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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,999

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Very interesting Paul. Always fascinating to see how somebody does it in an environment so different to mine.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Our environment is very different from even most of the USA, and we are quite remote. A strange mix of cold, hot, and very dry at really high elevation. We have mites and parasites, but they have never been prevalent here to my understanding. Not sure if it is because our bees are somewhat different having a mix of genetic types (including several African types) or if it is the remoteness that allowed the bees to develop resistance in measured doses.

    I am not sure my methods of beekeeping would work elsewhere. I don't have SHB and a lot of the other stuff found everywhere else. I know a couple of other beekeepers down at lower elevations who do have some issues with mites but they also do migratory beekeeping. It is my belief that hive density plays a part too. You cannot expect to have hundreds of hives placed together and not expect to have problems. It seems there is a tipping point as far as size goes, where treatment-free becomes less of an option.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Paul, that's very interesting stuff. You live in one of my favorite parts of the world. I spent much of my childhood in El Paso, and whenever we had a chance to take a little trip we went north to Alamogordo and Ruidoso. Beautiful area. I felt happy anytime I was north of Las Cruces.

    How do your results compare with other local beekeepers who use different management techniques?

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    I cannot say - I get by just fine. I have not compared my results with others much. I will say, this area is one of the few places where you can stick your bees on mesquite and get basically ONLY mesquite. Not many places like that left as the mesquites get bulldozed for houses.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Paul McCarty- sounds like your off to a good start. Being a lot further south I can see smaller hive systems being easier to overwinter. Back in 2009/10 winter I experimented with colony sizes. Went into winter with 25 1deep/1med.super and 65 triples. Lost 21 of the 25 1.5 systems and only lost 3 of the 65 triples. The 1.5 was lost 2nd-3rd week of Feb. Interestingly the 4 survivor 1.5, I used tires for the hive stands. I think the radiant heat from tires helped them pull thru. Once I started losing the other 1.5, I took resources from others and put onto the other 4.
    Doubles systems fair better, but still occur around 30% losses on them.
    But it becomes a numbers game then. 30 doubles into winter equals 60 hive bodies or 20 triples equal 60 hive bodies. If you occur 30% loss on the doubles, put resources from deadouts on early to survivors. Not a whole lot difference from a overwintered triple. Maybe a half brood cycle difference.I've been averaging 8% losses on triples, 8% of 20 would be about 2 hives.
    Not adding the 3 rd deep to the doubles is a huge difference in brood. Which makes a huge difference in honey production.

    Its all a numbers game... What are maximum limitation? The number of frames a queen can lay out in a brood cycle. How much wax can a hive draw out in a season. What's the maximum efficient systems. Commercial pollinators have the point of logistics, they get paid for X size hives and can put X amount on a rig. To be running triples around, NOT feasible when you can turn a triple into 3 hives that you can get paid for. One problem I see is pollinators run the most hive counts in any state bee association. Xcompany has 1000+ hives and this is the way they do it.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Wintering here is different - that's for sure. It can be -30 for a week and then 50 after that. You never know. The Summer is just about as bad. It can be 80 and then dip down to freezing at night. 115 is not out of the question during our hot season. Crazy desert temps. That being said, I don't lose a lot of hives to it. If I do, it is usually because the queen freezes getting caught out of cluster by the cold.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ives View Post
    Xcompany has 1000+ hives and this is the way they do it.
    That's a good point. You gotta do what works for you. I encourage hobbyists to avoid commercial methods simply for that fact that they are not commercial beekeepers. It seems like most beekeepers are using the double deep methods for stationary hives when double deep is well adapted for migratory operations. Triple deep (or equivalent) or more is far better for the stationary beekeeper, no need to move, large hives, less swarming, etc.

    We should start another thread on this. No need to muck up this one.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,698

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Tim- In your 3 deeps, are they packed solid with stores?
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Try as I might, none of my hives ever get to 3 deeps on their own. They usually stop about 1 and a half and fill the rest with honey. Not sure if it is me or the bees causing this. If I want more brood chambers I usually have to combine. I got one up to four once, but it was from me combining them.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Paul: I have been doing this since 2010. It typically takes my newly caught swarms 2 years to fully draw out 30 foundation less frames. By the end of the second year I will get several mediums woth of honey. I leave the bees the bottom three deeps. Usually the top one and some of the second one are filled with honey and the rest is where the other hive activities go on.

    I don't ever remember having three deeps be just the brood chamber in any of my hives.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    I see now - that sounds like what mine do. I thought you guys were getting three deeps of brood. I would imagine they keep a smaller hive here due to lack of resources.

    I could not imagine any of my hives drawing 3 deeps of strictly brood. Like I said, I have combined them like that just to see how they did, but did not get much to show for it except a tower of bees. I have one hive right now that has a single deep brood chamber and is working on it's 3rd super of honey plus some comb honey rounds. May not sound like much to non desert beekeepers, but for where these girls are located it is absolutely amazing. They must be making honey from air.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    Tim- In your 3 deeps, are they packed solid with stores?
    Hives start brooding down late July. 3 rd deep 95% honey/5% pollen, 2nd deep 40% honey10% pollen50& brood, bottom deep 20% honey 50-60% pollen-20-30% brood. By mid Oct almost no brood. Average 9-10 frames of bees.

  13. #73
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    In 3 deep system, I'm seeing a 18 frame brood average, from late Feb till mid July.

    Late April swarms will draw up 4 brand new hive bodies in the season. June swarms will be lucky to get into a 3 rd deep

    I've shook swarm a couple complete tower hives (3deep/7 med supers) in early June this year. They drew up 3 deeps in 2 weeks.

  14. #74
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Sustaining Treatment Free - How Many Colonies Do You Need?

    Just so everyone is on same page, deeps 9 5/8" and supers 6 5/8"

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