GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees. - Page 34
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  1. #661
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Did not ask; I will email and ask her.

    I am not surprised to see most any bees survive one winter, I had enough of those.
    The second winter is hard to achieve.
    She said:
    No chemical treatments, although I did check for mites. They’ve been a very strong/hygienic set of bees all on their own. I don’t interfere with them very much!
    I believe this is not uncommon for a fresh package to look just like that the first season (it is was likely aggressively treated before being sold).
    Hence the impression of "very strong/hygienic" bees.

    However, I am still wanting to test out those Warre-like hives on natural comb for myself.
    Just for the ergonomy of them.
    That's what the lady has.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #662
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    interesting as I see very little drone comb and low mites loads form my fly backs (but saw a lot of poor queens) how did you set them up?
    A classic fly-back:
    - a queen on a frame with brood where she was found - she stays in the old hive
    - fill the old hive with the frames with crap combs after the honey harvest they way I do it (like the pictured)
    20200513_112042.jpg20200112_143551.jpg
    - those crap combs usually have sections of drone comb in them and the old queen usually fill them out very well with the drone
    - but even when they repair the combs and fill in the cut-outs, they often build drone comb into them.

    In general, I get lots of drone; as much as I want to have it - I get. And them some.

    The fly-back splits supposed to be cutting the mites down - in theory it makes sense.
    However, so far every time I did the fly-backs my way - they crashed in early fall/mid fall.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #663
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I think your letting your prejudices blind you
    They have performed at least as well as anything you have had, she had a much higher survival rate then your TF experiences.
    if you had started these hives from swarms and they were sitting your yard, strong enuf to swarm early you would be jumping up and down and telling all of us you had found "it" they all overwintered and were strong

    maybe they swarmed in the 1st year in the small boxes, maybe she got commercial VSH stock (Sam Comfort buys hundreds of VSH cells a year), maybe the warre is better suited to TF in your area, maybe she wasn't next to collapsing TF hives, Maybe her management was different
    stuff to look in to
    But I wouldn't discount the stock just because it was purchased
    if I was you, I would be hitting her up and letting her know if she doesn't go thin out the queen cells the hive can swarm a few more times, and gee you willing to come show her how .. break the swam in to mating nucs and use those cells

    ahh your providing comb
    the "classic" flyback doesn't use drawn comb, the shortage keeps them in expansion mode drawing about as fast ans the queen can lay and like a swarm they don't draw much drone
    Last edited by msl; 05-13-2020 at 10:55 AM.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  5. #664
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I think your letting your prejudices blind you........
    I know one thing - this season I will be ruthlessly combining the hives in fall.
    Whatever they are (package, feral, TF source) - any units with the mite counts low enough (the ultimate grading which I did not practice before) - these colonies will be dumped 2 and 3 together in fall.

    If I have 20 units in August again (entirely possible with my ways) - I will combine them down to 5-10 and let them ride it out.
    Will take 50% loss in fall artificially.

    If made urgent combines in March and April this spring (which I did not), I could have at least 1-2 units of my own.
    This late winter/early spring attrition is a killer in my climate.
    (last snow we had this year so far - May 10; last below freezing night so far - May 9 to May 10).
    Last edited by GregV; 05-13-2020 at 01:50 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #665
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Greg, sorry to hear about the last hive going south on you. Best of luck with the swarm trapping this year. Maybe you will get some decent genetics, if you can avoid those package swarms.
    Thanks.
    I have to say, I am somewhat optimistic with the package swarms - the second year in a row now they have been selling Russian packages (from unknown Russian supplier).
    So the Russian genetics are entering the pool.
    There have to be some swarms from the last year's packages.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #666
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    .........
    ahh your providing comb
    the "classic" flyback doesn't use drawn comb, the shortage keeps them in expansion mode drawing about as fast ans the queen can lay and like a swarm they don't draw much drone
    It just depends, MSL.
    IF I have those cut-out frames - I will put them in checker-boarded.
    Look at the picture - one frame is 100% cut-out; the other 40% cut-out.
    I would checkerboard them - there is PLENTY of comb building to do.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #667
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    GregV:

    I am sincerely sorry to hear about your final hive from last year failing, and I do earnestly hope you are able to secure some suitable genetics this year that can serve as the basis of your operation going forward.

