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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    But what is real beekeeping? It's being so familiar with bees that you pop into the hive, or maybe you can even do it from the outside, and you notice immediately if something is wrong. This hive doesn't sound, smell, feel, look right. The brood isn't in the right proportion. There aren't enough nurse bees. The drone ratio is off.
    And for the rest of us more simple folks, we can test. Mite drops and such..

    If a nubee wants to monitor, that's what I'd recommend. They then don't have to ask on Beesource why their hive died, cos they've been using techniques that work even for a beginner, and are learning what stuff means and how to understand it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    There are tests, yes. But let me advocate for traditional beekeeping, where the beekeeper just plain knows bees. It takes many years. It's a bit counter cultural. It's our modern rationalist scientific mindset.
    I'm all for traditional anything - for knowing your art/craft, for having it perfected and not needing a book to understand whats going on. But I've also come to understand that life is short and people dont always make the right decisions while our elders are still walking with us, so please understand that my question here is bigger than just being new to beekeeping and not having the knack for 'feeling' a hive upon opening it - there's a lot more note-taking going on than just this and its on a level that would probably qualify me for grants were I to go that route but that would take the fun out of it.

    It's the same, about knowing when to or not-to water your particular crop as a farmer; you come to 'read the weather' per say.. It happens in time, everything does. But the youngest of us doesnt always make use of the time that the oldest of us are running out of - and I mean to leave a few things behind me... A system that works, and notes that explain it, etc.. This is just one piece of that puzzle...

    Another part of it is having the 'evidence' to back up 'what happened'. That's for piece-of-mind.

    I'm not asking for data coming from a bunch of 'invasive' substances - whether it be strips, fumes, powder.. I'm just asking - when you open the hive, on a normal day, what can you keep track of that will help, overtime, to depict the overall health of the hive... Add multiple hives up, and you get a more specific overall feel for the health of the yard.. Add the multiple yards up and you have an even better idea of the whole operation.. But you'll only have intuition, if you never keep records. Nothing wrong with intuition, except that you cant always pass it on.

    If I live to do this for 50-60-70 years.. Those records would be priceless for my particular micro-climate.. I wish someone had that, to give to me..

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    There are tests, yes. But let me advocate for traditional beekeeping, where the beekeeper just plain knows bees. It takes many years. It's a bit counter cultural. It's our modern rationalist scientific mindset.
    That's ok when you have those many years under your belt, and as a goal to aim at. But for beginners and 'improvers' clear meaningful signs are useful guidance. But I think you have to have a philosophy and a method, and then consciously and deliberately pick the signs you want to use.

    My philosophy is 'no-treatment/breeding toward health' (traditional husbandry). I want signs that help me decide which hives to graft from, and signs that help me see when a hive isn't going well enough.

    The best way I know to do that is keep lots of hives and prevent the big ones robbing the little ones with very small entrances, and then work to make fair comparisons of the way hives of equal age put on weight.

    'True comparison' is my main method of deciding which are the healthiest hives, the all-important criteria for best ensuring ongoing health. And of course this is pretty much the core evaluation factor in all animal husbandry. You want 'goers' - beasts that put on weight - as your breeders. The rest go to market. Period.

    I can't rush to judgements. Sometimes a nuc is slow to get going, then puts on weight like billio. Sometimes they'll build like mad, then fade as varroa bites. The only way to do it is give them all their chance, don't interfere more than you have to (and if you do then consider what effect of true readings that might have) and wait a couple of years.

    I think that method will become intuitive over time, and I'd do it without thinking. I'll also pick up an ability to forecast goers that will defy easy analysis. At that time I'll just plain know bees. Till then I'll keep records that enable me to I track performances and make _sound_ comparisons for breeding purposes. And just generally to help the process of deciding which to breed - if I have a 5 year old queen that's given sterling service but is fading, I don't want to make the mistake of losing her blood just because I've forgotton about those years.

    But I won't devote time to taking hives apart and examining them minutely, unless there is very good reason to do so. That's time better spent making new gear, or servicing old. I struggle to see varroa and I'm not going looking for it. In my philosophy of husbandry and method, that's the bees' job.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    There are tests, yes. But let me advocate for traditional beekeeping, where the beekeeper just plain knows bees. It takes many years. It's a bit counter cultural. It's our modern rationalist scientific mindset.
    Yeah, that's what I meant. Right on Solomon.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Deezil View Post
    If I live to do this for 50-60-70 years.. Those records would be priceless for my particular micro-climate.. I wish someone had that, to give to me..
    Really? Do farmers water their crops by notes they took? I'm note against noye taking, but I think you are over valuing something way beyond its real value. Would you like me to send you my note pads?

