clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2109 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    a colony that dwindled in november is pretty much a goner.

    personally i would have closed it up and put it in the deep freeze.

    that way the colony collapsing mites are done away with and don't get spread to other colonies.

    the viruses will also perish. recent research suggests the dwv isn't viable much longer than a month without a host.

    the comb and stores can be repurposed as needed.
    squarepeg,

    Thanks for the good advice. I failed to mention one crucial detail. It was my 11-year old daughter's first hive. :-(

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    GregV,

    The idea of adding another color to the mark would be so that I could unambiguously identify any swarms that left my beeyard, whether to one of my own swarm traps, or someone else's.
    Got it.
    A good idea at that (if you actually can do both dots cleanly; but if you can - hey, a good idea).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Apiary Update 11/17/18

    Four of six hives were flying yesterday at 10:50Am. It was 46 degrees and sunny. The polystyrene hives showed the most activity, by far.

    Hive 1706 is a 1.5” thick 8-frame hive, 3 boxes high. I didn’t see any bees flying from it. I think it has an undersized cluster, especially for 3 boxes. I used to see it flying before others in early spring this year. I am starting to think the warmth inside the hive has a strong influence on how readily the bees will fly in marginal temperatures.

    Hive 1702 has a yellow-marked queen. 4 hives have been split off from it. Two were made into nucs that went to another beekeeper. Another split which was to be a successor to H1702, grew into 2 boxes and looked good until they died suddenly in late September. (That is another story) Meanwhile, the original yellow queen and colony were moved into a 10-frame poly nuc in September. I had sort of written this one off, but wanted to see what would happen. Hive 1702 now looks like they are going to burst the seams of their box. In fact, it looked like there were a hundred or so bees doing orientation flights yesterday.

    Hive 1803 has a survivor queen. It occupies two 10-frame boxes. There is a Broodminder scale under the hive, and a temp-humidity sensor right under the inner cover. The sensor is ˝” from the cover. So far, the temperature has stayed just about 50F, and the humidity has been hovering close to 80%. Right now, the cluster is in the SE corner of the box, so the sensor is not directly above the bees. I am concerned because this colony looks like it has shrunk over the last 2 weeks. The two things that interest me is 1) how warm they can keep their hive, especially when temps drop down towards 0F, and 2) how the humidity will very in a polystyrene hive with no top vent. As a baseline, last year’s wooden hive with a similar configuration averaged about 75%.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    I am interested in observing the size and position of the cluster in the hive, so I’ll keep records on that, at least through the coldest part of the winter. During the winter I will try to measure the clusters at around 35F outside temperature to ensure more consistency.

    Hive Report

    Hive, Cluster Loc, Diam., Config., Notes
    1705, Top E, 6”, 1 10F box,
    1706, Mid Center, 2”, 3 8F boxes, Hive died approx. Dec 1st.
    1801, Top SE, 4”, 1 10F box,
    1803, Top SE, 6”, 2 10F boxes,
    1806, Top W, 8”, 1 8F box on top of 18” jumbo F, Bees moving around freely on top of sugar slab.
    1811, Top S, 6”, 2 10F boxes,




    Hive 1706 died out. A few bees worked their way through improvised robber screen. There was only minimal damage. 8 full honey frames, 4 that were 1/2 full, and 4 fairly full pollen frames were recovered. Hopefully, these will help build up the other hives in the spring.

    Some of the other hives are likely light on pollen stores. Does anyone have suggestions on how best to use the pollen frames?



    “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
    Last edited by clong; 12-10-2018 at 08:34 AM.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    thanks for the update clong!

    i'll post about what i do with dead out resources when i get in from work this evening.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #26

    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    The polystyrene hives showed the most activity, by far.
    One needs to think about if this is for advantage or disadvantage. In my mind bees should in their winter sleep at the moment, the less movement the better.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    One needs to think about if this is for advantage or disadvantage. In my mind bees should in their winter sleep at the moment, the less movement the better.
    I appreciate the caution.

    My current thinking is that the bees will do best in an environment that they can easily regulate. As Mr. Miyagi said to Daniel-San, "Make like tree". Whether that turns out to be too warm for the bees, I don't know.

