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Chicken Coops and Bee Hives for the Future – KM139

This is Episode One hundred and thirty nine of our beekeeping show – Chicken Coops and Bee Hives for the Future

We are Gary and Margaret, We are kiwimana.

Kiwimana are beekeepers from the hills of the Waitakere Ranges on the wild west coast of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand.

We build and sell beekeeping equipment and bees, provide Beekeeper services and education.

This week we learn about a new project involving sustainable schools and we learn how to requeen a hot hive in ten easy steps.  We also have our kiwimana Roving Reporters calling in from Poland and the United States of America.

Who helped us in bringing this show to you?

This show is made possible for you by our amazing supporters.

Every show we read out our top Supporter or Supporter or and on the first show of each month we read out all the supporters.  Thanks to you all.

This week we like to thanks:-

Trish Stretton, Lisa Morrissey, Nathan Buzzinga Beekeeping, Barbara Weber, Christopher Brown and Greg Parr.

Reward Level Reached

The following Supporters have reached the reward level, where they get a free gift from us.  Please check you email guys to tell us what gift you want.

Shout out to our New Supporters

David from Buzzed Honeys – Humane Bee Relocation in Los Angeles, Thanks for your support.  Check them out HERE

What does it mean to be an Organic or Natural Beekeeper?

Well…Because of the generalization of treatment methods approved by authorities – those which are promoted across the board and around the world in the beekeeping community – a lot of the work we have been doing has caused quite a discussion amongst older beekeepers who have questioned some of our actions.

Let’s be fair it’s good to question new methods and look at new ideas but it’s important that we, as a community, don’t alienate others with our own judgement without understanding or being open to the discussion in the first place. Not being at least open to a discussion is just being ignorant. It’s fair to say that because of the shifting threat of varroa and the authorities not doing enough testing,

Gary and I have had to test our products in the field and with testing it takes time, that’s because we have to know how it works and why because no point recommending something if it’s not been tested less than a Bee Season. The point is that we want to share what works.

It’s fair to say that we do our work to help hobbyist beekeepers with smaller apiaries and we do try to encourage commercial beekeepers to consider different approaches so as to help the honey bee for the long term not the quick buck !

Season / Weather

Ongoing warm weather with very occasional showers and still around foraging temperature

Yes the temps are getting colder, I even put on a jacket the other day

How have the Bees been Behaving

Lots of pollen being collected and with the odd rain we see some re-flowering going on si a small nectar flow for us

And what about the Beekeeper?

Amazingly managing space is still required as the girls have been capping honey and they needed some more frames

What are we you working on now?

  • Beekeeper Activities Observing the entrances – dropping down robbing screens to narrow access and building more screens for the new season colonies
  • Benefits Observation teaches us about bee behaviour – I encourage all my students to take time to watch the front if their hives, it’s also fascinating.  Adding robbing screens means the colonies can start to propolise before the colder temperatures begin.

How are we preparing for what’s coming up for the Bees ?

  • Month coming up expectations Wasps becoming more of an issue
  • Bee Behaviour
  • Beekeeper Activities
  • Results Anticipated

As it’s early Autumn- we don’t want to rush wintering down, purely for the fact that temperatures haven’t even dropped below foraging temperatures here !
Wintering down is all about reducing space which is unnecessary.

If we condense down too quickly we may cause lack of space so it’s a bit of a delicate balance  we need to find for us kiwi beeks, in fact some areas are still so awesomely warm that they are adding new frames and boxes !

What are the benefits of running Honey Bee colonies organically / naturally ?

For us it has meant that our colonies are stronger than ever and we truly have found the OAV varroa treatment method is contributing to our success in keeping our colonies healthy – healthy bees can cope better with threats.

Our mission is to Save Bees, one hive at a time, by helping you keep Honey Bees alive.

Gosh and hopefully get commercial beekeepers to look at their beekeeping practices and it’s fair to say we are seeing some smaller operations taking on some changes do we have high hopes for our kiwi honey bees

Roving Reporters

Avari from Wild Dragon Honey Bee Farm – North Carolina, USA

Avari keeps bees with her parents and older brother in North Carolina.

Follow Rascal Apiary on YouTube or Instagram

Weronika from Miód Wasiaka – Krobia, Poland

Weronika is a fourth generation beekeeper who we met late in 2018 when she traveled to New Zealand.

