Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default Question for Mike Palmer: Exit Strategy for Overwintered Nucs--when to transfer?

    Mike:

    Considering Dr. Connor, has referenced you in his book Increase Essentials, and I've read a lot of your writings on summer increase and over wintering, etc, I need to ask you a question. How do you know you (nature?) are done with your overwintering nuc, i.e. placing it into a hive, in time before it swarms?

    You're no doubt familiar with many of us Virginians down here who have totally drank the kool-aid on overwintered nucs and sustaining apiculture. We totally get it -- the value of this technique -- and we couldn't be more on board with you and Kirk.

    But, as an overwintering newbie, I don't know a good exit strategy. I have nucs "in the freezer" now, outside, and I'm eager to see the results come springtime. Is the exit strategy as simple as transferring the nuc into a hive after last frost of the Spring, or is it more scientific.

    Here's my fear: The cardinal sin of O/W nucs as I see it is failing to act in time before allowing them to swarm...BAAAAD BEEKEEPER!

    So what signals you that the nuc must be transferred to a hive, or else it'll swarm?

    Kim Flottum's book "Honey Handbook" page 31, mentions a term of measurement called "Growing Degree Days". GDD as explained by Kim is a measure of time when certain flora are available for nectar gathering. GDD is a function of averaging max, min and base temperatures, to yield a precise, but constant, chronological number assigned to various plants. But can GDD's be used to predict when the nuc will swarm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default Sorry, others feel free to chime in...

    Know there's a world of knowledge gained from experience out there. I want to hear from Mike, but didn't mean to silence everyone else on this topic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Swarm Juice

    Any time you need them and when the weather is conducive to working bees is the short answer that I would give. I know people who are transferring theirs now in preparation for pollination season. I also know others who "milk" their nucs all season long. When things start getting crowded they split frames of honey and/or brood off to relieve crowding and give more room for the queen to lay. The honey and brood is then used to start more units or bolster other smaller units. One operation I know of even harvests a significant amount of honey from their nuc yard. They "bank" full honey frames on strong full size colonies until enough is accumulated to warrant harvesting.

    I would really have a plan for them by the time the dandelions begin to bloom at the latest. In our area dandelion bloom is a good indicator bloom for increased swarm potential. Some old timers around here call dandelion nectar "swarm juice". If they have developing queen cells I would act immediately, better to have things done befor the swarm impulse sets in too strongly.
    Last edited by JBJ; 01-01-2009 at 01:54 AM. Reason: omission
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,375

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    But can GDD's be used to predict when the nuc will swarm?
    Boy, I don't know. Thinking like that is over my head. I just think bees and flows. You can see the bees building up, and you know how many frames they're on. And you should know your flows, so you'll know what's coming. You can always remove frames of brood and honey and add foundation or comb.

    In the spring, you can transfer them into 10 frame boxes by dandelion, I would think. What do you have for flows before that? Maple? I don't think they'll swarm on that. What else? Willow? Maybe, if it's big enough, and the bees are strong, but maybe not in Virginia. So, maybe when you see the first dandelions, you should transfer them into your regular boxes.

    What do you think? Weren't folks talking about swarming already when I was there in mid-April last year? What was that from? I think I remember the dandelions were in full bloom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Possible buildup source

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Weren't folks talking about swarming already when I was there in mid-April last year? What was that from? I think I remember the dandelions were in full bloom.
    Howdy, happy New Year!
    Slightly North of Virgina as the commuter drives on
    I 270 , there's this fantastic early Spring build-up plant:
    Purple or Red Deadnettle. See http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/lampu.htm

    Responsible for early nectar and pollen for building-up 'round here.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,375

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    Purple or Red Deadnettle. See
    http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/lampu.htm

    Responsible for early nectar and pollen for building-up 'round here.
    When does Deadnettle bloom in relation to other spring bloomers...maple, willow, dandelion. Is it strong enough of a flow to start swarming?

    Fatscher, maybe that's the flow you should be looking at for transferring your nucs. It's always better to stay ahead of your bees, than to play catch up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,664

    Default fatscher

    In southern Mo. the maples and willows bud in late Feb.dandelions,deadnettle and henbite in mid March.Then the dogwood,redbud and wild plum trees start the last week of March or first week of April.That!s when things take off in our area,you probably have these trees and others in your area.Jack

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    When does Deadnettle bloom in relation to other spring bloomers...maple, willow, dandelion. Is it strong enough of a flow to start swarming?

    Fatscher, maybe that's the flow you should be looking at for transferring your nucs. It's always better to stay ahead of your bees, than to play catch up.
    DC area: Deadnettle late Feb-Mid March. Dandelion starts usually in the middle of the Deadnettle flow. The pollen from the Deadnettle coupled with the nectar from the Dandelion, push colonies into high-gear. Maybe tansfer nuc -> colony at start Dandelion? As Mike stated, the colony's population and what is coming in should determine its progress.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,375

    Default Beginners Take Note

    Notice how the discussion focuses pollen/nectar flows and not calendar dates. Fatscher got the same answer from Oregon, Vermont, Maryland, and Missouri.

