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field day

Field Day 3rd September

I’d like to welcome all our members to the September Field Day, the second of our season. It will include a BBQ, gluten free sausages will be available. It would be great if you would bring along some other food to share as well.

The programme for the day is focusing on Varroa mite. 

How do you detect evidence of an infestation in your hive before it’s too late?

There will be demonstrations and practical participation to help you learn the skills you need to stop varroa in its tracks.

  • varroa checks by sugar shakes, alcohol wash, sticky boards (and how to make them) and how to spot varroa on your bees or evidence that your hive has been infested.
  • treatment options will be discussed
  • we will be opening all the hives – weather permitting
  • we will also be checking for diseases
  • checking all frames for the season ahead and replacing frames to give the bees a clean foundation to build on and allow space for food and brood
  • we will have reminders of how to clean your tools and also how to light a smoker so it will stay working while you are in the hive.

It will be great to see old and new members down at the site on Saturday. Early birds (9.30) to help out onsite.

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Presidents Report

Presidents Report Bee Club 2022

Presidents Report 2022.

So here cometh the time!

My three year term is now up as president of our club! A period playing Russian roulette: deciding if the field day should go ahead, has been really tricky with not just the weather but Covid too- a time filled by excitement and frustration in pretty equal measure!

I was voted in as vice president by the committee in absentia, and a year later was voted club president. Which was of course three years ago and one year before that I was a Newbee!
Man, I sure have learnt a lot about nature’s little workers! Six hives in my apiary….who would have ever thought.

My mission was to bring our then very basic club grounds situation into the 20 th century, which would then enable a better teaching facility and possible cash flow. I was appalled to find that we still operated a long drop toilet complete with spiders and smell.

Also lacking was good weather cover for the members on field days and the lack of flowering plants: bee food! So a contingent of a few members got stuck in and started covering and building amenities preparing and planting flowers.

This was volunteering at its finest! These people begged, burrowed and ‘acquired’ building materials that produced the male and female toilets, the covering of the auditorium, the new large cover over the food area, the new tank and water systems, the installation of the sound system run buy solar power, the obtaining of the container which will soon become an excellent teaching facility, especially during wet spells which are increasing it seems.

By my calculations the club has basically had 40K donated by way of labour, materials and some donations by a few hardworking members without our banked funds being touched.

A new sound system was put in place running on solar power, it has performed flawlessly over the last three years! We also purchased a new ride on mower and what a difference!

Then we had the earthworks and a raised black top placed in front of the container valued at several thousand dollars donated by a member, and the new metalled entry to the grounds also donated by that member.

The container now has a new roof and side cladding, again donated, that just leaves the interior to be lined out and bi- fold doors in place of the two sliders: which greatly constrict any audience participation.

We have an OLED TV donated and the club has purchased the extra solar panels and an AC-DC convertor (similar to the sound system) so we can remain off the grid. These will be in place in a matter of weeks.

To finish the container with new bifolds doors, plastic clear curtains on the container forecourt (to give extra space in inclement weather), will allow the club to hold money generating beekeeping courses, and other public meetings such as school classes and of course club day meetings inside as needed.. $8,000.00 would finish this project!
That the club may now spend up to ceiling of $8,000.00
To complete the container teaching facility. This would include:
Bi Fold doors, clear plastic curtaining, lining of the inside of the container and general finishing. Any further monies needed can only proceed from donations or gifts.

You can read in the treasurer’s report how little we have spent of the club money, however the main problem when I joined the club was virtually no money except for the contingency sum the treasurer rightly guarded! We have never used that to this day!

Thanks to donations of labour and materials by members, the Lions Club, Bunnings (new BBQ) and a small grant from CCC. We have produced a pretty good club facility with a wee bit of more work to go!

On that note I believe that the $40.00 sub needs to go up $5.00. The trouble with not keeping abreast of inflation has been the clubs Achilles heel: don’t slip back is my advice! Do keep in mind the club is not insured as I write, for instance!

That the annual subscription be increased by $5.00. (i.e. $45.00 per year) For members.
First year members (newbees) will pay $55.00 for the first year dropping back to the normal member rate thereafter. Prospective members will be allowed two field days free to assess their suitability and club acceptance.

I think it is reasonable for two members to get a stipend to look after the gardening and grounds generally. Our two almost permeant club member gardeners have done a huge amount of back breaking work getting the gardens up and running and being at the club several days a week, who are thankful to be augmented by some members on working bee days and the odd day someone has spare.

