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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Hi Solomon,

    I'm interested in your square/cube hive bodies.
    (It's been a while since I've looked at your blog.)

    1. Have you made half width boxes, so that they could also be used as 6 frame Nucs?
    2. Have you run it as a two queen hive?
    3. Have you tried the boxes at right angles and does it act as a queen excluder?
    4. Are there disadvantages to this size box, other than the weight of a single box?

    Thanks
    Matthew Davey

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    I'm interested in your square/cube hive bodies. (It's been a while since I've looked at your blog.)
    Unfortunately it's been a while since I updated it. I now have a full time(ish) job while I finish up my Master's Degree. Give me some cold winter days when I can't go outside and it will all come flooding back to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    1. Have you made half width boxes, so that they could also be used as 6 frame Nucs?
    I have made one six frame medium nuc, but not any boxes separate from that. I had some lumber left over from making boxes that made shorter end walls and so I put a nuc together. I imagine I will use it next year when I start producing queens and nucs in medium equipment rather than just deeps.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    2. Have you run it as a two queen hive?
    I have not, though one of them did exist as a two-queen hive for a short time when the old queen was superseded the second time. She didn't survive the second time at least not for six months like she did the first.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    3. Have you tried the boxes at right angles and does it act as a queen excluder?
    Yes I have, and I have not seen queen excluding as an effect. I did notice brooding further out to the edges than you might normally see, but that may be a subjective viewpoint.


    Quote Originally Posted by MattDavey View Post
    4. Are there disadvantages to this size box, other than the weight of a single box?
    Yes, there are. First, it's an odd size, so not necessarily compatible with the rest of my equipment though you can make little boards to mitigate that. They are heavy, though a 12-14 frame medium should be no heavier than a deep. Because they are wide, they are a little more awkward to lift, your center of gravity is thrown out further than with a narrower box. I will have to keep an eye on them to make sure water doesn't pool in the bottom, but that has more to do with the materials and design I used than anything else. I have noticed quite a bit of burr comb, but that is probably a symptom of using PF-120 frames or of the bees themselves rather than the boxes. I will add a couple foundationless frames in the spring to see if I can get some controlled drone comb and cut down on burr comb.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bon Aqua, TN
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    This is a little off the thread, but I am in need of a reply from someone. I have been reasonably treatment free, albeit I do sugar dusting in the late summer/early fall. i have bought into the idea of small cell and trusted the bees. I monitored this year after the last dusting and had high mite counts...averaging almost 100 with a 24 hr drop. I did a wintergreen syrup treatment which had little aggregate effect. I just did a formic acid treatment with the Mite Away 2 strips...I was scared out the wazzoo after reading the instructions. anyway, when I went in to do the deed, I had not opened the carton before going in because of the scare messages, and while at the hive discovered that the strips are too long to go across the 8 frame hive with 2" from each side as recommended. I cut them in half and placed them in the hive as the directions were drawn, but they said nothing about halving....what the hell? It is early winter, and bees are drawing back, s this can only have a helpful effect, I suspect. Was this the wrong thing to do? Should I have placed two strips lengthways in an 8 frame hive..even tho they are very robust, they are not what they have been....I obviously do NOT like chemicals.....they flat out RAN from the strips, like they flat out AVOIDED the wintergreen feed (completely in the case of a nuc)....

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    This is not a question I'm willing to touch and not a question that deserves an answer in this forum.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by RickD View Post
    This is a little off the thread, but I am in need of a reply from someone. I have been reasonably treatment free, albeit I do sugar dusting in the late summer/early fall. i have bought into the idea of small cell and trusted the bees. I monitored this year after the last dusting and had high mite counts...averaging almost 100 with a 24 hr drop. I did a wintergreen syrup treatment which had little aggregate effect. I just did a formic acid treatment with the Mite Away 2 strips...I was scared out the wazzoo after reading the instructions. anyway, when I went in to do the deed, I had not opened the carton before going in because of the scare messages, and while at the hive discovered that the strips are too long to go across the 8 frame hive with 2" from each side as recommended. I cut them in half and placed them in the hive as the directions were drawn, but they said nothing about halving....what the hell? It is early winter, and bees are drawing back, s this can only have a helpful effect, I suspect. Was this the wrong thing to do? Should I have placed two strips lengthways in an 8 frame hive..even tho they are very robust, they are not what they have been....I obviously do NOT like chemicals.....they flat out RAN from the strips, like they flat out AVOIDED the wintergreen feed (completely in the case of a nuc)....
    You will have much better luck posting this in one of the other forums. I am surprised the post has been deleted/moved already.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Hi Solomon,

    By forcing bees to use foundation of a fixed size, be it 4.9, 5.1 or 5.4, are we not eliminating their ability to adapt their size to the local conditions and climate? 4.9mm may be the ideal size for Arizona, but what about northern climates? Or wetter climates?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bon Aqua, TN
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    This is not a question I'm willing to touch and not a question that deserves an answer in this forum.
    OK...Oops, I guess

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,927

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    So as I understand it from you answers in this thread.

