New Zealand BeeKeeper - November 2016

NOVEMBER 2016 | VOLUME 24 No. 10

New ApiNZ CEO appointed ApiNZ Management Team

Small hive beetle Byron Taylor Trees for Bees Star Performers Linda Newstrom-Lloyd and Angus McPherson Preparing for the flow Frank Lindsay



HONEY is our HERITAGE , yet we do SO MUCH MORE …





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Varroa control research: brief update


Apiculture New Zealand appoints chief executive


Teucrium fruticans: a hedge plant attractive to bees

EPA’s new voice



Appointments made to the Standards, Compliance and Regulation Focus Group

Chatham Island skepping



A Million Dollar Nose?


Police need industry’s help


News from the Deep South


Obituary: Stanley Stewart McAuslan


Wanganui club goes all out for BAM


Small hive beetle: an overview and differential diagnosis


From the colonies


MPI reminds beekeepers of listing requirements


Preparing for the flow and extracting honey


Star performers part 1: introduction to the series and pipfruits







Front cover: Foraging a Teucrium fruticans flower. The shrub offers a hedging option that is attractive to bees. See photo essay on page 21. Photo: Paul Burgess.

EDITORIAL/PUBLICATION (excluding advertising): Nancy Fithian 8A Awa Road, Miramar, Wellington 6022 Mobile: 027 238 2915 Fax: 04 380 7197 Email: ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Certa Solutions, PO Box 2494, Dunedin 9044. Phone: 0800 404 515 Email: PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE: Frank Lindsay 26 Cunliffe Street, Johnsonville, Email: 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 committee. The content of articles 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:

does not 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: Ph: 04 566 0773 American Foulbrood Management Plan

MANAGEMENT TEAM: Chief Executive Officer Karin Kos Email: Secretary Email: Accounts and Subscriptions Pauline Downie Email: PO Box 10792, Wellington 6143 Ph: 04 471 6254 APICULTURE NZ BOARD REPRESENTATIVES: Dennis Crowley

AsureQuality Limited Phone: 0508 00 11 22 EXOTIC DISEASE AND PEST EMERGENCY HOTLINE 0800 80 99 66

Barry Foster Stuart Fraser Sean Goodwin John Hartnell Ricki Leahy

Pollinator Incident Reporting Form: Pollinator_incident_reporting_form_2014. docx

Peter Luxton Russell Marsh Paul Martin Bruce Wills (Acting Chair)




The Board of Apiculture New Zealand has appointed Karin Kos as its chief executive, effective from late November 2016.

Karin has a strong background in business communications going back 20 years, covering a variety of roles including senior communications and marketing positions for corporate, government and primary sector organisations. As a result, she brings significant primary sector experience to this role, having worked at Seafood New Zealand as its Communications Manager, and at the New Zealand Wool Board, earlier in her career. In both these roles Karin played a strong advocacy role, promoting these sectors on behalf of their members. “These roles have given me great insight into the value of having a strong industry body, one that can demonstrate the

benefits it brings to our economy and our communities, raise its profile in the process, and deliver real value to its members. “As chief executive I look forward to getting to know the people that work in this industry, to understanding what matters to them and giving them a voice where it counts.” Karin said New Zealand’s apiculture industry was a vital part of the country’s primary production with significant growth potential. “Apiculture New Zealand has a great opportunity to build its credibility and reputation as the peak body and voice for this exciting industry, and it will be both a challenge and a privilege to lead that.”

Jacqueline Rowarth. Photo supplied by EPA.

EPA’S NEW VOICE IN THE NEWS Abridged EPA media release, 9 August 2016 The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has announced the appointment of Dr Jacqueline Rowarth to the new role of Chief Scientist, helping New Zealanders understand the science behind EPA decisions. Dr Rowarth took up this position at the end of October. The EPA’s Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says Professor Rowarth has a depth and breadth of experience that covers agricultural science, environment and agribusiness. “She has long been an advocate for using accurate science and data to make good decisions to manage New Zealand’s natural resources. “At the EPA we’re really proud of the work that we do, and the robust scientific assessments that support our decisions. “As Chief Scientist, Jacqueline Rowarth will be in a position to use her expertise to explain our science, so people can have trust and confidence in the decisions we make.”



