From Chills to Thrills – KM145

This is Episode One hundred and forty five of our beekeeping show – From Chills to Thrills…yeeehaaa…heading into bee season 2019.

We are Gary and Margaret, We are kiwimana.

kiwimana are beekeepers who are located on the wild west coast of Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand. We teach, we sell beekeeping supplies and provide information to help you keep honey bees.

Welcome this month to new Supporters Northern Bee Books

In this episode we talk about Mānuka honey fraud and a ‘catastrophic’ French honey harvest. We also have roving reporters checking in from Australia, England and Canada.

What does it mean to be an Organic or Natural Beekeeper?

As we hit the last weeks of Winter we are excited …oh yessss…chills to thrills as we hit the last week of Winter.

As we came to the end of Bee Season 2018 we had one weak hive, which sadly failed. But with 8 remaining, which appeared to be strong. However one of those strong hives is suffering from what I believe is nosema and on its last buzz…so 7 hives left.

Season / Weather

Temperatures over the middle of winter hit the low of 5.5 degrees celsius (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) to highest of 23 degrees celsius (around 61 degrees Fahrenheit)

Bee Behaviour

Our bees are busy any moment the sun comes out, they are out …bringing back lots of pollen coming in, red, white, orange, red, yellow…

Beekeeper Activities

Been a bit lazy as more focused on sitting by the fire ;–) 3 weeks since last OAV treatment !


With the rain it’s been difficult to plan lawn mowing and Bee work but Gary and I have been busy clearing and weed removal along with improvements to our shop and workshop …it’s all looking smacko!

To get ready for Bee Season 2019, through Winter, we have been working on…

Beekeeper Activities

Building some new boxes for our pre-emptive Spring Splits and 10 wooden frames with wax foundation each…using solid baseboards for our new season beginner kits Obviously on-going OAV treatments every 2 weeks

Beekeeping Classes

Organic/natural beehive management and our introduction to the beekeeping world This season we are focusing on offering more classes for beginners our goal is to encourage organic beehive management methods.

Check out our Bee Courses HERE


It’s helpful to have my boxes at the ready. Less panic for me. How are we preparing for what’s coming up for the Bees ?

Month coming up expectations

Population growth

Bee Behaviour

We expect Increased laying with new season worker brood coming on

Beekeeper Activities

Assessment inspections – honey stores check, bee brood health

Results Anticipated

Hopefully the remaining surviving hives will be split.

What are the benefits of running Honey Bee colonies organically / naturally?

In the bigger picture we hope that with not using synthetic varroa treatments it will contribute to the longer term higher bee cleaning behaviour – an activity which should help bees kill and remove varroa from a beehive.

Our mission is to Save Bees, one hive at a time , by helping you keep Honey Bees alive.

Roving Reporters

This week we hear from Melbourne Australia, Sheffield in England, Victor Harbor in South Australia and British Columbia in Canada BTW – you guys make the kiwimana buzz even more buzzy – thank you

Ben from Bees Bees – Victoria – Australia

Ben is a beekeeper from Melbourne in Australia, his company is called Ben’s Bees. Check out his website HERE

Also follow Ben on instagram

Chris from Britmana – Sheffield – UK

Chris also known as the greatest Beekeeper in Sheffield. Reports in from the North of England. Check out his Instagram Account to follow along with his Beekeeping and Life.

Thanks guys for being one of our supporters!

New swarm listing service

Talking about bee swarms, we have launched a bee collection service. Where beekeepers can list with us and members of the public call you with swarm reports. Check it out.

Ivy – Victor Harbor – South Australia

Ivy is the head beekeeper in Victor Harbor and gets some help from Mum and Dad, Dan and Tracey, keep up the great work Ivy.

Follow Ivy and Dan’s adventures on Instagram

Thanks, Ivy s Mum and Dad for being supporters of the kiwimana Buzz

Matt from “Matt’s Beekeeping”- British Columbia, Canada

Matt is a beekeeper from Canada’s North Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. He has a fantastic Youtube channel all about his learnings, misadventures and triumphs with Chemical Free Beekeepers HERE

Do you want to bee a Roving Reporter?

It would be awesome if you can help create the kiwimana buzz by being part of the show –  reporting  in from your location while in the field

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

To Learn how to get your report to us, check out:- How to become a Roving Reporter

Beekeeping News

Mānuka honey fraud: Evergreen Life Ltd handed $260,000 fine for adding synthetics to its product

This is an update to the story we did back in March in the Episode “Manuka Honey Goes to Court“

A natural health company has been hit with a $260,000 fine for secretly adding synthetic substances to its mānuka honey products to fetch a higher price.

Video – Man fined over $100k for adding chemicals to honey

The company and its manager, Jason Lee aka Tak Yoon Lee is fined in the Auckland District Court – important to note that the company is actually owned by his father. Total fine around $360,000 – what would we do without whistleblowers?

