Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ? - Page 37
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  1. #721
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    It has been a busy 24-hours at the home yard.

    It started with moving the swarm that was hived on May 6th (two-deep Warre) to a permanent location in the dark last night.

    Then, this afternoon I conducted hive inspections/manipulations on most of the hives as follows:

    #1803 (overwintered Langstroth)- 8-tall 8-frame medium. Heavy forage traffic/pollen. No inspection.

    #1804 (overwintered Langstroth)- 3-tall 8-frame medium. This is the hive which was represented by a micro-cluster this Spring and has received approximately 5 frames worth of nurse bees from #1803. This hive has shown significant brood improvement but still has a long way to go. Saw some eggs laid on the sides of cells and a few double eggs but also a good number of picture-perfect eggs laid in the bottom of the cells. Also found a single queen cell with no contents. Based on all this, I am a bit surprised that this colony has not yet attempted supercedure.

    #1902 (overwintered Warre)- 4-tall 8-frame Warre. Heavy forage traffic/pollen. No inspection.

    #1903 (overwintered Warre)- 4-tall 8-frame Warre. Heavy forage traffic/pollen. No inspection.

    #1904 (hived swarm April 24th)- 3-tall 8-frame Warre found queenless with a drone layer. Shook several handfuls of bees on the ground in front of #1905 and they appeared to be readily accepted. Saw the first phoretic mite of the season in this group of bees.

    #1905 (hived swarm May 1st)- 2-tall 8-frame Warre with approximately 8 drawn foundationless frames. Saw queen and added a box.

    #1906 (hived swarm May 1st)- 3-tall 8-frame Warre with approximately 10 drawn foundationless frames. All looked in order and plenty of room.

    #1907 (hived swarm May 2nd)- 2-tall 5-frame medium Langstroth nuc with approximately 6 drawn foundationless frames. Moved to a 3-tall 8-frame medium Langstroth.

    #1908 (hived swarm May 6th)- 2-tall 8-frame Warre bursting at the seams. Took the trap out of the tree and relocated it, adding a box. A good number of foragers (60+) found returning to the old location.

    #1909 (hived warm May 9th)- 2-tall 8-frame medium Langstroth with approximately 8 drawn foundationless frames and drawing on the inner cover. Moved to a a three-tall 8-frame medium Langstroth production hive set-up.

    Once completed with this, I looked up to find an approximately 1.5# swarm in the same oak tree (and same branch) that #1909 had clustered on. I hived them in a single 8-frame medium Langstroth, hereinafter referred to #1910, and presumed to emerge from #1903 (but this is speculation).

    20190519_121816.jpg 20190519_141131.jpg 20190519_143535.jpg 20190519_145739.jpg 20190519_161323.jpg

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  3. #722
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    11 colonies. way to go russ! you've got some depth now, as well as a reason why you won't have very many idle moments at certain times of the year.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #723
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    russ
    you could always make a couple queen cells for replacement of you questionable queen. They might make you a cell if you put a little open brood up with the honey and over a queen excluder.

    On the tree, I have heard that the queen will come out to check on open brood when first placed in a set up like yours. You might have to check with in a couple of hours to catch her but then you have to rely on the hive to make a new one for themselves. This is just something I have read and you might persnal message cleo as I am sure he would know. If she came up, you might even cage her on some empty brood comb and get her to lay for a day or two and put her back and then use that to make a queen. I don't care about genetics enough myself to go to that much work. I more play the number of hives in the hope they don't all die at once. These are the type of things I might try based solely upon things I have read and not actually tried.
    Nice report.
    gww
    Ps I guess your russian scion didn't work this time.
    zone 5b

  5. #724
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    11 colonies. way to go russ! you've got some depth now, as well as a reason why you won't have very many idle moments at certain times of the year. [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.beesource.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
    Thank you, Squarepeg. I owe most of where I am at to good folks like yourself who have been so generous in sharing advice and experienced wisdom.