    Being as there is nothing new under the sun, wouldn't you think that this sort of thing would be published somewhere? Internet archived?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    The trouble w/ me commenting here as I do is that it seems like I am arguing. I'm not. I'm just trying to get across to Deezil how little record keeping actually matters to me and most of the beekeepers Commercial and Non that I hang with.

    Michael Palmer keeps records. But when he recently reported on his Mite Loads he reported data collected by NY State. Which leads me to believe he doesn't do mite checks all that often and/or doesn't have the numbers easily retrievable.

    Y'all knock yourself out.

    Deezil,
    You'll understand after you've had a number of hives for a half dozen years. Do you do this w/ your garden or your car even?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Sqkcrk, I don't count mites either. But when mites were a new thing to me I did, it was a useful learning tool.

    But the thread was simply a question about how to monitor a hives health. Could be records, could be other things.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #28
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    Federal Way / Wenatchee, WA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Really? Do farmers water their crops by notes they took? I'm note against noye taking, but I think you are over valuing something way beyond its real value. Would you like me to send you my note pads?

    Being as there is nothing new under the sun, wouldn't you think that this sort of thing would be published somewhere? Internet archived?
    Actually... They do.
    There's a weather monitoring service for WA State (not sure if they track others) but its done in conjunction with WSU & their Ag program. Instead of having old-school notes, they now have a website called AgWeatherNet & it basically does everything I'm looking to do, however its on a series of weather systems covering the state. They've managed to blend science, technology and old school note taking. They even have an irrigation app for a mobile device that plugs into soil moisture monitors to know when to water, what block - but thats a bit much for me, I need more intuition than that.

    It is published, I do have access to it, but it doesnt pertain to my micro-climate. They have weather monitoring stations that are close, but too low of elevations. So I'm rolling with my own system. Now I could also opt into their system and help them by enlarging their system onto my farm - but like qualifying for grants, that would take the fun out of it.

    And no, I dont need your notepads as you dont see the value of taking the right notes so they're probably full of the same basic facts, page after page after page. It's fine if note-keeping doesnt matter to you and your buddies, but you obviously knew replying to this thread, that thats not what I'm looking for. I've also explained that this is a part of something bigger, a few times now... It matters to me, so I made the thread.

    Next time you can keep the attitude and the superiority complex. Or just keep your advice to yourself.
    I'm usually nice to you Mark, but you cant come at me, telling me you know you sound like you have attitude, not even attempting to fix it, and expecting me to be alright with it.

    You'll understand when you realize this is bigger than just a few hives.
    Or you wont.

    Knock yourself out.

  9. #29
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    May 2013
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    Halfway, Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Really? Do farmers water their crops by notes they took? I'm note against noye taking, but I think you are over valuing something way beyond its real value.
    You're right, no, we don't make decisions on when to irrigate based on when we irrigated last year. But that's also because crops rotate as well as planting timing. Having a foundation of historic knowledge about your climate and what actions you have taken in the past, IS very important. Instrumental in being able to predict the likely outcome of a crop, based on what has happened in the past. You can come to store this knowledge intuitively, but keeping a journal and planting calendar will help you pay attention to and decipher the information that is important.

    Also any successful livestock breeder, I would venture to say, keeps at the very least meticulous notes. Not sure how I could keep after grafted queens for more then 1 year?

    Definitely couldn't tell you the willow bloom date every year for the past 3, or even this one off the top of my head... yeah, OK it was early...

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Would you like me to send you my note pads?
    Yes.

    But seriously, I'll bet you know all kinds of things about the Brasher Falls microclimate that I would love to know. I've lived in LotusLand far too long, and have no real idea about the turn of the seasons in the North Country.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Deezil View Post
    Actually... They do.
    There's a weather monitoring service for WA State (not sure if they track others) but its done in conjunction with WSU & their Ag program. Instead of having old-school notes, they now have a website called AgWeatherNet & it basically does everything I'm looking to do, however its on a series of weather systems covering the state. They've managed to blend science, technology and old school note taking. They even have an irrigation app for a mobile device that plugs into soil moisture monitors to know when to water, what block - but thats a bit much for me, I need more intuition than that.

