Preparing for spring & package bee regression
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 40
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Marengo, IL
    Posts
    15

    Default Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Well now that my first year of beekeeping is behind me, I have come to the conclusion that small cell and treatment free is where I want to go. I will be buying a couple of new packages of bees this spring. I will put them in medium boxes along with pf120 frames after I shave the frame spacers to 1 1/4". From what I have read here and Mr Bushes website the pf120s is fastest way to regress them.

    I would like to eventually go foundationless in the brood boxes but it seems that getting them regressed first on the plastic pf120s is quicker and then introduce some foundationless wood frames a few at a time until the changeover is complete. This will also free up the pf120s that will have drawn comb to use in the next package, nucs or swarm traps.

    A few questions I have is at what point do I give them drone comb or a foundationless frame to draw drone comb. Also will this work with 11 frames in the brood box.

    When it comes time to put on a honey super I will use standard 5.4 foundation in wood frames just cause I have some. Are you folks running 10 frames or 9 with a little more space in the supers ?

    I have enjoyed reading and learning about everyones experiences in this forum.

    TB

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    >I have come to the conclusion that small cell and treatment free is where I want to go.

    Then you don't want a package! Packaged bees are inferior and will not survive without treatment. You might also be contaminating your area with inferior genes, disease and mites, making it imposable for feral bees to survive in your area.

    PF100 is the fastest and easiest way to regress your bees. Once regressed you can use foundationless frame. There is no proof that small cell helps with mites and there might be studies that show it makes no difference. I prefer it (it's easy, cheaper, they draw it quicker) and I they make a lot of drones and a little less honey and spread their superior genes then it's a win win.

    >drone comb or a foundationless frame to draw drone comb.

    I would wait until you have 10 frames of drawn comb, if you give them foundationless they will make drone comb when ready. When they get to size and start to think about swarming.

    >Also will this work with 11 frames in the brood box.

    Yes, you will need to trim the frames down, I was thinking about it the big thing that turned me off is there will be no room in your box to pry the frames apart when the bees glue them down, and if you do foundationless you may need the extra room at times.

    >When it comes time to put on a honey super I will use standard 5.4 foundation in wood frames just cause I have some. Are you folks running 10 frames or 9 with a little more space in the supers ?

    I would use small cell, drone or foundationless. Also using all the same frames works too. The queen could go up there and lay so you don't want 5.4, you might un-regress them back to large cell. 9 frames in a ten frame box has many benefits. Most start with 10 then when drawn or the next super checkerboard them to 9 per box. Otherwise 9 undrawn frames will have too much bees space and could cross comb it up.

    As for your bees;
    Do Not buy a package! If watch this site in the spring you will see all the problems with packaged bees. Then summer to fall you will read all the disease with the packaged bees, EFB is a big one. Then as fall approaches all these package start failing cause of mites. Year after year it's the same thing.

    Find someone in your area that is selling local treatment free "TF" bees. If you can't then find someone in your area selling bees and find out how they treat. you should also read from the TF forum on this site.

    Probably the best way to start TF is set swarm traps or swarm calls. I trap 20-30 hives a year and get calls for 10-15 more (put your name on swarm call lists). Its free and most >90% of what I catch are feral survivors that don't need treatment, and are already "natural" cell size (this is how I know they are wild).

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Marengo, IL
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Flower Planter,

    Sorry to get back to you so late but thanks for your input.

    As far as using the 5.4 wax foundation for my honey supers, my intent was to use a queen excluder to hold her down. But after thinking about it is probably better to keep 4.9 as the standard. I will move along what I have left of my 5.4

    When it comes to package bees I don't have to many options . I have contacted a few guys locally that sell TF nucs but they want 2 to 3 times what a package costs. Too pricey for me. There is a fella in my bee club that likes to buy packages and then requeens them with a queen he likes. That may be an option.

    I will try my hand at swarm catching but most people around me don't get very many at all. I have put my name on the bee removal list in my club. We will see how that goes.

    Its all new to me but I am having fun.

    TB
    Last edited by True Beeliever; 01-17-2016 at 04:36 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,749

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Why don't you keep a colony or two on the 5.4 foundation so that you can compare their progress with the 4.9? What you do to one, do to the other, and compare the results. The more colonies you have the more resources you have to work with.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Marengo, IL
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    >Why don't you keep a colony or two on the 5.4 foundation so that you can compare their progress with the 4.9? What you do to one, do to the other, and compare the results. The more colonies you have the more resources you have to work with.

