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  1. #61
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    are you using "crops" in the standard use of word as in excess over the hives survival being harvested , or are you talking honey from dead outs
    Both.

    Two points.

    1)The scavenger crop harvest.

    Well, this year is terrible in this department as I do not have much to scavenge (but maybe will be good for 2019 for the point #2 below - still a win if so).

    Last season I had excellent crop from several small dead hives (40-60 liter wintering nucs).
    Yes - they dropped out late fall/early winter and, hence, there was not robbing (good timing in that).
    And yes - they were packed with the honey crop.
    I had more honey than I was prepared to handle (bought second freezer just to keep it all).

    In that regard, some of these were good bees and it was my fault they dropped out.
    I was too liberal moving brood around from random, captured swarms trying to balance out other hives - a very bad idea, as I cross-infected some colonies.
    I learned this same lesson again this year and that is my own, stupid bad thinking (made up a couple of nucs from a captured swarm so to take in outside queens - wasted).
    Those captured swarms should be 100% in quarantine through the winter and used for nothing.

    To compare to the small dead-outs last year, if the monster "almond bee" hive drops out today, there will be no crop to harvest from them.
    These bees seem to be all into growth and nothing else - a definition of a good "almond bee" I guess.

    2)The standard crop harvest.

    I think I now know the recipe how to run many smaller hives (good for loss mitigation) and still harvest enough crop off of them in small increments (thus produce enough crop from the entire fleet for my own needs).
    Very small honey frame/very large brood frame - this is the proposed answer.
    Given proper equipment configuration (a mini-super box with small frames over the brood box), 40-60 liter strong nucs could each produce some crop.
    But my equipment was not set for that until now (and so the crop was entirely splattered across the brood nest as bees wanted it).
    Will experiment this year with this idea.

    Yes, I agree that given the same circumstances the larger hive should bring larger crop.
    We know the issues of hive maintenance overhead and blah, blah, blah...
    This is a known and let's move on.

    Well, at the same time running a fleet of smaller hives gives 1)much better loss mitigation due to redundancy and 2)ability to still make up composite, crop-oriented large hives when so needed.
    As long as you have lots of resource hives, you have ability to do lots of things and hit lots of targets.
    The only downside to this - forget the "two-times-per-year" management model.
    This will take more management time for sure - and that's OK as for me.
    It has been fun so far.
    Last edited by GregV; 01-11-2019 at 12:15 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    .
    Yes, I agree that given the same circumstances the larger hive should bring larger crop.
    We know the issues of hive maintenance overhead and blah, blah, blah...
    This is a known and let's move on.
    trish said
    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    hive with only 15 frames covered with bees will not produce much honey past their needs...
    you quoted her and replied
    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Hives with much fewer bees can produce fine crop.
    I get that one could do ok keeping more small hives, but that was not the topic at hand

    To compare to the small dead-outs last year, if the monster "almond bee" hive drops out today, there will be no crop to harvest from them.
    These bees seem to be all into growth and nothing else - a definition of a good "almond bee" I guess.
    yep... no dispute there
    How many supers did this "monster" grow in to? seems to be some frames not in the box Attachment 45495 what was the deep frame equivalent it went in to winter with? looks to be 11-12
    Last edited by msl; 01-11-2019 at 12:42 PM.

  4. #63
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Then you shouldn't post such things

    trish said

    you quoted here and replied


    I get that one could do ok keeping more small hives, but that was not the topic at hand


    yep... no dispute there
    How many supers did this "monster" grow in to? seems to be some frames not in the box Attachment 45495 what was the deep frame equivalent it went in to winter with? looks to be 11-12
    15 deep Lang frames covered with bees should reduce for wintering to less than 10 (heck, I winter most of mine on 5-6 Dadant frames as we speak).
    You can easily pull 2-3-4 frames for your own crop, from a side.
    If frame not covered with bees in winter, I pull the frame out.
    This frame does not belong in a hive in winter and is mine to handle as I see fit.
    So that is a configuration issue and/or a bee issue (too many bees/no honey).
    And that is what I said.

