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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    In my case, the bees do bring in honey in the fall, whether or not they bring in more or less, I don't know. I don't generally harvest in the fall because I would rather not feed. I harvest in June and leave the rest for the bees for summer (they will sometimes use all remaining honey in summer) and winter.

    The only problem with requeening I have found is that sometimes it fails and I get a deadout. Happens to one or two hives per summer. Other than that, things seem to go fine. My dearth is often months long, June to September even. It gives the new queen plenty of time to get her affairs in order.

    They definitely do bring in more stores for winter. The honey is typically much darker. Last year, they brought in very little because very little was available so I had to feed. This year is much better, after early June harvest, performers are currently sitting on a full deep of honey or better. In fall, I'll redistribute as necessary. Also trying to overwinter some nucs. They haven't absconded yet, but they're generally sitting on one frame or less of honey at this point. They have definitely curtailed brooding at this point. There are three.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #62
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Ca bees
    I do not think mite counts for those that are treatment free are hogwash. By the same token, I understand why those may choose to not do them.It is a personal preference. For me, it is just good info. The info is used in queen propagation selection, but only as a "deciding "factor. What I mean is, if I can't decide on other things, nothing stands out all being equal, I'll use that. It is just my HO that if you keep your bees healthy, no chemical distractions, your bees are of a quality, locale origin/assimilation, they have a chance of the ability to "deal" with mites or rise to that ability. IMHO, distractions of the chemical nature, are a road block to that end. (that includes sugar) Yes, hives will pass, that, IMHO, is a good thing. It is a hard line to draw in the sand. It boils down to keeping healthy bees, that at least have a chance, or propping them up because the measure or success is survival at any chemical cost. The bees suffer to that end.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Novato, CA
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    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Thanks again to everyone for their experiences! Rick do you do a mite count using the sugar method? Have you found any correlations between mite count and that hive surviving the winter? Do you start your queen raising this fall or the following spring? What other factors help you decide if it is a good queen or not; such as brood pattern, laying well or things of that sort?

    S.Parker, do you take all of the honey in June except what is around the brood nest or do you leave them some like the uncapped honey? It seems your bees have to make a surplus for your harvest in a very short amount of time! Do you just risk that they won't have enough for winter? Why do you think they supercede during the dearth and before winter? is it so they have a fresh queen in the spring? Also, if bees are going to supercede mid summer then they should not be booting out drones until fall, right? Just wondering since one of my hives are obviously booting them out now!

    Thanks again for suffering my questions! I am heading home now so it is safe to assume I won't ask anymore for quite a while and I definately look forward to your answers on these. It helps me think about hive maintenance and the 'big picture'.

  4. #64
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    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Solomon,
    I believe Grozzies presenter was being a bit facetious with the "leave em alone for one year" comment. If you going to keep bees you do it for honey or pollination or breeding. I don't know anyone that just fills boxes with bees and leaves them alone.

    I would guess his presenter was indicating that you don't treat with anything for a year, yet still perform what are customary manipulations that are known to help the bees like mouse guards, windbreaks and top insulation, you would be considered treatment free. If you do this without "treatments" and if they are still alive they are considered "survivors". You harvest your honey, make sure the bees have enough for themselves and let them bee. That is how I look at it too.

    If you feel that things such as mouse guards, top insulation and windbreaks to be treatments then perhaps we disagree but amicably.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  5. #65
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Ca
    I don't know how to answer it all. Spring for the queen rearing. I pay little attention to brood pattern unless really oddball. I have enough hives to be able to say,"wow", this one is nice". I don't know how to quantify it better. Too many variables. As an example, I have two queens I kept from my spring stuff. All things being equal, one queen is more impressive than the other. Control of brood given resources, build up, just an over all nice queen and hive behavior. Will I select her this spring to propagate ,,,,,dunno yet. I'm dealing with GGGgranddaughters at this point. IMHO, different ball game. Meaning, if I gave you a queen that was not one I would select to propagate, you would still be impressed she was a good queen It takes time and commitment. For me,,,that is what is enjoyable. Others, it is different.