It is wonderful see the clubs progression, new first aid facility, the introduction of Work Safe requirements, and now, just completed a comprehensive Newbees introduction booklet: the printing yet again a member donation. This will be given to all new members and a one off $5.00 charge will be added to the first years newbee sub.

I wish to publically thank the following members for the huge, and often at their cost, the input they have given:

Kerry KearneyTreasurer (17 years)
David and Irene SiemonekGardening
Murray BaxendaleBuilding & Materials
Larry RossBlacktop & Earthworks
Jeff GibsonGrounds mowing
David SpiceMeeting Place & Food
Evan A CourtBuilding (toilets) & materials
Gordon NairnSite input donations
Peter HeeringaDonated printing of the booklet
Rob Nairn( Maintaining Web Site
Richard Dowie( Bulk emails to Members
Kevin Gates & Margie BroughtonProduced the Booklet

To our hardworking committee for guidance, patience and expertise. The other success as I see it is, we have re-joined API and we had members volunteering at the big API Convention in our new Christchurch convention centre. These members sported our club name and a link has now been forged with the professional bee keepers, a step forward!

For me I see a great future for the club speaking to the public. For instance Gordon Nairn and myself spoken too several garden clubs on beekeeping this last two years and we intend to continue in this vein promoting not just bees but the values of the club.

Other members have been holding bee courses or talks to schools and other clubs. More such courses will be held once the container is up and running and this will contribute, albeit a small amount, to the running costs of the club.

I do wish to thank Kerry Kearney for a fantastic 17 years of free service as treasurer. Kerry has managed to keep a reasonable float and has fought to maintain the contingency balance through thick and thin. We now do need a new treasurer with Kerry’s retirement upon us. Would you please put up your hand at the AGM?

The name of the Christchurch Hobbyist Bee Club Inc., is changed To:
The Christchurch Bee Club Inc.

Reason: The name does not do justice to the general bee keeping community. It is noticed most clubs have dropped the word “Hobbyist.”
Today the hives and bees are professionally managed, members pay a considerable amount of money annually to API and to equipment maintenance. They are bound by a new raft of management fees and legal requirements with punishments from API.
The club is teaching both private people and persons who go on to become a Beekeeping Business operator.
Further, we are closing the gap between professional beekeepers and backyard keepers.
Legal requirements are now the same for a one hive operator or a 1000 hive operator.

I thank all members for the support and kind wishes you have given me over the last three years. It has been difficult at times and rewarding at times but I do believe the Christchurch Bee Club Inc is now in fine fettle to go forward into the future with good reserves and a fine management committee. But we do need your support to finish the job!

Yours sincerely
Paul O’Donnell L3907
Christchurch Bee Club Inc.

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September Events

September 3rd is the next Club Day.

September 8th ARA Visons Restaurant Spring Dinner..register with David Spicer on 0273601398.

September 17th is a working bee 9am to 12.

More info latter.

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Put this on your calendar

Field day, working bee

August    6th  Club day..

Program..start at 10am to 1pm.

No parking in the padock it is too wet…so only use the shingle drive please…

NO PARKING in the driveway.

Gum boots  are a Must. 


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Committee meeting

The committee meeting will be held Monday the 1st of August so any questions, thoughts for next year, general business etc., will need to be in writing to the secretary ( or myself ( by Friday 29th of July. Or: the club new Post Office Box number 33464!

This will also apply to submissions to be presented at the AGM on the 20th of August. They need to be in by 10th August to give us time to make allowances for investigation if needed. On that note we need a new Treasurer: Kerry Kearney has given terrific service to the club for a number of years as our valued treasurer, a true guardian of the purse! Please put your hand up if you think you could fill this important role. I am sure Kerry will steer you through the job.

Finally is there any computer geek in the club who knows how we can set up all the member’s email addresses so we can send out communications with one press of the button! It simply is too costly to send out communications by letter (Snail Mail) in this day and age.

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Apiculture New Zealand

Well the club, meaning you, has joined API (Apiculture New Zealand), this means at long last we are affiliated to the National Beekeepers Organization.

For the first time ever the annual API Conference was held at the brand new Christchurch Convention Centre (called Te Pae?) We were one of the first to use the centre and it is absolutely brilliant and both a credit and asset

for Christchurch City.