Follow her adventures on Instagram

Do you want to bee a Roving Reporter?

It would be awesome if you can help create the buzz by being part of the show –  reporting  in from your location while in the field

If so…Could you record a quick update of one to two minutes of your local weather conditions and what other people should be doing with the bees in your area.

Please send us a sound file to gary@kiwimana.co.nz, titled Roving Reporter

Or send us a message on Speakpipe by clicking HERE

To Learn more check out our guide:- How to become a Roving Reporter

Beekeeping News

Chicken coops, beehives, medicinal plants future for sustainable schools

A great project funded by Countdown Supermarkets has been a success in getting kids involved in sustainability projects involving Bees, Chickens and growing food.

Kiwi kids are leading the way to sustainability with plans for chicken coops, beehives, Maori medicinal herbs and veggie gardens in schools around the country.

Thirty schools across New Zealand have been awarded a share of $25,000 to help kick-start their planet-friendly projects thanks to Countdown supermarket.


Talking Points

  • Countdown Supermarkets are behind this project name the “Growing for Good programme”
  • Plan includes Chicken Coops and installation of beehives with plans to use beeswax to make reusable lunch wraps
It's fantastic to see our young tamariki and their schools so passionately engaged with weaving environmentalism and sustainability into everyday learning.
Kiri Hannifin – Countdown general manager of corporate affairs and sustainability

Your Feedback

  • Nai Vandy What a beautiful, positive story 🙌🙌
  • Terri Everett I grew up in a school and my job was to Look after the chooks at weekends.
  • Kalena Egan yesss love it
  • Kirsty Forsyth Yay we need more of this.I’m all for being self sufficient

Join the Discussion on Facebook

Chicken coops, beehives, medicinal plants future for sustainable schools via @nzherald #bees #1

Posted by kiwimana on Sunday, February 24, 2019

Re-queening a ‘Hot’ Hive in 10 Steps

A popular post this week from Jennifer Sartel from Iron Oak Farm all about how to replace the Queen in an aggressive hive.  Some great common sense tips on how to do it.


It’s amazing the way a beehive can have a personality. While the colony is made up of thousands of individual bees, it is the overall, collective demeanor of the group that makes it as if you are working with a single organism.


Talking Points

  • You can change the behavior of your colony by re-queening.
  • Most wild bees in the USA are carrying have some degree of Africanized genetics due to widespread breeding
  • It takes 1000 bee stings to kill a human, so wear a Bee Suit and Veil.
  • Good idea: Move problematic hives away from your other hives and away from your neighbours
  • A good ten step plan to replace your Queen

Margaret …I am always resistant to killing queens – I reckon there will always be a reason they are grumpy…they could already be requeening themselves, they could already be queen less, they could be thirsty, I find thirsty bees are grumpy bees ! Extreme heat

How do you deal with that ?

Small fine mist sprayer – damp towel – extra hive mats

Join the Discussion on Facebook

Re-queening a 'Hot' Hive in 10 Steps via @kbbees #bees #1

Posted by kiwimana on Saturday, February 23, 2019

Feedback from You

From Apple Podcasts – Awesome podcast!! – FrankG from WA – 5 Stars – Australia

Margaret and Gary’s passion and knowledge for beekeeping makes for a very enjoyable podcast. Their mix of humor, bee news, great interviews (and the odd tangent) will have you hooked in no time. – Thursday, 14 March 2019

Goldfernhoney from Christchurch, New Zealand

Really enjoy your podcast, Check them out on Instagram

We are thinking of all you guys in Christchurch, and for those affected by the terrible events of the 15 March

kia kaha Christchurch

End of the Show!!

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Show Times

  • Who helped us in bringing this show to you? 00:00:55
  • What does it mean to be an Organic or Natural Beekeeper? 00:02:13
  • Roving Reporters 00:16:22
  • – North Carolina 00:16:41
  • – Krobia, Poland 00:19:25
  • Beekeeping News 00:23:56
  • Chicken coops, beehives, medicinal plants future for sustainable schools 00:24:11
  • Re-queening a ‘Hot' Hive in 10 Steps 00:26:56
  • Feedback from You 00:32:20

Media Credits

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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