Colony Update here in MA - Page 25
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  1. #481
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Derry, New Hampshire
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    2,295

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I put two yards to bed for the winter. I have been boiling down leftover 2-1 so I can pour them into empty frames. I already had about 100 pounds of sugar blocks at those yards but still had my top feeders on hoping and praying. Out of 8 hives with them on none were taking anything despite the 50's that we have had. So I moved to plan B for winter feed.
    My plan B is candy frames, follower boards (3/4 Advantech glued to 2" insulation) as recommended by enjambres. I really didn't want to put the hives in nucs so in bottom boxes that had empty frames I took those out and put in follower boards. in the 2nd deep box if there were empty frames I either repeated the followers or put in all candy frames. Then I topped them off with sugar patties and quilt boxes.
    Funny newbee said he saw some pollen as I did to on one bee. I also saw some frames that I swear had nectar in them but not capped. looked like the bees were drawing comb and processing the nectar. I dyed my 2-1 and this had no color. Very very strange.
    I had some anxiety going to the yards afraid I would also have some absconding or dead outs. I have two nucs that I also winter prepped but not even checking on those. I had started ten nucs with queens this year and ended up with only 3 double deep hives and 2 nucs left from it. all others absconded and one swarmed. For the amount of work and money I put into all of my hives this year I really wanted to come out with 20 or more hives. i'll really be surprised if I have 4 at the end of this winter.....which was where I was last year.
    Terrence

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  3. #482
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
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    2,425

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    when was the last time you inspected them?
    when do you suppose this happened?
    From the notes on this thread (thankfully) it was September 17th when I went through my hives, thinking I would reduce all their sizes to 4 mediums and spread the extra honey frames around or even extract. But got the shocker that they had little to no honey stored. I had seen the bees all over the goldenrod and asters, so it was surprising. And I had let everything grow on my property so that there were lots of goldenrod and asters for them. But then I learned that nectar is something like 75% water, so apparently the blooms were not putting forth nectar, but were supplying pollen to the hives.

    So then I started feeding all the hives and went through about 5 or 6 feedings, and then stopped because the weather got too cold for them to process the syrup. I made a bunch of sugar bricks and then today I had the chance to put those bricks in the hives. Today it was fairly pleasant, and before I opened any hives I looked at the entrances. The two hives that had absconded did not have any bees flying at the entrances, while the others did. At that point I figured something had gone wrong with those two hives. But I really never expected to find they had absconded with not even dead bees left behind (on one anyway).

    Something made them desperate to take the risk to leave even as winter was approaching. I'm thinking they knew their food stores were inadequate and blamed their locale (and this would have been about the time that the winter bees hatched). Wherever they went, they took whatever they stored from my feedings. I'm pretty sure colonies that abscond in late October (which is probably when it was) will not make it thru the winter. But, maybe they lucked out in a warm attic somewhere.

  4. #483
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
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    2,425

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Just a note, I found this regarding autumn absconding:

    http://honeybeesuite.com/why-do-hone...d-in-the-fall/

    "By the time a beekeeper discovers an empty hive there is usually nothing left but wax comb. Comb left clean and neat usually indicates the bees left due to a nectar dearth and impending starvation."

    That's me. My poor bees probably were distressed before September 17th when I noticed they had no honey, and even tho I started feeding, it was probably too late, the absconding process had already started.

    "Much like swarming, absconding is a process. Preparations are made well in advance of “moving day.” Usually the queen ceases to lay eggs and slims down in preparation for flying, foraging stops, scouts begin searching for a new home, and honey stores are used up."

    Poor things. And poor me.

  5. #484
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Daytime highs 48-60F with the nighttime lows 35-44F. Still no hard frost near the shore. Month rain (November) is unchanged at 0.16" and YTD is 21.74

    Pulled the wets that I had put on the lightest hives last week, sprayed the frames with BTa and set out to dry.... Still seeing some signs of robbers checking out hives in Needham so am still holding off on the winter shims until the weather turns colder.... Probably in a couple of weeks.... My concern is that the winter shims all have an upper entrance so with the chance of robbing on warmer days don't really want to give them another entrance they might have to defend... My son bought a branding iron and did a nice job of branding "Seaside Apiaries" on all the stored frames... Had several supers pulled from the dead hives that we were thinking about extracting but decided to redistribute to several of the lighter hives.... Right now they need it more than I do....
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

  6. #485
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    2,949

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Potatoes and grass have resprounted and are growing like it is spring. Late planted carrots, rutabagas and beets also are growing like crazy.
    I don't like it. Bees (Carniolan Hybrids) luckily are probably broodless or close to it by now. With no brood to feed they are content to remain inactive for the most part. But if temps don't start cooling off, that won't last for long.

