Assure Quality and Apiary Registration

There is a legal requirement for all apiaries whether small or large to be registered with Assure Quality. Register or be fined.

This requirement was bought into force to help control  the spread of American Foul Brood – a highly contagious disease of the brood. Don’t be guilty of being the beekeeper who has not registered your apiary and have your hive contract and spread AFB to surrounding apiaries. Be a good beekeeper and a good neighbour. Image

Club Apiary

Love’s Labour is not lost and this was clearly shown today when four members of the RBC spent about 1 1/2 hours preparing sites for 4 hives and two nucs. The hive locations were dug out and  covered with weed cloth to assist in keeping weeds away from the hive entrance. The club is considering using a new design of base board from the Hive Doctor – who kindly donated one to the club – this will be shown to members at the  next meeting and we suggest that members may wish to purchase same.

If so we could place a bulk order and receive the best possible price.  The apiary has easy car access and good facilities for a social time after the field day activities.  See pictures of apiary preparation – with Peter McNab, Bruce Burgess, Noel Smith and Claude Bee.

Not to forget the lovely coffee and biscuits provided by Jo Bee (  Burgess ).

All’s well that ends well.ImageImageImageImageImage


Education begins at school

Claude and girls observing a frame of bees

Claude and girls observing a frame of bees

Two pupils from Helensville Primary School – Devon and Danielle, aged 11 and 12 respectively spent a few hours looking at the internal workings of a beehive. We were able to see capped and uncapped brood, observe worker bees at work and drones scurrying around the hive.

The girls both picked up a drone, and ran their fingers gently over the worker bees. We were able to see a newly hatched queen cell in one hive. All great fun and a new adventure for the girls, helping them to have a start on their way to respecting and understanding Apis Mellifera – The Honey Bee. See pictures

Replacing the Queen Bee in your hive

Photo credit: ricetek from

There will come a time for every beekeeper when the need to re-queen a hive – or more than one – arises.

I am hoping that RBC can guide new beekeepers along the mysterious road of preparing a hive for re-queening and introducing a new young vigorous queen. Perhaps this could be covered as part of a club meeting, and then at an appropriate time, demonstrate how this operation is carried out.

Where to obtain a new queen

Well the following organisations are well recognised and can supply high quality queens at a reasonable price.

Daykel Apiaries

Daykel Apiaries, Paranui R.D. 3, Kaitaia – Ph: 09.408.5895 – e mail: – Web site is available for viewing and is full of very interesting data about Davis Yanke and his queen breeding program. Take a look and enjoy.
Daykel Apiaries Website

Another excellent source of young queens is –

Mountain Beech Apiaries

Paul Jeffery – Paul’s e mail is –

A little Bee History


Many years ago I purchased on old badly dilapidated book first published in May 1901.

The style is, by today’s standards, archaic – but the book contains some fundamentals about

The Bee which are worthy of repetition and so the article under may give new beekeepers some

Interesting historical data and perhaps serve to update the knowledge of the more experienced among us.

The Life of the Bee – by Maurice Maeterlinck

The Bibliography of the Bee is very extensive.

From the beginning, this strange little creature, that lives in a society under complicated laws, and executes prodigious labours in darkness, has attracted the notice of men.

From Aristotle to present day the bee has been studied and loved.

I suggest that the real history of the bee begins in the 17th. century with the discoveries of the Dutch Savant Swammerdam, and the Flemish naturalist Clutius, who was a little prior to Swammerdam.

Both of these men arrived at certain important truths such as – the Maternity of the principal bee – hither to looked upon as a King . This discovery – by dissection and scientific observation – threw the whole political scheme of the hive into most unexpected light by basing it upon Maternity.

In 1750 in Geneva – Huber was born – and fell blind in his early youth.

Interested in earlier research about bees he sort to verify this early research, and became passionately absorbed in these activities and eventually, with the assistance of Francis Burnens, devoted his entire life to the study of bees – all the more remarkable when one considers that he never saw, with his own eyes a comb of honey – his “New Observations on Bees” published in 1789 in the form of letters to Charles Bonnet, has remained an unfailing abundant treasurehouse into which subsequent writers have dipped – and whilst in the course of time – a few errors or incomplete statements may be found – there is not one of his principal statements that have been disproved.

Some years of silence followed Huber’s revelations, but then a German clergyman Dzierzon contrived the first hive with moveable combs thereby enabling the beekeeper henceforth to take his share of the harvest of Natures Nectar without being forced to destroy his best colonies – and in one instance annihilate the work of a whole year.

This hive – still very imperfect – received a masterly redevelopment at the hands of Langstroth – who invented the moveable frame – this frame has been adopted world wide with extraordinary success.

It then occurred to Mehring that if the bees were supplied with artificial wax foundation they would be spared the labour of fashioning the wax and constructing the cells which cost them much time and energy, and a greatly reduced harvest of their stores of honey. It was found that the bees readily accepted this foundation and adapted it to their requirements.

