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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
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    971

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    Hi all,

    In a given yard of bees there seems to be two types of colonies (with fluctuating degree here due to race, ect,.)

    1. Colonies that are active and beggining early brooding and build up

    2. Colonies that are frugal, quiet, and explode later when conditions are optimum

    What are the pros and cons of each type? Which are tuned to there area? Could it be both? Why do you think so? Lets discuss.....


    Clay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

    Post

    If the weather was the same every year this would be more clear. Since it's not, some years one will do better than the other. Maybe it's smart to have some of each around?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
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    971

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    Yes weather plats a big role but the thing we as beekeepers can count on is the weather is different every year. Well in the case of bee colony type one they probably will be the first of the scene to exploit pollen and nectar. Type 2 will still lie still. Now should the weather prove to be good they will be at a dis advantage (to some degree) but should it be bad then they have the advantage. I agree that both are good to have. I wonder though when conditions are optimal for both will the type 2 colonies equal the other expanding and very rapidly. I can see that the first would probably be better splitters. But how does the beekeeper go about judging quality hives? Seems that many beekeepers count # of combs with bees at a certian reference time to say this is a strong one. Yet if they waited 2 week longer or so for this other type of colony they would be running neck and neck? How does the beekeepers go about handling such selection for breeders? It seems to me that many of these later type colonies are selected against because they don't fit the ideal mold (in some instances) of # of bees per comb? Think deeply, here I'm trying to pick at your brain's to generate so good thoughts now. :> )

    Clay

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    climate as well,as the individual year's weather plays a role in what you want.shorter season probably means you want to get rolling as soon as possible.if a beekeeper has both varieties, he could pull a frame or two from the early builders and give it to the late bloomers,just a thought,thanks for the flurry of new topics.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
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    971

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    Now I'm thinking of two rather strong clusters here. One builds up earlier and the other lays quiet. Yet when checked (earlier in the season one appears stronger) yet given some more time and conditions are good all around they are just about equal. So would one necissarily need to add brood? If one added brood would this difinitely ensure the colony would become active? Could there be pheremonal communication between the two bees when equalized that "could " cause the new comers to quiet down as well? Still thinking here.

    Clay

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,212

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    I know I'm probably a minority here based on conversations on feeding pollen substitute etc. and other interventions, but my basic philosophy is if the bees are doing ok, I leave them alone. If they are NOT doing ok, I try to help them along.

    If I had two colonies that were doing ok, but one was doing better (at least had a larger population at this point in time) I'd just be happy they are both doing ok and leave them alone.

    Anything you do (add brood etc.) causes a disruption that slows everything in the hive down until they get back on an even keel. Everytime you rearrange the brood nest they have to reorganize. The bees have to reorganize and the bees have to reorganize the hive to suit them. Move stores, move pollen etc. It's like someone coming into your factory and rearranging the machinery. You have to adjust what you do or put the machinery back where it was. Meanwhile productivity takes a dip.

    I'm NOT saying I don't reorganize a brood nest now and then. Especially one that is all cross combed or one that is honey bound. I'm just saying it's always a loss in productivity when you do.

    I think the biggest problem the bees face after mites and disease is "helpful" beekeepers. Not that we can't be genuinely helpful sometimes. But we can also be genuinely a pain in their behinds. Even when they aren't stinging us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    I tend to agree with Michael here. It seems that without exception my best performers have always been the ones that I didn't "help" as much as the others.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Exactly. ;> )

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Hillsboro, NH usa
    Posts
    69

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    Am I too assume this "hands off" approach doesn't include swarm suppression right? I agree that it's much better to leave them alone if all is well, but if the signs point to a swarm soon, well you are indeed causing a disruption, but guess you gotta.

    Gary

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    Gary,

    Give the bees plenty of overhead comb and a clear path to it and let them do the rest. The only disruption you have to cause is breaking up the overhead honey with some empty comb. Your only job after that is to continue providing overhead comb before they see the top. Not strictly hands off but in my opinion pretty minimal interference on the beekeeper's part.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    >Am I too assume this "hands off" approach doesn't include swarm suppression right?

    I agree, if you just give them plenty of room and you don't have to deal with suppresion. Prevention is much easier. But sometimes prevention does involve unclogging the brood nest which disrupts things. But less than a swarm does.

    I still try to follow their pattern of organization in the brood nest when taking honey out of it. You'll notice the honey on the ends, the drone is near the ends the pollen and honey along the tops of the bars. If you pull out a full frame of honey and put in an empty drawn comb, put the empty drawn comb in the middle of the brood nest so the queen can lay. This is where she wants to lay. Try to keep the arrangement of stores etc. the way the bees already have it. In other words, help them do what they are already doing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    I agree weather plays a big part as to how well the 2 types of bees preform.This year after a longer than usual winter my slow builder upper hives were the survivors and they are doing ok now.I also wonder if by delaying their brood rearing if that had any affect on keeping mite levels lower in the spring too.I'll have to see how productive they are as far as honey production to see if there is any real advantage.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,212

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    >This year after a longer than usual winter my slow builder upper hives were the survivors and they are doing ok now.

    Somtimes the ones better adapted to the environment (including mites) survive. Sometimes the lucky survive. As you have observed, the environment isn't always the same.

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