Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part. - Page 3
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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Perth west aust
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    30

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Being in an area where ‘hands off beekeeping’ is possible due to not having the pests in the area it’s still recommended to do regular inspections as this is the difference between having bees and keeping bees. A hands off approach is still viewed as irresponsible but for different reasons. Swarm prevention is the main reason for me breaking the brood nest apart. There’s already too many tree colonies in the area stealing native hollows displacing the local fauna.
    Yeah, i know, how do I cope....��

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    417

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    We know that there are several races of bees that have developed resistance, Africanized for example, and apparently Russian Far Eastern bees.
    Africanized bees dont produce winter fat bees. Varrao will starve!
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" Albert Einstein

  4. #43
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Liberty, IN
    Posts
    417

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeggley View Post
    Being in an area where ‘hands off beekeeping’ is possible due to not having the pests in the area it’s still recommended to do regular inspections as this is the difference between having bees and keeping bees. A hands off approach is still viewed as irresponsible but for different reasons. Swarm prevention is the main reason for me breaking the brood nest apart. There’s already too many tree colonies in the area stealing native hollows displacing the local fauna.
    Yeah, i know, how do I cope....��
    Must not have Small Hive Beetles. Contastly letting those out of jail will quickly become a problem!

    As far as swarm prevention. Don't let core broodnest area become backfilled and keep the young wax builders depleted dramatically reduces swarming.
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" Albert Einstein

  5. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ives View Post
    Africanized bees dont produce winter fat bees. Varrao will starve!
    One of Seeley's papers on bee genetics says that low levels of African genetics are now in the feral bee populations he studies.

  6. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Agree
    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me if diet isn't playing some kind of role. The type of forage differs markedly from one area to another, and is implicated in disease resistance generally. Mono-floral diets are probably none too healthy.
    LJ
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  7. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Agree
    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Virtually no hives are mite-free.
    No one claims to have mite-free bees.
    They just don't die (not all of bees die).
    Very old subject by now.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Lilburn, GA, USA
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    731

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Hey, Tim,

    could you share some of your thoughts and techniques? Hives you use, etc?

    thanks,
    Thomas
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ives View Post
    Really? Haven't treated since starting in 2001, and haven't bought bees since I stopped feeding in 2006.

    SMH!!
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Perth west aust
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ives View Post
    Must not have Small Hive Beetles. Contastly letting those out of jail will quickly become a problem!

    As far as swarm prevention. Don't let core broodnest area become backfilled and keep the young wax builders depleted dramatically reduces swarming.
    Nope, no beetles. Clear hive mats will let you terminate those beetles in situ I’ve heard.
    In the past I’ve done preemptive swarm splits, and brood box honey frame removal beginning of spring and replacing the frames with wax foundation, breaking up the brood nest to keep the waxers busy. This year I’ve left it for later on and am reaping rewards of an increased spring honey crop.
    There’s a feral tree colony in a tree out front that’s been there for over 20 years, issues swarms every 3 years. Truely hands off.
    Hopefully our bio security and compulsory hive registration keep those nasties out, not sure I could handle all the extra work....

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Jacksonville Fl
    Posts
    17

    Default

    I think running test hives is the best way to attempt this hands off approach. Like a few others said, inspections help catch problems early so they can be corrected. Also these hives would be more prone to varroa if you aren’t breaking the brood pattern w splits

  11. #50
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Hot Springs, AR, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    I'm finishing up year 6, and what I've found is that it is best not to quantify or have an absolutely inflexible set of methods.

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fayette County,Indiana
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >The honey flows are not lining as they did in the past.

    In 46 years of beekeeping every year has been different. All you can do is average them out, keep records and base your guesses on past experience. i.e. if things are running early then expect things to be somewhat early the rest of the year, though sometimes they catch up a bit. And if things are running late expect things to be somewhat late the rest of the year though they sometimes catch up closer to normal as the year progresses. Droughts have been unpredictable throughout history. You have to be aware of what's happening in the present.
    My history with bees goes all the way back to the summer of 1963.. The honey flows are totally different today. With the elimination of pastures, our honey flows are now different. I'm fornuate to be located near locust groves which can fill the hives up in May. The clover flow is now almost gone. Then we have heavy flows that can occur in late July and early August. Then if we are lucky we have the goldenrod/aster flow in September. Back in the 60's, our honey came in before July 1st. Not today

  13. #52
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,858

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    >The honey flows are totally different today.

    Yes. People stopped using sweet clover for hay, the farmers started killing every weed in the fields, the ditches are sprayed with 24D, the famers here have stopped growing much alfalfa, and even when they did grow it, they started cutting it as soon as it started to bloom.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #53
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,481

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Farmers use to also use Sweet clover as a nitrogen fixing cover crop in rotation with corn and other crops before herbicides became the norm.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  15. #54
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
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    82

    Default

    Not just kilocharley:
    "...cruelty to animals"
    "the mites are here, they are here to stay, but we are going to torture them and never let them get a foothold!"
    I guess we humans advocate for cruelty against some and not others. I have yet to find good fly food and cat swatters (might be a market gap?)
    Obviously I can see why we selct some and not others for our support but I don't think there is really good moral grounds for one over the other. Ie suggesting that someone is abusing their livestock (bees) by not abusing the mites just seems like a spurious argument.
    Now, being concerned that someone is abusing their neighbor's bees and forcing them to abuse not only their mites but also yours, because you are unwilling to abuse your own mites, is something responsible beekeepers, whether tf or not, should be aware of....
    For me, weekly inspections are not needed. Knowing what is going on, what should be going on, and how to tell quickly of things are off track, so I know who to inspect is important. (eg mating nucs that don't get checked in time may become lw if all did not go to plan.) Knowing how and when to do what, does, in my experience, come from checking more often than needed in the beginning. So until you know you can be successful checking less often, I'd suggest checking more often. Besides, that's the fun part! 🙂
    Happy beekeeping everyone!

