Honeybees and Beekeeping

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: Lucky On: Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:55 pm

Thanks Lisa! I couldn't think of the name for the head bee guy. I have since spoke with a couple other friends and they said they have seen the same thing. An Amish buddy of mine said his neighbor near Madison IN lost eight hives after the adjoining field was sprayed. I have had bees off and on for several years and would always lose what appeared to be healthy hives in the spring. I never tried to connect it w/spraying but now I am really starting to wonder if that was not the cause of the loss.
Hate to sound like a defeatist but with all the money behind the chemical companies I don't think it would make any difference if it were (spraying) found to be a hive killer.
Lucky
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: ashland ez 50
Coal Size/Type: nut
Other Heating: lp


Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:50 am

Lucky wrote:Thanks Lisa! I couldn't think of the name for the head bee guy. I have since spoke with a couple other friends and they said they have seen the same thing. An Amish buddy of mine said his neighbor near Madison IN lost eight hives after the adjoining field was sprayed. I have had bees off and on for several years and would always lose what appeared to be healthy hives in the spring. I never tried to connect it w/spraying but now I am really starting to wonder if that was not the cause of the loss.
Hate to sound like a defeatist but with all the money behind the chemical companies I don't think it would make any difference if it were (spraying) found to be a hive killer.


The thing is there are things that can be done to mitigate chemical's impact on the bees. Take my yard, in my suburban neighborhood I can't not treat for weeds. Not doing so could impact the resale values of my house and at least the block.

So I'm very careful to put the weed killer out when the bees are not out. That's early in the morning or at dusk. Once the chemicals are dry most won't bother the bees. Farmers can do the same thing on a much larger scale. You can also make sure that you don't apply chemicals when the wind is blowing so the drift won't reach the hives. I also have a 6 ft hedge on the property line closest to the hives to block any chemical drift from the neighbors.

I try to be proactive and stop to explain this to people I see spraying during the mid-day. So far, that's been well received. Our county also posts warning signs for the scheduled mosquitoe spraying. Knowing that, I can seal up the hive and put a cover over it while the spraying is going on.

Again the trick is to spray when the bees and other pollinators are not out. It can be done but landowners have to want to make the effort. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:31 am

Morning All :)
Today I pick up 2 mated queens I have ordered from another beekeeper who orders a 'lot' from a southren state queen breeder.
My single winter survivor hive gets 'split' to make 2 additional hives, each 'split' is giving a new mated and egg laying queen.

When I open my 1 hive I expect to also see several 'queen cells' being developed in my hive and will attempt to pull a few 'ripe cells'(capped/sealed) to a 'divided double nuc box' in order to have a one each to hatch, be mated and begin egg laying on a small scale in the 4 frames of the nuc(s)...these will serve as reserve back up queens, sort of insurance and are from 'known' good over wintered local genetic stock. By fall season I'll have to utilize what I deem best and dispose of whats no longer needed.

Could I have waited to see if I had queen cells now and had forgotten the bought queens? Sure, but this gives more option now. ;)

Best quality queens are produced during 'times of plenty or maximum'...plenty number of worker bees, plenty of foods/blooms.
Once the 'queen cell' is 'capped/sealed' the addition of food is then complete...only to stay warm and to hatch is left to do.

A 'stressed ' hive cannot produce as quality of a queen from a egg for/during an 'emergency queen' replacement if the 'time of plenty' is out a skew.
Better any queen, if she mates and lays eggs, than no queen at all...which w/o is certain death, but given the chance I'll choose better quality over emergency. :) .
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sat May 06, 2017 7:22 am

Hi everyone,

For those you who are following my adventures in beekeeping, you’ll remember I started the spring by splitting the one square box hive which had made it through the winter. I did that as a swarm control measure. It was just too big.

The existing queen moved with the split to the new hive box. That new hive is going gang busters.

The original box hive was left to “raise” a new queen from young larva. 7 days after the split or artificial swarm I found 10 or so queen cells in the brood chamber that would hatch in 9 days. Only one of those queens would survive to go on their maiden flights and return to start laying eggs about day 26. Because there are no guarantees of any surviving, I left most of the queen cells in the box hive but transplanted 2 or 3 to my queen “castle.”

The castle is a simple 3 frame box hive mini hive. Its sole purpose is raise queens from young larva or queen cells.

That left me with the girls in those two hives raising queens. Those young queens hatched right on schedule, day 16. Unfortunately, that was right in the middle of a rainy period that limited their ability to conduct their maiden flights.

Due to the weather, the surviving young queen in the original hive was unable to mate and did not start laying. She missed the window of opportunity. Without a laying queen, that hive was in a death spiral. I pulled that sterile queen out of the hive on Weds. Fortunately, the young queen in the queen castle had been able to mate and was laying eggs so I moved her in the original box hive.

