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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hornbeak,Tn,USA
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    26

    Default Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    I started beekeeping in the spring with a package of italians. I have a 10 frame langstroth hive with 2 deeps. They have wood frames with plastic foundation. The hive is strong and healthy right now. Golden rod will bloom in about a week. I got interested in beekeeping in feb. and started out by reading the catalogs first and First Lessons in Beekeeping. Then I started looking on you tube and also fatbeeman. I also read up on David Burns blog at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. I started 2 hives with packages and one abscounded. Then I found Beesource in late spring. I'm learning a lot and enjoy being a beek. I enjoy reading many subjects here in the forum and Michael Bush's site has me very interested in trying his ways. Why doesn't everyone do it the way he practices. I'm very interested. How can I slowly convert my hive over while it has about 80% of the frames drawn now on plastic foundation? I see some of the negative but the positive seems to out weigh the neg. I plan on splitting the hive in spring. I have 2 trees I plan on using my Cleo Hogan style traps on for trapouts in spring. Just want starts on these feral bees. I also put out a few nucs I made for swarms but they are new etc. Lemon grass oil drops inside but no drawn comb on plastic foundation. Hopefully in spring I may get some more hives going. Thinking of converting all these to foundationless by using popsicle sticks in the grooved bars. I want to see what others have to say about this. If I change over what would be the best way to convert. Olive is calling and I have to go now. Thanks for opinions. I noticed beeks have many.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Why doesn't everyone do it the way he practices.
    Because the initial losses would be astronomical. What he does is the result of decades of experience and his bees are resistant to nearly everything.

    It's a good path, but if you want to take it with your package of Italians, prepare for some heartbreak.

    Your idea on collecting feral bees is, I believe, your best bet. That's what I have been doing...but I still have to treat for mites.

    Thinking of converting all these to foundationless by using popsicle sticks in the grooved bars. I want to see what others have to say about this.
    It works great. However, the best way is to stagger five undrawn frames between five drawn frames in a checkerboard pattern to get them to draw straight comb. Otherwise, they can do some wacky stuff with it.

    How can I slowly convert my hive over while it has about 80% of the frames drawn now on plastic foundation?
    Whenever you need to replace a frame or do a split, replace what you take away with foundationless. If you want to go all foundationless right now you can also replace drawn frames with foundationless frames at a slow rate, like maybe one or two a week. Do it in spring, though, they won't do anything with it this time of year.

    Hopefully Michael or another treatment free guy will comment here and offer you some better advice.

    Welcome to the addiction!
    Try it. What could happen?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,543

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Just how far over to Michael's way of doing things are you going to convert over to?

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    You are in Tennessee, I am in Arkansas so our areas shouldn't be too different from each others, and my bees do well on comb drawn on Pierco plastic foundations. Other than the usual replacement every year of 3 frames, I can't see any reason to discard good frames because of a desire to follow someone's methods that probably will show no improvment in brood rearing or colony health. Comb drawn on Pierco will be 5.2 and that is what natural cell size is for our bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    I'm half way through his 'The Practical Beekeeper' (I like paper) & part two talks about who you are! Some things he does may not fit who you are & what you want out of beekeeping.

    Keep reading & have a plan! My problem is the PLAN keeps changing!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JStinson View Post
    Because the initial losses would be astronomical. What he does is the result of decades of experience and his bees are resistant to nearly everything.

    It works great. However, the best way is to stagger five undrawn frames between five drawn frames in a checkerboard pattern to get them to draw straight comb. Otherwise, they can do some wacky stuff with it.

    Welcome to the addiction!
    I would NOT recommend doing 5 frames all at once in a checkerboard pattern. You may just end up with a bunch of dead brood and a dead hive. I know a first year beekeeper here in Missouri who heard how "wonderful" checkerboarding is and decided to checkerboard his new 8 frame hive (only 3 or 4 had brood on them at the time). This was in JULY, yes JULY should have been just fine. Well somebody forgot to tell mother nature about global warming and we've had one of the coolest summers in my life. We've had 50's at night and that is cold enough to chill brood on the edges if it's separated that much. His hive was so close to dead you could smell the dead brood before you even took the lid off. What I DO suggest is doing 1 frame at a time between 2 frames of capped brood. they will draw it lickety split and very straight. The biggest contributor to straight frames with foundationless is a level hive and a good place for them to start. I prefer wedge top frames with the wedge popped out and turned sideways.

    Rod

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Quote Originally Posted by rweakley View Post
    I would NOT recommend doing 5 frames all at once in a checkerboard pattern. You may just end up with a bunch of dead brood and a dead hive. I know a first year beekeeper here in Missouri who heard how "wonderful" checkerboarding is and decided to checkerboard his new 8 frame hive (only 3 or 4 had brood on them at the time). This was in JULY, yes JULY should have been just fine. Well somebody forgot to tell mother nature about global warming and we've had one of the coolest summers in my life. We've had 50's at night and that is cold enough to chill brood on the edges if it's separated that much. His hive was so close to dead you could smell the dead brood before you even took the lid off. What I DO suggest is doing 1 frame at a time between 2 frames of capped brood. they will draw it lickety split and very straight. The biggest contributor to straight frames with foundationless is a level hive and a good place for them to start. I prefer wedge top frames with the wedge popped out and turned sideways.