    I suppose the empirical test is whether they consume less stores, and go into spring healthy and rarin' to go.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    Does anyone have suggestions on how best to use the pollen frames?
    so 5/6 colonies still humming at this point, way to go!

    when i get a dead out in the winter i'll bring the equipment in, remove the bottoms and tops, and put the hive bodies with the frames into the freezer.

    when i get more than the freezer can hold i'll rotate in/out every week or so.

    the honey frames are placed back into hives that i have identified as being lighter on stores during the fall weighing.

    the pollen frames and empty comb are saved until needed during the upcoming season. it's unlikely they will need any pollen until brooding begins, and i don't see that happening here until they start bringing in some of the early tree pollens.

    sometimes the bees will use the saved pollen in the spring, other times (because it's gone stale i guess) they will clean the old pollen out and deposit it on the ground outside the hives.

    i'm wondering about opening the hives that much through the winter to check cluster size? my general feeling is that it's better not to disturb the colonies through the winter unless there is a need to do so.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #29
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    so 5/6 colonies still humming at this point, way to go!

    i'm wondering about opening the hives that much through the winter to check cluster size? my general feeling is that it's better not to disturb the colonies through the winter unless there is a need to do so.
    squarepeg,

    Yeah, I should should not open them up so much. I'll try to limit it to every 2-3 weeks, until we get to February. I am interested in understanding what the cluster is doing during the winter months. Also, how things change as they start brooding up in the spring. It will be fun to see if I can spot the first drones before they've flown. I am also confirming that there isn't any moisture buildup.

    Incidentally, I have seen the first bad outcome with the plexiglass covers. Another beekeeper that I am assisting had them on his hives. I suggested he insulate, but I didn't tell him to insulate the tops more the the sides. Mistake #1. On one hive, his plexiglass cover had notches at both ends, and allowed cold air to flow freely under the insulation in the telescoping cover and on top of the glass. Mistake #2. Directly above the cluster, big drops of water were dangling in the middle of the glass, and were doubtless dripping on the bees. The cluster was still sizable, but discouraged, no doubt. I sure was. I instructed him to tape over the notches on the inner cover and to add insulation to the top. Hopefully, this will address the problem.

    Thanks for the advice on the pollen. I wondered if I should add those to hives in later Feb. If they want them, they can use them. If not, they clean them out. Very nice.

  11. #30
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    when i get a dead out in the winter i'll bring the equipment in, remove the bottoms and tops, and put the hive bodies with the frames into the freezer.
    My problem is I only have space for a few frames in the freezer, so I'm unsure of the best way to keep the contents viable through the winter. I have two hives, one robust, and one that has dwindled to a baseball size cluster with small hive beetles scurrying around within the cluster. I am certain they are doomed. I'm trying to decide between:
    1. combine the hives, harvest most of the honey from the doomed hive and hope the combined hive has enough resources to maintain an extra deep box of nectar plus some honey and pollen through the winter.
    2. Try to equalize the hives by swapping them in hopes that the returning foragers will be enough to sustain the doomed hive without causing the other hive to fail. There are still plenty of foragers going out of the robust hive, which should continue unless a series of rainstorms rolls in.
    3. Don't touch the robust hive, get rid of the doomed bees/queen and find some other way to keep the remaining honey and nectar pest free over the winter since I don't have much freezer space. It will get below freezing from time to time, but our winter is rather mild so I'm not sure it is enough to just leave the boxes out in the cold.

    Thanks,
    Robin

  12. #31
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by robassett View Post

    I would not do this - 1. combine the hives or 2. Try to equalize the hives...

    I would rather do - 3. Don't touch the robust hive,

    Thanks,
    Robin
    Granted this is all TF.
    Indeed, many conventional teachings talk of combining/equalizing/etc....
    Well, whatever.

    My take:
    Your small hive is likely to die off soon anyway - just let it go under and call it a good riddance.
    Put a robber screen to keep the mites inside.
    Harvest the resources from them.

