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Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Ceracell and beekeeping. info@ceracell.co.nz

Ordering and Products Related:

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We have a few different methods for you to create an order with us. It is generally easiest and quickest to shop through our website and add the items you need to your cart. You can then get those items delivered or collect in-store. You can send us an email at info@ceracell.co.nz, and our friendly sales team will be able to create an order and answer any queries you may have. You can also call us at 0800 CERACELL and we help find the right products you need for whatever beekeeping situation you are in.

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We have several tiered quantity price breaks which can be viewed via the ‘bulk price discounts’ on each products page. This will bring up a window that displays that products bulk discount pricing to help you order the quantity you need at the best price. When you enter this quantity in for purchasing, the price will automatically change to that bulk discount price.

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Absolutely. We ship internationally regularly. However, prices for freight do vary and we will need to calculate this for you on a case-by-case basis. This is an option you can select during checkout. Please contact our friendly sales team for assistance.

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We offer a range of payment options; Credit/EFTPOS, Cash (for in-store collection and purchases), Paypal, Bank Transfer. Please note, if you require items urgently, please contact our friendly sales team on 09-274-7236. They can help you ensure payment is received so your items can be shipped or processed as quickly as possible. Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies (NZ) Ltd, Bank account number 02-0214-0181070-00. Please use your order number as a reference. Please note Bank transfer payments via the website show up in our bank account usually within 1-2 working day.

Beekeeping related

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Glad to see a keen new beekeeper! You are joining a growing community here in New Zealand. Our friendly sales team are well educated and most have years of experience in beekeeping. We are happy to help with your journey or solve problems you may be having with your bees. If you haven’t got any bees yet, we can help you there. We offer complete beehive packages or nucleus hives and we can help you choose the best option for you.

If you have bees already but are a bit stuck on items you need personally, we have a range of tools, smokers, protective clothing, and components you’ll need to look after them all year round. The basics of equipment and clothing that you will need to get started are:

  • A beehive, which usually consists of a base or floor, at least one brood box with frames on which the bees will build their comb, (later once your bee numbers grow, a second brood box with frames, and honey supers added as needed), a hive mat, sometimes called an inner cover or a crown board, and a lid or roof.
  • Tools to work the hive, the minimum being a smoker used to calm the bees and a hive tool, used to break the propolis (bee glue) that the bees use to fill cracks to keep out drafts and which we need to break open to get in the hive and work the frames.
  • Protective clothing, which is usually a full set of overalls, usually white, or a half jacket, then a veil, gloves and boots. Gum boots are fine.
  • A good book, such as ‘Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand’ to give guidance when you are unsure. So that’s what you need to get started--well of course you need bees too and we can point you in the right direction to source bees if you need that as well.
If you already have some of this, great. We can supply the rest and provide advice.
 
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How to start keeping bees can be confusing. The number of hives to start with is entirely up to the individual. We recommend at least two hives because with two hives you can share resources between hives. If one hive becomes queenless and fails to replace their queen, a frame of eggs can be carried over from the other hive and the queenless hive can raise their own queen. If one hive becomes low in numbers, frames of brood from the strong colony can be moved over to strengthen the weak hive. Certainly, starting with one hive is acceptable, but there is an advantage to starting with more than one.

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For commercial apiaries, four hives are usually placed on a single pallet. For hobbyists, the distance between hives is determined by the comfort of the beekeeper. The beekeeper may want to work all the hives without walking a considerable distance between each hive. I usually recommend at least 30-40cm between hives. They should be further apart when installing new packages to help prevent absconding.

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The hive should be placed in early morning sun. This gets the bees out of their hive earlier in the day to forage. In the Northeast, hives can remain in the full sun for the entire season. However, in places with warmer climates, hives should receive some afternoon shade.

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Be sure your hives have space enough space around them for you inspect the hive. You will need to bend and squat when inspecting so allow 40-50cm on at least 2 faces of the hive. Orienting the entrance of the hives towards north/north-east and can be exposed to the sun all year round. For warmer climates such as New Zealand, afternoon shade is best but not essential. You may see your bees gathering around the front of hive in the afternoon to keep the hive cooler if this is the case. Be sure there is a water source nearby that they can access.

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Varroa mites (V. destructor) is an external parasite that attach and feed on honey bees. They carry diseases giving bees varroosis and can lead to hive death. It is very important that we regularly and appropriately treat against varroa. You will need to treat you hive at least twice a year (spring and at the end of summer), but you may need to incorporate additional treatments if your hive becomes infested and the varroa count is higher than manageable levels. Varroa will be in almost every beehive in New Zealand and can spread through bee drift meaning you will need be sure to maintain treatment cycles.

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Feeding your bees is a requirement especially in the colder months or as we head into spring. Sugar syrup can be made at home with 2 parts sugar and 1 part water. Or, Ceracell supply refill sugar syrup options. Top feeders provide an easy way for the bees to access sugar syrup and means you can top it up in the colder months without disturbing the hive. Division/Internal feeders can also be used to feed sugar syrup, but drowning is more a problem, and it also means some brood frames will need to be removed to insert the feeder.

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An easy option to remove your honey supers is to use a bee escape. Our Great Escape has 10 escapes routes with ventilation to quickly (within 24hrs on average) clear the honey supers you want to collect. Simply place the Great Escape underneath the super(s) you wish to collect honey from and then come back the following day to a bee-free super to take to your shed/garage or extraction facility.

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