APICULTURE NEW ZEALAND APPOINTMENTS MADE TO THE STANDARDS, COMPLIANCE AND REGULATION FOCUS GROUP Apiculture New Zealand Management Team Appointments to the Apiculture New Zealand Standards, Compliance and Regulation Focus Group have been made. Chairman of the group will be Tony Wright. Tony was a member of the Bee Products Standards Council (BPSC) and is General Manager Technical at Comvita. A representative from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will also sit on the focus group. The Standards, Compliance and Regulation Focus Group will have a similar purpose to the BPSC as the representative that liaises with industry and government on standards relating to the apiculture industry. It will provide leadership, analysis and advice that contributes to the development of cost-effective sustainable standards and risk- mitigating strategies that achieve best practice in risk management and consumer protection. It will work with MPI to establish food safety and other technical standards, as well as protocols that are necessary for bee products. It will ensure delivery of efficient and practical strategic direction, policy formulation and priority setting that meets the needs of the apiculture industry. The focus group will report to the Apiculture NZ Board. The rest of the group is: Peter Bray Pam Flack Ricki Leahy John Hartnell Darren Clifford John Rawcliffe Chris Bowman Young Mee Yoon

POLICE NEED INDUSTRY’S HELP APICULTURE NEW ZEALAND New Zealand Police and Stuart Fraser, ApiNZ Board Member Recent growth in the numbers of beekeepers and hives in New Zealand’s apiculture industry, as well as the value created from the range of products from bees, has bought with it an unwanted increase in criminal activity. The obvious opportunity is hive theft.

While NZ Police are prepared and organised to work with a range of industry players to ensure this is dealt with efficiently and effectively, they need all of industry’s help to get on top of this situation. Nearly 200 reported occurrences of honey or beehive theft have occurred from July 2015 to June 2016. Combining reported honey and beehive thefts in the past 12 months, Auckland City, Central district and Northland have had the most issues. Beehive thefts alone in the central North Island have more than doubled this year, surpassing the number of reported thefts in Northland, which remains high. NZ Police are working with a number of partner agencies, such as Apiculture NZ and the Ministry of Primary Industries, to reduce the occurrence of beehive and honey thefts. This includes improvement on the intelligence held on beehives, honey and those stealing them, as well as improving investigative methods used when such occurrences do happen. A national database is being developed to improve information gathering. Similar databases exist now in specific areas. Police are concerned that under- reporting of the issue is preventing a full understanding of the scale of the issue and gathering intelligence on it. Reducing beehive thefts requires help from those within the industry and members of the public. Movement of small numbers of hives by unfamiliar or unmarked vehicles should be reported to *555 with a note of the type of vehicle, the registration number, location and direction of travel. A description of the beehives, including colour and numbers, is also helpful.

Photo supplied by New Zealand Police.

SAFETY SUGGESTIONS Police have a number of suggestions for apiarists to help ensure the safety of their hives: •where possible, keep hives in paddocks away from public view • consider using pressure pads, tracking devices, and outdoor surveillance cameras • engrave or fire-brand registration numbers into the hive and top of frames

The new group’s first meeting will be in November.

• report movement of hives to *555.



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Jane McAuslan

Following is an obituary for Stanley (Stan) McAuslan, written by his daughter. Stan was a well-known commercial beekeeper in the Central Otago area for many years and often worked as a highly regarded apiary inspector. Our condolences go to Stan’s family, along with our thanks to Jane McAuslan for writing Stan’s obituary and to Dr David Woodward, a family friend, for forwarding it for publication.

Photo supplied by Jane McAuslan.

Born in Balclutha on 27 August 1926, Stan was the sixth of seven children and the last surviving sibling. Stan attended Balclutha primary school and South Otago High School, where he was a school prefect and excelled in athletics. Stan was the athletics champion for a number of years. When he broke the record for the ‘hop, step and jump’ (the triple jump) he jumped right over the end of the pit and damaged his knee, thus putting paid to his athletics career. While at high school Stan owned a few beehives—his first interest in bees. Before full-time beekeeping, Stan was involved in many occupations including deer culling, fencing, shearing, working at Finegand freezing works and at Irvine’s skin store in Dunedin, where he met Nancy. He also attended teachers’ college and spent one year as a primary teacher in Nelson. Stan and Nancy married in 1952 and lived at Finegand, Balclutha, where Stan worked as a freezing worker. During this period a friend, Del Jenkins, lived with them. Del kept some beehives down the back of the section. Seeing Del work the bees just in shorts and boots rekindled Stan’s love of bees. Not long after, Nancy and Stan moved to Southland and spent 18 months working for a commercial apiarist. In 1961 they moved to Ophir, after purchasing two small apiaries, and the family lived in the police house. Stan’s honey house was the old Ophir courthouse (now a holiday home). Stan’s beekeeping operation covered the Manuherikia Valley, Matakanui, Drybread, St Bathans, Hawkdun Ranges, Ida Valley and Ophir. There were 1300 hives spread over a number of apiaries, the hives at each apiary being dependent on the amount of clover available for the bees. As the business expanded, a number of buildings were collected in Ophir—the old drapery, the old butcher’s shop, an old bus for the express use of ‘rearing queens’ or going on holidays. Neither the queen rearing, nor the use of the bus for holidays, ever happened! After seven years in Ophir, Nancy and Stan bought a house in Omakau and remained there for 25 years before moving to Alexandra. At this time Stan was not fully retired and commuted from Alexandra to his beekeeping stamping ground. With change in legislation in a number of industries, beekeeping did not escape and soon enough Stan found himself between a rock and a hard place, as the Historic Places Trust would not allow any alterations