Learn more HERE

Talking Points

  • Love it – a Natural Health Company adding Synectics
  • Fourteen tonnes of honey were doctored by the company
  • Owner’s son, Jason Lee, was fined $112,500 by Judge Eddie Paul

Tweetable Quote

Hitting Mr Lee Jr in the pocket is probably the only place he will appreciate his wrongdoing

Your Feedback

Warning some of the views expressed by folks are quite strong – listener discretion advised !

Judy Wesche Should have been more, look what it has done to all the other manuka honey growers.
Gerong Raymundo Peace on earth.
Onn Cheong Fine too light!!!
Moana Hakiwai Deportation
Elizabeth James Maybe some jail time for food tampering would make more sense.
Sophia Byles No mana. Lies, deceit and not born in nz
Lisa-Mary Cotter Disgraceful
Agnes Gina Isaacs WTF!!
Julieann Welten Disgusting f$@@$ throw the book at him ?
Donna Maree Cox Shameful.
Dylan Makea Thomas Make him Pay the fine then Kick him back to his home country.
Vaughan Lloyd-Jones That’s nothing. Offending will explode now.
Robert Boesnach Deport him.. in China they would have executed him.. we don’t need his kind here either
Jo Jo What an arsehole piss off!
Hayley Sunderland Greedy prick
Paul Balchin Filthy grubs

Bad weather causing ‘catastrophic’ French honey harvest

June – sad news for struggling bee folks and their colonies in France The heat wave in Europe is playing havoc with the bees food sources.

Alarmed French beekeepers and farming groups warned Tuesday of a “catastrophic” honey harvest this year due to adverse weather.

Talking Points

  • Caused by adverse extreme hot weather Bees are collecting nothing
  • Hives are having to be feed Sugar.
  • The Frost in winter in many regions damaged Acacia trees, which bees like, followed by a rainy spring.
  • A recent record breaking 42 C / 108.7 F was reached in Paris, smashing the 1947 record.


By June his members had normally harvested 40-50 percent of their annual output, but they had collected very little so far.

Henri Clement, secretary-general for the National Union of French Beekeepers

Related News

Recently Heat wave smashes temperature records across Europe

Feedback from You

Thanks Guys we have heaps of feedback and well wishes over the break, we appreciate them all.

Beginner beekeepers have been in touch One colony made it through winter but suddenly died from what is assumed weed spray poisoning dead bees out front.

  • One colony high population and has hatching drones but they have deformed wings and opening cells revealed mites inside.
  • One colony having mite drops around 4 on inspection board All have treated through Winter with OAV regularly every 2 weeks minimum.
  • Double dosing or repeating was done for mite counts over 6. All in all great results.

End of the Show

Who helped us in bringing this show to you?

Did you enjoy that show, This show is made possible for you by our amazing supporters. Every show we read out our top Supporters and on the first show of each month we read out all the supporters. Thanks to you all.

This week we would like to thank:- Lisa Morrissey, Daniel Bokros, Chris Palgrave, Irene Townshend, Michelle Scheidler, Greg Parr, Tim Willcox, Karen Shields, Buzzed Honeys – Humane Bee Relocation, Cameron Miskin, Nathan Buzzinga Beekeeping, Finn’s bees, John Paff, Tony Lumb, Trish Stretton, Gudny Hunter, Sana Wynne-Lewis, Michelle Lassche, Carolyn Sloane, Mandy Shaw, Robin O’Connell, Dan McGivern, Malcolm Sanford and Christopher Brown.

Support Rewards Level

Congrats to Sana Wynne-Lewis from The Hawkes Bay and David from Buzzed Honeys for reaching the reward level, a kiwimana T-Shirt or Cup is on its way, please check your email.

Shout out to our New Supporters

Huge thanks to Michelle Scheidler from the state of Wisconsin in the USA this week for becoming a supporter over the winter break, Thanks so much Michelle. Please Bee like Michelle

Show Times

  • What does it mean to be an Organic or Natural Beekeeper? 00:01:49
  • Roving Reporters 00:12:58
  • – Melbourne Australia 00:13:25
  • – Sheffield / Britmana / England 00:15:25
  • New swarm listing service 00:17:49
  • – Victor Harbor in South Australia 00:18:38
  • – British Columbia in Canada 00:20:38
  • Do you want to bee a Roving Reporter? 00:22:27
  • Beekeeping News 00:23:06
  • Manuka honey fraud: Evergreen Life Ltd handed $260,000 fine for adding synthetics to its product 00:23:25
  • Bad weather causing ‘catastrophic’ French honey harvest 00:30:45
  • Feedback from You 00:33:19
  • Who helped us in bringing this show to you? 00:36:56

Media Credits

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