February 2017 – New Zealand BeeKeeper

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by earthquakes and poor weather

FEBRUARY 2017 | VOLUME 25 No. 1

Business as unusual Natasha Thyne GWA research under way Barry Foster

Five finger for spring build-up Linda Newstrom-Lloyd and Angus McPherson Myrtle rust workshop Karin Kos and Barry Foster Active bee culture Mana Cracknell and Michele Andersen

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NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Welcome to 2017

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Star performers part 3: five finger for early spring build-up Supersedure—an autumn phenomenon: How common is it? 26 Tutin contamination hits early: be vigilant 31 Letter to the editor 31 From the colonies 33 Persevere, prepare and protect 37 23

ApiNZ welcomes Bruce Wills as independent chair

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Business as unusual

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Giant willow aphid research kicks off

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Myrtle rust: being prepared

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Wasp biocontrol update

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Active bee culture

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Apiculture health and safety programme formed

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33

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Front cover: “We’ll put it right.” Midlands Apiaries managing director Duncan Storrier supplied this photo of beekeepers working to restore order to an apiary affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake centred near Kaikoura on 14 November 2016. Story on page 6.

EDITORIAL/PUBLICATION (excluding advertising): Nancy Fithian 8A Awa Road, Miramar, Wellington 6022 Mobile: 027 238 2915 Fax: 04 380 7197 Email: editor@apinz.org.nz ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Certa Solutions, PO Box 2494, Dunedin 9044. Phone: 0800 404 515 Email: beekeeper@certasolutions.nz PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE: Frank Lindsay 26 Cunliffe Street, Johnsonville, Email: lindsays.apiaries@clear.net.nz DEADLINES FOR ADVERTISING AND ARTICLES: Due on the 6th of the month prior to publication. All articles/letters/photos to be with the Editor via fax, email or post to Nancy Fithian (see details above). Articles published in The New Zealand BeeKeeper are subject to scrutiny by the Apiculture New Zealand Management Team. The content of articles does not Wellington 6037 Ph: 04 478 3367

The New Zealand BeeKeeper is the official journal of Apiculture New Zealand (Inc.). ISSN 0110-6325 Printed by Certa Solutions, PO Box 2494, Dunedin 9013, New Zealand ApiNZ website: www.apinz.org.nz

necessarily reflect the views of Apiculture New Zealand. © The New Zealand BeeKeeper is copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Publisher, Apiculture New Zealand (Inc.). CONTACTS TO THE NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPING INDUSTRY: Rex Baynes, AFB PMP Manager PO Box 44282, Lower Hutt 5040 Email: rbaynes@ihug.co.nz Ph: 04 566 0773 American Foulbrood Management Plan www.afb.org.nz

MANAGEMENT TEAM: Chief Executive Officer Karin Kos Email: ceo@apinz.org.nz Secretary Natasha Thyne Email: info@apinz.org.nz Accounts and Subscriptions Pauline Downie Email: memberships@apinz.org.nz PO Box 25207, Featherston Street,

AsureQuality Limited Phone: 0508 00 11 22 www.asurequality.com EXOTIC DISEASE AND PEST EMERGENCY HOTLINE 0800 80 99 66 www.biosecurity.govt.nz

Wellington 6146 Ph: 04 471 6254 APICULTURE NZ BOARD REPRESENTATIVES: Dennis Crowley

Barry Foster Stuart Fraser Sean Goodwin John Hartnell Ricki Leahy

Pollinator Incident Reporting Form: http://www.epa.govt.nz/Publications/ Pollinator_incident_reporting_form_2014. docx

Peter Luxton Russell Marsh Paul Martin Bruce Wills (Chair)

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S REPORT

WELCOME TO 2017

Karin Kos, ApiNZ Chief Executive

Welcome to 2017. Despite a challenging start, our long-term future is strong.

Over the last few years we’ve seen our industry experience significant growth, as evidenced in MPI’s latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report (MPI, 2016). The report shows our honey export revenue more than doubled from 2013 to 2016 to reach $315 million in 2016. While there’s been a fall-off in export sales in the last quarter and a forecasted small fall in revenue for the 2017 year, overall, our long-term future looks strong, with export revenue forecast to reach around $460 million in 2020. I appreciate that is small comfort to our industry as we go through an incredibly challenging season, but it’s important we keep a long-term perspective. Despite the poor season we are facing this year, we have a strong story to tell around New Zealand honey and the apiculture industry. That’s one where our honey is internationally recognised and trusted for its great taste and qualities, it attracts premium pricing, and where our honey bees are recognised as the lifeblood of New Zealand’s primary and horticultural sectors. The economic value of pollination for the horticulture and arable sectors alone is estimated to be around $4.5 to $5 billion a year. But statistics are one thing; it’s how we as an industry support sustainable growth to get the best of the opportunities and deal with the challenges that inevitably come with growth, like hive theft and territorial issues. It’s also how we individually and collectively best represent our industry, telling our story and fronting it positively, and dealing with issues when they do arise. And it’s how we work constructively with our stakeholders and Government to make sure our views are heard and acted on. All good reasons for why it’s never been more important to have a unified and strong peak industry body, representing all sectors and stakeholders.

