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Discussion Starter #561 (Edited)
I haven't got it home yet but believe they are in there.

They were not convincingly coming and going like they have been there long but I have other traps close enough that are not being checked also and so my instinct says they are there.
Oh happy days, right?

Looked in all the hives and the bad ones are still going to die and maybe a few more are bad also.

I do have some honey starting to be in the right place and I did sorta add some space but only pulled one honey frame to bait the box and so will soon see if they accept the space.

I didn't have the guts to pull one of the boxes from one of the hives I am sure is dead and I had a couple other hives that I had put the last dead out on that had 5 boxes on them that I thought were not doing well either that I looked at for a super. But those hives had put just enough honey in those extra boxes to make it not worth clearing the bees to use elsewhere and so the bees will have to draw new comb to use the space at least till I get around to extracting some.

The swarm trap that had an actual hive in it when I put it in my apiary has surpassed drawing out 75 percent plus of the medium I put on it and was drawing comb on top of the frames against the inter cover, I added another empty medium. I pulled one frame with some spotty capped brood that was being back filled with honey to bait the added box.

The other two big swarms will probably need third boxes in a week or so cause they are going to town.

My two small swarms are very similar and about a Styrofoam paper plate sized circle of comb draw and look almost identical in all ways. They will be lucky to get the single mediums they are living in drawn out by winter. I have had success wintering single mediums in the past with sugar blocks on them and will probably not try and feed them to get more done. I will think about whether I want to give them another box of comb after I extract or not. They both had similar little patches of capped brood and I will decide later if I think they need any kind of help. Probably depends on rain.

My thoughts for the day are that I have figured out that bee keeping with young smaller hives is much easier then bigger multiyear hives with old comb. I am having a real struggle figuring out what is going on with my bigger hives. Some I know are in trouble and some don't look that good when looking in them but are bee strong and gathering well and so can't be that bad.

I was amazed in looking at pictures on the net how close pms could look like efb. I am as convinced now as can be with out buying a test kit that It is efb in some of my hives. Since I am not going to search out a vet and fix the problem with antibiotics until the problem hits me worse than it looks like it is going to now and I have wrote the two off and may get more but that will take time to see. As a side note, I am pretty sure that afb is not really an issue as there would be capped brood as that is mostly when it shows itself and I don't get brood to the capping stage. Had I acted earlier, I could have threw a capped brood frame in the bad hives to strengthen them but have not really seen good brood in any of the hives I have been digging though though I bet there is some in the big swarms if I cared enough but I figure I screwed around too long. I did sorta look around a little today in my big hives which leaves a story of why I probably should not be a bee keeper.

The story is, I opened my strongest bad hive and then left it open while I looked in some of the others. I ended up getting pretty hot during all this even though I was close to naked while inspecting. I had to walk 50 yards to get a super to add space to a hive and then when I had went though all the hives, I went in the house to cool down for a couple of hour. Then I took the grand kids for a four wheeler ride and when we went by the hives I seen that hive I had open still sitting in two different places out in the direct sunlight with no top.

I threw my viel on and went down and threw the hive back together. Like the hive needed more then it was already dealing with. Now you know why I write some of this stuff down. No brain power.

Over all, even with the problems, I am still bee rich (mostly due to the swarms) and with low incentive to improve. I don't yet know what the honey year is going to be but can't say I am really going backwards since I was not trying to maximize or make a business (job) out of my hobby. Were I a business, I could point out the money I could have made and count it as a loss if I had maximized what can be done with bee. As it is, I am still going to make my normal and it will still be all profit and so not a hobby I have to pay for.

Now the question of any problems seen will be, how much is going to be fluke and normal cycling of nature and how much is going to be accumulated issues that grow to having to be addressed to survive. This is the question in my mind that will take a little more time to see. I will be honest, I will probably try requeening and feeding next spring if I see too much bad stuff and if that does not work I will probably not go the vet route but might go do what a vet would do with out him through some nefarious means. Some of this will depend on what happens to surrounding hives between now and then. My hives are in a strait row, side by side and so I should get my answers in all of this. I absolutely hate the ideal of not really being confident of what I see inside of hives and not knowing it well enough that when I do something different, I might not be able to see what that different thing actually changes for me.

