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  1. #421
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    gww, I think the bees know where the season is and won't get too fired up brooding at this point. I understood it that nectar flow is the trigger for brooding up, but could be wrong about that. They go through a pile of honey with brooding. I should be checking the chicken food dust here just for kicks.

    You may be right about the, 'till I retire'. I could use another location, but I wouldn't want it very far away or I wouldn't get to it often enough. I could have a spot 30+ minutes away, but not sure I want to do that. I have considered scaling way back to just a handful of hives, but it's fun to get all the buckets o' honey in July. It is a lot of work though and one daughter got married last April which reduces my slaves to 3, including my wife. They are very good sports with it all.

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  3. #422
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    My dad is twelve miles away and I have not been able to make myself put a hive there and I am curious about the forage there.

    My wife makes it work here and the only thing the kids do is get hand outs. They got there own kids.

    Check the trash cans at the gas station and see if there are bees, probably as good as chicken feed.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #423
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Different locations can make a difference. i had a location about 12 miles out last summer, but when I put three hives there, they lost weight while the ones on my property gained. It was during summer and the other location was 75% trees and lake.

  5. #424
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    It was during summer and the other location was 75% trees
    Google map show my area to be close to this and dads to be more open and crop land. It is a big enough difference to make me almost curious enough to get off my butt and try it. I can not believe how lazy I am.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  6. #425
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Yeah you lazy guy, you make your bee hives starting with a tree. I don't think I would want to do that.

  7. #426
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    If you only knew the truth.
    Ha ha.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps only took four years to get about 20 hives built.
    zone 5b

  8. #427
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I just thought I would put an over all kinda view of my dumb interpretation of where I am this year in case I want to someday look back and laugh at myself.

    I still can not make heads or tails of what I see when I see it.

    I only looked at about half of the hives today. My impression was that most were still lite as far as stores go. Not much wax is being drawn yet on any real scale. I have a few that I can see quite a few adult bees dead in front of the hives. Last time one of these had real spotty brood but this time had some good laying patterns.

    I had one small hive that was a split last year that pretty much had almost all the brood hatched out, poor pattern and I could not find any new brood being laid. I did not see the queen and I did not add a frame of brood. This hive had lots of drone in it and it had some dead bees through out the hive and inside the hive. It did not seem to be laying worker cause I would have seen some capped drone brood if so, you would think. Me being me, I will probably not intercede and see what happens. The bees are active and bringing lots of pollen in and we had lots of rain and it could be queen shutdown due to starvation or brood disease or queen-less. Maybe it superceeded and I missed it though I see no sign of broken queen cells. Time will tell.

    I had another hive that I saw the queen in that I did find a broken queen cell and only hatching brood (no new) and good stores, last time I looked. I had put the honey on the bottom of this hive so the bees might move it. The queen was a skinny little thing when I saw her. This hive now has capped brood and so it seems to be ok.

    I had a smaller hive that I found an almost finished (3/4 way) queen cell on a honey comb. I broke it open and it was dry. I tipped the brood box and it had lots of queen cups but all seemed dry. What I don't understand is how much honey this hive has in it compared to others I looked at including bigger hives. They seem to be just barely starting to draw some wax. Looks like I put a few empty frames in the brood nest and changed their mind or they are just a lot healthier then the other hives.

    The bees are very busy but I am not sure on what.

    I can not make sense out of what I see and so I am just going to keep watching. I may lose my end hive that had dead bees actually in the hive and no brood. I could try harder to intercede but am not sure what I am dealing with. It might be a case of good riddance. Of course, I could change my mind tomorrow and do something different. I am just winging it.

    There is not one time that I look in the hives and still don't feel like a dumb ass when it comes to reading the signs.

    Over all, I am satisfied that I still have live bees and they may make a little honey.

    I did notice the smaller hives and especially the one with almost no brood all had the worst attitudes of my nice bees. I did only get stung once in about an hour and a half or two in the hives but I do work slow. I could tell the difference in hives though.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  9. #428
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I will add my thoughts through your post here:


    I just thought I would put an over all kinda view of my dumb interpretation of where I am this year in case I want to someday look back and laugh at myself.

