David and Rachel settled in the Far North building their home and business on the site of the old Paranui Schoolhouse in 1981.
David began breeding queen bees in 1982 from foundation stock collected from all over New Zealand.
Daykel Apiaries came into formal existence in 1984.
Concerned that existing New Zealand bee stocks lacked vigour, we introduced genetics from the Western Australian Department of Agriculture Bee Breeding Program with importations of pooled semen in 1988 and 1989. We were rewarded with an amazing increase in the vigour of our stock.
Daykel Apiaries with a group of 25 commercial beekeepers established the NZ Bee Genetic Improvement Group (NZBGIG) in 1990. David managed the program throughout the 90’s with the goal of improving NZ’s commercial bee stocks.
During this period, David was contracted by MAF as part of a Beekeeping Aid Program in the Solomon Islands. David made several trips up to the Islands, and took Daykel Italian bee semen with him in an effort to improve their bee stocks.
With the arrival of the Varroa Mite, Daykel established the Varroa Tolerance Improvement Program(VTIP) with selected participants in 2000. Daykel, with the group, worked to improve varroa tolerance.
In 2004, after more than 15 years of persistence by David, MAF finally issued a workable Import Health Standard to allow the importation of Carnica Semen from Apiculture Institutes in Austria and Germany.
Daykel carried out multiple importations of large volumes of Semen from these Institutes from 2004 – 2006. The result was a broadly based population of Carnica Honey Bees in NZ that was virtually indistinguishable from the Old World Carnica from which the Semen was sourced. This new Carnica Population added much needed genetic variation to NZ commercial bee stocks.
During the period of the Carnica importations, the Italian Bee stock we had worked to improve since 1981 was transferred to BettaBees. Daykel Italian bee semen was put over the BettaBees Foundation Stock for the first 2 generations. BettaBees continues to maintain and improve this Italian population today.
After the final importation in 2006, the Daykel Carniolan Population was closed off, and has been maintained and improved over the years since using instrumental insemination.
In March 2016, Daykel Apiaries was hit by a mass poisoning and 3 separate hive thefts, which destroyed almost half of our hives and mating nucs, but fortunately spared most of the Closed Population. Today, Our hive numbers have mostly recovered.
2017 marks 11 years since we closed off our Carnica Population. It has come time to consider introducing new genetic material to boost genetic variation.
Because there is no operational Import Health Standard for Honey Bee Genetic Material, and because we don’t see this situation changing for the foreseeable future, we started work last season to establish a hybrid closed population to maximise genetic variation, and boost vigour in our bee stocks. These are ‘Kiwi Cross Queens’ and we will have limited numbers available for sale from October, 2017.