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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Josephine County,Oregon,USA
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    141

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I have dead bees being pushed out of my hive too;but not many. I clear the entrance enough,once a week, to see if there's been new activity. At least I know there's still Life inside so far !

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    It warmed up enough today that my bees were taking out their dead too but I have upper entrances so they haven't been blocked. The bees sure took the opportunity to get relief from holding it!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    <<It seems to me that most posters on this forum are new or relatively new to beekeeping (with some very experienced exceptions) and I have been wondering what is behind that. Do they stop following the forum after they learn what they need, do they lose bees and move on to a different hive, do they get discouraged and quit beekeeping, etc...>>

    Colleen I am one of the evil non tbh treating beekeepers on the forum. I would like to take a stab at answering your question posed in October. Long term posters on this forum all are deeply in love with their bees. They may not think of it that way but I think the evidence is clear. They want everyone to love bees so are volunteers to teach an endless stream of newbies who do cheerfully perpetrate horrible slaughter on our beloved bugs. The experienced types who get sick of teaching the same class every time a newbie shows up,many just give up and go silent. Many new beeks do come and go. Many come to save the bees! And find out that it is not all that simple. No one likes to fail and these bees keep a hard school! Good intentions do not keep your colony alive. Sometimes nothing will keep them alive. Then this newbie who is lacking the skills required to maximize his bees chances of making a living and maybe some honey to share, takes on an advanced skill set like the unconventional hives. Like foundationless frames, like trying to breed a mite resistant bee by going treatment free when you have two colonies; and what is 10% survival of two hives? It is easier to kill the mites killing your bees. It is easier to dose bees with tylan than to burn an untreated colony that was proudly treatment free. I guess my point is that I applaud your zeal and enthusiasm, but it would really be easier to learn conventionally before trying to stick that high degree of difficulty landing. The stoning may begin. But I am entering your challenge if allowed. I am down two hives already. One I suspect crashed from mites or possibly went queenless. The other may have died from AFB because I didn't just automatically dose with tylan. I had a bad problem two years ago because I bought used equipment and it was saturated with afb. Thought I had burned it out, but maybe not.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Hello Vance! I have seen your posts around and your love of bees and beekeeping comes through loud and clear. Thanks for your response, I take it you think the latter two are most likely. That is reasonable and actually what I suspected when posing the question. I can't speak for anyone else but while still new and inexperienced I share the love of bees. I also admit to not always taking the road most traveled, even though at times it takes a lot of research and effort. I sincerely hope that the cost to my bees for that personality trait is not high. Only time will tell. I am really sorry to hear about your issues with AFB. It has to be horrible to have to burn a hive. I take it you don't recommend buying used equipment?

    You are very welcome to join the challenge, just make sure to record your numbers based on the start date of November 1st.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I'm not hear to throw stones, but just state why I started with a top bar hive, and it's not the reasons you listed. I did it out of shear cost savings. I started beekeeping after a few years of very heavy research, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. Beekeeping is expensive when it comes to start up costs! I'll admit that all the "natural" talk was appealing, but that wasn't my main reason for the top bar hive. I didn't want to invest hundreds of dollars if after I got the bees I realized I was terrified of them. Luckily, I love my bees and have learned a ton over the summer. I was plagued with queen issues all summer and my bees constantly requeened themselves.... then the mites came. Man is it hard to treat a hive for mites with you're using a top bar hive when you are open to treating! I am adding a lang to my teeny tiny apiary this year. I look forward to learning the conventional way of beekeeping and being able to easily take off a super to treat.

    That said, we are keeping the top bar hive. The large viewing window has been great in educating family and friends. My little boys (2 & 5) and I love to look in the window. We have seen drones getting dragged out, beautiful natural comb being drawn, and wax moth larva being cleaned out. The bees are truly amazing, and our family and friends have also learned to love the bees. I've taken freshly drawn comb to my kids schools to do lessons on how important bees are and the kids and teachers watch in awe as I show them pictures of our bees and unique hive. I don't know if I'm "saving the bees" with my 1 little backyard hive, but I like to think I'm helping by educating anyone who will listen. Hopefully, I'm also raising 2 future beekeepers.

