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Thread: Olivarez bees

  1. #21
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    WireForStereo, Yeah, I should have added that to the end of my post. I learned a lesson about Italian's this this last fall and winter that I should have figured out years ago. They just don't do that well in the harsh long winters we have up here. No, question, they have many good qualities like building up fast, gentleness, productivity, but like you say dead bees are very unproductive. I remember having much trouble even 30 years ago getting them through most winters up here. Given excessive stores and a mild winter, yes, they can make it through alright. I think I will change my stock over to something else this year and see what results I get. I may try rearing a few survivor Italian queens from the hives that have made the last couple winters (how they did it I don't know) in a row here, maybe they will show an advantage of some sort. John

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    When I hear that someone lost 10 out of 10 I highly doubt the breeder can be blamed. At least for 100% of the collapse. As a competitor to OHB and as one who has attended meetings with their staff at bee and queen breeder functions I can attest to the fact that they are doing things to improve queen productivity beyond what the average breeder is doing.

    Somehow people tend to think the pre Varroa days have come back and the beekeeping techniques of slam and feed are all thats needed today.


    How come Ray and company didn't loose 100% of their bees this winter?

    If questioned I bet Mr. 10 out of 10 did not do either one or all of the following things since getting his bees.

    1. Check mite loads in August and treat accordingly.
    2. Check nosema loads on a periodic basis and treat appropriately.
    3. Feed pollen supplement in copious amounts going into the fall.
    4. Feed the bees with syrup as so the lid on the top box produced a dull thud when tapped. ( for those of you in Lodi that means fill the second box till its full BEFORE the cold weather arrives)
    5. keep them out of the wind.

    As old blue boxes says himself and I'm paraphrasing here: "Lazy beekeepers make lazy bees" and may I add most likely dead ones.

    Those on the lazy or "natural" bandwagon are sooner or later about to fall off the wagon and get run over by it.

    If I was a woodpecker in a Michigan tree and observed the beekeeping habits of the owner of the aforementioned dead hives I would bet Mr. 10 out of 10 fits at least partially into one of these categories.

    Besides lambasting OHB's bees lets see an honest response as to what regimen you followed with the packages from the day you received them till he day they "died. "

    You will get a better opportunity to get responses as to what might have gone wrong in your attempt to keep them alive.

  3. #23
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    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    3,161

    Big Grin Re: Olivarez bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    ( for those of you in Lodi that means fill the second box till its full BEFORE the cold weather arrives)
    .
    Hey Phil, could you expand on the Lodi thing.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  4. #24
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    Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    It is awfully easy to blame breeders/suppliers for self-error. I can trace every colony I've lost to something I think I should have done differently. This is the best way to improve as a keeper.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Aside from the 'feed treat feed treat treat treat feed' crowd, bees have survived millions of years without our help, and should in all logic be able to do it today.

    Here is some objective evidence for why a northerner should not buy southern or California bees:

    I bought California bees, raised them in Oregon fine for six years. No problem. Moved them to Arkansas (which is south but has startingly cold spells to -24) and all but one of them died of cold starvation. That's when they can't move the cluster and starve to death within inches of capped honey. [They often do this in December, even before the actual really cold weather.]

    I bought Georgia bees while living here and they have consistently had problems with cold starvation. Same exact problems. Small cell organic stock and all.

    All this was done without treatments and without feeding in the fall. I have not had a hive die of regular 'ran out of food' starvation, only southern hives dying of cold starvation. If you have to feed, you are a poor manager, and rob too much.

    Understand I'm not trashing Olivarez or anybody else's bees. I am saying you'll have more success obtaining bees acclimatized to your area. So you need to start with them, or develop them over time by increasing with survivors. Starting with them will be more fun.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #26
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    Big Grin Re: Olivarez bees

    Quote Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
    If you have to feed, you are a poor manager,.
    Yep.... Now I know how to do it.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  7. #27
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Keith and Company,

    I am referring to someone dead between me and you who has the proclivity to not feed at all. Better said, very little. One pound of sub per hive and no syrup. None. Dead out rate very bad. Although I can hardly blame the loses on no feed alone as his summer yards are smack in the middle of a spray zone quagmire. The no feed fact is not helping his situation to say the least.

    Enough said.

    Only part of the equation as we all know.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
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    504

    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    I think a whole lot of last years failures can be placed on poorly mated queens. Of the 10 I bought (from another N. cali breeder) only one made it through the summer. The rest were superceded, or never took. I've never had a batch of queens perform that poorly. I have similar stories from other well-seasoned beekeepers.

  9. #29
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Lots of reasons for queen failure. Not enough drones. Bad weather. Nosema. And who knows what else on the bacteria and virus factor. As most of the breeders are putting these same queens in their own hives Im sure they aren't raising junk on purpose.

  10. #30
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Honey-4-All,

    I think you need to go back and re-read what I actually said in my first post in this thread, instead of reading more into what I said than what I actually said. Where did you get the idea that I was bashing Olivarez Bees in particular because I lost all 10 of last years packages by December? Please read, don't assume, don't read any more into it. If you want to believe that I lost all 10 hives because I'm a lazy beekeeper, or I don't know how to properly build up package bees from day 1 and grow them into strong, healthy, well provisioned colonies that are in the ideal position to make it through a wimpy Michigan winter, well, all I can say is go ahead and believe what you want, I could care less. FYI, I am just one of the many "lazy" treatment free beekeepers across the country, this is by my own choice. John

  11. #31
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    May 2010
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    So what are some drawbacks of Carniolans? Overall they sound like a better bee for me here in a northern climate. I heard they cut back on brood rearing better than Italians when nectar/pollen get scarce. But I also think I heard they generally are not as productive either as Italians. John
    Pros of Carnolian

    * Earlier morning forager
    * Forages on colder and wetter days than most other bees
    * Overwinters well on small stores, as queen stops laying in the fall
    * Rapid build up in early spring
    * Don't wander off
    * Exceptionally gentle and easy to work
    * Brood production is dependant on availability of supplies, hence more food more forages, less food smaller population
    * Less Robbing
    * Less susceptible to brood disease

    * Creates less brace and burr comb

    Cons of Carnolian

    * Swarms easily when no expansion room is available
    * If pollen is scarce brood rearing greatly diminishes


    Source: http://www.beekeepingstarterkit.com/page/1317490


    How I deal with the cons-

    If you give them space and check them them often they wont swarm.
    When I check them and find swarm cells I take the frame with swarm cells and put into new hive box with a few frames of honey, Bees, and brood.

