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Thread: Nest Scent...

  1. #1
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    Default Nest Scent...

    Funny to me how scientists who study ants are fully briefed in the importance of "nest scent", but with bee's, suddenly that's not a big deal. When money and honey production come into play - you don't hear from people who manage Lang's talk about "nest scent" or "retaining heat". I went to a beekeeping class last year and an instructor - a Phd in entomology that was speaking at the meeting encouraged beginning beekeepers to open the hive "early and often" so they could understand the bee's, and threw in "the bee's don't mind".

    Point being, scientific objectivism and common sense seem to go out the window as soon as money get's involved. I fully expect to be roasted for this post or even have it deleted, but it's the God's honest truth.

    Such is humanity.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    I feel going through the hive is good for learning, for us, but bad for the hive in general. I've seen a few other peoples hives and from what I've seen, the less you go through a hive the better. There are times when it is needed, and a peek under the top board or a couple frames in the top box is one thing, but full inspections through the whole hive on a regular basis? I think the bees do better if we leave them alone more.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    For more than forty-three years I've been keeping bees for the pleasure of watching what they do and how they do it. During this time I've never had the bees complain, even a little bit. I open my hives and examine them thoroughly whenever I feel motivated to do so, and I can assure you that I have been doing this nearly weekly and sometimes even more often as long as I've had bees. Temperate Winters being an exception.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 10-18-2009 at 10:54 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    I'm not sure how the bee's would complain other than through progressively becoming more prone to assorted diseases over the decades. Unless your bees are the exception, then perhaps they have been complaining through disease and death.

    I agree, it is a joy to watch the bees and you do need to open the hive on occasion - but it is better for the bees more often than not that they be left to their own devices. I was just reading an article that discussed the introduction of Italian bees to the US, noting that the bee's already here (german bee I beleive) had been in production for some good long time and were disease prone. Now here we are facing the same situation with Italians. This is no coincidence.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyBeeper View Post
    I'm not sure how the bee's would complain other than through progressively becoming more prone to assorted diseases over the decades. Unless your bees are the exception, then perhaps they have been complaining through disease and death.
    How did you arrive at the statement about them becoming more prone to assorted diseases over the decade? Do you have facts to substantiate this?

    IMO, with beekeepers getting into their hives and observing them closely, we helped ensure their survival thru the Varroa Mites, Trachial Mites, and the various diseases. Hives should be managed and not just kept. I am always grateful for individuals posting their observations with this forum as it helps me become stronger so that I can assist others.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by CentralPAguy View Post
    How did you arrive at the statement about them becoming more prone to assorted diseases over the decade? Do you have facts to substantiate this?

    I
    Please note that I said over the decades, not decade. Fouldbrood was the most feared bee disease of the 1800's. Certainly that's not the case anymore with trachael mites, varroa, and CCD and many more diseases. Modern beekeeping methods have led to a proliferation and spread of disease among bee's. Do you need a citation to affirm this?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyBeeper View Post
    Please note that I said over the decades, not decade. Fouldbrood was the most feared bee disease of the 1800's. Certainly that's not the case anymore with trachael mites, varroa, and CCD and many more diseases. Modern beekeeping methods have led to a proliferation and spread of disease among bee's. Do you need a citation to affirm this?
    I would agree that diseases were promoted faster by the distribution method with the shipment of bees, but I don't agree that diseases were proliferated by looking into the hives.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyBeeper View Post
    Fouldbrood was the most feared bee disease of the 1800's. Certainly that's not the case anymore with trachael mites, varroa, and CCD
    And it still would be if we didn't have tracheal and varroa mites, just like in the 1800's.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by KeyBeeper View Post
    Funny to me how scientists who study ants are fully briefed in the importance of "nest scent", but with bee's, suddenly that's not a big deal. When money and honey production come into play - you don't hear from people who manage Lang's talk about "nest scent" or "retaining heat". I went to a beekeeping class last year and an instructor - a Phd in entomology that was speaking at the meeting encouraged beginning beekeepers to open the hive "early and often" so they could understand the bee's, and threw in "the bee's don't mind".
    Here's some research that backs up your (and my) belief.

    And BTW here's what C. P. Dadant said about foul brood in the late 19thC:

    "If anyone had asked us, twenty years ago, how much trouble might be expected from bee-diseases, we should probably have shrugged our shoulders and answered that they were very insignificant and hardly worthy of notice. For forty years after we began beekeeping the only disease we saw in the apiary was diarrhoea... from which the bees suffered more or less after a protracted winter, especially when their food was not of the best... Foul brood, in either of its two forms was entirely unknown to us. In 1903 the writer had to go as far away as Colorado to be able to see some rare samples of it... It was not until the spring of 1908 that we found it among our bees..."

    C P Dadant, System of Beekeeping, 1920
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    It would be great to handle the hives twice a year.....stack on empty supers and take off full ones. If that was how I managed hives in this area, I'd be out of the bee business fast....courtesy of the wax moth and the small hive beetle.