    Here's a picture of my older son with his cousin, sitting comfortably next to our hive. My nephew has severe anxiety, but loves the bees!1230085_10151792542580768_765256676_n.jpg

    Here's another one of the natural comb in our hive. Even if you don't care for top bar hives, you've got to appreciate the beauty of natural comb. 1383946_10151921265160768_597436623_n.jpg

    Everyone on this board has been more than helpful this year, and I love that fellow beeks both on beesource and in my local area are always willing to answer any question I have.
    Last edited by chr157y; 12-19-2013 at 10:06 AM.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I do not have a single thing against top bar hives! I just maintain they, like warre and foundationless and treatment free, are a more difficult way to go. TBH and foundationless are also need a lot more close supervision to keep combs manageable. I mentor a gentleman who has two TBH's and langstroths and have watched him fight keeping frames straight and having combs break off the top bar. He now builds these geodesic frames. The concept is wonderful. Before I spent time in one, I imagined giving my sister with the bad back a TBH and bees. I envisioned her calmly harvesting a frame of honey as she needed it. Never having to lift off that heavy super and deal with the mass mess that langstroth extraction IS! Carefully manipulating those top bars that I know from experience have a strong desire to break off and result in a crumpled mass of broken drowning bees, brood and honey is required. One single lapse tilting the top bar as you try to see eggs and larvae and it is broodmageddon. IF/when I ever actually run one, my top bars will have three dowel pins sticking down thru the top bar at least 8 inches so when that comb gets tipped a little or it is too hot, some stability is present.

    I guess I am just not Sam Comfort, but TBH's are pretty daunting to me. I imagine I will have at least a long hive this coming summer. Thankyou for not stoning me! Vance

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Montgomery Twp, PA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Well, let me be the one to encourage you to try a TBH. I love the idea of a long hive for lang compatability, but a ktbh is truly beautiful. Aside from the difficulty of treating, it has been a joy! And if you live in a state where Hopguard is approved, even treating isn't so hard.

    Also, I thought I'd mention irradiation. Our local group irradiates woodenware that has been contaminated by AFB. I wonder if that is an option where you are. There is a per pallet fee and the members using the service split the cost... I think it's about $175 per pallet. Much cheaper than destroying your equipment.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,165

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    irradiation or fumigation is not an option here. If the test comes back negative, there will be a fire. Too bad because it all three year old or newer equipment. My colony count is from mid October when I wrapped and winterized.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    We had a really warm day here (Northern Virginia) on December 21st so I did an inspection on the smaller hive (late summer split) to make sure they were okay. Everything was good. They have a lot of stores and there don't appear to be any hive beetles (which were a bit of a problem during the late summer). Everyone was happy and flying.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I started last spring with one package of bees and a hastily built top bar hive. I am happy to report that the hive is still alive. we had bees flying around yesterday in 50 degree weather. put some dry sugar in the hive for extra stores, a quick spritz on top to clump it up and keep them from tossing it out. Hopefully we will make it through the winter!

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilted Beekeeper View Post
    I started last spring with one package of bees and a hastily built top bar hive. I am happy to report that the hive is still alive. we had bees flying around yesterday in 50 degree weather. put some dry sugar in the hive for extra stores, a quick spritz on top to clump it up and keep them from tossing it out. Hopefully we will make it through the winter!
    Sounds good! I looked and didn't see you on the spreadsheet, why don't you join? I know with just the one colony you might hesitate but don't let that put you off. The link is in one of my earlier posts on this thread.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGeneralsBees View Post
    They have a lot of stores and there don't appear to be any hive beetles (which were a bit of a problem during the late summer). Everyone was happy and flying.
    Nice! Yeah, I saw a couple SHB trying to hide in the combs when I did my last inspection in early November. I got all of them out that I saw but was very happy the cold helps the situation.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    I added some deadout reporting columns to the spreadsheet so that people can report losses as they happen. When I added them it looks like participant "3"s hive numbers got messed up. If you are still following this can you please put your hive numbers back in?

    Thanks!

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    It is easier to kill the mites killing your bees. It is easier to dose bees with tylan than to burn an untreated colony that was proudly treatment free. I guess my point is that I applaud your zeal and enthusiasm, but it would really be easier to learn conventionally before trying to stick that high degree of difficulty landing. .
    Vance, I'm sure you're right, but I can tell you the reason I decided to try to go treatment free first.

    I think most folks would agree that there are some downsides to treating. It kills the mites, but it also weakens the bees a bit. Treating for bacterial diseases kills beneficial organisms along with the pathogens, and there's been some interesting research showing that the presence of these beneficials helps to control the pathogens via competition.

