Newsletter - November 2015

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November 2015







Gadgets and Gizmos




NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday 4th November 2015


Main Hall, Johnsonville Community Centre, Moorefield Rd








 (in upstairs Trust Room)


Frank Lindsay: Managing A Nucleus Hive



Return address: 280 Major Drive, Kelson, Lower Hutt



Wellington Beekeepers Association














 Johnsonville Community Centre

Main Hall, Ground Floor,

Moorefield Road


1ST WEDNESDAY of the month

Main Meeting @ 7.30pm

Beginners Tuition @7.00pm








Richard Braczek (04) 973 3028




John Burnet (04) 232 7863




Jane Harding (04) 499 4123



Lynne Brunton (021) 881874


Newsletters are published in the last week of each month, except December.


Member contributions to be with editor by 20th month.


Please submit articles in Microsoft Word document format.


If recommending articles from the web, please confirm whether these can be reproduced or have copyright.




3-4. October meeting minutes

5. Obituary: Ham Maxwell

6. Beekeeping tasks/ New website

7. Vespula Wasps in New Zealand

8. Neonicotinoids - new warning on pesticide harm to bees

9. Wasp queens sought

10. The dangers of tutin

11-12. Hive sites offered and other notices / Interesting web sites & article links





Minutes of the Wellington Beekeepers Association Meeting held at Johnsonville Community Centre

7 October 2015 at 7.30pm


Meeting commenced 7.35 pm  

107 in attendance. 3 visitors/new members introduced themselves


Activity in the Hive Swarm season is underway. Check often and manage the risks.  AFB scare around the Home of Compassion – AFB is present around the Happy Valley landfill.   Need to check for AFB when doing a spring check. Nosema cerrano is also spreading through the Hutt Valley. A telltale sign is excessive bee faeces on the outside of the hive.

Chartwell hive field day was a big success, 30-40 people , good mix of old and new

Another hive building workshop and wax dipping scheduled for 17 October. 7 members expressed an interest. 1.30 – 4pm at Wayne Wild’s on the Wainuiomata Coast Road.


General Business

Passing Away Ham Maxwell, ex-president of the club, died last week aged 84. Frank, MaryAnn and John attended his funeral on 6 October.

Bee Awareness Month, theme was “feed the bees”. Good response from the Food Show (NZ Honey Co). Attendance at Commensense Organics and Moore Wilsons also well received. Also at the Otari Wilton’s Bush Open Day . Lots of interest from the public and good support from the club members. WCC website will also have some photos and information. WCC also developing a bee management plan. Members have also taken hives to local garden centres which also garnered public interest.

Civic Square has a caravan with an audio unit for people to record their “bee story” for the WCC

DECA policy clarification. Since 1 June 2014, 2-year stand down before a person can sit their AFB recognition course and apply for a DECA. Beekeeper with a DECA  holder can inspect hives

New website is evolving, hasn’t yet got all the features on it but eventually all material will be transferred over. Put “old” in front of web address to get to the old website. Members need to re-register on the new website also. Website has an option for identifying location of club members so you can get in touch with other in your area.

Library books – please return those you’ve read, so they can go back into circulation.   Book catalogue is on an open site called Library Thing, please add a review about any book you have read.


Making splits – Frank Lindsay

Key points for making splits:

< >Need queen cells present before making a split. (Capped or with an egg/larvae or royal jelly) Do a check every 9 days for queen cells  Check for queen cells, especially in an overcrowded hive. Sealed queen cells or cells with white royal jelly mean the hive must be split. Look underneath where they hang down. Willow, cabbage trees and hawthorn flowering trigger swarms.Capped queen cells taken from a hive will keep for about 24hours if kept warm, but must be fed pollen and nectar. If introducing a queen cell to a new hive (or brood from another hive) wrap the cell to stop it being attacked.




Obituary: Ham Maxwell


Ham was a member of our club for many years, from the early eighties until the late nineties. He held the position of President among others and was made a life member for services to the club and beekeeping. He regularly wrote articles about 'Beekeeper Fred' for the National Beekeepers Magazine. Sadly he passed away in October.




Ham is pictured (at the left of the picture) at our club anniversary celebrations last year


‘Ham was a quietly spoken gentleman. He started his bees in Korokoro in the Hutt Valley later moving to a small holding on the outskirts of Levin where he established a bigger apiary for a number of years. His wife Nancy was a quilter. During the last few years of his life he and Nancy moved to a retirement home in Paraparaumu.’





Beekeeping Tasks: November


The nectar and pollen should be coming into the hive quickly. The queen will be reaching her greatest rate of egg laying. The hive should be bursting with activity.


Add a queen excluder, and add honey supers to hives

Watch out for swarming

Inspect the hive weekly

Remove Varroa strip treatment products applied in September


< >Check Varroa treatment products have worked, especially organic treatmentsFeed sugar syrup if necessaryCheck pollen stores and feed supplements if requiredCheck all brood frames for AFBCheck honey supers for wax moth

Wellington Beekeepers have a new website!




James Scott has burnt the midnight oil working on the new website and the first stage is ready now.


You’ll need to register a password to get access to the site. You can then:


< >Update your membership details including the location of your apiaryRenew your membershipOrder nucs



Vespula Wasps in New Zealand

Landcare Research


German and common wasps are a pest of urban, rural, and natural ecosystems. They can spoil peoples’ enjoyment of the outdoors, as well posing a health risk; affect the profitability and safety of industries such as beekeeping, horticulture, forestry and tourism. They also upset the ecological balance in native ecosystems. New Zealand has the highest densities of these wasps in the world. In beech forest with honeydew, the biomass of social wasps (about 1100 g/ha/yr) is greater than that of all the native birds.


