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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Chester Co, PA, USA
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    269

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    I think you just gave her the answer. Beekeeping is a fluid activity. You cannot simply keep a static number. I just hope the thread has not scared her off. Personally, I have found it facinating and instructive.
    Meridith
    I am frequently confused!

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,619

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    1. The bees don't "like" the break in functional comb between boxes. This results in reluctance to "jump the gap" in mutiple different circumstances.

    Says you. In 40 years I have seen no evidence of this. What's your proof that the bees don't "like" the bee space between brood boxes and/or supers.

    >>2. Something about brood-rearing in a deep that distorts cluster shape - flat on the bottom and rounded at the top. You only see a round cluster when it's quite small.

    Distorts cluster shape?? Really?? And what possible problem would come from your flat bottomed clusters. Hey, just yesterday I was looking at clusters from the bottom up on a dozen multiple story hives...2 deeps and a medium. They were about 8" from the bottom board, and nothing flat about them.
    Hoping you would answer my questions, Walt. What is your proof that bees don't like the break between bodies, and that it in any way effects them negatively.
    What are you talking about...flat clusters. How do these "flat" clusters impact the bees, the clusters, and the future of the colony?

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
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    705

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Hello all,
    Just a quick question and I should have asked this long ago? If I have 5 hives that I start out with, how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    I also like to maintain 5 hives, plus minus 2 or so is fine, I don't split, catch the odd swarm for winter insurance, that's all. This year I had around 950lb of honey from my 5 hives.
    Grow shrubs & trees,...it's good for bees!

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,362

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Mike,
    The only proof I have of those 2 improvements is the results. Changing configuration and incorporating the pollen box were done over a two year period - in parallel. When they were both in place, suddenly, I had a marked improvement in wintering. Went from 25% feeble clusters in Feb to constently adequate cluster size. Can't say wihich of the two changes had the most effect, but suspect the pollen box was the key. The configuration change supported the pollen box maneuver.

    By moving a shallow of brood below the single deep during the spring expansion, that shallow is backfilled with long-term pollen, bee bread. It remains there until August when fall expansion starts to rear wintering young bees. August, locally, is a period of low field pollen availability. The colony dips into their pollen reserve to start the fall expansion. By first frost, the pollen box is empty and is left in place going into winter. Used in late winter to CB honey above the brood nest.

    This doesn't make much sense until you recognize the bees heritage. Their instincts were developed for life in the tree hollow of extended forest. Not much fall flow in the forest. What the pollen box is intended to do is accommodate their instincts in a Lang hive. The hypothesis is that in the vertical tree hollow, they store pollen in the period when it's plentiful, the spring. As the brood nest grows upward, the pollen reserve is stored at the bottom. Come time to rear wintering bees, the broodnest grows downward into the pollen reserve. In so doing, the cluster winters in the bottom with their honey stores overhead to grow into in the late winter. The small-cell folks call that the "core" broodnest.

    Note that in the pollen box application the brood nest does not recede to the bottom. Their reluctance to jump the gap at the interbar space and their preference for maintaining brood in the larger volume of the deep keeps the winter cluster in the deep.

    You ask how these observations affect colony performance. Although colony reservaltions about Lang design are not limited to the circumstance here, certainly, wintering is a biggee.

    Would you go for a little skull drill? Picking a circumstance that we both see (?) I would like to see your answer. The situation: A starter colony has nearly filled their first deep.(70 to 90%) A second deep is added above. There is some delay in the start of comb-drawing in the added, upper deep of foundation. The question: What are the factors influencing the length of the delay - both shortening and lengthening?
    Cheers,
    Walt

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,417

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ralittlefield View Post
    Okay, so how do you answer her? How can she maintain at a steady number of 5? Some will die and need to be replaced. Some will outgrow their hives and will need to be dealt with in some manner, or her neighbors may have Pamela's bees in their eaves.
    She only asked about how to maintain 5, she didn't ask about anything else. So, the answer should be obvious, replace the deadouts. Anything else we don't have enuf info to advise her on.