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APINZ WELCOMES BRUCE WILLS AS INDEPENDENT CHAIR APICULTURE NEW ZEALAND BOARD Apiculture New Zealand Management Team

It’s never been more important to have a unified and strong peak industry body, representing all sectors and stakeholders.

How we are adding value Apiculture New Zealand has a clear mandate to add value to our industry and make it stronger as outlined in our Pledge Card. This sets out our commitment to protect our industry and bee health, represent and advocate on relevant issues, influence and position our industry as a vital primary sector in our own right, and inform to ensure our bee products are acknowledged for their authenticity and integrity. That’s a big undertaking, and so to support those key themes we have set up five industry focus groups on research, biosecurity, standards and regulation, education, and Māori engagement. The Standards, Compliance and Regulatory group is already up and running. The remaining focus groups and members are close to being finalised. All will play their role in developing the policy direction and practical work plans to support our industry. A key role for me as Chief Executive will be making sure the work of these groups is openly shared with members and delivers tangible results. So looking to 2017, I see an industry that has its foundations in place and is poised to take the next step in consolidating its united position and profile, and is continuing to attract new members. There is a huge amount of work ahead as part of that, but I’m up for the challenge with the support of the Apiculture New Zealand Board and our members. I look forward to working with you all this year and to seeing our industry continue to deliver value and grow in a sustainable way.

Bruce Wills has been appointed to the position of independent Chair for Apiculture New Zealand.

Mr Wills has been the acting Chair of the Apiculture New Zealand Board since its inception in June and will now take up the role in a permanent position. Prior to this he was the independent chair of the Joint Executive Councils of the National Beekeepers Association and Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group. “The future is bright for the New Zealand bee and honey industry and I look forward to having an ongoing role in growing that future; it’s an exciting time to be involved in such an important sector,” says Mr Wills. Mr Wills was appointed following an extensive recruitment process and demonstrated proven and experienced governance skills, as well as respected linkages across government and the wider primary sector. Mr Wills has shown tremendous commitment to ApiNZ and his ability to demonstrate his independence has been appreciated by the board. Already in his role as chair he helped to recruit a new full-time chief executive for the organisation. Mr Wills has a long and varied background in the primary sector. As well as his new role, Mr Wills sits on two National Science Challenge Boards and is a director of Horticulture NZ, QEII National Trust and Ravensdown. He chairs the NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust and MPI’s Deer Primary Growth Partnership. He is an experienced company director and a past representative of New Zealand and international farming and trade forums. He is a past Federated Farmers president and currently farms in the Hawke’s Bay. He has been appointed for a three-year term from November 2016.

Source Ministry for Primary Industries. (2016, December). Situation and outlook for primary industries. Retrieved January 11, 2017, from https://www.mpi.govt.nz/about-mpi/corporate-publications/

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Natasha Thyne, Apiculture New Zealand Management Team BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL BUSINESS

Three months on from the 7.8-magnitude Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November 2016, we report on its ongoing effect on the apiculture industry.

Damaged beehives, bee losses, and difficulty accessing isolated sites are just some of the challenges Upper South Island beekeepers have faced since the November 2016 earthquake. However, the beekeeping community has rallied together to help each other out after the traumatic event. Duncan Storrier from Midlands Apiaries said the nature of the slips in the area meant beekeepers could not reach their sites in Kaikoura and in Clarence, north of Kaikoura. Midlands reached out to their honey suppliers in the worst affected areas. They were able to confirm the people were personally unharmed but had suffered damage to their beekeeping equipment and facilities. A plan was hatched to take a few beekeepers in the Midlands helicopter to the most isolated sites. But there was more to the mission than just checking hives. “Once we’d landed in Kaikoura, we unloaded the pods and luggage compartment of all the nappies and infant formula that we had carried up for the local Plunket.”

Help arrives to an apiary at the top of the Clarence River.

Midlands’ beekeepers were deployed to Waiau to assist some of its other suppliers with road access to stand up their hives. “An interesting change for our team who are used to working on the flat Canterbury Plains,” Mr Storrier said. Daniel Milne of Wild Rose Apiaries was unable to access two-thirds of his sites because of road closures. He was one of the beekeepers taken up in the helicopter. Around 40 per cent of his hives had been tipped over. “Only a handful of hives actually died; however, lots lost strength or the queens were squashed.” Directly after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Mr Milne, who lives in Kaikoura, said his main priority was making sure he and his family were safe. It wasn’t until the next morning his focus went to his hives, most importantly tending to those in the town and around houses. He said it took around seven days to get all the hives stood back up. After two weeks, it was back to daily beekeeping jobs.

