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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pottstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Ive read your blog, because I also went chemical free last year. I really appreciate you doing this. It helps me compare results with what I'm doing. BTW, how do you post a blog? To whom, or where do you submit it? I've been documenting my misadventures from the beginning.

    ALSO, if you're looking for queens that are from chemical free stock, try BJORN APIARIES. He raises hygienic queens that would give you good genetic diversity to mix in with your stock. I can get you contact info if you need.

    "So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains ,and we never even know we have the key"
    Eagles

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Steven - Thanks for all the hard work - your report is interesting and helpful.

    BeeCuz
    Last edited by Barry; 05-15-2010 at 05:49 AM. Reason: quotes

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Bumbles, thanks for the head's up on Bjorn Apiaries, I'll check them out. Regarding blogs, contact the moderator, Barry. I don't know what the criteria are for blogs. When the discussion developed around doing a study blog, Barry chimed in, and away we went.

    Beecuz, glad you find it interesting. I must admit, by doing the report, its forcing me to focus on better record-keeping, and it is amazing what I'm learning by that.

    FYI, i got this idea from Grant Gilliard. I take a spiral notebook with me, make my notes on each hive right after working it. Then return home, and transfer those notes into an organized ring binder. I check those notes before going out the next time, and make a list of things to do with the hives. Saves a lot of time, keeps me focused, and minimizes surprises. Except for the list of things to do, all those notes appear in the blog, unedited.
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by StevenG; 05-15-2010 at 07:34 AM. Reason: added info
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    On the wax contamination issue, another problem is this same foundation wax keeps getting reused so the concentrations of those chems will only rise.
    Have you thought off adding feral bees to your collection? Especially survivors, feral colonies that are more then one year old?
    My blog @ Bee Crazy

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi Sam-smith. I think you're correct regarding the increasing level of contamination in foundation. It would be interesting to know if any of the major players in the foundation market would render a particular beek's wax into foundation, and what it would cost. My guess is, at this point, the beek couldn't afford it. But it would be interesting to know.

    Regarding feral bees: The supposition is that most of the truly feral bees have been killed off by varroa. I don't think that is correct, some have probably survived, but not many. Again, just supposition. But think how many bees you see in nature today? or in yards? Not nearly like it was 20 years ago. So regarding feral bees, I'm operating on the assumption they resulted from swarms from a beekeeper, and may or may not have the traits I want. Personally I do not clip my queens. I try to prevent swarming, but figure if a hive swarms, it is my contribution to reestablishing bees in the wild. Soon to become feral. I'll catch and trap any swarms I can, but I won't go out of my way looking for feral bees. Perhaps after I retire and have more time! Some beeks swear by ferals, and it makes sense to me. Just not my cup of tea at this time.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    Hi Sam-smith. I try to prevent swarming, but figure if a hive swarms, it is my contribution to reestablishing bees in the wild.
    Regards,
    Steven
    I agree.
    I recently surrendered a swarm to a nearby oak. Now, every time I visit the bee yard I look up at the oak tree see the bees happy and settled, buzzing around their new home...and I am just as happy to have them a part of my
    "bee kingdom" even though they are too high for me to harvest. Just having them there is such a joy. I guess I am hooked.

    ___________
    "For breath is sweeter taken even as the last in places dear...
    With gardens, fields and dogwood trees...
    In forest stands of bamboo shoots...
    Of ginger root and honey bees..."

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    The blog has been updated. http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    I had a bit of a disaster. I had purchased 6 MnHyg queens, picked them up, brought them home to install. One was dead when I arrived. Installed the five. Today checked them. 1 was still in the queen cage, so I released her, she moved down into the hive. 2 had been released, but could not find them and there was no sign of eggs. 2 were dead in their cages, all the candy was gone. Sigh, this has never happened to me before, but such is life. I have already ordered 5 new queens from B. Weaver.

