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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Hello all,
    I have 20 hives (five 4-way pallets) which I am hitching a ride for on a flatbed truck to the almonds this year. My (big?!) problem is this: I have been running them all as singles for the honey season. The guy I am planning to go with would rather only take doubles. But I only have foundation in deeps to add a second story to them, no drawn comb. We have one more alfalfa flow coming, so do you think they would draw a second deep of foundation on that? Also, six hives swarmed within the last 3-4 weeks. The new queens in those hives are just starting to lay now (keep in mind, still singles). Will they build up in time to leave for the West (3rd week of October)? How should I go about trying to build them up? I am feeding dry pollen sub right now, should I make it patties? Anyway, I apologize if this sounds all jumbled and crazy, but I could really use some sound advice. Please input here. Any and all advice is very appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    P.S. Please feel free to ask for clarification on anything!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,839

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    I would put on the second deep boxes and put in pollen patty between the two boxes, and when you put on the second box, move two frames of brood into the center of the top box. Put a syrup feeder on the top of the top box and keep it full, but only if you don't want to pull off any honey. Keep the pollen patty and syrup on them, you might get them to pull out the boxes before Thanksgiving. Equalize them as needed to keep them all strong enough to keep feeding and drawing out wax. Best of luck to ya.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Benjamin,

    If you are in this for the fun and the experience of it, then what Ray said will give you the best chance.

    If it is about the money, you may want to do the math and consider your time and sugar bill to get that second deep drawn out and filled.

    Have fun!
    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,570

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Ben: I trust you have a good relationship with the person you are turning your bees over to and a plan for caring and feeding them as needed. A dose of reality, if I may. While your bees no doubt look great at the moment, a lot can happen between now and the beginning of the almond bloom. Singles are tricky, getting at least a medium under them and pushing a lot of feed will be mandatory if these bees are going out yet this fall. My experience is that a much higher percentage of hives that have "summered" as singles will shrink below a rentable size than doubles. Do everything in your power to ensure they are returned to you in a timely manner so that you can work and split them as needed. Best of luck to you
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Borrow 20 deeps from the beekeeper you are sending them to and let him split them after the bloom so that you receive back your 20 hives with nice new queens when he brings them back.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Thanks everyone for everything so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    Benjamin,

    If you are in this for the fun and the experience of it, then what Ray said will give you the best chance.

    If it is about the money, you may want to do the math and consider your time and sugar bill to get that second deep drawn out and filled.

    Have fun!
    Joe
    Joe, please do clarify a little. Sorry, my slow, overworked brain is at minimal operation just now!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,974

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Rotate comb down into the broodnest to get drawn, a couple frames at a time. The new queens should get the bees drawing nicely if you can keep them laying.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    I've mostly been sending singles to CA the past few years and have had good luck with them. I feed them syrup 2-3 times and keep the outside feeders full of dry pollen substitute between about now and around Thanksgiving when they ship. The light ones are fed when they hit the ground in CA but not the whole load. Right after the first of the year, they are fed syrup and pollen patties to build them up for almonds. I may have lost a few more singles than doubles in the past but I doubt the difference was statistically significant. That said, I don't disagree with Jim; having someone who knows how to manage singles in CA relieves a lot of stress on my end!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Cartersville, Gerogia, USA
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    I agree with RM to move two frames of brood up into your box of foundation. My opinion is to use wax foundation this time of year. I can not get my bees to pull plastic foundation very well with sugar syrup. I used to keep bees at Scottsbluff, NE, if you are counting on 4th cutting hay to pull foundation before frost the odds are aginst you. Maybe borrow the deeps as suggested or just use your medium honey supers. Just my thoughts........

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Ben,

    We run some singles. We add a new box on top with plastic foundation and some dark combs. We mix it up with the brood and put on 10lbs of sub. You will need a feeder in the top box. Feed them heavy...
    You want to maximize the amount of brood as possible because that's what kind of hives you will have in Jan.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    mineral county,Montana USA
    Posts
    815

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    are they going down early to a holding yard or are they shipping out in january? if they are going down early i'd follow all the feeding and comb advise, if they are staying home till winter i'd be studying how to run singles, and still feed some.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,839

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    And yes, as mentioned by RAK, don't put just one pollen patty in, put 3 at a time if you are using purchased already made patties, and check in two weeks to keep well stocked. This is a great video to give you ideas....
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETLi3Jquor4

    Keep in mind that was two story hives in mid January!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Benjamin,

    I am not trying to discourage you, just suggesting that it may be challenging to get that second deep drawn out and filled in a timely manner. Considering 6 hives recently swarmed, their populations are playing catch up. It will take you a lot of feed and time to get your bees big enough to go west at this point. You may very well get it done, but it is going to cost you some time and money to do it.

    If you can borrow some drawn comb from your friend, that will really put you ahead!

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,068

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Put off this trip until 2015.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,324

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    In this area , it would be unlikely to get it done this late in the season. The best I could do would be to throw a medium full of honey and pollen on from another yard. Bees need a lot of stores to 'feel' confident to keep brooding through the fall.Personally, I wouldn't attempt to draw foundation at this point.But maybe you have a late ,good flow?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Stafford, Virginia
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    I agree with the sentiments above. We have been working all year since we brought our colonies back to Florida to keep them strong, build them to solid doubles. We have put them on strong flows, re-queening, fed patties, Corn Syrup and we are getting ready to take them back down to Florida this week to build up for splits on the Brazilian Pepper. After that we feed again until January when we make the trip out to Cali. It takes time to build good product for delivery to a client. We also have been discussing what needs to be done with Cali brokers and other more experienced folks since this is our first time in the Almonds. You just cannot "add water and stir" and expect to have good colonies

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,252

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by matt1954 View Post
    You just cannot "add water and stir" and expect to have good colonies
    Amen to that.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,068

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    That's why I simply wrote, Wait 'til 2015. Get them built up over the next year. Use them on some other crop if you need pollination income.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,324

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    I thought that was good advice ,Mark. We go through our hives several times before almonds to cull out substandard hives.Some years are worse than others. It would be bad to go to all the expense of getting hives to Ca only to have them culled out. This past Feb, a lot of substandard hives were rented out for too much money. I dont think that is going to be the case in 2014.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,068

    Default Re: Building up hives in time for almonds - Help!

    Most of my pollination experience has been in NY in apple orchards. I know some pollinators who feel that if bees are coming and going from a box then that's good enough. They must have growers that don't even check whether hives are issuing flight. I'm under the impression that Almond growers aren't like that. Leastwise they apparently make sure that colonies are up to some sort of standard before they go into the groves or when they arrive.

    Maine blueberries are that way too. As the price for pollination of NY apples rises we will probably have to have some sort of grading/pay scale too.

    Is it just about correct for me to assume that if a colony isn't up to grade right now that it most likely won't be by January w/out a lot of work? That a colony that is up to grade now is maintained at grade by feeding protein patty and syrup, so it is ready by January?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



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