    The "monster" is sitting in 16-frame deep horizontal (on the picture).
    That is 16 large Dadant frames in size (about 32 medium Langs in size).
    They also had additional 10 frame super in late summer - medium Langs on the top - brought nothing into the super.
    So at the max point the bees were sitting on 40+ medium Langs (it is big, considering this is a July swarm).

    They are wintering on 10 Dadant frames as we speak (I pulled the unused frames as I do normally).
    A large cluster and the pile of sugar.
    So that is what you observe on the picture.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #64
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    spit ball numbers
    10 Dadant frames (167.5 SI) is about 12.5 deeps (134 SI) barely bigger then a single or 5x5 nuc... At its max it was a whisker shy of 20 deeps and had unused side combs, along with a unused super.

    In my mind, that's not a monster, that's a dink. A late swarm that needed supplementary feed to build up and didn't get it.
    Last edited by msl; 01-11-2019 at 01:40 PM.

  6. #65
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    so spit ball numbers
    10 Dadant frames (167.5 SI) is about 12.5 deeps (134 SI) barely bigger then a single or 5x5 nuc... At its max it was a whisker shy of 20 deeps and had an unused super and side combs and no harvest

    That's not a monster, that's a dink. A late swarm that needed supplementary feed to build up and didn't get it.
    Again, we are talking of a mid-summer swarm.
    No, I do not feel it needed supplemental feeding at all.
    They had plenty of empty comb supply and mid-summer flow was fine.

    It is wintering on 10 Dadants fully covered - that is big enough. This is mid-winter now.

    In fact, it is TOO big for winter and it is wasteful for winter to be this big.
    By Eastern Euro standard, wintering on 8 Dadants is a very strong cluster and is bordering on "too much".
    In fact, anything above 8 Dadants is too strong and will create issues.
    Wintering on 6-8 Dadants is optimal.

    So yes, this cluster on 10 Dadants is a "monster" - they eat a lot, they over-heat during every thaw and come out flying, they are restless, they will like brood out soon (if not already) thus only promoting mites.
    I would much rather see them wintering on 5-6 frames and just quietly hibernate for a couple more months.

    I don't know where you are coming from, but most Eastern Euro keepers will agree with me on this.
    Granted, not many Euro keepers run Italian bee (Euro bees are more efficient wintering - smaller clusters).
    Consider, wintering on 10-15kilos of honey is normal (25-40 pounds).
    In my current locale I hear people wintering on 80 pounds of honey, now that is very inefficient.
    So unsure why wintering huge clusters on 80 pounds of stores is a bragging point.
    It should not be.

    Did I say "unused super"?
    The super was full of bees, all right, as the hive had no space for them.
    But the bees did not fill the empty storage with honey as I expected.

    In all if the bees fully cover 20 Lang deeps in summer - that is enough bee to supply themselves and me with enough honey for the winter.
    If the bee is the right kind of a bee - to be sure.
    Last edited by GregV; 01-11-2019 at 02:01 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #66
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    OK, here is a good demo of a classic wintering in Dadant.
    Outside.
    Winter is compatible to what we have in WI.
    Not much of insulation either.
    Local variety of Ukrainian bee (AM macedonica).

    Notice - like I said - 6-8 Dadant frame typical configurations.
    All it takes.
    If those hives are dinks, all the better - dinks are cheap to overwinter - what really matters how they develop in spring.
    The guy in the video is an experienced honey producer and does well for himself (running his dinks).
    Just click around and look inside the hives as he does his checking.
    Might as well jump to 9:00 and start from there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnlnO-f9S_I&t=1054s
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #67
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    No, I do not feel it needed supplemental feeding at all.
    I don't know how some can look at a starving hive mid winter and say "it didn't need feeding"
    They didn't go into winter with enuff stores, and your having to E feed dry sugar...... they indeed needed supplemental feed, you just chose to do it late.... far better to have it in the comb and full ripened..
    However I "get" why you might not want to do that in your program to avoid contamination of dead out honey, but thats not the arugement you put forth

    It appears your making decisions based on what you feel your bees "should" be doing instead of looking at what they are doing.
    As you note your not in Eastern Euro, and don't have their stock, and the local stock doesn't perform at all like it
    If your neighbors are overwintering on 80#, why would you think the swarms you catch from them would be any different?

