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  1. #161
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Hey odfrank, I re-started six years ago with 2 colonies... now 27 active ones... all treatment free. Had absolutely no time to work bees this year, as we've been in the process of doing a gut-rehab on our soon to be retirement home 150 miles away. My work interferes with my life? I decided when we bought the house that this year and next would be a "maintenance" year - to keep what I've got, get relocated, then re-embark upon my expansion plans for the bees.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  2. #162
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,440

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Had to combine another hive today. 3 out of 35 gone to mites. All second year hives. The ones I treated with MAQS are all doing well.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #163
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,992

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    Had to combine another hive today
    Me too, Two out of five gone at my house. No treatments.
    Easy come, easy go.

  4. #164
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Or hard come, easy go? we do put a lot of effort into establishing the colonies...
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #165
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,283

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Well lost one {hive}today . on tuesday i had 2 hive looking like it was spring so i know one was robbing and one was getting robbed i'm not sure what happen i'm going to take the hive apart later and take some pics i know they had low mite count and was heavy so i don't know geuss it was more of a dinky then i tought.
    down to 14 . It had 70+ lb of honey it was a split i made in july.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  6. #166
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    On break I stopped by my two city hives to do an exterior visual inspection, one hive had some bees coming and going...........the other one nothing. I tapped on the hive and no sound, I looked under the SBB and didnt see any bees, so I opened it up and not a single bee to be found, but about 60 pounds of capped honey. Took a couple frames out that were not glued down tight and looked in the empty comb, didnt see any white specks in the comb on the two frames I looked at, but I am quite sure its DBV............Death by Varroa.

    Hive info:
    Double deep ten frame hive that swarmed in the spring which produced a very large swarm. Built back up to strong numbers in time for blackberry flow and packed on around 60 pounds of honey for me to extract. This hive was full on treatment free, not even powdered sugar dusting.

    I will be picking up the hive tomorrow and doing a thorough inspection tomorrow evening in the garage. The positive thing is I have plenty of capped honey to give to the other hives instead of feeding sugar syrup, and I have a lot of drawn comb. I will also take the top off the other hive tomorrow (first swarm catch of 2012) and look down into it to see how they are doing, weather pending.

    So, started out with 8 hives, now down to 7.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  7. #167
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    401

    Big Grin Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Sorry to hear about your lostes ladies & gentlemen:,, Look forward to reading the further diagnose of destruction/death of your ladies. As you know pictures are a bonus! Here in CO, we had our first major cold snap/moisture in about 5 weeks. I look forward to see who's flying in the next two days. High temps forecasted for 53. All 15 hives alive as of 12/8/12

  8. #168
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,440

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    I think we're going to get some interesting information after the challenge is over. I'm already seeing in my hives that the ones that had a brood break over the summer and re-queened are doing as well or better than the ones I used MAQS on. The remaining two year hives treated with powdered sugar only are the ones in trouble or have had to combine, (3 so far).
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #169
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Charlie, I was pondering this. Have you considered trying a MDA Splitter manipulation and thus guarantee a brood break? If you have drones you could even do it now.
    In the bitterly cold north a brood break is ensured, whereas in paradise I am led to believe there is never one. Mel says: that a beekeeper only needs to ensure peak populations when he has peak nectar flows; that the large colonies that beekeepers have traditionally aimed for year round are more beneficial to mite production than colony survival; Also that africanized bees survive and thrive despite mites because of the brood break and the smaller colony size.
    MP and many others are noticing that nucs survive untreated whilst large colonies need to be treated. Year 2 I had 5 out of 8 colonies survive and those survivors had all undergone a brood break (split or swarm) in addition to our winter brood break.
    Perhaps you could get together with OD, as the only downside I have seen with an MDA splitter intervention is that it works best with large supplies of empty drawn comb. Rumor has it he has some.

  10. #170
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Charlie, I agree. I am curious to see true info on what hives make it and what hives dont and wether or not they were splits, no treatment, treatment, heavy on stores, light on stores, queen age (if known), or if they were in nucs or other types of hive equipment.

    My four hives made it last winter and they consisted of 2 deep hives that took frames from to start a couple of five frame nucs. The nucs built up strong this past spring and both big hives made it through just fine as well until one became a drone layer.

    Im gonna do some late summer nucs next year and either let them raise their own queens or stick queen cells into them, and then see how things turn out in the spring of 2014.