From there, the group visited as many of the most isolated sites as they could. “The power of Mother Nature is staggering. We had whole pallets of four hives tipped over and boxes many metres from the hives. There was just no real pattern to it; you’d see total destruction, then fly over the next spot that had no damage.”

Approaching Kaikoura from the north on the way home. Photos this page: Duncan Storrier.

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“Everything is taking so much longer because of the roads. We couldn’t take vehicles certain places and it now takes up to 10 or 11 hours to drive to certain sites, which before would have taken half an hour.” He anticipated it would take up to 12 months before everything would be back to normal. “But we are resourceful people and we will do what we have to do to carry on with business. Unfortunately, it is the weather which is now being more disruptive than anything.” He said fellow beekeepers had been a major help during this time. Without even asking, there were offers of assistance and a generous gesture from Ecrotek to replace broken frames. Bruce McCusker of Clarence River Harvest Limited said all the beekeepers in the area had come together during the crisis. “It has been quite traumatic and has affected a lot of people. But through it all there has been team work and support from the different companies, some of whom are usually in competition.”

Above: A cloud of bees waiting to be re-homed.

Below: Some much-needed supplies were transported by helicopter. Photos: Duncan Storrier.

BEECONOMICS There are 1500 beekeepers in the Blenheim and Canterbury regions with over 124,000 hives in total. The economic value of both the pollination potential and honey and bee products for these regions is estimated by industry to be just over $155 million per annum. The hives not only provide honey and bee products. Honey bees also play a critical role in pollinating pastoral clover for nitrogen regeneration, specialised small seed crops, berry, stonefruit and pipfruit orchards. Apiculture New Zealand Chief Executive Karin Kos said it had been encouraging to see offers of help come in from its members across New Zealand, as well as from wider industry partners and the Government.

Above and at right: Daniel Milne’s hives, including “a group of 40 with every hive knocked over. Some had moved two or more metres. Not even the straps held them together.” At right: damage to Daniel’s honey shed. Photos: Daniel Milne.

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NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

GIANT WILLOW APHID RESEARCH KICKS OFF PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL Barry Foster, Project Chairman The giant willow aphid (GWA) control team had its first meeting at Scion in Rotorua on 21 November 2016. The team comprises representatives from Scion, Plant & Food Research, The New Zealand Poplar &Willow Research Trust, Zespri, Apiculture New Zealand and the Regional Councils River Managers group.

This meeting marked the start of the project in that all contracts have now been completed and signed. It is an ambitious project that presents many unknowns and will run until 2019. The scope of the project is broad to ensure that it progresses its three most important elements: 1) biological control, 2) willow resistance and 3) short-term mitigation strategies. Funding The budget for funding this programme is tight and we are grateful to receive co-funding from a wide range of sources including various ApiNZ Hubs and beekeeping businesses, as well as co-funding from MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund. As always, we could do more with more co-funding and any future co- funding will be gratefully received. Progress to date Scion and Plant & Food Research have undertaken some initial work to find a potential candidate parasitoid wasp. They also are evaluating willow cultivars to determine those most resistant to GWA and to quantify the impact of GWA infestations on willow health and survival. Short-term mitigation is being looked at as well for the continued health of horticulture and amenity willows. Several steps will need to fall into place in order to successfully import a new organism for testing as a biological control agent. The organism needs to be located, correctly identified by a taxonomic expert, approved for import by both the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and MPI and successfully transported to New Zealand. Finally, the right conditions must be met in order to develop a perpetuating colony here in containment. Last August and October, scientists from Scion travelled to Japan and California to locate a specific known parasitoid of giant willow

Left to right: Dr John McLean and Barry Foster, Dr Stephanie Sopow (Scion) and Dr Trevor Jones (Plant & Food Research), taken at Scion’s laboratory in November 2016. Stephanie is holding a box containing samples of Pauesia salignae and a hyperparasitoid that were collected in Japan in August. Photo provided by Scion. An application to the EPA to import this

parasitoid in containment will be made this year. If successful, the first imports into containment could be made by October. Prior to that time, we will attempt to match the candidate parasitoid with the genetics of our aphids to best match parasitoid and host and, if possible, to find out where our GWA came from. Following an importation of a parasitoid in containment, there will be approximately two years of evaluation with regard to its efficacy against GWA, any impacts on the local ecology, and consultation with stakeholders including iwi. We will provide further updates as this project progresses. A website is planned, as well as presentations and consultations at forthcoming ApiNZ conferences.

Pauesia salignae, a GWA parasitoid. Photo: Barry Foster.

aphid known as Pauesia salignae , as shown in the photo above.