Cheers
gww
 

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GWW:

Thank you for your post- I always enjoy reading about your antics and your style of writing is engaging and descriptive. I can almost picture the situations you describe, and I like how you outline what you are thinking as you consider your next steps- very helpful.

I can also identify with your 'nefarious' approach, though I would suggest it might be better described as 'self-reliant'?

I also think the attitude of 'easy come, easy go' has been helpful in my own beekeeping efforts as I recognize that in some sense it is prudent to see my role of beekeeper as one who is a steward of a local bee population, both in my boxes, in my neighbor's boxes and in the trees in my flight radius and beyond.

So the swarm I lose this year might be the base for a swarm I catch next year.

I hope your flow holds out a bit longer- ours petered out weeks ago, though there are some Summer flowers that yield some nectar (i.e. Jewelweed, Partridge Pea, Bee Balm and Bundleflower) getting ready to bloom in earnest.

Until your next post-

Russ
 

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GWW:

Thank you for your post- I always enjoy reading about your antics and your style of writing is engaging and descriptive. I can almost picture the situations you describe, and I like how you outline what you are thinking as you consider your next steps- very helpful.
Russ
Double. Very interesting and humorous.
 

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Discussion Starter #564
Thanks guys. Here is a little more humor for you. I am pretty sure the swarm trap was a bust. I have not opened it yet but I tapped on it pretty hard and heard nothing and there were no bees flying in right at dark. So, it might have three bees in it. Maybe left behinds of bees that were thinking about it and moved elsewhere with out telling a few of the scouts.

Win some and lose some.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter #565 (Edited)
I looked in the big hives on the 19th and four of the swarms today.

My purpose was to see if there was any honey ready to be extracted and that it was in the right place where I could pull by the box.

The big hives were a bit disappointing and I have exactly two supers in all that are not the heaviest I have ever lifted ready and capped enough that the honey will be thick. In one there were still spots of brood that was hatching out and being back filled as they hatched. They are ready if I decide to extract though.
My guess is only about 3.5 to 4 gal. One super is on what was my best hive last year which is also my oldest hive and one I have never split or seen swarm. I could have missed a superceed if it happened.

The four swarms I looked at were the one that I took out of my cedar tree and the one that moved into a medium trap and was super crowded and the two that I have mentioned as being tiny when talking about them.

The two small swarms had paper plate sized comb when I looked last and have not been fed since last look. Before that, One had gotten a gal and one got a quart. There was a difference in them now as one (received gal) has about 60 percent of the medium drawn out and the other has about 40 percent. I did not see any real festooning but they are foraging a little harder and do have capped brood and so should grow yet. I really should give both another gal but probably won't till the very end near 1st of oct if at all.

The two big ones are the best I have ever seen personally. Both have drawn out all but two frames of two ten frame mediums with the full mediums on top being full of very heavy honey. I believe it would be 5 gal between the two. They have drawn comb on top of the frames and filled with honey that gets exposed when I take off the inter cover. Thier brood on on the other eight frames and so they will still get bigger though even on those eight they have good bands of stores.

I did not really see any festooning on these two big swarms either. I still decided to screw the crap out of them and separated the brood by intermixing three empty foundationless frames every other frame. I find sometimes this late in the year they just live with empty frames in the lower boxes rather then draw them out and you have more work later if you decide to put draw comb there for winter. I pulled one full brood and the two partials drawn frames up and used to bait an empty medium between the bottom brood box and the box full of honey. I did not pull any of the honey frames up to see if they might have a patch of brood which would be a real separation. Being near what might be the end of any real flow, I have not faith that they are going to draw another box but they have the bees if the food is there. They also have almost zero extra space if there is food and I had not added space and so we will see.

