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  1. #461
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    #1 - the base (backyard)
    #2 - secondary base (the bus stop acquaintance property - 1/2 mile from the base)
    #3 - private preserve/farmstead (2-3 miles away)
    #4 - private farmstead (5-6 miles away)
    #5 - private preserve (5-6 miles away)
    #6 - commercial farm (2-3 miles away)
    #3

    Found a robbed out dead (the hive with blue markings).
    Last time I checked - it felt as if they fighting back vigorously.
    I taped them in and left.
    Well, the issues were bigger, obviously.
    No idea what happened - too dark and cold to bother with an inspection.
    The interesting point - this hive has meshed walls with the shavings in them (the bio-walls).
    Will dissect when/if warms up a bit.

    The other two units look healthy and set well.
    So two live units here.

    All three were daughters of my #1 queen.
    June anti-swarming splits.
    These are all hybrid super-deep bottom/standard supers above.
    Will need to revise the management in them next year.
    Rent - a large peanut butter jar.
    20191111_165350.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #462
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    Lots of action in your apiaries, GregV. So, what does that put your count at now?

    I am recognizing that as we broke several records down here for cold weather, this is normal operations for you- tougher to keep bees for sure (at least as regards overwintering).
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  4. #463
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    So, what does that put your count at now?.
    15/19.

    That max # 19 is of course is a very nominal # as it includes nucs at pretty fragile state I had along the way while expanding.
    But let it be 19.
    On the other hand - I lost 4 units so far - ALL lost units were very strong units UNTIL they were no more.
    And so, having strong units in August says nothing of their fate in November.

    Two of the 15 units are not really viable IMO (including the log hive test project).

    Will be 13 eventually.
    At that point - I don't count anyone out - any of the remaining 13 should be good enough to winter through.
    I also should be a better job than last winter (and the winter maybe a little milder too).

    I still need to do a brief on my base #2 - the best yard really.
    When have time.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #464
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    That max # 19 is of course is a very nominal # as it includes nucs at pretty fragile state I had along the way while expanding.
    But let it be 19.
    I suppose on the bright side you are a victim of your own success in queen rearing this summer- that's something encouraging to carry into future years to figure out how to build your nucs up and overwinter well for sustainable operations.

    On your big colonies that have failed, did you notice any varroa trouble this Fall before they collapsed? By doing mite drop counts I feel that I have *some* indication of mite levels but am always mindful that late summer appearances can be deceiving.

    At least for me here last year, the first stretch of cold weather was a good varroa weed-out event.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  6. #465
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    I suppose on the bright side you are a victim of your own success in queen rearing this summer- that's something encouraging to carry into future years to figure out how to build your nucs up and overwinter well for sustainable operations.

    On your big colonies that have failed, did you notice any varroa trouble this Fall before they collapsed? By doing mite drop counts I feel that I have *some* indication of mite levels but am always mindful that late summer appearances can be deceiving.

    At least for me here last year, the first stretch of cold weather was a good varroa weed-out event.
    I don't do mite counts (primarily because I really am always on the go; even then - I will not treat no matter the count - I guess the counts would be a useful piece of the info).
    Even then - mite # has no direct, clear, and immediate effect on bees with certain levels of resistance (resistance of different origins and nature, to clarify even further).
    Yes - it does have clear effect on highly susceptible bees - such bees I don't care for and don't need them.

    The 3 out of the 4 dead - clearly mite kills.
    The other - I will look when can - to document the eco-walls, the cause of death, etc.

    In general, I am yet to see a smallish nuc to be killed by mites (the wintering is the problem to be solved with these).
    If I figure out the formula to consistently over-winter enough mid/late summer nucs - I don't really care of any calamities then - these nucs in general are very healthy (just small - which can be mitigated by a variety of ways).

    The large units I find (especially, the overwintered units or prime swarms) are likely to be mite-killed - IF they go that way - good riddance as for me (especially, if I manage to keep their stores). Pretty much sometimes in September I already knew who are the suspects to be mite-killed and tried to mitigate potential robbing of those.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #466
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    In general, I am yet to see a smallish nuc to be killed by mites (the wintering is the problem to be solved with these).
    GregV: I hope you are able to get this system down to a fine science. I expect this would open up a lot of genetic opportunities for you.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  8. #467
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV: I hope you are able to get this system down to a fine science. I expect this would open up a lot of genetic opportunities for you.
    Thinking back - last year I made two small late nucs from a captured commercial swarm.
    Those were actually mite-infested junk units - took two Russian queens down with them.

    But those were an exception and a learning case - to avoid using untested swarms for anything worthwhile.