    PB110814.jpg

    PB010616.jpg

    PB140882.jpg

    If they start looking for protein in December, I'll know they are actively rearing brood again. Like the winter of 2014-2015 here.
    This is dry Bee Pro on Christmas day 2014. Early- Mid February is usually when this occurs.

    P1250081.jpg

    P1250083.jpg

    Of course when brood rearing starts for bees, brood rearing also starts for mites. I like my usual cool winter and extended broodless period.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-14-2016 at 02:44 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  7. #486
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Norfolk County, MA, USA
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    You'll love that dehydrator.
    I actually dry apples, fruit, vegies, etc along with the sugar blocks if I have extra room, and have found no transfer of flavor.

    Here's an experimental batch of lightly cooked apple sauce with nuts and seeds (Lightly sweetened with honey of course) I dried on a single shelf with all the other shelf full of sugar blocks. The dehydrator does use some electricity, so I like to have it full when in use.

    Attachment 28906

    Attachment 28907

    Attachment 28903


    I can get 8-10 of these pans in one large dehydrator and do up 100#+ of sugar. (each pan holds 12.5# of sugar) That makes a lot of blocks fast. Ready in 2 days @ 130 degrees -4 days after letting them sit a day or two to 'finish' so they lift out hard and are easy to handle without being crumbly.

    Attachment 28904

    Attachment 28905
    Thanks Lauri I was curious about the transfer of smells so you have answered what I was thinking.
    Think about it....Buy American

  8. #487
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Daytime highs 50-67F with the nighttime lows 32-49F. Last night was the first below freezing and we had a dusting of snow this morning. Month rain (November) is 1.00" and YTD is 22.58".

    Looks like the warm November is finally turning.... With the colder air coming in will be winterizing the hives next weekend after Thanksgiving.... Christmas orders are starting to come in for honey and soap so no problem staying busy.... With the apiary work winding down I've been thinking about the lessons learned from this fall and will be doing a few things different next year....

    I got suckered by the drought and kept waiting way too long hoping for a flow before I started feeding. The result of this is a number of my hives have clusters smaller than usual going into winter and are also on the light side of where I would like them. Next year will start the feeding the first week in September and if the girls score a flow that will just be a bonus. With most of my colonies Carni mutts this will hopefully support brooding up so I can ensure a couple of solid brood cycles before the weather turns cold. This year most of my queens either shut down or severely cut back brooding due to the lack of flow.... I should have realized this and picked up the feeding earlier to keep them brooding....

    When I did feed I used my usual 2:1 recipe with HbH.... I'm convinced this contributed to the robbing frenzies that ended up killing a number of my hives.... Next year will not use HbH in my fall feed...

    Robber screens turned out to be a double edged sword.... They did their job with the less intensive robbing but this year robbing went to a whole new level..... With the high intensity a number of the robbers found the top entrance of the robbing screen and the hives did not focus their defense there but ended up trying to defend the main entrance of the hive inside the screen... With the main entrance wide open the robbers were able to effectively bypass many of the defenders. Next year am thinking to use a standard entrance reducer inside the screen to support a better defense in case the robbers breach the screen... Given what happened this year am also thinking that the simple entrance reducer set at the smallest opening during robbing season might just be as effective as the robber screen. Something to think about before the season starts next year....

    This year I ended up treating OAV a lot more than I have done in previous years.... Part of this I think is associated with my use of the JB700 instead of my traditional Varrocleaner iron. While the JB700 is quicker and easier am thinking the blower does not seem to distribute the vapor as effectively.... Next year am strongly considering using Apivar for my main treatment and OAV for "knock down" and late season (fall) treatments. As for the JB700 will need to experiment with different nozzle configurations to see if I can get something that pushes the vapor more vertically into the hive instead of blowing it horizontally. Something to play with over the long winter months....

    The broodminders have been a real godsend in monitoring the hives but I have learned to be more careful about monitoring the battery life.... Most have been fine but several have drained batteries quickly... The good news is that the broodminder team has been very responsive and has drop shipped replacements to me as soon as I started to see a problem... Discussions with them indicated a defective component which resulted in the battery life problem... Currently all my hive monitors are performing well but will need to keep an eye on them just in case....

    My best wishes to each of you for a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving!

