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Thread: Simplicity

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  1. #1
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    I've noticed my operation is both simpler and more complex than most. But lets focus on simpler.

    When I can, I only feed honey and I only use one size frames and I try not to use any chemcials. I usually don't use an excluder unless I have a good reason. If you don't use any essential oils or chemicals and you don't feed syrup and you have all the same size frames here are the problems you avoid.

    You don't have to worry about whether you have supers on or not, because you don't feed anything that isn't honey.

    You don't have to worry about extracting something that was in the brood chamber, to make room in a honey bound brood nest etc, because it's all honey. No chemicals, no sugar syrup, no essential oils.

    You can take frames out of supers and add them to the brood chambers and food chambers of weak hives to get them through the winter.

    You can bait up your supers either with honey or brood from the brood nest to get them to work in them.

    You don't have to mess with an excluder and the bees don't have to fight through it over and over and over.

    You have less swarms because if the queen gets too crowded (one of the leading causes of swarms) she can lay wherever she wants.

    If the queen lays in a super you can move the frame back down to the brood nest and swap it with a frame of honey.


    How many of you have these problems:

    Brood in the super and it's a shallow so you can't move it to the brood chamber because it's a deep.

    Honey bound brood nest, can't extract the honey because of fear of chemical contamination.

    Lots of honey in shallow or medium supers but I need honey in deeps to put in week colonies.

    A brood nest of mixed sizes and I want to rearrange it, but can't because one box is a medium and one is a deep.

    A deep box full of honey and I can't lift it.

    Can't feed syrup right now because there are still supers on.

    You would like to treat for mites, but can't because there are supers on and a late honey flow.

    Bees don't want to work the supers because of the queen excluder.


    I understand some of you are starting out and don't have honey to feed. Sugar syrup is better than starvation. Also many of you, like me, blundered into beekeeping following the "recomended procedures" and haven't figured out how simple life can be.

  2. #2
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    Hi Micheal,

    All good thoughts. Almost all of which I have dealt with, I have little problems with these nowadays.

    The one problem I have out of the whole bunch is that I have around 150 shallow supers. As you metion tough to swap frames around when not standardized. I will keep them however as above the third deep there is little problem for me to use them. Also are good for cut comb if I should choose to produce it. But all in all I have standardized with deep boxes.

    I guess the key though here is the flexibility through simplicity.

    Clay
    Clay's Bee Page- http://wave.prohosting.com/clay2720/

  3. #3
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    If I could only lift full Deeps I would have standardized on them too.

    I also have some oddball stuff around. Shallows, DE boxes that are different dimensions. Like you, I try to just use above the basic unlimited brood nest area so I just harvest it anyway, but it would be nicer if it was all the same. Also I save them for last. You can get cut comb from mediums too. This year I have tried to save all of those oddball ones for last and haven't used them hardly at all.

  4. #4
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    MB, Thanks, this is good. As I start to get ready for my second year your insights on standardizing are very helpful. I've pretty much decided to go forward with all mediums utliziing my deeps for feeder covers on new colonies. Now the next decision is should I go with all wax or spring for Perma Comb? cj

  5. #5
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    Wink

    I'm a wood and wax kinda guy. MB I'm sure likes the stuff but been dabblin' in that plastic permacomb stuff ;> ) Use what you like.........

    Clay
    Clay's Bee Page- http://wave.prohosting.com/clay2720/

  6. #6
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    Size of frames is the most important standardization because it makes the frames of honey/brood/pollen interchanable. I'm mixing wax and PermaComb all the time. You can always try a litte PermaComb and see how you like it first. I am wax coating mine to get small cells and that has been a messy process that has been some work to perfect but has worked beyond my best expectations for regressing. If you want to wax coat it I will try to give you a detailed description of what I'm doing. If you're not going to wax coat it, I would go for small cell foundation or no foundation, myself. I would not use the artificially enlarged foundation.

  7. #7
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    Why do you find small cell to be so important? Should'nt FGMO (fogging and cords) control mites adequately?

  8. #8
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    More accurately, should'nt FGMO fogging/cords), SBBs and hygenic queens adequately control mites. On top of these controls, isn't small cell a lot of work for the incremental mite reduction? cj

  9. #9
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    Dee and Ed Lusby have been doing nothing but small cell and housel positioning, genetics (breeding survivors), feeding only honey etc. for control of everything and succeeding at it. Think of the simplicity. Not oils, no chemicals, no treatments. Just raise bees. Small cell can be a lot of work to get to if you're in a hurry. It can be just routine culling of combs if you want to take your time. Either way the bees are obviously happier building natural sized cells instead of the artificially enlarged ones, and they are healthier. Why would you NOT want natural sized cells?

  10. #10
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    A few points.

    Bees have been breed over the years for honey collection traits, etc. Are we forgetting these so-called advancements in selection? Most garden plants, dogs, seeds, etc, has been altered or selected over time for positive traits. This does not have to be a bad thing.

    The lusby's still cull drone brood as I understand. Very tedious and not something the average beekeeper does. Small cell still requires added steps for success. In comparision, FGMO has bonified testimony that it creates mite free hives. Does small cell handle the T-mits also as FGMO?

    I will assume the lusby's are well above the average beekeeper in ability and management of the hives they have. Thier ability may go a further step that the average beekeeper can or does not achieve.

    If my comb is to last 5-20 years as it can, then small cell or natural progression is being achieved all the time. If you have standard comb now, then figuring the added cost of transition, the time involved, the steps like culling that is then required, then the benefits for me are a wash. Would comb on small cell need to be replaced more often as cell size continues to decrease?

    It would be a shame to go through the time/expense and then find out the mites have the ability, like most pests, to change in time to the enviroment.

    The question was asked concerning SBB, better queens, FGMO, if this creates mite free enviroments.....Why also go small cell? Not that anyone has suggested that anyone do all of the above, just perhaps the question could be answered by suggesting that a combination of IPM steps can or could be employed of your choice, and if the end result is achieved, thats the goal.

    As with any of the applications, the pro/con has to be balanced as to your time/expense/expertise level, etc.

    I'll say one thing about beekeepers in general, and it may even rub some the wrong way. Take Apistan as example, the LEVEL of
    resistance has been directly related to the misuse of this product. Yes, some resistance as with most drugs would happen. I'm talking the increased level. Now if the average beekeeper has no respect or can't apply this medication properly. Then as they say "God help them..".

    The lusby's, Dr. R, M.B., or others, are successful in the applications they choose, because the level of their expertise, the diligence they exercise, and factors the average beekeeper does not have. Poor beekeeping will always result in dead hives.

  11. #11
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    Ok, so is the idea that once you get to small cell you can eliminate all other IPM (or other treatments)? cj

  12. #12
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    <<I'll say one thing about beekeepers in general, and it may even rub some the wrong way. Take Apistan as example, the LEVEL of
    resistance has been directly related to the misuse of this product

    I think when we first started using Apistan we were told that we could only expect around 5 years of effectiveness based on the experience of other agricultural use of miticides.So the fact that it lasted longer in most cases doesnt seem to reflect too badly on beekeepers.

  13. #13
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    Michael,

    I would be intereted in understanding your wax coating process for PC. cj

  14. #14
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    Sungold,
    No.
    The lusby's as M.B. stated are successful with small cell perhaps because of a combination of items. Selective breeding, housel positioning, years of beekeeping experience, culling of drone, etc. This is in combination or augments the small cell program.
    Unless you have that level of expertise, and that in itself encompasses alot, and incorporate those other items into your IPM management, then small cell in itself may not be 100% effective. The lusby's should perhaps say more on this as I do not want to speak for them.

    [This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited September 17, 2003).]

  15. #15
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    loggermike,
    I would like to know the dimwit who said it would only last 5 years. Apistan, rotated with other medications like checkmite, and used when needed after a mite test has deemed appropriate, Apistan should or could of lasted many time over. Maybe that person was taking into account the yearly application some used it. Even when not needed. Some used it both spring and fall. Under those conditions of coarse it lasted that short of period. I guess he knew what the abuse would be.
    I don't give credit to beekeepers who did and continue to create a bigger problem.

  16. #16
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    >The Lusby’s still cull drone brood as I understand. Very tedious and not something the average beekeeper does.

    Probably not, but going through the hives once a year to cull comb isn't that bad when you have to inspect them at LEAST once a year just to assess the condition of the hive. I don't think they work their hives that often because they are very remote. This is partly what motivated them to come up with a system that does not require constant manipulation of the hive. I think small cell is the least amount of hive manipulation.

    >Does small cell handle the T-mits also as FGMO?

    Yes. Smaller spiracles on smaller bees keep the mites out.


    >Ok, so is the idea that once you get to small cell you can eliminate all other IPM (or other treatments)?

    Yes. Personally I will use the SBB and perhaps some other treatment because I have to have the FREE of mites in order to ship bees, but if I didn't have to ship them I probably would not do anything else.

    >The lusby's as M.B. stated are successful with small cell perhaps because of a combination of items. Selective breeding, housel positioning, years of beekeeping experience, culling of drone, etc. This is in combination or augments the small cell program.

    Housel positioning is a recent addition to the Lusby’s program, I believe. Feeding only honey and real pollen are also part of their program.