    Don't distribute the mites from the failing hive back to the strong hive by a combine or equalizing (you will just put both hives into worse situation by doing so - vs. the currently only one failing).
    Instead, split up the survivor as soon as practical and resume.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    if the temps in folsom stay mild enough through the winter for wax moths to be a concern, an alternative to keeping the frames in the freezer is spraying them with bt aizawai.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #33
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    Clong:

    I had the opportunity to read your thread and I am intrigued by your approach- looking forward to hearing your thoughts on minimizing ventilation and maximizing hive insulation. While I have not sought to minimize the insulation of supers, I have definately erred to the side of too much ventilation at the top of the stack thus far.

    Have you read Abbe Warre's book? While I cannot support or refute his approach one way or another, he takes quite a bit of space to outline his thoughts on hive insulation.

    As I recall, he felt that highly insulated assemblies consumed more stores because the colony remained more active through the Winter- which might square with what you are seeing? It will be interesting if your empirical approach supports or conflicts with his findings.

    I look forward to following your efforts- good luck with your hives!

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  15. #34
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Clong:

    I had the opportunity to read your thread and I am intrigued by your approach- looking forward to hearing your thoughts on minimizing ventilation and maximizing hive insulation. While I have not sought to minimize the insulation of supers, I have definately erred to the side of too much ventilation at the top of the stack thus far.

    Have you read Abbe Warre's book? While I cannot support or refute his approach one way or another, he takes quite a bit of space to outline his thoughts on hive insulation.

    As I recall, he felt that highly insulated assemblies consumed more stores because the colony remained more active through the Winter- which might square with what you are seeing? It will be interesting if your empirical approach supports or conflicts with his findings.

    Russ
    Russ,

    I've been pondering the insulation idea for a while. I don't personally know whether insulation reduces honey consumption, but it seems correct. My guess is there is a honey consumption/temperature curve along which consumption goes to a minimum at temps between 40F-50F inside the hive.

    There are several beekeepers who report lower consumption of honey during winter with good insulation, vs no insulation. One is a beekeeper in NY, Rob Overton. I think he typically winters in a single 10-frame deep. He uses polystyrene hives. You can find him on Beemaster.com. Another, John Gaut, is in NJ. See the following link:

    http://www.nnjbees.org/wp-content/up...-v20151013.pdf

    As I recall, Mr. Gaut said he thought about doing a controlled experiment to compare heavy insulation vs. no insulation, but couldn't bring himself to keep a control hive with no insulation. He was interviewed in the following podcast at about the 30 minute mark:

    http://www.bkcorner.org/episode-106-jersey-proud/

    I haven't read Warre's book all the way through, but it has some good food for thought. I need to read the part on insulation again.
    Incidentally, one of the very first things that Reverend Langstroth mentions in his book, even before the idea of removable frames is the importance of a well-insulated hive. He had a lot to say about the importance of insulation throughout his book.

    I look forward to reading your thread as well.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    ........he felt that highly insulated assemblies consumed more stores because the colony remained more active through the Winter....Russ
    What really matters are these points:
    1)maintaining ideal wintering temperature - about 4-5C (whatever that is in F).
    2)preventing wild temperature swings; instead, holding ideal the temperature steady

    However you manage keeping steady 4-5C for your particulate situation is up to you.
    But if you manage to do it - those will be the most efficient wintering conditions (in term of the fuel).
    So if one could winter the bees in a fridge, that would be just about the ideal place.

    Keep in mind, Warre lived in Somme, France with sufficiently mild and steady climate, and no classic cold winter/classic hot summer to speak off - close to Atlantic.
    His climatic conditions to be considered.
    Last edited by GregV; 12-14-2018 at 11:19 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Clong:

    Thank you for the detailed and helpful reply. You have certainly researched your position, and it sounds very logical, particularly for more Northern climes. That said, here in the mid-South our temperatures in the Winter seem to be increasingly wild in their gyrations- it was 18 degrees on Monday night and was 57 degrees on Wednesday afternoon. It certainly seems intuitive that a more stable and moderately cool temperature makes for better overwintering than wide fluctuations. One stat that stood out to me was the observation that, "For every 11F degrees reduction in temperature, the bees must work twice as hard to keep warm and function." Mr. Gaut's set-ups look very pro, and it looks to conform to his assertion that he can apply it year-after-year. Is this generally the approach (including the upper entrance) that you are using as your working approach now?