Now for some thought of my apiary to date. Looking at the big swarms compared to my older hives does show a difference in vigor. When I think of franks pictures and pictures of pms, I have no doubt that it is one or the other. I probably won't mite test or buy a efb test to satisfy my curiosity but know the pictures I find are very similar. Neither would surprise me cause I have had these bees on top of each other for several years and also set the game against them this year with having too much space on the hives for bee density very early. Now I knew when I put the space or did not remove space early on that I might depress my bees a bit and stress them cause that was half of my plan. Depress them just enough to get past swarming knowing it might hurt production a bit but would make management really easy.

The year is not over yet. I am curious on those few hives that have the worst expression of what ever is going on, and are still hanging on some how. (this amazes me as it has been a long time since I saw any capped brood in them) When the flow stops and I also take a bit of this honey and then let the bees clean my equipment, It has always got the bees to checking each other out to rob. I always find a bunch of dead bees in front of the hives during this but it usually dies down. We will see if those hurting hives survive that.

Over all, last year was kinda like this year so far. Last year I only had about 5 gal at this time but got another 6+ sept first plus after sept the bees still filled their top box with honey. All years before that, I got the bulk of honey at this time with no gain after and fed in fall. If it does not dry up this year could still beat last year and if it does dry up, this year could end up my worst year of bee keeping. Time will tell.

I have been thinking of moving from three ten frame medium brood nest down to two medium brood nest. I believe the bees would survive it as I have wintered a single medium. Swarming does worry me a bit on this ideal cause it would be the exact opposite of what I did this year. The other thing is that once you do get the comb, it is much easier to let the bees take care of it then to have to store it till needed. I thought about this same ideal last year cause I could have took more honey but decided against it and went the way I went. I am still thinking and don't know my own mind yet.

Over all and knock on wood, the bee keeping is still pretty easy if you are happy with what you get out of what you got. I play a little lose with the risk and might get bit harder yet but find it very interesting watching it play out and seeing what happens. I am not that unhappy with what I get compared to what I put in but if the bees did too much better, I would have to get rid of a few cause I really am not good at the business part. I do wonder if I put some hives at my dads which is not 70 percent wooded like where I am what effect it would have on the bees. I could find out but just really like having everything right behind my house with no driving.

5th summer and over all, no big swings on apiary production though the timing of the production has come differently. The bee health has always had me befuddled from day one and nothing has changed there except this year might be worse. What is funny is when I look at it individually, I always get worried and have a glass half empty attitude but when I look at big picture, seems about the same with set backs being fixes with advances in other areas and end result comes out the same. My original plan 5 years ago was 15 gal of honey per year and I have not made that but have been consistent with getting ten and have found ten good enough not to want get more stuff in a effort to get 15.

I thought back then that 8 hives would give 15 but ten give me 10 gal. All years have been the same with just a few of the hives carrying all the excess production. It has not been the same hives every year though this year my oldest is good for its second year. So all the hives have the potential but hive dynamics each year are not the same in all hives and so each hive is different each year. Might not get my ten this year but might.

My hive loss does seem like it is going to go up. The question is still going to be is it fluke or pattern.
Sorry for all the goobly glock written above.
Cheers
gww
Ps I hardly ever get phone calls and so answer with out any screening. While looking in the hives I got at least 5 scam calls with one telling me I won three million bucks. I told him I did not want three million and hung up. Geeeze.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #566
This post is not my normal but I wouldn't mind being able to see this later and here is the best place for me.
We are probably at the end of our flow and my wife wants me to mow my three acre yard.

I probably will mow it but do wish a good rain was coming really soon (had too much rain earlier) so there was still hope of a small re-bloom.

Hopefully the bees can get something out of the garden. I know cucumbers and zucchini don't offer much in such a small place but I do know the bees like it and they like sweet corn pollen well also.


I know it is not much but it is kinda pretty. It is not much work. I used to do it all the way around the garden but this year was lazier then most years. Cosmos and a few other flowers.


I noticed all my butterfly weed died out of my field this year. I only had a few but it seemed to be a plant that the bees hit hard and I was hoping it would spread and not die out.

