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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Lately, I've been noticing that my experience in beekeeping is different to others. It's not just that I'm contrary and do most things differently, it's that I see things differently, things seem to happen differently. I have a few examples.

    Comb: My comb seems to be much more attractive to wax moths. People have told me that empty brood comb is not as attractive. If I leave mine sitting around the shop, even in open air exposed to light, it will pretty soon have worms in it. A guy who took care of some of my hives for a while noted how much quicker the moths went after my comb than his in a deadout.

    Hive size: Even with tasty comb, my bees still seem to have no problem guarding massive amounts of empty comb year 'round. Others tell me that if the hive is too big for the colony, they'll lose comb in the extremities to wax moths. Is this related to the differences in the bees' ability to detect intruders due to the presence of chemicals?

    Upper entrances: Others talk about chimney effect and chilled bees. I have hives survive year after year with both upper and lower entrances.

    CCD: Haven't seen it.

    Varroa: Large crashes in my apiaries predicted many dozens of times have not materialized.

    AFB: Haven't seen it. And I have been looking.

    EFB: Haven't seen it.

    SHB: Not a big problem around here, but I do find beetles from time to time.

    Nosema: Other than a couple of cases of dysentery mid-winter, I see no evidence of it.

    Swarming: My year 'round really big hives do not swarm much if ever.

    I'm trying to figure out how best I can serve the beekeeping community, especially the avid hobbyists and micro-sideliners like myself. It's hard to do that if I'm not experiencing what everybody else is experiencing.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,466

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    For whatever reason, I think your situation is very unique. Just keep on doing whatever it is your are doing and continue to report your successes and observations. Your positive results may not be commonplace with other beekeepers but it will at the very least give hope, and it offers an alternative for some to try to emulate.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,649

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Comb: My comb seems to be much more attractive to wax moths.
    Not mine. I have to protect against mice.

    Hive size: Even with tasty comb, my bees still seem to have no problem guarding massive amounts of empty comb year 'round.
    Same here.

    CCD: Haven't seen it.
    Nor have I.

    Varroa: Large crashes in my apiaries predicted many dozens of times have not materialized.
    Same.

    AFB: Haven't seen it.
    Same.

    EFB: Haven't seen it.
    One hive this year. Before that it was one hive 12 years ago.

    SHB: Not a big problem around here, but I do find beetles from time to time.
    Same.

    Nosema: Other than a couple of cases of dysentery mid-winter, I see no evidence of it.
    Same.

    Swarming: My year 'round really big hives do not swarm much if ever.
    Big swarm urge this spring so I split everything.
    Regards, Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,134

    Thumbs Up Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Solomon, like politics, all bee keeping is local

    I've been reading Brother Adam's books this month. I wonder if many of the dependant variables affected by bee strain have gone your way, meaning: You have a good strain(s) of bees for your area. Your bees keep the hive clean enough to make brood diseases the exception rather than the rule, and finally, to resist the affects of phoretic mites and bee viruses. Independant variables like wax moth populations and SHB survivability will vary according to the weather conditions.

    Didn't I read where you had purchased some Buckfast bees, or some strains based on the Buckfast? They were bred to do all of the above.

    Don't discount blind luck either Solomon.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  5. #5
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    You must have been reading about somebody else. My original stock came from Koehnen's, regular Italian. Later editions came from Don Kuchenmeister and Zia Queenbee. Neither of those claim much Buckfast if any. Still, my star hives have been the Koehnen descendents.

    A couple of things I have noticed about the local bees (with which I am certainly intermixed): they tend to shut down the brood nest for the most part during the summer, keeping an active brooding volume of about a soccer ball. They also winter in frighteningly small clusters, soccer ball to basketball size, with softball seeming to be the survivable limit. I've also never seen a swarm larger than about 3 deep frames worth of bees in these parts.

    I don't believe in luck. I believe in chance and skill. Chance is the number of questions on the test to which you know the answer. Skill is knowing a lot of answers.

    As an aside, I was listening to the radio a couple months back and somebody asked a sports analyst why a certain team had won. He said it was luck. I was overtaken with incredulity. That's just not something an intelligent educated person says.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
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    651

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?


  7. #7
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    Dec 2002
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    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Not mine. I have to protect against mice.
    I have had mice. They climbed in and ate the honeycomb above the cluster.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    1,318

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    An overwinter dead-out usually will have wax moths develop in the comb by the last week in May/first week of June. Stacked supers outside in full sun will delay development of the worms.

