Page 2 of 24 FirstFirst 123412 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 470
  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    You'll get quite a few answers for the best way to make splits/nucs.

    First thing, protect your drawn frames from your deadouts. Freeze the drawn frames, then store them safely. You'll need them.

    The cheapest way to make a split is the walkaway split.

    Probably the fastest way is to buy mated queens, and then make up your splits/nucs accordingly.

    Then, there's the fun way. Cutting out queen cells, and then using them to make splits/nucs.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,111

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    A useful Michael Bush page about splitting hives:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    839

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    For the inexperienced hobbyist, the economical and easy way to make increase is buying queens. This allows first-generation improved genetics to be brought to the apiary at minimal cost.

    Walk-away splits have a xx% failure rate which is no issue when the experienced keeper can recombine or otherwise manage. They are also free-mated so the background genotype (which I posit is commercial Italian, due to the alfalfa economy).

    Prerequisites: 1. nuc or other extra hives,
    2. an out-yard for establishment (this really helps).
    3. Inexperienced keeps will want to isolate the queen by using a excluder to break up a 2 story broodnest.

    The sunk cost in queens is the exorbitant shipping -- 20 queens are as cheap to ship as 1. Co-ordinate with others to maximize the shipping count.

    By any realistic measure, buying queens on a time-value basis is better than trying to raise your own until the scale is truely commercial. The specialized breeder-cell builder - finisher - mating nuc system requires a complex series of unstable colonies likely only available in large apiaries. Pushing production colonies to build swarm cells results in cast swarms -- and the colony core is lost to the outside world.

    My nuc split follows this pattern:

    I split into 5 frame nucs: 2 frames of open (larvae stage) brood, one dry open drawn frame (for the queen to lay into), and two frames of light nectar. In May (or the height of your season) you can split 1 mother hive into at least 2 nucs *and* retain the mother hive. == 3 colonies from a single mother.

    Working in the morning, move the mother hive about 30 feet away,
    At its old location put two nucs. (foragers return to the nucs, and build a balanced nurse/forager population).
    If you have isolated the queen with an excluder, pull off the queen zone, and reestablish it on a bottom board (and cover).

    Add the open drawn dry frames to the center of the nucs.
    Pull 4 frames of brood with nurse bees intact -- move these quickly into the nucs, 2 per nuc.
    Pull 4 frames of honey and put these into the nucs on the outsides.
    Close the nucs.
    Shake the honey super to dislodge bees -- most will fly back to the nucs and populate them.
    Restack the mother hive.

    In the evening, move the nucs to the outyard location at least a mile away. Add syrup feeders if the flow has tapered. Return the mother hive to its old location.
    In the evening of the following day (>30 hours post split) introduce the queen cages (ends cork plugged), douse the hive liberally with essential oil (mint-lemon).
    On the 3rd day, inspect the nuc for balling or other queen issues. Remove the plug to expose the candy or marshmellow seal. On the 6th day inspect (and remove) the cage. Releasing the queen if still caged.

    Inspect the mother hive to ascertain that the original queen is still extant and hive functioning on the third day. If depopulation has been severe, exchange position with a strong hive to balance.

    I schedule several of these splits on a rolling calendar about 1 week apart. This allows any disasters to be requeened with only a one week lag, if you are shy a queen simply do a 1 to 2 split instead of the 1 to 3. Boomer hives will support a 1 to 5 split, but usually this depopulates the mother hive severely (I've done this to get a mean hive back to manageable size). A risk on the 2 nuc procedure is all the bees will try and crowd into one hive (leaving the open larvae unattended). You can move them around at the outyard, or in recalcitrant cases simply combine into a single 10 frame box.

    Splitting hard like this general convinces a swarm ready colony to settle down.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    940

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    For the inexperienced hobbyist, the economical and easy way to make increase is buying queens. This allows first-generation improved genetics to be brought to the apiary at minimal cost.

    Walk-away splits have a xx% failure rate which is no issue when the experienced keeper can recombine or otherwise manage. They are also free-mated so the background genotype (which I posit is commercial Italian, due to the alfalfa economy).
    Great post JW, thanks for sharing your technique. Walk-away splits are also not an option for those of us below the AHB line and concerned with their traits.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    My thanks for all the feedback here. I need to review it all so I can summarize things into a plan for next season. I'll post my summary here for additional comments. One thing to keep in mind (as one person made note of) I'm at an elevation of 3100 feet and our season is short here. Long enough to make solid stores and even provide and good amount of honey, but a splits need to be made early in the season to have a chance. I wish I could find local stock, but there is just very little to be had. Thanks again.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,086

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    any possibility that they starved?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    A few more considerations...
    Start taking mite counts early and often. This is the only way to tell if a particular hive will a mite problem for sure. Some hives will be more resistant than others and if the mite load becomes high consider finding a way to reduce mite load and requeen with hopefully a better queen. An IPM approach is very sustainable and will help you identify your most resistant bees.