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NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

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MYRTLE RUST: BEING PREPARED PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL

Karin Kos and Barry Foster

In December 2016, Karin Kos and Barry Foster from Apiculture New Zealand, along with Government, iwi and research organisations, attended a myrtle rust workshop in Wellington organised by the Biosecurity team of the Ministry for Primary Industries. Following is a summary of the workshop and next steps.

Figure 2. Yellow and purple pustules.

In Queensland alone, there has been a 66 percent dieback on affected trees, as well as loss of species that is likely to lead to extinction of some species, with cascading effects on invertebrates, birds and other links in the food chain dependent upon them. Although the impact of myrtle rust on the bee population has not been researched in Australia, there is an impact on pollination interruption. Bob Makinson, a conservation biologist from New South Wales, highlighted some of the issues Australia faced including lack of a coordinated approach, with each State doing its own thing, and not being prepared early enough. The key lessons shared by the Australians included this lack of a coordinated response, the need for a botanically literate workforce for surveillance, and more studies on all impacts, including the economic and environmental impacts of this fungal pest.

Myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii) is an invasive rust that infects plants belonging to the family Myrtaceae—including eucalypts, paperbarks, bottlebrush, tea tree and lilly pilly. It is native to South America and has spread to Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, the USA (Florida, California and Hawaii), Japan, China, Australia and South Africa. The disease is spread rapidly through the movement of infected plant material, wind and water, insects and birds and human-assisted dispersal through transfer of clothing, other equipment and machinery. It starts off as small purple spots and transforms into yellow spores, having a devastating effect on the whole plant from its leaves, fruits and stem. While myrtle rust has not been detected in New Zealand, the aim of the workshop was to look at our preparedness and consider an action plan, as well as building on the science, filling the gaps in the research.

Learning from Australia’s experience Australian speakers at the workshop shared their experience of myrtle rust, which was first detected in Australia in April 2010 and has now spread along the east coast from Queensland to Tasmania. Geoff Pegg from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Queensland, said that the lemon myrtle industry suffered an 80 percent loss of production, plus the loss of organic status with fungicide residues binding to oils from lemon myrtle.

continued...

Figure 1. Images of myrtle rust infection on Australian plants. The disease starts as small purple spots and then produces yellow pustules on leaves. While not detected in New Zealand, if this type of spore is seen, do not remove the plant as the spores are very light. Take a photo and send the image to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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Why should New Zealand care? Much of New Zealand’s climate, particularly in the North Island, is suitable for myrtle rust. Its spores are airborne and can last for 90 days, and while susceptibility of the species changes in each country, it makes sense to start looking at our contingency plans and preparedness for this invasive pest. Additionally, and critically, a number of our key species (such as mānuka and pōhutukawa) belong to the Myrtaceae family. Iwi speakers at the workshop talked about the importance of these species as taonga and the need to engage with iwi in supporting biosecurity solutions, including ongoing surveillance. Next steps In opening the discussion on what action New Zealand needed to take, MPI’s Rebecca Martin talked about the need for New Zealand to get an action plan in place now, looking at adaptive management options for this disease and developing a communications approach that would see the wider public involved in surveillance. Another step was to start registering appropriate fungicide treatments for myrtle rust. The workshop attendees also discussed initiatives such as getting baseline information on susceptible plants, precautionary seed banking, establishing a long-term repository for data and observations, and collaborating in our research efforts both in New Zealand and internationally. The two-day workshop provided a valuable insight into the myrtle rust fungal pest and importantly, set up next steps, including a working group to get an action plan under way and start building on our knowledge to fill the research gaps. Apiculture New Zealand will play a role in that work and will keep its members updated on progress. Image sources Figure 1: https://invasives.org.au/wp- content/uploads/2014/02/myrtle-rust.jpg Figure 2 (also pictured on this page): Myrtle rust on Geraldton wax leaf tips, taken by John Tann from Sydney, Australia. Retrieved January 11, 2017 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Myrtle_rust_on_Geraldton_Wax_leaf_ tips_(8593947727).jpg

COMMENTS FROM FRANK LINDSAY

Rust spores flourish under ultraviolet light, and can resemble pollen. Californian beekeeper Randy Oliver has found that honey bees can mistakenly collect spores and pack them in and around the brood nest late in the season, but as it’s not pollen, the bees can’t use it. Apart from spreading in the air and by human traffic, our honey bees could be a vector for spreading rust spores. Imagine the effect it could have on our beekeeping if rust spores were to get into a mānuka area: no hive movements?

That being said, beekeepers are still producing jelly bush honey in northern New South Wales river systems, so it can’t be having too much effect on leptospermum species at the moment (but it is on other eucalyptus species).

LAND USE AGREEMENTS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Apiculture New Zealand has developed two Land Use Agreements that will be available to members at a significantly discounted price.

