Manuka Honey Explosion – KM137

This is Episode One hundred and thirty seven of our beekeeping show – Manuka Honey Explosion.

Kiwimana are beekeepers from the hills of the Waitakere Ranges on the wild west coast of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand.

We produce and sell beekeeping equipment, provide Beekeeper services and education.

In this episode, we discuss the honey glut & too many beehives…question as why there are too many bees in the Hawkes Bay? and why are small beekeepers in New Zealand are having trouble selling honey?

We also have roving reports from Canada, Switzerland and the United States of America.

Who helped us in bringing this show to you?

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 show thanks to Nathan Buzzinga Beekeeping, Trish Stretton, Lisa Morrissey, Christopher Brown, Greg Parr and Barbara Weber.

Congrats to Mr. Robin O’Connell from Victoria in Australia for reaching the reward level, a kiwimana T-Shirt of Cup is on its way, please check your email. If you see Robin at the Geelong Beekeepers Club say “Hi” from us.

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

Last show we discussed that there would be some changes in bee behaviour and we saw some strange event one very hot afternoon when the whole apiary of 17 hives almost went mental! I heard this big buzz …lots of bees buzzing around rather disorganized and going in all directions

I thought it was a swarming event but thankfully it only lasted about 5 minutes then everyone just went calm and carried on…weird event.

Season / Weather

Drought here and we ran out of water in our main tank so we are on our spare tanks

What about the Bee Behaviour

Had calls from folks saying robbing bees are attacking their hives.

Our girls having lots of flights around front of hive mainly due to heat and foraging till around 9.00 PM due to the warmth. Robbing could mean some areas may be having a dearth or drop in nectar flow

How about Beekeeper Activities

Sweating profusely and weightlifting! I was slower to add space this season- i did this purposely with the idea that the girls would cap cells as last season I found too much space too soon which saw lots of unfinished and uncapped honey frames.


This method sees capping going well Now we are working on…

Beekeeper Activities

Next inspections will include an OAV treatment looking at preparation plans for Autumn


It always pays to be working on the next season in the month before that season starts How are we preparing for what’s coming up for the Bees?

  • Month coming up expectations
  • Bee Behaviour
  • Beekeeper Activities
  • Results Anticipated

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

Bees can be bees and they are really loving this weather.

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

Bee varroa housecleaning

Open cells and when I pulled larvae out I found varroa man our girls are really doing well in their varroa management.

Roving Reporters

John and Jeanne from Tulip Tree Adopt a Bee

John and Jeanne are from Huntington in the United States of America. Check them out HERE

Thanks guys for being one of our supporters as well

Niklas from Switzerland

Niklas is a sixteen-year-old beekeeper from Switzerland, who produces his videos in German and English. Check out his amazing YouTube channel HERE

Yolanda from Yolybear’s Beekeeping Journal – Toronto Canada

Yolanda is from Toronto in Canada and keeps bees in very cold winters, check out her podcast HERE

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.

Please send us a sound file to [email protected], titled Roving Reporter

Or join the mailing list to get a reminder when we record the next show (monthly) HERE

Beekeeping News

Just plain stupid’: Manuka honey explosion leaving Hawke’s Bay bees ‘starving’

There are too many bees in the Hawkes Bay and this is causing issues for beekeepers and bees.

A veteran Hawke’s Bay beekeeper says many people trying to get on board the manuka honey gold rush are actually causing the local honey bee population to starve

Talking Points

  • Overstocking of hives was causing big problems
  • Pollination of clover was worth far more to the economy than manuka honey would ever be
  • New Zealand honey exports in 2017 made around $300m
  • Value generated by pollination estimated at over $5 billion
  • third biggest loss of hives in Hawkes Bay was “suspected starvation”

Just plain stupid: Manuka honey explosion leaving Hawke’s Bay bees starving

Your Feedback

Trish Stretton Stats are just a little too pat. I agree with the overpopulation bit though. Greed is what it boils down too.

Lynn Roitt The effects of consumerism are seen everywhere. I wish people would STOP jumping on bandwagons and buy locally. When I first heard of Manuka honey and its supposed benefits, I thought, “That’s fine, but if it’s from an island on the other side of the world, I’ll never be tasting it.” I get my honey from down the road.

Kara Lisanne Belcher Not good at all!

Jewelle Lloyd Interesting article. Save the bees campaign promote beekeeping. Are these commercial growers protecting their patch? I’m sure somewhere in the middle will be the reality.

Megan Vertelle Not to mention competing with native birds and native insects for pollen. There has to be a balance

Bryan Mitchell Marketers. They are the source of the problem. Most of the benefits of Manuka honey are in the topical application to ulcers and surface MEDICAL conditions. For eating it is NO better than any other honey. People waste their money buying this honey at its premium price.

The overstocking of areas with bees brought back from Manuka scrub country is a real problem.

The planting of Manuka on otherwise productive farmland – cattle and sheep country, is likely to reduce national income from what would otherwise be long term protein (meat) and fibre (wool) producing regions. The world needs more protein for human health than sweet substances. Even bees need protein which they source from pollen taken from flowers.