to the courthouse and the Department of Health demanded that it be upgraded. In the end, a new honey house was built in Omakau and Stan operated from there until he retired in 1993. For many years Stan was employed as an apiary inspector—a worthy tribute to his skill and knowledge of bees and the industry. He attended many national beekeeper meetings throughout New Zealand and he and Nancy hosted numerous beekeeping field days. Stan often said that ‘beekeeping was made for him and he was made for beekeeping’. He loved the outdoors, being in all types of weather and the feeling of not being hemmed in. Stan is survived by his wife Nancy, two sons, Lee (a hobbyist beekeeper), Martin and daughter Jane. At 90, Stan was laid to rest at the Drybread cemetery, Omakau, near an old apiary site.



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The small hive beetle (SHB) is a small brown to black beetle approximately five to seven millimetres long and three millimetres wide. The larvae of the beetle look like lesser wax moth larvae; however, a trained eye will note spikes on the larvae. Additionally, the larvae are considerably hardier than wax moth larvae, with beekeepers commenting that they are hard to ‘squish’.

Life cycle Small hive beetles are highly attracted to beehives. Researchers have suggested that they can detect some hives via chemical signals from more than 10 kilometres away. Once in the hive, females will begin laying eggs in cavities away from the bees. Egg incubation time varies but is usually between two to four days. The larval stage is the most destructive. Larvae consume brood, pollen and honey and produce a slimy substance on the comb which acts as a repellent to the bees and renders any affected honey crop worthless. Pupation happens outside in the soil adjacent to the hive and is the stage during which the beetle is the most vulnerable. Larvae can sometimes be seen massing on the floorboard of the hive in preparation for pupation. Pupation takes anywhere from about eight to 60 days depending on temperature, soil moisture, soil structure, etc. On completion of this stage, adults emerge from the ground, ready to infest new colonies. Behaviour The small hive beetle is a strong flyer and can easily travel with a swarm to a new nesting site. However, when a hive is disturbed, SHB will run from the light looking for somewhere to hide rather than taking flight. Small hive beetles will also overwinter in the bee cluster, increasing the temperature range over which the beetle can survive. All parts of New Zealand have a suitable climate for SHB to become established. However, SHB will do better in the warmer areas. Contrary to the adults, larvae will move towards the light. They are a similar size to

Courtesy The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright

the lesser wax moth larvae but unlike the wax moth, which leaves webbing which many will be familiar with, SHB larvae leave slime on the comb. In terms of hive management, a key consideration is that weak colonies are susceptible to invasion by small hive beetle. becoming established in New Zealand, most beekeeping enterprises will need to reassess their management practices and make changes in order to minimise the impact of the pest. This includes both hive management and harvest/processing management. In terms of hive management, a key consideration is that weak colonies are susceptible to invasion by small hive beetle. Weak colonies are not necessarily those that have been managed poorly and may include: overwintering nucs, queen-raising operations, hives with high varroa levels, and hives suffering pollination damage (spray poisoning, hives under nets, etc). With harvest and processing management, one of the key considerations is that undefended combs are susceptible. This means that we may need to reconsider these factors: storage of harvested honey supers pre- and post-extraction, management of old combs, management of cappings wax, and general cleanliness around honey factories. Management In the event of the small hive beetle

Control measures will add expense in the form of additional visits to hives, pest traps, soil treatments, refrigeration for super storage and so on. For those involved with live bees, at the very least, this trade would be interrupted and depending on negotiations, possibly halted.

