The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Beehive Update - September 2014

Written by Martin on September 21st, 2014.      0 comments

bees-close-up-outside-hiveIt’s raining so it must be spring! In the last four weeks the bees have been collecting pollen as fast as they can for new bee brood (you can see the pollen on the bees legs on the photo), and most of our queens are laying strongly. Many hives have good numbers of bees and they are starting to burn through their honey stores. The key focus has been to get our spring treatment in for varroa mite and ensure that all hives still have sufficient honey stores until the first flows start. There have been few losses of hives and we have already made splits for new hives and supplied them with queen cells.

Our hives are ready to return to Ohui once the Coromandel gets some drier weather! Spring always seems to be earlier in the Coromandel and the Manuka can be flowering by November in this district. Our site provides for a great spring build-up and so we will look to get our bees back there soon.

So far our hives are in excellent shape. August was cold and bitter, but the bees are now away with lots of bee numbers and they are benefiting from the large honey stores carried through. A few hives are looking weak and these have been boosted with additional brood, honey and pollen as required. Beehive strength is so good that we have already made up an additional twenty new hives from this site.

Horsham Downs

Our nucs (mini hives) all carried over well through winter and are now into full size units. We’ve had a great survival rate although honey stores are quite low. As such we have had to start feeding a little sugar syrup to get them through early spring until the willows and barberry start flowering. The strong hives now have pollen traps on them and we are starting to collect pollen.
Four Brothers Reserve

The hives left at Four Brothers Reserve have done okay and will be restocked with additional hives in November. We have an additional site for this area which looks to be much more protected from the elements which we will try out this season. We look forward to getting this delicious honey back into stock!

The bees are also doing well at our Hakarimata site with plenty of stores on hand. The beehives have been repositioned to make access to them a little easier and some will also need splits taken from them shortly.

Here's a movie I took of our beehives in Marokopa this September showing the bees in springtime.


Reusable Food Wrap

Written by Stephanie on September 20th, 2014.      0 comments


What Can We Do to Help NZ Bees?

Written by Stephanie on September 10th, 2014.      0 comments

National Beekeepers Association created 'Bee Aware Month', a major campaign designed beeto educate New Zealanders about the importance of the humble, often overlooked, honey bee. Bees are critically important to New Zealand and to the New Zealand economy – much more so than you might think!

Without bees, our gardens would be without many of their plants and flowers, and our major agri-export industries (worth around $5 billion) would be in severe trouble and a huge 2/3 of our food would disappear!  The 2/3 of our produce that depend on honey bees for pollination provide 35% of our calories, most of our minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.  What would happen to our nutrient food intake and in turn our health if our bees disappeared?  Albert Einstein said “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live".

Honey bee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers in USA.  Thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace.  The bees seem to fly off never to return, leaving the queen bee and mother of the hive to starve to death.

Things aren’t quite so bad in New Zealand, yet, but New Zealand bees are increasingly threatened with the long-term effects of varroa mite and other new diseases.  Added to this is the misuse of pesticides that affect bees in gardens and on farms, the loss of habitat for shelter and the lack of flowers for bee food.

Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:

  • Go organic or at least limit pesticides in our gardens.  If you struggle with that idea then look for bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
  • Grow plants in your garden that attract bees.  Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar wildflowersuch as lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not .  Remember bees are attracted to these colours: yellow, blue-green, blue and ultraviolet flowers.    You can purchase wildflower bee friendly seeds here.   All the money from these seed sales go back to the National Beekeepers Association to help NZ bees.  Also check out the Urban Trees for Bees pamphlet showing planting suggestions.  
  • Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water.
  • Don’t mow you lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on (if you can stand it).
  • Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
  • If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.  The National Beekeeping Association have some contact numbers on their website.  Having said this you do want to destroy wasp nests as they rob beehive stores.  You can pour petrol on their nests or contact a terminator.  Make sure you learn the difference between a wasp nest and natural beehive though!
  • Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
  • Spread the word by letting people know this information and support any petitions or change in policy that further protects our bees.

“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.”  by Krishna, Rama

Information for this blog post was sourced from The National Beekeepers Association and The Telegraph

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