The two land use contracts now available for purchase from the ApiNZ website are: • Apiary Land Use Agreement – Land Owner/Beekeeper Profit Share: For those beekeepers offering a crop share arrangement. • Apiary Land Use Agreement – Site Rental: For those beekeepers paying a set apiary site rental or per hive rate to the land owner.

The agreements will be $195 +GST for ApiNZ members and $455 +GST for non-members.

These can be found on the ApiNZ website here: http://apinz.org.nz/land-use-agreement/

The agreements will be personalised to the purchaser, so on application you will need to answer some questions which will be added to your document. Once payment is received this document will be sent to you via e-mail. If you have any questions, please contact the ApiNZ Management Team on 04 471 6254 (Monday to Friday 8.30–5.30) or e-mail info@apinz.org.nz.

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Dr Ronny Groenteman, Biocontrol Scientist Landcare Research/Manaaki Whenua, Lincoln E-mail: groentemanr@landcareresearch.co.nz WASP BIOCONTROL UPDATE PEST AND DISEASE CONTROL

Bob Brown returned from the UK with chilly bins full of wasp combs, and excitement is building up.

Morgan Coleman and Bob Brown about to set off on a three-hour wasp collecting tour on small islands. Photo: Morgan Coleman.

Early in September 2016, Bob left for the United Kingdom, tasked with the mission to collect new genetic stock of the parasitic wasp Specophaga vesparum from the same geographic range our common wasps come from. Soon after landing he was able to locate a good number of nests, and the idea was for him to come back to dig these nests up when he was later joined by Morgan Coleman, a wasp- skilled field assistant. When Morgan arrived and the two returned to the nests Bob had pre-marked, they were astonished to discover someone had beaten them to many of the nests—badgers! It turns out these mustelids are pretty effective nest excavators. (Maybe we can domesticate one as a field assistant?, says Bob with hope). Other adventures included rowing out to small islands infested with wasps at the National Trust-managed Petworth House and Park, removing a European hornet (Vespa crabro) nest from a bird house in the New Forest, excavating nests very near to a ‘house’ surrounded by a moat called Oxburgh Hall (another National Trust site), and waiting for a break in traffic at a crosswalk in full wasp suit carrying two boxes of nests at Morden Hall Park. While we are very grateful to the National Trust for enthusiastically locating nests for us to survey, there was some hesitation before each excavation because of our concern that we may inadvertently damage some unknown archaeological treasure that no one had warned us about. Nevertheless, the two were able to dig out a good number of nests, and found plenty of reasons to be optimistic about what the future holds for wasp biocontrol. Aside from Sphecophaga , they found larvae of the hoverfly Volucella inanis, the beetle Metoecus paradoxus, and mites that look incredibly similar to the recently described Pneumolaelaps niutirani. We still have to run a DNA test to find out if they are the same thing. So, while this trip was about importing Sphecophaga, Bob has a good head start for the next project if the new Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) application turns out to be successful.

Bob successfully crossing a road in London without dropping the wasp nests! Photo: Morgan Coleman.

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Next steps Back in New Zealand, the wasp combs Bob brought back are now housed in the insect containment facility at Landcare Research in Lincoln, and a good proportion of cells appear to be parasitised with Sphecophaga. Some combs are visibly made out of queen cells, and it is possible to get a bounty of two Sphecophaga out of each queen cells. Once

the parasitoids start emerging, a proportion will get sacrificed for disease testing—we want to make sure we release a healthy culture into the wild. Pending disease- freedom, releases will begin in January, with Banks Peninsula in mind as targets for early release site, to enable a close watch and easy collection for later redistribution.

In addition, semi-wild wasp nests will be set up on the Landcare Research campus to mass-rear Sphecophaga. Parasitised wasp pupae from this mass rearing will be distributed later on to more release sites. All working to plan, we hope to be able to make five to six releases of 50–100 individuals in each in the first instance. In the meantime, you can enjoy the little photo gallery below and watch videos Bob filmed while in the UK:

Volucella larva on a mission to find brood cells in a common wasp comb: https://youtu.be/ n2H78L8VrnI Bob removing a nest inside a tree: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=IXhx2tBGnDg

All extremely exciting—didn’t we say so?

Source Wasp biocontrol update no.8, e-mailed 26 October 2016.

Late instar larvae of the parasitic hoverfly, Volucella inanis, looking for a place to hide from the light. Photo: Bob Brown.

Wasp comb showing heavy parasitism (reddish brown cells). All cells originally had queen brood before parasitism. Photo: Bob Brown.