  6. #66
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    Jun 2010
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    BTW, I take a sample of bees from the brood area. I use an alcohol wash. Just my preference.

  7. #67
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    S.Parker, do you take all of the honey in June except what is around the brood nest or do you leave them some like the uncapped honey?
    I leave them plenty. I use unlimited broodnest, so there will be some brood mixed in with the honey, so I leave those frames. I'll take frames with a little drone brood though, doesn't hurt anything. I usually don't take anything below the third deep and usually leave most of that too.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    It seems your bees have to make a surplus for your harvest in a very short amount of time!
    We're quite a bit warmer than there in the Bay Area. Winter is shorter, summer is hotter. In warmer areas, flows tend to be early and late with nothing in the middle.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    Do you just risk that they won't have enough for winter?
    I try not to. I try to leave them plenty with the goal of not needing to feed. I actually harvested a few weeks earlier than usual this year, so going back, I find more capped frames than usual for this time of the year for some hives.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    Why do you think they supercede during the dearth and before winter? is it so they have a fresh queen in the spring? Also, if bees are going to supercede mid summer then they should not be booting out drones until fall, right?
    I think it's a varietal thing. It's part of what they do. Maybe it's a trait expressed more among treatment-free bees. I don't really know, but it's what they do.


    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Solomon, I believe Grozzies presenter was being a bit facetious with the "leave em alone for one year" comment. If you going to keep bees you do it for honey or pollination or breeding. I don't know anyone that just fills boxes with bees and leaves them alone.
    I know. But I'm not facetious about keeping bees treatment free. I'm pretty serious about it. When I started, I went for broke, 20 packages. Now I've made it up to 28. It's been a pretty amazing ride this year. Glad to have a good fruitful conversation around here again.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #68
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    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
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    175

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Solomon I love your feedback. As a third year Beek I'm learning alot here reading all the comments. Next spring I'm going to have to learn more about splits and requeening. I'm getting more interested in all the aspects of keeping bees and just need more experience. Lots to learn. I have four hives, two "survivors", two not. Considering requeening the "Not" hives next season although they are both looking really good right now. They are "Carnies" I got in packages this spring. So little time, so much to learn.

  9. #69
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    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post


    I know. But I'm not facetious about keeping bees treatment free.
    Am I to understand that you dont put mouse guards, top insulation or provide windbreaks for your hives? Nothing?
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #70
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    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
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    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Thank you so much, all of you. I have one more question as a light bulb went off.
    Soloman said:
    I leave them plenty. I use unlimited broodnest, so there will be some brood mixed in with the honey, so I leave those frames. I'll take frames with a little drone brood though, doesn't hurt anything. I usually don't take anything below the third deep and usually leave most of that too.
    3 deeps... is that something to build up to before thinking about taking surplus honey? That is the same as 6 mediums I believe. It makes sense if one wants a strong hive starting out in the spring they have plenty of room, cone and some stores to take off running.

    Whalers: one of the guys who gave the bee seminar here (Serge L?) told a story of starting with treatment and losing up to 80% one year. He wasn't enjoying his bees. He finally stopped all treatment and over years is running about 100 hives. He culls the weak ones in fall. Hand in hand with no chemicals is giving the room to move up and down, expand and contract as they see fit. He even studied a hive in an oak tree over 18 months taking thermal images and showed us what they do month to month and times of dearth and no brood laying.

    And Keith: I do know people who keep bees for just having bees! There is a group here that do just that and teach how to split those surviving hives. One can buy a split for $75 and the following year if they do not treat it and it does well enough to split can split it to another member for $75 and the class does the splits. It was great! Of course this is the Left Coast so we all do things a little differently here.