    I still can not make heads or tails of what I see when I see it.

    I only looked at about half of the hives today. My impression was that most were still lite as far as stores go. Not much wax is being drawn yet on any real scale. I have a few that I can see quite a few adult bees dead in front of the hives. Last time one of these had real spotty brood but this time had some good laying patterns.
    Any time of year I find they don't build any comb unless they need it, so if they have a place to lay and store, there'd be little comb built unless you put an empty in the brood nest. Also, this time of year they seem to use up most of what they bring in for brooding. I most of the time don't see too many extra frames of stores unless there's an unusual flow like Russian Olive or Locust trees. A full week of cold and wet with no flying can run them dry in May.

    I had one small hive that was a split last year that pretty much had almost all the brood hatched out, poor pattern and I could not find any new brood being laid. I did not see the queen and I did not add a frame of brood. This hive had lots of drone in it and it had some dead bees through out the hive and inside the hive. It did not seem to be laying worker cause I would have seen some capped drone brood if so, you would think. Me being me, I will probably not intercede and see what happens. The bees are active and bringing lots of pollen in and we had lots of rain and it could be queen shutdown due to starvation or brood disease or queen-less. Maybe it superceeded and I missed it though I see no sign of broken queen cells. Time will tell.
    Sounds like this one swarmed. They can swarm fast and all signs can be gone except some capped brood after a week. The new queen generally won't be laying till all or most of the brood is gone. If most of the brood is emerged after a swarm, it would have been over 2 weeks ago.

    I had another hive that I saw the queen in that I did find a broken queen cell and only hatching brood (no new) and good stores, last time I looked. I had put the honey on the bottom of this hive so the bees might move it. The queen was a skinny little thing when I saw her. This hive now has capped brood and so it seems to be ok.
    Queens are small before they mate. Maybe another swarm and the new queen is in business.

    I had a smaller hive that I found an almost finished (3/4 way) queen cell on a honey comb. I broke it open and it was dry. I tipped the brood box and it had lots of queen cups but all seemed dry. What I don't understand is how much honey this hive has in it compared to others I looked at including bigger hives. They seem to be just barely starting to draw some wax. Looks like I put a few empty frames in the brood nest and changed their mind or they are just a lot healthier then the other hives.
    They can build some pretty long cups sometimes, but it may be a sign they are close to swarming. What did their brood look like in this one? Maybe it swarmed a while back and they were able to store more nectar because no brood was being fed. Maybe that 3/4 queen cell was a used one.

    The bees are very busy but I am not sure on what.

    I can not make sense out of what I see and so I am just going to keep watching. I may lose my end hive that had dead bees actually in the hive and no brood. I could try harder to intercede but am not sure what I am dealing with. It might be a case of good riddance. Of course, I could change my mind tomorrow and do something different. I am just winging it.
    I am sure you make more sense out of things than you used to. You may benefit from having someone nearby walk you through inspections for a while. One thing to always consider is the time cycle of brood, time cycle of swarming, and what you see. What's up with the brood tells you everything about the queen and it's queenlyness.

    There is not one time that I look in the hives and still don't feel like a dumb ass when it comes to reading the signs.

    Over all, I am satisfied that I still have live bees and they may make a little honey.

    I did notice the smaller hives and especially the one with almost no brood all had the worst attitudes of my nice bees. I did only get stung once in about an hour and a half or two in the hives but I do work slow. I could tell the difference in hives though.
    When they are planning to swarm they often seem to get crabby.
    Cheers
    gww

    Hope it all helped.

  10. #429
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    I think, but I am not sure, that I have been in the hives that might have swarmed enough that the timing would not have been there for them to hide it from me. I have not got in every hive every 5 to 7 days but have been spot checking and getting an average using about half the hives once a week or every warm day.

    I also have traps at my house that usually let me know cause even if the swarm does not end up in the trap, they usually check it fast.

