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beginner' luck

2237 Views 14 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  squarepeg
the last round of grafts (one dozen) were placed three weeks ago today into five frame deeps each with 3 - 4 frames of bees, brood, and stores.

11 of the 12 were found this morning to have laying queens putting down surprisingly solid patterns, and over half of the colonies had already capped their first round of brood.

the mating nucs were strung out side by side and within a few inches of each other in one single row. the only thing i did that might have helped achieve an above average take is used a second story five frame box on a few of them and placed the concrete blocks on the top covers in different orientations so that no two boxes looked the same coming in from the field.

walt wright was kind enough to drive down and help with the inspections, many thanks walt!

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(bump after correcting post #1)
the plan is to overwinter these for 'spares'.

they'll be moved into ten frame boxes next weekend, and probably get a medium of extracted comb to hopefully fill up on the fall flow.

i'll try to get photos when we rehive them.
Good show squarepeg, you are in the zone. :)
thanks bill. i got lucky, but i am thankful. :)
Luck? Yes it plays a part.

My gut is you've been around bees a while, done a lot of thinking, and pretty much did each part of the process right, first time. Nice work.
thanks ot. i think i'm in a pretty good location, and ended up with bees that have acclimated to the area and are surviving in the wild. 4 out of 19 of the colonies under my care died out over the winter from queen failure (why the queens failed i'm not sure, perhaps dr. pettis et. al. will figure it out), and one additional colony failed to get a mated queen after issuing a record 5 swarms this spring. the total colony count at this point counting caught swarms and splits is 32 viable colonies. an additional seven swarms (and perhaps a couple more that i didn't see) flew off into the woods. assuming these that flew off made it, and assuming all of the colonies make it to winter, the 19 colonies from last season could now be about 40. i sold 12 of those to a couple of other beekeepers, and will use the rest to try it again next year. it's too early to say for sure, but it looks like the honey harvest will end up at a little over 1000 lbs., (somewhere around thirty medium supers should be able to be harvested after leaving one or two on each hive for the bees) no treatments, no feeding.
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What sort of bees do you have & what's their temperament like?
they started from tree cut outs done by my supplier and his father 18 years ago. they had located and observed these bee trees for several years before collecting the bees from them. the supplier has been propagating them treatment free ever since.

it's possible their matriarchal line is a.m.m. based on the work by delaney and others that found a.m.m mitochondrial dna in a high percentage of feral colonies that they looked at in this and other areas.

they are dark in color, not overly aggressive, productive, brood break during the summer dearth, and requeen themselves every year either by swarming or supercedure.

fair to say they are very hybridized and representative of the so called 'hybrid swarm'.

winter solstice by you 'eh ot?
winter solstice by you 'eh ot?
Yes, about to come out the other side. Countdown to action. :)

Still got a lot of gear to make up over the next couple months though, running behind & sweating it a bit!

Your description sounds like the perfect bee for what you are doing, I like the summer dearth shut down, you just got to have locally adapted bees to be able to achieve those types of things.
yep. i'm conjecturing that the brood regulation and swarming/supercedure tendency are part of what has given them natural resistance to mites. the other factor that i feel is important is the availability of quality natural forage insofar as the bee's natural immunity to viruses and other pathogens is affected by nutrition. at any rate they seem to be getting the job done.

are the ferals making any kind of come back yet down there?
are the ferals making any kind of come back yet down there?

Our ferals were of different origin to many of yours. You have AMM's of many backgrounds such as France and Portugal that show mite resistance. Our NZ AMMs came from England, prior to them being almost exterminated in their own country by tracheal mites. We never got tracheal mites here but when varroa mites arrived our AMM ferals were defenceless against them and are now pretty much extinct, I have not seen one in years.

Our bees here have come from just a very few imports and hence a fairly narrow genetic range, in contrast to your own country which spent several centuries importing bees from all corners of the globe. This is standing you guys in better stead in times of crisis, such as varroa mites.
interesting ot, thanks for the replies.

what the powers at large doing if anything to move the ball forward for you guys?
they are dark in color, not overly aggressive, productive, brood break during the summer dearth, and requeen themselves every year either by swarming or supercedure.
Kefuss has Intermissa in his stock and it is famous to reduce breeding in midsummer. It is an acclimatization to desert drought.
My stock (mixure of about everything which has survived) seem to be quite weak in the beginning of August (honey harvest time), but they somehow manage to catch up before winter.

Regular supersedure is good for survival, too, if the surrounding drones are of good quality.
thanks juhani. i wasn't familiar with intermissa so i looked it up. the picture on wiki shows a somewhat darker bee than i have, although there are a few mixed in that look like.
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