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

    Default Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    For you treatment-free beekeepers out there, how is your winter progressing? Is the weather better or worse than usual? Lost hives? Feeding? Mishaps?

    Winter here is going swimmingly. I wouldn't say it is as mild as last winter, but pretty close thus far. A couple more dips into the teens, but not the usual drops down in the single digits for the last two winters. No ice storms. No snow of note. But also no dandelions blooming all winter like we had last year either.

    On the mishaps front, while I was gone over Christmas, our trampoline blew across the yard and knocked over two of my hives. They are back together, both seem to have eaten much of their stores while they were strewn about the yard.

    No deadouts thus far.

    Preparing for spring, trimmed three of my deep queen castle's down to mediums. I need to expand my collection of mediums significantly. I have no loose boxes but plenty of frames. Looks like it is time to build some more.

    Already having people contact me about purchasing nucs. I'm glad they are getting an earlier start on it this year. Looking forward to refining my technique on raising queens and nucs. One thing to avoid this year, last year, I collected brood from outyard hives and brought it back to my main yard. It seems like most of the bees flying around ended up in one nuc. Need to figure out how to avoid that. Perhaps rotating nucs for a few days to spread the bees around. Perhaps not delivering all those frames of brood to the same batch of mating nucs.

    Tell me how you all are faring.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    We have had some very cold weather for here. Down close to zero degrees. Since this is my first winter, I am anxiously awaiting warmer weather to see what is going on. It has been getting up into the 50s this week. I saw a few bees outside two of my hives. I am a little concerned about the warm weather right now, because it could get cold again. Pollen should start appearing soon, here, so I am looking forward to that. I am hoping to do some splits and create some nucs for raising queens this year.

    Ted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    I've never experienced winter losses before, but so far this year I've lost about half my nucs. But that was to be expected because my work schedule got crazy toward the end of the year and I was unable to take care of the bees as I needed to and make sure they were up to proper weights. But, I wanted survivor bees so, dadgummit, that's what I'm getting. The price is high. -js

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,967

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    So how does starving bees that weren't allowed time to gather adequate winter stores improve the bees? You have to have bees to keep bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    we are having a bad year in Virginia, losses running about 50% for some (my self included) 3 of my hives had CCD symptoms ( no bees at all in hive) 2 were weak hives despite my best efforts ( I know, I should have combines them) and one who knows Mites maybe?
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, CA
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by dkvello View Post
    we are having a bad year in Virginia, losses running about 50% for some (my self included) 3 of my hives had CCD symptoms ( no bees at all in hive)
    CCD is characterized by the disappearance of foragers, not all bees.

    Absence of bees in the hive is indicative of absconding.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    857

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    None of my hives were treated in 2012 and my only loss so far is a nuk to bull ants. Oh, an early spring last year to nosema, a cut out hive that had never done well. I inspected all but one hive over the last 10 days and with temps almost always in 80's so far, and there is a light nectar flow of some kind right now, most my hives look good. Almost all have about 3 frames of brood, a couple with more than that. According to my notes from last January, it's less this year for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the cool that is supposed to come for most the month of February in deep south.

    I don't count mites, everything looks good in all my hives other than one. I have one that has since last summer been pretty hot. It calmed down Nov and Dec, but now with the buildup starting, I see that not only are they runny on the frames, anxious when I went in, they also have brood top to bottom which is another indication of Africanized. I haven't decided what to do--something soon for sure. I looked for the queen but couldn't find her, probably from smoking them and their running on the frames as they were. I want to intercept esp before they really build out and before she starts drone laying. Any ideas? I requeened this hive last May, I think they may have killed her.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,863

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Lost 50% of everything, full size and nucs, hopefully what's left will make it. Was planning to split heavily this year to increase hive count but all these deadouts are hurting badly, just don't want to buy bees anymore other than queens. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    I've lost 5 out of 41 so far, with a couple more that are weak. Condensation issues are biting me this winter here in KC.

    Our weather here has been a regular roller coaster ride, five weeks in a row of temperatures on some days as high as the mid-sixty's only to fall back to days with lows in the low teens.

    On a side note; I track about two dozen feral colonies and they are really taking a beating here this winter. Drought here and no fall flow to speak of seems to have really caught them off guard.

    Don

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    So how does starving bees that weren't allowed time to gather adequate winter stores improve the bees?
    It would be pretty stiff selection for frugality.

    I should skip feeding one year. Fear of loss is an unutilitarian motivator.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Lost two strong double deeps ten framers to mites. Checked the other six hives ( three double deeps, three double deep five frame nucs) and everything was alive. Although I was treatment free until I lost the two double deeps I did do an oxalic vapor treatment on my three remaining double deep ten framers and I am glad I did, had 35 drop in one, 72 drop in another and 26 I believe in the last one. This was after 48 hours.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Wouldn't 72 mites be well less than 1%?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    So how does starving bees that weren't allowed time to gather adequate winter stores improve the bees? You have to have bees to keep bees.
    You didn't quote anyone or address anyone but I will assume your question is directed at me. Maybe the answer is because those bees that can't or won't collect enough won't make it? That's all I got. Perhaps their ability to ration what they do have. I wasn't trying to make excuses for myself. I just didn't have the time to do what needed doing. -js

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    2012 was the first time in my three years of beekeeping that i didn't feed in the fall. i was concerned at first at how light my hives were after the first frost, but it's looking like everything's going to be alright.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    2012 was the first time in my three years of beekeeping that i didn't feed in the fall. i was concerned at first at how light my hives were after the first frost, but it's looking like everything's going to be alright.
    I know that must be a relief. I think most of my primary colonies will be OK. I'll do splits and catch swarms, of course, that should more than make up for the losses.

    -js

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Very very poorly. 7/8 dead. Last winter lost 1 of 6. This winter is testing the faith.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,392

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Wouldn't 72 mites be well less than 1%?
    Probably close, but 72 mites now would be how many by spring build up? Not to mention I don't know how much capped brood there is now as I haven't done an inspection to see yet.

    I'm trying to get into march with almost zero mites.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    It's my first winter with my first colony. It had a very high mite count in August (130/24hr drop to SBB), but so far is surviving without treatment. We just had a week of very cold weather where it got down to -26degC(-15 def F). I was happy to see a few dead bees in the fresh snow when it was sunny and a little sunny on Saturday. I have plans to increase to 5 colonies next season and this colony surviving is key to that.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  19. #19

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Wouldn't 72 mites be well less than 1%?
    1% of what?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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

    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Winter 2012-2013, How's it going?

    As in 1% of bees carrying a mite. 72 mites in a whole hive would be quite a low infestation it seems to me. But then again, I'm the sort to let it ride.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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