    It is not impossible that I missed stuff cause the weather has not been good.

    In my case, I have not found the brood telling me everything cause many times it looks so bad to make me think disease and then later it looks solid. I only know one bee keeper and he offered earlier that if I helped him, he would help me. His hives are the only bees that I have seen in my whole life that were not mine. I have not used him too much for two reasons.
    1. He is probably busier then I am and I hate to bother him (and I feel guilty when I owe people)
    2. He is a resource that I don't want to ruin. He knows 50 times more then I do but I know some things he doesn't cause he does not need to, he has his routine that works for him. I hate for him to advise me and then me not do it because he may take it wrong and I don't want to burn bridges.

    One thing that he does is he reduces space to minimum early spring to crowd the bees. If they make queen cells, he splits. I usually add space as early as I can get in the hive to the point of disheartening the bees. I throw empties in the edge of the brood nest as early as I can. I realize some of this slows the bees down which is my goal of sorts, buys me time before swarming really gets going. I am foundationless with no extra comb.

    On the crabbiness, I thought of swarm intent of being one reason. I love when you take what I said and put your thoughts to it. To me, it does reflect that you know more about bees and bee behavior then me. Your advice has calmed me down many times, especially early on when waiting on queens to mate.

    I do not inspect the brood more then to see the pattern and look for cups and whether they are wet or not. Even then, I will only tip or only pull three or four brood frames and figure it good if I find nothing doing just that much.

    I do have issue with brood and what I see cause the hives are not all the same and like I said, it can look almost diseased one time and then clean up and be solid in a couple week.

    I did think the one that I found the broken queen cell and then seen the skinny queen, might have been a superceedure due to the amount of honey that they had below the brood box which I moved even further down to the bottom. It is now got brood and so I think that one was called right. I don't think any of them have swarmed but know I am sloppy also and that my little tactics of keeping track may have failed. I also have memory problems and can not remember what I have did with every hive every time.

    This is also the first year that I have only been looking at half of the hives every five or so days. Last year I looked at all every time. Trying to get smarter and do less.

    Have you had any swarms yet? Are your bees drawing wax yet? How are your hives doing? Are you making splits or holding steady. Have you got used to wearing gloves and is that helping with the allergy? Only answer if you feel like typing of course.

    I am always thankful for any thought you are willing to give.
    Thanks.
    gww

    Ps Most times (not every time) I can only see capped brood and the pattern. I can look for larva and eggs but very seldom do I find them and when I do it is because of some very big larva getting smaller. I look but don't see. You ask about the pattern on the hive with the 3/4 built queen cup. The brood pattern was good and capped and I do not think they swarmed. They are using the bottom box though. I did not rotate boxes and several hives do have comb in the bottom box that they don't seem to be filling or using yet. They would have to go down to use it.
    Last edited by gww; 05-14-2019 at 04:26 PM.
    zone 5b

  11. #430
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I was thinking swarming because this is the time of year and didn't think supersedure I guess. It sure could be that since they are similar iin result. I know lately here the weather has hindered some inspection when I wanted to check hives, and swarming happens fast. I have had now three hives with a failing queen this spring. All three swarmed last September I think. Poorly mated queens I presume.

    One think I look for is, does the queen have plenty of room to lay today, and are the bees keeping a spot open for her. If they aren't keeping cell areas open for her, they are probably swarm mode. Sometimes if I am not sure, I keep digging till I think I am sure. One thing you write about brood looking bad, then good, could be just the time of emerging. Sometimes a frame looks bad because it's just the right time to see a frame of emerging brood where they don't all open up at the exact same time. I think frames can also be jumbled up time wise with ages of brood.

    There's also an issue with European foul brood, where a hive can battle it for just a short while and after a few weeks get a handle on it. May is the most likely time it's supposed to appear. You should read up and study that subject and see if they are experiencing a bit of that. It can come and go when conditions change in the hive, like a larger flow volume or a change of buildup or queen change with brood break.

    I am glad I have been helpful sometimes, but be aware that I am only sharing what I think, and don't have it all figured out myself.

