Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wild Hive

The alders are in a group on the river flat below the gardens, the mighty Waikato river flows through the city of Hamilton and is edged with great river walks and gardens.
Foraging bees at one of the entrances

Last week I came across a wild bee hive high up in an Alder tree down on the river flats below the Hamilton Gardens, I was so excited to find it as there are so few wild bees in NZ now. It was up to high to reach, had 2 entrances and the bees were very busy flying in and out.

It was most probably a swarm from one of the hives here in the sustainable garden, I was told that there had been a swarm acouple of months ago. I just hope it survives the winter and doesn`t die from varroa or other diseases.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Summer is definately over down here in the Antipodes, Autumn and all her glory has arrived and I for one, am very pleased !

We extracted the honey from the club hives a couple of weeks ago, I am President of the Waikato Domestic Beekeepers Assoc, plus librarian and news letter editor. I really enjoy working with the older members of the club who have been beekeeping for generations, they have so much to teach. About 9 of us turned up on a beautiful morning to take the honey off the hives of which one of them had 8 supers on ! (see above pic) An hour or so later there were thousands of annoyed bees everywhere, I wasn`t worried as we were all kitted up in protective gear and no one was stung. I had the regal job of brushing bees of frames and filling the empty boxes with loads of delicious capped honey. We also added the Bayvarol strips, 2 in each hive for the treatment of varroa mite, these will be taken out in 6 weeks. The hives are on a farm on the outskirts of the city, they seem to do well on the clover, barberry hedges and large country gardens .
Afew days later at the monthly meeting, more of us gathered at one of the member`s homewhere the supers had been taken, (Roger has a large shed which is ideal for the messy job of extraction) for an evening of uncapping, extraction and friendly banter ! I can`t remember how much honey we ended up with, about twelve 20 litre buckets I think - all of which will be sold.
This is a great learning exercise for the newer members of the club, real hands-on stuff ! The evening finished with cups of tea and biccies.