I don't have the giant golden rod here and so if I ever lose the frost astors I will be sunk.

We are not dry but I hope for a good rain.
The bees are still being nice to me and not buzzing me when I sit on my bucket near the hive entrances and so food is not all gone yet. They are hitting the water hole though and it is going to get hotter not cooler. I always figure that flows are on their way out when I see this cause we have had hotter days then the last two and I did not see this.
Cheers
gww
 

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I hardly ever get phone calls and so answer with out any screening. While looking in the hives I got at least 5 scam calls with one telling me I won three million bucks. I told him I did not want three million and hung up. Geeeze.:)
GWW:

Your posts always bring a smile to my face, and I am glad you are able to keep a good sense of humor despite some of the challenges you been dealing with in the beeyard recently.

Your garden plot looks good, and I am kind of envious of your PV panels- are you using that power directly or selling it back to the grid?

Keep plugging-away... I have no doubt that things will turn the corner for you.

Have a great weekend.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #568
Russ
I am kind of envious of your PV panels- are you using that power directly or selling it back to the grid?
I am doing the pv the expensive way with a battery. I do this due to having an independent streak as at the time, ameren was offering a 2 dollar rebate per watt and you always lose when buying a battery. I wanted to do it my self and so spent extra for that privilege. I never said I had any sense. What is even worse is that I built a couple of wind turbines and put one of them on a 70 foot pole. There is no wind where I am except during storms. I just took it down last month.

I only got two gal of honey first round. The bees are defiantly struggling and unlike before, I just left all the honey that was not capped or frames that had small amounts of brood on them. We must have a little bit of a flow still going cause this was the calmest honey I have ever taken and it also took the bees a couple of hours to get interested in cleaning up my extracting equipment. I took pictures to show this but the bees finally did get interested and so decided not to post them.

I could have took a bunch of honey off the swarms but wanted to keep them in a position to maybe still need to draw comb and so I didn't want to empty any of their comb. It is getting past comb drawing here unless a guy wanted to feed feed feed and I don't.

I did half win on mowing the clover. Got on the mower and the front tire was busted out of the side wall and would not hold air. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and I may get to it yet today but the rain gives a little hope of keeping some clover around. I did just now get the tire fixed.
Cheers
gww
 

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I did half win on mowing the clover.
GWW:

Like you, I value self-sufficiency. Sometimes it is worth the extra cost or effort (at least to me) to know that I can support my family in the event of a significant disruption. The ice storm we had around here 10 years ago comes to mind.

My wife and I have an understanding regarding bee forage- she gets to maintain the lawn meticulously sheared and I get to keep the forbs on the surrounding 6 acres growing throughout the year. The attached photos are from the dock on our farm pond last night- the Blackeyed Susans have been particularly successful this year.

Keep up the good work and updates- I always enjoy the read.

Have a great weekend.

Russ

20200626_180012.jpg 20200626_180021.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #570
Russ
Very nice.
As far as the field behind my house, my wife would like that mowed also but I just don't till the frost astor have gone to seed and for sure after a freeze.:)
I don't know if that is the right way to mow for the best but is what I do in hope.
Cheers
gww
 

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Russ
Very nice.
As far as the field behind my house, my wife would like that mowed also but I just don't till the frost astor have gone to seed and for sure after a freeze.:)
I don't know if that is the right way to mow for the best but is what I do in hope.
Cheers
gww
My wife is currently after me to mow the back. It is knee-high lawn grass right now. My excuse is that I am letting the grass go to seed to help crowd out the weeds. Hey, it might work! Once the seeds are dry I'll mow. It a nice butterfly sanctuary. Full time job and college, so I got plenty of excuses.

Front lawn is closer to wifely expectations, mowed, fertilized and weeds killed. Meh. Not my style. But suits the surrounding suburbian ethos better I suppose. I'd kill for a nice rural place, like I grew up in. Current location is a compromise, wife wanted downtown city, I wanted country. So I live with a tiny backyard orchard, garden and bees. Nowhere near self-sufficient, but I got wood to burn all winter, some food and trade goods.
 

