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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default General Updates Requested

    I won't put a flashy title on it this time, but how are your bees doing treatment-free?

    The reason I ask is that around the forums, I've been seeing a lot of posts about mite loads and seeing deformed wing bees crawling around on the ground. But I haven't seen any in a while and I was wondering if anybody else had the same experience.

    I've been having the best year ever, which aside from last year has been the norm for a while. No signs of disease and even the hive which was crawling with mites in November is doing well. Including that one, I have three five frame nucs which will be heading into winter remaining as five frame nucs as an experiment. With only one round 1.5" entrance, they all beard pretty heavily, the beards even joining pretty regularly with the ones sitting adjacent.

    I trapped one swarm, they seem just a little feisty for my tastes, slightly darker queen, like my Zia stock. We'll see how they do.

    Harvested 17 gallons of honey. Quit using my double wide hive. It had a number of downfalls, first being that it is hard to work a long hive from side and you can't work it from the ends very well either. Secondly, they hardly seemed capable of filling a whole frame with any single thing. There are massive amounts of honey still in that hive, but every frame is half pollen or brood. After harvesting two boxes off it, it's still six boxes high. Its original queen is sitting in one of those five frame nucs next to it. Interestingly enough, it seems that some hives to better on five frames, performing well, drawing comb, and some do well only in large hives which is the case with this queen.

    I sold off three queens and two nucs. I really gotta stop selling the good PF-105s, I kicked myself for that.

    As I've mentioned before, I grafted 28 or so queens. The ones grafted from the hive I've had for nine years all did pretty well, the ones grafted from a Zia daughter have not all been good, even to the point where I have not sold any of them. I don't know if that is because of the source of the brood used in the nucs or not because they were done half and half that way. However, I would have thought they should have recovered by now.

    The effort to move to mediums has borne fruit. I have one standard hive on straight mediums, I have two cube hives which are mediums, one three boxes, one just one. A fourth has not taken off yet. My eight frame hive has yielded fantastic drawn mediums on PF-120's. As time goes on with continued relocation and homogenization, things are looking well.

    I've got a bead on a new location for a couple pallets of hives, but haven't been able to make the move yet. I have 20 hives at my home yard which is too many.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Lowell, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    I've only been doing it this year, so things may be different after winter and after mites get a chance to set up shop. But, so far things have gone well. I started with two packages and a swarm. Now I am up to two langs and two top bar hives as well as two nucs that I just set up with a couple of queens I raised. I may bug you again for another queen now that Michael Bush doesn't seem to be selling any this year. I have had the chance to learn quite a bit this year. Still a lot to learn though...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    Sol,

    Sounds like you are super busy as usual but making good progress. Things are getting awfully dry here aren't they? I hope we get rain soon. I just ( 10 mins ago) found another swarm! Which I saw leaving the main hive that is feral and located in a tree near my office and watched as they flew to a nearby small pine tree. Unfortunately they are on private property which is a Garden and landscaping company. The owner is a patient of mine so I went to the office area of the company and spoke with some guys. Turns out they are beeks but didn't even know there was a feral hive in that tree where the swarm came from. I took them out to the tree and showed it to them and then showed them the swarm which by then was about the size of a soccer ball, maybe a bit smaller, but still a nice swarm. So they said they would collect it, which at first I was disappointed but then a number of the bees from the swarm chased two of the guys around and stung them. That made me laugh and I kinda thought I really didn't want them if they were already that aggressive. I was however able to run my hand on the ball of bees without them getting too mad but did not have any of my gear with me nor a NUC box to collect them in so I hope those guys get them and do something productive. By the way, I still owe you a frame of brood! I have some for you whenever you are ready. And if you need any help moving some of those hives just yell at me and I'd be glad to help.

    ttyl,

    Sully

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    At this point in time, I certainly don't need any more, and Allen, I'm not sure I would have any for you. All the ones I have left I either want to keep or don't think they're doing so great. I wouldn't sell either category.

    I haven't culled out as many as I had planned, but that certainly could happen come fall. I generally rather let them die on their own, but since I have a few more than my target goal, I may take the opportunity to merge some to make some bigger hives for winter. I still have a hand full of singles that need another box.

    Sully, I only caught one swarm out of 10 traps I put out. I don't think I'll be needing to catch any more, the 5-frame nucs are more useful in the yard. Plus I had some squirrels totally chew a couple of them up real bad. They're only plywood, but still.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    The only Treatment I use is to do all I can with out chemicals. So far 9 hives with no problems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,292

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    The only problems I've had this year have been queen issues, no indication of mites at all. Continue treatment free. And this year I plan to do two harvests, the first in a week, which is a nice change from previous years.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    The only problem i am having is we need rain bad. Came out of winter 15 out of 16 up to 28 no treatment for 6 years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    My latest bee keeping experience is really nothing new for me. When I had 16 hives about 20 years ago, I never used any treatments. I read a ton of information lately and decided that I still did not want to apply any treatments. I used fishing line and no foundation way back when and it worked fine then. I never really heard of "Small cell" and all the benefits back then, I just did not have the money to buy foundation. LOL
    Anyway, the only problem that I have had this year, is one queen supercedure because of a drone layer. I still have not figured out why they built all of the drone comb in the first place...(Maybe the queen told them to do it)

    Anyway, Seven hives and counting all doing well with no treatments of any kind. As I add more hives next year via splits, I will keep with foundationless or small cell.

    I am sure there will be some losses, but I am all for survival of the fittest.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    Did you weather the mites back then or did you lose your colonies?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    This is just my first year, but I have 3 swarms and a package. I have not seen a mite yet. All are going gangbusters.

    Ted

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lander, WY
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    I'm into my third year treatment free. I'm down to 3 hives, 2 8 frame, 1 10 frame. I caught 7 swarms this spring and found homes for all but one that absconded. Gave 2 to keeper that had 2 hives die from ? old equipment which is now retired. I'm mentoring the other family's that I gave the other swarms to and helping keep a hive, another of my swarms, in our community garden. So with all the coaching at 5 sites and maintaining my 2 sites I keep busy doing the treatment free gig.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    Doing very well. The queen I got from you is going great. I haven't been in them too much. I might take a look this weekend.

    My colonies are in their third no-treatment year having gone through two winters treatment free. I had 100% survival the past 2 winters. The first 2 winters I treated and lost colonies anyway.

    I have one colony that isn't building up very well and isn't productive, although I think they superseded their queen within the past month. I don't know for sure because I never got around to marking the last one. I marked the current one so she will be easy to find. If they continue to underperform I will get rid of that queen and combine with the colony with your queen.

    Like you, I have too many colonies for my place. I need to consolidate and keep the best ones.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Did you weather the mites back then or did you lose your colonies?
    We never had mite problems that I know of...Never paid them any attention anyway. Maybe they were tolerant or maybe we just did not have enough to cause problems
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    2nd year beek, up to about 50 hives all from feral caught stock. No chemicals, no feeding, sc, mostly foundationless, all 8 frame medium equipment.

    We have had a terrific spring flow here in KC area and the hives are really booming. Big hives wintered over from last year are working on their 3rd or 4th supper. Early primary swarms are generally 3 or 4 medium boxes strong, secondary swarms 2 or 3.

    Been to busy to do mite counts, nobody told me how much work beekeeping is, it's hard to keep up!


    http://s269.photobucket.com/albums/j...e/Bees%202011/
    Last edited by D Semple; 06-26-2012 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Language

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,942

    Default Re: General Updates Requested

    I am only feeding EO's for one brood cycle before natural honey flow and sacrificing drones and have no mites to speak of so far. I remain vigilant.

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