Friday, 26 August 2016

Planting manuka trees time

OK, so we know that the best time to plant manuka trees is autumn and winter. Then they have a good chance of establishing roots and getting lots of water before they start growing like crazy in spring.

And now its one week off September, and then officially spring. Eek. And yippee.

Our bees have certainly figured out it's spring, last weekend they were out in force.

But, its been raining and raining all winter. And raining, did I say? Not such great weather for the humans planting the trees. And on a lazy Sunday, get all rugged up in the gumboots and coat? Nah. But no worries, we planted some last weekend. Still winter, right?

Here you go:
1. Dig hole
2. Add compost
3. Bung in tree
4. Press down a bit.

Some of our new trees even have flowers. I would be picking these are the ones that we made from cuttings, which helps them reach maturity a lot earlier.

For more pictures (and words) check out Business of Bees Blog.

And, from the hot-of-the-press department, the new Pictorial Guide to Growing Manuka from Seeds (FREE!) is now available. So go on, go and download it and enjoy!

Don't forget to share it with your friends too. And add your comments below.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Manuka Honey Madness

Why is this sight of stacks of beehives going to become more familiar?

The manuka honey industry is growing like mad. The annual value of honey exports is up by 45% to $286mill in the 12 months to December 2015.

Did you catch that? 45% increase! Little old NZ!

So what does this mean? And why is it happening?

Manuka honey stats

Well, it's all from our manuka honey. And guess what? No one else makes manuka honey. IN THE WORLD!

Check out my blog post here on Business of Bees for all the in-depth stats and analysis, but the executive summary is that NZ is punching way above our weight in terms of value of honey exports. We are right up near the top in terms of $ value, although not for volume.

Which means manuka honey is much more expensive than other honeys. Well, we know this...I bought a 500g jar of honey at the market for $60 last weekend. $60! To spread on my toast!

Another great reason to get into this industry

So say you don't actually want to deal with the bees; cute furry little creatures, but they do sting. Well, how about planting manuka?

All those beekeepers are going to need manuka trees to put their beehives near, right? 

It's estimated that a new manuka plantation on marginal hill country can return 10-15% yearly on the cost of establishment.

For more on this check out the resources on Business of Bees

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Why is the NZ honey industry going crazy?

If you wanted to invest in an industry that was growing exponentially, then beekeeping is the thing. For this decade at least.

So, what's been happening?

Back in 2010 there were around 3000 registered beekeepers.
By September this year (2016) it is expected there will be 7000 registered beeks.
That's a crazy increase of 4000, or more than double (133% increase) in only 6 years.

But that's not all....Back in 2010 there were around 375,000 hives, give or take a few.
By September its expected there will be 700,000 hives. That's 186% increase.

And why? Because of the amazing, and recently discovered, properties of manuka honey and its application in medical and hospital situations. The price for a kg of true manuka honey is just rocketing. And, not unlike the Auckland house market, if I put a price on it here, it'll be out-of-date before you know it. So I'll stick to words like thriving, and flourishing, and gangbusters.

You get the picture.

If you want to read more in depth about this, and get a few more gnarly stats, check it out here. You can sign up to my email list for updates and free information here too. And don't forget to make a comment below.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Propolis Mats

Extracting Propolis from a hive

Normally, to harvest propolis, we use a propolis mat. The dribbles of the previous post are just a bonus.

A full propolis mat

Our bees make a lot of high quality propolis, and we think it is because we linseed oil our boxes and the bees just love that. It seems to keep our bees healthy too. A double win.

Another full propolis mat

This propolis goes off to someone else to make high quality health products.

And check out this great video of scraping down a propolis mat - no, its not our beeboys, they have a kiwi twang, and we just send them off and don't do it ourselves. The mats, we send the mats off for a scrape down, not the beeboys.......

If you'd like to more in-depth information, or to be sent free chapters of my new book 'Growing Manuka from Seeds and Cuttings' as they become available, check it out here and sign up to my email notification list.