    Success is anything greater than total failure.

    That your acceptable threshold for results lays somewhere between 71 and 9% losses.

    You then add that you enjoy what you are doing is your measure of success.

    You are successful but cannot say why.

    Does The above look to you like a convincing case for treatment free beekeeping? Do you have any interest in making a case for treatment free beekeeping? If so and you agree that the above does not get it done. What do you think will be required to support treatment free beekeeping?
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #29
    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

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    By forcing bees to use foundation of a fixed size, be it 4.9, 5.1 or 5.4, are we not eliminating their ability to adapt their size to the local conditions and climate? 4.9mm may be the ideal size for Arizona, but what about northern climates? Or wetter climates?
    Dee Lusby actually made a map of what she considered natural cell sizes. You can find it on the POV section of this website. I can't find it right off the bat, but here is the Lusby's POV page: http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/ed-dee-lusby/ I recommend reading the whole thing through to get a good foundation in treatment-free beekeeping. I did.

    Oh, here it is. http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...e/climate-map/ The very coldest and high altitude zones show 5-5.2mm according to her map.

    I find that on small cell, much more than on large cell, with wax foundation, the bees are more likely to build what they want anyway. A perfectly drawn 4.9mm frame is very rare. It's not a bell curve. What I mean is, smaller foundation does not *force* anything like larger foundation seems to. Plastic is another issue.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Success is anything greater than total failure.
    Only if you define failure as loss of all hives at one time. That is the thing that I'm trying to avoid. I find backyard beekeepers typically remain beekeepers until such time as they lose 100% of their hives at which point many of them quit. That's the very real possibility I design my systems to avoid. But there's much more involved with it, building my own equipment, rearing queens, selling nucs, all sorts of fun stuff that isn't necessarily tied to how many hives die each winter. But my first goal is a system for backyard beekeepers. They are my target audience.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    That your acceptable threshold for results lays somewhere between 71 and 9% losses.
    Again, pessimistically viewing my operation in this way is like buying a car based on how many wheels it has.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    You then add that you enjoy what you are doing is your measure of success.
    I didn't then add anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    You are successful but cannot say why.
    I have been saying why for ten years.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Does The above look to you like a convincing case for treatment free beekeeping?
    The above is not my case for treatment free beekeeping.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Do you have any interest in making a case for treatment free beekeeping?
    Of course I do. I'm offering to answer questions. People who ask honest questions are open minded and seeking the facts. Even if my case isn't all roses and Laffy Taffy, it is the facts. Similarly, treating doesn't guarantee survival yet the two positions are held up as opposite sides of the same coin. The truth is, if you flip a coin, you also have a third outcome, you can drop it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    What do you think will be required to support treatment free beekeeping?
    It doesn't need any support. It is the default.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    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

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Solomon:

    I have a TBH with 3 screened air holes on the top (just below the cover), and 4 entry holes on the bottom (The two end ones are plugged with corks, which allows for entry and exit only at the lower, center of the hive.) Our weather in this area of Texas just turned cold for these parts (high 30s at night and low 60s during the day). Should I plug up additional screened holes to help the hive maintain a warmer temperature during these cold snaps? I've read of the importance of ventilation, but am concerned that there may be TOO much ventilation when these cold fronts come in.

    Sondra

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Solomon, can you comment of condensation?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Sondra, I like to err on the side too much ventilation. The bees heat the cluster and not the hive. I don't yet keep top bar hives though I'd like to try them out, so I can't comment much more than that.

    Dan, sure, I can comment on condensation. As you know, bees eat honey during winter. Like most fuels, when "burned," honey turns into water and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide escapes naturally as its condensation point is -70 degrees, though the lowest recorded temperature was -128 F. Just a fun fact. Anyway, for those not familiar with the process, the water vapor released by the bees will condensate on the interior of the hive if it is cold enough and the humidity is high enough. One may do a few things to keep this from happening. First, you can keep the humidity low by increasing ventilation. Second, you can insulate the hive so that the interior surfaces do not reach a low enough temperature to cause condensation. Some people use thick insulation on the roof of the hive so that any condensation will be on the walls and will run down the sides harmlessly. Water dripping on the cluster is likely to kill the colony.