    AI Root taught his students to keep bloom period records for their area for 5 years. Good idea.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default Thanks, all, I think I can formulate an answer now

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    AI Root taught his students to keep bloom period records for their area for 5 years. Good idea.
    That's part of my problem---after keeping bees for only 18 months, I personally don't have much past history on timing of flows. But, the good news is there are a ton of experienced beekeepers here in our club and in the surrounding area that will know that answer, so I'll verify with them.

    I will tell you this much: Last March, cir mid month, when I made my very first divide, the bees were bringing in pollen, colored BLOOD red. My mentor and I were in belief this was red maple. If they were collecting red maple pollen, then it's likely they were collecting maple nectar too?

    Seems like old beeks around were slapping supers on around mid/early April saying dandelion was in bloom. So, by those clues it would lead me to believe for this area to start watching the situation pretty close between March 20 and April 10th.

    Last year I had swarm cells in my divides on April 20th. It was a case of not having extra equipment (to alleviate congestion) in time to prevent the swarming. Won't let that happen ever again.

    Thanks again for the inputs, this definitely helps.

    Keith
    Last edited by fatscher; 01-01-2009 at 01:59 PM. Reason: to add my name at the bottom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    ...maybe when you see the first dandelions, you should transfer them into your regular boxes.

    What do you think? Weren't folks talking about swarming already when I was there in mid-April last year? What was that from? I think I remember the dandelions were in full bloom.
    Last year was really wierd --- an anomaly according to our old timers around here. Some club members were getting 2 or 3 swarm calls a week.

    I had not known so many hives would or could swarm. As a non-beek growing up, the only time I remember seeing such a sight of honey bees was when I was a little tyke in 1969, and our neighbor's bees swarmed. Neighbor's wife was scared we kids would get stung, so we were all ushered indoors so he could retrieve the beachball sized brown mass from a fence post.

    Last spring, I recall seeing gray pollen -- is this willow? Karla and I weren't sure. I remember the scarlet red pollen---was thinking this was the red maple.

    When you came down to talk at the VSBA meet in April, I already had 10-15 swarm cells each in my two hives. And i believe you're right, the dandelion (at least on the mall in Washington DC near the capitol) was in bloom at that time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adamf View Post
    ...there's this fantastic early Spring build-up plant:
    Purple or Red Deadnettle. See http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/lampu.htm
    Responsible for early nectar and pollen for building-up 'round here.
    www.vpqueenbees.com
    Adam, I've seen this growing at the winery, at the base of the grape vines, but doesn't it grow lower to the ground than the description indicates, like only getting about 6 to 8 inches tall at max?

    I think this sprouts earlier than dandelion too doesn't it? Like in March?

    Interesting discussion. I'll keep a closer eye out for deadnettle. Maybe the blood-red pollen Karla and I saw was from this plant, not red maple.

    Keith

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatscher View Post
    ...I'll keep a closer eye out for deadnettle.
    Keith
    My correction, ...it is henbit that grows at the base of the grape vines at my winery, ---me thinks the grapes (unharvested fruti) falls off the vine during the summer season onto the ground and the henbit LOVES the sweet fertilizer this creates.

    It's a stunningly beautiful blossom for being a weed..., this shall be my indicator to hive the overwintering nucs...thanks for the knowledge.
    Last edited by fatscher; 01-01-2009 at 07:23 PM. Reason: word typo

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    755

    Default

    ignore

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    755

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Notice how the discussion focuses pollen/nectar flows and not calendar dates. Fatscher got the same answer from Oregon, Vermont, Maryland, and Missouri.

    AI Root taught his students to keep bloom period records for their area for 5 years. Good idea.
    That is indeed very intersting, and incorporating bloom periods is a great idea for us since we are all keeping records now.

    Seems to be a dearth of coherent information on what blooms when and in what area, and even if we knew that, weather and climate change would have to be figured in.

    Re Dead Nettle, I have plenty of the dead nettle in my yard, so we will know when it is out.
    karla

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    fat:

    You will know when they are ready to trasfer. I did this method for the first time a couple of years ago and had your questions too. But in the spring, they start to build up quicker, i think, thing a bigger two story hive. when you take off the outter cover, you wil lsee tons of bees. then you will want to think about trasfering. Dont overthink it.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,375

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    Seems to be a dearth of coherent information on what blooms when and in what area, and even if we knew that, weather and climate change would have to be figured in.
    That's why you keep the records for a number of years, for your area. Every year is a little different.

    You can't be perfect in this. Plants will bloom in places you don't go. But, you do see some members of each plant group...you know...

    The Tulip Poplar on the corner of route such and such, that blooms just before you see poplar nectar in the Jones yard each year. Or the dandelions on that south facing meadow that bloom just before all hell breaks loose. Or a plant that has nothing to do with bees but signals you that, say, apple bloom in a week to 10 days...like Shad or wild plum around here.

    One thing I've noticed after years of this...Early season blooming plants...Alder, Willow, Maple, and so no...can vary in their bloom times by a month or more due to weather, etc. As you get further along in the season, say the dandelion/fruit bloom, that can vary a couple weeks. By the time you hit the things like clovers, Linden, etc, its just about the same every year, no matter the spring weather.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Madison County, Alabama
    Posts
    487

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Isaac View Post
    Dont overthink it.
    Probably best advice!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    i am guilty as charged with overthinking things!
    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