  16. #55
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    woodland, wa usa
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by fadder View Post
    I see people talking about weekly inspections, about rotating boxes
    and it makes me wonder, does everyone
    do this? Is there anyone else out there
    that operates on the principal of just
    leave them alone?
    What I mean is I treat mine with Formic Pro in the fall and in the spring. I might go in them once a month the check the supers.
    I never rotate the boxes as I figure they have
    been raising bees a longer than I have. I just let them be bees.
    I also will not cut comb , I figure they lose
    honey production when they are replacing comb.
    Me, I find generally speaking, my gals do far better on their own than with me attempting to ultra manage anything "I" want them to do and whenever "I" want them to do it. Here, SW WA, my bees do according to the seasons, and are simply far better at doing when they should. For instance last year, prior to the 5 month dearth which began mid May, many of my hives had backfilled their upper deeps with the winter crowns by mid may. No way I had any knowledge that would happen in an area where we typically get a blackberry flow in June, but didn't due to the dearth of 2018. And yes, I even added supers to get the non-existent blackberry flow.

    Hives too distant for me to micromanage, I often find them better off than those I do micromanage.

    But at the same time, I am keeping bees because of my compulsive beekeeping addiction, not for the purpose of making money from pollinating or honey harvesting. The 24 gallons of honey this year was just as much a bother as it was a benefit to me. I'm just in it for the putzing. But for a beek (ie. "not" me) wanting to send bees to the almonds from here, it essentially requires one to be feeding both pollen sub and sugar water, at a time when un-managed hives or feral hives are reducing down their brood chambers, (and in my hives now, there is near no brood, not what one wants for almonds).

    My major manipulation in late winter/early spring, when I do not reverse the 2 deeps, but add the excluder directly above the brood chamber and supers above that.

    And in the summer/fall, entrance reducers go on during the robbing/YJ season. And if my hives do not defend/protect themselves, "oh well, didn't need them genes in my apiary anyway" Ain't my job to do all in my power to protect from robbers. And when bearding begins in spring, that is my sign to remove the reducers.

    Hive management?: Just depends! What exactly are you striving for with your hives? Can/will they do it better without you, or do you need to intervene to pull it off?

    If ya want a good nectar flow brought in, ya may just need to help your bees get built up in the spring prior to the flow by feeding sugar water and pollen sub, and here, during a time when spring weather is wet and cold and restrictive to bees going out in it.

    Are your bees your animal husbandry force, managed by you, or are they just some feral critters you happened to have supplied a house for, and are to be left alone?

  17. #56
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,266

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnqpblk View Post
    But at the same time, I am keeping bees because of my compulsive beekeeping addiction, not for the purpose of making money from pollinating or honey harvesting.
    Good write-up, jnqpblk... and I think there are many of us here on Beesource who identify with your compulsive beekeeping.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  18. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Claiborne County, East Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    I don't break my brood Chambers down. I may check the top super and see if another is needed. Other than that, I only go down to the brood chamber twice a year. Once in the spring and then once in the fall and add Formic Pro strips. I don't try to stop swarming, I just try to have enough traps around to catch them

  19. #58
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,858

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    >One of Seeley's papers on bee genetics says that low levels of African genetics are now in the feral bee populations he studies.

    People brought African queens and most every other kind of honey bee queens into the US back in the 1800s. Then the USDA was breeding crosses of African and European bees and sending them all over the US back in the 60's with stock they got from Kerr who gets blamed for the whole AHB issue. These were shipped to Madison and Laramie and other places in the US by the thousands. So my guess is that African genetics will show up most anywhere in the US and has been there for more than a century with a new infusion half a century ago.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  20. #59
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    Re: 'hand's off' beekeeping ...

    All of my hives are 100% 'hand's off' between Late October and early March. It's the only hard and fast 'rule' I've adopted with beekeeping.

    The singular exception to this is if I should spot a colony not putting any bees into the air on one of those sunny Winter days we occasionally get, when fair numbers of bees enjoy a clearance flight - then I'll take a peek to see if anything's wrong. Otherwise the hives remain untouched.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,593

    Default Re: Hands off Beekeeping.....for the most part.

    As for me ans my bees, I tend to check them as close to the 1st, the 10th, and the 20th of each month during the Spring, then slow it down somewhat after the nectar flows taper off.

    This is not to say that if I'm feeding a drop and I spot a colony or 2 with abnormal beehaviour, I won't check things out immediately (unless it is too cold to do so). I do. This may save a colony, or I might combine two or even 3 weak colonies and make it over Winter because I did.

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