Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005 - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    A quick check showed cells in the process of being sealed. I am going to split the "hot" hive tomorrow and move cells into it Tuesday. I will also remove the breeder queen that supplied the eggs from which these queens were raised and put a cell in her colony. The breeder queen and a frame of brood will be used to requeen a hive out on my land. I want her to be available next spring so I can raise a few more queens for early splits. The end result should be 6 splits here at the house that each have a queen cell and the source queen in a hive out at my land.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    I split the hot hive this afternoon putting 3 frames of brood into a Langstroth box. These are the last 3 Langstroth size frames I have in my bees. The queen was on the 3rd frame. I put the hive on the old hive's stand and moved the rest of the colony to a nearby location. I expect the foraging bees to return to the Langstroth box making it very strong by tomorrow evening. When I removed the old queen, I placed her into a queen shipping box along with about 50 of her bees. They will protect her for a day or two. I don't need her, but want to keep her around just in case I find a failing queen in one of my other hives.

    At this time of year, there may be 2 queens in a few colonies, usually a mother and daughter both of which may be laying. It is unlikely, but given that I want good quality queens and don't want to waste good queen cells, I will verify the splits are truly queenless before inserting cells. I will be able to tell by the bee's behavior if they are queenless by tomorrow evening. This colony was distinctly mild tempered compared to last spring. I did not get stung and the bees were much less aggressive. This suggests they may have superseded the old queen a few months ago which highlights the reason I want to verify the bees are queenless before giving cells.

    I started with 3 colonies here at the house and now have 6 splits. There is one breeder queen in a colony that will be removed in the morning. I will relocate her to a hive on my land 7 miles east from here.

    I observed the two that are building queen cells and saw an abundance of fresh pollen being brought into the hives. The cells should now be sealed with the oldest holding an 11 day old (from the date the eggs were laid) developing queen. I have 4 days to distribute the cells.


    One key to doing this is that I know there is a small flow and sufficient pollen coming into the hives. If there were no flow, I would have to be much more careful to avoid triggering robbing.

    One thing I am doing that I would not have done in the past is to remove frames that are not covered by bees after making the splits. I wait until the day after making the split before moving frames. This is important as the disruption of being split will trigger beetles to lay eggs on any unguarded combs. I want the splits to remain calm and continue foraging as the new queens fly and mate. Beetle infestation or for that matter just about anything that disrupts a colony will usually prevent getting a healthy queen from a fall split.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  4. #43
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    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    I moved 3 queen cells with two going into the splits from the hot hive and 1 into one of the other splits after removing the laying queen. At this time, I expect to have 5 queens emerge in a few days. I also have 3 or 4 more cells that can be moved if I decide to do so. I'm going to check colonies out at my land tomorrow and see if there are any that need a cell. This will work if I can give the bees at least 12 hours to be queenless before adding a cell.

    Two of the splits are a bit weak for fall. I will have to boost them with brood from other colonies. This can be done in a few weeks after the queens have mated.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  5. #44
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    I can tell 4 of the splits now have virgin queens by the dramatically increased washboarding at the entrance. I plan to check one that is not looking right this afternoon. A little detail that often causes problems with getting new queens mated is disturbing the colony before the queen has mated and started laying. That is why I won't open the other colonies that have all the signs of newly emerged queens.

    On a trivia tangent, I found this plant growing on my land several years ago. You might find the history a bit interesting. The flowers range from an inch to 2 inches across making them rather showy. I've never seen a honeybee working the flowers so have no idea who or what pollinates them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoria_mariana aka butterfly pea
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  6. #45
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    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
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    1,160

    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    I can tell 4 of the splits now have virgin queens by the dramatically increased washboarding at the entrance.
    Fusion_power:

    I appreciate the update. So I must confess that I have never heard about washboarding being indicative of internal colony dynamics. In your experience does it's presence or absence yield some clues as to what is going on internally?

    I see the 'butterfly pea' is native to Kentucky but I have never encountered this one. Looks like an impressive late-season bloomer.

    Thank you for the feedback.

    Russ

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Washboarding is a fall activity that healthy queenright colonies engage in the most. A queenless hive will have a few washboarding bees. This changes dramatically when a virgin queen emerges with about 4 times as many washboarding bees compared to a queenless nuc. This can't be used as a queenright indicator in spring, however, the behavior of a queenright nuc is almost always calmer with more bees out foraging. When a queenless hive/nuc is opened, bees make a distressed buzzing roar that is very distinctive.

    Butterfly peas are impressive because the flowers are so large relative to the plant. I've grown Sword Beans (Canavalia Gladiata) that have similar size flowers but are on plants 5 times larger than a butterfly pea. The flowers on sword beans are pretty but not so impressive in perspective.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  8. #47
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    Jun 2018
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    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Washboarding is a fall activity that healthy queenright colonies engage in the most. A queenless hive will have a few washboarding bees. This changes dramatically when a virgin queen emerges with about 4 times as many washboarding bees compared to a queenless nuc.
    Thank you for your reply, Fusion_power. This is a good observational technique to keep tucked-away for future reference. Seeing you post frequently on growingfruit.org, I get the impression you know even more about botany than apiculture- and that is saying something because you are a wealth of knowledge about bees!

    Thanks again for your feedback and for posting your thoughts regarding what you are seeing. It helps us novices learn how to interpret what we see.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    The hive that was not aggressively washboarding was indeed still queenless. They have about 8 nice looking queen cells that have been sealed a couple of days. I might harvest a few of them and put them into other colonies this weekend. What happened to the cell I put into this hive? It was missing as in torn down entirely with nothing remaining including the base. Why did this happen? I gave this colony a cell a few hours after removing their queen. Had I waited another day, they would probably have accepted it. It is not much of a loss and perhaps might even be a gain as I get a few more decent cells from the same breeder.

    A quick check of the two splits from the hot hive showed queen cells torn down which is a sure indicator they are now queenright. This indicates a virgin present that should be flying to mate over the next week.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  10. #49
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    10,148

    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    The hive that was not aggressively washboarding was indeed still queenless. They have about 8 nice looking queen cells that have been sealed a couple of days.
    good eye dar.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Results: One colony with 4 frames of brood with sealed brood on 3 combs. Two colonies with queens that just started laying. Two colonies hopelessly queenless. I gave a frame of brood to one of the queenless because they are strong enough and have young enough bees to raise a queen. One of them will be combined with a queenright split so they can make it through winter.

    The colony with a very good laying queen and 4 frames of brood just happens to be the colony with Langstroth frames that I am going to give to SquarePeg. Be on the lookout for this one SP, she shows early signs of being one of the best queens I've raised.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  12. #51
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

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

  13. #52
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    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Be on the lookout for this one SP, she shows early signs of being one of the best queens I've raised.
    I won't lie- I'm a little bit envious... but happy for SP.

  14. #53
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    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Beekeeping using Square Dadant hives, treatment free since 2005

    It is always best to wait until a new queen has her own brood hatching before moving or otherwise disturbing them. This brood was sealed a day or two ago so should emerge in about 10 days. They are also attempting to draw comb so I may put in a few more frames with foundation to get them better set up for winter.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

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