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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Winter losses vs. Summer gains

    From time to time, there are complaints that there is too much bickering and arguing and people aren't getting to talk about what they want. Well, I can't do anything about that, people are people.

    But what I can do and what I like to do is answer questions. So I want to give everybody the free and explicit opportunity to ask serious questions. If you want to be treatment-free, or if you are weighing your options, ask away. I want to help you. I'm not going to be answering challenges or defending my methods or viewpoint. I want to help you if you want to be helped. I want to tell you what you want to know, not what you want to hear. I had tons of questions and many of them will be the same ones you are asking now. You can even go back to 2003 and see them for yourself in the archives.

    So ask away. You have my ear.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    solomon, it sounds like the size of your operation and mine are about the same. you have mentioned your engineering background and liking 'numbers'. can you trace back your ten years in terms of winter losses vs. summer gains, either in real numbers or percentages?

    i.e. 2005-2006 season: 2 losses, 8 gains, net gain = 6 hives.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    I can try. I have recorded this better on my blog, so you can do in depth research there if you like, these are just the numbers as I remember them of the top of my head.

    This year, I went from 10 to 23 net or so. Lost one of 11 over the last winter.

    Last fall I sold two, lost four over the summer, I remember I added four new queens last year and split one hive into seven or so. Beyond that escapes me right now and I don't have time to go look it up. But my blog has it recorded several times.

    My worst loss was in the winter of 2009 or so when I lost 5 of 7.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    many thanks sol, i'll visit your blog.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,879

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Solomon - I have been treatment free for over five years. Every year a lot of my bees die. My bees on small cell die as fast as the bees on large cell. I followed Dee Lusby's suggestion and put them in an isolated apiary. 100% died the first winter. This year one produced 160lbs in spring and died leaving me the crop. All the dead hives leave me lots of black comb with which to win bait swarm catching challenges here on Beesource, which is very satisfying. But I do not think that Charlie properly anointed me as winner. As a moderator, can you see that he awards me the proper accolades?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    I am not a moderator.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Ollie, I am under the impression that virtually all your bees are swarms you catch locally from commercial beekeepers, is that correct? Do you do any breeding of survivors?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Ollie, I am under the impression that virtually all your bees are swarms you catch locally from commercial beekeepers, is that correct? Do you do any breeding of survivors?
    I believe his swarm catching prowness takes advantage of "residential" beekeepers. People who have pretty hives in their backyards to show guests from the porch screen window. Oh and Charlies rooftop apiary.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,832

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Solomon,

    Do you think small cell or natural comb contributes anything to survivor stock or is it mainly genetic traits that attribute to your success in the TFB area.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,879

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Ollie, I am under the impression that virtually all your bees are swarms you catch locally from commercial beekeepers, is that correct? Do you do any breeding of survivors?
    We have no commercial beekeepers (one that I know of), this is suburbia, population 718000. The local bee club imports 200+ packages from Olivarez, and the local oak trees are full of bees. The best strains I catch are at the site I have maintained since 1970. I introduced imported queens to that site for decades, Weaver Buckfasts, All Americans, Kelly Starlines, Carniolans, Kona queens, others that I do not remember.

    That is why I doubt the theory that bees must be localized, at least not in my easy climate. Most of the bees I imported thrived. I see the age of the queen of being important to survival here. The smallest latest swarms I catch generally survive the winter and explode in spring. I am now fighting increasing EFB on the swarms I catch, even on new combs.

    I don't breed survivors, I have none.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Thanks for clearing that up.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    But I do not think that Charlie properly anointed me as winner. As a moderator, can you see that he awards me the proper accolades?
    Its my fault Ollie, i asked Charlie for a recount and he will be auditing exactly how many swarms you caught last summer and will get to that between furlough days, vacation and sick days and time when he is not working on the 300 swarm traps he is making out of paper political signs.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    florence sc usa
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Bad Charlie
    There's three ways to do everything...the wrong way, the right way, a better way.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Any other questions?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,372

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Treatment free queen sources. It would be nice to have reports on who you guys buy from and how they did.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,519

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    do you use any particular hive configuration sol? how many boxes do you overwinter established coloniesi in, and how much honey do you leave in the fall?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bridgewater, MA, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Hi Solomon, I have not ysed any c hemicals this season adn now find two of my three hives queenless in November! What on earth can I do? Pam

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by pamelissalan View Post
    I have not ysed any c hemicals this season adn now find two of my three hives queenless in November! What on earth can I do?
    Pam, I cannot make any diagnoses without more information. Are you certain that the hives are queenless rather than just shutting down brood rearing for the winter?

    Queenlessness is a beekeeping issue, not treatment-free issue. There are no treatments that I know of that will keep your hive from going queenless, but I do know of at least one which will give it a good chance of going queenless. In Massachusetts in November, my first guess would be that they are not queenless, just not brooding, which is what they should be doing this time of year.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Plantsville, Ct.
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Hello from Connecticut! First winter, only one hive. Started with a nuc in May which went on to do great from my beginners perspective. I took 63 lbs of honey and they went into the winter with 2 deeps as full as can be.
    I did some powdered sugar tests for mite counts and they were always low so I decided not to treat with mite away quick strips as I had been instructed too.
    Quick inspection yesterday, all seems well. Bees covering all 10 frames when I opened it up. Should I pull frames to check and disrupt the hive or just leave them alone?
    I also scraped out a bunch of dead bees from the bottom board, 75 or so, and counted about 20 dead mites in the mix. (This was the first time I've check them since the beginning of Dec.)
    Can I, should I dust them with powdered sugar during the winter to dislodge more mites?
    Thanks

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBeeGood View Post
    Quick inspection yesterday, all seems well. Bees covering all 10 frames when I opened it up. Should I pull frames to check and disrupt the hive or just leave them alone?
    Just leave them alone. You might check to see if they still have honey capped. I like to use a flashlight on a cold dark night so they don't fly out and get all disturbed.


    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBeeGood View Post
    Can I, should I dust them with powdered sugar during the winter to dislodge more mites?
    Not if you want me to answer your questions. Can you? They're your bees. Should you? No.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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