Not for the M.B.'s of the world, and those with 30 years experience, but for the new beekeepers, here is a test to start some discussions and maybe help you a little. Write down your answers and a day or two from now we can go over the answers and debate a few I'm sure. So answer yes or no, or write the letter choice.
1) Did you perform at least TWO mite tests this past year?
2)Do you know how old your queen is?
3)Do you know how much reserves your hives have now, and how much they will need till spring?
4)If you are installing a hive box on an existing hive to expand the brood chamber, and one of the frames of foundation is damaged, do you know what to do with it? (None extra is available)
5)Have you read a COMPLETE bee book within the past year?
6)If you find your queen still in the cage 48 hours later and being ignored, the best choice would be A) remove the queen cage B) Close up and wait another 48 hours
7) If you lose a queen, how many days would it take for brood to supply new bees from a new queen that they raised? A)At least 41 days. B) No more than 30 days. C)No more than 21 days
8)During the last week of spring, you observe bees hanging out and little forage activity. What would be the wisest choice? A) Look for queen cells B) Lift the cover a bit, they need ventalation. C) Replace queen, she is producing lazy bees.
9)A friend has given you a hive and you don't have alot of information about the hive. Hive seems a little weak. What would be best?
A) Replace queen B) Treat with strips for good measure to start mite free. C) Swap brood frames with other hives to build up the numbers.
10)You need to replace a missing brood chamber frame (one) with foundation. Where should you place it? A) In the middle of the brood since they will draw it best. B) Put it on the far outside of the box. C) Put it on the outside of the exising brood area.
Can you tell I can't wait till spring.
Does anyone have any challenging tests from courses or meetings? Just for kicks and conversation.
As one who is anticipating getting his first bees this comming spring I am interested to see how this post develops. Great idea, keep the questions comming.
[This message has been edited by mattoleriver (edited January 02, 2004).]
Others have told me;
"Better to remain silent, and thought dumb, than to open mouth and remove all doubt."
But, here are my answers:
2) Maybe - New packace Apr 03, but she was marked "White".
3) Have now-Yes, Need-No
9) All three?
I could use your help!
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
Thanks Dave and George. For those who may of written down the answers, they are as follows.
Questions 1-2-3 and 5 are really to ask yourself whether you are on top of things and doing everything you can to be the best beekeeper you can. Knowing the age of your queen, proper testing, the state of your hive and constantly learning is important.
#4. If you must put damaged foundation on, then place on the outside and never in the middle for brood cells. If they make drone cells, they may just fill with honey anyways. It will also be less disruptive later if you choose to replace when you get some more foundation.
#6. A - This indicates another queen was in the package. You should do an inspection for eggs or another queen. You can isolate this queen cage making a nuc, then introduce later if needed.
#7. A. This is why unless you have other hives to boost with frames of brood, always requeen as soon as possible. A hive without fresh bees for this period of time may be lost to beetle, wax moths, robbing, or other desease.
#8. A. Hanging out may be a sign of needed ventilation, but lack of foraging at this time indicates preparation of swarming. Look for queen cells.
#9 A. Good idea if you dont know the age. (B) would only be done if test results required it, and (C) may spread desease to other hives. Keeping poor producing queens is not good. Requeening can correct many problems.
10. C - good to expand the brood area, and will not be ignored. Never split the brood frames with foundation.
There may be situations that indicate, require or allow you to achieve or complete other options, but in general terms of everyday practice, these would be the correct answers. Now is that PC enough for you....
Anyone else have any tests, etc??
Great information BjornBee.
I've been doing a lot of reading this winter in anticipation. I had my first hive last year and I'm expanding to 3 this spring. I need all the information I can get.
1) What methods do you use to check for mites? screened bottom boards? This is the question I didn't do well on...
2) How many hives would require having a nuc handy in case a queen fails?
Good post. I did ok on the quiz, but wasn't sure about #10. I was stuck between A and C. Could you tell me what negative ramifications could result from splitting the brood nest with a frame of foundation? Thanks.
With one to three, I probably would not keep a nuc. Keeping one is a great learning item though. If I had more than that I would keep a nuc or two. It seems that at any given time throughout the summer, you may have about a 10% chance of having a queenless hive. If your on top of the queen cells and management techniques, than chances would be lower. Ordering one queen is no big deal. Needing one every week for 3-5 months is another thing.