As stated by Mr Berry, the growing of flowers has NOT expanded. The bees starve because of lack of both pollen and flowers. Flowers make seasonal appearances depending on the plant species. Have folk never noticed that farmland is not full of flowers all year round and that Manuka doesn’t flower all year round either?

So where is the massive increase in bee numbers going to find flowers to sustain them? Modern beekeepers (and pseudo scientists) are busy developing artificial pollen and feeding this plus ordinary cane sugar syrup to try and sustain the bee numbers. What will that do?

Bee health suffers just like human health is suffering. Then what happens. The pharmaceutical companies come up with chemical concoctions to try and keep the bees healthy. Ever noticed how humans once hooked on pharmaceuticals now seem like addicts caught in an unhealthy exploitative system. Bees are now heading that way too. The brilliance of greed is impairing a once healthy system.

'Just plain stupid': Manuka honey explosion leaving Hawke's Bay bees 'starving' via @nzherald #Bees #Honey #1

Posted by kiwimana on Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Honey glut as warehouses fill with unwanted product

Small beekeepers are having trouble selling their honey to suppliers, especially if it’s honey without a high manuka factor.

Small time beekeepers are finding it hard to sell their honey, leaving some sitting on large stocks of unsold product.

Honey glut as warehouses fill with unwanted product

Your Feedback

Margaret Groot I reckon sell it locally….sell good raw natural honey from the Beehive. Locals will love it!

Heather Carston We have a lot of local honey – and that’s what I buy. Locally made, bottled and we know the people we buy it off. Look after local economy where we can.

Donna Trott So what’s wrong with your export advertising?

John Fast Farmer’s Markets, Any local shops that will sell it for you, even roadside stands sometimes work. I’d buy local, if I wasn’t already a backyard beekeeper myself.

John Thomson Here in Alberta Canada the smaller local Beekeepers use the many Farmer Markets to move their own honey. BTW, it is -15C with a light snow cover. In the Banff National Park (BHP) they are under 2-4m of the white stuff – its’s a Winter Wonderland for winter sports.

Kristin Guenther Lower the price, that will sort the surplus.

Ray Bremer I saw this a couple of weeks ago. I’m always a bit sceptical about what’s in the media. Normally the only truly reliable section is the date.

Graham Manning I, like many others, want honey… But the selling price of it is ludicrous. They’ll be playing on the ‘honey doesn’t have an expiry date’ and hold on to it ’til it sells.

Gene Rugg I say bring it on. Get more bees, and take less honey. Sounds like win win to me,… media had to whinge about success (mutter grumble), But damn looking at other sites that’s a low per kg price. I should get into mead…

Dan Warren Well there goes my chances of becoming millionaire from my 10 hives. And maybe, although I doubt it, the ridiculous retail prices for honey might come down.

Graham Manning Retail prices put people off buying.

No retail = no wholesale => “unwanted” product. Look on the bright side – it’s not going to expire.

Leigh Reti Can I ask how there is a glut when late last year supermarkets put a limit on how many pottles of honey a customer could buy, seriously this is bullshit.

Dave Spart Over the last 5 years hive numbers has increased massively. A lot of that extra honey that was produced was used for blending with Manuka which was possible as there wasn’t an effective standard.

Now that there is a stringent standard that honey is now surplus to requirements, and so there is a glut.

Steve Tippett Haha I know, I laugh at this. For the past 8 years or so, big honey buyers couldn’t buy Rewarewa fast enough, now all of a sudden they don’t need anymore…wonder what they were doing previously with all the Rewarewa.

Paul Durling This still doesn’t explain why we pay a massive premium for honey. 1+1=21. Is it just me who is confused here?

Noel McPharlin Form a Co-op.

Malcolm Henry Paul You are right. This industry and especially the Manuka section is showing all the hallmarks of a pending collapse. Market oversupply coupled with stupid overpricing let alone what other countries are doing and yes there well be research into growing Manuka ( money on that bet) coupled with very little cooperation overall in the industry in this country and one is painting the picture in fluro colours.

A national co-operative is needed however one has got to be very careful as to how the rules and conditions governing the directiveship of the co-op is set in stone. To often the major players in a open market situation take control of a cop-op for several years and benefit themselves from the control before the mass turns against them and brings into play a level playing field. We have seen this time and time again in this country alone not to overseas.

Honey glut as warehouses fill with unwanted product via @nzherald #Honey #1

Posted by kiwimana on Thursday, 24 January 2019

Feedback from You

Mandy Shaw

You know it! Weather here has taken a turn and we’ve had some snow and there is more snow on the way. So much for springtime! I hope your back heals quickly 🙂

Mandy Shaw

End of the Show!!

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Show Times

  • Who helped us in bringing this show to you 00:01:34
  • What does it mean to be an Organic or Natural Beekeeper? 00:02:51
  • Roving Reporters 00:09:31
  • – Indiana, USA 00:09:43
  • – Switzerland 00:11:45
  • – Toronto, Canada 00:13:35
  • Beekeeping News 00:17:46
  • Just plain stupid’: Manuka honey explosion leaving Hawke’s Bay bees ‘starving’ 00:18:01
  • Honey glut as warehouses fill with unwanted product 00:25:20
  • Your Feedback 00:34:10
  • End of the Show 00:34:35

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