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ACTIVE BEE CULTURE Chatham Island beekeepers Mana Cracknell and Michele Andersen comment on current conditions and bee strains present on Chatham Island, share a homemade cold and flu recipe, and give us their take on the great Australasian mānuka honey debate. Mana Cracknell and Michele Andersen FROM THE CHATHAMS

November and December were challenging months for us. As we write this in early January 2017, we predict that this month will bring more of the same. In November and December we dealt with four swarms. Initially one of these refused to cooperate. Three times we had it safely transferred into a hive and moved, but it rejected our offer of free food and lodgings. It swarmed again, finding a tree and branch to cluster on that was higher above the ground each time. We would have had to borrow the fire brigade ladder if things continued, so we decided to put a bait hive in an old broken-down shed that was near the tree. It was an offer the swarm could not refuse when the rains came and the winds blew them back to good sense. They did have a determined swarm queen—a laying machine.

As we said in our December 2016 article, nectar hives have already been set up in the main to forage the clover honey flow that began near the end of November and will extend into March 2017, weather permitting. From a farmer’s perspective, white clover is a cost-effective, readily available form of protein for stock. Clover coverage on the island has increased noticeably over the last four years. Regular rainfall and bees have assisted this process. This year we had planned to place research hives in several isolated stands of tarahinau ( Dracophyllum arboreum and Dracophyllum scoparium , also known as swamp heath). That process is under way—what will be, will be! Breeding and some history on bee strains Apart from shipping overwintered and new-season queens off the island, we have been raising and replacing queens for local beekeepers, helping new entrants set up first hives and updating our red and green queens (bred 2013–2014) with white queens (bred in 2016). Most of the queens bred in 2016 were of Italian Ligurian-type stock, introduced to New Zealand and Australia in 1880. These are normal-sized Italian queens (north of Sicily) that fit into standard queen cages. We are now into breeding yellow marked queens and 50% of these will be inseminated. The 2017 batch of queens will mostly be of Italian Cordovan-type stock (recessive gene). These are giants that have difficulty fitting into standard queen cages—we use roller cages. In one part of the island, our mainstay Italian and Carnican genetics (from Carnicans introduced in 2008) are coming under pressure from feral black British stock (introduced in 1839–1840), mixed with some left over feral Carnican stock (red-brown and black) brought to the island by Micky Lewis (1960s–1970s). Apparently, he had them in a bag in the plane and they got out. There was a cabin insert in the plane. According to one

report from a suspect source, all the other passengers except for Micky bolted up the other end of the plane to protect their whisky from the bees. Living and operating as beekeepers in this isolated context, we are often reminded that we do not know which sailing ships came to the island after Lt Broughton on HMS Chatham visited in 1791. We don’t know where they came from or whether some ships carried bees here as part of their general cargo; that is, until visibly different bee stock begins to appear in our outlying naturally mated hives. We use these hives to capture DNA from local feral bee populations. What we do know is that Chatham Island (rather than mainland New Zealand) was the main roundabout for whaling and sealing in the Southern Ocean and vessels calling here came from all parts of the globe. The Chathams were a trading hub for New Zealand. For instance, early settlers in Canterbury often elected to do their shopping on the Chathams. Currently we are attempting to understand what appears to be LUS-type bee strain behaviour that can only have come from the Cape (South Africa). It is the third hive of this type that we have seen during the last three years. This hive is unstable with the resident bee population often in conflict with itself (some laying, others eating the eggs), perhaps because of the absence of a strong directive queen pheromone and/or signalling conflicts within the hive. The LUS worker bee may have well-developed ovaries and produce viable worker bee eggs, including drone eggs. Some worker bee eggs may be raised as queens, which may exit the hive to mate but have trouble navigating back to the hive or re-entering it. Two weeks ago, a virgin queen sent into this hive was immediately attacked and killed by the workers.

Tarahinau flowers. Photo: Michele Andersen.

continued...

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NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

The two local shops and hospital were closed except for emergencies, so we decided to make some ‘Harakeke Lem-Orange Sip’ using our own recipe: 1 spoon of crushed 1000mg vitamin C tablet (or 1 squeezed orange) 1 cap full of cider vinegar

In other respects, the bees are very calm and function normally in terms of pollen, beebread and honey foraging. The LUS effect is something that is in all honeybees to a greater or lesser extent. It is just that managed hives tend to obviate the effect. We have worked out how to switch the LUS effect on and off so we can study it for brief periods to identify the gains for New Zealand beekeeping. The LUS bee is quite small, and is known to have advanced mite resistance. Christmas cheer of various sorts Fortunately, the island has of late received more rain than petrol. Consequently, most of the petrol vehicles and dive boats are parked up waiting for a happier new year after the ship (ocean sleigh) broke down and Santa failed to deliver petrol and frozen goods, ice cream, etc., to the island for Christmas. Fortunately also, copious amounts of liquid refreshment got through; otherwise, the bees and us would have had to consume water. In our busy bee schedule, we cooked and packed our food, phoned up and invited ourselves to Christmas with some elderly friends at the other end of the island. One was recovering from a shoulder operation so she only had one good arm, and he had broken his arm in the last two weeks, so it was arm-in-arm and checkmate. It was a great Christmas shared with friends, and this couple have given the island and us every practical support and encouragement with beekeeping. Harakeke ‘Lem-Orange Sip’ recipe It was great to see the Trees for Bees article on harakeke pollen and honey in the December 2016 journal. Over Christmas we both caught chest colds (imported from Christchurch).

