GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees. - Page 6
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  1. #101
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    South Waikato New Zealand
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I put some ceiling insulation over the inner cover because I could feel the heat of the cluster through the cover.
    The reasoning behind doing this was, if I could feel that heat then it was escaping, if its escaping then the bees are losing it, so get it back down.
    Seems to be working so far.

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  3. #102
    Join Date
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Lately in that region they are getting into almost too much into experimentation, IMO.
    I say they experiment much more then here on the west.
    This is both bad and good.
    I am really pleased looking at the equipment options originating from down East.
    I also appreciate the folks sharing their experimentation - told them so few times.

    Speaking of the insulation, there is now a "no-insulation" crowd (as was presented), based on the premise that "the bees do not heat the hive". Well, that too depends on the equipment.

    Tree-type/warre-type hives are doing much better with no insulation and only insulated cover.

    Single box Dadants, on the other hand, are not doing too well with no insulation - too much energy dissipation - we just observed that. Even a minimal blanket on the top would be improvement.
    But 10R poly slab is an overkill too - they just stick to it as the warmest place in the hive; they eat all the honey through the tops, and they quickly run out of the stores in close reach.
    I have 2 inch poly on top of my hives in winter, mostly to prevent condensation there. I want it to happen on the sides, not the top of the cluster. Different decisions seem to be made re cluster location. Some are on top, some further down. Also different decisions re buildup timing. Some have filled 4 medium boxes by April (those get light quickly), and others bide their time. I had upper entrances for a time to reduce moisture, but I think that just makes things more difficult for small clusters to have that extra draft. Big clusters can deal with it. But overall I have done away with them for the winter time. What I like about some insulation is it gives a cluster some flexibility to reorganize during a cold spell after a warm one or if they have exhausted their local stores. I've seen some dead clusters that seem disorganized, like the cold settled in to quickly for them form a proper cluster. At some point I will do some experimenting with some measurables to see what difference it makes in terms of build up, weight etc.

  4. #103
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    At some point I will do some experimenting with some measurables to see what difference it makes in terms of build up, weight etc.
    I think I pretty much found my wintering formula, granted 1) my base frame is more tall than wide and 2) priority is to support small-cluster wintering.
    20171029_162036.jpg
    20171029_162018.jpg
    20171029_162125.jpg
    DSCN2476.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 01-17-2019 at 10:54 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #104
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    Jun 2018
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    I had upper entrances for a time to reduce moisture, but I think that just makes things more difficult for small clusters to have that extra draft. Big clusters can deal with it. But overall I have done away with them for the winter time. What I like about some insulation is it gives a cluster some flexibility to reorganize during a cold spell after a warm one or if they have exhausted their local stores.
    lharder:

    I appreciate this observation. This winter I elected to leave the upper entrances on as an experiment, but recent discussions on this and other threads have me questioning this approach. It is helpful to learn what you have noticed in this regard.

  6. #105
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Now we are talking some real winter and good wintering selection going.
    Equipment/setup testing too.
    Temps are in C's.
    20190123_135638.jpg
    Forecast20190124.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #106
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    Mar 2015
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    1,407

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    lharder:

    I appreciate this observation. This winter I elected to leave the upper entrances on as an experiment, but recent discussions on this and other threads have me questioning this approach. It is helpful to learn what you have noticed in this regard.
    I saw a presentation of a guy who insulated with and without top entrances. He put temperature and humidity sensors and recorded variations in both. Without a top entrance was a much more stable environment. I had decent wintering success compared to the previous year. However the previous year was much harsher in terms of repeated cold spells. Last winter was mild but long.

  8. #107

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

    Back to your original post. Your need or wish for some strong hives to die out. Just get in touch with your local bee club. Tell them you want to donate some bees to any new beekeeper who really cannot afford to buy bees. They bring a box. Shake all the bees into it. Instruct them on feeding for wax production and your done. At least the bees will have a chance and possibly this person will care for them and have the time to do so. Gone is gone whether dead or not. You have helped your neighbor and got your equipment back to play around with.

  9. #108
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    I saw a presentation of a guy who insulated with and without top entrances. He put temperature and humidity sensors and recorded variations in both. Without a top entrance was a much more stable environment.
    There is this recurring assumption that the external entrance must directly connect wintering bees to the outside.
    Many talks and studies keep dwelling on this same idea trying to solve unnecessary problems.
    Why?
    The direct exposure is unnecessary.
    Chimney effects through the nest are not necessary.
    You can do both - have an upper entrance for better ventilation AND not subject the bees to excessive energy losses because of it.

    Wintering in hive-inside-hive configurations really do work and stupid easy to implement.
    Insulated dummy frame usage - all it takes.

    This allows for both - better energy efficiency and moisture dissipation.
    The same exact way can be done from a single-level to N-level hive systems just as easily - does not matter much.

    NucWintering-2.jpg
    20190105_114718.jpg

    The bees on the photograph are wintering as the drawing shows.
    All of my bees are wintering this same way (some exactly as pictured; others with bottom entrances only - ventilated through the roofs).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #109
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    George County, MS
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    34

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    I appreciate other perspectives from other parts of the world. If we could only see more material from Brazil where they are working with African hybrids.
    Having lived in Phoenix, Arizona for a number of years, I do know a bit about Africanized bees. Many beeks actually collect swarms and keep them.

    Pros:
    - they are very heavy honey producers. This offsets the cons if you know how to manage them.

