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  1. #261
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    It is 50 degrees and though I have seen bees flying harder on the very first of the cooler days, I did see bees at the entrance of all my hives. I think the clouds make it seem a little cooler then when it is real sunny.

    I looked at the forcast for the next ten days and if it does not change (change is possible on computer forcast), it is going to be a high of about fourty degrees F till about feb 9th with some very cool nights (teens).

    I just put this here cause I am excited even though only 5 days have passed that my bees still seem alive. But even more, I looked at my yard trees that seem to be some of the first bloom that I notice each year. I think they are big maples but am not sure. They look to being close to popping and have the red tint to them and my eyes are to bad to really see but it almost looked like a few of the top ones were open. I don't really trust what I see except the color part and so could be mistaken. The wether is of course too cold for the bees to take advantage of any bloom that might be openning and so getting a wether change pretty soon is going to be key on wether the tree blooms mean anything at all.

    I almost posted the tree bloom thing on the missouri thread but think I am going to wait untill I actually see or hear the bees on the trees.

    Supposed to get to 56 degrees today and then cool down for the next ten days.

    I looked up the rainfall and we are behind for the year so far (counting december). I did find it interesting that it was reported that this jan was averaging one degree warmer then last year at this time. I sure thought this year was much colder and colder for longer in a row. Just shows how hard these things really are to judge based on memory.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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  3. #262
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    gww, last year you posted your first pollen on Feb 11, and I had pollen on the 16th. I am having a hard time believing it's so close already. Of course, it could be mid march before bees fly too. I do have witch hazel blooming a bit right now, but no bees are going to be flying this week up here.

  4. #263
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I am going to take another walk here in a bit. It is now 54 degrees. I think all my henbit in the garden has turned brown but am going to give it a look. I am thinking witch hazel is in wet areas and i doubt I walk to the wet wether creek and look and on the henbit, it is usually in tilled areas and so with no known crop lands close to me, the garden, even if any is blooming, won't be much. The trees however will be loud if it gets warm while they are in bloom.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #264
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Right at 40 degrees F but pretty sunny.
    Bees at all the entrances except the warre. I put my ear to the warre and tapped but heard nothing but am not sure this is a for sure thing cause I have to get on my knees and there is a cleete handle in the way and I can't hear. I saw one bee fly to the entrance but over all nothing. I say it could go either way on it being alive or dead but it was one small cluster going into winter and so dead would not surprize me. My single medium is still alive as are the rest of them. Going to be 51 degrees tommorrow but this is mostly what it looks like.
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    Scroll right
    Hourly forecast

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    Detailed forecast Radar map Data from Foreca
    Last year it was hitting 70 degrees and the bees were bringing in the first tree pollen on the 11th and it stayed warm for a pretty long time untill it cooled off again end of march.

    Maby I will make it to april 15 before the bees decide to start swarming this year. Give me a little extra time to stop it. The top of some of my trees are pink/purple and so it is close if we get flying wether for the trees to go into full bloom (maple/elm).
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #265
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Ok, I couldn't stand it I guess cause I popped the top on the warre and it is dead. It looked like a couple of hundred bees (being generous) stuck on comb. Being a warre, I did not dig into it or even brush bees off yet. The bees had never touched the sugar block and also the hive was not robbed cause they are dead on capped sugar water. I don't exactly know what I am going to do with it. That is the bad thing about the warre, the frames are not interchangeable with all the langs. The hive never did build up and had plenty of time to do it though I killed a bunch when putting them in the warre and also started robbing in it at least twice during the year. It should have never made it to winter.

    I am a little worried about disiese but think come april that I am going to drop a queen from one of the other hive in it and shake a whole bunch of nurse bees in it and let them fend for themselves. So I guess I need to bang the hive one time on the ground and knock as many of the dead out of it as is possible and then tape up all the bee sized entrances into the hive so that it does not get robbed.

    I am thinking I can kill two birds with one stone by doing the nurse bee type split into the warre. If I pick a good hive to take the queen from, it should make a couple of extra queen cells for me to make some small cutdown type splits off of a few other hives that start looking like I need to worry about swarming. And the warre comb is full of stores which, except for pollen, should substain the nurse bees and queen till they get to foraging age. They are going to have to graduate early if they want some pollen.

