GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees. - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    Yet the genome shifts at this very moment, and it's delusionary to think you can stop it. I agree that the OP is not likely to see evolution at work in his apiary, but it is there nonetheless, just not something so visible. I wish him and you good luck with your bees, but in the end it is up to the bees. They've been here eons longer than we have, but over 99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct. Bottom line is, if they don't evolve, they will die, same as for everything else. Maybe we shouldn't interfere with that process regardless of profits and loss.
    Just to be sure - never once I muttered the word "evolution".
    I only have 40 years of useful life left in me (optimistically).
    In such context any talks of evolution are plain silly.

    Selection, on the other hand, occurs daily as we speak.
    I just prefer it to be natural.

    So, staying the course.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Well, no Thanksgiving honey for the landlords.
    OK, pulled a couple of side frames to C&S for the kids.

    Still have 13 units.
    Last year by now I had at least a couple of "absconds" and had plenty of honey to go around.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Greg, how disappointing. All your bees are still alive. At least you won't need all those frames for splits to make up for winter losses. At least not yet.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Greg, how disappointing. All your bees are still alive. At least you won't need all those frames for splits to make up for winter losses. At least not yet.
    Hope for some XMas honey still.
    With the current year's failed goldenrod crop (due to rain), only way to get more honey now is from few deadouts.

    If I have about 6-7 units left in the spring, there'd be awesome as for me - plenty of spare equipment to reuse again and plenty of bees as a starting base too.
    Too many bees - will need to build more stuff.
    Too few bees - will have a slow start.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    you might find the last part of this interesting , Alaskan bee management. Post flow take every thing, shake out on to foundation and feed so they make you drawn comb for next year, then do them in
    http://www.wicwas.com/sites/default/...ABJ2014-07.pdf

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    you might find the last part of this interesting , Alaskan bee management. Post flow take every thing, shake out on to foundation and feed so they make you drawn comb for next year, then do them in
    http://www.wicwas.com/sites/default/...ABJ2014-07.pdf
    Some do it even here, in my vicinity.
    Last year they were offering their bees for taking in early winter (shaken bees only).
    They kept the honey and equipment.
    Unsure if anyone took the bees in.
    I could have taken them in and put on some straight, dry sugar.
    Well, it was way too late for such games; I just was not up to it as those were just commercial bees and likely dead out anyway.

    Anyways, what they did was, obviously, an after-thought.
    You plan for such moves ahead of time and find home for the unwanted bees ahead of time (OR just kill them and make no fuss then, if doing it this way).

    Well, this is not my way.
    I am not here for straight honey.

    You see, I do this for some family food and for some selection (and possible bee selling).
    So moderate rate of die off is good for me (lets me both harvest my crop and also weeds out stock I do not want).
    If you are an aggressive splitter, not much crop can be taken OFF any one colony.
    BUT if any of those colonies do die - then you get to harvest.
    So basically, you expand as much as you can and then hope that less than worthy queens will go under (the sooner they tank, the better for you - better harvest).

    IF ALL my bees die - not good either, obviously.
    IF ALL my bees live - it would be OK for future bee sales, but no honey for me (but not a realistic case for now anyway).
    Last edited by GregV; 11-24-2018 at 06:27 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    .....I'm confused, I freely admit it, as well as suffering from a serious case of information overload. lol
    All those hives and you didnt get any honey.

    My one 'toy' sized hive gave me 5 deep frames of honey that were double thick in mid summer- just in time for Xmas presents as well as 3 that went into the freezer just in case they needed them for later.
    In fall, I did return 2 of these even though they had also built out and filled another 8 single width deeps, half of which they didnt use over winter so these are sitting at the far end of the long hive with a follower board between the two. The other one is still sitting in the freezer cos it is damaged. It will get returned to them in time for this winter- reason, it was removed after our cut off time that is there to make sure it doesnt have a toxic honey due to a native plant.(short explanation), so may not be safe for people to eat but okay for bees.

    Apparently, last summer was not a good year. The person who has been doing my AFB checks was surprised at the amount of honey in the hive this spring and that I had not had to feed..... and that I had got anything off them- he hadnt harvested anything at all from all of his hives, but then, he also did some serious amount of splits to increase numbers.

    The reason I had so many double fat combs,was because on one inspection, I found that Queen stalking on the third frame from the end along with her two minders. I had noticed through the window that something was not right because the last frame was only a 1/4 built out but already filled with nectar, the next two in were half built and 3/4 and also filled with nectar-hive was honey bound/nectar bound.
    I decided that it was easier for the bees to continue to build out what they already had than make new comb on new frames, so I widened the gaps between all the honey frames.
    They fattened those combs as well as building out the ones I put in the brood nest....new hive, no ready made frames of comb available.
    I could do this because I have a long hive, its probably not possible with a lang.

    Before I even got the hive, I spent quite a bit of time planting fruit trees, taking note of flowering times as well as different shrubs and annuals.
    Hive density and lack of forage have come up as possible major stress factors. I'm lucky in that I also have a number of different 'wild' areas nearby.

    While I do understand the reasoning behind allowing weaker hives to die, in the expectation that this will help ensure better quality hives/genetics, it isnt something I can do, due to inexperience, only one hive and the the probability of a small gene pool. I just have to work with what I've got and hope that good forage/nutrition will help in the long term, along with my SC experiment.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    .....I'm confused, I freely admit it, as well as suffering from a serious case of information overload. lol
    All those hives and you didnt get any honey.