Spread of small hive beetle and introduction potential

The small hive beetle is a native of Sub-Saharan Africa but in the last 20 years has spread to many other parts of the world. It has been discovered in Florida (1998), Egypt (2000), Australia (New South Wales and Queenland (2002), Canada (Manitoba 2002; Quebec 2008), Portugal (2004), Jamaica (2005), Mexico (2007), Hawaii (2010), Malaysia (2011), Cuba (2012), El Salvador (2013), Philippines (2014), Italy (2014) and Brazil (2015).


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detection due to the fact that it can survive independently of beehives. The chance of an early detection is greatly increased via ‘passive’ surveillance, where all beekeepers are checking their hives for anything unusual. There are already a number of cases where beekeepers have acted when identifying an unusual beetle in their hives. Some of these cases are described below. Differential diagnosis New Zealand is home to a vast number of beetles, some of which have been found in beehives. These were found during beekeeper inspections and are good examples of our passive surveillance system. Two of the species submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) laboratory are from the genus Epuraea (E. zealandica & E. antarctica) , which are part of the Nitidulidae family. The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) also belongs to this family. Case 1: Staphylinidae Staphylinidae is the largest beetle family. They are long with relatively short wing cases. While it is unlikely that this would be confused with a small hive beetle, in this case, it was submitted along with a Saprinus detritus . The beetle pictured below was Creophilus oculatus but is commonly known as ‘The Devils Coachhorse’. They are found in decaying animal material. Case 2: Histeridae Histeridae occupy a wide range of niches including beehives. They have elbowed antennae with clubbed ends. This, along with

Given that small hive beetle is established along their eastern seaboard where much of the cargo originates, the relatively short distance between our two countries, as well as the volume of traffic, Australia is a major risk pathway for the introduction of this pest. Biosecurity system The biosecurity system is in place to protect New Zealand from exotic pests and diseases including small hive beetle. The system can be divided into three broad categories: pre- border activities, border activities, and post- border activities. Pre-border activities cover any requirements prior to freight arriving at the border. These requirements are often published as import health standards. A number of activities occur at the border. Those most applicable to halting the introduction of small hive beetle include inspection and fumigation activities. Post-border activities are those that occur after goods pass through the border and include activities such as the Apiculture Surveillance Programme. The remainder of this article will focus on post-border activities. Many will be aware of the components of the Apiculture Surveillance Programme, which surveys 350 high-risk apiaries each autumn for a variety of exotic honey bee pests and diseases including the small hive beetle. Additionally, 300 apiaries supplying bees for export are also sampled. This amounts to an inspection rate of around 1.5% of apiaries. While this provides a certain level of sensitivity, a successful eradication of small hive beetle is heavily dependent on early

As can be seen from the list on the previous page, small hive beetle is a very effective coloniser. There are several reasons for this success: Australia is a major risk pathway for the introduction of this pest. • they can survive for extended periods in a dead colony • they can survive eight to nine days without food • they could potentially be transported in soil (during pupation) • they can also complete their life cycle on some fruits. Because of this, passenger arrivals and freight are a risk. New Zealand is an island nation, which is a huge advantage from a biosecurity perspective. However, we are not cut off from the rest of the world: • over 21 million tonnes of cargo was imported into New Zealand to June 2016 (Statistics New Zealand) • there were almost six million passenger arrivals to June 2016 (Statistics New Zealand) • more than 35% of containers arrived from countries in which SHB is endemic. Of the cargo and passengers described above, a significant percentage comes from Australia. • they can travel with swarms




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Ministry for Primary Industries MPI REMINDS BEEKEEPERS OF LISTING REQUIREMENTS MPI The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would like to remind beekeepers of the new requirement that took effect on 25 August 2016. This requires beekeepers to be listed with MPI if they supply honey to operators who have a Risk Management Programme (RMP) in-place and export to countries that require official assurances (‘Certification’).

the shape, caused the beekeeper to suspect small hive beetle. Although this photo does not show it clearly, Histeridae have shortened wing cases.

This particular beetle was Saprinus detritus.