    As you might imagine, I wasn't lacking for things to do prior, so the bees are having to get by largely on their own.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

    Russ

  6. #725
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    russ
    you could always make a couple queen cells for replacement of you questionable queen. They might make you a cell if you put a little open brood up with the honey and over a queen excluder.

    On the tree, I have heard that the queen will come out to check on open brood when first placed in a set up like yours. You might have to check with in a couple of hours to catch her but then you have to rely on the hive to make a new one for themselves. This is just something I have read and you might persnal message cleo as I am sure he would know. If she came up, you might even cage her on some empty brood comb and get her to lay for a day or two and put her back and then use that to make a queen. I don't care about genetics enough myself to go to that much work. I more play the number of hives in the hope they don't all die at once. These are the type of things I might try based solely upon things I have read and not actually tried.
    Nice report.
    gww
    Ps I guess your russian scion didn't work this time.
    Great advice, GWW. I am learning on the bee tree that I might be trying to catch 'lightning in a bottle' by catching them when they have open eggs in the hive set-up. Good idea to follow-up with Cleo- I am going to do that!

    On #1804- I don't even own a queen excluder, but your thoughts make perfect sense to me. Just curious why they have not set-out to replace her on their own.

    The scion did not work this time, but it just goes to show that queen pheromone is highly alluring and resilient. I've left the ladder set-up for now just in case...

    Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it!

    Russ

  7. #726
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    It has been a busy 24-hours at the home yard.

    #1804 (overwintered Langstroth)- 3-tall 8-frame medium. This is the hive which was represented by a micro-cluster this Spring and has received approximately 5 frames worth of nurse bees from #1803. This hive has shown significant brood improvement but still has a long way to go. Saw some eggs laid on the sides of cells and a few double eggs but also a good number of picture-perfect eggs laid in the bottom of the cells. Also found a single queen cell with no contents. Based on all this, I am a bit surprised that this colony has not yet attempted supercedure.

    ...

    20190519_145739.jpg
    Good report and pictures. I like the one showing the off-center eggs. It is too bad that bee tree hasn't gone exactly according to plan, but you've learned a lot, I'll bet. Do you plan to try luring the queen out again this year? I hope you'll share what Mr. Hogan says.

  8. #727
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    It is too bad that bee tree hasn't gone exactly according to plan, but you've learned a lot, I'll bet. Do you plan to try luring the queen out again this year? I hope you'll share what Mr. Hogan says.
    Thank you, CLong. You are exactly right- the effort has been well worth it for the experience alone. I have swapped a few e-mails with Mr. Hogan, and he has very graciously walked me through the next steps. Because I can't say it any better than he does, I will summarize my question and excerpt his feedback.

    Concerning whether it was too late to continue trying to gather genetics from the 'bee tree':

    It isn’t too late to continue trapping in KY. I normally like to stop about the 20th of June. So you have basically a month.

    Concerning the fact that the bees began backfilling the hatched brood cells with nectar:

    Once open brood is introduced, you should check at the end of day 1 and day 2. If you have 3 or more pounds of bees, remove the frames with the bees on them and start the trapping again. Just move these bees and add a queen if you want another colony, or just wait until you are done trapping and recombine the bees together into 1 new hive. If you do not get her on removal # 1, the object will be to weaken the original colony until it cannot sustain itself.

    If you don’t mind, I really believe your mistake is in not checking the trap early, ( 1 to 2 days after introducing open brood). I would then check to see if the queen is in the trap, If so, take her and the frames of bees. With only 1 or 2 days from introducing brood, the probability is very high that there are viable eggs in the original brood nest for them to raise a new queen. If she is not there, remove the bees and frames and reset the trap with open brood. By taking brood you will have weakened the colony, but, this time of year, that is no problem. Again check in 1 to 2 days to see if she is in the trap. If not, remove those bees and start trapping again. As you weaken the hive, she will come out.

