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  1. #801
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Glad to help- noticed any crawlers in your apiary?
    Russ,

    Many, many times over the years, including recently. Some will take off and fly with coaxing. I've found others that won't. I've found frazzled oldsters, younger bees, and drones. I haven't seen any DWV, but I haven't looked that hard, either. Most days, I can spot 1-5 bees crawling around on the ground between the two hives closest to the fence.

    My beeyard is carpeted 4 inches thick with wood chips. I wonder if some of the "crawlers" are bees that are harvesting something from the chips. I've seen a cluster of 5+ bees in one spot a few yards away from the beeyard scrutinizing something amongst the chips. Water or sap, perhaps? I'll have to pay closer attention, and get some pictures. If I can catch them in the act, I'll post on my own thread.

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  3. #802
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    if there are feral wild-type colonies making it through multiple winters undisturbed and without interventions then that at least bodes for the local environment having what it needs to support it.

    then it's just a matter of making sure any beekeeper interventions and/or introductions don't get in the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    This year I am actually by design plugging drone combs that I have into my main surviving TF resource hives - the more drone the merrier.
    Squarepeg and GregV:

    Thank you for the excellent feedback. You both have much more experience than I so I defer widely to you both.

    Along these lines, my thoughts recently center on the idea of 'doing no harm' to existing genetic resources assuming they are surviving in a feral state without intervention.

    In other words, it we assume that nature seeks a complex and multi-faceted balance that has myriad factors (of which many are out of our direct control), the best we can do is hope to tap-into this dynamic and hopefully not unduly disrupt it while still trying to support our own objectives for tapping-into these resources.

    So it leads me to continue exploring more steps I can take personally regarding both apiary design and my associated management that more closely mimic the natural colony dynamic. This idea might assume that Dr. Seeley's 'Darwinian Beekeeping' model has captured all the critical elements, or there may be others, like GregV's 'eco-floor' experiments.

    Obviously, all this presupposes that one has a fairly stable symbiotic balance in place, and it seems plain to me that the strategies would likely need to be much different in areas of significant flux, i.e. a 'genetic firewall'.

    I do really enjoy reading about the varied dynamics that are at work in the disparate locations where we all live, and feel like I am better for the exchange of information that is happening here.

  4. #803
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    My beeyard is carpeted 4 inches thick with wood chips. I wonder if some of the "crawlers" are bees that are harvesting something from the chips. I've seen a cluster of 5+ bees in one spot a few yards away from the beeyard scrutinizing something amongst the chips. Water or sap, perhaps? I'll have to pay closer attention, and get some pictures. If I can catch them in the act, I'll post on my own thread.
    CLong:

    Like you, I have hardwood chips spread out on an orchard adjacent to a couple of my hives. I have observed bees routinely visiting the chips and have also assumed they are after water or sap. I've noticed too that when I am cutting up firewood on a day that is warm enough for flying, I will almost always draw a crowd.

  5. #804
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    CLong:

    Like you, I have hardwood chips spread out on an orchard adjacent to a couple of my hives. I have observed bees routinely visiting the chips and have also assumed they are after water or sap. I've noticed too that when I am cutting up firewood on a day that is warm enough for flying, I will almost always draw a crowd.
    Them bees just like the smell of the wood I recon.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #805
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Them bees just like the smell of the wood I recon.
    [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.beesource.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
    GregV: With talk like that, you'll fit in right nice here in Kentucky.

  7. #806
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    CLong:

    Like you, I have hardwood chips spread out on an orchard adjacent to a couple of my hives.
    Russ,

    My orchard is covered with wood chips too. Did you get that idea from Paul Gautschi? He did a documentary called "Back to Eden".

  8. #807
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    Russ,

    My orchard is covered with wood chips too. Did you get that idea from Paul Gautschi? He did a documentary called "Back to Eden".
    I was actually first exposed to the idea in Michael Phillips book, "The Holistic Orchard". Following that however, I did watch Paul's video and was convinced of the merits of such a system.

    I have been impressed with both how effective it is at weed control and at improving the underlying tilth of the soil. What remains to be seen is whether the increased moisture retention is a good thing or a bad thing here were we reliably get 4" of rain a month as a historical average.