    Also the young queen rules... A break in the brood cycle and a vigorous young queen from selected stock can make a huge difference. We have a lot of clients that like to requeen in August and September so a prime young queen heads up the winter cluster. A new queen in August will just be hitting her prime the following spring so production should be good providing nutrition is adequate and pest/pathogen levels are low. Some of the most important bees you grow all year will be your August/September bees as these bees rear the population that will become your winter cluster. This is a critical period so nutrition, pest management, and a vigorous top performing queen are essentials.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    This fall collapse syndrome is classic. It is really important to make a mite assessment in late August, when planning for the last fall forage, and decide a strategy.[/QUOTE]

    JWChesnut - you have a pretty good picture of what its like here with a couple exceptions. There are no commercial fields of any kind nearby. Some pasture ground for hobby farms with associated clover. We do have a lot of rabbitbrush in the open rangeland around us and I have made a point of planting a number of things on our acre that provide some additional fall forage. I have been suspicious about the fall dearth of pollen and this year fed pollen patties, and I believe you have really nailed exactly what is happening. So the obvious question, after making a mite assessment in August and finding a high mite count what is an appropriate "strategy".

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    any possibility that they starved?
    No, tons of pollen and honey stores. Because there is a fall dearth of pollen I even fed pollen patties this year.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Redmond Oregon
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    A few more considerations...
    if the mite load becomes high consider finding a way to reduce mite load and requeen with hopefully a better queen. An IPM approach is very sustainable and will help you identify your most resistant bees.

    This is a critical period so nutrition, pest management, and a vigorous top performing queen are essentials.
    Thanks JBJ, excuse my ignorance please but what is "IPM approach"? Also, what would you suggest as a way to reduce mite loads in Aug/Sept. I open to most anything and its becoming obvious that this is a part of my management that needs to improve.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post

    Also the young queen rules... A break in the brood cycle and a vigorous young queen from selected stock can make a huge difference.
    I agree with John wholeheartedly.
    I queened-up some hives that had been queenless for a while and had dwindled down, introducing Old Sol queens late in the fall when you just wonder if you are throwing good money after bad.
    Those queens layed out sheet after sheet of the tightest brood I have seen in a long time.
    There are not enough varroa mites on the planet that could have kept up with those queens.
    I saw a few of those hives today as we dribbled and they are amazing!
    Our California almond grower will be VERY HAPPY with those.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,454

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Have you considered trying drone trapping? Ed Levi over in Arkansas does that with great success. What I don't understand is why drone trapping is considered, for purposes of this forum, to be a "treatment" but splitting, which has a more profound effect on a hive, is not. (I personally get the nerve up to talk myself into treatment-free but end of chickening out and using thymol and/or hopguard.)

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,137

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    There was a thread a month or so ago, mostly about AHB but also about a high dry country black bee population if I have the details correctly. If someone has a better memory than I that might be an ideal line to try.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

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

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    What bothers me about the assertions of the chemical-control contingent here is that they seem to be unaware of certain financial realities that govern research.

    They complain about the lack of closely controlled trials of various treatment-free strategies, apparently not understanding that there is no money to be made in not treating bees. Why should a beekeeper who has experienced success while not treating risk any of his colonies in any controlled trials? There is no incentive.

    On the other hand, there seem to be very few long-term studies that attempt to quantify the damage that chemical treatments undoubtedly do to the colony. With some of the treatments touted here-- thyme oil, oxalic, hopguard, there do not seem to be the sort of trials that would justify the amount of faith invested in them. Yes, these treatments kill mites. Do they really contribute to long-lived colonies? Who knows?

    When you look a the actual numbers, the idea that chemical treatments are justified becomes even less supportable. The original poster lost a third of his hives. According to the BeeInformed survey, so did commercial beekeepers in the season just past, who lost over a third of their hives, despite the fact that almost all of them treat. If this level of loss is unsupportable without treatment, why is it any better with treatment?

    From an outsider's point of view, the amount of faith that advocates of chemical treatment have in their various potions does not seem to be reflected in the actual state of the industry, which lately has had losses called by some insiders "catastrophic." Complain all you like about the lack of treatment-free trials, but do not ignore the inconvenient epidemiology, which does not support the longtime efficacy of most chemical treatments.

