Bees through the Seasons — Supporting Kiwi Bees

MR16_Bees-Hive-HoneySummer is upon us. Long hot dry days mean nectar is flowing and our bees are churning out the honey in the hives, catching up on what was a slow start to spring.

Flowers are in abundance in domestic gardens and the clover is in full flower in the paddocks. Wild flowers are providing a wide variety of destinations for the little furry foragers.

Bee keepers have been adding extra honey supers above their brood boxes as the honey flow continues and the boxes fill up. On a recent trip to the Taranaki, we saw eight box high hives. Hopefully they were all full of honey. If you are not already doing so, you may want to think about harvesting the honey laden frames in your hives.

If you are planning to extract and sell your honey, you need to arrange for a registered extraction facility and complete the appropriate declarations. In addition, you are required to carry out Tutin testing. This test is probably wise, even if you are just planning to give your honey to friends. There is Tutin in this area, especially in the Tararua foothills. Your honey also needs to be labelled and must be packed in a registered honey house before you start selling on local markets or via shops.

Wasps have been a problem in some areas, invading and destroying hive colonies and, while there have been recent developments and trials in a new poison that specifically targets wasps, it does not yet appear to be available to beekeepers. So the best option is still to locate and destroy their nests if you can find them. At the last Otaki Buzz Club meeting, there was an extremely interesting talk given by Davide Santoro who, last year, submitted his PhD to Victoria University on “Foraging behaviour and Individuality in the Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris”. Davide demonstrated a huge depth of understanding and respect for this species and admitted to having become a total fan of the wasp and almost managed to convince the listeners that it is indeed a fascinating insect. But not quite.