Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split? - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?



    As far as other introduced pests, the bees have "learned" how to deal with SHB pretty effectively.

    Not sure I would want to give that up in favor of a bee that refused to follow the #1 biological imperative.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post
    It is easier to sell bad news than good news and the media likes to sell news. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I don't believe most of what I hear on Network news channels. Below is a poor quality recording of a great talk this year by Davis Peck. I also enclosed the paper he references by Thomas Seeley. I know many bee keepers that haul their bees to California for the Almond harvest. I laugh at them when they complain about Varroa and let them know what they do exacerbates the problem. These swarms at truck stops are also not feral bees but the same commercially weak bees. I would never kill a swarm of bees, but I also would never throw them in one of my hives. They are weak man made bees. Catching swarms is a crap shoot and you can never know their origin. That's why I allow and promote survival of the fittest. If a hive dies, be it from Varroa or any of the many other issue, it was weak and had poor genetics. I hope you will watch the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs16wQljdpQ

    https://www.apidologie.org/articles/...7/01/m6063.pdf
    You are wrong. I know the origin of the swarms that I catch. Never say never.

  4. #63
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Selecting a bee that shows reluctance to swarm is probably not the greatest trait to develop for bees in general. Granted, I don't know exactly how much we as beekeepers can "move the needle" on evolutionary development of honey bees. But, at least theoretically, placing selective pressures on the European Honey Bee to reduce swarming, while at the same time, AHB are dominating their terrain, at least in part, because of their frequent swarming tendency, is likely a very bad combination for people in my neck of the wood.

  5. #64
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Simply because a bee colony swarms doesnít imply that it has Ďbad genesí. Swarming isnít driven by crowding. Crowding contributes but isnít the driver alone. I have any number of hives swarm even with empty comb. Swarming is a reproductive event. Every successful species has reproduction high on its list of genetic traits. Bees included.
    There are times when I open a hive in spring and find a number of capped swarm cells, a number of open swarm cells with a larva floating in a sea of royal jelly and a number of newly made swarm cells with an egg in each. These hives were heading for multiple swarms. After three swarms the colony is unlikely to recover. This sort of excessive swarming surely qualifies as the product of Ďbad genesí.
    In my experience the single most important thing a beekeeper can do is make sure that the colony is headed by a young queen. The younger, the better. At that point, make sure that the hive doesnít get overcrowded and the likelihood of it issuing a swarm is low.
    Just my opinion based on my experience.
    I disagree, Swarming is a reproductive trait. If we "breed it out, bees will perish. They swarm because they wish to . Making them wish not to is the issue here IMO
    GG

  6. #65

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    I disagree, Swarming is a reproductive trait.
    Maybe you can go back and read my entire post. Like the part where I said 'Swarming is a reproductive event.'
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #66
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    I'd suggest 1st, that you determine you are not causing the swarming. A/the main reason for swarming is over crowding. ie. Make darn sure they have more than enough room, specifically a fair amount of empty cells, both for storing the surplus coming in, and for queenie to be laying. Bare foundation to be built out does not count to the bees as swarm preventing space. Me, I do double deep brood. That nearly always takes care of queenie's laying capacity. When drones begin to be made in spring, that is my signal I need consider throwing on the supers, as the hive has gobs coming in and if I want some, I better give 'em more space for it/mine.

    "If" you are, say, attempting to maintain a single deep brood chamber, that alone can/should be enough to continually set off swarming. During the build up season, they simply need more space than that deep, or they'll simply continue to swarm, as you are describing.

    And, as has been mentioned by others, doing a dinky "fake swarm" split of queenie and 2-3 frames is all that is necessary to leave the mother hive producing through their queenlessness/requeening, and you are able to prevent the swarm, and double hive numbers.

    Staying ahead of the bee's overcrowding is the major swarm prevention. Once they start prep to swarm, that places you in "oh crap!" crisis mode, that you need to simply avoid from the start.

    The earliest sign of a swarm is drone availability. I will not say it absolutely won't ever happen, but 99.999% of the time, a hive will not swarm without having started drones in the spring. So a hive coming out of winter won't swarm at least till after they begin making drones.

    Last, I'll just mention it is the Africanized strain that tends to swarm/abscond excessively, and "you" won't likely stop that.

