Well… we said we were going on a “break” but its been pretty full-on here at kiwimana HQ.
We had lots of over-grown kikyua grass which we are slowly removing.
Gary lit a fire and we burnt a whole load of old pallets and rubbish woodware. We've also been ‘de-cluttering' the garage. (still a long way to go! )
GARDENS – Flowers, Vege's and Herbs
Our small garden beds are growing well and the Rosemary is flowering at the moment and the Thyme is spreading. The bed with Lavendar and roses is coming along well. We are planning to set-up some extra flower beds with ‘wild-flowers' and a vegetable patch, so watch this space as we work through these projects. Surprisingly I have seen buds on my Red KakaBeak and some flowers on one of my Kowhai's ‘sophora dragons gold'.
ON-LINE SHOP & Workshop
Loads of new stock arriving too! …assembly of hive-boxes to start with lots of frames to bee waxed and wired…its all good. That all kicks off 1st August.
APIARY at Kiwimana HQ
With land maintenance of our apiary here at HQ it has seen lots of grass and lawn cutting, new spaces for new hives – these hives moved from our ‘old' apiary at the organic farm, which is no longer organic, as the new owners appear to love to spray ! luckily they waited til most of the hives were removed. End result of move, sees us going back to about 8 hives this new bee season, so loss has been significant about 5 thus far….. we'll update you on this because we have had some more losses : (
LANDOWNER – other Apiaries
We learnt some things from having our hives at the organic farm and the lesson is, that if the land-owner does not maintain the land it can be harmful to your hives. The hives we brought back were absolutely soaked, the weeds were so overgrown. These hives were even on solid-bottom boards and sitting on pallets! We replaced some of the hive-boxes with dry-woodware, when relocated back here at HQ. ( …but, only 2 survived!)
We encourage you to make sure that if you are able to keep your hives on other people's land, make sure the land-owners take some responsibility for maintaining their land, luckily our ‘Quarantine Apiary‘ has great land-owners who love having the Bees…when I turn up to check the hives, they have added pavers and cleared around the area so our thanks go out to them : )
We made up some sugar-syrup as we felt it may come in handy this season, we usually leave the Bees to feed off their own honey stores but some hives don't have enough. We used fresh-thyme in our syrup, which appears to help with varroa – studies are being undertaken to establish whether this is a ‘myth‘ or a ‘fact‘.
Here we have a photo of the ‘Top Feeder' we used.
On inspecting some hives, we found some to be absolutely full with eggs, larvae and good population. Other hives have been hammered by wasps and robbing and died. Other hives have tiny clusters, one of my oldest-queen (4 years!) hives had a very small cluster that I doubt will survive through Winter, which sadly proved to be true, a sad day indeed. We merged whatever colonies where we could.
I can't tell you how emotional its been – whoever said Beekeeping was just a past-time didn't understand the obvious love and passion we place in our Bees, they are family to us. The loss is and has been, very painful.
While on our ‘break' we are reviewing our plans for the coming ‘Bee Season of 2014'. We have decided to reduce the number of hives we have in the apiary, and god-willing we'll still have some by Spring!! We want to make it achieveable and manageable so we can also manage the on-line shop stock, Beekeeper Services, Beekeeping Courses and Training and Apiary maintenance, so our plan is to make sure we have a good balance so we can continue to service our customers and serve our Bees well.
What do the losses mean for Beeginuzz Kits? …. and how will we get NEW COLONIES for this season?
We have approached some of our commercial beekeepers who will bee helping us with NUC's and Colonies so don't worry – you won't miss out!
Cheers Everyone, enjoy your Winter because Spring 2014 build-up is already well on its way, and started in July!
…its the kiwimana buzz…
She loves New Zealand native flora and fauna, her fav is the Kowhai...with Manuka honey close second ; )
Some of you may know that Margaret is a qualified Life Coach, she trained through the Coaching Academy in London and holds DipPC.Adv.