    And Rick: thank you, I completely understand and will check out your youtube tomorrow. Time to hit the sack and call it a day. CaBees (Kimberly)

  11. #71
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    Considering requeening the "Not" hives next season although they are both looking really good right now.
    If they are doing fine, why not give them the chance to survive without treatments? You may just be surprised. And if it doesn't turn out, requeen before they dwindle too far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Am I to understand that you dont put mouse guards, top insulation or provide windbreaks for your hives? Nothing?
    No windbreaks, no mouseguards, no top insulation. I do reduce entrances. It comes from the concept that bees do not heat the hive. They only heat the cluster. Relatively speaking, the hive will be nearly as cold inside as outside if the cluster's extents do not reach the wall.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    3 deeps... is that something to build up to before thinking about taking surplus honey? That is the same as 6 mediums I believe. It makes sense if one wants a strong hive starting out in the spring they have plenty of room, cone and some stores to take off running.
    Yes, I find that a good store of pollen is the best thing, it's the best stimulus, better than feeding. 3 deeps is a little less than 5 mediums. If I were using mediums, I would probably use 4 as I don't think I quite need the my minimum in 3 deeps. A well stocked hive will still have plenty of honey in the spring, so they could stand to have a little less. Better safe though.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #72
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by whalers View Post
    Considering requeening the "Not" hives next season although they are both looking really good right now.
    If they are doing fine, why not give them the chance to survive without treatments? You may just be surprised. And if it doesn't turn out, requeen before they dwindle too far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Am I to understand that you dont put mouse guards, top insulation or provide windbreaks for your hives? Nothing?
    No windbreaks, no mouseguards, no top insulation. I do reduce entrances. It comes from the concept that bees do not heat the hive. They only heat the cluster. Relatively speaking, the hive will be nearly as cold inside as outside if the cluster's extents do not reach the wall.


    Quote Originally Posted by CaBees View Post
    3 deeps... is that something to build up to before thinking about taking surplus honey? That is the same as 6 mediums I believe. It makes sense if one wants a strong hive starting out in the spring they have plenty of room, cone and some stores to take off running.
    Yes, I find that a good store of pollen is the best thing, it's the best stimulus, better than feeding. 3 deeps is a little less than 5 mediums. If I were using mediums, I would probably use 4 as I don't think I quite need the my minimum in 3 deeps. A well stocked hive will still have plenty of honey in the spring, so they could stand to have a little less. Better safe though.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #73
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    Nov 2011
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    Novato, CA
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    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Thank you again for your answers...so much information in this thread. Bumping up on purpose.

  14. #74
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    I've shared this "story" a few times on this forum but it changed much about me and my beekeeping. I picked a swarm last spring from an unknown source. In other words, do not know where it came from, someones, hive, or a "tree". Hived them in a deep with drawn foundation. Now, I had already drawn my line in the sand regarding no chems, or purposeful treatments/manipulations if you will, for mites. This hive did great till mid August. I had DWV bees from this hive every day! Till that time, I really did not care much about mite counts. I decided I would check this one. I quite counting at forty. (three hundred bee sample from the brood area) I agonized over what to because we had a terrible flow last year, and I was having to feed a number of hives. One less hive was a savings. I almost bagged them, but decided to let nature take its' course. They actually had good stores that I wanted to give to another hive. I reduced the entrance so as they weakened, they at least had a chance to defend themselves and also, me catch it before they were robbed out and all those mites spread into my other hives. Risky business We had a mild winter so I was able to peek in on them. The cluster diminished to maybe three frames or so. When the weather was nice, the flew like the other hives, just less bees. I really believed they would freeze, not starve. Come early spring, they started bringing pollen in! Humm,,,,I finally got a chance to get into them and there was the queen, same one cause I mark mine, and brood. I was astonished. Make the long story short,,,,, they superceded that queen, but before they did, they exploded and caught up to the other hives. (maybe a mechanism of the bees, two queens at one time? something to consider IMO) Then, I'm pretty sure they swarmed. My bad Now, Three deeps, plenty of stores. I could harvest some but won't. One of my calmest hives, pleasure to do inspections on. To think, I almost bagged them. So, when you read, "you don't know what they can do till you let them, it is true. Doesn't mean it will work on all bees all the time. They have to be healthy, and of good stock, at least.
    There's my story, why I mark my queens, and do mite counts. Kirk Webster has done writings on "Collapse and Recovery" Do a search it will come up. Another area of interest for me, is, "Epigenetics" Another search will bring up explanations of what it is and how it works. I don't think it is too complicated. JMO This year, I have made a move to go foundationless. Natural cell, what ever the bees make. Just me thinking out loud, but if I expect the bees, to find their way through this, they need to be on their battle ground so changes/responses can happen naturally as possible. Nothing foreign to muck up the works. JMO and thinkin out loud