    Anyway, That is the plan and if it is a stupid plan, you are welcome to tell me so.

    I will not be able to tell if it was mites or diseise with out tearing up the comb to get a closer look like I would have been able to do if it had been one of my langs. (I could really though cause they built strait and I could probly get the comb out one at a time) I think I am going to ride on luck instead and just put bees in it. However, if the new bees do bad, the warre is going into the burn pile.

    So, one hive down out of 9 puts me at a 11 or 12 percent loss over winter so far.

    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  7. #266

    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Sorry about the warre, it was a good story.
    If no brood disease like foul brood is in, why not reuse like you plan to do?

    I would place it some distance away when starting new. The bees now smell the stores and try to get in all the time and when you start new they go on trying.

  8. #267
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Ok, I did my same crappy picture taking that I always do. I wish I would have gotten one more shot just to show how little comb was in this warre. It was really only about 50/60% drawn out in one box.
    I also miss judged the stores cause it looked like the tops of the combs all had a little capped sugar water and there was some but it was pretty dry really.

    Top bars, maybe you can see the small cluster?
    dead warre 001.jpg

    From the bottom.
    dead warre 002.jpg

    Bottom board
    dead warre 003.jpg

    From all the cappings on the bottom, I am thinking they may have starved just from being too small to get to the small amount of capped stuff still left in the hive. It had a 10 lbs sugar block on top but is different on the warre cause it has no inter cover and so the bees could only access the sugar from the bottom and so if it was too dry it may have been useless. I know they did not touch it in any case. All my other hives eat sugar before even touching their capped stuff, or at least they did last year, I have not looked this year.

    Now thinking they starved does not mean that they could not have also been sick. They did not build up all last spring summer. I think they never lost robbing pressure and never got to critical mass and should never have even got to winter much less to feb. I am not that upset losing what I thought should have been gone all along but also think even with that tiny cluster that they may have made it if they would have had some bee space that would have allowed them access to the top of the sugar block or would have gotten a shot of 2 to 1 in a way that did not put the other hives on them.

    I am interested in what others think of my thoughts on the above and also what you guys think I am most likely wrong on or even showing my ineptness on.

    Any way, if anyone wants to make comments good or bad, I have open ears and if not, hope you at least enjoy pictures.
    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  9. #268
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Today was first look of 2018. I looked at my two biggest and my smallest and one of the medium size. The hive that were 3 medium, I pulled the top two mediums and just lifted for weight. They might make it with out starving but are not like they were last year. From a bad guess, somewhere around 20 lbs plus.

    The two hives that produced are loaded with bees in the top two mediums and have sparse cover on the bottom medium.

    A bad picture of one.



    I thought the picture would show better but it is what it is. I did not look for brood in the top two boxes but just pulled frames from the bottom one to make sure there was no brood in it. I put the bottom medium on top of the hive. I was a little surprized the the bottom medium on both hives still had quite a bit of capped stores. I would have thought it would have been the very first thing to have been cleaned out. Shows what I know.

    The smallest hive seemed to be clustered to the side of the hive and it looked to me like only 3 or 4 frames of bees. This hive is going to cause me trouble cause it has too much stores in the comb yet and so the queen may not have good room to lay to grow the hive. It has a sugar block on it that the bees have worked but there is still a lot left. I have no ideal how to handle this one and so am just going to keep an eye on it and move when I have to.

    The last hive I looked at was a two medium hive that I had put a third medium on the bottom that had 2.5 combs drawn out in it and the rest was empty foundationless frames. This hive also was not just filled with bees like the two procuction hives from last year were. It defanatly has some time before it needed space. This surprized me a little. I was also surprized that of those 2.5 frames, they were still more then half full of capped stores. Either way, I put that empty box with the 2.5 frames on top instead of leaving it on bottom. I guess this will be my test hive of cold wether and empty space. If it survives and does not die, it will give me a clue for next year on how early and cold I can add empty space to a hive to try and stop swarming. This hive was my only small hive that did not get a sugar block on it last year.

