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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Common variation of the "bottom board" in the honeybee tree - a deep pit full of rotten wood.
    Here is a good review of multiple and credible references and descriptions of actual honey bee nests in trees (will require Google translation).
    BeeTreeTypical2.jpg
    Last edited by GregV; 03-26-2019 at 11:11 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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  3. #62

    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Spreading the "truth" (tm).


  4. #63
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    With respect to colony size as a factor, I'm curious about the effect of using a queen excluder to allow a relatively small space for brood while still allowing plenty of room for honey production.
    David Matlock

  5. #64
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    works for me david. i've got several hives right now with an excluder about a single deep and 7 or 8 medium supers above the excluder all full of honey on our main spring flow. will be harvesting soon.

    although i'm seeing that the excluder isn't needed anymore after the upper half of the first super becomes a honey dome. in fact it appears that removing the excluder at that point might even boost production by a bit.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #65
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
    Anyone else in the TF community heading this direction?

    2019 will be our third year keeping colonies small and more spread out.

    A little more work, a little more spread out, but if you're a hobbiest Beek and have the space its been worth it for us...so far.
    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i am not leaning that way at this time db, although i do see some merit in implementing those ideas, especially for those just starting out and/or those in locations more challenged than mine.
    that exchange took place only 5 short months ago.

    fast forward to today and yes i'll be heading in the spreading them out direction for sure after seeing how fast efb can drift through a congested yard.

    in terms of colony size i plan to continue swarm prevention management with the goal of large, strong, productive colonies.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #66
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    While fewer colonies spread across more landscape makes some sense, there is a point where it becomes uneconomic. Brother Adam was in favor of a hive stand that held 2 colonies. This has huge advantages when managing bees as there is another colony nearby if brood is needed or to facilitate other manipulations.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  8. #67
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    While fewer colonies spread across more landscape makes some sense, there is a point where it becomes uneconomic. Brother Adam was in favor of a hive stand that held 2 colonies. This has huge advantages when managing bees as there is another colony nearby if brood is needed or to facilitate other manipulations.
    i agree with that dar, but for now and until i see if and how my yards recover from the efb outbreak, there won't be any moving of any resources or equipment from one hive to another.

    the exception to this is that after this season's honey is harvested from what at this point appear to be hives unaffected by the efb, i plan to remove one frame of brood, one frame of stores, and a couple frame's shake of bees to make up nucs.

    it make take another season or two to see if recovery is possible. once i get the hives more widely separated and decrease the # of hives per yard, and if irradiation or some other means of equipment sterilization does not become available, i'll be moving to a strict destruction by fire approach for any that i find efb in.

    i've got a least one affected hive that appears to have a terramycin resistant strain of efb. it continues to dwindle and has affected larvae after 2 weeks of treatment. this colony will likely get euthanized next weekend and the frames sent off for analysis.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #68
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i agree with that dar, but for now and until i see if and how my yards recover from the efb outbreak, there won't be any moving of any resources or equipment from one hive to another.

    the exception to this is that after this season's honey is harvested from what at this point appear to be hives unaffected by the efb, i plan to remove one frame of brood, one frame of stores, and a couple frame's shake of bees to make up nucs.

    it make take another season or two to see if recovery is possible. once i get the hives more widely separated and decrease the # of hives per yard, and if irradiation or some other means of equipment sterilization does not become available, i'll be moving to a strict destruction by fire approach for any that i find efb in.

    i've got a least one affected hive that appears to have a terramycin resistant strain of efb. it continues to dwindle and has affected larvae after 2 weeks of treatment. this colony will likely get euthanized next weekend and the frames sent off for analysis.
    SquarePeg, I was wondering if after honey extraction the wax could contain the EFB? Do you mark the frames and boxes so they go back on the same hive, or do you cut and strain. just wondering what strategy one could utilize if you suspected something. Unfortunately After extracting my frames get mixed up and placed on different hives. so if something was there it would spread somewhat by default.

  10. #69
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    the experts at the bee lab aren't sure exactly how long efb can survive on the frames.

    i haven't been too careful going about how frames got mixed up in the extractor and placed afterward but i will going forward.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #70
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    That is a discouraging scenario to consider. Your uncapping tools, and station, everything you transport and stack supers on etc. No more having the bees clean up wet frames.

    I have gathered (perhaps because that is what I want to believe) is that the pollen or bee bread is the long lasting reservoir of the bacteria on the combs. Of course most honey frames have the odd pollen pockets.