    I haven't had any swarming yet, but need to check today most of the hives. I find small amounts of wax drawn where there was partially drawn foundation being completed. I have extra drawn comb yet so I keep them with some extra now. My hives that remain are building up well enough. Several are getting very large and strong, but I am using them to equalize smaller ones and discourage swarming.

    My hands are surviving ok. I tend to get a reaction on one of my wrists sometimes, probably from taking off and re using a pair of gloves. My hand have become sensitive to too many things so I wear gloves a lot.

    I can see new wet brood and eggs if the comb is dark enough and the sun is out, but I am having some struggle to see them now. Just the pattern of older open brood in the middle to just a wet spot going outward in the cell tells a lot, and I am assuming the empty looking cells around all that is eggs or soon to be eggs. the whole cycle of brood should be seen on the frames, including empty polished up cells.

    I am lazy too gww, but about reading and typing words, but I enjoy the communication with you when I get to it.

    It's been a splendid spring this year. It has been steadily increasing temps instead of going to 90 right away, and there's been so many perfect days in the last month. Even today. I have also not been too busy in the shop, which isn't so good for the wallet, but it makes it easier to enjoy the property this spring.

  12. #431
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    danial
    One think I look for is, does the queen have plenty of room to lay today, and are the bees keeping a spot open for her. If they aren't keeping cell areas open for her, they are probably swarm mode. Sometimes if I am not sure, I keep digging till I think I am sure. One thing you write about brood looking bad, then good, could be just the time of emerging. Sometimes a frame looks bad because it's just the right time to see a frame of emerging brood where they don't all open up at the exact same time. I think frames can also be jumbled up time wise with ages of brood.
    I am going to try and remember to considerate on this the next time I get in the hives. I do notice that pollen is taking the place of some brood in the middle of it.

    I have been reading the efb stuff that has recently popped up on this site and it was in my mind when looking at the bad brood patterns. I have always had some hives with bad brood but have always seen changes also. I get paranoid and then it goes good. The one hive did look the worst I have seen but the big hive was pretty bad two weeks ago and it is good now. I should look harder at times but sometimes stuff I see stumps me and it is time to close up and think about it for a little bit.

    You must not be stealing enough honey if you are getting september swarms.

    I looked at the bad hive first yesterday and was half heartedly looking for a good frame of open brood to put in it but did not easily see anything that I thought fit and so decided to just see what happens for the learning of it. I am still thinking on it. It is a cheap insurance to put one in but I may learn something by taking the risk and not doing it.

    I agree on the spring being slow and steady. I did think we lost some bloom due to it being knocked off with rain and this last spell had me a little worried cause it became enough rain. I did read a book that michael palmer suggested on honey production and he promoted that he always did worse in the wet years. If the bees can fly, that seems counter intuitive to me. I hope it does not dry up too bad and it would be nice if the flow could last longer then mid june this year.

    I also wish I could make myself take a few more pictures when I inspect. I start with good intentions but then say heck with it when the time comes to do the work.
    Here is the only picture I took all year long during and April inspection.

    Thanks
    gww
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  13. #432
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Last September the flow was way stronger than I expected and the swarms got away, 5 or 6 maybe. I wasn't observant enough and probably too lazy or distracted too much about the hives last fall. I haven't had to deal with fall swarming before. They brought very little in October and nothing in November, plus I didn't feed them there was so much on. I did put on bricks though.

    I checked about a dozen hives this morning and they are bringing in extra right now. Russian olive again. I have a couple hives up to 6 mediums, with brood in 4, and very strong already. My very small hives have built up well too, plus I am adding a frame of capped brood once in a while from the big ones to ward off swarming. They aught to produce good if I can keep them from swarming. I am on it this spring. I plan to get through the rest today to know where they are at. It's been cool and wet and I didn't get into them for a while.

    I would guess a wet year could be a hindrance to honey making. We have enough moisture in the ground to assure a good start to the main flow right now. It's looking good.