I am not afraid of having the state inspector do the tests. I am always present and look at it as a positive learning experience. I also do sugar rolls but not as often as I should. Opening up a few drone cells, and actually knowing what a mite looks like on a bee is helpful.
Generally speaking its always good advice not to split a brood area. A late spring cold snap or early frost prior to drawing this frame out could have bad results (killing brood). You also may be isolating the queen and further pushing along swarming urges. Adding it to the edge of the brood area will expand brood comb but without any risks involved. Thats not to say in the middle of the summer, with a strong hive, that you could not do it, and frame swapping (ie, brood expansion, honey bound, etc) are manipulations that are performed by beekeepers, but for specific reasons.
You probably don't NEED a nuc at all. But I think even if you have one hive it's nice to keep one around. In fact, especially if you only have one hive. You'll have a spare queen. You can boost your hive with frames of brood from the nuc (if you want to keep it small) and you can open it more often without disrupting the production of your hive and learn a lot (as Bjorn has said).
A nuc could be useful in a number of ways if a person would think a little bit.You can use it to draw out foundation. Rob a rack of brood from it. And the list goes on. correct me if I am wrong.
An MDA splitter is a cardboard version of a nuc. MDA sells them in plastic and untreated cardboard and Dadant sells them in waxed cardboard. They fold flat and will fit under your seat in the car. But here's their list from their web site.
MDA Splitter uses:
Take two frames of brood with bees and one frame with a little honey and place in the Splitter. Shake one more frame of bees, add the caged queen, two side frames and move to a new location. Check the queen and transfer the frames to the hive in a week.
2. Sell Splits
Same as above, but for income should be worth a 3-pound package plus $2.50 a frame.
3. Swarm Control
Same as above but you have the option to reunite the split after the swarming season and during the honey flow. Place the old queen in the split and requeen the parent hive (artificial swarming).
4. Pollination Unit
Same as above but price according to strength. After pollination you have the first three options.
5. Harvesting Queen Cells
When you see queen cells in the parent hive place that frame with bees in the Splitter add extra bees and move to a new location. Harvest the $10-$12 dollar queen in two weeks.
6. Mating Queen Cells
Same as above, but place a queen cell in the unit.
7. Extra Nucs For ReQueening
Same as above as it is wise to keep 10% of your production count in available nucs. Requeen with newspaper method when production queen fails.
8. Rearing Queen Cells
Place sealed brood in the 2&4 position and place the graft in the number 3 position. You should have 4 or 5 pounds of nurse bees with feed and pollen.
9. Queen Bank
Same as above but place queen bank frame in 3 position.
10. Breeder Queen
Place breeder queen with one brood frame in 3 position. Shake 3 pounds of nurse bees and place empty comb in 2&4 position. Feed and remove the comb with eggs every 24 hours. Place this comb in strong colony above an excluder for care. All larvae will be the right age for grafting in 3 days (no hunting for larvae). You can do this continually every day. The center brood comb keeps the breeder queen and unit happy.
11. Drawing Comb
Same as above but place foundation in the 1,2,4 and 5 position. Feed and it is possible to remove frames 2 and 4 everyday. You can brush off the bees and place the drawn comb frame with or without eggs in the support colony. Keep 3 or 4 pounds of bees in the unit. Queen will want to expand the brood nest so you force them to draw out comb. Should be able to harvest 10 combs a week. If you make $1.00 a comb you can make $40.00 a month per unit.
12. Catching Swarms
Keep several in the truck KD with extra drawn combs so you will always be ready.
13. Bait Hives
Place at least one empty comb in unit and place around countryside.
14. Transporting Bees
Cut rectangular opening in box to match the slot in the frame support. Place 1/8-inch hardware cloth or screen between the frame support and the front and back of unit for cross ventilation. Shake bees into the unit and move where desired.
15. Transporting Brood
Same as above only you fill the Splitter with brood and bees and use as needed in other yards.
16. Selling Brood
Same as above but sell the brood and bees per frame.
17. Transporting Honey
Collect frames of honey as you work through the apiary. Brush off the bees and place honey in splitter to prevent robbing.