Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 45
  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kerikeri, New Zealand
    Posts
    69

    Default

    As far as swarm prevention goes its a constant battle, but in a sense I've come to look at swarming as an indication of good strong healthy colonies-- just bees following the natural world's primary edict: survive and reproduce. We lose swarms, theres no way around it, there just aren't enough hours in the day/week/month during the critical period (oct + nov here) to do enough to stay out in front of everything.

    I would characterize our swarm control methods as both proactive and reactive. To limit the desire to swarm we requeen annually in the autumn. We've transitioned from Italians to Carniolans, finding the carnis to rebuild population faster if a swarm does go. We split a lot of 2X deeps into 1X deeps in the autumn which helps us stay out in front in the spring. Early spring the 1X hives gets a box of foundation and 5L syrup, a few weeks later we'll check on them and feed again as their drawing progress and the natural flow dictates. A few weeks later they get a medium added and they go into kiwifruit shortly after that where they get fed (3X 2L over 6-8 days) to increase pollen foraging. A constant supply of foundation to draw leaves them plenty of space and seems to occupy the hive mind with something beside reproducing.

    The 2 inspections I mentioned previously were referencing formal disease(afb) checks. During the spring any time a hive is opened a couple brood frames are pulled to quickly check for swarm cells and get an idea of total brood frames. If swarm cells are found, each frame is pulled, bees shaken and swarm cells cut out. If we happen to see the queen in this process, we'll cage her and plant a new queen in the hive. A frame or 2 of brood can be taken from these powerful hives to boost weaker yardmates, and the position is swapped with weaker hive to balance populations. Because each hive needs to be up to standard for pollination we focus on evening out yards so they're all well above standard without blowing themselves apart. Time consuming but effective for our purposes. There's good arguments to be made for both balancing colonies, and letting your strong ones go full speed, while the weak ones stumble along, just depends on your preferences, purposes, and resources.

    As others have said-- the more colonies your run the more time mgt. and prioritizing of jobs becomes essential. While you have smaller numbers really make an effort to try different techniques and pay attention to what is effective and efficient. get a good idea of what the max. a hive will give you in a year in your conditions. As you scale up you're going to lose a little bit per hive but having a benchmark will allow you to find the level where you can still get good production and manage the workload and assess what "model" works for you-- 100% from 100 hives, 95% from 300, 85% from 1000 . . .

    For sure try to latch on with a commercial outfit in your area for a few days to see what they do, pick there brain about local conditions, flows, timing, variety between years, etc. Which races do/have they use(d) in your locale? Learn the tendencies of your different yards. Sites separated by a few miles can have different patterns of pollen and nectar availability. Do some sites tend to build earlier in the spring? produce more/better honey? require more winter stores/supplemental feeding?. . . Study these types of things while small, so you can understand the tradeoffs as you grow and have to prioritize jobs.


    dw

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Brookings, Oregon USA
    Posts
    246

    Default Thanks Everyone

    Thanks everyone, this is great reading for us hobbist who are wantabees. Wonderful info.

  3. #23

    Default

    For my swarm control I split the hives in the spring and pull out three frames of brood and give them three frames of foundation to draw out.

    Matt
    Columbia City, Indiana

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    693

    Default

    I agree, great info for us small guys. Thank you guys for the answers.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
    Posts
    985

    Default

    Danwyns,

    Off the subject, but I'm comming to New Zeland in the future ....probably mostly on the south Island. Everyone I have talked to has told me its the pretiest palce they have ever been. I am a commercial beekeeper in Ky....would it be possiable to visit you? Dont want to take alot of your time but would be nice to see a New Zeland operation! Thanks Rick

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Smile

    DW says to latch on with a commercial outfit for a few days

    A few days will give you a general idea.

    If you do do not disrupt the daily work. I have ran off many a wannabee.

    If you want to learn beekeepeing take a course.

    you are welcome to ride along and ask questions about what we are doing while we are doing a particular job. Ask all the questions you want while we are enroute to the next yard.

    I am not trying to be a hard--- but I pay the help to produce. Not stand and talk to wannabees .

    Also quit giving out our numbers to every person with a swarm in a wall or in a tree. My answering machine gets several a week. Those you hobby guys should take care of.
    I charge for those and also picking up any swarms other than from my bees.
    Bob Harrison

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    OK... I'm under the bus..... lete'r rip.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,549

    Default

    There are different models of making a living from bees ranging from a smaller number of colonies selling everything retail with value added products to tens of thousands of colony operations managed primarily for pollination to everything in between. There is no correct way, it comes down to finding what works for you in your given situation.
    We run about 2300 colonies and historically have made our living from honey production sold exclusively wholesale. The last few years we have added income from pollination, specifically CA almond pollination and are branching out into some local retail sales of honey, bees, and equipment.