    GregV:

    Thanks for that keen observation- reminds me again that so much of beekeeping is local. Your analogy of the refrigerator is one I am going to hang-on to.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Clong:
    Mr. Gaut's set-ups look very pro, and it looks to conform to his assertion that he can apply it year-after-year. Is this generally the approach (including the upper entrance) that you are using as your working approach now?
    Russ,

    I'm not running an upper entrance. No openings in the top of the hive. I've got three poly hives, one wrapped up using John Gaut's method, and one with rigid foam insulation permanently attached on the outside of a conventional Lang box. I will be building 20-30 boxes this winter with the foam attached to wooden lang boxes. These boxes will be used year-round.

    Insulated boxes will have less benefit in the winter the further south you go. However, I believe that they will still benefit, and that includes in the summer. Listen to Kiwimana Buzz podcast #84 for a commercial beekeeper switching to all poly hives. He said he made the switch in large part for the benefits during the heat of summer.

  19. #38
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Clong:

    Thank you for your reply. I do appreciate it. I actually considered starting-out with Apimaye hive bodies initially and was talked out of it based on the anecdote that "bees don't like plastic"... that's a discussion for another time.

    That said, I like your logic, and it kind of speaks to the idea of mimicking a tree hollow as best that modern bee management will allow- enough thermal mass/resistance to attenuate-out wild temperature swings as observed inside the hive.

    Also, I realized I failed to acknowledge your point about Reverend Langstroth advocating for insulation. I seem to recall him saying something to the effect that, "insulation is an important aspect of successful beekeeping but the masses will be too cheap to implement it. I wanted to be sure I had the gist right, so I looked it up:

    "I recommend, however, a construction which, although somewhat more costly at first, is yet much cheaper in the end. Such is the passion of the American
    people for cheapness in the first cost of an article, even at the evident expense of dearness in the end, that many, I doubt not, will continue to lodge their bees in thin hives in spite of their conviction of the folly of doing..."

  20. #39
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    Hive Report 12/30/18

    Most of the cluster sizes aren't very meaningful, because the temp was 64F 12 hours prior. There was still a lot of residual heat in the hive.

    Hive, Cluster Loc, Diam., Config., Notes
    1702, Top E, ~8”, 1 10F box,
    1801, Top SE, 5”, 1 10F box,
    1803, Top SE, 12+”, 2 10F boxes, No cluster. Bees distributed across all frames
    1806, Top W, ~8”, 1 8F box on top of 18” jumbo F, Cluster moved directly below sugar block.
    1811, Top S, 6”, 2 10F boxes,

    On 12/29, temp hit 64F in the beeyard. Five remaining hives were flying. No pollen seen at any hive.

    Only two hives worth noting. Hive 1803 is headed by a purchased feral queen. It had hundreds of bees going in/out. It almost looked like orienting. I get the sense that this hive's population has grown since November. Could they have been hatching brood through November and December?

    The new runt hive, 1801, keeps fooling me. I convince myself they are doomed, but when the weather warms up, they prove they are still operational. This would be a hive that I might have considered euthanizing, but I am curious to see if they can make it. I don't think they are shrinking. The entrance is down to 3/8"x1". Should I still put a robber screen on? We haven't had any deep freezes yet, so the verdict is still out.

    I'll be putting 1.5 lb sugar blocks in some of the hives tomorrow.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

    good report clong, thanks for the update.

    probably wouldn't hurt to make sure all of the activity with 1803 isn't passive robbing, especially if they are not clustered like the rest. watch to see if the bees are coming and going from the other hives, maybe pull a honey frame or two and make sure the comb isn't getting torn open.

    i have all my entrances reduced down to just 1 or 2 bees at this time. if i have one that looks like it may have too much activity i'll place a rock in front of the entrance and make it a little harder to get in and out.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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