  9. #68
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    so far i haven't had any colonies stupid enough to leave themselves high and dry like the one being discussed here. relentless brooding to the detriment of stores may be a useful trait in some applications, but not for greg's or mine either.

    jmho, but i think giving them the e feed long enough to get them to splitting time so the old queen can be pinched, and then start a few new colonies with queens reared from colonies that do what they 'should' is good management.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #69
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    OK, here is a good demo of a classic wintering in Dadant.
    Outside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnlnO-f9S_I&t=1054s
    GregV:

    This is a really cool video- while the language barrier prevents understanding a lot of what he is communicating, a few things stuck out to me:

    1. He is opening these hives up at rather low ambient (maybe 25 degrees F?) and does not appear to be in a big hurry about it.

    2. He made no discernible effort to clean the snow away from the entrances and it appeared all the upper entrances were corked closed.

    3. What is the wax paper representing? I assume he is using this as his inner cover similar to a TBH set-up, but maybe it is from a pollen sub?

    4. When I had Google translate the video subject it came up with: "Warming hives for the winter- What is better?" So, what was his conclusion?

    I enjoy reading your chronicles. Have a great weekend.

    Russ

  11. #70
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I don't know how some can look at a starving hive mid winter and say "it didn't need feeding"
    They didn't go into winter with enuff stores, and your having to E feed dry sugar...... they indeed needed supplemental feed, you just chose to do it late.... far better to have it in the comb and full ripened..
    However I "get" why you might not want to do that in your program to avoid contamination of dead out honey, but thats not the arugement you put forth

    It appears your making decisions based on what you feel your bees "should" be doing instead of looking at what they are doing.
    As you note your not in Eastern Euro, and don't have their stock, and the local stock doesn't perform at all like it
    If your neighbors are overwintering on 80#, why would you think the swarms you catch from them would be any different?
    Look..

    1)
    say "it didn't need feeding"
    Repeating myself now - need to let the swarm "express" itself .
    Why feed them by default?
    That is a bad default.
    IF I feed them immediately, how do I even know what I got in this random swarm?

    They had all the tools at their disposal and had plenty of time to so - entire half-July, August and September in my locality (we have plenty of forage non-stop, discount some for rainy September and partially ruined Goldenrod crop);
    A large swarm is fully capable of setting itself up and then some - fully and justifiably expected of them.

    OK, these bees did not express themselves to my liking fully - BUT, they are still alive and are NOT shedding bees (as of the last check).
    Meanwhile I see plenty of mites laying on the bottom - this is good enough already as they seem to be holding despite the mites - emergency feeding is justified as these still could be a good resource in spring.

    2)
    you might not want to do that in your program to avoid contamination of dead out honey
    Of course, I do not want sugar syrup in my honey crop - that goes without saying...
    I was fully hoping for some crop from these bees.
    If I expect crop, I do not feed sugar into those frames (just a good common practice).
    Next.

    3)
    what you feel your bees "should" be doing instead of looking at what they are doing.
    Back to our North American particulars.
    With every swarm captured, you truly do NOT know what you got.
    Examples:
    a) Last season several people around me sold and bought Saskatraz bees; Saskatraz swarms could be flying about
    b) A friend of mine bough few Russian nucs and installed them nearby. I do not think he lost any swarms, AFAIK.
    BUT who else is quietly running Russian bees in the area - I do not know; they do not report to me.
    c) This same friend is running a line completely off treatments 5 years now.
    I got a queen from him last summer and have a really good looking colony wintering.
    That line originated from a random swarm that he caught.
    d)These particular bees (my "monster" I mean) did look and behave like Carnis and so I assumed that initially.
    But of course, we are in N. America and the looks can be totally deceiving.
    Sure enough - deceiving they were.

    So, every random swarm needs a chance to express itself (not immediate feeding/treating).
    I hive them and let them do what they wanna do (and hope for the best).
    If they die - too bad and a good riddance.
    Last edited by GregV; 01-11-2019 at 04:05 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #71
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    so far i haven't had any colonies stupid enough to leave themselves high and dry like the one being discussed here. relentless brooding to the detriment of stores may be a useful trait in some applications, but not for greg's or mine either..
    SP, I heard such cases in my local beek community, actually.
    It goes like this - "last time I checked - there were plenty of stores; I checked a month later - a hive full of bees and no honey - this is taking place in November in WI".

