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Bee Keeping

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  • Bee Keeping

    Times of year mentioned are for New Zealand. Please adjust for other countries.

    Bee Keeping, by Aleena La'ulu

    1. Why Bee Keeping

    Organic horticulture and beekeeping are compatible activities.

    Successful organic horticulture incorporates a wide variety of companion plants and negative insect repelling plants. Some of which can be wonderful bee attracting plants. The benefit of encouraging bees into the gardens are: the honey they will provide, as well as other products such as wax, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly, which may be used in a variety of medicines, skin creams and candles. Bees are also excellent pollinators. One bee will visit up to 100 flowers in an hour and will only visit one species at a time. Crops within one mile of beehives will out yield crops in bee deficient areas by 3 - 10 times.

    2. Where to put your bees

    Position your bees in a site that receives sun for most of the day. This site must be sheltered from strong winds and give quick, easy access to the plants, when flowering during winter. Optimum conditions for effective pollination and food gathering are when temperatures are higher than 12-14 C and wind is less than 25 km per hour. They must have a good year round supply of food. Bees flying range is between 3 and 5 km. The beehive is best facing north (face south if in Northern hemisphere) for full sun and faces directly at the garden. Bees fly directly to food sources, by the quickest possible route.

    3. Providing the right environment

    To maximise the effectiveness of bees on the property, a variety of bee plants and trees that provide nectar and pollen need to be planted for year round food sources. They also need adequate water supplies to deter them from drinking from the near by drains, in which they may drown. The bees can be left where they are on the site year round or they can be moved on, to stop them from interfering with other orchard or gardening activities.

    4. Strategies to minimize pest and disease damage.

    Careful siting of bee hives, in a sunny location sheltered from prevailing winds. Provide sufficient food and water sources. Check beehives regularly for pest and disease.

    When to check bees and brief guidelines

    Early spring onwards

    Check bees on fine, warm days, preferably in the afternoon. Check for pest and disease before stripping the hive down to the floor boards. Clean and scrape down hive at least a few metres away from the hive site. Replace broken frames with drawn comb.

    Check hives every fortnight for pest and disease and to refresh water and food supplies etc. before and during the main honey flow period. Never let colony stores dwindle below the equivalent of three frames of honey. Check hives weekly in bad weather.

    Wellington?s main honey flow is the first week of December to the middle of January

    For maximum honey production building up of population should start 6 weeks prior to this time. Requeening is also carried out at this time.
    Entrance reducers can be taken off the hives in October, November, just before the honey flow. The beginning of the honey flow is easy to recognise by the increase in foraging activity, fresh white wax and fresh looking nectar that falls out easily if the frame is tipped.

    Put honey supers on in mid to late October, subsequent supers are usually added on top of the previous super. In a good honey flow strong hives will fill one super in one to two weeks but have been known to fill one in two days (quite rare). Requeen in late summer.

    After the last round of honey in autumn, little is done for several weeks. The hives should be ?wintered down? before the first frosts of winter. Check each colony has a good laying queen. Check for any disease. Stip and clean hives. Provide with two good frames of honey and check for stores again in May to early August. For a normal size colony leave 16-20 kg of honey which is equivalent to 7-9 full depth frames or 9-11 ? depth frames. And also two full frames of pollen. Restrict hive entrance at this time.
    Allow for good ventilation. Control weed growth around apiary. With adequate preparation in autumn there is little to do in winter. The main reason for colonies dying through winter is due to lack of food.
    For More information contact the bee association.

    A free registration is compulsory for all beehives. This can be obtained from MAF. There are some guide lines to keeping bees and all diseases must be reported.
    Requeening should be done at least every two years to prevent swarming.
    The western honey bee (Apis Mellifera) is the only species that can be suitably managed on a commercial basis for pollination and high honey production.

    Wax moths, Galleria Mellonella and Achroia grisella
    Eggs are either laid on the bee combs or in cracks in the hive wood ware. The eggs are small, white, and difficult to see. Larvae are white and approximately 1mm long.
    Obvious signs are
    Tunnels through comb, lined with silk and spotted with faecal pellets.

    Common wasp and the German wasp

    Varroa bee mite; under the Biogro standards the following substances can be used for control: fromic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid, menthol, thymol, eucalyptol, camphor. Signs and symptoms are: unexpectedly low bee numbers, sacbrood-like symptoms in brood frames, small bronze mites on the bodies of bees, and on uncapped drone pupae, weak crawling bees, possibly with deformed wings, sudden hive crashes.

  • #2
    Re: Bee Keeping

    Published on May 3, 2013

    The West Sound Beekeepers Association provides hive installation demonstrations each year on bee arrival day at Stedman Bee Supply in Silverdale, WA. Here David Mackovjak demonstrates how to hive a new package of bees as well as fielding questions from the onlookers.
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    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

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    (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)
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