Today’s beekeepers – have much to thank these early lovers of the bee for the system of moveable frames and wax foundation and the understanding of the political structure of the bee colony.


Second Meeting and a club Apiary Site!!!

photo credit: net_efekt via photopin cc


We have managed to locate a venue for monthly meetings at the old Paraki Tavern building next to the hot pools at Paraki
meeting time 7 PM. At the next meeting Brian Alexander will speak about wintering down your precious hives.

Next meeting 12 March 2014 7pm.

Dates for coming months 9 April – 14 May – please note your diaries.

Come prepared with lots of questions for Brian.

We have been offered an Apiary Site on the property of Bruce and Jo Burgess at 1333 Old North Road – a really good site for an apiary – back off the road – excellent facilities – suitable area for a sausage sizzle with your families after our field days. One criteria from Bruce and Jo – NO ALCOHOL.

We will need to have a working bee to prepare sites for the hives and will discuss this at the March meeting. Cost for the night suggested at $2 per head to pay the rent and cover costs of tea, coffee, etc.

Look forward to seeing you all.


Email from the Southland and Sad News About One of my Hives

My Hives TodayWe have had a very nice e mail from the Southland beekeeping Group – itself a newly formed bee organisation – offering congratulations of the formation of the Rodney Beekeepers Club.

I have responded with thanks, and hope that we can retain contact with this new southern club.

I had a look at my hives today intending to undertake an oxalic acid vaporizer test. Unfortunately I had somehow killed my queen when last I looked and whilst there was an abundance of brood and stores there were no eggs. We took some brood and eggs from our second hive and trust the bees will requeen.

Another look at the end of March will tell us wether we have succeeded.

Gary did a Powdered sugar shake on our queen less hive with about half a cup of bees in a jar covered with sugar the sugar was then shaken onto a white board and sprayed with water- two mite were discovered. Gary has a article about this on the kiwimana site Powdered Sugar Shake – Counting Varroa Mites using icing sugar

Kiwi Oxalic Acid Vaporizer

Kiwi Oxalic Acid Vaporizer

The oxalic acid fume was given a prelim test showing us how the burner works. We are as a result considering purchasing one – but better still perhaps – would be for the club to purchase a unit which could be hired by members at a nominal rate.

We are still looking for a club apiary site so if any of you know of a site that might be available – please let a member of the committee know so that we can arrange for a look.

I am considering holding a wax dip for supers lids hive mats and bottom boards for members who may wish to protect their equipment using this very good system.

I am happy to donate the wax and would suggest that perhaps a member may like to bring along a twin gas burner and donate the gas or perhaps make a small charge to members who wish to wax dip. Please give me a ring if this is of interest. Supers can be painted after the dip – whilst hot – so bring your own paint and a broad brush – they must be painted at once and as quickly as possible but it is not necessary – unless of course you want a pretty box.

Claude Bee

The First Meeting of the Rodney Beekeepers Club

On 12th February 2014 a meeting was held at Farmlands Mill Road Helensville.

Arising out of this meeting the Rodney Beekeepers Club was formed.
As with all new organisations an election of officers took place and arising out of the voting the following officers were elected.

President: Peter McNab
Vice President: Claude Buchanan
Secretary: Jo Burgess
Committee members: Jason Everard, Bruce Burgess, William Titford
Patron: Brian Alexander

A proposed constitution was circulated to people present and this will be discussed and finalised at the next meeting. It is planned to meet every 2nd Wednesday with the venue to be decided and advised to those present.

A mixture of beekeeping experience was found from those who know little or nothing, ranging through people who had some limited experience to a few who had extensive beekeeping experience and knowledge.

    The key note among all present was:-

  • Learn more about Apis Mellifera ( The Honey Bee ) and its vital importance as a pollinator.
  • To share ideas at meetings and field days – to learn from experienced bee keepers, and promote peoples understanding and appreciation of the Honey Bee.
  • To help eliminate peoples fear of the Honey Bee which seems to be ingrained into them from childhood.

Respect, understanding, and knowledge would go a long way to overcoming this seemingly innate fear.

One must ask – do people advise their children not to drive a car or not to swim in case they have an accident or drown – No – they educate their children to learn to drive and swim.

So it should be with bees – educate and understand.

More people die on the road or drown than are ever stung by a bee.

World wide bees are under threat from over use and/or careless use of pesticides, invasion of the hive by varroa mite and other diseases of the bee. Beekeeping with attention to good beekeeping practices and education are probably the main aims of the club. With the side issue of meeting like minded people socially and producing a crop of fine local honey.

If interested in joining our club – contact Peter McNab – 09 420 6179 or Claude Buchanan – 09 420 9719

or fill out the below form:-