    I had thought about giving those 4 hives frames with eggs, and letting them raise their own queens. Then I got to my #2 hive...the one that swarmed this year? The one that I pulled two nucs out of this year? It has filled a deep super with honey, and in the last 8 days drew out and filled a shallow super of foundation. I gave it a second super this afternoon.

    I realized by ordering I'd have a laying queen in about 10 days, as opposed to 30-37 days. Plus I'd really like to have 5 more hives like my #2!
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    895

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Steve if you want 5 more hives like # 2 I would strongly suggest pulling eggs frome there to make queenswith. I figure getting queens from most suppliers is just as much of a blank shoot as making your own. Consider this: week 1) pull 1 frame off eggs frome hive # 2 ( won't set them back much) pull capped brood, honey and pollen from other hives. Week 2) same, so on and so forth. If all you are pulling from your good hive is a frame of eggs once a week,they should be fine, in fact honey prod may go up because they don't have that frame of brood to raise. This time of year how much are the eggs laid now going to help with overall honey harvest? It will be into June before they are foraging, and isn't that hitting the end of clover for us. Get some good queens from your boomer, save some $$, and rock on. Unless you are buying breeder queens or artificially ins who knows what you are gonna get, I bet queens from your boomer are just as good or better than most avg queens you get by ordering.

    Rod

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi Rod,

    Yes, I've already pulled two splits off that hive to raise queens. I've ordered 5 queens from the same source as that one, to requeen a weak hive,and some that are queenless. I don't want to weaken my "boomer" at all, as I have to have a good crop this year, for financial reasons...

    Things will be done differently next year. It is a lot more difficult keeping bees now, than 20 years ago...but where have we heard that before? This is also the first year that I have hives that should produce a surplus, as I've been in an expansion mode since restarting in beekeeping.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    The blog has been updated.

    My new B. Weaver queens are supposed to arrive this week, and will solve several problems. I think pushing for growth, going from 13 to 31 colonies has cost me honey production this year. Coupled with the fact that I'm having them build comb, as I don't have any! They get foundation, or foundationless.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    On feral population, first off bees are not native so all bees in north America came from some where else and thus non are truly native feral, second I have personally cut out hives that have survived for 3 or more years, one house has had bees for 20 years (not the same colony of course) I have read that 3 or 4 years is about the lifespan of a colony before the comb gets to dark. I am convinced that there are way more that I have not heard of. You could always post a notice in your local paper about bee removal. Bees are not easy to spot, if I was walking through a forest I wouldn't be able to hear just one hive unless I was less then 50 feet away on a quite day. Of course removing a colony is not easy, you can get a lot more colonies buying them then hunting around for em. Don't take this the wrong way I'm not trying to rebuke you or anything just defending feral bees I guess ^== "fruitcake"
    My blog @ Bee Crazy

  12. #52
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    chicago, illinois
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi Steven G,

    Great reporting. I too am working 3 colonies treatment free. So far so good. All Italians.1 colony from California,1 from Georgia and 1 from South Bend Indiana.California from a 2lb box,Georgia 3lb. and Indiana a Very Fine nuc from
    Bob a beekeeper near Mishawaka.All are doing well.Will post information too.
    Maybe not as detailed as your report though. Thanks Ray

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings folks!

    I updated the blog last night. New entries on all hives are dated 5/29; 6/4; 6/22; and 6/26. Here's the link if you don't want to go thru BeeSource home page: http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    Our honey flow is over, and I'll be pulling honey this holiday weekend. Next report will be on the harvest results. The colonies I'm not pulling honey from I'm feeding to get them to finish brood comb, and get them ready for winter. Trust me, it is not too early to start planning for winter, and next spring!

    I had abysmal results with the MnHyg queens. Most failed, and were replaced with B. Weaver queens. I've had 5 of my splits go queenless, thus instead of 33 colonies, I now have 28. But, growing from 13 in March to 28 now, with splits and only 2 nucs isn't so bad.

