Honeybees and Beekeeping

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:30 pm

You are braver than I, messing in the brood chamber this late.
Mother Nature already has her plan for a break in egg laying/brood raising right around the corner. Besides that you would not find any drone brood (male) now...look on the ground in front of your hives...drones and immature drone brood have been expelled as trash at this time. Those mites' days are numbered. You cannot do better than what Ma Nature has already set into motion. :)

The naturally now ever contracting size of the brood nest area is to get strategiclly packed/filled in with pollen and honey provisions in the reverse order from how it needs to open back up starting sometime in January when temps and forage times can be tough and the population will be at it's lowest...best not mess with. :)
McGiever
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:47 pm

You're probably right. I think I'm going to rethink things. Although the calendar says I have time, the weather may not agree. We have been known to have blizzards as early as Veterans Day.

Thanks for speaking up. As you can tell I often get carried away with what could be done rather then whether or not it's a good idea. I always appreciate the advice of a more experienced beekeeper. Thanks for your input, Lisa
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:54 pm

lowfog01 wrote:You're probably right. I think I'm going to rethink things. Although the calendar says I have time, the weather may not agree. We have been known to have blizzards as early as Veterans Day.

Thanks for speaking up. As you can tell I often get carried away with what could be done rather then whether or not it's a good idea. I always appreciate the advice of a more experienced beekeeper. Thanks for your input, Lisa


It would of been very easy to of been silent, I'm glad you were not upset for my speaking up. :)
McGiever
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: SWPaDon On: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:20 am

ere is the next thing for you beekeepers to be aware of:

Beleaguered bees hit by 'deformed wing virus'

https://www.yahoo.com/news/beleaguered- ... 45414.html
SWPaDon
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:20 pm

McGiever wrote:
lowfog01 wrote:You're probably right. I think I'm going to rethink things. Although the calendar says I have time, the weather may not agree. We have been known to have blizzards as early as Veterans Day.

Thanks for speaking up. As you can tell I often get carried away with what could be done rather then whether or not it's a good idea. I always appreciate the advice of a more experienced beekeeper. Thanks for your input, Lisa


It would of been very easy to of been silent, I'm glad you were not upset for my speaking up. :)


I don't know how I missed this back in OCT.

I appreciate the input. It doesn't bother me when anyone provides a different view. It's how you learn; I can get carried away and sometimes it takes a strong rope to pull me back. You needn't worry about upsetting me. You have a lot more knowledge of beekeeping then I have - not to listen would be a waste of a great resource. Sorry it took so long to reply, take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:40 pm

SWPaDon wrote:ere is the next thing for you beekeepers to be aware of:

Beleaguered bees hit by 'deformed wing virus'

https://www.yahoo.com/news/beleaguered- ... 45414.html


"Deformed wing virus "had a strongly negative overall effect," the study concluded." This is one of the side viruses associated with the Varroa Mite. You see it when your hive has a high mite count. I had it one of my hives a few years ago. The only thing I know to do is create an artificial break in the brood by removing the queen for a brood cycle; no brood, no place for the Varroa mites to bred. Even so, it's a 50/50 crap shoot that the hive will survive. Mine did but I lost a lot of bees and therefore honey production.

The Varroa mite is the cause of most of the evil confronting bees and beekeepers today. Most everything wrong in the hive can be traced back to it. Thanks for passing on the information, spreading knowledge about the problems facing bees can only help. Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:37 pm

Hi Dave and everyone,

Yes, overall the local beekeepers here are reporting total loss of their stock. The only reason I was able to winter the hive I did was because I took my losses in the fall. In Oct I lost one hive due to a mite treatment gone wrong; the queen died. Of the remaining two, one was so weak there was no way it would make it through the winter. It just didn't have any number of bees required to keep the hive warm. So I combined the three of them. That gave me a pretty strong hive going into the winter and that's why it made it. That and the fact anytime it was above 50* I would stick more bee fudge in it. Fortunately, we had a mild winter.

As soon as the spring weather stabilizes I'm going to split that survivor hive and I'll have two. Additionally, DK gave me a package of bees for Christmas which will be delivered Apr 10th. That will bring me back up to the 3 hives I normally keep.

I'm on swarm watch - if the survivor hive swarms before I can split it, those bees will probably be lost to the woods. Hopefully, the weather will let me inspect the brood nest in the next week or two and I can see how much time I have to create an artificial swarm/split.

There is always something interesting to think about with beekeeping. I'd like to think it's the most challenging thing I've ever done but I drive a school bus and heat my house with a coal stove. ;)
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:42 pm

After losing 4 out of 5 colonies I did an autopsy on the dead 4. All 4 had honey remaining, 3 had very few remaing dead bees within and 1 did have many remaining dead bees within.