1 teaspoon of harakeke honey 1 crushed paracetamol tablet 4 drops of lemon juice ½ cup boiled water

Raw harakeke honey has a very fine grain, and tends to remain semi-soft. In mum’s repertoire, harakeke nectar and/or boiled root juice was used for throat, sinus and stomach- related illnesses. The harakeke nectar is called wai hakeke (also wai harakeke or ngongo). Actually, ngongo is the word for a tube used to access the harakeke nectar. Ngo is a word for nostril, nguru or nguoro is the word for nose flute and ngongoro is the word for snore. In beekeeping, ngongo is also a word one might use for proboscis. The stalk (korari) of the harakeke plant was used as a drip or sucking filter for water purification. It was fitted into the neck of the drinking gourd. The bees like drinking water from harakeke stalks floating in water. The stalks need regular cleaning and replacement. If necessary, tie the stalks together with flax so the bundle stands up. Jelly bush vs mānuka A swagger camped out with Waltzing Matilda down by the billabong has made claim that Australia could soon match ‘Manika-NZ’ in ‘manika’ honey - in both quality and output volume. (‘Manika’ being the Australian pronunciation for mānuka). Many Kiwis

Kahikatoa seeds. Photo: Michele Andersen.

rightly assert that mānuka honey can only come from the Mānuka-NZ. To re-quote a Muldoonism for readers over 65, “the kiwi gen (general knowledge) is that about 6% of mānuka honey harvested on the Mānuka- New Zealand continent is of very high-quality intelligence and medical grade. The same cannot be said or claimed for our frenz’z jelly bush across the Tazmin”. To put this impending ‘mānuka–jelly bush’ stoush in perspective, we thought we would share with fellow beekeepers from mainland Mānuka-NZ this photo of a seed-laden kahikatoa plant from our selective Mānuka-NZ breeding and research programme. The sheer intelligence and medical grade of this kahikatoa plant should retain the quality balance in Mānuka-NZ’s favour by a further 94%. It would be our view that the Australian swagger should leave the Mānuka-NZ brand name alone and stick to his Australian ‘Jelly Bush’. Planning a visit? If beekeepers are coming to the island, please let us know by e-mailing us at mandersen@ xtra.co.nz

... without the hard work into MONEY HONEY Turning

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8 Reasons the RevBee Honey Harvester is a Winner • Eliminates heavy lifting – you carry only a lightweight honey

harvester and pail. No need to remove and transport honey boxes. • Select frame harvesting – hand- pick quality honey frames and bank it. • Healthier hives – no honey boxes waiting to be processed and open to dirt and disease. • Remote locations are now accessible – set up hives in places that were previously too hard to manage. • Cheaper outlay – only one honey box is needed as it can be harvested multiple times. Run more hives at less cost. • Fast and convenient – no more booking or waiting in line. Your honey is collected from your door at RevBee’s expense. • Competitive honey prices and great cash flow – you receive prompt payment for your honey. • MPI certified – with RMP in place. Previously my boxes would sit for up to 2 weeks before getting spun out and that’s time when dirt and disease gets in. There’s none of that with this system – I harvest the honey directly into a food grade box, put the lid on and that’s done. Luke (Commercial) The machine is simple and lightweight. You can keep the hives to 2 boxes high so I’m working at an easy level. You’re just taking honey, not transporting heavy boxes and frames. And by harvesting directly into a bucket, you can see exactly what volumes are being produced from that hive. Mark (Large Commercial) Turn your honey into money! If you have 50 hives or more, please get in touch with Grant or Kim Engel to receive your free supplier information pack and join the RevBee revolution. This is my second year using it and I don’t think you can beat it. It’s quick, cost effective, and allows you to set up hives in locations that otherwise you wouldn’t bother going. It’s just too easy. Luke (Commercial) I can handpick frames to harvest so I control the quality of the honey – especially when Manuka is flowering. Stephen (Large Commercial)

The 4 Step RevBee Supplier System 1 Sign up as a RevBee supplier and start harvesting your honey with the mobile honey harvester. 2 Phone the RevBee team to arrange collection of your honey. 3 RevBee will collect your honey right from your doorstep at their expense . 4 Receive your payment – they do the rest!

Find out more and watch a demonstration of the mobile honey harvester in action at www.revolutionarybeekeeping.co.nz

Revolutionary Beekeeping Kerikeri info@revbee.co.nz 09 407 9923 • 027 749 9344

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NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

HEALTH AND SAFETY

APICULTURE HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAMME FORMED Apiculture New Zealand is proud to have formed a partnership with OnFarmSafety New Zealand to provide essential Health and Safety programmes for its members.

