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  1. #81
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

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

    I have lost one out of 12 so far - and that was due to a dead queen at the height of Winter... found her on the bottom board of an empty hive. These bees were generic Italians. My remaining feral/survivor bees are booming right now. Even the one that I overwintered with four frames of bees and honey. I have one more hive of generic Italians that seem to be barely hanging on too. Planning on giving them a new queen soon.

    One of my friends overwintered a three frame nuc with one of my wild queens and they are plugging right along too. I am thinking I should make it a priority to breed from my wild bees this year.

    My feral/survivors are all from 3rd year or older wild hives and queens. I do feed them at times, but really do nothing else for them except for using juniper/creosote bush smoke in my smoker. I noticed most of my bees still have the fall feed I gave them in October stashed away - I colored it blue with food coloring (I know - not very environmentally friendly I suppose).

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

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

    Paul what were you feeding your bees that you colored blue, was it syrup?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

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

    Yes - I gave them 2:1. I wanted to see what got carried over into next year. Apparently a lot did.

    I know some people consider feeding a treatment, but sometimes around here (in the desert) you have to.

  4. #84
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
    Posts
    1,254

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

    I am treatment free. Don't treat with anything except if you consider screened bottom boards treatments. However, I will be going back to solid bottom boards. I am small cell and have been treatment free since I got back into beekeeping in March of 2009.

    I tried moving my colonies around last year with some other beekeepers. Moved 16 to cotton in West Texas, came back [Mid August] with 13 all with depleted populations.

    Lost 4 more before I had the populations built back up and the colonies prepared for winter which left me with 9 going into the winter, end of October. I came through the winter with all 9 but one was queenless so I dropped a frame of eggs/larva. There are a couple of queen cells with the bottoms cut off but not brood yet. 5 are boiling full of bees [1-3 mediums, 4-4 mediums], and the other 3 [3 mediums] are all in good shape. I am making splits right now, to 18 colonies.
    Kindest regards
    Danny Unger
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

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

    I gave up moving to crops and just do a more or less stationary operation in the desert mequites. You don't get as much honey, but you also don't have to worry about chemicals.

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    5

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

    Lost 3/4 hives over the winter. Never used any treatments. All 4 hives went into winter with deeps full of honey, which is a lot for Central California winters. The 3 lost hives had no bees and about 40% of the honey stores. CCD or absconding, not sure. Pretty unusual to abscond in the winter with cool temps and lack of food. Remaining honeycomb had a thin layer of mold over the top, so it had been empty for a little while. Had to scrape all the honeycomb out because of the mold. Fairly mild winter, not much rain.

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,121

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

    Welcome to Beesource!

    > Remaining honeycomb had a thin layer of mold over the top, so it had been empty for a little while.

    If you have mold, you probably had too much condensation (while the bees were alive). Wet bees in cold temperatures don't live too long. Perhaps you should consider a top vent, or top entrance, at least in winter.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    5

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Welcome to Beesource!

    > Remaining honeycomb had a thin layer of mold over the top, so it had been empty for a little while.

    If you have mold, you probably had too much condensation (while the bees were alive). Wet bees in cold temperatures don't live too long. Perhaps you should consider a top vent, or top entrance, at least in winter.
    Good idea. Figured that the mold formed after they left since there were no bees to circulate the air and keep the moisture out.

  9. #89

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    Lost 3/4 hives over the winter. Never used any treatments.
    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    CCD or absconding, not sure.
    Varroa?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    5

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

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Varroa?
    Possibly, but not likely. Use screened bottom boards and never find an unusually high number of mites. Plus, two lost hives were near each other, but the third was near the hive that came through winter normally.

  11. #91
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,996

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

    Unusually high can mean many things, how many did you actually find?

    Did the dead hives have any brood left in them?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    441

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    Possibly, but not likely. Use screened bottom boards and never find an unusually high number of mites. Plus, two lost hives were near each other, but the third was near the hive that came through winter normally.
    Screen bottoms have a minimal effect. The only way to come close to an accurate mite count is by using an alcohol wash or maybe the sugar roll. You can't see all the phoretic mites, much less those in cells. What you see with naked eye is a very small percentage of what's there.

  13. #93
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

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

    I gave up on screened bottoms. They did not make much difference to me. I think having genetically good bees and being away from chemicals is probably more important. The screened bottoms did good for reducing condensation, but tended to make the hive temp too variable in my mountain environment. They also let in dust really bad in the desert hives.

  14. #94
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    5

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

    Didn't count mites. Very little brood left on any of the frames. Re-thinking about screened bottom boards.

  15. #95
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    441

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    Didn't count mites. Very little brood left on any of the frames. Re-thinking about screened bottom boards.
    Screened bottoms, in my environment, have not been bad. I do cover them in winter, though air still gets around the covers. Half mine are solid, half screens. I don't see any difference in survivability. When it is hot, they may be somewhat helpful. Depending on your environment, you may need to compensate in winter to allow adequate ventilation when using solid bottoms.

  16. #96
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    139

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

    Here in the 4 Corners area of Colorado our Beekeepers Assoc has about a 50% loss rate from what I am hearing over all. The weather was rather mild as Colorado high country winters go. We are now having days in the 50's and the bees are out and about in a big way. Most of us are feeding our bees and most of us are chemical free. We can still get snow and freezing nights!

  17. #97

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    Plus, two lost hives were near each other, but the third was near the hive that came through winter normally.
    I didnít really understand this.
    Quote Originally Posted by DubBub View Post
    Didn't count mites.
    I donít really care whether you treat or not but, in my opinion, itís important to know the enemy.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #98
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,531

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

    probably not condensation, as there would have been dead bees left behind. my guess is queen failure. i had several of those this winter.
    Last edited by squarepeg; 03-06-2013 at 07:10 PM.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #99
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Winthrop, WA
    Posts
    53

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

    How do you cover them...over the top of the screen or under? Thanks, Halley
    Quote Originally Posted by rkereid View Post
    Screened bottoms, in my environment, have not been bad. I do cover them in winter, though air still gets around the covers. Half mine are solid, half screens. I don't see any difference in survivability. When it is hot, they may be somewhat helpful. Depending on your environment, you may need to compensate in winter to allow adequate ventilation when using solid bottoms.

  20. #100
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    441

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

    I just slip a piece of political sign in the slot for the mite count board (under screen). It is not tight, lets some air in , but keeps the wind out.

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