    An average overwintered colony will care for the comb in 2 deeps and 3 or 4 supers and prevent wax worms if the hive is in full sun.

    Bottom entrance, upper entrance, screened bottom or solid does not affect how well the bees overwinter here in Arkansas. Ventilation techniques used in the northern states are not needed here. A bottom entrance 8 inches wide with the hive tipped forward will allow air circulation and moisture to exit the hive. Screened bottoms and a 2 or 3 inch entrance helps prevent winter robbing. The prime need for moisture control is for the hive to be in full sun and have 6 to 8 frame solid with adult bees in October.

    There has been no confirmed case of CCD in Arkansas.

    Any colony of hygenic bees will survive at least 3 years with no varroa treatments here, if the beekeeper sees to their needs. Varroa killed colonies usually die from failure to requeen after losing a queen in late summer because the workers suffer from the virus load passed to them from the mites. BPMS is seldom seen if the colony is hygenic.

    AFB is seldom seen, I have seen 5 cases in 35 years and 4 of those were in one location. They were caused by a beekeeper making splits using frames from a dead-out without checking them for scale.

    EFB is seldom seen, usually it is found in the early spring in bees that are not hygenic in a location that is damp and on low ground.

    SHB is no problem in north Arkansas, it is in the delta and south Arkansas.

    Nosema apis has never been a problem in Arkansas, I think the new Nosema ceranae is. The new nosema is a dry nosema, no feces droped on frames or hives. Look for k wing, crawling bees and colonies that will not take syrup when being fed while other colonies do take it.

    If you are splitting colonies or adding supers of drawn comb before the colony is crowded you may have few swarms. You also may be having swarms and not seeing them and the colony is so strong you do not notice diminished adult populations.

    As to luck, Napoleon Bonaparte believed in luck and I do too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    3,043

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Sol,

    I think you're very detail oriented which helps. I think you provide the best homes for your bees as you possibly can and thus they thrive. If you look at hives with moth's and beetles I bet you will find a lot of sloppy housekeeping as well. The area around the hive not being clean, boxes not seated properly, tops not seated properly, messy comb all over the inside, neglected bees etc... thus pests finding their way in very easily.

    Not to say if you get any infestations you're doing something wrong, sometimes it's all about location, location, location.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,812

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    It's a statistical thing, sooner or later you will have all of the maladies. If you got mites, you are not isolated.

    Crazy Roland

  11. #11
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    An average overwintered colony will care for the comb in 2 deeps and 3 or 4 supers and prevent wax worms if the hive is in full sun.
    I've had at least one hive with 5 deeps every winter than I can remember. I don't use any screened bottoms. Do you think lack of CCD could be tied to lack of commercial beekeepers in Arkansas? The only one I know of is Coy in Jonesboro, the other side of the state.


    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I think you provide the best homes for your bees as you possibly can and thus they thrive.
    Eh, okay. A lot of my lids are leaky. And they're only neglected in the summer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    It's a statistical thing, sooner or later you will have all of the maladies. If you got mites, you are not isolated.
    I'm not isolated, I do have mites. Just keep waiting for the crash you've been predicting.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    2,477

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    As to luck, Napoleon Bonaparte believed in luck and I do too.
    And what happened to Napoleon? Something call Waterloo???
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
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    207

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    I have a Waterloo toolbox..HEE HEE
    Solomon, Are you trying to assimilate yourself?? Stop it!.
    Keep doing what you are doing like you are doing it. If you change anything you you will instantly get AFB and mites in your tights. and possibly bird flu. or stub your toe.
    But really, you seem to question each step,... which leads to an understanding of processes rather than a memorization of outcomes. The more you ask why? the better.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,812

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Do you think lack of CCD could be tied to lack of commercial beekeepers in Arkansas?

    Yes, it is called California Co-mingling Disease for a reason.

    Your results are consistent with a semi isolated apiary. You will be fine until an outside influence happens along. It is a mater of statistics, it will happen, like Waterloo.

    Crazy Roland

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    I guess I have to chime in here. I am a newbie to the forum but not to bee keeping. Any of my experience is from 20 or more years ago.
    I understand that certain things that bee keepers are seeing are supposed to be new or recent in terms of years that humans have been keeping bees....IMO, I think it is and has been the bee keepers killing bees and not diseases or mites or what have you. Too much treatment kills bees along with other "bad" bugs in the hive. This is a totally different argument, but I bring this up simply because of past experience.