    >>>It has been said that it is very difficult to get into commercial beekeeping. What are some of the practices that hobbist should change before going commercial?<<<
    I don't think it is particularly hard to get into beekeeping if you have the money. The trick is keeping your bees alive and making money for the long term. Going into debt to do so is risky. Being under capitalized makes things tough. You don't want to have to choose between making your monthly payments and feeding your bees. Some hobbyist wanting to go commercial have a romanticized view of beekeeping. It needs to be looked at realistically, as the hard work it is. I think the ones that have the easiest transition from hobbyist to commercial are ones who have worked under another commercial beekeeper for awhile and know what they are getting into.

    >>>How do you find time to manage 1000's of hives?<<< All the overtime you want, plus weekends and holidays. You need to be organized and focused plus get help as you need it for the labor intensive times of year. Getting to all the yards for whatever task needs done is essential so you need to manage your tasks in an efficient manner. Usually everything needs to be done at once so you need to be able to prioritize and manage the stress of not always getting things done the way you wish you could.

    >>>How much does pollination play a part in your business? Does honey production play a big part in your operation, or is it mostly nucs, pollination, and queens?>>>
    The past few years, with honey prices low, pollination was half or more of our income. With honey prices up this year that may change. We have been selling more nucs, packages or queens every spring.

    >>>Do you bother overwintering nucs?<<< No.

    >>>Do you bother to requeen every year?<<<
    We don't make a point of requeening every colony every year but many get requeened through split making, or when going through them in the spring or fall.

    >>>What about mite treatments? Do you bother to monitor? Or do you just treat every year regardless?<<<
    We monitor but usually end up treating everything anyway, twice a year.

    >>>How often would you say that you visit each hive? And how often do you bother to do a complete inspection?<<< Depends on the time of year. Early in the spring or in California when they are in large holding yards colonies can be worked pretty intensively and we might get back around within a week or less. We inspect during the course of whatever phase we are in, we don't specifically "inspect" colonies. In fall, for instance, getting them ready to go to California we will be feeding or treating or putting patties on. If colonies don't look right they will be looked at in greater detail, and action taken to either fix them or mark them for action later. Same in spring. They are looked at as they are fed and/or as splits are being made. Once in the summer honey production yards John is lucky to get around to each yard once every 14 - 20 days. No inspections this time of year to speak of.

    >>>Do you bother with .. propolis, royal jelly, ect?<<< No

    >>>If you live in the north, do you bother to raise and sell queens?<<< We raise a few queens every year for our own use, and sell a few.

    >>>If someone asks you to place hives on their land (like a home apiary) how many hives would you have to place to make it worth the trips? <<<
    Our bee yards are 36-44 colonies. These are basically chosen by us as honey producing locations, and we contact and secure permission to locate them there from the owner. John tries to create "routes", he can swing by several bee yards on the way to any of them, optimizing gas usage as much as possible. If a land owner specifically asks for hives to be placed we may want paid for placing them. They would pay per colony, amount negotiable, depending on number of colonies, distance etc. This is especially true if they cannot stay there for the season.
    Sheri

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    I don't think it is particularly hard to get into beekeeping if you have the money. The trick is keeping your bees alive and making money for the long term. Going into debt to do so is risky. Sheri
    Well said Sheri,

    Beekeeping is a fairly cheap business to get into.

    As Sheri says, "keeping your bees alive" is one of the top goals.

    Many ways to make money in the bees but..... understand the "risk/value" reward.

    Myself, I run two thousand by myself but...... run a low impact type of bee outfit, 90% of my revenue from the bees comes in between Feb-April.

    No ONE way of doings things but... remember the risk factor, mother nature holds the cards and that is riskee.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
    Posts
    693

    Default

    Yes, I found out this past spring that keeping my bees alive is the biggest challange. I lost more than half. This year I will not accept that kind of loss. I will do whatever it takes to get them through. What made me decide to raise queens in the summer this year was that I noticed that my hives that swarmed made it through the winter with a higher survival rate. Here is my plan to get them through winter

    1. Requeen in the summer every year using a queen cell to break the brood cycle.

    2. Feed if needed.

    3. Pollen patty for build up in the winter

    4. Wrap in tar paper

    5. I'll also winter with an empty super on top to create a dead airspace above the hive, dead air works as a insulator. But I'll have to cut a vent hole in the side of the inner cover to vent the hive.

