Typical brood pattern for VSH queen? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    I was into some hives today. This frame is from one of Broke-T's 2015 queens.
    Granted....they were treated for varroa.
    That's one awesome looking brood frame. I'm going to show this to my queen and have a little discussion about her work ethic.

    OP here; regarding mites, I did another sugar shake this weekend and counted exactly 0.0 mites in my half cup of bees.

    The colony seems to be growing, but slowly.

    Now that I have enough bees to support the loss, next weekend I'm going to do another sugar shake, followed by an alcohol wash of the same bees. This should tell me if my sugar shake technique is horribly incorrect.

    Assuming it isn't, I'm pretty sure I don't have a significant infestation of adult mites.

    So that leaves poor beekeeping as the problem.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post

    Now that I have enough bees to support the loss, next weekend I'm going to do another sugar shake, followed by an alcohol wash of the same bees. This should tell me if my sugar shake technique is horribly incorrect.

    Assuming it isn't, I'm pretty sure I don't have a significant infestation of adult mites.
    I don't believe that you need to do an alcohol wash to confirm your sugar shake (unless you're totally messing it up). See:https://www.mannlakeltd.com/publications/PSsampling.pdf A slight tweak to this reference is to to leave the bees sit for about 3 minutes after the first shake and prior to dumping out the sugar. Sure, if you're trying to get a better more repeatable number then yes, alcohol wash, but (I believe) what you're seeking is a ballpark number.

    I'll ask again, please uncap some worker brood and pull out the (white) pupae to examine them for mites. Pick out 20 or so, targeting pink-eyed brood (See slide 3 from the above reference)
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    I will only say this, I tried 3 queens from Broke T in 2014, received first week of May I believe, and I'm the one who told the OP they were fairly lackluster and their experience is pretty much what I saw in all 3 queens. Perhaps it's their Carni background or our area, but they were very slow in building up, even with a spring Apivar treatment which helped somewhat but they just never seemed to hit that explosive growth rate, and 2015 spring started in January which was record high temps here and I had 6-7 framers in December filling 3 deeps and a medium of bees by mid March, where these queens over wintered with 3-5 frames of bees and were maybe 4-5 frames come March. They always looked good though, nice bees, good looking queens, good brood patterns, but just never took off. I know a lot of people have good luck with Johnny's queens, I was hoping the same, but it just didn't work out, think there's one left out of the original 3 now, and a split I made didn't make it either. They got Apivar in fall as well. I may try some more in the future, Johnny was great to order from and I support a lot of the Beesource members as much as I can as far as ordering queens and products, will probably just have to manage them differently or put them in a little more productive area and see how they do there.

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I don't believe that you need to do an alcohol wash to confirm your sugar shake (unless you're totally messing it up).
    That's what I'm trying to find out

    I'll ask again, please uncap some worker brood and pull out the (white) pupae to examine them for mites. Pick out 20 or so, targeting pink-eyed brood (See slide 3 from the above reference)
    Yes, I'll do that, too. I feel really bad about killing babies, but I have to keep telling myself "it's for the good of the hive."

    There's no drone brood yet; otherwise I'd feel less bad about doing them in.

    How do I tell how old the brood are when looking at capped brood?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post



    I feel really bad about killing babies, but I have to keep telling myself "it's for the good of the hive."
    Yes, but with the alcohol wash you're planning to kill 300 bees, which is probably 5% of your total population. Besides, the alcohol wash sample bees are taken from the brood chamber, which are the most valuable during build-up. From the looks of your colony, you need every bee to contribute. I save shakes/washes until late summer when populations are large and you can expect a good number of phoretic mites.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    On the topic of varying brood patterns for VSH queens.... degree of expression AND number of mites present tend to cause rather dramatic differences in how much brood is "shot".

    Combining VSH trait with IPM techniques is likely to give you a sustainable apiary, if you keep on top of things. As soon as mite evidence appears, do at least a minimal treatment or 2 for the mites. Add a drone frame, powder sugar treat them.

    If the mites get up to unacceptable levels (mite drop > 5), use a semi-harsh treatment. On August 15th, bomb them with something wicked. DON'T let those varroa get a good foothold.

    The goal is to never let the pattern get as bad as the appearance of the original photo.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    I put together this thread https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...om-my-VSH-bees partially to help you see what good VSH bees should look like. Hope this helps.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I put together this thread https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...om-my-VSH-bees partially to help you see what good VSH bees should look like. Hope this helps.
    Thanks!

