This was a question posted in by one of our readers, Sophie asks:-
How can a New Zealand beekeeper keep their bees alive every year?
Well this is a good question, over recent times bee-keepers are having trouble keeping bees alive. Due to Varroa mites and pesticides in the environment. Last year our plan failed resulting a loss of all our hives.
Our plan this year is going to do the following, it's hard to follow a plan unless you have one :).
Keep bees elevated at least 12 inches from the ground. To reduce splash up from the Waitakere rains.
We moved our apiary to a sunnier spot, under tree cover just doesn't work over winter in the Waitakere ranges we have discovered.
Treat bees with API life Var. An organic treatment that we are trying out this year.
Split hives – this disrupts the mites breeding cycle and increases the colonies chance of success.
Throughout the season Spring through to Autumn
Use drone brood management frames, removing every 24 days (if mites are present in brood).
Use screened bottom boards to reduce and monitor mites. Having a Screened bottom can remove up to 25% of the mites, it also allow you to do mite counts.
Check for mites at least every month, using a inspection tray in our mesh boards.
Use sugar shaking on each inspection (If mites located).
Autumn after honey supers removed – treat hives with Oxalic acid. We have not tried this, so will need to research this further. Have you had any success with Oxalic acid?
What are you planning this year?, make a plan and stick it on your wall. Maybe even share your plan here. It would be great to see what others have planned, so we can all learn.
Thanks for reading…Gary