  8. #67
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    Default

    This past season my focus was honey, not splits. I used Ian Stepplers method, more or less. I let them fill a deep, added a second deep of drawn comb. Once that got close to full I shook them all down into the bottom deep and gave 4-5 frames of empty drawn comb there. QE went on at this time. A week or two later I pulled capped frames of brood from the bottom box and hung them above the excluder. Most hives gave up swarming by this point, but a few still tried. Once they had a few active urn cells, I made a small split into a nuc with the original queen. I was able to pull frames of brood from the nuc to supplement the production hive she came from while they raised a new queen. I got great honey yield this year, and was able to use the couple of pulled queens to fix issues in other hives. I made no new hives to overwinter, and have new queens in most hives.
    I will second that they did not seem to want to draw new comb with this method. They just ignored foundation and foundation less frames.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

  9. #68
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    The Steppler method (run the bees in 1 deep brood chamber until mid spring, add a deep with drawn comb, once the bees hatch out, remove second deep) has a lot in common with the Oh Henry method (see https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j...ho3_Aqa_OzXEwv or google Jones, Henry A radical cure for the swarming habit of bees).

    The Oh Henry method applies to hives run as a single deep, not as a double deep. He was beekeeping in the 1890s, when the Langstroth hive was traditionally run as a single deep. In short, the method is as follows: all capped brood save 2 combs is un-capped, right when the honey flow starts. Yes, this kills the brood. This is not the same as cutting out all the brood in a double hive. It is repeated 15 days later. Hives preparing to swarm, with capped queen cells, cease and desist upon experiencing this treatment. That's pretty powerful.

    When bees are run in a single, they often have a slightly different brood pattern. I have often seen all stages on all combs -and I did not see many times with combs that were solid capped brood with minimal honey stores in the corners. With double deeps, or even my Dadant deep 12 inch frames, I see only 2 stages at a time - eggs and larvae, or larvae and capped brood, or capped brood and eggs. Not typically all 3 on many frames.

    So the author was uncapping more like half of 5 frames, since 2 were left alone. Remember, that's out of 10 frames total, not 20 like is typically used now.

    This method is ideal for those running bees purely for honey, and relying on supercedure events to replace queens. Comb honey producers in particular must operate their hives in a very crowded manner, more so than we do when we operate our hives for extracting honey.

    I would never use this method. I'd rather give those hives drawn comb, or a mix of drawn and undrawn, and use the capped brood to make overwintering nucs to sell for next year, or for queen rearing.

    But it gives me an idea for trying for comb honey.... So, 40% of the space is opened up as drawn but empty comb, in the Oh Henry method. I would take the capped brood, put it ABOVE the honey supers, which would be above the bottom brood chamber. Gotta check for queen cells after 5 days. This is more work than just uncapping 5-6 frames of capped brood, but it's what I would do. I'm an inefficient beekeeper.

  10. #69
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I see some logic problems with stating that swarming reflex is somehow bad genetics: similarly having problems coping with varroa = bad genetics? These are creatures whose behaviours have brought them through millions of years and now are a bit stymied by recent man made conditions: Parasite forms transported across oceans from one continent to another and actually millions of colonies placed together within feet of each, other which is many orders of magnitude greater concentration than what the organism evolved to cope with.

    Let's at least acknowledge it for what it is! Swarming is inconvenient for me and varroa is another inconvenience that I can easily live with. Perhaps the bee is doing a wonderful job of resisting our blundering attempts to coerce it to alter its ways.
    Hear, hear! Learned a lot just reading this thread though. Thanks to the contributors. c

  11. #70
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Started beekeeping in 1964 with Carniolans which at the time had the reputation of swarming very frequently. Consequently was able to build up to 350 hives very quickly. I had swarms hanging from branches every time I would visit an apiary. Excellent bees otherwise. Sue Cobey started working of getting rid of the swarming tendency. The results were The New World Carniolan Queen. There are presently both types on the market. Change queen breeder and get yourself some New World Carniolans. OMTCW

  12. #71

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Thanks C. Scott,

    Still reading the article you posted. It is great so far.

    Frank,

    Well stated... though I still believe in genetics and varroa resistance. Check out any article on the Arnot forest bees. They are far removed from mans manipulations and handle varroa. IMO, because Man has not selectively bred them or randomly grafted queens from eggs that a bee would never pick for queen rearing. Commercial and main stream bee keepers that try to control hives are making Varroa stronger and bees weaker.

  13. #72
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    I dont think they really are doing much in the way of permanent genetic change to the bees but the representative specimens we see the most of are the fertility queens. Good for producing oodles of bees for the nucleus puppy mills and making frame counts for pollination contracts. They are well suited for that but those habits present a dream world for Varroa. I dont think the varroa is getting stronger, but the circumstances guarantee an excellent environment for them and their hitchhiking viruses. Just about exactly as would be expected to develop.

    I wonder if it is even possible to develop any organism that would remain oblivious to such un natural conditions. We have removed many of the barriers that in nature limit the spread of disease and pestilence.