    Concerning what to do with the queenless bees I remove in the event the queen is not in the initial trappings:

    When I was trapping to get a queen... the 3 pound + of bees that I moved, I did one of the following. Put a new queen with it and you have a new colony. Take a frame of uncapped brood from one of your other hives, give it to these bees, let them make their own queen. Then you can continue to combine bees from your trapping to this hive. As soon as this queen emerges, you can use her brood to make more colonies.

    Based on his excellent and helpful feedback, the 'plan' would be as follows:

    1. Add a new frame of open brood to the hive set-up.

    2. Within 48 hours, carefully inspect the hive set-up for evidence that the queen is present.

    3a. If so, remove the hive set-up in total, assuming there are viable eggs remaining in the tree cavity for the colony to re-queen themselves and that the hive set-up is queenright and ready to continue Summer build-up.

    3b. If not, remove the hive set-up frames and bees, transferring them to a new hive body and assuming they are queenless. Take prompt action to provide them with the resources to develop an emergency queen.

    4. If no queen is present (3b), repeat steps (1) through (3) until the queen is secured or you are tired of fooling with it... whichever comes first.

    I am going to think through the mechanics of this, and I will provide an update once I have anything tangible to report.

  9. #728
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    This afternoon represented 48 hours since I transferred Hive #1907 (May 2nd swarm from neighbor) and Hive #1909 (May 9th swarm presumed from #1903) to new Langstroth set-ups. As such, I did a mite drop count and was surprised by the results (both bad and good):

    Hive #1907- There were 300+ mites in the tray, which surprised me as they are building-up nicely, had a good brood pattern with no evidence of perforated cappings and no visible crawlers and/or shriveled wings. I am going to watch them very closely for implosion and will put a robbing screen on them at the first signs of trouble.

    Hive #1909- There were no mites in the tray, which surprised me given that I had inspected every frame and have been under the impression that brood nest disruption tends to impel phoretic mites to release.

    I still have no real firm grasp on what these data mean, but my assumption is that colonies which consistently exhibit a lower relative mite drop regardless of the period of observation will demonstrate a statistically-relevant increase in survivability versus colonies with a higher relative mite drop.

  10. #729
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    So I received a little 'bee education' this afternoon the hard way... as usual.

    In preparing to revisit the 'bee tree' trap-out, I went in search of a frame of open brood and decided the most logical place to pull it was from the strongest overwintered colony, which is #1803.

    In doing so, I failed to appreciate the fact that they swarmed exactly two weeks ago. As you might imagine, I found the hive completely devoid of any open brood- not one egg, not one larvae, but only the last rounds of capped brood.

    The capped brood was all located in the third and fourth box.

    Since I had them apart I decided to take it down to the bottom board to further my education. I made four main observations, beyond what should have been obvious, namely no open brood:

    1. There are no other capped queen cells, so presumably they were content with a single primary swarm.

    2. They have almost completely ignored the empty box I put on the bottom, only storing a little nectar and pollen in the brood comb I moved down earlier in hopes of convincing them to move down.

    3. Speaking of drawing comb, this colony has conspicuously drawn very little comb out beyond finishing out and capping honey storage. Suppose I needed to be more diligent about keeping empty frames available directly above the working level of brood nest.

    4. The 4th, 5th and 6th boxes were approximately 50, 70 and 90% capped surplus, so I moved boxes 7 and 8 down to directly above box 4.

    P.S. I sure hope I didn't roll the new queen in all the mayhem...