    All hives are bringing in pollen and so, let the games begin.
    Dandilion should not be too far off. So far the only tree pollen That I have seen is still those big maples? in my yard. The bees are not working them and they are still working my chicken feed. I don't really know what they have found but the last two flying days, they are busy. I still do not know what I am doing.
    Cheers
    gww
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    zone 5b

  10. #269
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    nice report gww.

    you are a few weeks behind us with the weather, but i'm thinking you'll probably find some brood in your hives by the time you get warm weather again.

    are you using foundationless frames. if so, have they been drawn even enough that you can move frames around? i.e. move a frame of honey here or a frame of empty comb there?

    i'll usually find that some of my clusters are up at the top on the first inspection of the year with capped honey below. like you did, i'll move the cluster down and give more space above. so far no issues with doing that even when we still have frosty mornings.

    but a lot of my colonies ride out the winter lower in the stacks and again that empty space above doesn't seem to cause problems for them. i do keep a half inch of styrofoam insulation between the inner and top covers during the winter months.

    looking forward to hearing how things progress and yes, the fun begins when the pollen starts coming in!
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  11. #270
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Square
    My frames are all foundationless. What is on the hives now is all draw. Some are drawn fat and on several I have the frames packed in tighter then normal ten frame would be but yes, most can be moved and most times switched one for one though every once in a while one will be so fat that I would have to remove two frames to fit it in a new hole. Sometime getting the first one out is hard with out rolling bees.

    I am all mediums but only have two hives that have three mediums worth of size and so I am hooked to adding space to minipulate the other hives.

    I have two inch foam on the very top of the hives. The bees do pretty good cause almost all of my hives have new holes in the corners where the boxes meet that are now being used as entrances and a few have cracks where the boxes meet that are big enough for bees to come in and out of the whole seam. Last year I had a swarm issue and they didn't even try to go out the entrance, they just poured though the seam where the hives were stacked on each other. I have to keep the hives pretty strong cause I don't think robber screens would do much for me. I did tape before but then just said heck with it. I am building wooden ware better now then I did in the beginning but using hard woods still sometimes flex in differrent ways then pine. But the top is insulated, ha, ha.

    The ones with three mediums have lots of bees in the two top boxes. The one that was two medium with an empty on bottom was also in both mediums but to the side and so about half the bee density. I did not look at four of them cause I had decided not to add empty space to them yet. I would like to do better but if I can just keep the two big ones in the hives till I can see drones, I can make a cut down type split of some kind and that may give me enough queen cells to work with that if it is not too late, I can just pull a frame or two of brood from the smaller ones and keep them in the boxes and drawing comb rather then swarming. I doubt this works cause they may swarm right when they get drones and at the same time it is right for me to make the cut down.

    No matter what, even if four end up swarming on me, if I can keep some from not swarming, I will have more comb to work with next year to do better.

    I don't know if any of these plans are good but they are what I am thinking for now. I keep hearing that they will want to swarm before they will start drawing wax.

    The only way I know to break that is to put empties in the brood nest but that means big empty space or having somewhere to go with the brood comb that is removed. I am just looking at options but don't know what I am going to do. I do have one hive now with lots of empty space on top to at least test it out so I know more next year.

    If I ever lose a hive or two, I should have more comb to minipulate with. Kinda funny, I don't want to lose a hive but have a use for it when it does happen someday.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps I have switched from using finger joints on boxes to a butt/rabbit joint cause it seemed to me with my lumber that the finger joints swell more at the fingers leaving bigger seams where the boxes meet. I think the absorb water at a differrent rate then the box joint does.
    zone 5b

  12. #271
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    One of the three hives I moved the bottom hive body to the top had a bunch of what I am assuming is drone brood carried out. It is 48 degrees out today. I don't know if I chilled it when I was moving the boxes around or if I did not check as good as I thought on the bottom box for brood or moving the middle box to the bottom had drone brood near the edges that got chilled. Hopefully it is not the hives just sacraficing some drones due to being worried about stores.

    The other two hives, counting the one with lots of empty space on top, did not carry out any brood.

    I don't know if it was just a cleansing flight or an oreintation flight but a whole bunch of bees were taking advantage of it on my last two hives in the row. Lots of bees.

    I also saw what lookes like dancing on the front of one hive but it was being done by a bee that was following a differrent be and so didn't look just right either. It was really shaking but looked to be following or hanging on to a differrent be.

    There was not pollen coming in and it looks like lots of the maple bloom has fell to the ground. The henbit in my garden is just starting and some other kind of little bity ground cover blue flowers mixed in with the henbit is being worked by the bees and the bees are still on the chicken food and gathering lots of water on the ground.