I am not a big fan of southern raised bees but they do help us northern beekeepers to get a big jump-start when it is necessary.

There are some local beekeeping fellows nearby whom compile multiple large collective group orders (trailer loads ) of 3 pound packages and air mailed mated and laying queens w/ a couple or 3 different delivery dates from around mid April to into early May.

Beekeeping is somewhat popular here, especially in the rural regions and espescially even more among the Mennonites and the Amish communities here in both PA and Ohio sides of the state line.

I haven't needed to late winter/spring feed my bees in quite a long time till now. And my strain of bees I have had has shown to be a nice smaller size winter clusters (frugal) and build up very rapidly when the season recovered from the dormant winter, this was a plus. They had a negative too, they were too aggressive towards anything getting too close to the hive, but I/we put up with it.
I had hopes of trying to cull out that aggressive trait with a more gentle stock while still maintaining the desirable wintering and honey producing traits.

On a side note, I would like maybe to try the Russian Queens as an experiment to see first hand how they do. :idea:
McGiever
 
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Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:07 am

McGiever wrote:After losing 4 out of 5 colonies I did an autopsy on the dead 4. All 4 had honey remaining, 3 had very few remaing dead bees within and 1 did have many remaining dead bees within.


Sadly, the truth is bees die. You can do everything by the book and they still die.

McGiever wrote:I am not a big fan of southern raised bees but they do help us northern beekeepers to get a big jump-start when it is necessary.

There are some local beekeeping fellows nearby whom compile multiple large collective group orders (trailer loads ) of 3 pound packages and air mailed mated and laying queens w/ a couple or 3 different delivery dates from around mid April to into early May.


In our area, the few beekeeping shops we have provide trailer loads of bees from the south. Those bees are the source of most of our livestock needs. The state Apiarist is really pushing hard to get VA beekeepers to buy locally bred bees. The problem is there just aren't enough local bee breeders. Data collected on the survival rate of the southern bees are not good. Apparently, 70% of those colonies swarm or die within a few months. It's cash cow for the southern breeders; packages of bees cost upward of $135 and if you are replacing them yearly, well you do the math.

McGiever wrote:Beekeeping is somewhat popular here, especially in the rural regions and especially even more among the Mennonites and the Amish communities here in both PA and Ohio sides of the state line.


I like to think that backyard beekeeping is growing around here but if it is it's not growing by leaps and bounds. We get a lot of people looking into to it but not following through. It's a big financial and time commitment.

McGiever wrote:I haven't needed to late winter/spring feed my bees in quite a long time till now. And my strain of bees I have had has shown to be a nice smaller size winter clusters (frugal) and build up very rapidly when the season recovered from the dormant winter, this was a plus. They had a negative too, they were too aggressive towards anything getting too close to the hive, but I/we put up with it.
I had hopes of trying to cull out that aggressive trait with a more gentle stock while still maintaining the desirable wintering and honey producing traits.


It sounds like you had Carniolan bees. They have all the traits you mentioned. I tried them once but the defensiveness is a major no go in my urban setting. I can't let people walking in their own yard to get repetitively stung. I called them the Mafia bees because they had such strong personalities. :( Fortunately, changing the personality of a bee colony is a matter of replacing the queen; six weeks after you do that and it's an entirely different hive. I don't enjoy getting stung so I went back to the more gently Italian breed.

McGiever wrote:On a side note, I would like maybe to try the Russian Queens as an experiment to see first hand how they do. :idea:


A family in our bee club breeds Russians, the Richland Honey Bee Company, http://www.richlandbees.com/bees.html. They are in high demand but they also have a negative reputation of defensiveness. I'm trying to stock my hives with "ankle biter" mite eating queens. http://www.mountainstatequeens.com/ Check out the website, they are doing exciting things in the fight with the Varroa mites. I'll try to order some of those queens in the fall to replace the ones from the packages. If not I'll order some for early 2018.

It turned out Mother Nature isn't done with us yet, we've got snow and ice in the forecast today. Bummer.
lowfog01
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: grumpy On: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:16 pm

Bumblebees make US endangered-species list for first time

https://www.cnet.com/news/rusty-patched ... ed-states/
grumpy
 

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: olpanrider On: Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:22 pm

Had a cherry tree cut down a couple weeks ago. There is a honey bee hive in it. They are still there so I assume they must have honey and a queen. Free to anybody that may want them!! Just come and get them.
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:14 pm

The spring build up is going full force here in Northern VA. The square box hive I took put all my hives in for the winter had grown to two full brood boxes and at least 35,000 bees. When I looked in the hive last weekend the bees were really crammed in there. That's one of the things you look for to predict swarming. I looked a little deeper and found several queen cups and queen cells.

If you find those you know the hive is preparing a new queen to stay behind when the old queen leaves with the swarm. The clock was ticking. I needed to create an artificial swarm quickly and do it before the developing queens hatched.

I split the hive on Weds. I put the existing queen and 3 frames of brood in an empty hive. Then I shook several frames of nurse bees into the hive and closed it up. The use of nurse bees are important because they haven't flown yet and won't return to the original hive.

This left the original hive with several empty replacement frames to fill with comb and a new queen to raise. Hopefully, that has driven all thoughts of swarming from the original colony. I'll go into the hive on our next good weather day and see how things are going.

I was in the new colony today and the girls have cleaned up the mess I made creating the split and had begun to draw new comb. The queen is laying brood.

I am expecting a package of bees on APR 10 for my third hive. That hive already has drawn comb, pollen and some stored honey in it. It just needs bees. All three of the hives should be in excellent shape for the upcoming honey flow.
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:07 pm

With my one survivor hive I am prepping it for the arrival of 2 Buckfast Queens on April 22. Being more northerly makes for latter seasons.
In preparation I will have reversed the hive bodies twice to encourage maximum brood rearing by giving extra open combs to keep that queen laying eggs and jump start a booming population of worker bees just in time to "split" that one survivor hive into three hives with the 2 new queens heading up the 2 additional hives made from the "splits".

Buying queens cost considerably less than buying any 3 pound packages of bees w/ a laying queen. And lessens the chance of bringing parasites and other afflictions from the southern bee supplier/producers up to one's bee location.

Through the course of the spring season I am planning to propagate some new virgin queens from my "survivor hive" and move them out to have them mate and begin egg laying in some small nucleus hive boxes. Then come fall I can remove any older queen I see not fit and replace them with my "survivor stock" in hopes of having improved winter time survival rates...however, the Buckfast line of bees I made the "slits" with are bred for many selected good traits and good wintering is one of their big traits, so we shall see.

FYI: It takes 14 days for a fertile bee egg to develop into a adult queen...worker is 21...drone (unfertile egg) is 28 days.
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McGiever
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:55 am

As Dave pointed out timing is everything in Bee keeping. Queens take around 15 day from the egg getting laid to hatching. My day one was 29 March when I split the winter survivor hive; moving the existing queen with the split. No problem there, that split should have been go to go. No worries, there. :roll:

The survivor hive would make their new queen from an egg 3 days or younger. All bees receive the same food, royal jelly, until day 3. If that protein rich diet continues past day 3 that larva will be come a queen.

April 5th I went into the survivor hive to search for queen cells. I found somewhere around 15 in various stages of development, but most importantly I found several of them had been capped and were continuing to develop as queens. :clap: I could expect a queen to hatch in about 7 days or around the 13th or 14th of Apr.

Discovering this didn't take too long so I decided to look in the split and see if that queen was laying eggs. She wasn't. :cry: In fact, I couldn't find her or any sign she ever existed. That hive was in a death spiral and had no resources to break it.

Fortunately, I had a large number of queen cells and nurse bees in the survivor hive. My problem was that the queen cells were in a square box hive and my split was in a rectangler long box hive. The removable frames are not interchangeable.

The solution to that is quite easy, actually. I cut "plugs" of comb with the queen cells out of the donor frames and re-planted them in the split. I was careful not to come too close to the queen cells as I cut them out. I put more nurse bees and 3 capped queen cells in the split. They will hatch about the same time as the queen cells in the survivor hive. :baby:

So everything is good to go, right. Maybe, maybe not. The first thing the newly hatched queen will do is find the remaining queen cells and kill them by stinging them. Then the queen will wait 4 or 5 days to harden her shell before she leaves the hive on her maiden flight. She may have to make 3 or 4 flights to insure she collects enough sperm for a lifetime of laying eggs or she may became some bird's lunch.

If that happens, I'll have to start all over with 3 day young eggs. I'll have to find some of those in a friend's hive. That's the plan but remember I need each hive to have a large number of nurse bees, too, to tend the new brood and those girls have been becoming honey makers with a life span of 6 weeks in the summer. They've been dying all along.

And that's why honey is so expensive ;)
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:14 am

Have already done the second 'brood box reversal', and that hive's population is increasing rapidly. The new Buckfast Queens that I pre-ordered are due April 22 and will allow me to 'split' and create 2 additional bee colonies from that one winter survivior colony.

I just might even move a 'unhatched daughter queen cell' from the survivour, if/when available, into a special small nucleus box to have as a 'backup queen(s)' in the 'waiting', just in case. I learned to always keep 'spare laying queens' thru out the spring/summer and for the fall queen replacement if needed. ;)
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
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