Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Makes great sense. Dar, this sounds very much like an option for attempting to get 1 or 2 weaker colonies through the winter, but what this sounds like is it works even better for 2 strong colonies. Does it work as well in a Lang 10 frame?

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    It would not work very well in a Langstroth 10 frame box. The problem would be with the amount of honey (or lack thereof). However, by stacking 2 Langs in a 5 over 5 doubled setup, it would work fairly well. My setup has 7 Dadant depth frames on each side. This is the equivalent of 9 Langstroth frames. One of my frames full of honey weighs about 9 pounds. Give a colony 5 frames of honey and they have enough for winter. Further North, this would not be enough honey.

    I don't really want to hijack Sibylle's thread, but there are some things she might like to know just in case this setup is appealing. This works best if queens are produced in nucs, then moved into the production hives in preparation for winter. I am setting up some nucs with Dadant depth frames so I can produce queens without disrupting the production colonies. My plan is to run in a cycle similar to this:

    In spring, pull extra queens from the production hives and move them into nucs leaving the production colony with the bulk of the brood. This should leave the production colony with a huge population at the right time to produce a crop from the spring flow.

    Start queen cells in a setup similar to using a Cloake board, but horizontally instead of vertically. Will need about 20 or 30 cells on this round so use at least 2 colonies to start them.

    Give the nucs a week or two to stabilize and then sell the queen and replace with a mature queen cell. This gives the first round of queens that will mate and be laying steady by mid to late May.

    Let the queens mature for 5 weeks, then split and raise another queen in the extra units. These queens should mate and start laying by early to mid July.

    Sell any surplus current year queens by July freeing up the nucs for another round of mature cells.

    Pull honey from the production colonies in July, re-install the dividers, and give them frames with queen from a nuc.

    Continue producing queens in the nucs until all production colonies have 2 young queens and are prepared for winter. This means the old queens have to be completely replaced!

    If I time this right and do the work required, I should wind up with the nucs empty by late August and all of the production colonies with 2 queens prepared for winter. Winter stores would be 5 frames of honey which will either come from the fall flow or from frames reserved from the spring flow.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  4. #63

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I don't really want to hijack Sibylle's thread,
    Never. Im amazed about all the input. Im honored. Please go on, all.

    First: My foundation tool:
    Beesource 4.jpg

    In broodnest area I want to try natural comb. That because of the wax which is produced by the bees using their own environmental provisions and so is pure local wax.
    On top I want to try mediums ( half deep)with foundations. I want to leave one of those at all time and put a second on top for harvesting or exchange those two for harvesting.
    MB recommended to use only the same frame size in a hive to be able to exchange all frames.
    But for now I want to keep my colonies on one deep = broodnest and one or two top mediums. This arrangement is just the right size for using splits in my climate and easier to work with.

    Queen breeding:
    This are the nucs I purchased:
    Beesource 1.jpg
    Since Im still a beginner my approach to queen breeding must be a slow one. With respect to the bees I want to do it step by step. A 2 queen hive will be too much for me right now.

    Ive got dividers like that, dar. Last year I wanted to use one deep to place two splits in. But I use a feeder as a lid, which was a great idea. Im able to feed even in winter and this prevents a moisture problem.
    Remember my climate which is around 0C in winter, sometimes as long as 5 months, and very humid.
    As you see in the picts, the rim of the deep is the same as the frame top. With feeder on top I have space. If I would use the divider, I would have to use a cloth or another lid for each part.
    But I need the space! The bee cluster must have the possibility to cross on top of the frames not to to be parted from the stores.
    Beesource 2.jpg
    Beesource 3.jpg
    Beesource 5.jpg
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-08-2016 at 12:36 AM.

  5. #64

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I feel my thread a very good discussion platform for everyone new in beekeeping so Im asking you, dar, and squarepeg and everybody, to go on with your suggestions and questions.

    My climate does not allow me to proceed like you do, dar, but helps my reflections.
    Queen matings happen late of May earliest. Winter starts in october. Flow is the whole season but depends strongly on weather.

    They say, that tf queens are the best in their second year. Then you recognize the resistance traits. Therefore I will try to have second year hives as much as possible.