    I registered my hive with Los Angeles County last week, so today the Ag inspector paid me a visit. I didn't wear my camera, so I can't show you, but things do seem to be improving slightly. I had a few frames that were fuller with capped brood, and certainly fuller than any of the frames in the videos I've posted so far. They still had some holes, but the pattern was more solid.

    I can't find my uncapping fork, so I didn't skewer any larvae, but I think I know where I put it, so I can do that next time I go in, which will probably be next weekend.

    But the Ag inspector didn't see any signs of SHB or moth infestation, and based on my sugar shake counts and the descriptions, he doesn't think I have a serious mite problem or excessive hygienic behavior.

    So we're back to just having a slow queen. Maybe.

    I'm hoping to catch a swarm soon, and I have two packages from two different No. Cal. breeders showing up in April, so then I'll have 3-4 colonies to compare.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  10. #49

    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    based on my sugar shake counts and the descriptions, he doesn't think I have a serious mite problem or excessive hygienic behavior.
    Heck...it sounds to me like he could've conducted the inspection over the phone..
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Heck...it sounds to me like he could've conducted the inspection over the phone..
    Well he did inspect all my frames to look for moth and SHB infestation, and he looked in front of my hive to look for discarded brood, and he looked at my bees for DWV. I described my sugar shake to him, and he didn't find any fault with it. So it was more than just taking my word for it.

    But I do wish I'd found my fork before the inspection.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Waterbug -

    It does look like a pretty good year is shaping up here in SoCal. You might want to newspaper combine a package over them ASAP, just to take full advantage of a good year. We just came through 4 very dry years. JUMP on it!

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Waterbug -

    It does look like a pretty good year is shaping up here in SoCal. You might want to newspaper combine a package over them ASAP, just to take full advantage of a good year. We just came through 4 very dry years. JUMP on it!
    I have a package arriving in Newhall on April 17th and then another arriving in Santa Monica on April 30th.

    I'll consider combining this colony with one of the others, but I might also just keep it separate, as a sort of science project. I deliberately ordered those two forthcoming packages from different breeders so that I'd have some genetic diversity in my apiary (does 3 colonies qualify as an apiary?).

    If I am successful in catching a swarm I might combine that with my existing hive instead.

    So many decisions to make!
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    I'm just hoping it does not dry out by then...I'd be running around buying bees to add, maybe pop in a queen laying a better pattern and be done with it. We don't get very many years this good around here. I'd hate to miss the peak of the Spring.

    If there are any more late rains, we may get sage, buckwheat, sumacs, and rabbit brush. You'll still get increase off that if it happens. I would want the bees poised to take full advantage of it. Orrange is busting out right now, and many avocado - I'd want mine at 2 deeps with 2 honey boxes on them .... NOW.

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I'm just hoping it does not dry out by then...I'd be running around buying bees to add, maybe pop in a queen laying a better pattern and be done with it. We don't get very many years this good around here. I'd hate to miss the peak of the Spring.

    If there are any more late rains, we may get sage, buckwheat, sumacs, and rabbit brush. You'll still get increase off that if it happens. I would want the bees poised to take full advantage of it. Orrange is busting out right now, and many avocado - I'd want mine at 2 deeps with 2 honey boxes on them .... NOW.
    Where can one buy a package in Los Angeles these days? I'm not well plugged in to the beekeeping community here, so I bought from the only people I know (Bill's Bees in Tujunga), and later found Beekeeper Mike online. The 17th and 30th are the earliest/only pickup dates they offer.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Any updates? Here's where I'm at... lost 2 of 3 original queens from my 2014 order from Johnnny and one daughter. One of the original queens is now going gangbusters in her third laying year.

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Yes and no. I last inspected my original colony a week ago, and it was still stuck in neutral. There are eggs, larvae, and capped brood, but not a lot.

    But in the interim I also trapped a swarm and caught a swarm, so I now have 3 colonies to compare and contrast. I briefly considered combining one of them with my colony, but I didn't have time before leaving on my 10-day trip, and there's still the science experiment to consider.

    I'll do a 3-hive inspection after I get back on the 10th. If I can do it during the week I should see lots of capped brood. If it has to wait until that weekend it'll have been 20 and 23 days, respectively, since hiving these two swarms into boxes with at least one drawn deep frame, so I might have emerging bees by that time.