    Pretty sure they originate from the "almond bee" sales.
    Just too bad - soon we'll be getting the seasonal truck loads of those junk packages again.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #72
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    This is a really cool video- while the language barrier prevents understanding a lot of what he is communicating, a few things stuck out to me:

    1. He is opening these hives up at rather low ambient (maybe 25 degrees F?) and does not appear to be in a big hurry about it.

    2. He made no discernible effort to clean the snow away from the entrances and it appeared all the upper entrances were corked closed.

    3. What is the wax paper representing? I assume he is using this as his inner cover similar to a TBH set-up, but maybe it is from a pollen sub?

    4. When I had Google translate the video subject it came up with: "Warming hives for the winter- What is better?" So, what was his conclusion?

    I enjoy reading your chronicles. Have a great weekend.

    Russ
    1. Sure.
    People even combine bees in winter - no sweat. I posted videos.
    Actually, about 25F-35F is about the best temp to check them - no flying.

    2. No need, he has plenty of ventilation. He said he'll clean it "later".

    3. Just a regular, heavy plastic film (propolized a bit, so looks like wax paper).
    Very commonly used in Eastern Euro during the warmer months (as you noted - inner cover type of application - basically, a modern version of cloth).
    Plastic gives very good micro-climate management as it is air/moisture barrier.
    I am hesitant if I should try it (non-natural it is but yet it provides good and needed features, especially for a small cluster; but well propolized cloth has a very similar effect and yet is natural; still debating this....).
    Some use plastic in winter too at swear by it - but that requires strong bottom/side ventilation and very strong top insulation (to prevent excessive condensation).

    4. He is running a serious of tests on different types of insulation this winter - from none at all to a slab of rigid insulation.
    His default insulation - none.
    Just a folded plastic piece is laying his hives so not to loose it (he will start using the plastic in early spring, like March, when they start brooding).

    Thanks!
    Last edited by GregV; 01-11-2019 at 05:18 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #73
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Plastic gives very good micro-climate management as it is air/moisture barrier. I am hesitant if I should try it (non-natural it is but yet it provides good and needed features, especially for a small cluster; but well propolized cloth has a very similar effect and yet is natural; still debating this....).
    GregV:

    Thank you for your reply- very interesting stuff.

    While I know very little about bees, I do know a little bit about construction (I work in the design and construction of commercial and institutional facilities), and I know that the proper relative placement of a vapor barrier within a roof or wall assembly is very much dependent upon one's local climate.

    When you get bored some night and can't sleep, head over to buildingscience.com. Dr. Joseph Lstiburek is one of the world's foremost experts on successful climate-appropriate building envelopes.

    I say all this to say that Dr. Joe suggests there are three fundamental questions we should ask ourselves when preparing to develop a roof system:

    1. What climate is it going into?

    2. Do we intend for it to be vented or unvented?

    3. Do we intend to control the condensing surface temperature?

    Here is a detailed article where he addresses these precepts:

    https://buildingscience.com/document...f-systems/view

    When he refers to "roof deck", we can think of this as "inner cover".

    What does this all mean practically (for both our houses and our hives)?

    Where you live (in a "Cold" climate), plastic sheathing under your outer cover might be of real benefit in the Winter months, particularly if you are insulating sufficiently to keep your "roof deck" above the relevant dew-point temperature in all low-ambient conditions.

    Where I live (in a "Mixed-Humid" climate), a vapor barrier under the outer cover would likely be a source of trouble due to the general principal that in our zone it is prudent for the interior of the roof deck to be able to dry to the interior due to higher Winter enthalpy values relative to the "Cold" climate zone. This is why you generally do not see vinyl wallpaper installed in commercial buildings South of the Mason-Dixon line- it tends to lead to mold growth under the wallpaper due to moisture build-up.