Even better we volunteered to do gift packaging, front desk welcoming and various hands on duties! My heartfelt thanks to the following volunteers who gave their time over the three days:

This was a golden opportunity to promote our club and help build a bridge between the professionals and amateurs, our club name was prominent to all.

My sincere thanks and gratitude to the following volunteers: though I don’t know about the bottom name!

Gordon Nairn

Irene Siemonek

Jeff Robinson

Susan Gifford

Lee Carmichael

John Mc Cormack

John Kennewell

Lindsay Moir

Paul O’Donnell

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Jeff Robinson’s talk on Sat 7th of May, Field Day 2022

Jeff discussed how to make a bee escape board when reducing your hive to one box of brood one box of honey and a feeder for winter. 

Pests to watch out for when storing your frames over winter.

Greater and lesser wax moth and their eggs.

Franklin Clubs excellent page on wax moths
Varroa – making sure you put in your treatments for varroa and alternate the type of treatment to make sure your treatment has the greatest effect ridding your hive of varroa mite.

  • If you have honey to take off you can store it as comb in the freezer over winter.
  • If you have rogue comb, how to extract the honey simply and easily.
  • If you have weak hives or lose a queen at this stage the best thing to do is to marry up the hives using the simple newspaper method

basically the same here in NZ– without having to go into the hive to remove paper.

  • Feeding your bees in the winter:
  • Sugar syrup feeding over winter:
  • Pollen patties:

Disease recognition- why check in winter? Your bees will reduce in number with the change in season and they rely on us as beekeepers to check they are healthy and well.

Hive Beetle Trap Surveillance

We are taking part in the hive beetle trap surveillance

  • The new small hive beetle project is another example of a project based on biosecurity threat priorities. While small hive beetle isn’t known to be present in New Zealand, its proximity to our country means it’s a threat worth being prepared for.
  • This new project is unique in that it calls on volunteer beekeepers from the community to maintain traps in one of their hives. The exotic beetle traps are primarily checked by the volunteer, with the Biosecurity New Zealand surveillance team offering support. If they come across any suspect organisms during their routine checks, they will report these right away.
  • Beekeepers interested in joining the small hive beetle surveillance programme should visit the project page.

Small hive beetle is not present in New Zealand. It is a notifiable organism, which means sightings of small hive beetle should be reported as soon as possible to Biosecurity New Zealand by:

The larvae of small hive beetle cause the most damage. They tunnel through comb and consume honey, brood, and pollen. The larvae also spread a yeast, called Kodamaea ohmeri, which ferments and spoils honey and may pose a risk of causing infection in humans.

Small hive beetles among honey bees

How small hive beetle could arrive

Small hive beetle could reach New Zealand as a hidden stowaway on a range of goods. Pupae and larvae can slow their own growth which means they can hide out for long periods of time – weeks to months – before they emerge as adults. Adult beetles are capable of flying up to 15 kilometres, so could easily move between apiaries.

Download the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) fact sheet [PDF, 657 KB]

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field day

Field Day 2nd April

First a huge thank you to Bunnings who have donated a brand new BBQ, you will see it this coming Saturday!

Yes, this Saturday (Sat 2nd April), is our field day that is of course if it does not rain. I will send out a notice on Friday evening re any cancellation.

It is an important agenda because wintering down is a very necessary action with your bees to ensure success in the coming spring.

Agenda (10.35am)

Wintering Down {Treating}


                                 {Disease Checks}

                                {Hive Management}

                                 {Placing of your hive in winter}

For Newbees: 9.30 to 10.30 will be a short instruction course on hive management!

Raffle: well its still the same one: The donated brand new hive from BEELINE  . It has to go this field day so bring a few dollars and buy a (or more) tickets!

Two draws one for the hive and one for the wood ware!

Also for sale: Brand-new plastic honey jars: $50.00 for 30!

AFB Course is being held at the West Eyreton Hall on 10th April starting 9.30, which is the second Sunday. I recommend all for a refresher course only $10.00 each.

Ring Lindsay Moir 0211166 713 for more info.

On 19th May at 6.30 at 7pm Ara are holding another fundraising dinner for the club. The last was a tremendous success and everyone enjoyed the classical table service by the senior students not

to mention the delightful food. $45.00 per head book now with David Spice 027 360 1398.

No showing of passes this Saturday but EVERYONE must sign in the site book! Don’t forget your mask either.

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