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Thread: Olivarez bees

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Bees may be bees but beekeepers aren't all cut from the same cloth.

    If nothing else is apparent from this discussion it is becoming apparent to me that how you hold your hive tool makes a difference as to how you view the bees inside the box.

    If you hold your hive tool close you look at bees one way and if you hold your hive tool at the far end of the lever you look at bees another way.

    The disparity between a commercial outlook on a hive and a hobbyist view is somewhat divergent.

    When you dump your spare time into a hive any ensuing hive collapse doesn't look the same as when the same impending collapse is about to take away you bread and butter for the next day if not longer.

    To be continued..............


    More later. Time for bed. Need to sleep on this one. (With my hive tool at my side as grafting starts tomorrow)

  2. #62
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    I over wintered 60 Oliverez italian queens this year. I split them in september. Out of that , I probably have 55 left. They did very well. However, i'm in California. we don't have winter here

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    >When you dump your spare time into a hive any ensuing hive collapse doesn't look the same as when the same impending collapse is about to take away you bread and butter for the next day if not longer.

    Now I think you may be starting to get it. I don't depend on my bees for a living, maybe you do I don't know. But, I will say that I care about losing hives just as much as you do, trust me. We may have different ways of doing things, actually no two beekeepers manage their hives alike whether it be your livelihood or hobby, I'm sure you realize that. When I got back into bees a couple years ago after not having them for many years (pre-varroa days), I decided to go completely treatment free, not even sugar dusting. I even elected to not feed pollen sub. or sugar syrup, I would save frames of capped honey and pollen for future feeding if I needed to instead. Well, I have since given in to the feeding of sugar syrup, but that's about as far as I have conceded. It is evident that you don't agree with the treatment free mentality, and that's fine with me, but don't for one minute think that I don't take losing a hive seriously. Also, my opinion about the commercial Italian stock available today is shared by many others much smarter than I. I'm not throwing all the blame for my high losses on the breeders, they can only do the best they can with the genetics available to them today. John

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    jmgi - Let me start by saying that I have had losses like yours over three different winters. I still say they where my fault, but it took a couple years to figure out what I did wrong. Failure is not so bad if you learn and correct your ways. I believe you are just as concerned about your bees as a commercial beekeeper.

    Lets see if we can find out what MAY have happened to your bees. First of all, I do not care what breed of bee you had, as long as they had 6 feet, and they where all pointed down. We sucessfully overwintered Cordovans in Wisconsin, which are not suppose to winter worth a hoot.

    You say they "strarved" with food near them. Did you make any other observations, like they did not seem to retain the weight of syrup that you added? Is more syrup missing than you would expect for the time period since you feed?

    What where the bees like in the Summer? Where they productive? Good solid brood pattern? How many frames of brood on September 1? Give me an idea of when/how often you looked at them.

    When did you stop seeing pollen come in? When did the Aster/goldenrod flow end? How much do you think they gathered? How much did you feed(in lbs)?

    I have 2 hypothesis, how you respond may help me decide.

    Roland

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Roland,

    I'm going to try to answer your questions best I can based on memory, because I didnt' keep accurate written records of individual hive performance, weather, plant blooming, etc.

    I started all ten 3 lb. packages of Italians in early May. I use all medium boxes for brood and surplus honey, also used foundationless frames because I wanted the bees to build all natural comb and go treatment free. I fed the bees syrup for the first few weeks only because there was a fairly strong nectar/pollen flow going from the first day of installation in the hives. As you remember, last spring was way ahead of itself, so installing packages in May was way too late, at least for last year, they missed out on alot of the early flowering trees, most of the dandelion and other early flowers that would have provided nectar and pollen for buildup. However, the weather was exceptionally nice for that time of spring and there was still much nectar and pollen coming in. The dutch lawn clover was starting to bloom within a week or so of installing the packages.

    I didn't have any drawn comb to give them from the start, so having to build all their own comb in the foundationless frames and rear brood required alot of resources, including both the syrup I provided and some of the nectar coming in. One thing I would do differently would have been to continue the syrup feeding longer than what I did. All the colonies eventually drew out three boxes of frames each, about half the hives even did a fourth box. All queens were accepted and began laying, all had nice solid worker patterns, did seem to get alot of drone comb too, but that can happen when you go foundationless. Supercedure occured in a few colonies I believe in the summer, but all occured successfully as they had laying queens again eventually in late summer/early fall. I would say that as of Sept. 1 all hives had at least 10 frames of brood, but that's just rough.