ABOUT ONFARMSAFETY OnFarmSafety New Zealand is a nationwide company which specialises in helping business owners to take control of their health and safety needs, and implement individualised workable risk management procedures that look after everyone. They support businesses to take ownership of, customise, and implement their health and safety programme. Module 2: Beekeeping Member price: $200 | Non-member price: $325 This module provides safe operating procedures when working with your bees and hives, including transporting hives, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and a Master Hazard List. Module 3: Honey Processing Member price: $200 | Non-member price: $325 This module provides safe operating procedures for your honey extraction process, and a Master Hazard List. Module 1: On Farm/Hive Site Member price: $200 | Non-member price: $325 This module provides systems relating to Health and Safety in the management and operation of your hive sites, including landowner-related documents, safe working procedures and a Master Hazard List.

The Health and Safety documents can be ordered via the ApiNZ website’s online shop at significantly discounted prices to members. The core Health and Safety programme covers your Policies, Code of Conduct, Employment, Hazard and Risk management, Hazardous Substances, Vehicles, Business Training, Emergency Procedures, Accidents and templates that you can use. Through business support OnFarmSafety New Zealand can work with all members to help develop their Health and Safety policies and rules so that understanding and communication is clear and defined from the owners, management, workers, and any other person who enters your workplace. This programme will be customised to reflect your business by adding your business name, details and logo. When purchasing the documents, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire with these details for OnFarmSafety New Zealand.

Apiculture Health and Safety Programme Member price: $450 | Non-member price: $750 This is the core Health and Safety programme providing an effective Health and Safety operating system for your business that covers the key components to become compliant once implemented and continuously maintained. Additional modules are available to assist you to focus more on various health and safety issues with their business.

For more information or to purchase your Health and Safety Programme visit the Apiculture NZ website – www.apinz.org.nz or phone (04) 471 6254.

22

NEW ZEALAND BEEKEEPER, FEBRUARY 2017

Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies (NZ) Ltd 09 274 7236 (Auckland) | Fax 09 274 0368 24 Andromeda Crescent, East Tamaki, Auckland PO Box 204184, Highbrook, Auckland 2161

Vita-Europe’s “One-Two” Punch For Varroa Control: Apistan and Apiguard Apistan used in rotation with the thymol based Apiguard almost guarantees you will not develop mite resistance in your hives When to use Apistan and Apiguard? Apistan can be used at any time of year, with best results when applied during a build up of brood prior to the honey flow, or after the honey flow.

Apiguard is best used when the weather is warm and consistently over 15ºC so not early in the spring. Place the trays or spread some gel on the cards provided and place on the top of the brood box frames as per the instructions on the packet, with room for the bees to get at the material. The concentrated natural ingredient encourages the bees to try and move the product out of the hive. This distributes the vapours of the thymol based Apiguard throughout the hive killing up to 97% of varroa mites.

Safety? When used according to the instructions, Apistan is unlikely to leave any residues in the honey. (If someone says otherwise they are either fools or deliberately trying to mislead you.) Apistan in the measured dosage strips and inserted into the hive as per the instructions is harmless to humans and honeybees. Apiguard , being a natural product derived from thyme is non-toxic to humans and does not affect honey or wax. It is approved in Europe as a varroa treatment for hives in organic honey production. Assurance? Apistan and Apiguard are flagship products of Vita-Europe, the world’s largest dedicated honeybee health company . Ceracell is pleased to be the selected Authorised New Zealand Distributor for Vita-Europe products and a proud member of Vita-Europe’s international team of ethical distributors. A good rotation plan is to use Apistan in the autumn or early spring and Apiguard in the late spring/early summer just prior to the honey flow, or immediately after you take off the honey. This keeps the bees busy removing the gel and will minimise robbing behaviour In ten to fourteen days, check the hive and add another tray or more gel. This will complete the treatment. If you want to be sure to cover two full worker brood cycles, treat again in fourteen days. Use the full recommended dosage each time. Don’t skimp - your bees and hives and honey crop are too valuable to try and save a dollar or two on an incorrect treatment.

AFB Diagnostic Test Kit

The Vita Europe American Foulbrood (AFB) Diagnostic Test Kit is an effective, efficient, in-the-field tool to confirm the presence of the disease. This single use kit is just like a pregnancy test kit, one line in the window tells you the test is working. Two lines means you have AFB. Inform Asure Quality, get a fire permit and burn the hive to stop the disease from spreading. AFB can be eliminated from NZ if it is identified and those infected hives are burnt. But you don’t want to burn false positives. Keep an AFB test kit handy every time you visit your apiaries. Save time and hassles.

Don’t Be a Sergeant Schultz!

For more information and videos demonstrating how to use their products visit Vita-Europe’s website, www.vita-europe.com

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