    My one 'toy' sized hive gave me 5 deep frames of honey that were double thick in mid summer-...
    Look:
    1)I am a very aggressive splitter - my 2 survivors from last winter became 7 hives (6 strong and 1 smallish nuc; there were more, some nucs failed).
    2)In addition I caught few swarms (very late) and made more side-projects nucs - so I was up to 14 units in September (13 units now)
    3)Also lost a swarm, oh well.

    Now, IF I wanted to I could have had only 4-5 very big units and made enough honey to go around.
    But this also means I only had 4-5 queens on hand and low redundancy and not much selection going (the most important project for now).

    In short:
    * if you expand a lot, you do not get much honey if any
    * you keep them big and few in counts, you get more honey, but fewer queens

    So, I do work on expansion-side.
    Do you see that?
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    ....While I do understand the reasoning behind allowing weaker hives to die,....
    Not the weaker hive to die - I am even nursing a couple of nucs with internal heaters (hard to be weaker than a cup of bees and a queen).

    This is not about the weakest hives.

    Anyway, I am repeating myself too much as it is.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    I wasnt having a go at you.
    Everyone has their own goals and reasons and as I am learning, they also have their own strategies, that would never have occurred to me.
    The more we share, the more we all learn.

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    I wasnt having a go at you.
    Everyone has their own goals and reasons and as I am learning, they also have their own strategies, that would never have occurred to me.
    The more we share, the more we all learn.
    Not a problem here.
    I know you are not after me, personally.

    It is the beekeeping model that I am trying out looks as if illogical.
    I get it.

    To be sure, there is always honey on my table and bee bread in a fridge.
    A non-issue here.
    But I also need some extra honey to gift to those nice people who let me keep my bees on their properties.
    My model totally depends on several small, redundant yards - a part of the equation and some expense at that.
    So I do need some extra harvest somehow (preferably around the holidays ).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Just out of interest Greg, is it royal jelly, or stored pollen you are harvesting. If RJ, what is your harvesting method?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Just out of interest Greg, is it royal jelly, or stored pollen you are harvesting. If RJ, what is your harvesting method?
    I harvest fermented pollen (aka bee bread, aka perga).
    Last summer I also harvested some drone brood via C&S (from a captured commercial bee swarm - low value drone but for food usage).

    No RJ.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Well, per my notes at about this time in December 2017 I was down to 4 hopeful colonies (one more was still alive but on its way out).
    Out of those 4 colonies in December, 2 made it all way.
    This was starting with 11 colonies in September of 2017 (success rate - 2 out of 11).

    As of yesterday, I still have 12 colonies of various shapes and sizes (starting with 14 in September).
    Hmm. OK.

    Lost another tiny, queen-holding nucleus (regardless of the heater).
    This is somewhat a shame as lost both of my "Russian" queens now.

    In the future I should not be making these nucs out of commercial bee swarms.
    Not again. Should know better.
    Waste of time and resources if trying to plug in queen of any value into these commercial swarm bees.
    Best just leave those commercial swarms in to the winter as-is and, hopefully, harvest some honey and comb from them with any luck.
    A quarantine, of sorts.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  16. #35
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    GregV:

    Got a chance to read through your efforts thus far and I find your very direct methods of genetic selection interesting and thought-provoking. I look forward to seeing how this project progresses/develops as time goes on.

    Russ

  17. #36
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Will see, Russ.
    The next checkpoint - about XMas.
    Anything I do not need, should drop off by about then and would be good riddance.

    Of course, last year I lost two very good colonies in late February, just needed another month to go.
    That particular kind of a loss is painful. Was some good material there.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Thanks, GregV. I do look forward to keeping up with your project.

    Mother Nature can certainly be a cruel mistress...

  19. #38
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Well, we had up to +8C today (and +6C yesterday).
    Some hives went out flying.
    I did my rounds and still count 12 units.
    One nuc from a promising line will probably going to die soon (consistently loosing bees is not good; will do them in).
    That's a bummer as I had hopes for them.
    But I have three more units from this line - looking well.

    On the other hand, all the commercial swarms I caught this year - still holding and looking well at it.
    OK, not much more harvest this year that I can see coming.
    It is good to appreciate the real honey when you have it.
    For now feeding the July boomer swarm.
    They have mites per the bottom board, and yet don't seem to care for now; and if truly so - they are worth plenty of cheap sugar.
    20181216_132759.jpg
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    OK, not much more harvest this year that I can see coming.
    GregV:

    It must be terrible to bear the burden of so many healthy hives... I really feel sorry for you. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I enjoy reading about your interesting project- and here's to hoping a few hives don't make it? 😉

  21. #40
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    It must be terrible to bear the burden of so many healthy hives... I really feel sorry for you. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I enjoy reading about your interesting project- and here's to hoping a few hives don't make it? 😉
    Well, as things develop further into the winter the usefulness of the dead-outs diminishes.
    Like I said I wish they just drop-off fast and do it efficiently if so.
    The so-called "absconded" hives in late fall are the best (around November) - no bees, no robbing, and empty hives are full of honey to collect.
    This worked fine for me last year.

    Well, this year turns out different.
    No easy prey so far for the scavenger that I am.

    Once the make it into the X-Mas, then my position changes a bit.
    If they make it into 2019, I will hope the survivors pull through and will monitor so to prevent regular winter-related issues (mainly - running out of stores).

    Per what I see so far, I expect to 11 out of 12 to make it into the year 2019.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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