    Please be patient with me if I sometimes have problems to follow. Just ask or explain again in simpler words.
    Thanks.

  6. #65
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhawk View Post
    Does it work as well in a Lang 10 frame?
    Yes it will! I made all my double nucs double queens set up during the late Autumn time. They have the advantage of
    sharing in the heat during the cold winter time. This way they will not develop the chilled brood situation.
    Just use 2 or more deeps with a divider in the middle to split the hive box(es) vertically. I use 2 deeps for this
    purpose. And put 5x5 on each side with a divider in between the frames separating the 2 queens side-by-side.
    My plan is to grow 3 deeps before allowing them to combine. And then in early
    Spring time use Palmer style supporting nuc hives for the production hive to
    grow faster to collect honey and make QCs for the splits faster. In another word, put more cap broods in there to grow the colony a lot faster than your normal one queen hive. If the 3 months overwintered queen does not provide the QCs then I have to make my own grafts early on. This will allow me to produce some Spring queens earlier. By then taking 2-3 frame of broods from the production hives to make the splits should not be an issue considering they will have 2 queens and 15 frames on each side of the hive boxes. The other supporting nuc hives can also contribute broods to help the new mating nucs grow faster too. So tackling them from both direction is my expansion strategy while avoiding any swarms when possible.
    Right now all queens selection has been completed. I already knew which resistant queen to use for the potential breeder queens next season. Resistant selection should begin from the beginning when I made the mite bee bomb when combining all the mite infested cap broods into one hive. The earlier you start your resistant queen selection for the next generation the more time you will have to evaluate her genetics further down the line with subsequent mated daughters. At the same time I will be sourcing resistant compatible lineage queens from the other tf operation. This will further complement my expansion operation with more resistant drones sending them to the local DCAs. Going to be a very busy bee season if all queens overwinter well!


    Double sided double queen set up:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  7. #66
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Thanks, Dar & Bee. Definitely going to set some up. Very good versatile system. And I can contribute more nucs to swarm traps!

    Sybille, I like your idea of naturral wax on the brood frames.

  8. #67

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Beepro
    Resistant selection should begin from the beginning when I made the mite bee bomb when combining all the mite infested cap broods into one hive.
    So you do it on purpose? Please explain further.
    I dont think mine would live even one season.

    I saw in your pic that you are able to place food on the top. You have some space there. So, if you open the lid you open the two colonies both at the same time?
    Will this be a problem when they are active?

  9. #68
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Yes, on purpose just like giving them a brood break only this time all the cap broods got removed into
    a resistant hive or testing for the resistant hive with a newly mated queen coming from the resistant stocks.
    If you do this a 2nd time then all the mites are in the cap broods. If you use sugar powder to treat then I don't see
    why you cannot use my mite bee bomb method. And since the resistant bee bomb hive can handle
    the mites they will quickly get rid of them for a clean hive again. The bee bomb hive is still thriving despite all the mites with it before. Now they are clean the last time I check. Going to continue to monitor the mites through out this mild winter.
    I also have bottom entrance so opening the top will not bother them at all. Besides, my bees are from the gentle commercial stocks that claimed they have the resistant built in already. My bees are active all year long in a mild winter environment here. You can cover one side of the colony with whatever breathable fabric or coffee bag you have without disturbing it much. Some hives I will use the fabric with small holes but some I did not. The fabric is good for an exploding colony but not have to for the weaker ones. Some colonies have fewer 2-4 mites while others have none on a new bee emergence cycle. I thought you are using similar method like mine, no?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  10. #69

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    And since the resistant bee bomb hive can handle
    the mites they will quickly get rid of them for a clean hive again. The bee bomb hive is still thriving despite all the mites with it before. Now they are clean the last time I check.

    You can cover one side of the colony with whatever breathable fabric or coffee bag you have without disturbing it much. Some hives I will use the fabric with small holes but some I did not. The fabric is good for an exploding colony but not have to for the weaker ones. Some colonies have fewer 2-4 mites while others have none on a new bee emergence cycle. I thought you are using similar method like mine, no?
    The "mite bomb" was an advise I got from my former mentor, too. He combined one time when a migrating beekeeper came near. That was when he had over 30 hives. Losses were one third. He expanded again and introduced the AMM queens in 10 of the descendants out of the ones he had bred. I have one queen from those and the survivor carnis are my stock. But I still dont know if they are resistant in my location.
    This winter is the test..they have mites..and we have a long winter. Too many damaged bees and they will not make it.
    The mites are now concentrated in the small brood areas.