    Like many others, I am beyond the notion that we can "keep bees naturally". You either leave them alone in their nests in the woods (and leave their honey alone, too) or you put a colony into a wooden box with some arrangement of frames for straight combs and managability. Once you do that, no claim for "natural beekeeping" can be made. So, what is the point of putting the colony into a box? ....HONEY PRODUCTION. If a person is only interested in "helping the bee population", he may buy bees by the pound and queens by the dozen and simple release them into nature.

    KeyBeeper...I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you either don't have bees or have just started and you are very interested in Warre hives. A Warre hive in this area wouldn't last two months and be very carefull with this management strategy in Georgia, too.
    "Lead, follow, or get out of they way". Thomas Paine

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by peletier View Post
    KeyBeeper...I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you either don't have bees or have just started and you are very interested in Warre hives. A Warre hive in this area wouldn't last two months and be very carefull with this management strategy in Georgia, too.
    Clearly you are convinced that typical management practices are best for you and that is fine, but have you tried a Warre hive in North Carolina or Georgia? Can you give us some more details on the experience you had? I certainly know of Warre beekeepers in the Southern US who are doing well. I keep 10 Warre hives in the Pacific Northwest and they are doing just fine as well. I don't use chemicals and I rarely open the hives. I do the same with my lone Langstroth hive and I just pulled 80lbs off of it a few weeks ago!

    Cheers,
    Matt

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Hey Cackle,
    I have followed your progress with TBHs and Warres. Glad they're doing well. Until this spring I had a few TBHs along with the Langstroths. I was (am) interested in the Warre concept, too.
    I enjoyed my TBHs but they didn't do well and I converted them to Langstroths. I think my hive design had a lot to do with it. I have a couple more built but not stocked yet.
    Have not tried Warre hives and probably won't now that the small hive beetles are here. I have lost over 20 hives this year, mostly new nucs with the usual frame or two of empty comb for expansion. The beetles tore them up.
    I have always tried to keep all hives strong but that has taken on a new meaning......NO EXTRA COMB THAT CAN'T BE PATROLLED BY THE BEES. I have reduced (concentrated) my hives to the max....removed hive bodies and inserted dummy boards where necessary. Tightening up the space has helped with the beetles (along with traps) but you can see how a "hands off" approach is not going to work while fighting these critters.
    By the way, I started inserting foundationless frames last spring and the bees and I like the concept. I may have to expand the hives in the spring without using drawn comb. Is that what you do in your Warres? I guess that is my main concern...unguarded comb. Right now I don't see how I can super using drawn comb.
    You can probably tell I'm shell-shocked after my experiences this summer with these beetles. I can't imagine not checking on the hives at least once a week.
    My comment on Georgia is based on some videos I've seen of beekeepers further south fighting beetles with traps. The numbers they are seeing are terrifying.
    Another major concern in the spring will be swarming as I keep the colonies "strong". Again, they're going to need constant attention.
    So for me, there are no more typical management practices. I have to figure out what's going to WORK.
    "Lead, follow, or get out of they way". Thomas Paine

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Peletier,

    Thanks for your response. You asked me whether I use drawn comb in my Warres. Being that it's a foundationless hive, similar to a HTBH, I do not use any drawn comb in the hive. I install the bees and they build their comb as they like it. As they fill up boxes I add empty boxes below for them to continue expansion. So this could certainly help in your quest to decrease the amount of unprotected comb!

    Good luck, sir!

    Matt

  14. #14
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    powell wy
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    i use this as a best of both worlds kinda situation.



    i have a door that slides over the glass window to keep the hive dark, and when i want to take a peek and not disturbe the girls i just slider it open

    i built a super for it as well but i dont have any current pics avalible with it on at present.
    as far as nest smell being dispersed when the hive is opened im not sure it would be a major factor, with all the screened bottom boards being used out there i suspect that their is enuff scent to litterly flood an area ( at least to a honey bee) all the time anyway. it just doesnt seem to be a problem

    beebiker

  15. #15
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    Jan 2007
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    São Paulo State, Brazil
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    I like the concept of retaining the nest scent, and it makes sense to me; but I tend to consider it of minor importance when I see colonies doing well out in the open, and there's a good bunch of them in my country.

    regards,

    Henrique

  16. #16
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    Dexter, Maine
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    So for those of you who don't go thru your hives every 10-14 days, how do you keep track of whos is gonna swarm? Or are you just trying to increase the wild herd?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    I have observation windows I keep an eye out for queen cells.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Nest Scent...

    Quote Originally Posted by brac View Post
    So for those of you who don't go thru your hives every 10-14 days, how do you keep track of whos is gonna swarm? Or are you just trying to increase the wild herd?
    Most of my hives have windows, and I check on them at least once every couple weeks during the season. If they are getting cramped I expand by adding a few bars and seal it back up. However, I'm not too worried about them swarming, either.

    Matt

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