Case 3: Nitidulidae Nitidulidae (pictured above) are two to six millimetres long and have clubbed antennae. The beetles submitted in these cases were Epuraea spp. , which are slightly more elongated than small hive beetles. Conclusion A number of beetles are found in New Zealand beehives, some of which can look similar to small hive beetle. All beekeepers are encouraged to review the exotic disease pamphlet produced by MPI regularly and to report anything suspected as being an exotic pest or disease via the MPI exotic disease hotline on 0800 809 966. Acknowledgement This article was funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Apiculture Surveillance Programme. Further reading BeeAware. Small hive beetle. Retrieved October 11, 2016 from http://beeaware. image-0 Ellis, J. D., and Ellis, A. (2013). Featured creatures: small hive beetle. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from creatures/misc/bees/small_hive_beetle.htm Ministry for Primary Industries. (2016). News & Resources: Publications. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from resources/publications/

RMP operators are now only able to accept honey from beekeepers listed with MPI. Beekeepers operating under their own RMPs do not need to be additionally listed with MPI. MPI would like to thank the more than 351 beekeepers that have provided their completed Beekeeper Listing forms to MPI to date. These beekeepers have been listed to supply honey for export with official assurances in the upcoming season. Why did MPI make these changes? New Zealand honey is in increasing demand around the world, and it’s important New Zealand continues to be seen as a trusted supplier of high quality, safe products. One of the ways MPI ensures this is through the official government-to- government assurances it provides to importing countries that New Zealand products meet their requirements in areas such as food safety. Earlier this year MPI made improvements to its systems and processes that support ‘official assurances’. In addition to requiring listing of non-RMP beekeepers, MPI also

introduced requirements to strengthen traceability in its electronic certification system and labelling of unlabelled bulk honey and retail packs, and it increased the verification of bee product export premises. These requirements were introduced after consultation with industry in late 2015/ early 2016. How to get listed with MPI If you’re a beekeeper and still require listing with MPI, you’ll need to complete the AP14 Beekeeper Listing form and follow the instructions on MPI’s website at www.mpi. products, under ‘Forms & Templates’. What if I’m not listed with MPI? If you’re not currently listed with MPI or do not operate under a Risk Management Programme, you can only sell honey domestically or supply it for export to countries that do not require official assurances. Who can I contact if I have questions? If you have questions regarding the listing process, please email



Linda Newstrom-Lloyd (Trees for Bees Botanist) and Angus McPherson (Trees for Bees Farm Planting Adviser) STAR PERFORMERS PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES AND PIPFRUITS TREES FOR BEES CORNER Trees for Bees has produced a new series of fact sheets showcasing the ‘best of the best’ bee plants that will maximise nutrition benefits for your bees. In this issue of the journal, the team introduces the series and explains why pipfruit trees are a ‘star performer’. For more information, see

Introduction to the Series The ‘Star Performers’ series is designed to show the best of the best in bee plants. Each selected plant group has been investigated in the field by our team and used extensively in our Demo Farms. These plants rank as star performers because they maximise bee nutrition by having any combination of one or more of these six great features: 1. the plant flowers at a time of pollen or nectar dearth (e.g., spring, autumn and even winter) 2. the plant flowers profusely with high density and large quantity of flowers per plant

the flower’. A flower is arranged in concentric circles, with the pistil in the centre surrounded by one or more whorls of stamens bearing pollen, then whorls of petals and then sepals. Any of these parts may be modified or absent as in unisexual flowers. The nectary (where the nectar is produced) can be anywhere—at the base of the pistil or stamens, on the petals, or even outside the flower. The nectary may be an obvious structure or inconspicuous and subtle. It is absent in flowers that produce only pollen and no nectar. The names of the flower parts are illustrated in the figure below.

3. each flower delivers large quantities of pollen or nectar; even though such plants may have few flowers 4. the flowers deliver high quality pollen nutrition (e.g., high crude protein content) 5. the flowers give bees easy access to pollen and nectar for better foraging efficiency 6. the flowers are highly attractive and preferred by bees. We focus on the nature of the flower in relation to the bee’s ease of access to the pollen and/ or nectar, so it is helpful to understand flower structure to see how bees are able to ‘work



PIPFRUIT TREES IN THE ROSE FAMILY In the Rose family, the pipfruit trees, (e.g., pears, apples, crab apples, and quinces) are Star Performers because of their massive flower density on the tree and the high protein content in the pollen (22%–28%). The trees or shrubs are usually deciduous with flowers opening before the leaves. Most species flower in spring with different early and late varieties. In each group there are both edible cultivars and ornamental inedible varieties. For example, the ‘flowering quince’ (Chaenomeles japonica) is grown ornamentally for the flowers, not for their fruits (although they are edible), while the closely related Cydonia oblonga and Pseudocydonia sinensis are the edible quinces. There are both edible and ornamental cultivars of apples, pears and crab apples too. Consult your local nursery. Avoid any that have double flowers or other modifications that reduce the quantity and presentation of pollen and nectar. If the spread of weeds by bird dispersal of fruits and seeds is an issue, then choose cultivars with large fruits that don’t attract birds. PIPFRUIT TREES IN THE ROSE FAMILY COMMON NAME SPECIES

Parts of a flower, starting from the centre and working to the outside of the flower: Pistil – the female reproductive organ located in the centre, made up of the stigma, style and ovary Stigma – the receptive surface of the pistil where pollen lands and germinates to produce the pollen tube Style – the narrow elongated part of the pistil between the ovary and the stigma; guides the pollen tube to the ovary Ovary – the enlarged basal portion of the pistil where ovules are produced and protected Ovule – the egg awaiting fertilisation from genetic material delivered in pollen tube; may be one or many ovules per ovary Stamens – the male reproductive organs surrounding the pistil, made up of the anther and filament Anther – the sac at the tip of the stamen; produces and protects pollen; on maturity it opens to expose the pollen Filament – the stalk that holds up the anther to promote pollen dispersal by wind or pollinators Petals – the parts surrounding the pistil and stamen to protect them and to attract pollinators; may be absent Corolla – the whorl of all the petals together, petals can be separated individually or fused to form a tube Receptacle –the axis (upper part of the stem) to which the floral parts are attached. Sepals – the outermost whorl protects flower bud, usually green and leaf-like, sometimes coloured; may be absent Calyx – the whorl of all the sepals taken together Peduncle – stalk holding up one flower or a group of flowers; called a pedicel for one flower on a stalk of multiple flowers.

Domestic apple

Malus domestica cultivars

Crab apple

Malus species

European pear

Pyrus communis cultivars

Ornamental pear

e.g., Pyrus calleryana, P. ussuriensis, P. nivalis, P. betulaefolia

Edible quince

Cydonia oblonga cultivars, e.g., Smyrna

False quince

Pseudocydonia sinensis

Flowering quince

Chaenomeles species, e.g., C. japonica (Japanese flowering quince), C. cathayensis (Chinese quince)


This heritage pear tree in full bloom benefits bees hugely. Photo: Jean-Noël Galliot © Trees for Bees NZ.

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Pear flower with bee collecting pollen. Anthers in all stages of opening deliver pollen throughout the day. Photo: Jean-Noël Galliot © Trees for Bees NZ. Pear flower with bee taking nectar. The bee ‘tongue’ (proboscis) is extended into the centre of the flower for sipping nectar. Photo: Jean-Noël Galliot © Trees for Bees NZ.






Claire Hall, Mark Goodwin, David Pattemore, ApiNZ Research Focus Group VARROA CONTROL RESEARCH: BRIEF UPDATE FOCUS GROUP REPORTS: RESEARCH Over the last couple of months, we have reported on your priorities and ideas for approaches to varroa control research. Based on these suggestions, we submitted a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) funding proposal to develop the priority components of a varroa IPM programme. We received pledges of support from over 60 individuals and organisations—thank you! If successful, the programme will start in July 2017 and we will update you early next year.

Pollen In the common edible pear (Pyrus communis) the anthers open sequentially to present pollen all day long, so you will see bees buzzing in the flowers gathering pollen at any time of day. The high density of flowers plus the numerous whorls of stamens in each flower add up to generous quantities of pollen per tree. Nectar Pear flowers have the classic ‘open dish’ shape with nectar produced by the nectary, which is located in the centre of the flower in the space at the base of the pistil. The nectary is surrounded by whorls of numerous stamens—the epitome of easy access. The other pipfruit species (apples, crab apples, edible quinces and flowering quinces) have almost identical flowers with the open dish style allowing easy access to nectar. Planting advice Pipfruit species are used in a variety of situations on Trees for Bees demonstration farms, from orchards to shelterbelts to paddock shade and shelter. They are flexible in that they can be managed for fruit production, or left to be more ornamental. Growers will need to be careful when planting near existing orchards that they don’t introduce pest and disease problems, and to check that the species aren’t included in any noxious plant lists. Pipfruit are most commonly used for on-farm orchards, where a mixture of fruit species provides not only a variety of fruit for consumption, but also pollen at flowering times from early to late spring. Pipfruit species can also be incorporated into shelterbelts, where the windward species are evergreen bee feed (e.g., some Michelia, Camellia and Laurel species) to provide low shelter, with the pipfruit blossom species planted on the leeward side and ideally facing the sun. If you have enough space (i.e., more than five to six metres of shelterbelt width), you can also include tree species for high shelter. In this case, fastigiate form trees of Quercus robur, Liriodendron tulipifera, some Fraxinus species, and Alnus cordata are particularly useful. In addition to shelterbelts, larger species of pipfruit trees can make suitable paddock shade specimens when protected with a tree guard. You can also turn this into a small copse of trees by enlarging the tree guard and including a mix of smaller shrub species (e.g., crab apples).