    6. Mouse guard

    7. Treat for mites using Apiguard.

    These are not listed in order.

    Next year I plan to try regressing a couple of hives back to SC just as a test. If they preform well and mite counts are low without treatment, I'll switch to that. I am going to keep myself open to new ways of defeating mites, but I won't just take someone's word for it and jump in with all my hives.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    Indiana:

    I went into winter with 32 hives, came out of winter with 12 annd back up to 58. I made splits and also bought packages, 28 of them. I wil lcontinue to make late summer splits and rasie queens. It has been tought to keep the bees alive. Even the packages, about 8 or so of them dwindled in population.

    I do not treat for mites and maybe that is my problem (one of many I bet). I would like to try to develop a line of queens that deal with the mites but not sure that is possible.

    I am trying to find a good pollen sub to feed to the bees as I have been researching, thanks to Keith (yes Keith, I said thank you in a positive way), who pushed me into researching it. It was good though, I have learned a lot so far.

    I think, for me, growing has been challanging with not only getting the bees through winter but also feeding all of them and making GOOD use of my time as I only can visit my bees once a week, on Monday.

    Trying to find yards that will allow you to hold a good number of colonies can sometimes be challanging but to be honest, it is important.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    I am trying to find a good pollen sub to feed to the bees as I have been researching, thanks to Keith (yes Keith, I said thank you in a positive way), who pushed me into researching it. It was good though, I have learned a lot so far. .
    All right Chef,

    Hey Chef, been doing some researching myself on an even better patty. I will be doing trails this month,Have to move a load of bees up to the dry foothills so the bees will be in a pollen & nector dearth.

    Hey Chef, can you beleive this researching & testing cost's money. lol

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    It is interesting to do the research and see. It is interestign to see the little that has been done on the actual requirments as far as fodo goes that will help the bees.

    I do have a question for you if you would. Is there actual a "test" that can be done on pollen patties? For example, a lot of people prefer this patty because or this one beacause and when duscussing it, beekeepers often will say "because my bees ate all of it" or "because my bees didnt touch it".

    Is there an actual test for it?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Davis,South Dakota,USA
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Oh my goodness keith,you got a leg out from under that bus.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    Well Chef,
    I'm not sure as far as "test" goes.

    Here's what I do in test.

    Get the bees where you have a low impact from nature, so you can get a close as possible reading on your data. Also, I have my sub lab tested so I know what the bees are eating in percent (%) by weight.

    If you take a bag of say... 45% of protein dry weight like brewer's then add sugar & water and make it into a patty, well... guess what? that is less than half the protein that bee pollen has by weight.

    Remember Chef, there is a HUGE cost difference between, looking up research & doing your own.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post

    Remember Chef, there is a HUGE cost difference between, looking up research & doing your own.
    Remember Keith, there is a HUGE difference between how far you have come and how far the chef (and the rest of us) has come. Nobody is asking you to give what you know away for free, but if you know and don't want to share, then why are you here?
    Not intended as a putdown, just an honest question.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    Well CP,
    Because that's where it all starts from. Wheather it's pollen sub or mite control ect... The more you research and test on your own the more educated you become as a keeper.

    Now, a guy like my freind Randy Oliver which I have given thousands of dallors too for research, gives his test's findings out for free.I myself do not look for free hand out's.

    I applaud Chef enthusiasm to learn.

    P.S. CP, I find your question a fair & honest one.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    OH, CP, one more thing.

    I'm still looking for the perfect sloutions to some of these problems (pollen sub, nosema,mites ect...), I'm also still in the trenches with you.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    In the trenches??? Why would I keep looking when I know that you are going to do the research and come back here to give me the answers for free?:confused:

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    I actually thank Keith for the push he gave me. I have leared a lot on the way as well.

    I agree with Keith that there is a big cost assocated with actually trying stuff versus just reading. The price of some of the ingredients... wow.

    Keith: on a note, I looked at all your pictures today (I am at work.. dereaming of bees) and it is interesting how much pollen sub you put on. Rightfulyl so. Your bees look great.

    I am hoping to get all the ingredients here and make some patties up and try out a few ideas.

    Keith: do you ever use any essential oils in yoru patties? While I was reading, they mentioned that it might help with trachael might and suggested putting them in your patty but did not go on to explain more. Any thoughts?

    I am looking into a microscope. Some people say I need this one, which costs about $400 and Jim says I can pick up a kids one for 30 bucks that will do the same thing. Just not sure which one to try.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads