Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Logically, Michael Palmer, your Management coincides with the seasonal evolution of the bee colony.

    I've always wondered how many people make splits or breed queens in times when the bees would do that themselves this time of year only in emergency situations and need to be fed often, not many drones around, too, if the queens are not artificial inseminated.
    Of course, the beekeeper can use this late breeding and splitting to work against the mites or to sell material.

    Also, I already had a supercedure in the fall, but never had to let them draw comb or let them forage, as they got honeycombs and drawn combs. So the queen, when she was mated, just layed her winter bee eggs, having the space. Without such a providing, they would never have made it through winter.

    The experienced beekeepers here never give the bees too much space, except in early summer as a swarm prevention, but this is reversed from July, after the harvest and after the swarming period, when the drones are ejected.
    This is because we usually have so mild winters, that the bees are very active, often always with brood, and therefore always have to reach the honey stores.

    This works well in a single dadant deep where they move horizontally and have enough supplies on both sides ( this is used often, even by many commercials), or in a multi-story arrangement where they hike up but are not hindered by a large gap or lack of space for clustering.
    Because in late winter, it often happens that there is still a long frost period when the cluster is at it´s weakest. Then the room may not be too big, otherwise there will be isolation from food stores.

    If the hive management has only 1% advantage, and I believe it has some, this will be good for my situation. Any improvement is a help to health.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I would never make nucs in August. That's after the flow here in Vermont.
    I believe the intent is to create a system where beekeepers can have their cake and eat it too, by harvesting the honey from the main flow AND THEN making nucs. If you advocate a system where you need to make splits before, or during a main flow, the beekeeper needs to choose between resupplying colony numbers or getting a larger crop. It's easy to opt for the immediate gain (larger crop) and turn around and buy replacements instead of splitting.

    So by making your nucs in the middle of your flow, do you notice a decrease in your honey yields?

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    No, because I don't take nucs from my honey production hives. I manage them for honey. Rather, I have nucs I use as brood factories. I've also used non-producers, colonies that, obviously, won't make much of a crop. All this so I can make my nucs on the flow, get lots of foundation drawn, and make a full crop with my products hives.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    It's interesting how several advocate dealing with a 50% annual mortality rate . . . keep twice as many hives. Doesn't really seem to deal with the underlying problem though . . .
    I was at a conference earlier this fall, and in one of the talks, Randy Oliver asked a simple question. If you have a stable, healthy, thriving feral population of bees, how many colonies will die off each winter ? Lots of mumbling around the room saying 'none'. His response, WRONG ANSWER. Healthy and thriving feral bees will throw a swarm, and an afterswarm on average every year. If the population is remaining stable over time, that means 2/3 of the colonies will every winter on average.

    This really got me to thinking, a lot of the talk about managing bees suggests we need to look carefully at bee biology and what they will do if left to fend for themselves. To deal with winter survival, what it turns out they do, is they 'start nucs' via swarms. This is the bees natural method for dealing with winter mortality.

    I live in a northern climate, it is NOT a natural setting for honeybees. The historical long term average for winter mortality in our area is 30%, and has been a bit higher in recent years. My own numbers over 7 years reflect this average, we have had winters with no losses, and we have had winters with 50% losses, and everywhere in between. We do the best we can for our bees to help them get ready for a long, cold, wet, miserable winter, but they dont all make it every season.

    The pragmatic one in me says, yes, we can put a LOT more effort into trying to increase survival rates, but, at the same time, keeping nucs in spare is a more reliable way of ending up with the number of colonies we want for putting out into the honey pasture when next spring rolls around. The enlightening detail for me was when I realized, this is what the bees do when left to their own devices.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I would never make nucs in August.
    Same. Dryest, hottest month, no food.... worst month.

    Ide never do that. Anytime after July is asking for failure. Ide rather let the hive grow all year and overwinter. Then in spring split it atleast once if not 3 or 4 ways. In April and May its alot harder to kill a hive than to make a new one.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Same. Dryest, hottest month, no food.... worst month.

    Ide never do that. Anytime after July is asking for failure. Ide rather let the hive grow all year and overwinter. Then in spring split it atleast once if not 3 or 4 ways. In April and May its alot harder to kill a hive than to make a new one.
    Even though it was our first year, that is what it looked like for us. Our splits from 7-27 reached what we think was a good population for a 5X5 (w/mated queen), but we did have to feed late into the fall... Interesting, the splits from 8-7, not that much later, never got built up close to those and we fear they may not have reached "critical mass" to endure the winter.
    I'm sure locality and genetics play a part, but the number of brood cycles i would think trump all of that...

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    I was at a conference earlier this fall, and in one of the talks, Randy Oliver asked a simple question. If you have a stable, healthy, thriving feral population of bees, how many colonies will die off each winter ? Lots of mumbling around the room saying 'none'. His response, WRONG ANSWER. Healthy and thriving feral bees will throw a swarm, and an afterswarm on average every year. If the population is remaining stable over time, that means 2/3 of the colonies will every winter on average.

    This really got me to thinking, a lot of the talk about managing bees suggests we need to look carefully at bee biology and what they will do if left to fend for themselves. To deal with winter survival, what it turns out they do, is they 'start nucs' via swarms. This is the bees natural method for dealing with winter mortality.

    I live in a northern climate, it is NOT a natural setting for honeybees. The historical long term average for winter mortality in our area is 30%, and has been a bit higher in recent years. My own numbers over 7 years reflect this average, we have had winters with no losses, and we have had winters with 50% losses, and everywhere in between. We do the best we can for our bees to help them get ready for a long, cold, wet, miserable winter, but they dont all make it every season.

    The pragmatic one in me says, yes, we can put a LOT more effort into trying to increase survival rates, but, at the same time, keeping nucs in spare is a more reliable way of ending up with the number of colonies we want for putting out into the honey pasture when next spring rolls around. The enlightening detail for me was when I realized, this is what the bees do when left to their own devices.
    To manage those bees we sometimes need to think like a bee

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    No, because I don't take nucs from my honey production hives. I manage them for honey. Rather, I have nucs I use as brood factories. I've also used non-producers, colonies that, obviously, won't make much of a crop. All this so I can make my nucs on the flow, get lots of foundation drawn, and make a full crop with my products hives.
    Im really going to try and make this work next year. As a small time hobbyist i have a certain number of honey hives i want and on a MUCH smaller scale im going to try and pull off MP's method at my place. I have a bunch of nucs going into winter so hopefully i can have a good crack at making brood factories in 2018.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    So by making your nucs in the middle of your flow, do you notice a decrease in your honey yields?
    Personally, I do.

    I found this SARE project the other day:
    https://projects.sare.org/sare_project/fnc08-701/.
    It compared honey production and increase (nuc production) between three management techniques: 1) traditional spring divides, 2) Walt's Nectar Management, and 3) making splits during the peak honey flow.

    To sum up: Group 1 (traditional divides) yielded 28 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 100%. Group 2 yielded 78 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 400%. Group 3 yielded 22 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 400%.
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    One of your stellar quotes we use all the time. It aint the box that matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    So my question is, were the different equipment types made up one type at a time, or in even numbers over the makeup period. I've wintered nucs in all the same equipment but poly. Never saw much of a difference as long as they weren't compromised by varroa, swarming/absconding, queen issues, or disease.
    karla

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    Healthy and thriving feral bees will throw a swarm, and an afterswarm on average every year. If the population is remaining stable over time, that means 2/3 of the colonies will every winter on average.
    This really got me to thinking, a lot of the talk about managing bees suggests we need to look carefully at bee biology and what they will do if left to fend for themselves. To deal with winter survival, what it turns out they do, is they 'start nucs' via swarms. This is the bees natural method for dealing with winter mortality.
    The enlightening detail for me was when I realized, this is what the bees do when left to their own devices.
    Seeley has also found out.
    Bees would never build perennial production colonies. It would drastically reduce their chance of survival.
    That is why the double-lane economic beekeeping works, production hives beside multiplication nucs.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
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  13. #32
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    One of your stellar quotes we use all the time. It aint the box that matters.
    Yep, it's what's inside that counts.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    >To sum up: Group 1 (traditional divides) yielded 28 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 100%. Group 2 yielded 78 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 400%. Group 3 yielded 22 lbs honey per colony, and increase of 400%.

    Too bad they didn't also compare Michael Palmer's method of only splitting the hives that weren't going to make a crop anyway and leaving the hives that looked like they would make a crop. Splitting a productive hive during a flow probably isn't the most efficient way. Better to manage a productive hive to prevent swarming and maximize production. Splitting up unproductive hives and requeening those cost you nothing in honey production. We can often make a huge difference in the outcome by our choices based on the details of what is happening in each colony.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    jw, many thanks for providing the sare project link. i had not seen that before.

    it appears that the project was accomplished by our forum member 'grant'.

    it's interesting that he attributes the better outcome of group b (2) to swarm prevention via walt wright's checkerboarding followed by aggressive splitting after the bulk of the honey was already produced during the main nectar flow.

    it appears that grant was managing off treatments during the course of the project. i wonder if he still is?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it appears that grant was managing off treatments during the course of the project. i wonder if he still is?
    i found my answer in an older post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    I have some treatment-free hives. Some of them live, some die. I treat most of my hives with soft or natural approaches. Some live, some die.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    To manage those bees we sometimes need to think like a bee
    I want to take you to task on this comment Ian, because it shows something that I think is to much of a trend these days. Bees do not think, they dont have enough brainpower to make conscious decisions. Bees react to stimulus in a way that's genetically programmed into them. I think a lot of the chatter about 'the bees know better' and 'let the bees figure it out' styles of beekeeping revolves around a flawed concept where folks are projecting human qualities, ie the ability to think, onto a box of insects.

