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  1. #221
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: Inspection Jan 28 2014

    Hi Jackson
    Since my hives are near my house - I observe them many times per day - so I have general idea what is normal. Each my beehive has a piece of cardboard under the landing deck - I regularly check it at night. At night, bees do most of the house-cleaning and damp trash on the board - you may see dead bees, larvae etc. In the early morning they would remove trash from the board. Thus - during the day-time you may not see what was removed from the hive at night. This "trash" is the best source of information regarding bee-health. You may see bee-mummies or underdeveloped bees - not good. But again, how many and how often? My conclusion is that 3-5 (total per night) dead bees/larvae/mummies is OK. Many "mummies" - bad. You also check the smell of the hive - at night it should be sweet, not exactly like honey (smell of beehive). If you smell ammonia or rotten stuff - it is indication of the problem. Also bees behavior - if they respond on you quickly and run on the landing deck to meet you - some problem, potential robbing etc. Noise - normal hive produces steady specific noise. People (not me) can recognize swarm preparation listening the bee-noise. Newborn queen made specific noise (piping - never heard).

    Regarding nest - yes, bees have a tendency to attach comb to the sides and to the bottom. I made 2 L-shaped metal sticks with sharp edges to cut vertical and bottom sides of the comb. It works fairly well, but disturbs bees a little bit. Bees have attached the comb only if one did not do inspection for a few months.

    Again, I usually do not do a full nest inspection - I just remove a few frames from one side (look for honey and pollen) until I reach a full brood frame - I look at it briefly for brood pattern and obvious problems and took a picture (I have a stand). Put everything back and look on the picture at home away from angry girls I really do not see any reason (except real serious disease) to disassemble the entire brood-nest frame-by-frame.

    If you really need to do full inspection, I would recommend to do it in reverse order - remove each box, cover with heavy cloth, stack them next to the hive - inspect last (lover) box first, than put back next box and inspect it, than another ... It works well only if your comb is not attached too much at the bottom When you manipulate boxes - it is very important do not kill bees. Smoke bees and slide box from the side so it will push bees away. Time of inspection is very important too.

    Good luck!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  2. #222
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: Inspection Jan 28 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by allan View Post
    I'm getting my first package of bees next month and i'm planning to start out with foundationless frames have already got the hives and frames.just hope that my frames turn out as nice as yours.
    Allan
    I think, starting bee package foundationless may be a challenge. I would use wax foundation at least at the beginning and than add foundationless one-by-one between already drawn frames. This way you will teach bees how to make a straight comb on foundationless frames. If you want to be a purist and start completely foundationless, than you really need to keep eye on girls and correct each comb quite often. I have a nuc, where bees start comb without any guide. I corrected it once or twice with the knife - they have completed two deeps now and busy making a super - all without a single foundation! I observed that bees somehow learned how to make straight comb on foundationless - with time, they do it better and better! Moreover, it sounded completely crazy, but, it seems to me that they do teach neighbors!

    I wish you the best with your new bees!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  3. #223
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Geneva, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    184

    Default Re: Inspection Jan 28 2014

    Thanks Sergey for the advice

  4. #224
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: Inspection Jan 28 2014

    Hi everyone!
    I would like just to tell you that myself and bees are doing great this season. We are in the process of massive building. As in all previous years, today - we are treatment-free, foundation-free, sugar-free, swarm-free. All my beehives have an original queens besides that horizontal beehive recently silently changed the queen. It was oldest queen - she served for 4 years before has replaced. I hope her daughter will be as good as her mother As for "winter loses", we have an increase - from 3 to 5 beehives and one was transferred to my neighbor. Good luck with your bees.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Серёжа, Sergey

  5. #225
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default May-June state of the business year 2014

    I did not visit this page for quite a while. In May my large beehive swarmed twice even after all my anti-swarm measures. Swarms were hived and have a new home in the neighboring backyards After swarms, bees had a difficulties to make a new queen - perhaps because birds used beehive as a cafeteria. I suspect they eat many of my queens this year. Another beehive was getting too big and I did "equal wake away split." Split did not work as expected - both parts become queenless. I gave them eggs and one part made a queen and another suffered. Plus I had two more beehives from somebody's swarms. Being busy with all these queen issues and swarms, I suddenly faced another problem - city inspector visit. I have to remove-relocate 4 excessive beehives (only 2 permitted). So, one was sold to TF enthusiast who drove 100 miles to get my bees . I combine queenless with established swarm and I hide 2 hives on my deck (do not tell anybody). Rearrangement involved moving two beehives from the roof in the middle of the night. I ended up with 4 beehives and all of them currently doing great besides unbelievable drought in the area Because of drought, I decided to keep all honey for the bees. Bees are working very hard - they have quite a bit of nectar but the whole business is much slower than, for instance, last year. I wish you great summer for your bees!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Серёжа, Sergey

  6. #226
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    Hello everyone
    Today was inspection day. We are in really deep drought and it starts affecting bees ... and my garden. Even with watering, the garden looks a little bit ... hm ... unfresh! Bees are desperate to get anything.