  9. #808
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    As previously mentioned, I recently read a research paper entitled, ‘Colony Fissioning in Honey Bees: How is Swarm Departure Triggered and What Determines Who Leaves?’

    https://ecommons.cornell.edu/handle/1813/14898

    Prepared by Ms. Juliana Rangel Posada, Ph. D. (currently at Texas A&M University) as a part of her post-doctoral dissertation work with Dr. Thomas Seeley at Cornell University, it explored four (4) main questions (with accompanying results) regarding swarm dynamics:

    1. The role of waggle signals in swarm preparations:

    “We … found that neither the worker-worker shaking nor the waggle-run signals increased before or during the swarm departure. This result indicates that they are not directly involved in stimulating swarm bees to depart. It is probably not surprising that the waggle dance is not used in this context, since it is mainly used as a mechanism to communicate the locations of important resources, i.e. rich food sources and suitable nest sites.”

    2. Whether scouts explore potential nest sites prior to swarm departure:

    “Using a nest box and colonies in observation hives, we found that a swarm’s nest-site scouts search for potential nest cavities prior to the departure of the swarm from its hive. Furthermore, we found that the predeparture nest-site scouts are the sole producers of the worker piping signal and that they are the first producers of the buzz-run signal.”

    3. Whether and to what extent pre-swarm nest sites are defended from competing occupants:

    “When only 1-3 scouts from each swarm were at the box, they rarely fought. But when the scouts from one swarm outnumbered those from the other swarm (4-20 vs. 1-3 bees), those in the majority advertised their presence with a buzzing behavior at the entrance opening, and started mobbing and killing those in the minority. When one swarm gained clear control of the nest box (20+ vs. 0-1 bees), some of its scouts guarded the box’s entrance, preventing entry by foreign scouts.”

    4. Whether patrilinear make-up impacts whether individual bees stay or go with a swarm:

    “Our findings showed that there is no intracolonial nepotism during swarming, despite the theoretical prediction that workers should benefit from preferentially staying in the old nest based on their genetic relatedness to the daughter queen(s). The absence of intracolonial nepotism during colony fissioning could be because the workers cannot discriminate between full-sister and half-sister queens when they are immature, or because the costs of behaving nepotistically outweigh the benefits.”

  10. #809
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Nice write up. Now I don't have to read it all for myself.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  11. #810
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    2. Whether scouts explore potential nest sites prior to swarm departure:

    “Using a nest box and colonies in observation hives, we found that a swarm’s nest-site scouts search for potential nest cavities prior to the departure of the swarm from its hive. Furthermore, we found that the predeparture nest-site scouts are the sole producers of the worker piping signal and that they are the first producers of the buzz-run signal.”
    Russ,

    Not only do bee scout for future homes before leaving the current one, they may even clean them in advance of the swarm departing!

    In the latest Beekeeper's Corner podcasts 156 & 157, http://www.bkcorner.org/ Kevin Inglin relates how scout bees started checking out a trap at his house. As I recall this went on for a couple of days. He noticed the bees hauling out tiny filaments. Upon closer inspection, the filaments were found to be wax moth webbing. The traffic stopped for a day or two, and then a swarm moved in! It appears that scout bees were cleaning out the trap to prepare for an upcoming swarm. I don't recall the time elapsed between the first scouts, and the final move-in.

  12. #811
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Nice write up. Now I don't have to read it all for myself.
    Cheers
    gww
    Thanks, GWW. I'm glad it is a help, and I always appreciate your help and input. Have a great weekend.

    Russ

  13. #812
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clong View Post
    Russ,

    Not only do bee scout for future homes before leaving the current one, they may even clean them in advance of the swarm departing!

    In the latest Beekeeper's Corner podcasts 156 & 157, http://www.bkcorner.org/ Kevin Inglin relates how scout bees started checking out a trap at his house. As I recall this went on for a couple of days. He noticed the bees hauling out tiny filaments. Upon closer inspection, the filaments were found to be wax moth webbing. The traffic stopped for a day or two, and then a swarm moved in! It appears that scout bees were cleaning out the trap to prepare for an upcoming swarm. I don't recall the time elapsed between the first scouts, and the final move-in.
    Now that is interesting, CLong- thank you for sharing. I am not familar with this podcast, so I will have to check it out!

    Thanks again for your feedback, and have a great weekend.

