Christmas Time in the Bee Yard – KM131

This is Episode One hundred and thirty one of our beekeeping show.

We are Gary and Margaret, we love Honey bees, we are kiwimana and we are Beekeepers who live in the Waitakere Ranges, on the Wild West coast of Auckland, in New Zealand.

kiwimana is a place where the beekeeping community can share a conversation and connect and in this episode we are talking about Beekeeping in a Belfast prison, A famous Beekeeping Author has passed away, What kind of Sugar is good for bees and Roving Reporters from around the world.

..we also – as if that wasn’t enough – build and sell beekeeping supplies, we teach beginner Beekeepers and provide beekeeper services and advice. And we are the “beesknees” Club, Facebook group.

Great to have you joining us, we know life is busy for you so we appreciate that you have taken the time to join us today – thanks so much for being part of the kiwimana buzz.

We also have been known to go off on tangents about other issues.

It’s Summer in New Zealand!!! What has been happening in the weather?..and this means the bees are dealing with…!!!

What’s been happening at kiwimana?


  • New Beekeeping Podcast “The Contrary Beekeepers Show”, check it out on our Podcast listings page HERE
  • End of the Year survey, we really need your help,
  • Nick Wallingford has agreed to let us release his 2006 show – The way we used to bee, a podcast series about the history of New Zealand beekeeping.
  • Merry Christmas – Thoughts for year? Well this year has had it challenges, but onwards and upwards…


  • Visitor from Poland helped me out – AFB check and visited local site “Pukematekeo”
  • Split results – 100% success with 3 new season queens so now we have six colonies
  • The two colonies which I have referred to as ‘weak’ are going well and building up significantly…extraordinary
  • Checking cells in the older queen colonies and have found some varroa in the drone cells so OAV Treatment cycle planned in-line with eggs ie: do my timing from eggs= treat 2x till capped then wait 2 weeks and treat 2x til hatched – this requires taking notes so you know when you have to treat.
  • Beginner Kits – built woodware, oiled and set-up in apiary – moved half into langstroth single full depth hive set-ups and also growing fast due to this extraordinary weather with what is resulting huge nectar collection and capping of honey – so it’s kiwimana crazy banaNas buzz !
  • Setting up my demonstration hives with all the gear I believe is needed to manage a hive well, monitor varroa and make a beekeeper confident when working a Beehive – Gary and I will be working on a video to show these methods and equipment we use for IPM
  • AFB – DECA work for customers finished with only 1 case of AFB identified so overall good result.
  • In my view – The biggest job for beginner beekeepers is managing nectar flow with the way the season is going colonies could abscond if there is not enough space for queen laying causes absconding which means you will see lots of activity in front of your hive then next day you go to have a look, then you find bees gone, only odd areas of capped left, no queen cells no eggs and only honey and nectar left
  • ….this is a big job for all of us this season with such a good flow on…some folks are already extracting…yeehaaaa….! Loving this season

Our Polish Visitor @Miod_Wasiaka

Follow Weronika’s Adventures HERE on Instagram.

New Zealand Beekeepers – toot toot

Local climates can vary so this risk can affect some areas more than others – what is this risk ?

  1. Tutu bush
  2. Tutin toxin
  3. Vine hopper (fluffy bum)
  4. Drought, dry hot weather

If these 4 things are going on in a season, the risk of Tutin poisoning is a high risk.

What is tutu bush ?

This is a native New Zealand plant. Here is a LINK with information and photos about this plant

RULES : the risk posed is poisoning of humans causing death therefore

  • Take honey off before 31st December after this date means – If you sell honey or honey-comb – you must get your honey “Tutin tested”, Tutin toxin when present in honey is poisonous to humans not Bees – cut comb made from ross-rounds poses a higher risk.

Shout out to Gudny

We also want to do a shout out to Gudny Hunter – not only is she a supporter through Patreon, she supports us by purchasing our locally sourced / produced products, and volunteers help in the workshop and Apiary.

It’s support from folks like Greg and Gudny that inspires us to keep up creating content, motivates us to produce our own products and promote locally made products and support and teach our local beginner beekeepers.

kiwimana Global Roving Reporters

Mandy from Pacific Northwest, Reporting in from

Check out Mandy’s fantastic beekeeping podcast “Beekeeper Confidential”. You can help the people affected by the California fire here:- Butte County Recovers

Yolanda from Ontario, Canada

Yolanda lost her voice, but has sent in this report from the field. Yolybear from Toronto Ontario Canada reported in despite losing her voice!!!! Check Out YolyBears Website and Podcast HERE

Chris Brown – Britmana / UK

Chris Brown wears a snow man

Chris Brown Roving report from a pub in Britmana/Sheffield in the UK.

Do you want to bee a Roving Reporter?

It would be awesome if you can help create the buzz by beeing part of the show – reporting in from your location whilst in the field ; ) – we need more kiwi reporters…come on guys !

If so…Could you record a quick update of one to two minutes of your local weather conditions and what people should be doing with they bees in your area.

Join the mailing list to get more information a monthly reminder when we record the next shows HERE or here:-

Become a Roving Reporter

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What should you be doing with your bees?

  • In New Zealand most swarms have settled into strong brood patterns, building up well with folks doing swarm catching, then on-selling our advice is to check before pick up and ensure there is healthy capped brood which has been AFB checked by a DECA certified beekeeper or a beekeeper who can give you a copy of the Annual certificate of inspection which has been signed-off by a DECA certified beekeeper – our top priority is managing space now that all our queens are all mated or what we call queen right. This includes keeping an eye on nectar levels and manipulating the frames for maximum drawing of comb. Advice is not to add too much space too quickly so it encourages capping of honey but this method requires regular monitoring so as not to risk your colony absconding.
  • In UK Chris Brown our UK roving reporter has updated for Sheffield .
  • In USA no news from Avari at Rascals Apiary we hope you guys are okay but we got a report From Mandy

Blog Recap

Top Content by your Vote Last Month

  1. Is Beekeeping the Antidote for the 21st Century, We Talk to Nigel Costley
  2. Is Roundup Safe Around Bees?
  3. 8 Spring Flowers That Attract Australian Native Bees
  4. Telling the Bees Bonus Buzz

End of the Show!!

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Show Times

  • What’s been happening at kiwimana? 00:02:37
  • New Zealand Beekeepers – toot toot 00:17:09
  • Shout out to Gudny 00:20:11
  • Global Roving Reporters 00:23:19
  • – Portland Oregon, USA 00:23:34
  • – Ontario, Canada 00:26:13
  • – Sheffield in the UK 00:28:23
  • What should you be doing with your bees? 00:32:46
  • Blog Recap 00:39:12
  • What products have been used in our work? 00:43:36
  • Beekeeping News 00:45:22
  • Belfast’s Hydebank a hive of activity as behind-bars beekeeping creates a buzz 00:45:36
  • Sue Hubbell, Who Wrote of Bees and Self-Reliance, Dies at 83 00:48:31
  • What kind of sugar should I feed my bees? 00:51:19
  • A flower map to help NZ beekeepers 00:56:00
  • What’s your Number One Beekeeping Problem? 01:00:17
  • Feedback from you guys!!! 01:05:59

Media Credits

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