    >I would be intereted in understanding your wax coating process for PC

    Here’s what I have for equipment to do this and where I do it. I have an old gas stove with an oven set up outside. I have a table next to that with a “turkey roaster” pan. The pan is thermostatically controlled and has a double boiler/steam table kind of arrangement. Meaning it has a roaster pan inside of the roaster. I can put water in the outside part and a little water in the inside roaster with the wax. This keeps the wax from getting too hot. I set the thermostat to about 250 degrees F which boils the water which keeps the wax about 212 degrees F. I have some rubber dishwashing gloves and a frame grip. I set the oven, using an oven thermometer, so that it is about 200 to 210 degrees F. I put a piece of cardboard on the rack (with a fold so it runs up the back of the oven) and put PermaComb in the oven. If you want something as feedback until you get the hang of it, you can put a small piece of wax in one of the cells of the front PermaComb so you can look and check if it has melted yet. When the PermaComb get’s up to temp (about 20 to 30 minutes) and the wax is up to temp (the wax is melted and the water in it is bubbling a bit) you pull one comb and dip it. My pan isn’t quite deep enough and I have to lay on one side and wait for the bubbles to stop, then the other side and wait for the bubbles to stop, and then because the pan isn’t quite long enough, I have to put the opposite end in and repeat the process. Now that every cell is full of wax, I have to shake as much of the wax back out as I can. I start by holding it upside down with the frame grip and shaking it over the pan. Then I shake it horizontally to shake one side out more and then flip it and shake the other side out more. Then I hit the top of it on the table several times to knock some more wax out and then I move to a spot beside that spot and slam it flat ways a few times on each side. Then I put the comb in a Lanstroth box upside down on the frame rests so it can drain more if it will. Then I do the next comb. After a few combs I go back to the first few combs in the rack and hit them a couple of more times to knock out some more wax and then I put them in a regular box right side up.

    I know this sounds complicated, and it is a bit. But mostly it is very messy and very hot. You will have wax all over your clothes and your shoes. The concept is that the comb needs to be hot enough to melt wax so that the wax won’t clump up in the cells. The wax should be hot enough to run well, but not too hot so it doesn’t melt the PermaComb. PermaComb melts at temps over 220 degrees F. Then you get all of the insides of the cells coated and then you try to get all of the excess off so it doesn’t make clumps and drips and fill up the bottoms of the cells.


  17. #17
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    M.B.

    I know going from say 5.15 or larger to 4.90 range or smaller, in relationship of percentages are small. But I am wondering how this smaller spericle on the bees would eliminate t-mites. On pictures of the mites, they are microscopic in relationship to the trachea's of the bees. (Even if the opening is smaller.)

    Could you pass on some research or articles concerning t-mite free mites on small cell bees. I have thought for awhile that everything is blamed on the mite we see, that being v-mites, and not enough emphasis on the one we do not see, that being t-mites.

    Thank-you.

  18. #18
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    <<Maybe that person was taking into account the yearly application some used it. Even when not needed.

    Once the hives have varroa,they will always have them.I wouldnt consider a yearly treatment to be abuse and there are areas where it sometimes takes 2 treatments to get control.Where I keep bees ,if you skip a year your hives perish.This may not be the case in some isolated areas not subject to re-infestation.I agree completely on the need to rotate treatments ,but except for Miticure(amitraz) for a short period,there was no legal effective alternate to Apistan during the first years of infestation.Even now there isnt much to choose from.

  19. #19
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    >I know going from say 5.15 or larger to 4.90 range or smaller, in relationship of percentages are small. But I am wondering how this smaller spericle on the bees would eliminate t-mites. On pictures of the mites, they are microscopic in relationship to the trachea's of the bees. (Even if the opening is smaller.)

    The opening is much smaller than the trachea. I don't know of research off the top of my head, but the Lusby's are doing nothing else and say their T-mite problems went away when they got down to 5.0mm

    I am fogging FMGO which should also take care of them. Before I started that I used the grease patties.

  20. #20
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    The idea of regressing I think is a wonderful one, and I am in the process of doing it with my own hives. However, I believe that none of these methods should be relied upon in isolation 100%.
    Why should we believe that bees can adapt to growth a smaller cell by growing to an approximately proportionally smaller size, but mites can't?!
    It is said that V-mites don't reproduce as well in small worker cells and prefer the larger worker ones (and the drone cells) for mechanical reasons. The solution is quite simple if I were a reasonable mite that loves that wonderful bee blood: get smaller too.
    I can't think of a good biological or mechanical reason why mites should not be able to adapt to small cell comb in the long run as well as bees.

    The same thing with FGMO. The proponents of this method claim that mites can NEVER grow resistance to it. I can easily think of a couple ways how mites could: 1) evolve to produce some FGMO digesting enzyme concentrated in the respiratory tract of the mites; 2) evolve to grow a cover over the spiracles to protect it from stuff like FGMO; 3) evolve to go into some sort of dormancy when your trachea are partly occluded, etc. Insects and arthropods in general are a magnificent example of how to find solutions to survival problems.

    I conclude: use more than one method!

    Jorge

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