    Use your winter shed as the extreme example, beekeeper is controlling the stimulus for the bees. You put them inside, then keep the temperature low enough they will be clustered for warmth. The other very important detail, you keep the shed DARK. How would your wintering success change if you just changed that one stimulus for the bees, and turned on the lights ?

    Over the winter, you keep them locked up, with a target temperature of 5C. The temperature is more about reducing stores consumption than it is about 'keep em warm'. They would survive fine at -10, but, likely consume twice as much stores warming the cluster thru the winter. So you have control of two important stimulus, keep them cold enough to stay clustered, and keep them in the dark so they aren't wandering out. When spring rolls around and you cant keep the temperatures down anymore, you move them out, at night. Why at night, it removes the light stimulation, then they get set out in a field. Come morning, the bees now start breaking cluster because it's warmed up, and they see light, which triggers the next reaction. Warm and light, out they come. In Kelowna, you called this the proverbial s*** storm, and it is just that, literally. A thousand plus beehives that have been cooped up for 4 or 5 months suddenly have a chance to get out for a relief flight, and the bees do exactly what is programmed into genetics as the correct reaction when those conditions arrive. The genetic code in the honeybee has a pre-programmed reaction for the condition 'Bladder full + not in cluster + light out', and that reaction is 'fly out, empty bladder'. And the result is pretty dramatic when 20 to 30 million bees hit that trigger set of conditions all at the same time, in the same field.

    My point is, BEES DO NOT THINK. Thinking would involve conscious decisions that plan ahead and create conditions they want. BEES REACT to the conditions they are experiencing. There is a huge difference. This puts the onus on the beekeeper to do the thinking and planning, then create the conditions required to get the bees to react the way we want them to react. The simplest example of this, when those bees come out of the shed, one reaction you are looking for, start making brood, lots of brood, but they couldn't do that without an intervention. The bees wont start making brood until they have the correct food supplies coming in, which you place out for them. They react to the incoming food supply by starting to brood up. Again, in your case, this happens prematurely to the natural progression because you place that food out a month before it would come available from natural sources, your plan is, get that first round of brood in early. But the bees aren't planning this, or thinking it thru, they are just reacting to the availability of a food supply when the brood nest has no brood in it.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    To manage those bees sometimes we need to know how to exploit their natural habits
    I like “ thinking like bees” it has a better ring to it

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    >My point is, BEES DO NOT THINK. Thinking would involve conscious decisions that plan ahead and create conditions they want. BEES REACT to the conditions they are experiencing.

    And yet different colonies under the same conditions "react" differently.

    "Whether beasts think or not, it is positive that they conduct themselves in thousands of occasions as if they did think; the illusion in this matter, if it be an illusion, was well arranged for us. But without intending to touch upon this great question, and whatever be the cause let us for a moment surrender ourselves to appearances and use every day language."--Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, 18th century naturalist
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    it's interesting that he attributes the better outcome of group b (2) to swarm prevention via walt wright's checkerboarding followed by aggressive splitting after the bulk of the honey was already produced during the main nectar flow.
    i can see how this would allow for maximum productivity.

    the gains would be offset to some degree here however by virtue of having to feed the splits through the summer dearth, as well as the fact that from the buyer's perspective purchasing nucs that late vs. earlier in the season is much less desirable. that, plus working hives in the oppressive heat and humidity we have during those months is absolutely no fun whatsoever.

    i'll stick with making nucs and rearing queens while the flow is strong by splitting up the hives identified as 'nonproductive' (along with splitting any caught swarms) as mp advocates.

    doing so then leaves me free to focus on honey harvesting and sales for the remainder of the season.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Study of Nuc winter survival rates by equipment type

    The one picture of the apiary in the original document doesn't show all the hives listed in the study. However, if it is representative, the fact that the best hive type may be related to the cover they were under. For wintering, I would think that covering will make a difference in hive temperatures; maybe not the average, but the swings.


    The hive location within an apiary seems to have as much effect as the geographic location of said apiary. For example, given similar genetics and management on my few hives, I'm consistently moving resources from hives that get more sun to the ones that are more shaded. In addition to standardizing equipment, my goal this winter is to get them all moved out of the shade.


    I agree that the box doesn't matter with the caveat that some styles may require different management to achieve similar results.

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