    To place the "mite bomb" at my home would be the only option. But if they would not make it I would contaminate my neighbor beekeeper`s bees, since Im not isolated there.
    Do you keep the "mite bomb" at your bee yard?

    Yes it would be a similar method so far as I want to give none or not much capped brood to the old queen when splitting. The mother hive will then be a "mite bomb" but will have a longer brood brake.


    I have bottom entrances too, so I will try your two colony system. Depends on how many survive this winter but if losses are many I want to breed more queens if possible.
    And give some to my friends.
    For that I can use my deeps divided vertically then. Thanks beepro.
    Any more advise would be welcome.

  11. #70
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    You are correct that too many damaged bees and the hive will crashed for sure sometimes even before the
    Spring arrives.
    That is why we need to get rid of the mites or reduced their damages as much as possible before winter so that
    the queen will laid some new fresh eggs and allow the colony a chance to raised the big fat winter bees. Even in a mite bomb hive you need to give her a healthy start with a virgin queen to start. If too many mites are there the colony will have a very hard chance to build up during the following Spring time. After Jan. is when they're starting to build up. You need to time it so well that during the winter time the mite bomb hive will not fly that much at the same time stimulate the other clean hives to rear the winter bees before the snow is there. If sugar is cheap there, every year we have a sugar sale close to the holidays for .25 cents a pound, then you can line the bottom of the hive up with the loose sugar. This way when the mites fell off they cannot climb up to the bees anymore. My bees went down to the bottom board eating the loose sugar too. The isolated mite bomb hive you have to put it closer to home where you can sugar dust them when the young bees emerged in different time frame. You will need the drawn comb in order to exchange for the cap brood frames out. Even when you have the resistant you cannot really tell because of too many mites already in there. So rather than letting them die at this stage might as well help them along a bit until you can build up to 25 hives. Then the hive crash is not that painful if some are the survivors. We called this the crashed and rebuild stage!
    You can arrange the hives vertically divided but if one side is mite clean while the other side is not then combining them in the Spring time will be a big disaster. The mites will multiply quickly damaging both sides of the colony. I will combine them only when both sides are mite free or near to. The high mite load colonies I will make splits out of them if some are still alive or give the cap broods frames to the mite bomb hive again in the early Spring expansion phase. So chances are that your neighbors bees also have the mites on them that overwintered. Sometime they can get it from the outside while foraging too. If there is a feral population then they will have the mites in the colony also. Don't be too worry about your neighbor's bees and only concentrate on keeping yours mite free as much as possible. Sugar dust them earlier in the Spring time so that they don't even have a chance to contaminate your neighbor's or your bees. An advice I got was for fewer than 50 colonies you can sugar dust once a month (maybe at bee emergence time) to get rid of some mites while allowing the bees to live. Combining this strategy with making a mite bomb should work for me here. Though this season I did not sugar dust or oav at all even when there are high mite counts inside all my hives as they are in the same bee yard too. I like to do little bee experiment through out the seasons, so this queen rearing season, the QCs were all capped inside a heavily infested hive and the emerged virgins also got mite on them even when after her mating flights that one mite was on the laying queen. So the mite pressure is high this time compared to my other years. Perhaps it was the mite pressure that got the bees to be used to the mites from the beginning. Or somehow they know how to handle the mites. I don't really know as the bee stocks was from the commercial bee operation. The coming season I would like to repeat this experiment again by finding the most heavily infested hive to make the QCs in. Maybe put the QCs inside the mite bomb hive would do. The most mite free hives I will make production hives out of them to collect honey. So think it through as to what plan you would like to take next season.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  12. #71

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I understand.

    No, I will not combine the two colonies but shift the frames into a separate box when they fill their half.

    As long as my colonies will not dwindle or show mite disease Im not using any treatments ( sugar dusting is a treatment). If I dont see the symptoms before winter I will not treat. They must survive on their own.