    Or I do a fake swarm effect....

    However, ventilation and adding boxes for space will really decrease chance of swarming. Make sure to have a good water source. Carnolians are more productive in wetter climates. In dry climates they both work well. It all depends on health of hive and nectar availability.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by RAK; 03-01-2011 at 09:49 PM.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    RAK, thanks for the list of pros and cons, I am going with Carni's this spring for a change, we'll see what happens. John

  13. #33
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Good Luck... Hopefully you will get healthy bees with good solid Carnolian traits.

  14. #34
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    thanks for reminding me John.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I thought I told you once before that there are no winters in California. John
    Oliverez is pritty far north. I'm guessing 200 miles from the OR border. We went up there last April, & the distant hills where covered with snow.
    Not back east winters, but it does get cold in Orland.
    Dan

  15. #35
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    "The distant hills" is Mount Shasta. It has snow year round. Orland is warmer than Southern Oregon, I don't remember it getting below about 20. In Michigan, I'd guess 20 is a warm spring day.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #36
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    Mar 2009
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    I've got a couple of hives with Olivarez queens and they made it through a NYC winter really well. They looked kinda puny when I got them and it took 'em a little while to get going but I have to say, I'm pretty happy with them. Definitely worth a try in your neck of the woods.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    JMGI,

    Reread your post. If it was a Italian vs Carni debate I'm not sure why you mentioned Ray and company in the first place. Seems it would be irrelevant to mention them if all you were doing is comparing strains .

    The MH line of Italians were a great line of bees although not nearly an A+ line on the mite resistant scale. (personal experience)

    In our 300 hive test in Alaska in 2009 the MH line produced over 15 lbs more per hive than either carni's or the reds. They are good bees and can make a ton of honey if cared for under the right flows. (very gentle ,high honey production, and CB and FB resistant)

    In general I would agree with you that carni's might be preferred QT for a hive that is overwintered in your location as opposed to an Italian. If you buy Italians then take care of them like Italians.

    One treats a Clydesdale different than one would treat a pony. Although they all need the same general care you need to bounce the ball according to the nuances of the game your playing. Same with the bees. "Treating" Italians like Russians is unwise and undiplomatic in the least. Everything from the number of puffs of smoke used when opening a box all the way to pounds needed in the second box in late fall will be determined by what your working with.

    I am going to stick to my guns in saying that for a Michigan beekeeper to allow bees to starve by December is ONLY caused by inattention on the beekeepers part . If they starved in.... lets say.... now...... I might cut you some slack. Before December..... Come on. If you had a poor crop my question # 4 in post 22 about feeding is all the more relevant.

    Although they can be mean you might want to consider using some Russian stock if you insist on feeding them so little in the fall and are precluded from any thought regarding the necessity of "treatment" even one so benign as a powdered sugar application.

    From the business side I guess I should be happy that there are "treatment" free beekeepers. Besides new-bees they make up a large portion or our customers. Keeping the darn bugs alive is hard enough as is and expensive to boot for anyone. To keep buying replacement packages every year for every hive you own is just plain loco unless you have more money than time.

    I was having a discussion the other day with some other beeks about the supposed cost of the new formic acid strips. What is 5 or 10 dollars compared to the price of a package? How about the "unnatural" option of feed?

    When all factors are considered I've always wondered why people don't "cost" the expense of dead bees. New packages and splits are still much more expensive than any treatment or feed we currently toss their way.

    As a big animal rights activist I think it should bee illegal to treat you bees is such a poor manner. We can get thrown in jail for failing to feed our kids and for kicking the dog. Starving your bees and letting them go through the pain of getting chewed to death by little bugs is just as bad.

    Was wondering where the genetics on that survivor stock was derived from in the first place? Might want to buy some from the breeder myself.

    ??MQTA??

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    RAK

    In your list of Cons above on the Carni's you say that "a pollen dearth will curtail brood rearing."

    Since we are trying to assist a gentleman who starved his bees to death before December would not a queen type which retreats from laying brood during a starvation cycle be a better choice for someone who doesn't want to feed?

    Seems to me this is a positive attribute for a keeper in jgmi's shoes.

    These lists of pros and cons really depends on your location and goals with the bees.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Honey-4-All View Post
    From the business side I guess I should be happy that there are "treatment" free beekeepers. Besides new-bees they make up a large portion or our customers. Keeping the darn bugs alive is hard enough as is and expensive to boot for anyone. To keep buying replacement packages every year for every hive you own is just plain loco unless you have more money than time.
    Wishful thinking.

    When I do buy, I do it to enhance genetic variability (no packages). I buy from organic or survivor suppliers. I have never bought to "replace," only to expand.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Olivarez bees

    WFS

    That may be your case and an admirable position to be in. From someone who sells packages I can assure you that not all folks are of the same mindset or position.

    Any clues on a good source of "survivor" stock that works 2 plus years without any intervention?

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