  15. #74
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    like with our German friend's thread, I with draw, in hope the OP continues providing content

    gentlemen and ladies the floor is yours, use it well
    Last edited by msl; 01-12-2019 at 09:21 AM.

  16. #75
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Again, we are talking of a mid-summer swarm.

    It is wintering on 10 Dadants fully covered - that is big enough. This is mid-winter now.

    In fact, it is TOO big for winter and it is wasteful for winter to be this big.
    By Eastern Euro standard, wintering on 8 Dadants is a very strong cluster and is bordering on "too much".
    In fact, anything above 8 Dadants is too strong and will create issues.
    Wintering on 6-8 Dadants is optimal.

    So yes, this cluster on 10 Dadants is a "monster" - they eat a lot, they over-heat during every thaw and come out flying, they are restless, they will like brood out soon (if not already) thus only promoting mites.
    I would much rather see them wintering on 5-6 frames and just quietly hibernate for a couple more months.
    A loose cluster and a tight cluster is different, that is why a tight winter cluster of 6-8 dadant frames, that is so tight and calm that it appears as dead (in temperatures under 40F) is a very strong colony. One that covers ten frames but is loose and restless, might not be that big if it were to be as tight. A big cluster that is not tight and calm in winter does not own a good wintering ability, a colony like this is asking for problems sooner or later and is definitely not one to breed from.

    For example Buckfast bees of central Europe winters in big and tight clusters but very seldom covers more than 8 dadant frames.

  17. #76
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Plastic gives very good micro-climate management as it is air/moisture barrier.
    I am hesitant if I should try it (non-natural it is but yet it provides good and needed features, especially for a small cluster; but well propolized cloth has a very similar effect and yet is natural; still debating this....).
    No, it's NOT. I get so frustrated when I hear Warre beekeepers in particular talking about using hessian (burlap) for this reason in the construction of quilts. Cloth of any kind is man-made, and therefore 'unnatural' in the generally-accepted use of the term.

    Now if anyone should argue the point that the source materials involved (hemp, cotton, flax etc) are 'natural', and it's only the processing of those materials which renders them 'unnatural' - then all oil-based materials (plastics etc) instantly become 'natural' by such a definition.

    Even if oil-based products were to be eliminated from the argument, and 'natural' materials were considered to be those coming directly from a plant source (such as trees), then polystyrene would fall into that category, as it can be made from processed plant oil (which is how it was first discovered) , as well as from petro-chemicals.

    In short, we need to be cautious when claiming any material to be 'natural' - i.e. as occurring in Nature, without human involvement.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  18. #77
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    The best example of a natural cloth I can come up with is the material found at the base of the fronds of certain palm trees. A coconut palm produces sections large enough to be used like a crown board or inner cover. Not sure how someone in a Northern climate would aquire this.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #78
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    The issue is more the use of materials that can easily degrade once it gets into the environment. I use rigid Styrofoam to insulate and some plastic frames. I don't view this environmentally healthy, even if there was complete circle recycling possible. There is always that random piece that escapes.

    Most "natural" products do degrade as microbes can get in there molecularly to break it down. It is possible to chemically alter naturally derived feedstock and make it indigestible as well.

  20. #79
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    ....

    When you get bored some night and can't sleep, head over to buildingscience.com. Dr. Joseph Lstiburek is one of the world's foremost experts on successful climate-appropriate building envelopes..
    Actually, this is my favorite building site - buildingscience.com!!!
    About 6-7 years ago now I finished exposed basement of my new home (took me two years).
    Spent lots of hours studying insulation/moisture control on that exact site.
    So, yes, the efficient bee hive construction is one of my current hobbies.
    More specific premise is this - appropriately good hive should allow small bee cluster to survive and thrive and produce - I want figure out this small hive beekeeping model as a way to be sustainable and chem-free.
    So, energy efficiency and moisture management is an immediate issue at hand for the zone 5 in Southern WI.
    I think I have it figured out pretty well.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #80
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    Default Re: GregV's Alternative way to keep (have?) bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    like with our German friend's thread, I with draw, in hope the OP continues providing content

    gentlemen and ladies the floor is yours, use it well
    MSI, hahahaha!
    Seriously, I had a good laughter.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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