    My method is to increase ventilation, lowering the humidity in the hive and greatly diminishing the possibility of condensation. Having large hives with empty comb in the top few boxes over winter also helps baffle any falling water, keeping it from reaching the bees further below. This last winter, my ten frame nucs bottom boxes gave a good case study. Throughout the winter, I was able to look in the hole in the front and see the cluster a mere three inches in despite single digits and bitterly cold winds outside. For this reason and others (including infrared camera data) I am convinced that bees only heat the cluster and they are able to provide the necessary heat to keep themselves alive in all but the most unfortunate conditions such as the lid of the hive blowing off in a blizzard. I feel insulation is unnecessary and further aids the bees in unnecessary ways allowing some to survive which might not otherwise. I am also unconvinced by tales of *the chimney effect*. The one thing a hive has in it that distinguishes it from a chimney is stuff. Chimneys full of stuff don't pass fluids well. Comb makes a very effective baffle. My recommendation is to use an upper entrance on hives in the winter. A lower entrance is less important. Our hives are quite a bit different in many ways than tree hollows or underground cavities. Problems with condensation are the beekeepers fault, not the fault of the bees.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by SRBrooks View Post
    Should I plug up additional screened holes to help the hive maintain a warmer temperature during these cold snaps?
    If I may offer an opinion, I would let the bees decide. They can close up the ventilation if they want to with propolis. I have ventilation openings in my hives that are closed or opened by the bees to whatever extent they want. They are always a little different.

    Ted

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Solomon,

    I am looking for a suggestion on preparations for next year. I understand you don't have any crystal ball, but you have a lot more experience than I do. I have been a little worried about asking on Beesource because people don't seem very friendly many times. Thanks for this thread! Anyway, here is my question.

    How many hives should I have prepared for next year?

    Now let me give you some details. I have 5 hives going into their first winter. I hope to grow to about 12 hives. 4 of the 5 hives were from early swarms, so those queens have all overwintered. One hive is mean. I hope to catch swarms to help grow my colony count. I caught 6 this year. Now here is the real meat of my question. I want to grow my own queens and keep them in nucs until needed. Clearly, I need 7 more hives to get to 12, but how many nucs beyond that would you recommend for mating and holding queens, splits, and building comb? I am assuming that some of my hives will survive the winter, of course.

    Ted

    PS: I love your web site!

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Thank you for the summery. I have a follow up question. Would you make any alterations to your conclusion based on a substantially colder climate. I also am keeping boxes on this year and use a top entrance. However I am 13 degrees colder than you on average and think top insulation is quite beneficial (I have not had winter a winter loss yet, but have had several crash due to mites in the fall), and I have not had the courage to not insulate.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by taydeko View Post
    How many hives should I have prepared for next year?
    I'd say have several more than you need. For nucs, have more available than you plan to use. Make more than you plan to keep because you'll have a certain proportion of failures and dinks.

    The great thing about hives is that they're not perishable if kept under cover.

    Quote Originally Posted by taydeko View Post
    PS: I love your web site!
    Thanks. I'm planning an update here in the near future if you have any suggestions. I'm always looking for "frequently asked questions" to answer on the website.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,078

    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    Would you make any alterations to your conclusion based on a substantially colder climate.
    That's a good question. There are those who swear by insulation as you'll find around here. I have a couple of ways to think about it. First is mathematically. I keep such large hives and the local strain of bees tend to keep quite small clusters. Therefore, mathematically speaking, the hive is significantly larger than the hive and no insulation would do any good as the heat will still escape at a greater rate than the bees can create it.

    On another level, I look at Michael Bush whose bees go uninsulated (though many are on 14 hive pallets) and he has appalling weather conditions with 60 mile an hour winds and temperatures at -20 and lower for extended periods of time. Virtually all his hives have upper entrances and the lion's share have lower vents of sorts as well. A good portion I saw had no wind breaks whatsoever. His hives do pretty well as long as the wind doesn't blow the bricks off the lid which does happen from time to time.

    The hive will gain some temperature from the presence of the cluster of course, the question is how much and where it goes and the effect of humidity. What is true is that "plenty of ventilation" will remove water vapor, but it will also drastically reduce the temperature in the hive.

    Other than this, I cannot give you too much more. Your record cold temps are 20-30 degrees below the records here and 30-40 below where I grew up in Oregon, so you're kind of out of my realm.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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