    While I am in no position to offer you advice, my humble opinion is that your idea of combining weaker colonies at the end of the season seems meritorious to me.

    Looking at it from the other angle, would more modest splitting efforts give fewer and more populous colonies the opportunity to get better set-up for the long, harsh winters you deal with or are you assuming that the colonies are dealing with smaller clusters due directly to mite load issues?
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  9. #668
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    I am sincerely sorry to hear about your final hive from last year failing, and I do earnestly hope you are able to secure some suitable genetics this year that can serve as the basis of your operation going forward.

    While I am in no position to offer you advice, my humble opinion is that your idea of combining weaker colonies at the end of the season seems meritorious to me.

    Looking at it from the other angle, would more modest splitting efforts give fewer and more populous colonies the opportunity to get better set-up for the long, harsh winters you deal with or are you assuming that the colonies are dealing with smaller clusters due directly to mite load issues?
    I think, Russ, I need to start measuring the mite situation so I know what I have on hand.
    Until I know the mite situation (outside of obvious cases) - I really can not plan my steps ahead properly.
    For example, combining a high-mite unit with a low-mite unit would be a bad decision.

    I feel making and mating more (not fewer) queens is a good approach - this way you have many more possible mating outcomes (rolling the dice more times is better and provides more options to choose from).

    In general, without OA treatments, even a low-mite unit will likely have prohibitively high rate of attrition (in my conditions).
    So starting the winter with a much bigger than average body count should pull you thru.
    That is the plan.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #669
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Well, gee, caught me a second swarm today.
    Small, but enough to raise bees for queen mating purposes.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #670
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I think, Russ, I need to start measuring the mite situation so I know what I have on hand.
    Until I know the mite situation (outside of obvious cases) - I really can not plan my steps ahead properly.
    For example, combining a high-mite unit with a low-mite unit would be a bad decision.

    I feel making and mating more (not fewer) queens is a good approach - this way you have many more possible mating outcomes (rolling the dice more times is better and provides more options to choose from).
    GregV:

    Thank you for your feedback, and I apologize for my delay in reply. I certainly cannot argue with your logic. Makes sense to me.

    Also, I recognize (though maybe cannot fully appreciate) that your season and foraging conditions are quite a bit different than mine.

    For my part, I seem to always get bitten when I get too aggressive in dividing up resources, likely due in large part to our relatively short but intense foraging period.

    Glad to hear that you have some new swarm material to work with- here's hoping that both turn out to be diamonds in the rough.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  12. #671
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    In general, without OA treatments, even a low-mite unit will likely have prohibitively high rate of attrition (in my conditions).
    So starting the winter with a much bigger than average body count should pull you thru.
    yet, the lady with the little warres had much better survival rate then you have had, there may be something to it.
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  13. #672
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    yet, the lady with the little warres had much better survival rate then you have had, there may be something to it.
    could be heat

    GG

  14. #673
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    OK, got traps in 8 locations.
    Fingers crossed (darn rain!!!!)

    Hopefully, in few weeks I get enough host units (of random origins) from the swarm chasing program 2020.
    Then we'll see.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #674
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    OK, got traps in 8 locations.
    Fingers crossed (darn rain!!!!)

    Hopefully, in few weeks I get enough host units (of random origins) from the swarm chasing program 2020.
    Then we'll see.
    Rain is GOOD, the die off is delayed by each rain day and the crowing increases. then on the first nice day they swarm....
    If the spots have produced, they should again.

    good luck Greg

    GG

  16. #675
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    ^yep

    swinging back around
    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    In late August of 2016, I took a small swarm off a branch.
    These ones (look at the conditions):
    Attachment 55921
    Hived them into a plywood trap hive and fed them straight sugar ('cause I had nothing else).
    They overwintered OK...
    we see small working again
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  17. #676
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ^yep

    swinging back around

    we see small working again
    I don't really know what this means and implies.

    <deleted comment>
    Last edited by GregV; 05-22-2020 at 01:20 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #677
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    OK, got traps in 8 locations.
    Fingers crossed (darn rain!!!!)

