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Sweet reward for young beekeeper


#1

Young South Canterbury beekeeper Jack Innes is celebrating the sweet taste of success.
Last year, Jack, who is year 8 this year at Waihi School, acquired two beehives — a traditional one and a Flow Hive made from cedar which he bought from Australia. He spent the rest of last year waiting for his first taste-test.

That opportunity came in mid-December.

‘‘[It is] delicious, runny, sweet and good to eat,’’ he said.

As part of the taste-test, Jack has had the honey on toast and over ice cream. ‘‘[It is] very good,’’ he said.

‘‘We are still harvesting approximately once a week at the moment. It is a nice dark colour and comes from the vipers bugloss [blue borage] crop of flowers, which have grown well this year after a good spring.’’

He has harvested about 25 litres of honey so far this season, which he stores in plastic containers, saving some for the winter.

Jack said his new-found hobby was worth the effort. He described the Flow Hive system as an awesome invention, one he wants to invest more money in.

The industry was not completely new to Jack, his grandfather also having had hives at Black Forest, South Canterbury.

With a keen desire to add to his knowledge, he also welcomed outside help, including that of Peter and Ali Bell, of Mackenzie Country Honey, who showed him through their honey factory in Twizel last year.

The visit helped Jack learn the various beekeeping procedures, including how to open a hive, use a smoker, and how to control varroa with special treatment strips which the bees rub past in the hive. He was also shown how to extract honey from a traditional beehive.

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON@timarucourier.co.nz


#2

Jack !

Congrats young man ! It’s sounds like you are tasting the sweet treasure of your harvests. Back in the 1950’s n 60’s I too started raising honeybees. Lots have changed since those non-mite days but bees are still bees.

Last Spring (2016) I returned to beekeeping. It’s one of the best decisions I have made at 70 years old ( now turned 71 yrs). I

I live in the northern Hemisphere opposite of you young man but bees are still bees n honey is still sweet n yummy ! I live in the foothill country some 20 air miles SE of Seattle, Washington. Our climate is mostly cool, damp n cloudy a large part of the year but my bees are still helping the environment n providing me with enjoyment.

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Like you I have one complete Flow-Hive n I’m adding second 7 Frame Flow-Super to a second 10 frame Langstroth Hive this coming Summer as the nectar flow allows.

Last Fall I lost 2 colonies of my Honeybees to varroa mites. Like you I am having to learning how to deal with these little paricites (nasty critters). It’s a learning curve n hoping you don’t experience loss too soon. It will happen but I am not disallusioned but except my lost as a learning adventure n event. I have four new Nucs coming this coming mid-April to help replace my losses n expand my apiary numbers. It looks thus far that I may have successfully wintered 2 if not 3 colonies … Not counting my chickens before they are hatched but things look very up n positive.

Today should be mild enough ( low to mild 50’s F) so I can recheck my three colonies with a quick peek lifting the upper lid only n see if the winter over food patties are still there if not add more because out first nectar flow is still a week or so away.

My apiary is part of a research group here in Western Washington state. Wintering over n mite control n survival are two of the data n facts/info my hives are helping provide. My one Flow-hive has a monitoring system attached that via a 3G system sends daily data to the research group at a local college. It sends temperature, humidity, weigh (food amounts) to help the group analyze the data from the hive I call “Msple Hive”. This colony is special as I was able to catch my first feral colony in over 55 years, raise in my own Nuc hive n transfer to my Flow-Hive last July…

I hoping you or Flow can keep us informed of your continued progress n happenings there in N.Z.

Take care n happy beekeeping young man. I proud of you !

Cheers to you,

Gerald in Washington State USA