    I see the start of dandilion leaves and so that should not be too far off. plumb and peach have buds that look like it won't be too long. It is all coming a little later then last year.

    I hope the drone brood being pulled out is not a bad sign. It is on the hive that I took the picture of two post ago. It doesn't show it in the picture but when I zoom that picture on my computer, you can see that both boxes have lots of bees filling every seam.

    There have not been that many flying days since first pollen and I don't think the bees have been able to take advantage of the first trees like they did last year and so I hope I have better luck on swarm control and I hope I don't starve some hives due to the rain and cold not letting them fly after getting some pollen.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  13. #272

    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    One of the three hives I moved the bottom hive body to the top had a bunch of what I am assuming is drone brood carried out.
    I also saw what lookes like dancing on the front of one hive but it was being done by a bee that was following a differrent be and so didn't look just right either. It was really shaking but looked to be following or hanging on to a differrent be.
    I hope the drone brood being pulled out is not a bad sign. It is on the hive that I took the picture of two post ago. It doesn't show it in the picture but when I zoom that picture on my computer, you can see that both boxes have lots of bees filling every seam.
    Purging. They expel the first mite diseased, chilled or too much food using drones if they are resistant and expanding. Depends on the weather.. My only survivor AMM did that ever spring.

    d.jpg

    Young bees follow the older ones on orientation flights. Do they dance with head to the hive?

    I believe you have very good chicken feed, gww

  14. #273
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    SiW...
    Your picture is what I saw.

    The dancing bee was on the front of the hive body and not the landing board. There were probly 10 bees. I have seen the dancing vidios that seeley has made and have seen bees last year dancing like crazy inside the hive on comb. The bee waggled up the hive body shaking its tail. It did not shake constant but the breaks between shaking were nanoseconds. It was either hanging on to another bee or was bumping the other bee (not on the head). The other bees were just hanging out.

    I am just guessing that on the chicken feed, it is the cracked corn part of it that interest the bees. I read an old book where one of the famous bee keepers put out corn mill in the spring. Not saying cornmill works, just saying I read it.

    On the drones carried out. I saw this last fall also. I do have a question. Seeing the drone being carried out, is there a way to judge from that of when a person might have sexually mature drones for splitting hives?
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #274
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I could be wrong gww, but it seems a bit early to rotate boxes to me. Of course we aren't in the same climate exactly either. I have had brood in general pitched out in May after a couple colonies almost starved out in a week long cold spell. Serious brood building can drain resources fast. I would make sure they have food. If it's too cold for syrup, sugar bricks would work well.

    I haven't had a lot of pollen collecting days here, but it's been a few weeks since startup and then it cooled back down. I also still have sugar on quite a few hives and a couple of them are short on food and need it. It's 48 today and there's a small amount of flying and pollen collecting. I look forward to next weeks predicted warmer weather. It is 3 weeks later than last year, but last year was a month early, so it should be a normal year.

  16. #275
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    The threw out brood looked like SiW....'s picture. I could be early on the switching boxes. I had hives swarm on april 13 last year (but it was warm early and the bees could work the trees). So I was a little gun shy. I have sugar blocks on five of the hives. I don't have sugar blocks on this hive. You could say that I am running sort of an experment. I also only dropped 2 gal of two to one on them last fall after I took the extra honey off to extract. I had gave then 3 gal the year before and 15 lbs of sugar blocks.

    The reason behind my madness is to see if I can slow the bees down a little so that it is warmer out before they get the ideal they are healthy enough to want to swarm. I don't really have a bases to judge how to do this and so I am expermenting a little but not on all the hives. That way if my experment does not work and I starve a hive to death, I will still have some bees to play with. I don't say this makes sense but more, I don't know any other way to try and find out what the minimum it takes to get bees by till spring.

    So, I don't want the bees to starve or to freeze them out but since I don't know what is right, I am just trying things and seeing if they bite me.

    Last year I was waiting for 70 degree days to inspect and the bees swarmed before we had one.

    I am not claiming to know anything and would love to hear your thoughts on what might be a normal time to switch boxes on a normal year.