    That is both dishonest and intellectually lazy.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,111

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    > also about a high dry country black bee population

    I believe that Saltybee is referring to posts by Paul McCarty in this thread:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ighlight=feral
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    In the end, getting one or two mite tolerant colonies is not enough to tilt the balance. I used three strategies to go treatment free.

    1. I found and re-queened with mite tolerant stock. This is the single most important step.
    2. I converted to small cell. This has only a minor effect, but it works well with running 11 frames in a brood chamber.
    3. I forced swarming from my colonies to saturate the area with mite tolerant ferals.

    Several posts were made in a different thread that this can't be done in an area with large numbers of commercial treated migratory colonies. I can't directly argue to that except to say that there are 12 beekeepers within 5 miles of me. How do I know there are 12? A few years ago, Kelley shipped catalogs to all the beekeepers in this town in a tied bundle and mine happened to be on top. I got to see the names and addresses of the others. I know 5 or 6 of them to speak to. There is one beekeeper 5 miles north of me who has 4 colonies all from my mite tolerant stock. There is another beekeeper 35 miles east of me with 2 colonies from my mite tolerant bees. Both got started in the last 2 years.

    I've been treatment free since 2005. I don't worry about mites at all... ever. I don't do mite counts. I don't use monitoring boards. I don't spend money and time on anything associated with mites. I leave my bees to handle them. So far, they have done so with ease. My winter losses are 10% or less. I am only running 10 colonies at present. The woods nearby are full of mite tolerant bees. I can tell because I catch a few swarms every year and I know for sure that they are not from my colonies. Next year, I plan to split my 10 colonies into at least 20 and spread a few more around. Two more people have requested colonies. I will find some more who are interested and I will make sure they get a start with mite tolerant bees.

    Please don't think that everyone can do what I am doing. If you are getting saturated with commercial colonies every year, your bees will outcross and lose the tolerance within a couple of years. If you start with "local bees" or unselected bees, you may or may not be dealing with significant tolerance. Under those conditions, mite monitoring and selection would be required. I wish Dann Purvis were still producing queens. He had relatively good stock with very high levels of tolerance.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,069

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    RHAldridge - what are you referring to? There ARE a couple of mentions of OA early in the thread, but the majority of it has been rather constructive non-treatment advice and discussion. Yes JWChestnut is clearly a skeptic, but I don't see how you can call his mention of "survivor testament" effect intellectually lazy, and then he posted some good information on making splits. Not really a lot of pro treatment hard sell that I can see.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    RHAldridge - what are you referring to? There ARE a couple of mentions of OA early in the thread, but the majority of it has been rather constructive non-treatment advice and discussion. Yes JWChestnut is clearly a skeptic, but I don't see how you can call his mention of "survivor testament" effect intellectually lazy, and then he posted some good information on making splits. Not really a lot of pro treatment hard sell that I can see.
    It is intellectually lazy to make note of the lack of scientific trials of treatment-free techniques, while at the same time ignoring the elephant in the room: the difficulties that the industry is having despite all-out treatment. It is dishonest to assume that this lack of trials is due to the unwillingness of the non-treating beekeepers to put their techniques to a fair test-- in the first place, they have decided to keep their own bees in this manner, and have succeeded, despite conventional wisdom, which informs them that they have doomed their bees to inevitable death. And in the second place, what possible incentive do successful non-treating beekeepers have to put their operation at risk by putting half of their colonies into a treated control group? Many times in this forum, I have heard conventional beekeepers, when dealing with the possibility that non-treaters might have a valid approach, ask a very similar question: What's in it for me to experiment with non-treatment? What do I get out of it except bragging rights? Why should I risk my operation on these unproven management techniques? These are all good questions, and treatment-free beekeepers have as much right to ask them as anyone else.

    If a conventional beekeeper refuses to make a scientific trial of his methods against a treatment-free regimen, would it be appropriate for me or anyone else to call him self-deluded? JWC has referred to treatment-free beekeepers in such terms on many occasions on the forum. The "survivor testament" effect he refers to is just as easily observable among conventional beekeepers, even (bizarrely) after they suffer what to most folks would be unacceptable losses.

    When the industry-wide high losses come up, there are always those who will chime in and say that they have not seen these losses personally. They are assuming that their lack of catastrophe is due to their use of chemicals, but that belief is no better supported in scientific terms than treatment-free beekeepers who have low losses and attribute that fortunate situation to their particular management style.