We have been seeking more information and ideas through a SurveyMonkey questionnaire. The response has been very low, so we are unable to provide a summary in this issue. We know that as busy beekeepers, it’s not always easy finding time for questionnaires. So we have planned through ApiNZ a whole range of different co-innovation and extension activities as part of the SFF that we hope will work for you, including workshops, field days, articles, videos and podcasts. By now most of you will have started treating colonies for varroa or are about to treat. Many beekeepers in the north of the North Island, and possibly elsewhere, have found it important to check varroa levels

in hives when the treatments are removed, as there have been increasing problems with varroa developing resistance to the chemicals we use to control them. The best way to test varroa levels is to use the sugar shake method. When carrying out a sugar shake, make sure the icing sugar has not absorbed moisture and become lumpy, and remember to shake very, very hard. We don’t have good post-treatment varroa thresholds that we can provide at this stage. It is hopeful that the SFF programme will provide these. However, as a best guess, if you find more than 10 varroa mites in a sugar shake after the spring treatment, you will need to either treat again in the spring or at least aim to treat early in the autumn.

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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)

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TEUCRIUM FRUTICANS: A HEDGE PLANT ATTRACTIVE TO BEES To a landscape gardener committed to a clipped, Italianate design, Teucrium fruticans offers a hedging option that complements a ‘Melissa garden’. Commonly called Germander, the bush is classified in the family Lamiaceae, which includes many Mediterranean herbs and shrubs including mint. If left to ‘grow out’, the flowers that form are unusual in shape, could be seen as architectural in presentation and do attract foraging bees. Paul Burgess

The stamen and stigma have been negotiated and access to the nectary is sought. One of the anthers has undergone dehiscence (defined by Wikipedia as “the spontaneous opening at maturity of a plant structure, such as a fruit, anther, or sporangium, to release its contents”).

The flower of the Teucrium fruticans is zygomorphic; i.e., it displays bilateral symmetry (the right and left sides of the flower are mirror images) like an orchid and not the usual radial symmetry seen in an orthodox flower (referred to as actinomorphic). The four arching cantilevered stamen and single terminating stigma are distinctive features. José Gómez and colleagues at the University of Granada, Spain, studied flowers that produce simultaneous actinomorphic and zygomorphic flower configurations. They found that foraging beetles at least preferred the latter design, leading to the conclusion of possible evolutional pathways (Balter, 2006).

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Mana Cracknell and Michele Andersen

On the Chatham Islands, spring properly begins in October—a month and a half later than it does in Matangi-nui– Matangi-roa—ancient names for the South Island and North Island of mainland New Zealand. In the small number of house orchards, quince and pear trees are in blossom while apple trees are just beginning to display bud.

In our vege garden (amongst the weeds), a trial crop of rapini planted back in June is flowering nicely. Italian, European and British bees are happily foraging its nectar and pollen, while its leaves are a welcome addition to supplement the larder. Rapini, a plant from Italy, is the vege-of-moment (2015–2016) for chefs working high-class restaurants in New York. On the island, however, basic survival is the pervasive reality and in this context rapini has a multiple value for bees, for stock and humans. Out along the roadsides and in many paddocks, protein-rich gorse is in full flower. The known factor is that increased supplies of gorse pollen arriving in the hive trigger drone production. Drone comb has been placed in pre-selected hives to ensure a strong and diverse natural queen mate across the island and to provide semen for artificial insemination (AI) projects in 2016. In 2013–2015 gorse was sprayed while in flower. As a result, about 20–30 hives were lost in each year. The decision to spray gorse in flower was an initiative partially funded by Environment Canterbury (ECAN) and the Chatham Island Council. When challenged in respect to timing, ECAN responded that apparently it was not possible for a helicopter pilot to identify a paddock full of gorse whilst at spraying height unless the gorse was flowering. Beekeepers were not a party to the decision, nor were they notified about where the helicopter was working so they could close off their hives in those areas. In their apiaries, island beekeepers (six) are beginning to ready hives for the spring– summer onset of mostly clover honey. Last year two young Chatham Islanders came forward to front the challenges of island skepping along with existing involvements on family-owned farms. Is there an inkling here of an emergent national model where beekeeping and farming are inextricably