10 wasp facts


< >The German wasp (Vespula germanica) was first found near Hamilton in 1945; the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) has been in New Zealand since 1978The beech forests at the top of the South Island have the highest densities of wasps in the world; but wasps also occur in many other habitats across New ZealandOn average, there are 12 nests per hectare in beech forests, that’s about 10, 000 wasps per hectare!The highest number of nests recorded was 50 - 60 nests per hectare, the equivalent of 25 - 30 nests on a football fieldThe largest nest ever found was four metres high and contained about four million cellsThere is a greater biomass of wasps (3.8kg/ha) in beech forest than all the native birds plus stoats and rodents put togetherThe public voted wasps as “most disliked wildlife” (along with rats), because they spoil enjoyment of outdoor recreational activitiesWasps destroy or seriously damage 8-9% of honeybee hives in New Zealand each yearWasps affect native foodwebs, and negatively affect the behaviour of native birdsThe predation rate of wasps on some native invertebrates is so high that the probability of their populations surviving through the wasp season is virtually nil




Extract: Neonicotinoids - new warning on pesticide harm to bees

Guardian Newspaper

Consensus builds among scientists though review of evidence also finds there is not enough data on whether pesticide causes population decline




There is a strong scientific consensus that bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides in fields and suffer harm from the doses received, according to a new analysis of the all the scientific evidence to date.


But almost no data exists so far on whether this harm ultimately leads to falls in overall bee populations, the scientists found. They said one “gold standard” field study from Sweden had shown that the insecticides, the most widely used in the world, do significantly damage bumblebee populations. But it found no effect for honeybees, although the study design meant it could only rule out losses greater than 20%.


Bees and other pollinators are vital for many food crops but have been declining for decades due to habitat loss, pesticide use and disease. In 2013, the EU banned the use of three neonicotinoids on flowering crops for two years due to the risk they posed to bees. The UK government opposed the EU ban…


Read the full article here:



Wasp queens sought for Landcare Research project

Landcare Research

Landcare Research received funding last year to investigate a mite that infests wasps and its potential as a biocontrol agent for wasps (but without being detrimental to bees and bumblebees).


The researchers are now after wasp queens to confirm the intergenerational link between the wasps and mites. This time of the year the wasp queens look for places to hibernate and are often found in sheds or in firewood.


The researchers are after more samples from all parts of the country and Ted Loose, member of the Te Anau Biocontrol Group, offered to assist. So please, if you find a wasp queen please put it in a jar in the freezer, and call Ted Loose on 03 249 9117.





For the fun of it: Beekeepers

Eddie Izzard Live at Madison Square Garden 2011


The dangers of tutin

This is the first of three papers on the dangers of tutin. Paper 2 is due early November and Paper 3 in early December.




Hive sites offered and other notices



Tony Goodchild, a member of the Woburn Probus Club, is looking for a member of the beekeeping community who would be interested in talking at their meeting for an hour on Friday 5 February 2016 or later in the year. They regularly have about 100 members at each meeting who look forward to being informed and entertained.


They’re located at their Hutt Bowling Club premises in Lower Hutt. Please contact him on 04 5672143 or



Hives for the Anglican Cathedral in Hill St

The Anglican Cathedral in Hill Street opposite the Beehive, is keen to get a hive or two on the premises. They’re planning a community garden and want to support the environment. They’ve some ideal space on the roof (it has lift access). If anyone is interested in locating a hive there, please contact Rebecca Apperley.



A request from Jayne in Upper Hutt

Space for hives in Upper Hutt. A property owner is keen for a beekeeper to put a couple of hives on her Birchville site. She has a big section and is keen to plant bee friendly plants. It would be a good spot for someone up that way. Interested people could contact Jayne directly on phone: 021 804 573 or email:



A request from Colleen and Scott in Upper Hutt

Colleen and Scott in Moonshine Valley, Upper Hutt would like to get some hives on their property. Please contact them at


Interesting web sites & article links


PETITION TO THE EU COMMISSION: Ban all bee-killing insecticides, including Dow's deadly sulfoxaflor

A US court just ruled that sulfoxaflor, a Dow Chemical insecticide that’s killing the bees, should never have been approved. But the EU approved that same deadly chemical this summer. And EU legislators rubber-stamped the new insecticide using flawed data from Dow itself.

Please read about, and sign the petition here:


Interesting web sites & article links (cont.)



Ministry for Primary Industries: She looks like a giant beagle but she’s the first harrier hound to work for MPI as a biosecurity detector dog





Radio NZ: A pesticide with an additional sting? A Harvard scientist says if New Zealand wants to find out what's killing its bees, it should try banning the pesticides known as neo-nicotinoids, and see what happens.


NZ Herald: Solbin Kang Over 30 beehives seized following spate of thefts


NZ Herald: Bay News High honey price creates problems


NZ Apiculture Industry: Draft Constitution and Rules for new entity almost ready for industry consultation


Wiley Online Library: Nosema ceranae alters a highly conserved hormonal stress pathway in honeybees


Beekeeping: How To Inspect A Honey Bee Hive


Guardian: UK government gags advisers in bees and pesticides row Expert Committee on Pesticides told to postpone publication of minutes after refusing to back farmers’ request to use banned neonicotinoids on oil seed rape


AgScience: Survey to comb NZ beehives