Natural Selection Management - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Jul 2015
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    Dolianova, Sardinia, Italy
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Congratulations on strong overwintered numbers, Mr. Bispham. If I may, I had a few questions about your plans for the coming year...

    1.) When do you usually make your splits for new nucs?

    2.) As regards drones, do you cull the drones in unpromising hives, even as you permit strong hives to produce high drone populations, or do you leave well enough alone on both sides?

    3.) Do you get so many swarms from swarm traps? If so, what kind of traps do you use?

    Thanks, and best wishes for the coming year,

    John Bruce Leonard

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  3. #62
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Canterbry, UK
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Hi John,

    I have until now generally made nucs too late! This is because I've been kept busy in the early part of the year making boxes and frames! This year I'm going to try to be more organized with nuc rearing - but that's an aspiration! If the honey is building, and my phone keeps ringing with swarms to collect and (paid) cutouts to do, I'll probably get behind again.

    I haven't culled anything. I don't have time to fiddle about, and I've seen many weakly hives suddenly burst into life - probably due to supercedure - so I let them all take their chances. If I'm dominating the area with sound drones they'll mostly come good eventually.

    I leave empty boxes about to catch swarms, and last year got probably 5 or 6 fly-ins, mostly from my own hives I expect. They should be in place now really - they'll often get checked out for a while before anything happens. I have just one at a location where I know there's a feral cluster, but its probably too small - just a 6 frame nuc.

    As you can probably tell, I'm pretty hands-off - I do my best to leave them alone and let nature take its course, and the bonus is; I don't have to do anything except put boxes on and take them off again. The unlimited brood nest strategy combined with strict die-if-you-want-to-I'm-not-helping-you-out approach results in an increasingly healthy population. In theory some people might say... Yes, but its a very very good theory...

    I hope you too have a great year!

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  4. #63
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Many thanks for your response, Mr. Bispham; it was of great interest, and I much appreciate your time. An incidental curiosity - are the boxes and frames that you've built in past years of standard dimensions, or are they of custom sizes?

    I'll be most curious to hear how things come out for you this year, and, as stated - all my best wishes!

    John Bruce Leonard

  5. #64
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    I use English National pattern hives John.
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  6. #65
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I use English National pattern hives John.
    And again - many thanks!

  7. #66
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    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Nice to see the positive direction of your results Mike. From my point of view entirely predictable based on principles of selection. The road may be bumpy, but nature has been doing this for a long long time.

  8. #67
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    May 2009
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    Canterbry, UK
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    I've been leaving a few empty boxes around my (100ish strong) apiary to catch swarms, and yesterday saw one fly into a 6 frame nuc. I thought there were two interesting things about this. First, the nuc was on a stand with 3 other occupied hives, in a line of about 40 hives. So there was no impulse in this swarm to go anyplace remote from other bees. And this chimes with my own belief that bees are quite happy to live in high concentrations. Given the habit of robbing it probably doesn't make much difference.

    Secondly, there were much larger cavities available in the shape of an almost empty National brood box and an old long-empty WBC complete with two lift. Perhaps the nuc was chosen because it contained (good) comb, and maybe the small defendable entrance also swung it a bit.

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  9. #68
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Surprised at that. I have tried leaving swarm traps in bee yards and have never caught a swarm in one yet. Even a swarm moving into a nuc is surprising, that they would choose something so small.

  10. #69
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Surprised at that. I have tried leaving swarm traps in bee yards and have never caught a swarm in one yet. Even a swarm moving into a nuc is surprising, that they would choose something so small.
    Yes I forgot to write - a couple of days later they'd moved out again! But I do, often, have swarms moving into empty boxes. 3 that I know of this year. All, oddly, into nucs, in one case an empty nuc, annoyingly. They filled it with comb but usefully didn't attach it to the sides, and I've half sorted it and split it again while I was at it.
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  11. #70
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    On four or five occasions I've had swarms move into a stack of six eight frame mediums or so. Often full of wax moth webbed comb. On one of those occasions it was a stack on top of a stand with no bottom and a top that was blocked. Their entrance was through the grass to the open bottom of the bottom box. This last one was through a gap from boxes that had shifted and left a gap at the front. I've also had them move into just a couple of eight frame boxes on several occasions.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #71
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Sounds more typical.

  13. #72

    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Empty boxes standing around...indeed sounds typical.

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Deadouts are good swarm traps.

  15. #74
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    Jul 2015
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    Germany, BW
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    As always there'll be one or two inspections for serious disease, otherwise just popped covers if I feel the need. There'll be no treatment and no mollycoddling, no swapping brood in, swapping hives ... I'll want to know that the winners won without any help from me.
    Mike,
    how many hives do you need to start a management like that?
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  16. #75
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Mike,
    how many hives do you need to start a management like that?
    I don't think there's an answer to that SiWolKe. The more hives you have, the more resistant/tolerant they are, the more locally adapted ferals there are around, and the fewer propped up treated bees... the sooner you can get your genes moving the way you want them.

    I've been bringing in 10-20 colonies each year from swarms and cut-outs, and I'd guess more than half have been established ferals. I'm at the stage where losses are around the 10-15% mark, but productivity doesn't seem great. That might be the bees, poor weather this year, pesticides on the fruit, and/or the fact that I've been taking bees to make increase and 'directing' them to make comb.

    Next year I'm thinking of focusing on requeening the bottom third or so, and making nucs from the middle third. Try to raise productivity and health levels across the apiary.

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  17. #76
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    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Thanks for answering.

    I'm at the stage where losses are around the 10-15% mark, but productivity doesn't seem great. That might be the bees, poor weather this year, pesticides on the fruit, and/or the fact that I've been taking bees to make increase and 'directing' them to make comb.
    Same here.

    My limit to the number of colonies at each of my bee yards is 10-12, I believe, because of food supply. They are in an area where there is not much farming and I donīt want to feed.
    Maybe it`s not possible to do it like you do but I will see.

    Loss around 10-15% is great! Congratulations!
    Last edited by SiWolKe; 08-26-2016 at 03:40 AM. Reason: ...
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  18. #77

    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I'm at the stage where losses are around the 10-15% mark,
    So, that is in absolute numbers? Winter losses? Or summer losses? (Oh yes, there are no summer losses, I know...)

  19. #78
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    So, that is in absolute numbers? Winter losses? Or summer losses? (Oh yes, there are no summer losses, I know...)
    Good point. Winter losses. Because swarms and cutouts and splits are building numbers steadily I don't think about summer losses. Yes, the odd hive falls empty from time to time through the rest of the year. But mostly talk of 'losses' is about winter failures isn't it?

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  20. #79

    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Loss for me is a non-productive hive, since I calculate profit per hive.

    What about the absolute numbers of hives that made it so far? How many are populated by now?

  21. #80
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    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Natural Selection Management

    Typical summer losses can be a bit nebulous. How many supercedures did I cause by accidentally injuring a queen? Failed supercedures or failed requeening after swarming don't really count do they? I'm sure there are some due to disease pressure but that can be hard to put in one category or another. I've had to get into the bees often to get brood and I take a chance of doing some damage every time I go into a hive. Being relatively new I'm sure my technique/management could be much better.

    There are some failures/absconds/pesticide/disease collapses related that could be "not my fault". But these are not common so far with my bees.

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