Michele with a Chatham Island virgin queen. Photo: Mana Cracknell.

is super-critical for the continuance of beekeeping in mainland New Zealand. The term in business is CSP—to ensure realisation of Critical Success Potential. Is there an inkling here of an emergent national model where beekeeping and farming are inextricably linked in a series of land-based economic partnerships provenanced on meat, vegetables, milk and honey production?

linked in a series of land-based economic partnerships provenanced on meat, vegetables, milk and honey production? There are still no signs of varroa, AFB or nosema in local hives. It is important to preserve this small but important advantage by keeping the island as a fallback sanctuary for clean bees within the wider sphere of New Zealand bee-onics. This year, legislation will be drafted to put to government to establish the island as a beehaven sanctuary. The draft will be based on Australian bee sanctuary legislation (dating from 1885–1931) enacted to preserve the mixed Ligurian (Italian) bee population on Kangaroo Island. A sturdy biosecurity interface is critical for maintaining a disease-free bee population on the Chatham Islands; however, the big picture is that a healthy Chatham island bee population




Hive health status Back from the grave 10 years ago, the good news is that hive losses on Chatham Island have been steadily declining over the last seven years. Contributing factors include:

Sarah advises that the film, A Million Dollar Nose? , has been completed and had its premiere at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin on Friday, 28 October. It was one of four films from the 2016 class at the Centre for Science Communication. Although this journal had gone to press by the time of the film premiere, Sarah Hight wanted to express her gratitude to those who generously gave of their time and allowed their hives to be filmed. We congratulate Sarah on her hard work in bringing her film to fruition. A Million Dollar Nose? will be posted online in 2017 on the Science Communication Vimeo channel: user5639275. We will keep you updated.

Readers might recall the notices placed in the February and April ‘From the colonies’ column from Sarah Hight, a film student at the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago. Sarah sought input from Dunedin-area beekeepers for a film about a dog that was trained to detect American foulbrood. Sarah received assistance from some ApiNZ members including James Corson, Richelle Doerner-Corson (of Canterbury), Geoffrey Scott (of Southland), Frans Laas and Brice Horner (of Otago). Each of these beekeepers allowed her to film them searching their hives, detecting disease and eliminating infection. James, Richelle and Frans were central characters in the film.

• increased beekeeping training, experience and vigilance

• a more diverse genetic bee pool by the addition of Carnican (Carniolan) to the existing Italian and Black British managed and feral populations • a dedicated queen breeding and rearing programme aimed at producing better queens resulting in stronger beelines that are better at managing vitellogenin— “the currency within the hive banking system”—which is also the medium for the transfer of immune elicitors. Island hives in 2016 happen to be better at nurturing and raising brood. This extends to producing better queens, including a line that produce supersedure queens with a full set of alleles as a solution to minimising hive losses on the trot • bee acclimatisation and adjustment to the challenging island conditions. This year it is great to see the number of hives that produced strong clusters of large specialist winter bees • bee environmental growth impacts over time. On the island it takes about four to five years for bees to increase the number of viable seeds in a single clover flower/ set from about 15–130+. The argument here is that with some small assistance, bees will of themselves eventually create a bee-friendly environment Coming out of winter this year, therefore, hive losses are currently at their lowest—around one to five percent. Seven years ago, a decision was made to add AI to the Island bee-kit. In 2013, AI equipment was imported from Germany. That equipment was trialled and tested in 2014. Earlier in 2016, a Chatham Island beekeeper went to Seattle to receive specialist training and skills and in November 2016, the Island will “plant the jandal” on its own capacity to grow and enhance the capabilities of its bee population by and through AI. This small operation will sit alongside and in support of the directed queen natural mating programme. • a committed in-house research programme allied to field trials.

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The large inferior petal provides a stable landing for the foraging worker.

Sources Balter, M. (2006). Pollinators power flower evolution. Retrieved October 2, 2016 from pollinators-power-flower-evolution. Matheson, A., & Reid, M. (2011). Practical beekeeping in New Zealand (4th ed.). Auckland: Exisle Publishing. Wikipedia. Dehiscence. Retrieved October 2, 2016 from wiki/Dehiscence

Proboscis fully extended to reach the depths of the flower with the mandibles employed as supports. In human proportions, the proboscis is as long as a fully stretched arm.

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