    It is published, I do have access to it, but it doesnt pertain to my micro-climate. They have weather monitoring stations that are close, but too low of elevations. So I'm rolling with my own system. Now I could also opt into their system and help them by enlarging their system onto my farm - but like qualifying for grants, that would take the fun out of it.

    And no, I dont need your notepads as you dont see the value of taking the right notes so they're probably full of the same basic facts, page after page after page. It's fine if note-keeping doesnt matter to you and your buddies, but you obviously knew replying to this thread, that thats not what I'm looking for. I've also explained that this is a part of something bigger, a few times now... It matters to me, so I made the thread.

    Next time you can keep the attitude and the superiority complex. Or just keep your advice to yourself.
    I'm usually nice to you Mark, but you cant come at me, telling me you know you sound like you have attitude, not even attempting to fix it, and expecting me to be alright with it.

    You'll understand when you realize this is bigger than just a few hives.
    Or you wont.

    Knock yourself out.
    Am I then on your Ignore List or just your manure list? I'm sorry if my opinion as I expressed it came across as superior. I guess I can't help how my words are taken. Please don't tell me what I know. Thanks.

    As we say down South, "Y'all have a nice day." Herb knows what I mean.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #32
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    Apr 2013
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    Red bluff, CA USA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Deezil View Post

    And it led me to wonder, is there a list somewhere - or can we make a list here - of objective / raw data tests that can be performed in apiary, and fit within the realm of treatment-free?

    would like to build a sort of "profile" for my locale, over time. The major object is to compile information for my use, but to make it easier as well, for those that I some-day leave this all behind to.
    What I found helpful is my smart phone!! I have an andrioid and was able to get a free app called beehive manager, this allows you to create yards, and hives in said yards, trck growth, disease, pests, queens, honey production, as well as keeping notes that are stored in the app! My fiancé has an I phone he got a similar app on his phone ( can't think of the name at the moment) but it was also free and does basically the same thing. There are others that you can buy as well! Other than that I would suggest looking on line for a hive management pdf or database that you can either print out or update and save in a file on your computer! all I can say is that my smart phone app has made record keeping and hive management super simple for me! Good luck with your new venture!!!

  13. #33
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    Apr 2013
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    Red bluff, CA USA
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    33

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    also I came across a page the other day that I have found to be really helpful in understanding what native plants in my region are in bloom and when! here is the link just for you!
    http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm

  14. #34
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    May 2013
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I'm note against noye taking, but I think you are over valuing something way beyond its real value. Would you like me to send you my note pads?
    If of course you a saying maybe we could leave the Excel Spreadsheet out of the picture, I'm with you on that.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    What are folks keeping records of and how are they using those notes to make decisions? On how many hives? 2 or 200?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    For me, see post #15
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #37
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    May 2013
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    What are folks keeping records of and how are they using those notes to make decisions? On how many hives? 2 or 200?
    As for the various things I write down, I referenced most of that stuff earlier. I used my notes from last year, as well as notes I had taken earlier this year, to inform my choice of which two, out of 6 overwintered queens I might want to graft from. I also used that information to decide how much honey to keep on since we were going into a dearth so much sooner. I used last years pollen flow and drone 'packing' dates to decide what the latest split was I could make.

    2013 - 4 overwintered hives, 2 over wintered nucs, 3 spring splits, 5 grafts from violetQ(ueen), 3 grafts from brownQ(sold 4 queens) became 4 late summer nucs. This is not counting the grafts that didn't take, or one spring nuc and a late season cull I had in 2012.

  18. #38
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    Mar 2011
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    Collinsville, VA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    If of course you a saying maybe we could leave the Excel Spreadsheet out of the picture, I'm with you on that.
    Hazel-Rah,

    That's a legitimate opinion and to each his own. The poster wanted to know what others were doing and I shared what I find to be helpful. I have 11 hives and this isn't the commercial forum so any opinion is welcome. I won't turn a profit anytime soon so fortunately my livelihood isn't hanging in the balance. I am a beekeeper as I enjoy being a beekeeper.

    I think we're losing perspective here on whether we are enjoying a hobby or making a living. What is useless information to one may be something of interest to the other - regardless of the value the other side places on it.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    I have never started a Thread in Commercial that hasn't had more Posts by NonComs so it isn't as closed as you seem to portray. Unintentionally or not.
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 09-04-2013 at 01:12 AM.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #40
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Health

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    If of course you a saying maybe we could leave the Excel Spreadsheet out of the picture, I'm with you on that.
    I'd die without spreadsheets!

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

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