The girls of the box hive seem to have accepted her. I should know by Weds if she’s laying. If not, I’ll have to move to plan B.

Plan B is to start over with the resources from my other hives.

To that end I have started the girls in the queen castle raising a new queen; I might as well get a jump on it.

Take care, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sat May 06, 2017 10:03 am

Good Day All,
Yucky weather here too has and is hindering some activties in the bee yard.

From observation outside the hive...
New daughter queen has hatched over in her own 4 frame nuc that I had moved as a q/cell earlier.

Did witness some mating flight activities at that nuc during yesterdays break in an otherwise rainy stretch we have had and continue still to have.
Hope they find more mating flight opportunties again soon, as typically they do multiple flights and matings over the course of a few days.

I am going back into survior hive for a split and yet more q/cells. This survior hive has very great traits, besides being just a survivor, which I want to make every effort to maintain.

I might mention I have spotted a (survior) feral colony in a nearby hickory tree and so do likely have some drone/father other than my own survior hive. :)

Just a little bee lure: A Drone Bee (male) has NO Father...only a Grandfather on his Mother's side, :)

Cheers, McG
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: Ky Speedracer On: Tue May 09, 2017 11:39 am

Hello fellow coal burning beekeepers.
I've been hobby beekeeping for 4 years now. Marginal success. My biggest trouble is wintering my hives. I'm sure it's bee keeping error - most likely not feeding enough in the fall... but that's due to an incredibly busy late summer and fall schedule I have.
I didn't have any of my 4 hives make it through the winter this year. I have 3 typical lang hives and a couple of years ago I built a top-bar hive (just something different to tinker with...).
On Easter Sunday a massive swarm moved into the top bar hive. I posted a couple of pics below.
My wife had commented early that morning that it looked like there were several bees going in and out of that hive. I walked out with my coffee to take a look and saw several bees, maybe 15 or 20, kind of milling around the entrance and coming and going. I assumed that they were bees that were cleaning out any remaining reserves from last years hive that didn't make it over winter.
Well... about 2 hours later I was walking out of a little barn we have and I could hear this loud buzzing (it was surprisingly loud!). I looked up in the sky and it looked like a black cloud moving across the sky - almost twister like... I watched them fly from our back field over the barn and hover in the air right in front of the top-bar hive. I will say it was one of the most awesome things my wife and I have ever seen. We were literately standing 15' or so from the front of the hive with thousands of bees in the air flying around us. We stood there for 20 minutes or so watching them work their way into the hive. It took most of an hour for them all to move in.
This top bar hive is 4' long and now, it is packed full of bees. I have had a couple of large late June/July hives and this swarm was every bit that big - maybe bigger!
I have caught some swarms out of trees previously. Usually the size of a football. If I had to guess, this was the size of 6 or more footballs...

That was my large bee swarm story... Now for my hive entrance question.
Last week we had another average sized swarm move into one of the lang hives. The pic below shows about half of them. I didn't see them actually come in. Just happened to be out mowing and noticed the activity back there.
So my question is - They are using the top entrance instead of the normal bottom entrance. I thought maybe after they were in the hive for a couple of days they may begin using the lower entrance but, not really. There are some using the lower entrance but just a fraction of what uses the top.
I assume I could possible raise the lid and lay something over the opening of the inner cover for a day or two to try and force them to use the lower entrance?? But I don't know if it's even necessary to move them down. The only real disadvantage I can think of is when I need to go into the hive to work it or add supers on it.

Any thoughts?

Thanks...Steve
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Ky Speedracer
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Florence HotBlast NO.68 & Potbelly
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: HotBlast 1557M
Coal Size/Type: Ky Lump & Anthracite Nut
Other Heating: Oil

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Tue May 09, 2017 9:47 pm

Isn't Nature Grand 8-)

They will naturally (slowly) move down lower in the hive as they gradually fill up with honey above, because as you know, they fill honey from the top down. And once the overnight temps allow, open that reduced size bottom entrance to make it a obvious better entry point for them.

If you dare, after a good 2 weeks of being arrived in the double lang, you could "reverse" those 2 hive bodies from top to bottom and "trick" the queen into moving again upward and get to work in that now upper (empty) hive body even quicker. :idea:
This will get the worker population numbers up sooner to where you may even be able to get a decent honey crop from this swarm hive this season. :)
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Wed May 10, 2017 7:28 pm

Awesome! Don't you just love free bees?

I was in my hives today and all three have laying queens. That is a good thing since the honey flow is under way. If all goes as planned it should be a banner year!. Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea


Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun May 21, 2017 9:30 am

Hi everyone,

Not much demanding my attention in the my backyard beeyard right now. I was fortunate to have the everything ready at the same time the honey flow started.