    I had something like that in mind. I have one colony left of two from last year. They currently reside in 3 deep boxes. I realized that I don't especially like the deeps so I decided to go all mediums this year as I can always cut down the deeps. I was thinking of making a horizontal hive so I wouldn't have to move the deeps around. If I leave them on the 5.4 deep frames then I won't regress them and we will see how they do. I could then use the 20 medium 5.4 frames in medium supers on top of that.

    TB

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,749

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    If you don't like handling deeps use 2 mediums above one deep. Always leave the deep on the bottom of the stack and all you lift is mediums. Queens go down in mediums when they often won't in an upper deep.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Marengo, IL
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Yes that is a possibility. But since I haven't gotten very far into this I thought now would be the best time to convert to all mediums on the stack hives. We will see spring is still a ways off.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    I second the thumbs down on the packages. I would get at least one tf nuc to get some of that potential tf hive ecology going as well. Its not just about bees. I wish I had a source with some history of tf from this area.

    I had some success the first year by bringing in some queens with some resistance to replace my hawaiian queen. After some mucking around I went into my first winter with 8 nucs, 6 that survived. The hawaiian queen and her daughter did not survive.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Maybe you can educate me on why a package is inferior to a nuc? They get the bees from a hive and a nuc is a smaller version of a hive. Based on my very limited experience I guess I would assume the same relative genetics and survival potential. Is my assumption incorrect?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    I have a co-worker who wanted to get into bees. A few years ago I sold him a package of bees from a load I trucked to New England from down south. He had some used equipment that was given to him and against my advise he used it. I went over how to do the install and he did it on his own. A couple of weeks later he calls and says he cant find the queen or eggs in the hive. So I go out and pull the cage to find the queen still inside. He poked a hole in the cork instead of the candy. No big deal, I just directly released her expecting that the package would fail because she was caged too long. I told him as much and he said he understood and would try again the next season.... the summer progressed and the package expanded into 2 deep boxes. Fall came around and I went over mite treatment and helped him get the hive ready for winter. We had a really bad winter and the hive was buried under snow most of the winter. Come spring though the bees were out flying. June rolled around and he had given them a couple of supers which they filled. He calls one day and says that the hive swarmed. I told him to catch the swarm and put it in a second hive which he had on hand.... He tried but wasn't successful at getting the swarm hived... several days later he states he has another swarm. I went over swarm control.. a few weeks later another one, and by the end of July it had swarmed 5 times. I told him not to expect too much honey because they spent all their resources swarming. Fall rolls around and he brings me in a quart of honey. I asked how much they made and he said 5 gallons...

    That hive is still going strong to this day... I have told him to order replacement bees because there is no way they will make it into a 4th season..... I hope that southern package proves me wrong again....

    There is an old saying that goes: The honey bee breaks the laws of avionics. It shouldn't be able to fly because it's wings are too small and its body too fat, but she flies anyway... she doesn't care what humans think.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 01-19-2016 at 07:25 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Quote Originally Posted by clint_napton View Post
    Maybe you can educate me on why a package is inferior to a nuc? They get the bees from a hive and a nuc is a smaller version of a hive. Based on my very limited experience I guess I would assume the same relative genetics and survival potential. Is my assumption incorrect?
    My take on it is genetics and hive ecology. If you get a local tf overwintered nuc you get bees that have a history of surviving varroa and your winter. You want those bee genetics. You will also get some mites along for the ride. Those mites didn't kill the nuc and hopefully the queenline it came from. You want those mite genetics. There are viruses that are associated with varroa. Those also didn't kill the nuc, so you want those viral genetics. There are symbionts and hangers on both on the bees and in the comb. They may or may not have a role in hive survival. You want those as well. As the tf nuc wasn't treated, the types of hangers on are likely to be different compare to where a hive was treated. So instead of building the winning formula from untested genetics from scratch, and likely failure, you much more likely to get a head start in the tf game. If you get a package, you may get lucky, but those bees are not selected for survival in your situation.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Package bees are inferior to nucs because of a neural synoptic defect in the brains of some beekeepers.

    I have studied this defect greatly in various parts of the country and it is more predominantly found among hobbyist beekeepers with excess disposable income in areas where there are bee sellers who are willing to help those beekeepers part with that disposable income.