    I'll also bee picking up the first of my two purchased packages that Sunday, so I'll have lots of bee genetics to compare.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Any updates? Here's where I'm at... lost 2 of 3 original queens from my 2014 order from Johnnny and one daughter. One of the original queens is now going gangbusters in her third laying year.
    I inspected today, and they're still in neutral. Not dying, but not thriving, either:



    But I trapped a feral swarm on March 24, and 19 days later it's booming. By this weekend that trapped swarm should be much larger than this 2 year old colony. Maybe I just have a poorly mated queen.

    I'm due to pick up a package from Bill's Bees on April 29th. If this colony hasn't done any better by then I might consider getting a new queen from Bill. His queens are also VSH.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    This colony is improving, but progress is VERY slow. I agree that requeening is probably in order.

    Here are a few observations I had during your video.

    1) Drone comb: There is a lots of drone comb available, which I find counterproductive for such a small struggling colony. They are forced to spread out their broodnest to avoid drone comb. They realize that they are not fit enough to need drones yet, and therefore it becomes more of an obstacle in their early development. Also, lots of wonky comb in this hive too. You might be well served to cut some out and try again using a big swarm.

    2) Real Estate: This colony has too much real estate for the population. Colonies often do better when the available space in consistent with their population. However, they are too spread out now to really fix this issue. Keep this in mind in the future. If you were in the south, SHB would make you pay for this excess.

    3) Smoking Technique: I realize that you're very familiar with this small colony, but once you've got a monster colony (any big colony) you're going to need a slight tweak to your smoking technique. In your video, you popped the top and then used smoke at the top. Proper technique is smoke at the entrance, wait a minute, then gently pop the top with smoke applied. In addition, you're probably using too much smoke during inspection and closing.

    Just trying to provide some guidance to help you down the road.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    This colony is improving, but progress is VERY slow. I agree that requeening is probably in order.

    Here are a few observations I had during your video.

    1) Drone comb: There is a lots of drone comb available, which I find counterproductive for such a small struggling colony. They are forced to spread out their broodnest to avoid drone comb. They realize that they are not fit enough to need drones yet, and therefore it becomes more of an obstacle in their early development. Also, lots of wonky comb in this hive too. You might be well served to cut some out and try again using a big swarm.

    2) Real Estate: This colony has too much real estate for the population. Colonies often do better when the available space in consistent with their population. However, they are too spread out now to really fix this issue. Keep this in mind in the future. If you were in the south, SHB would make you pay for this excess.

    3) Smoking Technique: I realize that you're very familiar with this small colony, but once you've got a monster colony (any big colony) you're going to need a slight tweak to your smoking technique. In your video, you popped the top and then used smoke at the top. Proper technique is smoke at the entrance, wait a minute, then gently pop the top with smoke applied. In addition, you're probably using too much smoke during inspection and closing.

    Just trying to provide some guidance to help you down the road.
    Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate the time everyone's put into diagnosing my little colony.

    Regarding 1 and 2, yeah, I'm not sure what I can do about it at this point. The brood nest is spread between the bottom deep and the upper medium, so I can't squeeze them into one box. The wonky comb is from the original cutout, 2 years ago. If/when I get this colony going again I might cut out some of the worst of it and see if they'll build some straight comb instead.

    Yes, I did put a puff in the entrance about 2 minutes before I opened the lid. I usually do that, and use the minute to zip my suit and put on my gloves. But today I was having trouble with the neck zipper because it got tangled in my GoPro strap, and I didn't think everyone wanted to watch/listen to 2 minutes of me swearing at my suit, so I edited that part out .

    I could go lighter on the smoke, though; I'll try that next time I go in.

    In related news, I stopped by Pierce Beekeeping today to buy some woodenware, and the guy there listened to my tale of woe and suggested that this might be EFB. I hadn't looked too closely at my larvae to see if they have the classic symptoms, but the scattershot brood pattern and the new-larvae-right-next-to-capped-brood pattern is consistent, no?

    He sold me some terramycin for $13 and suggested I treat immediately.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Typical brood pattern for VSH queen?

    Just look at the larva, if they're nice bright white, it's not efb, but if you see some yellow larva or yellow royal jelly in cells, that's a dead give away. What you're showing is exactly how my queens from Broke-T looked, except the only surviving one is doing pretty well this year for some reason, and yes, she's marked so I know it's still the same queen.

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