What does that mean? It means the hives all have a productive queens that have produced a high number of bees to produced a large amount of honey. It also means that hive doesn't have any pests or diseases that are slowing down the production. It could all change tomorrow but right now, it still looks good for a bountiful harvest.

The big addition for me this year was the queen castle. To date I've raised 4 additional queens that I've either placed in my hive or provided to fellow beekeepers who lost theirs for one reason or another. I figure I'll raise 2 more and then call it quits for the year.

A fellow beekeeper called last week and asked if I could come help with finding a queen. That's always a challenge but more so in this hive as it was "hot." Not Africanized but really nasty. These bees were stinging much more then what's acceptable and not just in defense of the hive. They were bothering people as far away as 30 yard on the other side of the house.

Our initial idea was to requeen this hive with one of my gentle queens. Doing that will change the personality of the hive in about 6 weeks. However, when we got in the hive it became clear this queen and hive had to go. The bees were attacking us and we received several stings despite being suited up. There were a large number of drones in the hive and that meant that they would be mating with virgin queens from other hives in the neighborhood, not to mention mine. Bees with this disposition can not be tolerated in a suburban setting.

The hive was killed by using dry ice. Doing it that way allowed the beekeeper to salvage the honey. This hive was great honey producer.

The beekeeper was able to find a new package of bees and we are going to install them this afternoon.

Hopefully, it will go much smoother then my last visit to the hive.
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Mon May 22, 2017 12:34 pm

Ya did what you thought was best and that is always a Good Thing. :)

Remember my earlier post of all Drones never having any Daddy? (genetics)

The Drones in that hive have but only a Granddaddy on their Mother's side...never a Daddy, so, them Drones were not necessarily from the "hot" genetics. :)

I too have had to deal with, on occasion, a "hot" hive in order to Re-Queen and change the disposition of a bee colony...so I can fully relate to your experience.

Another trick or tip is to have a "double screen board" and then to slip it in between the 2 brood boxes in the stack of this trouble hive and wait a few days...best to also have a hole drilled for a upper entrance in hive box above the added "screen" barrier.

A Double Screen is two pieces of window screen stapled about an inch a part, one piece on each side of a 3/4 - 1 inch frame or rim of wood the size of the hive box body and with a cross piece in the center so screen never sags to touch in the middle.

What is desired here is to stop the transfer of "queen pheromones" or "queen Substance" from bee mouth to bee mouth in between the two divided colony halves. This will easily show better of the queen's "for sure" location is, will signal a state of "queenlessness" in the opposite side of screen and at the same time is restricting and retaining any queen(s) movement to only one side.
This screen will still allows heat, ventilation and the hive's scent to remain as "common/all one" and no fighting will take place between the halves on either side.

After a few days it can be quickly determined which half or side of the "hot queen brood boxes" she now actually resides in by seeing which of the 2 halves has any young eggs recently laid in the combs...there resides your "hot" queen.

Carefully keep hive sections separated as to not allow for any way for the queen to move back across your temporary boundary in order to use this division to your best advantage. Knowing where she is and where she is NOT helps greatly rather than searching the entire hive population as they "race around" "helter-skelter" everywhere.

Now even if you still cannot find this "hot" queen at this "first go around" in order to remove her you can at least now attempt to introduce a New Queen into the "queen-less side" of this "division" and after a few days again come back and look for that pesky "hot" queen still on her side of the divider screen again.

The big plus here is that you have a 2-queen colony (because of your barrier) during this process and the acceptance of new queen is over even before you do eventually locate and "toss out" (read squash) that old "hot" queen. ;)

Oh, and ya might still get a bumper honey crop from this procedure too! :D

HTH

A new Package of bees is north of $100.00 bucks. :cry:
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon May 22, 2017 6:23 pm

Thanks for the tip on the double screen. I have one but have never used it.

We were unable to find the queen. The rest of the bees in the hive were too hot to keep anyway. The owner disposed of them and was able to buy a local nuclear hive or a nuc to replace it. That's a mini hive consisting of only 5 frames of comb.

I went over there yesterday and helped transfer the frames to top bars. The new bees are very gentle so it didn't take long. We marked the queen so we could find her again. My friend will check it out on Friday; hopefully, it will be growing.

It's too bad he had to kill the hive because those girls were some kind of honey producers. There were rows upon rows of comb dripping with honey. We'll see how the new ones work out. Lisa

Check out this article - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/120000-bees ... s-ceiling/ How'd you like to find that in your attic?
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Mon May 22, 2017 11:00 pm

The life span of a worker bee during a decent honey flow is around 4 weeks. They fly themselves to death. ;)
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek