Very good and long day. 2 1/2 hour drive to walter Kelley. Then back, and installed them all. Half in medium boxes, half in deep boxes. Russian hybrid bees. My cousin is starting to work with bees. My dad even showed up to check it out and do pictures for me. Any pointers would be appreciated.
Looks like you have a real nice set-up there and some good helpers . Are the russian hybrids alot more expensive than Italians . Read an article today on russian bees and how there very disease resistant and how they got started here in the states .
I think they were like $6 more pre package
I would lower that long stand down to one block high.
Thanks for the pictures. What will grow in the fields next to bees?
Everything look nice! Job well done for the day.
Just want to mention to put more forage for your bees.
Any wild flowers or crops growing near by?
Don't count on the Russian heritage of your bees as a panacea for mites. My experience (and I spent time unwrapping dead Russian colonies yesterday that were not treated for mites) is that you may have less of an issue with mites than your garden variety bee, but you will still have issues. Know your mite levels. Test. And deal with what you find.
Your pics look nice. I agree with Odfrank that you will want to lower your hive stand. It will be easier to do before the colonies build up.
What I have done is decide that for myself, it is ok to use substances that exist naturally, even though the actual product that I am using is man made, and most probably the concentrations that I am using them at don't exist in nature.
So I have used Thymol based products in the past and most likely will in the future. Likewise I have used MAQS and expect to continue with that in the future. And I'm still experimenting to see if I can find a bee that will thrive in my climate without treatments and produce a honey crop. The Russians didn't work out for me. I have a yard going with Bee Weaver stock that looks promising (they made it through their first winter anyway) Testing different strains of bees gets expensive quick and farmers look at you kind of funny when you tell them that your untreated bees on their organic farm died. That is one reason I also have yards that get treated.
That is one of the reasons I went with the Russian hybrid, and the carni queen I have in one nuc. They are supposed to do brood breaks in winter and a dearth. If so great. But time will tell. How effective is the mineral oil fogging and the powder sugar dusting?
However I do not believe it is the end all be all of beekeeping, nor do I think it is always the best for the bees….
The natural cycle of life for bees dictates that colonies that become overloaded with parasites, suffer from the associated stress of it, and may die. Beekeepers and commercial beekeepers in particular. Make efforts to prolong the viability of a hive by reducing the stress associated with parasitical infestation. Natural measures for such practices are time consuming and highly impractical for someone keeping upward of 100 hives, and seriously doubt it’s practicality for someone with more that a dozed.
The feeling seems to be that those who chose to do things in a more natural measure often seem to be of the opinion that it is the only proper way to care for bees, although there may be some large bee operators who look upon bees as a commodity. For the most part I think one will find that bee keepers with between 12 and 200 hives fall into a category of their own. I believe the vast majority of them are concerned about the bees as a whole. Although they do not have the ability to treat that many hive naturally, they take every precaution to ensure that the methods they use are safe for the bees over a long term. They also take the same precautions in terms of the product produced.
Everyone believes the methods they utilize are the best available. To use something you believe unsatisfactory would be to admit one is fallible and few are willing to do that. As I see it what measures one sues is simply a matter of choice, all are acceptable to the bees, however , when the load of parasites reaches a point that the measures one is taking are yielding little relief, and there are other measures available that would produce significantly better results. Then not to utilize them is unfair to our charges.
The problem I have with treatment as a long term strategy is that logic tells me that treating bees for things like varroa leads to stronger parasites and weaker bees. The parasites seem to adapt to the chemicals used to kill them fairly rapidly, which leaves beekeepers at the mercy of the companies that develop these treatments. I've been told that one of the reasons there was a big die-off among large commercial outfits last winter was because an acaricide needed to knock down the mites in the fall was not yet certified for use. I don't know if that's true, but in agriculture in general there have been continuous problems with insect pests becoming resistant to various pesticides. Weeds are becoming resistant to a widely used herbicide, which may be a disaster for farmers who have been relying on herbicide tolerant cultivars of crops.
One advantage beekeepers have over, say, pig farmers, is that their livestock has a fairly high reproductive rate, so it may be possible to develop bees that can live with things like varroa. This happened with tracheal mites, to a large extent. If you haven't seen it, the YouTube talk by the guy from B. Weaver is very interesting. They committed to developing a varroa resistant line some years back, and while they suffered very heavy losses in their early years, they now feel that their bees can survive without varroa treatment.
Even if a beekeeper does not have access to any of these resistant lines, there are still things that can be done to avoid treatment. You can sometimes get resistant localized genetics from swarms. There's a treatment-free beekeeper in northern Illinois, Tim Ives, who suffered winter losses of up to 90 percent when he was keeping bees from purchased packages. A few years back, he started collecting swarms. The first spring, all his package hives had died, but only one of his swarm hives. Now he makes increase from swarms and his own stock, and over the last several winters, his losses have averaged 8 percent. And I have to say, his hives are monsters-- three deeps overflowing with bees in early March. He gets very high yields as well.
Anyway, it can be done.
Also thinking about fogging with FGMO - Isn't mineral oil made from Petroleum? If so it certainly isn't something I want in my hives nor in my honey.
And that is what I am doing here Dewey, testing a new type in the bee yard, to see how it goes. My locals are doing awesome and never have been treated, survive and go on with life. The nay sayers on some of the posts are wearing me out though with their one track minds on treatments. I am looking at my biology, chemistry, and agriculture background to help guide me and give the bees what they need to live, to use those tools, is out of my hands. You can't make a wild undomesticated being do something if it wishes not to.
Checked the 10 packages yesterday, all queens releases the day before yesterday. Yesterday, the queens were laying and 2/3 of the medium 8 frame boxes with only starter strips were drawn out. center 4 frames were drawn in the deeps with full foundation sheets. Think feeders will be taken today since there is a heavy flow on from dandelion, red buds, pears, and apples and they are filling cells with nectar and syrup. Pollen coming in as well. not one queen was killed.