    Last Saturday, we had fundraising event for kids in the center of Down Town Los Angeles - basically, all concrete. Poor bees discovered sweet Mexican drinks (freshly made from fruits, delicious!) and literally swarm around the table with drinks. Volunteers, who serve the drinks, worked in the cloud of bees. I never saw anything like this other than real swarm. Of coarse, everybody asked me what to do like I am "authority"... We came to conclusion that bees just follow me. Interestingly, at the event we had a few hundreds people and a hungry thousand bees = 1 sting. The boy who got stung, won a jar of my honey in raffle totally unintentionally!

    So, I decided to do inventory of my bees reserves I collected 20 kilos of honey and each hive has at least half of the box honey spread at the sides in beehive. It also has another box-amount of uncapped nectar. All bees are doing great as far as I can tell. For some reason, one honeycomb was detached from the TB - fixed. Long hive had returned to its horizontal state - it has a vertical extension, but bees were reluctant to move up even with very nice "ladder." I do not post many pictures, because they all are the same. These pictures is to illustrate my typical "stick" with the comb. Note the drone's cells at the periphery of the comb. It is typical for all my beehives - my bees do not build all-drones comb. They do build large-cell honeycomb for nectar storage. Happy beekeeping to you and bees!

    Last picture (from previous inspection) - "ladder" into vertical extension of horizontal beehive. Today, it was cut in half and returned to the hive as two normal-size "sticks."
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by cerezha; 08-12-2014 at 07:15 PM.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #227
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    2015 report
    This year was difficult to me and my bees. When I was traveling, two beehives were killed (poisoned?) and third one was affected. It took some time for bees to recover. I left all honey to the bees and decided do not disturb them. California drought is also affecting bees - even in the city, we feel damaging influence of the drought. Nevertheless, right now, after some difficult time, my bees (and myself) are doing great. I did full inspection and was really pleased to observe that my bees keep all comb in perfect order - comb is properly attached to the bars with practically zero cross-comb or bridges. It is without "supervision" from my side. My current theory is that bees somehow can learn and transfer the knowledge between generations. In my particular case, bees were trained to use foundationless top-bars instead normal frame with foundation. Apparently, they learned how to use bars and now all bars have perfect straight comb without any efforts from my side.

    Regarding treatment. From the very beginning it was decided that my bees will be treatment-free. After death of my bees, I questioned if it was varroa? Timing was perfect - it was exactly 4 years treatment-free. After analysis, I think that it was not varroa because bees were dead inside the beehive - full box of dead bees ... it was not CCD... regardless, the rest of the bees are passed 4 years treatment-free "death"-line and doing great! My two neighbors have also the same treatment-free bees and they are doing great. At this point, I feel that we managed to fill our area with our drones creating a local population of resistant to varroa bees.

    No pictures, sorry guys! I just get tired taking million similar pictures with "honey on the stick" - see above.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  8. #228
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    2016 report
    same as above, waiting for new swarms to increase beehives number. Bees become much more docile - it looks like that their african "blood" wears out or they learned how to manage my inspections or I learned from bees or all above. This year we have great native plants bloom in my native California garden - hope for great truly natural honey! As before - treatment-free and natural bee-cells on top-bars in Lang's boxes (see numerous pictures above). Good luck with your bees!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  9. #229
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    orange county, california
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    I bet your bees are so happy this year recovering from the drought! I'm down in orange county and I am loving the weather this year! Everything is green, early and strong for the bees! I think you will need some extra supers on hand!

  10. #230
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,606

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    Yes, it is amusing, how even little rain affects all plants! I have record blooming in my native CA garden - bees are very happy!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  11. #231
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    orange county, california
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: August, state of the business year 2014

    I have a drought tollerant/native combo and I'm seeing a lot more bees this year. It's such a welcome change from the drought.

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