    Anyways this amounts only to a hand wringing rant.
    Frank

  14. #73
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    I treat for mites. In fact I use the oxalic acid shop towel method and have had excellent results in having healthy hives year around. If a beekeeper doesn't treat their colonies in fall the colonies will be dead in spring. Many of the beekeepers in our club have apple orchards and sell their crops and honey at Farmer's Markets. Others rent their bees out to pollinate crops locally. They all adhere to regimens of treating for mites. Varroa destructor is a serious problem in California. About 25% of U.S. produce is grown in the state. One year my favorite hive was diseased with Deformed Wing Virus when I opened the hive in spring. They did recover but not before another hive showed evidence of it too. I treated them with 2:1 sugar syrup to boost their health. The hive is still healthy. One of the beekeepers is Journeyman beekeeper and studied with honeybee experts including some from Bayer. On the topic of pesticides and herbicides, they play a major role in weakening pollinators. They're sprayed around RR tracks, roadsides, pastures, windfarms, farms, fruit and vegetable farms. All use various pesticides.

  15. #74
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post
    Gal et al

    I only keep "field" bees because of their resistance to varroa and other diseases. The main cause of Varroa becoming such a problem is when we (humans) treat a hive it doesn't kill all the Varroa. The ones that survive are the stronger ones which make stronger babies and so on... and so on. It's nothing unique in nature. Parasites will always exist naturally and coexists with their host without wiping them out. That is until humans try to control them (poorly). It all starts with the egg that is selected to be a queen. There is a reason bees pick a certain egg to make a queen. We "humans" think it's OK to go grab any egg, willy nilly, and make a queen. this creates weak queens that make weak bees. As soon as someone tell me they are grafting queens, i write them off as a contributor to the problem.

    Sorry to go off topic on this thread. I'm not a tree huger/duck scrubber, but feral bees and survival of the fittest are the way to correct the woes of bees. Commercial bees will eventually succumb to man made issues and diseases. "field" bees are significantly more robust.
    "We "humans" think it's OK to go grab any egg, willy nilly, and make a queen." +1 IMO this is part of the "problem" As well
    GG

  16. #75

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Thanks Goose,

    I am just of the mind set we should let bees and nature work this out and stop coddling weak bees. Just because it is what we have done for years and what the mass majority does, doesn't make it the best way. People tend to get locked into mindsets of what they were taught and have experienced, and nobody(most) seems to be willing to go through the work or pain of allowing nature to fix it. Nature does not design a parasite that wipes out its host. That's not a good design for the host or parasite. Nature creates a balance and when man tries to manipulate that balance it tend to have the opposite effect.

    Nature could care less about what the majority of humans believe to be best for bees.
    Last edited by VadenTwin; 10-04-2019 at 10:21 AM.

  17. #76
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    dup
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #77
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by TehachapiGal View Post
    .... If a beekeeper doesn't treat their colonies in fall the colonies will be dead in spring. ...
    Of course, some of us here demonstrated different results.
    For sure the "dead in spring" is not a 100% guarantee (just as "alive in spring" is not a 100% guarantee).
    Please qualify.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #78
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by VadenTwin View Post
    Thanks C. Scott,

    Still reading the article you posted. It is great so far.

    Frank,

    Well stated... though I still believe in genetics and varroa resistance. Check out any article on the Arnot forest bees. They are far removed from mans manipulations and handle varroa. IMO, because Man has not selectively bred them or randomly grafted queens from eggs that a bee would never pick for queen rearing. Commercial and main stream bee keepers that try to control hives are making Varroa stronger and bees weaker.
    I have read about the Arnot bees, and what is apparent is that is a very small population with not many hives per square mile. Most of us keep bees with far more bees in the area than is the case of the Arnot bees.

    And therein lies much of the difference, IMO. If hives were crashing due to mite bombs in the neighborhood, my opinion is that the feral Arnot bees would likely crash also.

    Other statements by Dan to the effect of queen age on swarming tendency very much match my experience. A hive with a young queen is far less likely to swarm than is one with a second year queen. I have seen this to be true over and over again. Crowding in the hive certainly promotes swarming also, but it's hives with older queens that want to swarm.

  20. #79
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    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Gino your appraisal is likely close to bang on, but the telling of the story of the hearty feral bees of the Arnot Forest is so much more dramatic !
    Frank

  21. #80

    Default Re: Is it feasible to control swarming without performing a spring split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino45 View Post
    I have read about the Arnot bees, and what is apparent is that is a very small population with not many hives per square mile.
    In addition the ferals in the Arnot forest typically inhabit a relatively small cavity. As a result they are prone to swarm multiple times each season.
    I believe that Seeley has suggested that beekeepers who wanted to remain treatment free and arenít particularly interested in honey production could keep their bees in a single 10 frame box and allow them to swarm freely and get similar results.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

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