  11. #730
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    3. Speaking of drawing comb, this colony has conspicuously drawn very little comb out beyond finishing out and capping honey storage. Suppose I needed to be more diligent about keeping empty frames available directly above the working level of brood nest.
    this is consistent what walt describes in his manuscript and what i have observed for the most part, i.e. that a colony generally won't turn its attention to drawing new comb until either after it swarms or decides not to swarm.

    the exception to this appears to be if foundationless frames are placed within or just to the side of the broodnest, like with matt davey's osbn method.

    even with plenty of drawn comb in the upper supers, i have seen similar to your hive 1803 in that those upper supers will get ignored once solid honey is established in a super or two over the broodnest leading to backfilling of the broodnest and swarming.

    this has led me to get increasingly aggressive with opening up the brood nest, pyramiding brood up to the next box, and shaking the queen down to an empty deep once the brood nest is occupying the center 5 frames in 3 or 4 supers above that empty deep.

    this has worked really well at preventing swarming and getting a nice honey crop. over time i got increasingly more aggressive with these manipulations wondering if at some point i might see ill effects from disturbing the brood nest so much.

    i'm wondering now if some of the reason for my efb outbreak is related in part to stressing the colonies beyond their limit by doing this.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #731
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i'm wondering now if some of the reason for my efb outbreak is related in part to stressing the colonies beyond their limit by doing this.
    Squarepeg:

    Thank you for your reply- I sincerely appreciate you bringing context to what I found. It is one thing to read things and another to see it for yourself.

    Your thoughts on the EFB outbreak are sobering and I can certainly appreciate how pushing colonies to their limits could activate an opportunistic disease.

    Has this experience led you to reconsider how you will approach your management going forward?

  13. #732
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Square
    I am surprised you don't end up with a bunch of queen cells after you add the excluder.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  14. #733
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    .........this has led me to get increasingly aggressive with opening up the brood nest, pyramiding brood up to the next box,
    .......................... stressing the colonies beyond their limit by doing this.
    Technically they want the brood-nest to be tight (for sure so in the spring time in the northern areas).
    Looking at the current year's spring up here - over-extending the brood-nest would be a bad thing.
    In subtropical places you may get away with it (still, not necessarily a good thing and probably finally back-fired).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #734
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    When my inspector came through, she thought putting gaps in the broodnest was contributing to chalkbrood. Though honestly the worst of the chalk brood I got rid of a long time ago and is less than the last time she came around. I agree with her that too much too soon is not good. Plus mid spring or so the bees don't seem all that interested in making comb even if there is a dandylion flow. Almost no sense to make gaps too soon. Again learning to follow the bees lead and making mistakes

  16. #735
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    walt was very adamant about not disturbing the broodnest in any way whatsoever. he did not however have issue with matt davey's osbn method.

    after dozens of hive years manipulating the brood nests in my yards without problems i don't think i'll totally abandon doing any at all. i will back off a notch or two on how aggressively i do so however.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #736
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    After my brood search debacle associated with Hive #1803 on Wednesday, I decided that a proverbial 'bird in the hand' was worth more than 'two in the bush'.

    As such, I pulled all nine frames from the top box of the 'bee tree' hive set-up, putting them in a new box and shaking-down all the festooning bees busy drawing out comb on the screened inner cover.

    The result was about 4.5 - 5# of bees and almost nine full frames of nectar with a little pollen.

    I reloaded the 'bee tree' box with new frames and brought the bees home.

    Once relocated, I took a frame of open brood from Hive #1909 and gave it to the 'bee tree' bees in hopes they will raise an emergency queen, and also gave them another box to keep them occupied in the interim.

    As of today, they are busy milling about the robbing screen and orienting, while buzzing with the distinctive whine of a queenless colony.

    As an aside, I am always amazed at how other colonies can so quickly identify that a hive is queenless and start looking for opportunity to begin robbing the queenless colony out.

    The plan for the 'bee tree' will be to monitor the hive set-up until there are 3-4# of bees in the box and to then add another frame of open brood to attempt to coax the queen down.

  18. #737
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I am ready to declare that 'swarm season' is over here in Western Kentucky.

    All told, I at various points and times had 22 traps out at 7 locations and only caught 4 swarms that moved in voluntarily, for an abysmal 18% success rate.

    In considering the successes and failures of the trapping efforts, I made a few observations:

    1. All hived swarms were caught here at the home yard. I was a perfect zero for six at the remote sites.

    2. All hived swarms were caught in the inherited Warre hive set-ups. The scouts generally showed utter contempt for the Langstroth swarm traps.