    I have seen plenty of Nucs with all sort of descriptors attached to them that were far inferior to many a good package of bees, I have seen the same with packaged bees.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,998

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    I have to moderately disagree with you on the package bees Bluegrass. In the deep south, we can easily start with packages, but the timing is wrong so the package hits the main flow at the time most of the bees from the package are dying and the young newly hatched bees are too young to forage. The package means giving up on making a crop of honey in the year the package is purchased. By comparison, a nuc will usually make a surplus because it starts with enough brood to have foragers at the right time. Further north and this would not be a concern since packages usually have about 2 months to build up before the main flow.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,037

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Good story Bluegrass. A good illustration of where dumb luck is a factor in beekeeping.

    Your customer was definitely a schmuck who reasonably should have failed. But thanks to your bees, the little bit of advice he actually did listen too, and majorly some luck, he has been successful.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,106

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Package bees are inferior to nucs because of a neural synoptic defect in the brains of some beekeepers.

    I have studied this defect greatly in various parts of the country and it is more predominantly found among hobbyist beekeepers with excess disposable income in areas where there are bee sellers who are willing to help those beekeepers part with that disposable income.
    Are you back to selling packages again Bluegrass.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Are you back to selling packages again Bluegrass.
    No... Still done selling packages. I am just a realist. Not every producer of nucs does a good job just like not every producer of packages does a good job. Now days with places around here selling packages at 130.00 a pop, I would personally go for a nuc if it can be had for 145.00, but I am seeing a lot of nucs around listed in the 160s and 170s, in that case I would go for the package.

    If a new beek really wants to get their feet wet they should source both and do their own comparison.

    They both have their uses, my bias towards packages is two fold. 1st you know exactly what you are getting. I like to buy bees from various sources to see what people are doing... I bought some 5 frame nucs a few years ago out of PA and when I picked them up found that they were 4 frames with an empty foundation frame. Most of the drawn frames were all busted up and at the end of their life cycle. I went through what the producer had available and took the best 10 I could find, but it was some pretty thin pickings. 2nd there are more cases of really lousy nucs out there like the one I outlined above than there are reputable producers.

    I don't like the quasi-genetic arguments for local nucs... Brother Adam took 70 years of selective breeding to get to the buckfasts that he wanted. He wrote that for every trait he selected for it took 10 years of breeding to fix that trait. And that is with bees and god being the only thing on his mind... for the rest of us it would take much longer.
    Nobody in the Nuc production business has been at it long enough to make a claim of superior genetics. An experienced beekeeper can buy package bees from New Zealand, hive them in Maine and have a reasonable amount of success with them.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 01-21-2016 at 07:11 AM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    The package means giving up on making a crop of honey in the year the package is purchased.
    For a first year beekeeper that might not be a bad thing... they can focus on keeping the bees.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Things are never as simple as package vs nuc. There are so many aspects to any decision. Nucs come on a particular size frame (typically deep) and in a particular cell size (typically 5.4mm). Those are disadvantages when you want them in a top bar hive, a Warre' hive or a medium depth Langstroth hive or you want small cell. Otherwise you are trying to work out how to get them onto a different sized frame and cell size and how to get the sizes you don't want back out. More trouble than most people want.

    A local overwintered nuc on the frame size and cell size you want is the ideal. We seldom get the ideal. If you can't get a nuc on the frame size and cell size you want, a package may be a better bet, but it will probably do better if you requeen with a local queen (if you can).

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...14574515000930
    http://umaine.edu/agriculture/progra...ybee-colonies/
    http://mysare.sare.org/mySARE/Projec...694&y=2010&t=0
    http://pwrbeekeepers.com/sare/sare-f...eport-2011.pdf
    http://www.southernsare.org/News-and...eybee-Colonies
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,998

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    For a first year beekeeper that might not be a bad thing... they can focus on keeping the bees.
    Getting a newbee's interest is one thing, getting them to fork out cash to get started as a beekeeper is a second, getting them to stay with it usually involves getting a reward. Honey is a reward. If they get some the first year, they are happy and come back again the next year. You might think getting a crop the first year is unimportant, but the beginners I've spoken to think otherwise.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,977

    Default Re: Preparing for spring & package bee regression

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Getting a newbee's interest is one thing, getting them to fork out cash to get started as a beekeeper is a second, getting them to stay with it usually involves getting a reward. Honey is a reward. If they get some the first year, they are happy and come back again the next year. You might think getting a crop the first year is unimportant, but the beginners I've spoken to think otherwise.
    Which may explain the high rates of failure among new beekeepers... Do new fishermen catch huge fish their first time out? Rookie race car drivers win the race the first time on the track? Mountaineers conquer every mountain they attempt on the first try? Did Evel Knievel set world records without breaking bones?

    Patience Grasshopper.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

Page 1 of 2 12 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
  •