    1) 20 years ago, I know for a fact that I saw little black bugs crawling around inside the hives that look very much like today's SHB's. They were not called SHB's nor were they really identified or worried about. We saw them, they did not cause too many problems that we knew of and we had definitely never heard of any kind of treatment for them. We squashed them when we saw them and saw bees chasing them around.

    2) AFB and EFB, has been around for ages, but I have never personally seen a case of it. I know several people who said they have had it in their hive at some time or another, but it has never been epidemic in my time of bee keeping.

    3) CCD, I have an opinion about this that may set people off and I apologize in advance if it does. IMO, anything that usually ends up with the word "Disorder" at the end of it is an anomaly...not a rule. It is something that can't be explained and probably never will. I know there have been tons of studies done...but if they can't find the reason for the bees to die or leave...then it is CCD. But again, simply because it now has a fancy name...does it mean that it has not been around for hundreds of years?

    4) Mites, I've never had a problem so I can't reasonably comment on it.

    5) Wax moths. I have seen them get to some hives and make a mess but not others. I am of the opinion that a strong hive will take care of these. So as I did years ago...I would either cull or combine weaker hives. Try to propagate stronger bees.

    6) Nosema, My opinion is that there is too much man made stuff out now that some bees just can't handle. There is a definite cause for it. It has been identified and studied. It may or may not have been around for years...But what I am concerned about is the bees susceptibility. Why are the bees susceptible to it now? I think it is either week bees or week hives...just not sure which one yet.

    7. Swarming, Never ever had a hive to swarm that I know of. The most amount of hives that I ever had at one time was 20 for a couple years in a row. they were managed, they were split if they were too large. We usually sold or gave away the splits or we just added more boxes during the flows. It just did not happen to us. Call it luck or chance...I just never saw it in my hives.

    Again, for a disclaimer...these are all my opinions, I have no proof or studies to back this up..

    .I just remember most of my experiences with bees. Some stuff we did for reasons of affordability. We were not pioneers by any means. But in the areas that I was raised we were poor. I remember several beeks getting together to make an order of supplies. We would order a box of foundation and split it between us and most of us used a starter strip back then simply because we could not afford to use a whole sheet per frame. So was that "Small cell" in action? who knows! There were medications for bees back then as were vitamin, pollen subs, and any other number of things that are out now. But we gave none of this to the bees because we could not afford to buy it.

    We saved honey for the bees and fed it to them for the spring build up. If we mismanaged, and got rid of too much honey or if the flow was not good...we fed with 1:1 sugar water...sugar was dirt cheap back then. But that is all we ever did. So are the bees better off with intervention?

    Sorry for the long post...or rant. Not sure which it is.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Kingsville, OH
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    959

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Solomon Parker maybe because your such a nice guy?? I sometime wonder the same thing about life it's self. Why does it rain on my parade and not on the bad guys?? Life is not fair Period.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    So am I a bad guy? I'm bad so everything goes well for me?

    Well, I certainly haven't heard that one before.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    I think beekeeping, and most ag, is much more localized than it used to be, which is kind of odd since so much is now commercialized.

    Wax moths are a huge problem for me, partly because they don't go dormant here. The Bt didn't kill the moths, but the bees don't like it, and won't word frames sprayed with it. I have one hive that is obviously part AHB, and even they get moths, so size/strength/attitude are not the only factors.

    No varrora problems for me, but I know that makes me odd (er).

    SHB also a problem here, but again, no dormant season. AJs traps and vinegar work well.

    CCD, EFB, AFB, Nosema, not a problem for me.

    Fire ants BIG problem for me, and they are not like other ants, so the helpful advice from those who've never dealt with them is just irritating.

    Weather extremes here in TX have also been a factor -- 2007, wettest year on record. 2008 below average moisture. 2009-2011 Record drought across the state. 2012, better than last year, but still behind.

    If you read most of the major books, they write as if all conditions, problems and solutions are the same everywhere, and I'd like to see more forum members recognize that it just ain't so anymore. And my different experience does not automatically mean that I am wrong. But that's another thread.

    Keep up the good work, Solomon. If we keep swimming upstream, we'll eventually make progress, right?

    Summer

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Kingsville, OH
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    959

    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    I hope it put a smile on ur face for real,,like I say who knows why things go the way they do??

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Why is my beekeeping experience so different?

    Sol. having grown up in a commercial operation, then being a hobbiest for 2 decades. and now commercial again, your situation is exactly as I would predict. I saw no disease as a hobbiest. It all about numbers. If you only have a few hives(less than 20), your chances of catching a disease are very slim, but NOT ZERO. The point is sooner or later, when you get bigger, you will have problems.

    Crazy Roland

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