    I got no honey crop overall out of the 10 hives, which really was not surprising to me considering all the comb building they had to do plus raise a season's worth of brood. We had really good weather for foraging, warmth, sun, and rain when we needed it into the summer period, but we did get a drought in late summer/early fall which diminished the incoming resources somewhat. The weather for the goldenrod/aster flow was pleasant but cooler than what I would have liked, I don't really think they did that well nectar-wise, lots of pollen came in though throughout their bloom period. But, I didn't see much gain in hive weights from the fall flow, actually, that's about the time I started seeing upon inspection a decrease in the amount of uncapped nectar they had stored previously, so I figured they were starting to use up stores to continue brood rearing. That's about the time I started to feed 2:1 syrup and I continued that until about the time it got too cold and the bees stopped taking the syrup, there was even snowflakes in the air. At that point they were on their own, I did have some concern about how they would winter just like any beekeeper would. I figured if they could make it till late winter I could always start emergency feeding of some type. Well, they didn't make it that far, all hives still had capped honey though, but it was just out of reach of the clusters. A few hives even had a couple frames of scattered sealed worker brood left, those Italians sure like to rear late brood. That's about it. John

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    "but we did get a drought in late summer/early fall which diminished the incoming resources somewhat. "

    That is the time that winter bees must be raised, My guess, which could be wrong, is that the queen missed out on laying during this critical period. We failed in a similiar manner a few years ago.

    The other clue is the amount of honey produced. We can typically split 3 lb pachages in a range of 3 from 2, or 2 from one, draw foundation , and make a honey crop.
    You are not that different geographically than us, so you situation should be similiar? Wayne is near Detroit?
    Are you sure your bees where healthy? Any tests done?
    Was ALL of the equipment new?

    Roland
    Last edited by Roland; 03-05-2011 at 07:31 AM. Reason: removed an "elmer fudd"

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    i agree that the bees might have lost out on the fall bee production end due to the lack of nectar.
    Feeding until the snow flies is too late. The bees need time to dry down the syrup so it reduces the moisture in the hives.

    I would ask how heavy your hives were going into winter and how many frames of bees.

    How long is your winter? Different area than mine.
    Our area, we start feeding begining of September and wrap between Canadian thanksgiving and halloween. Syrup intake should be done early October. Snow flies usually just before halloween. No checking on hives from wrapping until beginning of April. Our hives take in 5-7 gallons of syrup. 2 double deep boxes for brood chambers. One packed with stores and they other about half packed, maybe more.

    My guess, not young bees too make the winter, too much moisture...and maybe too weak from having to work so hard they could not access what feed they had...not enough fat on their backs, so to speak.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Roland,

    I didn't really notice a letup in brood rearing during the drought we had, although they may have somewhat just not enough for me to notice a huge difference. Like I said, I did see a substantial decrease in their stores in the top (third or fourth) box during the dearth, telling me that they were digging into their stores to continue brood rearing and for food for the adults. No question, it would have been nice to get at least a small honey crop from them the first year, but seeing as how they had to draw all natural comb (large amount of resources to draw 1 lb. wax) the first year I thought that may have been a normal expectation. Evidently, they didn't do as well as packages you have installed in the past. Yes, I am near Detroit, so our areas are similar at least in latitude, our honey plants would also be similar I would think. I didn't do any mite tests, no SBB, sticky boards on those hives, no alcohol washes, never had any indication they were unhealthy at all. And yes, all packages were installed into brand new equipment. As I said previously, in hindsight I would have continued feeding syrup longer at least until they had capped stores (something Michael Bush has said), I don't know if giving them pollen substitute from the start would have helped, as plenty of natural pollen was coming in at the time. Fast forwarding to fall, the bees were occupying 3 medium boxes, not boiling over with bees by any means, but they looked decent to me for winter. I didn't lift the back of the hives to see how they felt for their size, maybe I should have. I fed like crazy in the fall and they took all I gave them, which was substantial. There are a few things I would have done differently, and maybe those things would have made some difference in the outcome, I really don't know. John

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    honeyshack,

    Our goldenrod/aster flow was a slight bit earlier last year (August and September) than normal because the season was so advanced right from the start. I think I waited too long to start feeding, when I saw that the fall flow wasn't panning out the way I had hoped that should have been the signal, I didn't start feeding soon enough probably, but hindsight is 20/20. John

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    i don't buy bees much anymore but i hear from others in MN/WI who are real happy with Olivarez packages and queen EXCEPT couple of beeks picked up SHB in their packages last year. Olivarez swears they did not come from them but the facts don't add up on the ground.

    Olivarez is using some good carniolan breeder genetics but have no drone sources for purity so they are hybrid. They have a family line of bees too which I think when I visited them in 2007 they said are the basis for their drone sources.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Bud,

    Good to know all that, as I am getting Carni packages this spring from them. John

  12. #72
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Jmgi

    Very helpful info being divulged. Considering what you said I would guess your problems were caused by.

    1. No early mite treatment. Especially important on a bad fall flow.
    2. Virus/Nosema problems related to no mite treatment . No idea of Nosema levels going into fall.
    3. Late start. Bees started behind the optimum day tend to crack off more than they used to.