    Im really curious how my swarm hives will winter this year, if they make it I am going to split the heck out of them and graft some queen cells to see if I can keep them alive!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  11. #171
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Charlie, another thought. I am wondering how combining weak hives works out for you? How does their survival rate compare to other hives that have not been combined?

  12. #172
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    What is a MDA Splitter???

    Ignorance is bliss..

  13. #173
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Mel Disselkoen Apiaries, Mel is a northern beekeeper. He has a web page. http://www.mdasplitter.com/index.php

  14. #174
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,440

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Adrian,

    I've watched Mel's video that was floating around this site and it make allot of sense. I think it's a more natural way of combating mites in addition to culling drone comb and as I can see in my own hives, it works. I'm small with 35 hives, well, 32 now so I have the time to do the manipulation.

    It's such a temperate climate here that I still have hives with 4 boxes on and now the Eucalyptus is starting to flow so I'll be adding supers soon. The problem for me here in SF is the foggy windy weather is almost a death sentence to a virgin queen trying to mate. They almost never mate or mate properly.

    Like BG, I'm going to raise my own queens next year in one of my warmer less windy beeyards in San Jose and see how that goes.

    As far as combining weak hives, If I don't see any signs of disease, I'll add a weak hive to a strong one. The times I've combined two weak hives, it's almost never worked out so I stopped doing it.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  15. #175
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Clark county, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Checked all mine with a stethoscope today. Not lost any more yet

  16. #176
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Charlie, the reason I ask about combining hives is that I'm starting to question its effectiveness related to overwintering. My logic is that if one of the parts of the combine is weak, and that is generally the reason for a combine, even if it is disease free it likely has a number of mites that the receiving colony can do without; In other words the harm to the receiving colony in accepting mite-ridden bees is greater than the good generated by the extra bee numbers. This might be especially true in an area where brood rearing never really shuts down. The receiving colony may have achieved a balance of sorts with its mite population which is thrown off when the mitey bees come in. Are colony combiners selecting for virulent mites that overpower colonies? Sorry for the early morning caffeine ramblings.

  17. #177
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,764

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    good point adrian. plus, the strong colony may have already adjusted it's population down for overwintering. i'm not sure i see the point combining, especially after foraging is over for the season.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #178
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,440

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    I think you're right Adrian since the "weak" hive is most likely weak because of excessive mite load. I can see where this would apply to splits as well. It's not wise to split a hive or to make up nucs with mite infested brood and bees.

    I've also noticed that colonies from cutouts that have been established for a while don't do as well as swarm clusters hanging from a tree. This maybe because I rubberband the cut out brood full of mites into frames to get the cutout established in a hive box.
    Last edited by Charlie B; 12-13-2012 at 07:54 PM.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  19. #179
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    I can second Charlie's observation regarding a few weeks of no brood in late to mid summer.
    I have few hives that were brood-less in mid to late summer. All these hives doing very very well, now.
    I also treated several hives in September with MAQS and these hive are doing fine, too.

    One of this not treated hives was a cut out. I killed the queen by accident when I did the cut out and the bees made
    a new one, she is performing nicely, now.


    I think splitting hives in August after you pulled the honey could be a good idea in regard of reducing the mites.

    I might lost one hive of my 14 hives but I am not 100% sure because I have not looked into this hive lately.
    I still saw some traffic but this traffic could be robbers too.
    I hope I get nice warm day soon to verify whether this hive on the living side.

    Cheers
    Stefan

  20. #180
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,242

    Default Re: Are you ready for the Odfrank overwintering challenge?

    Charlie, actually I think splitting a mite-laden hive is the right thing to do if you are able to do it, and ensure that there is a period of broodlessness. Some of this runs counter to common teaching. Traditional methods advocate placing a caged queen with a split, and makes no mention of ensuring a period of broodlessness. In Mel's method a hive is made queenless and left as a whole until just before queen cell emergence - it is then that the splits are made. The period of broodlessness that ensues ensures a mite setback.
    If a beekeeper is making splits when queens are not going to get mated, alternative methods of ensuring a period of broodlessness take place need to be arranged. A variant of Roland's "above the excluder" method can be used. In a two deep hive shake all the bees off sealed, or nearly sealed, frames of brood. Place these frames in one of the deeps and place the excluder in between the two boxes. Leave it for a week. After a week, take the frames and adhering bees away to a new location, in the apiary or elsewhere. Add a caged queen. Leave her caged for at least three days, and than allow the bees to release her or release her yourself. This will ensure a period of broodlessness.

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