    Thanks for reading.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Middle TN
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Hi Steve G,

    Noticed from your blog that you spray for ants. Can you give more detail on products used for ant control, and how you go about this procedure.

    Thanks

    Bryn

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Actually the best ant solution I read from another beek on the forum - cinnamon sprinkled on the inner cover.

    When I spray, I use ant and roach spray... 6-12" out from the hive stand, very close to the ground, a circle around the hive. Keep it real close to the ground so there's no drift to the hive. In front, I go further out if the ant trails are that direction... because I've seen bees on the ground in front. So far no indicatino of any problem with the bees/spray.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Sorry for the delay in updating, but it has not been a pleasant season. When I began this project, I promised to be honest - the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, I did not anticipate proctologically ugly...

    Last year, the honey on the hives July 4 was all the honey I got when I pulled and extracted around Labor Day. So the July 4th weekend I pulled and extracted, exactly 180 pounds from 11 hives, for a whopping 16 pound average! To add insult to injury, I've lost 6 hives, so I'm down from 32 to 26 colonies now. Started with 13 in March, so I guess that isn't too bad.

    I hired a high school senior to help me move 11 hives to soybeans July 15, and promptly got heat exhaustion, violently physically ill, to go along with a multitude of stings. Won't bore you with the details, except I'm never doing that again. Will mount those hives permanently on a flat bed trailer, and simply trailer them next year.

    Details are in the blog. I have great hopes for those 11 hives on soybeans to save my year. Who said beekeeping was easy? Never a dull moment.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Heat exhaustion is serious business. I'm glad you made it out ok.

    I have an opportunity to put some hives on soy beans, but have not taken them up on it as I was afraid that they would be sprayed.

    Do they not spray in your area or do you cover them during the spray?

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Thanks jajtiii, appreciate that.
    Apparently here they either don't spray, or spray before the bloom. Not sure. From what I understand, soybean location makes all the difference in the world whether one gets a honey crop or not.
    May I make a suggestion? The person who offered to let you put your hives on soybeans, ask if and when they spray. You might be surprised...and it might be worth it to see if you can get a honey crop.
    Good luck!
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    Greetings all!

    The blog has been updated today. Here's the link for those interested: http://www.beesource.com/2010/no-tre...bees-report-3/

    Glad I listened to a friend, and moved bees to soybeans. They saved my year, such as it was. Got a total of 500.5 pounds from 13 colonies this year, most of it from soybeans. Unfortunately I checked with the farmer about the possibility of him spraying the beans, four days after he and his neighbors sprayed. Lost all my field bees. Flow came to a screeching halt. They recovered, but... well, we live and learn. Now getting the colonies ready for winter, and ordering materials from the bee supply shops for next spring.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Wakefield, Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: "No Treatment of Honey Bees Report" by StevenG

    You might be interested in this article about a chap in Swindon, England breeding a varroa resistant/tolerant bee

    click here

    It doesnt tell all the story and in this months Bee Craft (October 2010) magazine is a full interview. Apparently what he has found out is that some bees actually attack mites and/or open up larvae and remove them from the cell to kill them, so what he has been doing is he examines the mites that fall under a microscope and which ever hives are best at killing varroa he then uses these colonies to breed from, thus breeding a bee that will attack/kill and remove varroa from the colony. He says you can tell a varroa killed be a bee in that it will have legs pulled off and other parts as varroa are very soft skinned. He says you can also tell the colonies that remove them from the cells too because he sees lots of immature white varroa mites on the drop boards.

    Non of his colonies he says are free from varroa but they all have very low varroa populations and he has not treated for varroa since 2000 or 2001. Not bad going. He also states he breeds all his own queens and uses local stock that are accustomed to local climatic conditions. It is an interesting article to read

    He says what he is doing any beekeeper could do and in fairness he is right. I think he says he uses a 40x magnification microscope to inspect the mites

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