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About Me

As you will likely figure out by my less-than-perfect English, I am not a New Zealander but moved here 5 years ago. Before that I kept bees for a few years in Europe, and after moving here I also got a few hives as fast as I could. To some people, me included, beekeeping is an addiction.

The reason I am starting this blog is that hobbyist beekeeping is on the rise in New Zealand with a lot of people getting a few hives in their backyards. At the same time commercial beekeeping is in a self-induced decline. This is not a new development. It happened in Europe in the 90s when imported “honey" from overseas flooded the domestic honey markets.

The advantage of this change is that more and more beekeepers in New Zealand will have a higher interest in the wellbeing of their hives and environmental protection in general instead of more commercial aspects. But, with so many people starting out there will be a big demand on knowledge about all the aspects and techniques of beekeeping, as basic courses are inadequate in covering all its aspects.

I hope I will be able to fill some of that demand as I am outlining my beekeeping knowledge and the techniques that I use to successfully keep bees.

  • I generally will outline the things that I do, and will try to explain why I do the things I do the way I do. However, with beekeeping there usually are many different ways of achieving good results. An old saying goes that if you ask 2 beekeepers on their opinion you get at least 3 answers, and they will likely all make sense.
  • Honeybees are very adaptable, thus even if something is not ideal, it might still work simply because the bees will make it work, and the beekeeper might not even notice a difference.
  • This blog will be best suited to hobbyist beekeepers and maybe semi commercial ones, as I am a hobby beekeeper with a few hives. The techniques that I use are tailored to smaller apiaries, where one can afford to spend more time on each individual hive.
  • Location (local climate), weather and time of the year are important aspects that determine the best approach to a given issue. Some techniques that work well for me might not work as well for somebody else because it is colder or warmer there.
  • Even after years of beekeeping I experience new situations, and the bees teach me that I don’t know everything. This is one of the aspects that I absolutely love about beekeeping! You keep developing your skills, and I fully expect that the way I will be keeping bees in 10 years will be vastly different from how I do it now.
  • The most important technique in beekeeping is the observation of the bee’s behaviour and development. The ability to observe the bees will let them “tell you” If what you did was good or bad. Whatever you are doing, if your bees are doing well, you have more honey than your colleagues and in spring you have to sell hives because you have too many you are doing something right.
  • The number of hives one cares for are not necessarily correlated to their knowledge. I know many hobbyist beekeepers and beekeeping enthusiasts that are incredibly knowledgeable, simply because they are fascinated by beekeeping and they enjoy every aspect of it. At the same time there are commercials that are failing to understand even the most basic biological principles around honeybees. Of course, there are many very knowledgeable commercial beekeepers out there (usually the more successful ones). But do not be fooled because somebody only has a handful of hives, they simply might have understood that getting a mortgage to buy 2000 hives and overstocking them in the hope of getting a big manuka yield is not the smartest thing to do in the world.

Ok with all that said let’s get to it.