    Rod
    Thanks Rod, you're right.

    Popeye, this is why you needed advice other than mine!
    Try it. What could happen?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    I practice some of Bush's methods too as well methods from Solomon Parker and Michael Palmer. If you can get your hands on some of the bee books wrote before the early 40's you will be amazed how much effort went into raising treatment free, sustainable bees. And I can’t forget the knowledge others here on Beesource have provided that’s been helpful in growing my bees from a hobby to a part-time job.
    Jack Moore ~ Sticky Bear Apiary
    Zone 7a ~ Elev: 4840ft. ~ https://www.facebook.com/StickyBearApiary

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    A few members and I have had very good results with survivor tearouts from old barns and buildings. The key is to find established old feral hives. I love them feral black bees.

    You may get lucky with southern queen mills, italians are weak, alot of our clubs hives with those genetics die. A fellow member bought 20 italian packages from Kelley and 12 have failed within a year. Other hives struggle, are constantly superseded, never build up well and die in winter.

    Kent Williams is a local bee breeder in Kentucky. Members so far love his packages. I may buy 1 or 2 next year to try out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Bells, Texas
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    Thinking of converting all these to foundationless by using popsicle sticks in the grooved bars. I want to see what others have to say about this. If I change over what would be the best way to convert.
    I agree with rweakly. I tried using popsicle sticks and they weren't wide enough. I then started using the wedge top bar and flipping the wedge on it's side. The bees have taken to it wonderfully. If you want to use existing frames with some sticks, go to hobby lobby and get some of those wide craft sticks (tongue depressors). Those should be wide enough to get the girls started.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,629

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Quote Originally Posted by popeye View Post
    I'm very interested. How can I slowly convert my hive over while it has about 80% of the frames drawn now on plastic foundation? I see some of the negative but the positive seems to out weigh the neg.
    I don't believe that Michael Bush has issues with plastic foundation. In fact, he frequently writes positively about small cell plastic foundation, or combination plastic frame/foundation.
    Frames, foundation, cell size etc. You need to decide if you want plastic foundation, plastic frames, fully drawn plastic comb, etc. and what size you want the foundation. I would recommend just to buy small cell or PermaComb or Honey Super Cell. If you want to use wax, buy small cell wax from Dadant or one of the other suppliers. The small cell plastic is no longer on the market from Dadant. But Mann Lake's PF120's are 4.95mm cell size and are one piece frame and foundation. If you want to not have to build frames, not have to wait for the bees to draw it and never have to worry about wax moths or Small Hive Beetles then buy PermaComb or Honey Super Cell. I personally heat the PermaComb to 200 degrees F and dip it in 212 degree F beeswax and shake off all the excess wax. This results in 4.95mm cells and seems to handle all my mite problems. For now don't worry about regression or all that complex sounding stuff, but just stick with natural sized (small cell aka 4.9mm) foundation.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnewbees.htm
    And here's a page that discusses converting to small cell:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    I can't see any reason to discard good frames because of a desire to follow someone's methods that probably will show no improvment in brood rearing or colony health. Comb drawn on Pierco will be 5.2 and that is what natural cell size is for our bees.
    Idea to change comb every couple years may be associated with the use of pesticides and/or disease/spore buildup in wax. My state apariast said it was not uncommon to find comb 5-10 years old in his operations. He didn't see a problem but it not the most scientific-thinking kind of guy.

    Not a big fan of top bar, foundationless is okay they draw faster but will produce much more drones. Good for open breeding, im not totally convinced yet to run pure foundationless. I tried some foundationless supers for cut comb and the queen layed rainbows of drones and ruined most of the frames. Perhaps next time i put foundationless in the 2nd super.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,288

    Default Re: Like what I have read about how Michael Bush manages his bees

    > Why doesn't everyone do it the way he practices.

    Everyone has their own ideas and their own experiences. A mentor of mine once said "everyone likes their own ideas because they thought of it" and that is true, not only on the surface, but deeper. We all have a model of the world. A philosophy of life. What we think of is consistent with the way we see the world and our philosophy. What others think of might be or might not be...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesphilosophy.htm

    >I don't believe that Michael Bush has issues with plastic foundation. In fact, he frequently writes positively about small cell plastic foundation, or combination plastic frame/foundation.

    Correct. I like the PF120s from Mann Lake. I have a mixture of a lot of things including foundationless, PF120s, wax dipped PermaComb, HSC and small cell wax. I have nothing particular against any of them, but they do have advantages and disadvantages.
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 08-16-2013 at 08:15 AM. Reason: added link
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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