    If I was in those hives late November I would bet they would be declining due to either effects of varroa or Nosema. Most likely a combination of both.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    This may have already been addressed so my
    apology if it has.

    Was there any warm spells during the winter??
    There are times that a queen may start laying
    even in winter if a few warm days happen. The
    bees will not come off the brood and starve.

    Moisture is a killer here. I recommend Tarheit's
    top cover design. Do a search and you should
    find it. Tim's site has plans you can use. Or just
    buy them from him.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Sundance, that would be a definite "no" on warm spells anytime this winter. John

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    In the pro's and con's list - I imagine that this list refers to the New World Carniolans because the "real" old world Carniolan strain which some beeks have, behave somewhat differently concerning swarming. They swarm far more often and are much more difficult to control intheir swarming behavior than the NWC. My experiences with the original Carniolans in the early 1970's leads me to add this. If your getting Carniolans, it would be wise to specify NWC with breeders. OMTCW

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    My best luck so far in wintering is Russians x VSH.

  17. #77
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Honey-4-All,

    Let me address the points that you made that you see as being my problems.

    You're correct, there was no mite treatments because I was committed to going treatment free, so monitoring mite populations wouldn't have mattered because I wasn't going to treat anyways. I realize this mentality is not understood and accepted my many beekeepers, they figure they will treat routinely, and if they must, but they will not stand by and watch their bees die to mites and associated diseases. Believe me, I fully understand that mindset also, this is just a choice I made when I got back into bees a couple years back, I wanted to go the all natural approach. Remember, this is just a hobby for me at this point in time, its not my bread and butter.
    You're also correct about the late start they got in the spring. I ordered my packages through a local Dadant branch who got them from Olivarez. I had no choice on when to get the packages from Dadant, I would have preferred to start them out in late March in my area to time it with the onset of tree bloom (maples and such) dandelions, etc. Dadant's was only getting them in early May. I knew it was a mistake at the time, I should have shopped around sooner in the year and lined up some packages for late March/early April delivery, but I dragged my feet about it and that's all I could get at the time. Nucs would have been a better option for starting later, but anyway.
    Maybe mites, nosema did play a part in their demise, I don't know. I do know that there are some things that I could have and should have done differently to help them out, and I think I addressed some of those in a post to Roland earlier today. I am starting to think that the cluster size was either too small for the winter we ended up having, not being able to generate enough heat in the center of the cluster to continue survival and move to new frames of honey. Or, during early winter, the cluster encountered some frames in the lower brood chamber that were lacking in sufficient honey/syrup, to sustain them during extreme extended cold, we also had some brutal winds that lasted longer periods of time too. When doing one of my last inspections of the year, I should have done a more thorough breaking down of the hives to see exactly how many full frames of stores they actually had in every box, I did inspect but not to that extent, my fault on that one too I guess.
    When its all said and done, I think the one thing I should have done better was monitor their winter food situation a little earlier in the fall, and getting the bees a little earlier in the spring would have helped immensely too. John

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    I use little or no treatments either. Only "soft"
    treatments when needed. Powdered sugar, thymol,
    FGMO, etc.

    My best advise lies with the queen and the VSH
    line is nice as are the Russians. Hygienic and frugal.

    Also I am no fan of packages up here. They work, but
    usually have been heavily treated, or have a pretty
    good mite load. Or sometimes there are lots of old
    bees.

    I prefer Nucs. There may be someone on the board that
    sells Nucs in your area and may be small cell, or chemical
    free.

    In any case.... Good luck

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Sundance, how are the Russians are far as gentleness, I think I have read more folks saying that they can be testy rather than gentle. Gentleness is important to me as I have neighbors on both sides of me even though I have about 1/2 acre property, also I have the uncontrollable habit of wanting to just sit right along side my hives and watch them for hours on end. I have some Italian bees that like to head butt me when I am sitting there minding my own business! John

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    I agree with Honeyshack and Honey-4-all. That was the direction my questions where going. The report of them using up stores is indicitive of no honey flow, and most likely resulted in fewer eggs being laid than where needed. Your summer population descriptions sound low also. We run 1 deep for brood, and 3-4 deep supers. There should be bees in all of them when the weather is warm, right up to the roof. The lack of honey production confirms low popupations?.

    Like your self, I am trying to not use any miticides, but that does not mean I do nothing to control mite. I actively, every 12-14 days, with out chemicals, attack the mites. Your results are pretty much as expected, no matter what kind of bees, from your description of what was done to them. I realize that is harsh, but just my opinion, not an insult.

    Looking into the future, I would expect the same reults with any kind of bee you buy. Those with success, seem to develop their own strain of bees from surbibors, but you first have to have survivors.

    Roland
    Last edited by Roland; 03-05-2011 at 11:50 AM. Reason: needed it

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