    3. I noted that the scouts showed a distinct preference for upper entrances. When watching scouts visit the traps, they overwhelmingly made entry to traps with multiple entrances via the topmost opening. Further, I have one trap out that only has an opening via the bottom board, and it received the least amount of sustained interest of all traps which were routinely observed.

    4. Interestingly, the traps that received the most interest were those which were located in the closest proximity to active colonies.

    So why did the Langstroth traps not work? While I cannot be certain, a few hypotheses come to mind:

    1. The boxes were 'barely-used" and so therefore did not have a heavy lived-in smell.

    2. I utilized a combination slatted rack / bottom board, which I am convinced (in conjunction with Items 3 and 4) caused scouts to preemptively reject these traps.

    3. These set-ups only had bottom entrances, and scouts were often seen circling around the top of the box looking for a means to gain entry, only to move on before finding/utilizing the bottom entrance.

    4. I utilized screened inner covers. My initial logic was that this step would save me having to get in such a hurry to take the traps down, but I expect this simply provided another reason for a scout to reject these volumes from consideration.

    At this point, I have left two Warre traps and three Langstroth traps (old boxes with solid inner covers) deployed in the outside chance of late swarm interest.

    For next year, my revised Langstroth trapping approach based on what I observed this year would be:

    1. Provide upper entrances.

    2. Utilize only solid inner covers.

    3. Reconfigure traps with more heavily lived-in hive bodies.

  19. #738
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post

    1. Provide upper entrances.

    2. Utilize only solid inner covers.

    3. Reconfigure traps with more heavily lived-in hive bodies.

    #1 - I feel what really important is - the absolute height of the entrance over the ground level (not that it is upper vs. lower)
    Case I will point to - my back porch - I use lower entrance boxes where the entrances are located about 6-7 feet about the ground.
    The upper entrance is desirable IF you have ground level traps.
    There is the most ergonomic bee flight height range where the flight is the least energy demanding (not too high, not too low).
    Let say the lower cut for that range is about ~3 feet off the ground - best to have the entrance above that lower cut (whatever that entrance happens to be - less important).
    Last year swarm flew into the entrance only 1-2 feet off the ground for me, but it was a dead-out hive with a lot to offer. You could smell it a mile away.

    #2 - I don't have solid inner covers and never will.
    Does not matter to have it solid (unless an integral part of well performing trap).
    What does matter - the trap itself should not be overly ventilated.
    Make the traps dark and stuffy inside - that what really matters.
    Heavily propolised cloth used as an inner cover is really great (and adjustable to a trap of any size and/or shape, be it round even).

    #3 - Agreed.
    Last edited by GregV; 05-27-2019 at 08:37 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #739
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    I am ready to declare that 'swarm season' is over here in Western Kentucky.

    All told, I at various points and times had 22 traps out at 7 locations and only caught 4 swarms that moved in voluntarily, for an abysmal 18% success rate....
    Well, you were looking for good fishing spots.
    Found one so far - only confirming that existing active locations are really good attractants.
    Keep fishing with upgraded equipment and you will see.
    Too big of a trap - not good either (I think you had those too in your back yard).
    Much better traps started dragging the swarms down for me at exact same locations.
    Last edited by GregV; 05-27-2019 at 08:39 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #740
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I mostly agree with greg on the trapping stuff. Some areas have more bees then others to catch. I have 16 traps and average two a year. Only have one so far this year. Some of my traps just have a lid.
    Cheers
    gww
    Ps
    Don't be afraid of places that get more people traffic then some wild place. I have been surprised at some of the traps my bees have chosen even when there were places I thought were better. Like by my saw mill even when I was mostly using it every day or at my brothers club house this Sunday that had 40 people milling around. Last year I got one in a trap by his drive way. I have traps in high-lines that the bees could have picked and have before but I have more that have picked the used locations.
    zone 5b

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