  15. #75
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    Nov 2011
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    554

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Thank you for that and I will look up "epigenetics" and "collapse and recovery" as soon as I have time (swamped at work today). What is "DMV bees" ... I'm guessing deaths?

    I would guess by them going down drastically in numbers the mites had no where to lay and then the cold outside the cluster depleted the mite population?

    I am surprised you would consider giving their stores to another hive....wouldn't that spread the mites or would you have frozen it first?

    I have a hive from old equipment now that I've segregated from my other hives and am interested in this: the brood frames are on standard plastic frames.... I've opened up the brood chamber and put in foundationless. I am going to try and measure the cone cells once they draw them out. Like your hive I know nothing about them except I think they are a swarm but they could also have been the original hive the previous owner thought was dead. He did treat for mites; harvested all the honey and was sure those hives boxes were empty. When I picked up the old hives they were spread out over two deeps with a queen excluder between them. So who knows where they came from...or how long they had been sitting at this vacant house with no one looking....

    My other hive and one I helped a friend with were all weak swarms where we put brood frames in and they raised a queen. Then I have one which combined two weak swarms/ only one swarm had a queen...the other was failing. It is amazing how they've made a comeback. So I agree with you; if we can find the patience to let nature do its thing, it may very well surprise us!

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    We did a thread on epigenetics here on TFB a few months back, see if you can find it.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #77
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Sorry a bees,,,LOL,,,DMV is supposed to be DWV Doh! Deformed wing virus.
    I would guess by them going down drastically in numbers the mites had no where to lay and then the cold outside the cluster depleted the mite population?
    I would not think so, but I honestly am not sure. Mites have survival traits too. When brood drops/stops,, they attach themselves to bees till brood starts up again.(as I understand it) I wish I new what happened.
    Yes, I would have put the honey through a freeze spell.

    Swarms are the best things to work with and the most fun for me. They are at there best, cause nature is at odds with them. They must do everything right to survive, that includes change. ( MO)

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
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    175

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    To wadehump - on the last page when you listed bee suppliers in oregon, were you saying each of those places has "Survivor" bees?

    I have purchased bees from Ruhl bee before - lost them all to mites. Would be willing to try again with Ruhl if they had survivor type bees.

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
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    485

    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Not a list of survivor bees just a list of bee supplers close to you. I think to get bees that will live year to year and do well and i know that some will disagree you need to go foundationless with your bees. I used to place wax foundation in all of my hives and they died so i went foundationless 5 years ago with 2 hives. 2 winters ago i had 7 hives and lost 1 weak hive that was low on stores going into winter. Last winter i went in with 16 and came out with 15 i am now up to 28. Just my 2 cents i do not treat i do not use swarm control methods at all i let the bees bee bees. My bees have mites they all do i get hives that get dwv but they outlast the mites and live from season to season.

  20. #80
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Survivor bees vs regular stock and mite counts

    Quote Originally Posted by wadehump View Post
    ... live from season to season.
    This is my dream! I wish they will do. Sergey

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