    I have created lots of nucs from my own lines - they never had classic mite burn down.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #468
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    ... avoid using untested swarms for anything worthwhile.
    This is where I think you are smart to have multiple yards- this crossed my mind when I brought home trap-outs this year... you never know what you might be unwittingly introducing into your yard.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  10. #469
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    This is where I think you are smart to have multiple yards- this crossed my mind when I brought home trap-outs this year... you never know what you might be unwittingly introducing into your yard.
    For what it is worth, both captured swarms this year got a whole yard to keep to themselves.
    Alone.
    One died.
    The other is looking very good.

    Well, I shook some bees out of the "dead" hive in September, when trying to boost my funny, September-mated queen (when I went around stealing some bees into my "jails").
    Figured, not much to loose there.
    They die because they have not enough bees OR they die by a mite OR they actually screw it all and live on.
    And so far it looks as if the September queen chose to "live on".
    Fingers crossed - she mated the right drones.

    BUT, the real damage occurs when you share mite infested brood.
    In the past, this is how I killed good queens - the brood sharing from untested swarms is stupidity deserving some punishment (which I got).
    Shaking few bees from a honey super is less fatal (not ideal, but should NOT be fatal).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #470
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    BUT, the real damage occurs when you share mite infested brood.
    Thanks for the feedback, GregV. I am going to definitely keep this admonition in mind for future retrieval.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  12. #471
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Had 2-3 hours to visit my base #2 (before the rainy mix drove me away).

    Among other things - opened up the test log hive.
    Bees appear fine; looks as if they even stored some honey (which can not be much for such a small cavity - four Land medium frames barely fit inside)
    OK, I decided they deserve my help wintering if they made it this far.

    I am curious to see how well this small cluster can do in a simulate tree cavity and so:
    - packed dry sugar to the max into the very limited space above the top bars (to extend the food supply to approximate what a normal tree dwellers would have)
    - insulated the junky board lid with sandwiched XPS/Reflectix - that should make the lid thermal resistance about R5-R6 (to compensate for the missing tree trunk above the cavity)
    - stapled wind break (to compensate for the non-perfect sims between the log pieces)
    - obstructed the upper entrance to reduce drafting some (the combs inside are warm way also)

    This should do it.
    If this simulated log works - technically, it should demonstrate how smallish feral bee colonies can survive on very little food stores IF the nest configuration is optimized.

    20191117_133428.jpg
    20191117_140231.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #472
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    If this simulated log works - technically, it should demonstrate how smallish feral bee colonies can survive on very little food stores IF the nest configuration is optimized.
    This is a neat set-up and experiment, GregV. Thanks for keeping us posted on this one. I hope for their part that they are able to make it.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  14. #473
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    This is a neat set-up and experiment, GregV. Thanks for keeping us posted on this one. I hope for their part that they are able to make it.
    And btw, this time I used some sticks to obstruct the upper entrance (bees still can get out and back inside, just less wind blows around).
    Previously, I used a piece of fabric to do the same - some animal pulled it out (I imagine a squirrel or mice were investigating; the same happened to a paper plug used before the fabric).
    So very definitely, the animals are trying to gain access inside through the 1" round entrances - too bad, they are facing 1/2" metal screen that is stapled inside the cavity.
    Metal is a must, so to minimize the death-by-a-varmint variable.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #474
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    And btw, this time I used some sticks to obstruct the upper entrance (bees still can get out and back inside, just less wind blows around).
    Now that you mention it, I can see the sticks in the photos- I'm pulling for this colony.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  16. #475
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    OK, pulled out of your "outline" (there are more talks in that list of the "four", but letting it slide):
    let's look at just these four issues: comb; genetics; natural food; and no treatments.
    Here is my hive, a classic mite-kill as of a month ago, where all of the above are a "check".
    With the original genetics being watered down, I presume, due to open mating - how do you address this, btw? do the TF-wanna-be people even understand the issue?:
    20191103_123532(1).jpg

    So I follow as close as I can your "four issues" (it does not hurt); I have implemented all of these.
    The importance of the genetics must be made in bold and in italics - not just mixed in casually as-if equal to the notorious 4.9mm rule (different subject).

    But you know how I manage to stay afloat?
    I just play the common sense business investment game - setup the yards in a distributed and redundant fashion, and propagate aggressively, and am mentally ready to absorb some loss (a significant loss).

    I'd probably sink by now if I did not follow the common sense risk management.
    If anything, the risk management should be at the top of the list - I'd say maybe #1.
    Some people pay serious money for the bees and stuff, you know.
    If you don't care/unable to manage risk, why bother?
    Where do you advise this in the 640 pages; really is hard to find?


    All in all - after all the time and expertise and the loss accumulated over the time, I wish I had one page of well defined sequential steps with identified dependencies AND in readable format in front of me to follow and implement to have a reasonable success in CF.
    It is an algorithm.
    The algorithms are built on a sequence of the defined steps, and the dependencies of those step, and the pre-requisits to be in place for the algorithm to succeed in the end.