    JWC is a very smart guy, and I've learned a lot by reading his posts. However, I believe that he has a blind spot when it comes to this issue, perhaps because he has been unable to make non-treatment work in his own trials. However, his anecdotal evidence is no more persuasive to me than the existence of successful treatment-free beekeepers is, it would appear, to JWC. With him, it's always something along the line of... these guys who succeed without treatment are a statistical anomaly, deluded, or singularly fortunate. It could be that JWC has just been singularly unfortunate, perhaps in his location, perhaps in some other aspect of his approach. I have no idea. Neither does he, obviously.

    If you're going to make your argument along these lines then rationally, you can't complain when someone else points out a larger body of evidence that contradicts that position. The current state of the industry raises a very large warning flag, for anyone who is paying attention. Some very good and highly experienced beekeepers who treat have had losses much higher than those mentioned by the original poster.

    Why, if chemical treatments are so good, is the industry experiencing such high losses?

    Where are the current studies that prove the longterm advantage of treatment over non-treatment? Obviously, these treatment kill mites. Just as obviously, they are not a panacea. If they were, we would not be having this discussion.

    Where are the current studies designed to show up any longterm negative effects of acaricides? Does anyone seriously believe that there are no such effects? Clearly, trying to poison bugs that live on bugs is fraught with potential problems, yet it's very difficult to get people to look at the situation in this way. There is no incentive for those who manufacture treatments to evaluate their potentially harmful effects, and increasingly, research at the big universities is driven by the available funding, which appears to be nonexistent for treatment-free beekeeping. The sad fact is that the chemical approach is so ingrained in our current agricultural model, particularly in the case of bees, that it has not even occurred to the manufacturers or regulators of these products to test them fairly against the treatment-free approach. Why should they? Why rock the boat? It is already an article of faith among the vast majority of beekeepers that these products are the best approach. Unfortunately, there seems to have been surprisingly little research directed at the longterm consequences, which may now be coming home to roost, judging by the level of industry-wide losses in the last several years.

    All I'm arguing for is a little fairness. Every statistical criticism leveled at treatment-free beekeepers can just as factually be leveled at conventional beekeepers. There are vastly more of the latter. The problems these conventional beekeepers are having are a hugely more significant data set than any difficulties faced by the hobbyists and smalltimers who mostly make up the already tiny minority of treatment-free beekeepers.

    Of course, as a beginner, I can make no useful observations from my own experience, but the whole point of JWC's usual tirade is that such anecdotal evidence is useless.

    That applies to all anecdotal evidence, including JWC's.

    Fairness.

    Ray

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,069

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    OK, fair enough. We are lacking scientific evidence or even reliable data on both sides of the issue - so to a certain extent we are all groping around on our own - and we all suffer from confirmation bias. We don't know all of the long term implications of all of the various treatments because the information just isn't available. In a lot of cases even the "scientific" work isn't all that scientific because it isn't peer reviewed and shown to have repeatable results. The only entities who have a sufficient monetary interest in funding the studies are chemical companies.

    There are two anecdotally evident issues with treatment free as far as I am concerned.

    Productivity - Survival isn't the only goal. FusionPower is a glimmer of hope as far as productive treatment free beekeeping goes, but there does not appear to be more than a handful of people who can report economically viable levels of success while doing treatment free. There are apparently thousands of people with 8-10 hives that produce a profitable honey crop year after year while using treatments. Every local association that I have rubbed elbows with has a few. They don't make a lot of noise, but they have a sign up that says "Local Honey For Sale."

    Beginners who don't use treatments usually lose all of their bees and give up beekeeping - or after a couple of years they get tired of doing the work and spending the money while getting nothing back except stings and a little $100 a quart honey to give Mom for Christmas - and they either fall off the wagon or quit entirely.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Do a poll comparing first year TFBK to 3rd year - maybe beginners quit in droves no matter what. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    It's all anecdotal, but I'm not making this up. I have real people who I know in mind. Personally I don't want to discourage anyone from being treatment free - I think it's a great idea. But I don't want beginners to quit before they even really get started when a couple of well timed soft treatments a year will help keep them going until they can learn to keep bees.

    Totally unscientific and intellectually lazy.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,435

    Default Re: Something needs to change - looking for suggestions

    JWC wrote:

    My results, over a decade, show that TF in coastal California is not viable.

    In my west-coast Mediterranean climate our last significant rain occurred before Christmas in 2012. You read that right -- no rain all spring, summer, and fall.

    In this climate, except for exceptional years, virtually all flow occurs before June. Hives are running on vapors at steady state or in serious dearth all summer and fall.

    Anecdote is not Evidence.
    This should help you understand where he's coming from. Take it with a grain of whatever.
    Regards, Barry

Page 2 of 24 FirstFirst 123412 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads