana will do our best to answer it. Or visit our speakpipe page HERE

Random Review

Sorry to say we didn’t hear back from our last winner Tracy, so off we went for a nice cuppa and cake (well no cake as that is bad ; )

To be part of this great prize draw you need to have purchased a product and left us a review, not only does it give us information about the product and our customer service but connects us to what you experience so we can learn.

As a small thank you we randomly select one product review each month. The winner will receive a $30 kiwimana gift certificate. Get in touch within 2 weeks of the podcast release date to claim your prize.

This week’s winning review was:-

(You will have to listen to the show)

You will need to claim your prize before 5 PM 19 April 2017

Feedback from you guys!!!


We got a message from John from Tulip Tree Honey


Email from Mark – Good suggestions

He enjoys having a local NZ beekeeping podcast, it took him a while to understand and enjoy our humour, and goes on to say “I love your work, keep it up.”

He suggestion we do a summary at the end the podcasts. A take away message that you have learned from the interview, something you want to try or emphasise about beekeeping GREAT IDEA

He also talked about Treatment free Beekeeping, but not sure if that we ever work where we live. Surrounded by commercial Beekeepers.
Megan Milbrath – Toward Treatment Free EPISODE 104 – PHILLY RECAP

He also suggested two Guests.
He recommend Michael Palmer and Adrian Iodice, he also asked when our interview with Roy Arbon was coming out.

We will see what we can do about Michael and Adrian, but Roy Arbon was arrested trying to import 6kg of cocaine in Australia. So that might be harder to get him on the podcast at this moment.

Thanks Mark for your great and constructive email.

The Twitters

We heard from Jim VanWart who was meet up with Randy Oliver and they both listened to some of our podcasts. Thanks Guys 🙂

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Media Credits

4 thoughts on “Battling for Honey Gold – KM105

  1. Avatar photo
    Trisha says:

    I live in Adelaide Australia and have had one hive for 18 months. I love my bees and want to learn as much as I can. Your site looks great.

    • Avatar photo
      Gary Fawcett says:

      Hi Trisha,

      Thanks so much for your message, we are so pleased you like our site.

      We have lots of articles, so please make use of the search button to find relevant articles.

      Hope your bees are all setup for winter, and it must be great not having varroa mites.


    • Avatar photo
      Gary Fawcett says:

      Thanks Brian for the comment, oh yes that is true.

      Sorry for the Geo-Error 🙂 I blame the food poisoning that hit me an hour after we recorded this show, just coming right today 🙁

      Have a great weekend…Gary

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