    Bob
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

  9. #488
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Thanks for your thread and data Bob. Interesting to see what's happening outside the local beekeeping area but inside an hours drive. I'm a computer guy so I love the techie idea of hive minders but now not sure if i'd invest in them. Only my second year but it has been a rough year. got 2 inches of snow on the top covers last night.
    Terrence

  10. #489
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I agree 100% Terrence..... One of the nice things about a regional thread is to get some insight into what is going on locally beyond what we are seeing in our apiaries.... Broodminders are a significant investment but now I am seriously addicted.... Since all my apiaries are outyards, the hourly datalog capability gives me some insight into what happened when I was not around... I've seen swarms, robbing, brooding turn on and off, flows kicking in and out with a resolution that the geek in me finds amazing.... Certainly not for everyone but for me it's seriously cool.....;- )
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

  11. #490
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    HOPKINTON, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I did last OAV for the year today. This was my last planned treatment. There were a lot of dead mites in the bottom boards. This year I also did one treatment 3-4 weeks ago after I heard of some area hives lost to mites in October (was worried mine might be next) and assume the dead bugs were from then.

    The bees were right where they should be at this time of year-- huddled in bottom deeps.

    Hive gross weights still look good (100 to about 150lbs), as one might imagine, they've all lost 5lbs or so in the last month. Insurance sugar bricks go on this week to be safe.

  12. #491
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    HOPKINTON, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I did last OAV for the year today. This was my last planned treatment. There were a lot of dead mites in the bottom boards. This year I also did one treatment 3-4 weeks ago after I heard of some area hives lost to mites in October (was worried mine might be next) and assume the dead bugs were from then.

    The bees were right where they should be at this time of year-- huddled in bottom deeps.

    Hive gross weights still look good (100 to about 150lbs), as one might imagine they've all lost 5lbs or so in the last month. Insurance sugar bricks go on this week to be safe.

  13. #492
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Millville, Worcester Co, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Checked both of my hives on Saturday, both hives strong.
    Removed the top feeders (both dry), since late September, I have fed both hives 3 gal of 2:1 Syrup each.
    Placed Mann Lake Winter Covers (also doubles as a candy board) on both hives w/ 5 lbs each of sugar candy each.
    Placed Insulation on both hives.
    Hopefully all goes well through the winter, will hopefully be able to check in Feb.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #493
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
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    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Daytime highs 39-48F with the nighttime lows 32-41F. Month rain (November) is 1.10" and YTD is 22.68"

    Set up all with winter shims (includes homasote and foam board insulation) and mouse guards but have not wrapped yet. Will probably do that this upcoming weekend. Weymouth hive had a number of dead hive beetles on the bottom board insert. Lost the other hive in that yard to the buggers last year but this hive had been relatively beetle free but it looks like that has changed. Was impressed with the way the late season nucs had built up with the queens I got from Sam Comfort. Nucs (2D 4 frame) are jammed with bees. Surprisingly strong. Will have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't eat through their stores if we get any warm spells. Added fondant just as an insurance policy. Will be interesting to see how these girls perform next year.
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

  15. #494
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Spencer, MA, USA
    Posts
    2,862

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I'd like to hear about those queens. Considered them a while back but heard some bad reports.

  16. #495
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    HOPKINTON, MA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Freaky 56 degrees, sunny and windy in MetroWest right now. All four hives flying today. Gives some comfort to know they are still alive... I know, I know, much worse conditions to come.

    All action out of lower entrances. No hives working sugar bricks yet which is a good sign.
    Last edited by Scitfrostbite; 12-27-2016 at 11:13 AM.

  17. #496
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Franklin, Ma
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob J View Post
    Daytime highs 50-67F with the nighttime lows 32-49F. Last night was the first below freezing and we had a dusting of snow this morning. Month rain (November) is 1.00" and YTD is 22.58".

    Looks like the warm November is finally turning.... With the colder air coming in will be winterizing the hives next weekend after Thanksgiving.... Christmas orders are starting to come in for honey and soap so no problem staying busy.... With the apiary work winding down I've been thinking about the lessons learned from this fall and will be doing a few things different next year....

    I got suckered by the drought and kept waiting way too long hoping for a flow before I started feeding. The result of this is a number of my hives have clusters smaller than usual going into winter and are also on the light side of where I would like them. Next year will start the feeding the first week in September and if the girls score a flow that will just be a bonus. With most of my colonies Carni mutts this will hopefully support brooding up so I can ensure a couple of solid brood cycles before the weather turns cold. This year most of my queens either shut down or severely cut back brooding due to the lack of flow.... I should have realized this and picked up the feeding earlier to keep them brooding....