    If the honey super frames prove to be a source of recontamination I will pack it in.
    Frank

  12. #71
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    If the honey super frames prove to be a source of recontamination I will pack it in.
    yes. i've reconciled myself to the fact that i can't keep bees under a laboratory hood or in an autoclave. at some point my colonies are going to have to be able to deal with coming in contact with a little bit of m. plutonius from time to time. if the measures i am undertaking don't result in the majority of colonies surviving my strict burn policy going forward i'll pack it in.

    the only wet supers i'll have this year are coming off of super strong colonies somehow apparently unaffected by efb. some of these have 7 or 8 supers full of honey on them. some of those wet supers will be given to the colonies that recovered after the terramycin treatment. (as of now there are only 3 out of 6 that look hopeful in that regard).

    otherwise all wet supers will be put back on the stacks they come off of.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #72
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I have gathered (perhaps because that is what I want to believe) is that the pollen or bee bread is the long lasting reservoir of the bacteria on the combs.
    my hypothesis as well frank. i can imagine how those anaerobes might survive a very long time at the bottom of a wet beebread cell.

    i am removing those cells from the frames containing just a few of them before my disinfecting regimen.

    there are too many to remove on many of my frames, and if i can't sterilize them by irradiation or fumigation they will get burned.

    i am suggesting to bee labs that they look there for live bacteria on the sample frames i will be sending them.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    my hypothesis as well frank. i can imagine how those anaerobes might survive a very long time at the bottom of a wet beebread cell.

    i am removing those cells from the frames containing just a few of them before my disinfecting regimen.

    there are too many to remove on many of my frames, and if i can't sterilize them by irradiation or fumigation they will get burned.

    i am suggesting to bee labs that they look there for live bacteria on the sample frames i will be sending them.
    It sure would be nice if we had a time frame whereafter all frames could be safely considered free of EFB contamination even without messing with them.

    I have certainly seen the 18 month figure mentioned, but that may be no more than someones oft repeated hunch.

    With the recognition that there are a large number of sub types, it could still be questionable whether that info was true in all cases. There certainly are voices of experience that still feel EFB is nothing worse than the common cold.
    Frank

  15. #74
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    all true frank, all true.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #75
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    I just found the latest book by T. Seeley - published 2019 (relevant to the Darwinian Beekeeping - hence posting).
    Apologies if this is a repeat (but the book is really fresh - Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 28, 2019)).

    The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild

    https://www.amazon.com/Lives-Bees-Un...gateway&sr=8-1

    Free preview is on Google:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Ry...ussia.&f=false

    Added:
    On the free preview on Google - do scroll all way down and look at a short preview of CHAPTER 11: DARWINIAN BEEKEEPING - this is a must-read, potentially.
    I feel this particular book is worth buying, actually.
    The latest pretty much includes anything worthy from the past and much more.
    The author also is much more seasoned now - always a good thing.
    Last edited by GregV; 06-19-2019 at 01:50 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #76
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    The more I study about the primitive beekeeping, the more I question Seeley's conclusions.

    He never once clarifies that his studies are really done in relatively new growth forest (typical of North America where the old growth is hard to come by).
    Hence some of the conclusions made in the "The nest of the honeybee".
    Hi Greg V, Caught a swarm yesterday, one of my own. The interesting part. "bees prefer X Size hive/nest" I have a NUC 5 deep over 5 medium, that do to my own mis management, swarmed. So if a common Lang deep is about 40 liters then a common medium is 2/3 of that so lets say 26 liters for easy math. the source hive was 20+13 for 33 liters. it swarmed, I seen the bees emerge and land way up in a pine tree. I had a "decoy" out (5 deep with 5 medium and 5 medium) 3 box NUC of used comb and a squirt of Swarm commander. so that is 20 +13 +13 for 46 liter. this is what I set up based on the Tom Sealey articles. So once I seen the swarm up in the tree, I said, Self lets set out another decoy for 2 times the chance to catch it. so all I had was a deep and a medium 10 frame, I had 5 deep frames and 6 medium frames of dark used comb, the rest I tossed in new foundation less frames, size 40 + 26 or 66 liters. Now as the swarm emerged from a 33 liter hive and had the choice of a 46 and a 66 liter hive, either would hold it, this was a somewhat interesting "test" I fully expect the swarm to "fly away" I had good scout activity at each decoy 5-20 bees at a time. both decoy were appx 4 feet off the ground, one on a barrel and one on a kids swing set. Both facing south, the NUC had full (8 inch) opening, and the 10 frame had the full (16 inch) opening. slowly the 66 liter had more and more activity, up to 50 bees at times. The 66 liter decoy had the swarm land and take ownership appx 6pm in the evening. Swarm emerged 10am or so. so for me this was a clear indication that bees preference is hard to judge, and if a swarm from a NUC preferred the 66 liter then a swarm from a full size hive would likely not prefer the NUC, so IMO the NUC is a secondary/ multi cast swarm catcher. Prime Swarms will want a prime space. the 40 liter hive IMO will swarm more than one time a year.
    GG