    My thinking was: why not give TF a shot first and see if maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, who through locale or bee genetics or management practices, can keep his bees alive without treatment?

    If you start out treating, with the goal of eventually stopping treatment, then when you do stop, you have to deal not only with mites and diseases, but with the lingering ill effects of treatment, which, it seems to me, would be a double whammy and more difficult.

    Anyway, my entry: I currently have 7 hives. One is in upstate NY, and I don't really think it will survive. It might not have enough stores for the harsh winter there, and I'm in Florida until April, so it's on its own.

    Here in FL I have 6 colonies, three in long hives and 3 strong nucs. As of today, all are alive. They all have at least a frame or two of brood, and when I was in them last week, the best hive has 4 or 5 frames and some capped drone comb. It will be time to make splits soon, so how do I handle my count, if, as I hope, I have more hives than I stated out with in the fall?
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I think most folks would agree that there are some downsides to treating. It kills the mites, but it also weakens the bees a bit. Treating for bacterial diseases kills beneficial organisms along with the pathogens, and there's been some interesting research showing that the presence of these beneficials helps to control the pathogens via competition.

    My thinking was: why not give TF a shot first and see if maybe I'm one of the lucky ones, who through locale or bee genetics or management practices, can keep his bees alive without treatment?

    Anyway, my entry: I currently have 7 hives. One is in upstate NY, and I don't really think it will survive. It might not have enough stores for the harsh winter there, and I'm in Florida until April, so it's on its own.

    Here in FL I have 6 colonies, three in long hives and 3 strong nucs. As of today, all are alive. They all have at least a frame or two of brood, and when I was in them last week, the best hive has 4 or 5 frames and some capped drone comb. It will be time to make splits soon, so how do I handle my count, if, as I hope, I have more hives than I stated out with in the fall?
    Ray, I have to agree that when I read Mr. Bush's writings on treatment killing the beneficial organisms in the treated hives it resonated with me. That said, I really don't want this to devolve into a treatment versus treatment free debate. All are welcome to join the challenge and I think it is important to see what is working/where and what isn't.

    Your Florida climate really does throw a wrench to the challenge but I don't think you are alone in that situation. I think you should report only on the hives you had as of November 1st for the survival/loss stats and I can either add a column for increase or a notes column where you could report it. What do you think?

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Sounds good. Does your spreadsheet accept negative values?

    My strongest hive is also my hottest hive, so I've been thinking about breaking it up and spreading the resources around to put lots of bees in my new nucs.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Sounds good. Does your spreadsheet accept negative values?

    My strongest hive is also my hottest hive, so I've been thinking about breaking it up and spreading the resources around to put lots of bees in my new nucs.
    I think negative values mess up the calculations. If you break it down but still have a nuc from it (with the original queen) I would just count it as the original hive and mention it in the notes column that I will add.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    It is sunny and in the mid-forties today and I am happy to see my bees out flying. Knowing it might hit flying temperatures I got up this morning and moved the four colonies back out of the garage (where they sheltered from the negative temperatures). The bees from the fifth colony, the one I left outside, are out flying too which is encouraging. Tomorrow it may get warm enough to crack the hives and see how they are really doing and help them remove their dead.
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 01-11-2014 at 06:08 PM.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Here in northern Illinois, the temps are supposedly near mid-30's....supposedly.

    I'm getting concerned about one of my two hives. They've not cleaned out any dead for at least 2wks - while other hive has been cleaning. I tried listening with a stethoscope - but couldn't hear anything due to insulation. As the windows are covered by insulation also - I'm not going to take it all off to peek in the hive. Just not worth the risks to the hive. (Besides which 25 chicks are keeping me out of trouble!)

    Tomorrow's supposed to get to *gasp* 37 here! Time to trim the grapevines and hydrangea bushes. With the warm-up, we're also slightly flooding. Nothing serious yet - but the rising water makes me remember why I wanted a hive on stilts. Had it been a lang, the bottom boxes would be 3" underwater in their present location. Never dull....

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Horizontal Hive Overwintering Fools Challenge 2013/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen O. View Post
    Sounds good! I looked and didn't see you on the spreadsheet, why don't you join? I know with just the one colony you might hesitate but don't let that put you off. The link is in one of my earlier posts on this thread.
    I thought I had back in November. I have not been on the board too much this winter. I entered my info on the spreadsheet.

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