    I know I don't know more then what happened last year and what I am going to try to make small changes in bee behavior. I don't know if those changes will work.
    I do want to get to where I don't have to feed so much even if it means leaving more honey but have yet to learn where the line is. I will feed if I am sure it is needed. I am trying to learn to judge, preferably with out causeing death and destruction but know that is a risk unless I just go over board every time and take no chances.

    Lots of rain also predicted next week.
    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  17. #276
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I just looked at all of the published apary management toturials and most say rotate the box in may. Maybe that is the more normal and last year was warm but even on a late year, that seems late compared to my hives swarming on april 13 and the year before, I caught my first swarm on may 5. It just seems a little late if you are using it for swarm management.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  18. #277
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Gww, your swarm problem last year probably was that you had few frames drawn and foundationless. You have some larger hives this year that will be safer. I start inspecting my colonies when pollen is going gangbusters and it reaches near 60 with simple assessment inspections. Does the queen have work to do? . They really won't do much comb making for expansion till later in the year, but if you slip a blank frame in the nest they will do it. You should watch for a nest that has nothing for the queen to do, or close to it. If you don't find much space with empty cells all cleaned out, and emerging brood, pull up 1 to 3 frames to the top box and add empties in their place. If it's cool yet, add to the side of the nest. If warming up and stronger colony, stick them right in the nest spaced away from each other. You could do a frame in each box that the nest is in. Put the frames with brood going up, to the top of the nest. There are some variables, like how strong the colony and temps, that would dictate where to move what, and how many. Even one empty frame next to the last brood frame in an upper box would satisfy them a while. As soon as it's drawn and getting filled, do it again in another spot.

  19. #278
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    You can learn to see an approaching swarm and take action before it's critical stage. Early signs are a filled nest with no room to go up or out. Early in the year, empty space above doesnt always mean theres room to them if theres no drawn comb up there. I saw them stop and not see foundation as expansion room too. They need a drawn frame up there for convincing. The later signs of swarm prep are empty cells from newly emerged bees getting filled with nectar. As you know, they need to be convinced they aren't prepared to swarm before cells are made. Here's to another year of learning more about bees.

  20. #279
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    Your post was how I intended to handle it last year but I started too late. This year, I still have 5 hives that I have to do that way and I was planning on starting sooner. Last year I was just waiting till the first 70 degree day in april and it just happenned to be the day they swarmed. I had thought I was good till april 15 no matter what and on most years that is probly true.

    I was just thinking on the hives with three mediums that a simple rotation might gain me time till it was a little warmer and on those hives, if I make it to warm wether, I can just pull brood frames up into empty space. I am probly rushing it but I had done made my mind up to go for 60 degree days early april compared to waiting for a 70 degree day. I do understand your point of looking for fullness and laying area and was going to do that but am moving the temp down to 60 degrees so I can look earlier.

    I did put the empty space on top of the hive the other day as a cold wether experment, cause if I don't see real bad effects on it, I will be more comfortable lifting frames from the brood nest earlier then I thought I could, if needed.

    I knew your advice above and it was even my plan but the actual doing it apparrently still confuses me. I do thank you for writing it and trust your advice. Now lets just see if I can impliment it. Time will tell.

    I did think I might handle the bigger hives by the box rather then by the frame but this could be a mistake on my part.

    The other issue with my smallest hive is that it has a sugar block on it and way to much stores in comb in a single medium box. It does not have the bee density to spread things out though what is there looks healthy. On it, I see no way to help it except to maby move an empty comb from a differrent hive for the queen to lay in.

    I will figure it out. I hope your alergic reation was a bit of a fluke and that your work schedual and bees don't interfere with you too bad this year. Good luck with the bees.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  21. #280
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,055

    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    I did have a bit of a brain storm after rereading your last post. My whole concern of opening the brood nest early has been what to do with the comb I am pulling out. I do it all the time when it is 80 and 90 out but in the cold, I have no where to go with the frame I remove unless I put an empty box on. I got to thinking that maby I could pull a frame from each hive and shake the bees off and put all the pulled frames in one box together and put it on my single medium hive and it would strengthen it and weaken the others and would not create as much empty space on all the hives till it got warmer and I did it again on all the hives.

    Even if the foragers in the single medium had to cover double brood till some hatched, it has lots of stores in it right now.

    This might kill two problims that I have due to having no drawn comb.
    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

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