    Russ

  14. #813
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    A few recent random observations:

    1. Slatted racks do appear to reduce bearding- While it is anecdotal, we are now firmly in the heat of summer here and the Langstroth hives with slatted racks appear to exhibit much less bearding. Conversely, the Warre hives appear to exhibit much more bearding (see attached). I have also noted that bees do appear to congregate in the ‘vestibule’ between the bottom of the slatted rack and the bottom board. What remains to be seen is whether slatted racks impart a negative feature in controlling hive beetles. I do not consider this year a test of this theory as the SHB’s have been noticeably absent here.

    2. No fresh eggs does not mean a hive is queenless- I have been concerned of late at the lack of incoming pollen and the slow nature of build-up of #1911. On Wednesday (6.26), I did a deep inspection and was convinced they had recently lost their queen as there were no fresh eggs and only a smattering of capped brood. So I robbed a frame of open brood from #1804 and installed it. As the week progressed, I saw a noticeable uptick in the amount of incoming pollen and was satisfied they were busy rearing a new queen. This afternoon I decided to prove my suspicion and was surprised there were no queen cells and fresh eggs laid. So they were queenright after all.

    3. The ‘bee tree’- I am glad I was not tempted to take more resources from the ‘bee tree’ this spring as it seems they are struggling to rebuild their vigor after the start I took from them. Made a mental note that one’s window for opportunity to take a start and still leave the parent colony in good stead is likely narrow, especially in the situation where you cannot augment the parent colony with supplemental feeding.

    4. #1804- When I stole a frame of brood I looked things over fairly well and I continue to be surprised that this colony has not decided to supercede this queen. Her laying pattern still appears to be a bit spotty and I observed several cells with two eggs laid in them. That said, the population looks good, their mite drop remains low and they are satisfying the only selection criteria that I currently have in my yard so I continue to simply observe.

    1902 Bearding.jpg 1908 Bearding.jpg 1804 Frame.jpg 1804 Frame Close-Up.jpg

  15. #814
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    russ
    Did I miss something or did earlier in this thread a discussion take place where you may have actually got the queen from the tree? I could have reread the thread and don't trust my memory but was too lazy.
    Thanks for the report. I do have slatted racks in all my hives.
    gww
    zone 5b

  16. #815
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    russ
    Did I miss something or did earlier in this thread a discussion take place where you may have actually got the queen from the tree? I could have reread the thread and don't trust my memory but was too lazy.
    Thanks for the report. I do have slatted racks in all my hives.
    gww
    GWW:

    Thank you for your reply. You are right that I am of the opinion that I got a queen from the 'bee tree'. Whether it was the only queen or not, I don't know but the relocated colony exhibited capped brood before it was mathematically possible to have reared a queen from an egg.

    I read the recent slatted rack discussion and saw you used them- have you noticed increased SHB pressure as a result?

    Also, I saw you were extracting today- how did your yield compare with past years?

    I always enjoy your input and humility.

  17. #816
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    A few recent random observations:

    1. Slatted racks do appear to reduce bearding- While it is anecdotal, we are now firmly in the heat of summer here and the Langstroth hives with slatted racks appear to exhibit much less bearding. Conversely, the Warre hives appear to exhibit much more bearding (see attached). I have also noted that bees do appear to congregate in the ‘vestibule’ between the bottom of the slatted rack and the bottom board. What remains to be seen is whether slatted racks impart a negative feature in controlling hive beetles. I do not consider this year a test of this theory as the SHB’s have been noticeably absent here.

    2. No fresh eggs does not mean a hive is queenless- I have been concerned of late at the lack of incoming pollen and the slow nature of build-up of #1911. On Wednesday (6.26), I did a deep inspection and was convinced they had recently lost their queen as there were no fresh eggs and only a smattering of capped brood. So I robbed a frame of open brood from #1804 and installed it. As the week progressed, I saw a noticeable uptick in the amount of incoming pollen and was satisfied they were busy rearing a new queen. This afternoon I decided to prove my suspicion and was surprised there were no queen cells and fresh eggs laid. So they were queenright after all.

    3. The ‘bee tree’- I am glad I was not tempted to take more resources from the ‘bee tree’ this spring as it seems they are struggling to rebuild their vigor after the start I took from them. Made a mental note that one’s window for opportunity to take a start and still leave the parent colony in good stead is likely narrow, especially in the situation where you cannot augment the parent colony with supplemental feeding.

    4. #1804- When I stole a frame of brood I looked things over fairly well and I continue to be surprised that this colony has not decided to supercede this queen. Her laying pattern still appears to be a bit spotty and I observed several cells with two eggs laid in them. That said, the population looks good, their mite drop remains low and they are satisfying the only selection criteria that I currently have in my yard so I continue to simply observe.