    If Pamela was scared off by this Thread I don't know what to say. It's been pretty tame compared to others one will find.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,619

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Mike,
    The only proof I have of those 2 improvements is the results. Changing configuration and incorporating the pollen box were done over a two year period - in parallel. When they were both in place, suddenly, I had a marked improvement in wintering. Went from 25% feeble clusters in Feb to constently adequate cluster size. Can't say wihich of the two changes had the most effect, but suspect the pollen box was the key. The configuration change supported the pollen box maneuver.
    Walt
    An alternative hypothesis...since you rely on supercedure to requeen you colonies, it figures that your bees have acclimatized to your conditions, and their genetics have improved through natural selection. An hypothesis that is as valid as yours?

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,619

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    Would you go for a little skull drill? Picking a circumstance that we both see (?) I would like to see your answer. The situation: A starter colony has nearly filled their first deep.(70 to 90%) A second deep is added above. There is some delay in the start of comb-drawing in the added, upper deep of foundation. The question: What are the factors influencing the length of the delay - both shortening and lengthening?
    Cheers,
    Walt
    Yep, sure. The delay, when adding foundation above, is that it's not comb. The bees don't see foundation as comb into which they can expand. Add a box of brood combs above this new single, and the bees will jump right on it...provided there are ample bees in the cluster and there's a flow on.

    And the relevance of your flat bottomed cluster is....??

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    santa monica, ca
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Hello all,
    Just a quick question and I should have asked this long ago? If I have 5 hives that I start out with, how do I maintain them instead of splitting and making more if I just want to continue with 5???
    When I first read Pamela's question I of course related it to my own experience.
    By city ordinance I am only allowed to have 2 hives, and am supposed to do all I can to prevent swarming. How to accomplish this? If I do splits, I have too many hives. If I don't I have to result to other means of swarm control.
    Perhaps Pamela is in a similar situation and has constraints that make 5 hive optimal. My choice to date is to go ahead and do the splits and then combine, (the city doesn't keep a very close eye on us) but will start CB next year.
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,417

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Perhaps brood removal and destruction? Thru freezing of brood combs?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,966

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    pull the queen prior to swarm season, destroy all but one queen cell, or even all the queen cells, no new brood for a month, and requeen.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #51
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    pull the queen prior to swarm season, destroy all but one queen cell, or even all the queen cells, no new brood for a month, and requeen.
    basically do a cut down split but remove only the queen. you'll get more honey, but might have to buy a queen.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    basically do a cut down split
    I'm not sure why, but according to the OP she would like to avoid splitting.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    understood, that's why i suggested just taking the queen. not really splitting, but the same mo as a cut down split. i.e. just prior to main flow, take queen (but not frames of bees), go back a week later and remove queen cells, (maybe leave one good one), go back a month later and check for mated queen, (or put in new queen).

    i did a cut down split on one of my strong hives this spring, (read about it on bushfarms.com, under swarm prevention i think). it worked exactly as mike bush said it might.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    And what do you do w/ the queen you took?
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  15. #55
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    On the issue of the queen and a gap. I am not saying this is correct, I am saying this is how I understand the explanation of a problem. Notice I said "A" problem, no the "The" problem.

    First is the theory that a queen starts at the first cell and lays an egg. she then moves to an adjacent egg to lay the next. This is argued as the method the queen will lay maximum brood. If the queen passed an empty cell to lay time was lost. Equals less efficiency. The overall idea is that the queen then lays in a pattern that has the first egg at the center of a circle and continues to spiral outwardly from this center laying in the next adjacent empty cell. This explains why a nest woudl be round in cross section. but does not explain to me how it widens into a ball. Btu that is another issue and it never did get addressed for me anyway. Anyway the queen is doing her circling thing with the next available cell right a her nose merrily laying eggs to beat the band. but then suddenly the location where the next empty cell should be is a strip of wood. This disrupts the queens progress to the next empty cell. she turns around and heads back only to find cells full of eggs. she must continue to hint around and reestablish her natural pattern of egg laying. This could in theory cause such a disruption that the queen actually abandons that entire pattern and finds a new location to start again. Possibly requiring that she search for and find another completely empty comb. I suspect it would actually be very hard to know just exactly how much this disruption effects laying. I can imagine a female dog that has chosen it location to whelp. To then only be moved. She may spend hours or even a day or more adjusting to such a disruption. It may be just a disruption of a few minutes. I have heard from several sources that queens are reluctant to cross the gap between fraems. deep frames present fewer gaps than med or shallow. One of the sources I was reading on this issue promoted the use of only ultra or extra deep fraems for a brood box. a frame large enough to contain an entire laying patter, as it only gets so large, with no disruptions.