    Hopefully, in few weeks I get enough host units (of random origins) from the swarm chasing program 2020.
    Then we'll see.
    The uncertainty of swarm trapping is half the fun, right?

    Good luck- hopefully some of your catches are genetic winners.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  19. #678
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    The uncertainty of swarm trapping is half the fun, right?

    Good luck- hopefully some of your catches are genetic winners.

    Russ
    I don't know if there will be any winners in my suburbia.
    For some reason I feel as if I don't care as much since it is hard to work against the tide of the imported packages.
    It seems as if the interest in bee purchases only increased around here.
    The local seller kept bringing more and more shipments.
    Every time she would send spam around about the "last chance" to buy the bees.
    Then the show repeated again, and again.

    I accidentally helped a new beek who did not even own a smoker or a hive tool (she did not know of their usefulness, but she owned the bees).
    What I observe is basically out of control disaster and the bee sellers are complicit in that, in my view.

    Oh well, as long as I get quality bee products at the expense of my time - this program works for me.
    Ultimately, I am a "foodie" and suburban survivalist and why I decided to bother with the bees in the first place, after much deliberation.
    With that, I will just continue my bottom feeding operations because I can.
    It is like being next to a huge commercial bee yard here and the free bees will be always available for short-term exploiting them.

    I suppose the Russian bees are becoming a vogue lately, so who knows what will be flying about.
    And of course, some people will be quickly disenchanted with them because they cannot "keep their bees in t-shorts and flops" (Sam Comfort style).
    Maybe I can salvage some mean queen that way from some frightened suburbanite newbie.


    For only $200 one can get a local Russian nuc from Washington Island, WI.
    https://mailchi.mp/02b89b42e004/russ...7?e=ac19e703c3
    Too bad, most people already spent their budgets on the "almond bee" packages.

    Interest in my backyard is gone down to zero.
    I feel several rainy days interrupted some pending swarms somewhere.
    Bummer.
    But this is how it went last year too on the backyard (lots if interest --> nothing --> sudden interest resurgence --> swarm).
    Still early in the season.

    At least the May 12th swarm is booming.
    Inspected them after two-week grace period and I like them OK.
    I will make some queens from them and mate them using little foam shipping containers for the fun of it.
    Then decide what to do next.

    Of interest, I visited my not-meant-to-be breeding colony yesterday as I need to reorganize my equipment.
    The darn things are still alive (one-two handfuls maybe) and are still tending to their drones.
    Drones are flying.
    I let them do it for as long as they can.
    I want those drones to be patrolling the vicinity.

    Of double-interest - I was thinking - how old are these bees?
    I even saw one bee bringing in pollen.
    They may have hatched in winter, as I just don't believe these bees are still from fall 2019.
    20200526_173245.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 05-27-2020 at 08:46 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #679
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    Default

    GregV:

    While it is sheer speculation on my part, I would not be surprised to learn that there are either individual bees and / or genetic profiles that live significantly longer than average- part of Brother Adam's definition for vitality included longevity, which just makes sense to me.

    While I understand that your program does not require a stellar overwintering percentage, I do selfishly hope you latch on to some good bees that work well for you despite all the challenges.

    Glad to read that you've got some interesting things developing.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  21. #680
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    No scouts here either, since I split my bigger colony a few days ago. No scouts from outside my hives either, which seems a bit odd. Still, it is early. I do know one local no longer has bees, sold the house and moved last fall. I suspect his were the source of the swarm I caught last May, since he was closest at only a few hundred meters away. I know of a few more backyard hives within a mile or less.

    I had a very weak colony, a few hundred bees that survived until fall. They fought moths and SHBs and eventually absconded after I tried rehiving them and moving them. It was interesting to watch them over the months as they very slowly increased the brood patch from a few inches across. Between the bugs and bad beekeeper they didn't have much chance. They became weak because I had overwrapped the colony in winter and they got very wet. Now I would try putting them in a nuc with a tiny entrance early in the spring to help them control the internal conditions better and more defensible. Since then I am trying just insulation on top and it appears to be a lot better.

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