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  1. #1
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    Default Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    mite count 100? What, one a stricky board or in a powdered sugar roll?

    What about the May swarm? Where does that fall in your list?

    7 frames of drawn comb? Or what?
    March 1, 2011. A local beek installed a hive, 1 deep, 1 super, bees (I do not know how many) on 4 cinderblocks under my giant elm tree, insisting that the hive had to have shade. Showed me how to fill the bordman feeder, got paid $300, went home.

    I dutifully filled that feeder. As needed. With 1:1 sugar water.
    Late April, the hive went hot, granted except for very early morning and late at night, there were no humans near the hive, on a fenced lot. I got stung 3 times in one week, my helper and I barely got my trailer pulled out through the gate, it took a smoker and they were dive bombing the smoker. That would be Easter weekend.

    May 3rd, a LOT of bees in the air above my pond on the lot. A vast buzzing cloud. I called the beek, she said they were swarming. I declined to pull equipment out of that area. I did not have a suit. I called and ordered it that day. The bees settled on a branch near the pond, and were there for the 2 days it took for my suit, and the super I was told to order, with foundation, to come, they left a few hours before UPS got here.

    I opened the hive and added the super, but didn't really inspect a few days later. I offered to pay the gal what I charge for a consult, $65, to come and show me what I was dealing with, but she wasn't interested.

    I kept filling the bordman, til the beek told me no, I should not. I am gone a great deal in spring and early summer. In early July, there didn't seem to be as many bees. I think I finally opened the hive then, in my suit. Everything looked ok, I want to say 3 to 5 frames of bees, the super I had added was empty. And this was DEEP shade, my elm is huge.

    The bees looked angry a week or so later, I looked and saw ants climbing the hive. I got the beek on the phone, my pest control guy on the phone, and got on here and elsewhere and researched keeping ants out. Lots of cinnamon applied, all seemed ok.

    At the end of July, it was just too quiet, no bees coming or going. I put on a suit, opened the hive, it was full of wax moth larva, one bee flew off.

    I called the beek, she didn't answer. Filled a stock tank, dunked the worst frames in it, put all worms in a bucket for my chickens, took til 10 pm to clean the hive up. But I did it. There were bees buzzing the boxes on my truck a couple of days later.

    I was charged $300 for that hive. When she finally got my message, the beek offered to trade me, her eqpt (she had me dump dishsoap water on it), for another hive. She also told me I just had to use HBH, that she did and it worked, and so on. I and my friend with bees drove out at 5 am, and picked up the hive, took her eqpt back. When we got it back to my place it moved to a sunnier spot, (without consulting my mentor) sun til noon. (although a couple of weeks later I moved it to full sun and built a vented top) And this time I opened it and looked. Super had empty plasticell frames, old ones, and one side of one frame had comb. Deep had 2 frames of bees and comb. It was August 3rd or 4th.
    I bought a country rubes sbb with white counting mite board, and coated that board with olive oil. Mite drop in 24 hours: over 100. On 2 frames of bees.
    You do not roll bees in sugar and dunk them in alcohol when you have almost no bees. Or at least I don't.

    I made a lot of mistakes. I didn't know to dust or sift the powdered sugar over the frames, I painted it on the bees. I spilled sugar water. I had robbers attacking when I was taking pictures of my vented upper screened spacer - some one has a name for that gadget. I posted a pic and some kind soul on here told me they were robber bees. I removed the bordman, experimented with different feeders (home depot bucket style), I learned how not to have them leak, I chased wax moths out, built wax moth traps, painted the bees with more dried powdered sugar, moved the hive to still another sunnier spot, etc. The number of bees went up, not down. I built a robber guard, I used duct tape to mount it (that's sure changing, gonna have screws and pipe strap with a cut out to allow it to slip over a screw on the side of my box and lock on)

    Most of the battles are on posts on here. I even caught a swarm, it was robbed out at the end of September

    I was robbed out October 4th. With 7 frames of comb and bees before the robbery, I had just pulled the super off, dropped its single frame of comb down with the other 6, and reduced real estate. Mite drop on the same board after 48 hours: zero. The prior week (when I didn't have time to check it daily) I think the mite drop was 3.


    Mark, I do not know everything about bees, but I have darned sure had my hands sticky, and with the help of some people on bee source, who posted a pic when I asked to see one, and looked at mine, I made a fair amount of progress. And the beek who gave me the warranty hive, well I have never heard a word from her since. And I haven't called. Still have half a bottle of hbh, might use it in bait hives.