    Cons:
    - they aggressively defend the hive
    - they swarm small and often - in swarms of 5000 to 10000 bees. For this reason, health hives are much smaller than European hives, 30,000 to 50,000 bees.
    - they often abscond for no discernible reason (possibly just due to regular inspections)
    - when they swarm, they often pull bees from neighboring hives. Africanized bees seem to have a very high pheromone level which probably accounts for their aggressive nature.
    - African drones seem to be more successful at mating than European drones.

    I was once hiking in the McDowell Mountain Preserve, east of Scottsdale when I heard what sounded like a low flying plane. I looked around and saw nothing at first. Then, not far away, about 30 feet up, I saw a long dark streak that began passing directly overhead. It was about 3 feet wide and maybe a hundred feet long. It was a bee swarm in transit and it was LOUD. In just a few seconds it disappeared, flying east towards a residential area.
    Quite an experience.

  11. #110
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Regarding this:
    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    .........really wish I could find out why my virgins have such trouble mating ...
    'best
    LJ
    In this same paper I brought up (Dark forest bee Apis mellifera mellifera L. of the Republic of Bashkortostan - see above), starting page 88, there is a study regarding queen mating success.
    In short, they concluded that too small of a mating nucs have significantly lower success mating rates.
    Like it or not - those are the findings.

    Find the chapter and auto-translate it (Google will spit out "uterus" instead of "queen" - ignore that non-sense).
    I mean to translate that chapter's main points but really have no time.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #111
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    Without a top entrance was a much more stable environment. I had decent wintering success compared to the previous year. However the previous year was much harsher in terms of repeated cold spells. Last winter was mild but long.
    Thank you, lharder. I sincerely appreciate the feedback. Our winters have been the exact opposite- last year was unseasonably cold and this year it has been a bit above average. Your commentary gives me cause to investigate top insulating rather than providing copious ventilation as a means of moisture control.

    Thanks again for the input.

    Russ

  13. #112
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    You can do both - have an upper entrance for better ventilation AND not subject the bees to excessive energy losses because of it.
    GregV: This is what I appreciate about your thread- you are bringing some really interesting and thought-provoking ideas out.

    While ultimately our approaches may differ (based on preferences and regional variations), I've learned a lot by thinking through the concepts you are working with.

    Russ

  14. #113
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    May 2017
    Location
    Craig County, Oklahoma, USA
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    109

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

    I seen this on mother earth news and thought it neat. Yet a lot of work and price. But I think 1 hive made/designed like this would resemble more of a tree and bee nice to have at the house.
    https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/...-zm0z18aszsphe
    yay me my first time to successfully copy and paste.

    It use's 2x10 and 2x8 for walls. A little thicker.

  15. #114
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by CLSranch View Post
    I seen this on mother earth news and thought it neat. Yet a lot of work and price. But I think 1 hive made/designed like this would resemble more of a tree and bee nice to have at the house.
    https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/...-zm0z18aszsphe
    yay me my first time to successfully copy and paste.

    It use's 2x10 and 2x8 for walls. A little thicker.
    It is the same as this:
    http://horizontalhive.com/how-to-bui...e-design.shtml

    The same guy.
    He got me started with my first rigs, honestly.
    I evolved along the way some.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #115
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    If we could only see more material from Brazil where they are working with African hybrids..
    Swarm trapping and cut-outs in Brazil.

    They say - you do not want to put traps where the monkeys live (standing alone trees are the best; around blooming trees is the best).

    Also notice - no extraordinary gear is used. Just regular stuff.
    In fact, they are walking around in flip-flops and don't sweat about it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkF-Ml02nbk
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #116
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Swarm trapping and cut-outs in Brazil.
    Neat video- definitely not their first rodeo.

    I was impressed with their starter strip approach- quick and uncomplicated.

  18. #117
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Down to nine units.

    Of the remaining nine units:
    - 6 units I am not worried about much
    - 3 units worried somewhat

    No dead-out foraging this year. Zilch.
    But I better start planning for some actual honey crop in the coming season.
    Should be enough bees on hand to do something outside of just recovering losses.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #118
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Should be enough bees on hand to do something outside of just recovering losses.
    GregV:

    Glad to hear that you still have 9 colonies plugging-away- I imagine having options this spring will be a good problem to have?

    Good luck to you with the subsequent weeks of winter that remain.

  20. #119
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    I imagine having options this spring will be a good problem to have?
    Imagine, by this time last year I was down to three units (one subsequently failed in mid-February).
    So I had to rebuild from two hives remaining.

    Sitting on nine units is much better problem to have.
    Even 5-6 units in April give many options for both rebuilding and crop.
    If this works out, once again I will be frantically cutting more wood in the garage come spring - new frame design.

    PS:
    the main reason I am at a better place this season compared to the last - I implemented OTS and it seems to be working for me;
    I have four July starts going for me (three of these look very stable; one is a so-so but still holding as of today);
    also have 2nd winter queen sent through the fly-back cleansing as a part of my attempt at July splits;

    so, these five colonies are the survivors of 2017/2018 winter and I mostly bank on these until April.
    Last edited by GregV; 02-03-2019 at 10:04 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #120
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Imagine, by this time last year I was down to three units (one subsequently failed in mid-February).
    So I had to rebuild from two hives remaining.

    PS:
    the main reason I am at a better place this season compared to the last - I implemented OTS and it seems to be working for me;
    This is encouraging, GregV. I know I for one can sometimes dwell in a "glass half empty" mentality, but in your case, and considering your progress year-over-year, it seems you are better off now than you were a year ago- so progress has been made.

    Also, you've been able to do a fair bit of experimenting (and have been willing to allow us to experience it vicariously), so I imagine you are a bit wiser too.

    Always enjoy catching-up on the new things you are trying, reading or watching (even when it is in Russian)... good luck keeping up this year.

    Russ

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