    Been learning the hard way where need to separate noise from the few essentials (which is fine and fun, as it is for me personally).
    But why was all of these needed?

    I wish people around me just took that one page of tested and cross-tested, easy to understand, common sense TF instructions and implemented it.
    No. There is no such list.
    It causes me to keep pulling against the continuous stream of imported junk dump and the non-resistant local stock also.
    It costs a lot of time and resource to do this.
    Again, I am a masochistic person to a degree and enjoy the torture (if you are a long-distance runner, you have to be) - but this is one reason people don't practice TF in volume.
    Some shame.
    Last edited by GregV; 11-19-2019 at 11:49 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #476
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    #1 - the base (backyard)
    #2 - secondary base (the bus stop acquaintance property - 1/2 mile from the base)
    #3 - private preserve/farmstead (2-3 miles away)
    #4 - private farmstead (5-6 miles away)
    #5 - private preserve (5-6 miles away)
    #6 - commercial farm (2-3 miles away)
    #2.

    My best yard this season by far - 6 active units - all Thanks to my best overwintered queen.
    The #1 queen - the only overwintered descendant of my best line (in the open mating conditions; unfavorable too, due to the onslaught of the imports).

    She spawned off 8 splits (6 are going still) and still managed to load the hive with honey (including a full honey super for me also) and tons of newly drawn comb (ALL foundaton-less).
    This queen I want around for some years - all fingers and all toes are crossed.

    As I was auditing the project in terms of winter setups - I decided to just leave the #1 alone as is.
    These bees have it all propolised so well and solid - it will be shame to break apart their town.
    Only moved a couple of empty frames away; inserted a follower board at the end of the honey storage; done.
    They should have it all figured out for the winter; no need for my "help"; will winter on 12-13 frames or thereabout (did not count).
    Bees were unhappy already with me futzing about; these bees do pay attention - the best bee.
    20191103_155800.jpg
    20191103_155712.jpg
    20191117_150632.jpg

    Saving for the test log hive (that originated from some almond junk) - the rest of the units on this yards are July splits spawned off the #1.
    This is probably the best daughter - well packed 8 or 9 jumbo frames.
    She is sitting right next to her #1 Mom in a junky plywood temp 10-frame hive (will insulate some).
    20191117_144525.jpg

    Then a couple of OK splits (on 4 and 5 jumbo frames).
    Both daughters of #1 have a good chance I feel (the 4-framer took some mating games with the second runs at it and re-combines; need to practice redundant mating next year).
    Dumped the remaining almond junk out of the good hive, and gave these deserving two a better home (side-by-side they live).
    20191103_154040.jpg

    And finally, a dark-horse.
    A very strange mated daughter of #1 (not laying too well, possibly due to several close-family matings; took a while to get going; I donno).
    On the other hand, they are alive and so deserve a chance to carry the genetics forward.
    She is good at running and hiding too, just like her feisty Grandma (impossible to find).
    Also dumped the remaining almond junk bees in here - a questionable boost, am totally aware, but a boost was really needed - and washed my hands off.
    Last edited by GregV; 11-19-2019 at 11:46 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #477
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    The dark-horse home - just an improved temp hive - need extra insulating too.
    20191117_144555.jpg

    And the last unit here - the notorious test "tree" (when disassembled for transport and bee-less).
    20190623_203325.jpg

    And as it sits now, quite a natural setting:
    20191117_144425(1).jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 11-19-2019 at 09:36 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #478
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    No. There is no such list.
    GregV:

    Based on what I read, I think this is TF boiled-down into a slogan. It appears to be highly-dependent upon so many converging factors that I am convinced that no such 'cookbook' approach exists.

    That said, it seems that there are good apicultural fundamentals that serve well (or at least do no harm) regardless of ones' management approach- but probably none qualify as a law in the strict scientific sense, at least in terms of conferring TF success.

    Just my opinion, so discount it accordingly.

    Keep the interesting and thought-provoking discussions coming.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  20. #479
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    ..... I am convinced that no such 'cookbook' approach exists.

    Russ
    Well, Clayton Huestis right next door posted a very comprehensive list (one pager in a readable format).

    I like it and this is more what I am trying to formulate also - an general algorithm (with the prerequisites, dependencies, and the execution sequence).
    Suppose I already know my version of such algorithm - will give one more winter though!

    Such outline can be expanded as wide and as deep as one wants.
    But - it contains a very good skeleton - the main thing (I made my proposed addition of the feasibility study need).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #480
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Well, Clayton Huestis right next door posted a very comprehensive list (one pager in a readable format).
    No argument from me, GregV. It does seem like one good way to approach TF.

    I for one am routinely reminded that all beekeeping is local... or is that politics? 😉

    Best of success to you as your further develop and refine your approach.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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