    I don't see any brood on that frame gww. Ha. They need some space maybe. I think about pictures sometimes too, but propolis and a messed up camera comes to mind when I think about grabbing one.

  14. #433
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    Good luck on your inspections today.

    That was a brood frame and the point of the picture though after I took it, I knew the brood could not bee seen. It would be easy for them to hide queen cells when covering like that if not shaken off. It was a cool day and the bees were sticking like glue. Probably not that good for the brood being cool but sure was nice for me. I get hot.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #434
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Inspections went well. All are building up well. Some started very small but are getting big enough that they may do well during the main flow. I most of the hives got more space today. A couple can wait till Monday I think. I was thinking about your observations about a hive having bad brood patterns and the next week they looked good. A couple hives had some frames that looked scattered, then the next box down had full capped frames one after another. I did see a pollen frame that had scattered new brood on the frame within the pollen on the frame. It may be that the bees are removing the pollen for the queen and it couldn't wait. There are oddities like that which can cause brood scattering.

    I was just being funny, or trying to, about not seeing brood on your frame. It looked like a hive that was packed with bees.

    I enjoyed my bees today, but finished till next week.

  16. #435
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    <p>
    I usually enjoy inspecting once I get rolling if the bees are not jumping at me. I have inspected four times and only got stung twice and so think my bees are ok since I wear shorts and crocks and a short sleave shirt. That does not mean that I don&#39;t lose some time backing off and letting the ones that circle me calm down. I use lots of smoke and that may be part of the reason I don&#39;t see my queens too often.</p>
    <p>
    I always feel better when done though but usually a little confused also. The typing a little of what I see, helps me think about it and put some sense into what I might have seen and feed back helps with that. So I half dread and half can not make myself wait long enough for the next inspection. I like to guess what is going on inside based on what I see outside and when I look, I am usually surprized at the difference of truth compared to immagination.</p>
    <p>
    It is good to hear your hives are doing good. Mine just being alive seems good to me. I have more space then the bees need on the hives and do have empty comb in most but they really fill space fast when the brood does hatch. I will know more when they get it full and start drawing wax hard. I do not think they are consintrating on wax drawing too bad yet cause even the emties that are in the actual brood nest itself is not all drawn out yet and it has been a couple of weeks. I know they can draw a medium frame in a few days when they get rolling.</p>
    <p>
    I think I am where I should be at this time of year for my management style but am not positive due to not doing it long enough. I am also surprized that I have not lost control of swarming like I did my very first year and that makes me question health of the bees but I think I am ok.</p>
    <p>
    I will quit bugging you now but was happy to get a read out on your bees to compare mine with.</p>
    <p>
    Thanks</p>
    <p>
    gww</p>
    <p>
    Ps Something wrong with this site or my computer with how my spacing is coming out in the text.</p>
    zone 5b

  17. #436
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    I don't have enough time to be slow and calm with the bees, so I suit up with jacket and veil and nitrile gloves. I still got zinged maybe 4-5 times today. they can get through the gloves if they want to. One sting happened and I then realized the thumb of my glove was torn off. One hive got testy on me today, but the rest were going about business mostly. I go a bit quickly and this time of year I tear into them fairly good.

    It's funny that you benefit from typing that it helps you understand a bit better. I feel like I understand what I am seeing and can keep track fairly well till I have 20+ hives, but then don't want to type it out because it makes more sense in my head than typing it out.

    Swarm control is the biggest thing for me to keep in check. You've done pretty well with your bees, being foundationless and no treatments. If you keep splitting and growing like I did, you may get a bit woozy when you get past 20. If you have all kinds of spare time, maybe you can deal with it just fine.

    You aren't bugging me gww. Good to hear you're doing well with the bugs.

