A cosy time with the Franklin Bee Club

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Today the weather in Auckland wasn’t the best, we did hear there was a cold storm coming from the south. We travelled down to Franklin to attend the monthly bee club meeting. A heavy shower hit the site when we arrived. An omen of things to come.

Peter Smith started the meeting with a discussion about how to use a propolis mat under the hive mat, which sits at the top of the hive. Clean propolis commands $300 per kilo. This might be good little money earner :).

Did you know that propolis means protect the city. Pro meaning protect and polis the greek word for city. This is what the bees use propolis for, to protect they city/colony.

He then discussed a method of extracting honey using a plastic barrel with a meshed food cover. This would work great with your capping’s or full frames. Make sure you get a white plastic barrel. As white plastic is virgin plastic (not recycled) we have been told by a plastic manufacturer.

Graham brought along a hive that had died, the hive didn’t have any bees in it. He wanted to know what had happened to it and was looking for the members to offer suggestions. They had a low mite count and were a strong colony.

We checked out the frames, we did spot some Sacbrood and some dead brood, but luckily no American Foul Brood (AFB). There was a lot of wax shavings. Which usually is a sign of robbing.

The consensus was the bees must have absconded. It did remind us of what CCD would look like, having recently watched the “Vanishing of the bees” movie. Highly recommend viewing by the way.

We needed to remove the pesticide strips (Apistan) in the club hives that we had placed two months ago. So a quick mission was started to remove them, before the black clouds reached us. If you leave the treatment in too long the mites can become resistant to the chemicals. Which is what is happening around New Zealand with Apistan at the moment.

The clouds opened up and we all clustered together in the little equipment shed (kind of like the bees in winter :D). We felt at this time that we have become quite close to the other members of the club.

Once the weather broke we all made a run for our cars. The Kiwimana mobile was quite the hit when we left the site :)

Another great day let’s hope the weather is better for next months meeting.

We had some lunch afterwards at the Calendula Cottage Cafe on our way home. The food was great and the staff all very friendly. We noticed the lavender in the gardens were full of honey bees. Always good to see them out and about.

Thanks for reading…Gary

Some more photos (Click on them to expand)

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About Gary Fawcett

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop. He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping. Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment. He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.

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One Response to A cosy time with the Franklin Bee Club

  1. Martin says:

    Great to have other members have a look at a failed hive brood box to ascertain possible reasons for colony collapse, but you need to be very careful not to spread disease by bring a outside hive box into a different apiary. Each apiary site should be quarantined from other members sites with no tools or equipment interchanged as good apiary practice.

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