    1902 Bearding.jpg 1908 Bearding.jpg 1804 Frame.jpg 1804 Frame Close-Up.jpg
    Wow Russ the first 2 pics have some serious bearding going on. Is that typical or is it very hot there? let us know if these 2 hives swarm.
    Some kinds of bees , Russians in particular, will stop and start laying if there is a local dearth, or they want space to pile in the nectar. And yes it can make you wonder if they are queen less, been there several times.
    GG

  18. #817
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    russ
    I always have a few shb but the bees seem to keep them cornered.

    My honey harvest was less. I got a little over 6 gal this year and got ten gal last year. It might be over or they may put another gal or two in the supers. I did sell some bees which was a first for me.

    Extracting is hard work in my mind. My wife does 2/3rd more work then me and it still takes 8/9 hours and wears me out. I am glad the stuff is in the bucket and not in the hive now.

    If those boxes in your pictures are full, look like you could do some of the hard work of extracting also. If you crush and strain on the warres, it has to be easier then spinning frames.

    Good luck
    gww
    zone 5b

  19. #818
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Wow Russ the first 2 pics have some serious bearding going on. Is that typical or is it very hot there? let us know if these 2 hives swarm.
    Some kinds of bees , Russians in particular, will stop and start laying if there is a local dearth, or they want space to pile in the nectar. And yes it can make you wonder if they are queen less, been there several times.
    GG
    Gray Goose:

    Thank you for your reply. It has been hot here, but not yet nearing our summer peak temperatures. Our weather recently has been patterned by unsettled stormy weather with daytime highs near 90 degrees F and high relative humidity. In other words, hot and muggy with brief interruptions by thunderstorms.

    This excessive bearding seems to be constrained to the Warre hives- ironically the two worst (#1902 and #1908) are in full shade in the afternoon.

    I did observe brood breaks in both hived swarms last year during the summer dearth, but not to the extent that there was not an egg to be seen as observed in #1911. I suppose it could be that depending upon when one looks this would be more common than I expect such that maybe the colony has the queen quit laying for a few days, pick up for a few days, etc.?

    Thanks again for your feedback, and I sincerely hope that you and your family have a great Independence Day.

    Russ

  20. #819
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    russ
    I always have a few shb but the bees seem to keep them cornered.

    My honey harvest was less. I got a little over 6 gal this year and got ten gal last year. It might be over or they may put another gal or two in the supers. I did sell some bees which was a first for me.

    Extracting is hard work in my mind. My wife does 2/3rd more work then me and it still takes 8/9 hours and wears me out. I am glad the stuff is in the bucket and not in the hive now.

    If those boxes in your pictures are full, look like you could do some of the hard work of extracting also. If you crush and strain on the warres, it has to be easier then spinning frames.

    Good luck
    gww
    GWW:

    Thank you for your reply- I am glad to hear that the slatted racks have not proven to be too problematic for you with SHB's. It seems that absent this issue, there would be very little downside to their use, and quite possibly some gain- at least in terms of brood comb efficiency and bearding-reduction (if this confers a benefit).

    It sounds to me like you 'married up' (like I did) and I am glad to hear your apiary is doing so well that you can sell off stock. Every experienced commercial beekeeper I have talked to in my region has advised me that if I want to make beekeeping a business, it is imperative that I get good at raising (and selling) bees along with honey.

    So I might be thinking about this all wrong, but my thought right now is to leave these 3 and 4 deep Warre colonies alone and not disturb them (unless there is an obvious problem) nor harvest honey off of them but to utilize them as 'genetic resource' hives that are allowed to swarm naturally and supply genetic material to the neighborhood and to my production hives. Maybe there would be some room for a little surplus honey taking in this plan too...

    I notice that the long-range forecast for us (and especially you) is that this summer will remain cooler and wetter than average, so here's hoping you get another few gallons of surplus before it is time to close-out.

    Thank you again for your reply, and I sincerely hope you and your family have a great 4th of July celebration.

    Russ

  21. #820
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    the brood breaks can be very common but its a function of genetics. its at the core of environmental regulation. some colonies don't respond (to either changes in pollen or nectar availability) at all while others will shut down completely. fortunately there's a bunch of in between options and finding that line between the extremes is always what i'm interested in

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