    So although med and even shallow boxes are used, and queens to lay in them. They do work. But are they the best choice? It is not so much a matter of all brood being lost. but a matter of how much brood is being lost.

    So do I think that the size of fraems in the brood box will make or break a beekeeper. By no means. But it could be a way to improve your management for those looking for ways to improve.

    So far my direct observations of how a queen lays is not consistent with the above. At least in the early part of the season. I have observed twice now that the queen will go to the highest point in the hive that contains empty cells and begin laying. In both cases it struck me as the queen was getting as far away from the entrance as possible. As she lays she will then be forced to move downward. or toward the entrance to find new empty cells. In 21 days as the first eggs are emerging. the queen is far removed from that location in the hive. the bees will then fill that cell with nectar. Eventually the queen gets pushed back down toward the entrance where, Hopefully, the brood nest will be maintained for the season. that or she runs out of room and it is time for the colony to swarm.

    I watched almost daily as a queen filled almost two full deep boxes with brood in this way. IT did strike me that she was clearly either in the upper or the lower box. but it never appeared she was laying in both boxes at the same time. It had the effect of something like she was in one room or the other. but the gap clearly made a difference. not necessarily a problem.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,966

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And what do you do w/ the queen you took?
    whatever you want to.

    sell her, trade her, pinch her.

    use her to start a new hive to replace winter dead outs.

    what would you do with her mark?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #57
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Holland, Texas
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Thank you all for your responses. I am now thoroughly confused, but will go with my best instinct and read, read, read. I know you all have your own way of beekeeping and I really enjoy reading what you have to say. I am brand new to this and have been learning so much and hopefully don't lose my bees for my ignorance. I am old-fashioned in lots of ways and believe that they know way more than we do. I think lots of common sense will go along way. I just want to do right by them. They give me more than I ever asked for. It is a challenge for me and I don't really care to go into the Scientific way of doing things. Just as long as they are ok, I will let nature stay in charge. The bees have done fine without us for a long time. Thanks for all of your help and comments and suggestions.
    "Live it like you stole it"

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    28,417

    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    whatever you want to.

    sell her, trade her, pinch her.

    use her to start a new hive to replace winter dead outs.

    what would you do with her mark?
    Hard to say what I would do since I don't have the goal as set forth in the OP. The easiest thing to do would be to pinch her head.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  19. #59
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela White View Post
    Thank you all for your responses. I am now thoroughly confused, but will go with my best instinct and read, read, read. I know you all have your own way of beekeeping and I really enjoy reading what you have to say. I am brand new to this and have been learning so much and hopefully don't lose my bees for my ignorance. I am old-fashioned in lots of ways and believe that they know way more than we do. I think lots of common sense will go along way. I just want to do right by them. They give me more than I ever asked for. It is a challenge for me and I don't really care to go into the Scientific way of doing things. Just as long as they are ok, I will let nature stay in charge. The bees have done fine without us for a long time. Thanks for all of your help and comments and suggestions.

    I'm glad to see you are still w/ us. More participation from you, especially on your own Thread, would help us better understand your goals and thereby make suggestions more aplicable to your situation.

    What exactly is your situation? Are you averse to splitting or simply don't want to lest you make a mistake, do more harm than good. Or what?

    Thanks for a reply.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Maintaining amount of hives

    Daniel,
    Where a queen lays eggs and in which cells she lays them in has a lot to do w/ which cells have been prepared for her to lay in and where she is directed to by the worker bees.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



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