    Gypsi (and I will warn my friend about his honey, but he didn't buy it at the grocery store. It is labeled pure Texas honey, I think he's getting it at the herb shop.) I get mine (to eat myself) from the feed store. Don't know if Burleson Honey Hut is on beesource, but it is theirs.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    If you live near Snook, Texas you can get more bees, if you want to get them out of a tree. Let me know.

    I could be wrong, but if someone has been feeding honey water as long as you describe and they still need to, I'd suspect there is something wrong. Hard to tell from here.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Oh Gypsi - you've had quite the adventure. I read somewhere a suggestion that a person should not be allowed to acquire bees the same year they decide they want to become a beekeeper - in other words - there needs to be time to learn and line up beekeeping resources before they get bees. I think you did as well as you could given the hand you were dealt.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    I have wanted bees since 2010, but the hand I've been dealt business, house and money wise have all but eliminated personal hobby, reading and research time. I made time this summer, but at the expense of business work I should have been doing. I hope to finish September's bookkeeping tonight, and email pics of my wrecked truck's engine to the guy who might want to buy the engine.

    My friends' bees put up no stores. I had him pull his empty super sometime around November? When he told me it was totally empty. Too much real estate. They are italians. They did not draw comb. Mine drew comb, but mine were on sugar water, and I planted (as I always have) heavily for the bees. I was in there often, fed often after I lost the first hive and after my beek who told me I didn't need to feed, told me that yes, flow was over, drought was on, so feed, feed feed. If I'd have skipped the hbh they might have made it, but if wishes were horses beggars would ride. It was an educational year.

    And my beek, never bought a bee - hers are all from swarms and trap-outs. She builds her own equipment, or her husband does, based on the non-standard size of the bottom board, and the stuff she sold me in the original deal. Part of the problem with my robber screen: I measured from her solid bottom board, and there were gaps when I put it on the country rubes sbb. I'll be building new ones. No big deal.

    I am interested in that bee tree, if I can find help that is smarter than I am. Have chain saw, have little work at this time of year, once I finish inventory and year end bookkeeping. I'll look up the location. You can pm me a link to Facebook?

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    You did great, learned more than you knew there was to know about bees.
    The only thing I see wrong is the mentor. Change mentors and get more bees, you'll do much better this year I'm sure.

    One little bit I'll say is bees don't do well with too much space. Start them off in a single box or a nuc until they get comfortably established, then increase thier box size. Oh, and as you've learned, get rid of the boardman feeder. Use some type that puts the feed inside the hive right over the broodnest, if you feel you need to feed.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
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    Weatherford,Texas,USA
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Gypsi that sounds like an amazing year of beekeeping. I am certain you learned ALOT. As far as that removal in the tree Snook TX is along way from us and I do not think it would be worth your time and fuel to go after them this time of year. I hope you have found a better mentor for this spring, if not I am sure some one from the club will help ya
    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Jason,

    I haven't found one "mentor". I have beesource, and the group, smart people to ask. Now that I know all this, and have lots of mentors, I'm all out of money for bees.

    Perhaps by the time the group is ready to order nucs I'll be able to afford one or 2, but I'm hoping to trap a swarm or 2. If not here, well I have a church and a few other locations I can put a bait hive. On the one hand raiding a bee tree sounds like a great adventure. On the other hand I'm still catching up the website and paperwork from the bee time I took last summer.

    If I don't manage to trap a swarm (and I will manage, I'd almost put a bet on it - I have customers with ponds, people with ponds always have bees visiting, especially in a drought, everyone knew I was learning bees....) I will not buy bees if I can't afford them. That's it. Bottom line. With the drought continuing, the time I will be spending transitioning my business, if I don't have the money I also won't have a lot of time, because I'll be spending more time chasing money. That is what business owners do. Nothing coming in the door does not mean a day off. It means sending out mailers and hitting the phones, ordering truck signs and just putting the name and what we do out there.
    But you are right. 3.5 hours each way to Snook Texas. 4 tanks of gas. Plus time, eqpt, and I have dogs, chickens, fish and cats. (the cats are very self sufficient. The rest not so much.)

    I'm hoping for swarms...

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Your last name isn't Murphy, is it?

    What a year you've had. I really appreciate your positive attitude even after suffering through an extremely long string of bad luck. I'm sure this next year will be much better for you. Who knows, maybe a compassionate Beesource member nearby might offer you a really good deal next spring on a queen and a few frames of bees and brood to get you started off on the right track. Beesource really is a great resource, but I hope you can hook up with someone local who will do you right and spend a few minutes with you working the colonies. Hope you have a great 2012.
    To everything there is a season....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    No, my name isn't Murphy. But it's in the title of my first book. You do not want to hear the luck I have. However, since it's been that way my whole life, I just find the school of life to be quite educational, and it has made me very capable of learning to solve tricky problems, which I then put to work and into language so that other people don't have to work it out the hard way.

    Which is why I just dug in on that second hive. I've had the knocks, now let's learn to prevent future ones. IF I had devoted summer 2010 to the research, I'd have gotten a better deal on bees, but it wouldn't have made nearly the story. And summer 2010 I was busy learning chicken. They were easier. Happy New year to you Mike.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Reading this Greek Tradgedy, I kept waiting to get to the part about the corncob with rat poison on it! Hopefully when the wolf comes to your door, she will have a big litter of pups and you will be able to sell them for enough to recoup your losses! If we all sent you a pound of honey, you could make enough mead to stay blitzed til your luck changes.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Vance, you're a sweetheart, but I don't have time to drink. And it wasn't that big a deal. They were bees. I was very very sad when they died. They were bees. There will be more bees. Now the IRS, if I don't get the bookkeeping straight and everything filed, they are really scary, worse than mites plus shb. No mead required.

    (I keep all the rat poison in dog proof bait stations - but yes, I've got some. Is it important?)
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  12. #12
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    Feb 2011
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    Norfolk County, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    IRS are worse than Varroa or maybe they are
    Think about it....Buy American

  13. #13
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    So reading through the epitaph, I saw a litany of errors.

    1. Feed only when it is necessary, and you have to know some things about the inside of the colony to decide it is necessary.
    2. Buy your equipment including suit before you get a colony of bees.
    3. $300 for a colony of bees is IMO a bit excessive, note that what you got was a nuc in a box.
    4. Get a queen from a known mite tolerant strain, it will save you boat loads of worry over varroa mites.
    5. Pick a better mentor. The person described does not sound knowledgeable enough to truly help a beginner get started.
    6. Starting a colony of bees from a nuc in a record breaking drought is not likely to succeed. C'est la vie.
    7. Know from the beginning that when you open a colony, robbers will be ready.
    7.a. Learn a bit about controlling and preventing robbing.
    8. Contrary to presumption, in the shade was the correct place for the colony in your climate.
    9. When bees start stinging without provocation, there is a major problem. Either they are africanized? or they are being robbed?
    10. Supers should only be added when the bees need the room. Your description does not sound like they needed it.
    11. HBH has a place, but it does not prevent mites. The mites should have been addressed one way or another in the 2nd colony.
    12. Swarms are normally easy to handle without a suit. Caveat if they are africanized, there can be problems.
    13. Prepare some spare equipment before hand so it will be available when you have a swarm.
    14. Better yet, set out bait boxes for swarms.
    15. Your description sounds like the colony swarmed, then went queenless from failure to raise a replacement queen. This is just a guess.
    16. Ants indicate a problem inside the colony, it was in serious decline at that point.
    17. The only sure way to stop ants is setting the colony on top of oil pots. I've rarely had to do this, but some ant species you gotta.
    18. A boardman feeder is a piece of trash that should NEVER be used on a colony of bees.
    19. You can buy a chicken waterer that works fairly well as a feeder inside the hive. You need a spare box to put over the feeder.
    20. IRS is definitely worse than varroa. You can do something about varroa.

    I'm going to stop there even though there are more.

    I gave a guy a 3 frame nuc this past spring from my best colony. That colony produced 200 pounds of honey sitting on my front porch. He built a hive to hold them, I gave him 10 frames, 3 full of brood and with a new laying queen, and the rest full of small cell foundation. About all he had to do was carry them home and transfer the frames into his equipment. He had to add a super a month later to hold the honey they were gathering. His colony is strong and so far healthy going into winter. He is expecting to split it into 3 this spring.

    Just pointing out that some beekeepers will go out of their way to help a beginner get started at relatively low cost.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    "I will not buy bees if I can't afford them. That's it. Bottom line."

    Sounds like the words of a smart business lady to me. -james

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Thank you James
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    You might want to call the Fire Dept., Police, and Animal Control and get your name on their Swarm List.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    I will do that if I ever get through the paper swarm. I'm already on with one really nice pest control guy. Young one. Fertilizes his lawn with compost.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    They are still around - I JUST saw a bee. in my front yard. Woohoo!
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  19. #19
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    Gypsi, are you going to be at the January meeting? If so then talk to me some time before or after. I have several cut outs set up to do in the spring so if it all works out I bet I could help ya out, I am just not certain how nice these bees are going to bee. As far as mentoring, I am suprised no one in the club has stepped up, but if you still need one I do not mind helping ( even though I am not that bright) and I do live 30 miles west of Cow Town, but I bet something can be worked out.
    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Gypsi's bee story - in one place

    gypsi, seems like i recall you posting some time back about trying to track down the robber's nest, did you attempt it?

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