    When I did feed I used my usual 2:1 recipe with HbH.... I'm convinced this contributed to the robbing frenzies that ended up killing a number of my hives.... Next year will not use HbH in my fall feed...

    Robber screens turned out to be a double edged sword.... They did their job with the less intensive robbing but this year robbing went to a whole new level..... With the high intensity a number of the robbers found the top entrance of the robbing screen and the hives did not focus their defense there but ended up trying to defend the main entrance of the hive inside the screen... With the main entrance wide open the robbers were able to effectively bypass many of the defenders. Next year am thinking to use a standard entrance reducer inside the screen to support a better defense in case the robbers breach the screen... Given what happened this year am also thinking that the simple entrance reducer set at the smallest opening during robbing season might just be as effective as the robber screen. Something to think about before the season starts next year....

    This year I ended up treating OAV a lot more than I have done in previous years.... Part of this I think is associated with my use of the JB700 instead of my traditional Varrocleaner iron. While the JB700 is quicker and easier am thinking the blower does not seem to distribute the vapor as effectively.... Next year am strongly considering using Apivar for my main treatment and OAV for "knock down" and late season (fall) treatments. As for the JB700 will need to experiment with different nozzle configurations to see if I can get something that pushes the vapor more vertically into the hive instead of blowing it horizontally. Something to play with over the long winter months....

    The broodminders have been a real godsend in monitoring the hives but I have learned to be more careful about monitoring the battery life.... Most have been fine but several have drained batteries quickly... The good news is that the broodminder team has been very responsive and has drop shipped replacements to me as soon as I started to see a problem... Discussions with them indicated a defective component which resulted in the battery life problem... Currently all my hive monitors are performing well but will need to keep an eye on them just in case....

    My best wishes to each of you for a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving!

    Bob
    Well Bob your not the only one who got caught with his pants done with the drought. I started feeding start of September and fed through Oct. Full robber screens on all but it still didnt seem to matter. My bees just didn't build up as expected.

  18. #497
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
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    2,425

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Mine didn't either. It's going to be a brutal fatality count this year. 2 of my hives absconded (first time that's EVER happened in my beeyard) (one of which was a 3 yr. old Russian queen) and I see that one nuc didn't make it and there is a lack of bees flying around one of my hives. Fortunately 3 nucs look good (bees flying today) and I hope 3 small hives are doing well (2 are new Russian queens from July) and then there's one big hive that had been booming this summer but seems a little light on bees flying in and out so we'll see. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best at this point. It was a terrible summer for them, I didn't realize their hives were empty of stores until August, and I fed as much as I could but you can't fill a whole hive. I put large sugar bricks in there for the winter so we'll see.

  19. #498
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Interesting December where I am... Very little snow with some days with highs in the low 60's (!) and others in the single digits... Significantly warmer than normal with the exception of the days we were visited by the polar vortex... All hives seem ok so far with the girls out and about on the warmer days... Will be interesting to see if the warm trend continues for January....
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

  20. #499
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    I have ice and snow on them. sun isn't melting this much so I have to keep the entrance cleared on the ones I did not give a top entrance to. ones with a top entrance are using them exclusively. actually tarped and put some moving blankets on some small hives/nucs at my house as a windbreak before all the snow fell. lost a couple small nucs so far. Opened their entrances except for mousegaurds in case the others want to rob them out.
    Terrence

  21. #500
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Colony Update here in MA

    Warmer than usual weather continues to be the case with nighttime lows ranging from 26 to 40F and daytime highs from 40 to 60F. 2016 closed out with 25.97" of rainfall which is well below the 43.76" 10 year average. Still no significant snow in my area.

    Made the rounds to the yards yesterday and added fondant to hives that had eaten through the earlier batch. Nucs remain strong and production hives remain weaker than I would have liked to see but at this point it is what it is... Really glad to see 2016 in the rear view mirror.... All in all I lost 8 production hives this fall so have put 5 overwintered Nucs on order with a local supplier. Between those, the Nucs I made late last year and any surviving hives I should be able to build the apiaries up to decent (hopefully) production this spring.

    Next summer will plan on doubling the number of Nucs I build so hopefully this will be the last year I need to buy them....
    Since '12 Zone 7a 42.25N 71.00W 17H OAV Amitraz
    Seaside Apiaries

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