    But the "mite bombs" in summer I will sugar dust and change to a new queen. But only if I see they are not virus tolerant and dwindle.

  13. #72
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    If the mite population is not reduced during the winter time then a possibility might
    arise in the early Spring time that is: 1) A colony is hard to build up because the mites
    are constantly inside the cap broods. 2) The hive is dwindling because of not enough healthy adult
    bee population for the critical Spring expansion mode. Facing a dwindling hive situation on many
    of your overwintered colonies, what would you do to remedy this situation in Spring?
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  14. #73

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    If the mite population is not reduced during the winter time then a possibility might
    arise in the early Spring time that is: 1) A colony is hard to build up because the mites
    are constantly inside the cap broods. 2) The hive is dwindling because of not enough healthy adult
    bee population for the critical Spring expansion mode. Facing a dwindling hive situation on many
    of your overwintered colonies, what would you do to remedy this situation in Spring?
    Depends on how many are in this situation. I`ve read ( I dont remember where, could be Dennis Murrell) about the first small patch of brood (after winter solstice) being so much contaminated because all surviving mites go into this first brood, that this brood dies with the mites and is thrown out. This reduces mites and the colony is able to build up if the winter bees are still living.
    Maybe this is anecdotal but it has its own kind of logic.

    If the problem is with all hives which survive, I will combine with the best queen and decide about taking out brood comb later in spring or summer. The just do the expansion without selection.

    I just got a call from one of my friends. He thinks he will have 100% losses. I hope, I will have some survivors to be able to give a split to him.
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-10-2016 at 08:57 AM.

  15. #74

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Dar, you are a member of VivaBiene. If you want to take part.

  16. #75

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Today we checked the hives.
    It was a beautiful morning with 4C minus and rime.
    The AMM played their little bass guitars , they are all alive and cluster at the bottom of the deeps.
    11.12.2016 Wildpark.jpg
    Driving to a visit with the Carnicas it started to rain and we had some difficulties to hear the sounds.
    Those in one deep (Elgons and one Carni colony) were musical, one two deep hive we heard too, the others we are not sure about because the rain was much too loud.
    11.12.2016 Carnica.jpg

    4 weeks ago we had felled a tree to give them more sun in winter.

    We checked if the entrances were free, because next week there will be a warmer spell perhaps. Maybe they will do a cleansing flight.
    The dead bees we saw were not varroa diseased.
    Last edited by 1102009; 12-11-2016 at 08:16 AM.

  17. #76
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    I was just noticing your first picture. It looks like field fringe you see around here. It could have been taken in the field across my house it's so similar. Are you positive there aren't feral bees in your area?

  18. #77
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    The AMM played their little bass guitars , they are all alive and cluster at the bottom of the deeps.
    nice! sounds like the others are likely doing well also, thanks for the report.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #78

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    I was just noticing your first picture. It looks like field fringe you see around here. It could have been taken in the field across my house it's so similar. Are you positive there aren't feral bees in your area?
    Its the fringe of the wildlife park. On the other side there is a road and the natural area beginning. Yes, there may be ferals but Ive never noticed any insects but wasps and hornets nesting. I will pay attention more and explore the location. Ive only looked for other beekeepers so far but not as high as 4-5m into the trees And I will watch the old bee shacks in the forest.
    If there are any I`m happy about the drones they provide.

    SP I saw this post from you:
    walt moved a shallow down to the bottom of the stack once the spring build up was well underway that become what he referred to as the 'pollen box'. this shallow at the bottom become full of pollen during the spring flow, and that stored pollen was later used to facilitate strong fall brooding and measurably better overwintering.
    This is very interesting, because of our rainy weather which makes it hard for the bees to forage for weeks sometimes. With my big frames I probably dont need to do this. But I will watch for the "pollen storing" behavior and mention pollen stores in my records. Always nice to learn more!

  20. #79
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    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Sounds like your colonies are holding up Farley well, Sybille! Hope the rest sound like music!

  21. #80

    Default Re: Treatment free at all costs - the chronicle of a beekeeper from South Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by Redhawk View Post
    Sounds like your colonies are holding up Farley well, Sybille! Hope the rest sound like music!
    Well, they have 2 months to go. The saying is bees die in early spring. But thanks for the wishes, red!

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