  18. #437
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    Danial
    I have only made a few spits that the bees did not make me make. I am not really trying to expand but I get scared of not having as many as I have also. I mostly just go with the flow and go for a little honey. The only splits I did make was to see how to do it and what to expect.
    I don&#39;t know which way I want to go but am not unhappy staying static cause I have very little ambition. I am not losing money by doing it this way and it has not become a job which I don&#39;t want.
    I do enjoy the learning and am having fun playing around.
    I have something wrong with this site and do not know how to fix it.
    Cheers
    gww
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  19. #438
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    GWW:

    I finally made it through your thread and it was a real treat to read. A few observations:

    1. You are too modest- I've said it before, but I am impressed with your depth of knowledge and ability to synthesize the accumulated information that you have quickly taken in over a three year period. I am sure (like all of us) that you want to have a better handle on this beekeeping stuff, but you have certainly made it a pretty far pace down the road in a relatively short amount of time.

    2. You've been successful (IMHO)- If I followed correctly, you have only lost one colony through winter over the years?

    3. You've got a lot of life experience- How many guys can say they have kept bees, run a Chinese restaurant and own/operate their own sawmill?

    4. Narrow Frames- I saw one photo where you had 11 frames in a 10 frame box. Was this just cramming an extra in or have you experimented with 1-1/4" frame spacing?

    5. Swarm Traps- It sounds like you typically try to run all 10-frame medium equipment. Based on one photo I saw, are your swarm traps typically comprised of one (1) 10 frame medium box?

    6. Queen Coloring- I was surprised to read that you said all your queens are a consistent (and light) color. The queens I have interacted with thus far range in color from amber/yellow abdomens as you referred to, to very dark brown to the extent you can scarcely discern the banding. Just goes to show that even though you and I live fairly close together in relative terms, our genetic pools are likely very different.

    I do appreciate all the contributions you make here, and I will look forward to new installments on this thread.

    Sincerely,

    Russ

  20. #439
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    Default Re: bone head split so far, somebody save the day.

    russ
    I am a screw up. I just combined back a hive that I had sold a split out of and I don't know if either side has a queen but one side was starving and so I just set it on the other side with out news paper. It is right now time for mating flights and so if there are even queens, they may kill each other. I found a hive yesterday with lots of queen cells that look like swarm cells to me that are almost ready to cap. I found them cause I gave some bees to a guy that accidentally had an extra queen bought. It would be a lot of typing to go into it all.

    To your questions and comments.
    1. Answered above sorta.

    2. Yes, so far knock on wood, I have only lost one hive over winter. I have had a few splits that I put back together for various reasons and so do make mistakes but none that have caused me to go down in hive numbers depending on what happens with what I am currently playing with.

    3. " run a Chinese restaurant" Like mentioned in an earlier thread, I married up, my wife was the brains after I got her into the position with a bad ideal.

    4. Narrow frames. Well, sorta. I make my own frames and cut 1/16 less then 1 and 3/8th but they don't come out consistent and some are probably smaller then one and a quarter and some are probably wider. Mostly I can get 11 in a box though crowded some times.

    5. I run ten frame deeps for swarm traps with the ideal that if I ever need equipment, I will be able to cut them down to mediums.

    6. Don't put too much into my queen color. I have only seen one queen this year and I have looked hard a few times though mostly I inspect for general health. Who knows what my queen colors are but the ones I have seen are close to each other.

    I got scared cause of the queen cells I found and tried to look at more and maybe make a split before they were completely capped (They are close) and before I lost my queen but it started raining and so I may lose some bees real soon which for the time of year, amazes me. Was not expecting this and may not have even knew about it if that guy did not have an extra queen that needed taken care of.

    I could do much better but admit that I still don't know much, am confused and throw in lazy and I am surprised that I do as well as I do.
    I can't believe you took the time to read all this stuff, you must have really been bored.

    Cheers
    gww

    Ps, You can see that a couple of the guys that answered my pleas for help in this thread, really did help me quite a bit.
    zone 5b

  21. #440
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    879

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    I can't believe you took the time to read all this stuff, you must have really been bored.[/COLOR]
    Well, to be fair I have been reading 10 - 15 minutes of it a day for a week-and-a-half. That said, you have a lot of good advice and thoughts to offer and so I knew it was worth investing in.

    Keep up the good work and keep learning!

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