  18. #77
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Hi Greg V, ......
    GG
    Thanks for sharing, GG.
    I need to chew on your observations a bit later.

    Hopefully, this weekend I do my round and see if anything landed in the out yards.

    Meanwhile, I have backyard trapping observations to note as well.
    While I did not land anything lately in the backyard (was a near miss for the swarm #2), I still have interesting observations as I get to watch the back porch daily and even hourly.
    Will post details/pics into the swarming area..
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #78
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I just found the latest book by T. Seeley - published 2019 (relevant to the Darwinian Beekeeping - hence posting).
    The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild
    GregV:

    Thank you for your post- glad to see the book is out now. Dr. Seeley spoke with Mr. Kim Flottum in February on the Beekeeping Today podcast on this subject, and it was well-worth the hour invested: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000429186500
    Last edited by Litsinger; 06-20-2019 at 11:15 AM.

  20. #79
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    The 66 liter decoy had the swarm land and take ownership appx 6pm in the evening. Swarm emerged 10am or so. so for me this was a clear indication that bees preference is hard to judge, and if a swarm from a NUC preferred the 66 liter then a swarm from a full size hive would likely not prefer the NUC, so IMO the NUC is a secondary/ multi cast swarm catcher. Prime Swarms will want a prime space. the 40 liter hive IMO will swarm more than one time a year.
    GG
    Gray Goose:

    This is a helpful observation. While my cumulative hived swarm count is no-doubt less than yours, I did observe that hived swarms in my locale showed a strong preference for larger volumes this year, regardless of the overall size of the swarm. While I look forward to further vetting this hypothesis, I am beginning to think that GregV is on to something when he suggests that the 'ideal' swarm trap size is in the 60 - 70 liter range as opposed to the 40 liter range.

    That said, it seems logical that the ideal hive volume likely differs based on one's local climate and foraging availability relative to the optimal peak colony size and winter stores to maximize the prospect of overwintering successfully.

  21. #80
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    Default Re: Latest in Darwinian Beekeeping

    Another update on my Darwinian adventure.

    Last year when I started my move toward Darwinian Beekeeping, I had 13 colonies. Most were in 8 frame medium Langs, 2 in Warres and 4 in top bars. I said I was going to stop buying treated bees even if I end up with only one hive. Well, after euthanizing high mite count hives and the rest not making it through the winter, I ended up with only one hive. So, I'm working with it.
    Right now I'm back up to 14 hives. I split my survivor, caught a great swarm that came out of a house, did more splits, caught good colonies in bait hives and got colonies from a friend who does bee removals and did more splits. No, I can't guarentee that these bees are treatment free but the chances are good considering they've been in buildings for more than one season. I also haven't taken any honey from them this year.

    I've made a couple compromises to Seeley's layout of evolutionary beekeeping. The biggest one is the placement of the hives. I decided to put all the Langs in a circle in my pasture. Jennifer Berry mentioned to me that the University of Georgia Bee Lab did an experiment and found out that the drifting problem was reduced if the hives were in a circle with the entrances facing out. My circle is about 75' in diameter (with 11 hives) and the hives are about 20' apart. I like working them in this layout so I hope it works.
    My top bars and Warres are semi-permenant so they stayed lined up against a tree line and 20'-30' apart.

    The other compromise I've made is a top entrance. I have screened inner covers that have an inch and a half opening that can be reduced or closed off. I also give them an inch and a half entrance at the bottom board. The hives are in full Georgia sun so I like that they have the ventilation. Each colony seems to have a different entrance preference.

    I'm done splitting for the summer and getting ready to do mite counts. The Langs will get no more than 3 mediums and the top bars have no more than 32 (medium sized) bars. I still have bait hives up if anyone is interested in moving in. We'll see what the fall brings.

    Please let me know if anyone else is going the Darwinian route and what your experiences are. Thanks

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