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Discussion Starter #574
AR1
My place is also a compromise. Before I got it, I was bidding on 200 acres with one room shack on them. I decided I could survive here for a while and now it has been more then 20 years and my ambition is gone.
You sound like you have a nice place too. I hope your back yard orchard is better taken care of and more productive then mine. My wife does the garden and so it is productive.

I am currently melting wax and have got it too hot when I tried solar and then too hot cause I forgot it in my oven an extra 3 hours. It is brown and does not smell that good. I got a tiny bit of cappings in the oven right now for my third try at it in so many days. Wish me luck.
Cheers
gww
 

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AR1
My place is also a compromise. Before I got it, I was bidding on 200 acres with one room shack on them. I decided I could survive here for a while and now it has been more then 20 years and my ambition is gone.
You sound like you have a nice place too. I hope your back yard orchard is better taken care of and more productive then mine. My wife does the garden and so it is productive.

I am currently melting wax and have got it too hot when I tried solar and then too hot cause I forgot it in my oven an extra 3 hours. It is brown and does not smell that good. I got a tiny bit of cappings in the oven right now for my third try at it in so many days. Wish me luck.
Cheers
gww
Orchard is sad now. Apple tree was trimmed way back a few years ago (neighbor got a new toy chainsaw on a long pole and I let him go to town with it). New apple trees are all crabs and need some grafts. Peaches were wonderful, grown from store-bought pits I threw out on the garden. Recently not much production as they got some disease. I need to cut them out and start over in a few years. Raspberries however are wonderful this year, and grapes look excellent too.

Garden is excellent, as usual. I have what I call a low-work garden style. Linking an article I wrote a few years ago:
https://hubpages.com/living/Grow-Tomatoes-Lettuce-Pumpkins-And-More-From-Saved-Seeds

People make gardening complicated and difficult and hard work. Mine is not.
 

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Orchard is sad now. Apple tree was trimmed way back a few years ago (neighbor got a new toy chainsaw on a long pole and I let him go to town with it). New apple trees are all crabs and need some grafts. Peaches were wonderful, grown from store-bought pits I threw out on the garden. Recently not much production as they got some disease. I need to cut them out and start over in a few years. Raspberries however are wonderful this year, and grapes look excellent too.

Garden is excellent, as usual. I have what I call a low-work garden style. Linking an article I wrote a few years ago:
https://hubpages.com/living/Grow-Tomatoes-Lettuce-Pumpkins-And-More-From-Saved-Seeds

People make gardening complicated and difficult and hard work. Mine is not.
Next time you call me to handle your apple trees.
I graft too.
:)

Good read AR (your article)!
 

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Discussion Starter #577
Got in two hives that I had put drawn comb from a dead out on. I also looked in on the two small swarms that are in single medium boxes to check for space. I got in the one big swarm that was apparently caught last year and still has a deep for the bottom box.

I thought both of the two hives had a box with mostly empty undrawn frames. I was mistaken on this and only one of them had any empty frames in it. Both of these hives are 5 boxes high and seem to have plenty of bees in them. They seem to have fair coverage for at least four of the boxes. Any brood I seen was pretty spotty but I only pulled a few frame and mostly lifted by the box. I removed the empty frames and about four mostly drawn frames so I could consolidated down to four boxes on one and just left the five on the other one cause all the boxes were drawn out. These bees do not have very much stores in them for the amount of bees and also don't forage with the vigor of some of the other hives. Kinda interesting to compare stuff.

The two tiny swarms are drawn out to about 70 percent now with one of them seeming to have lots more bees in the hive compared to comb. Either way, they seem to have caught up with each other as for as drawn comb goes. I didn't add space yet and have a feeling that unless I give them drawn comb, I would just have to take the space off later cause comb drawing is surly getting harder this late in the year.

On the swarm with a deep, I can't remember when I put the box of empty frames on this hive but they have most of the two mediums on top of the deep drawn out and filled with capped honey. They were getting a little cross combed on the last of the frames they were drawing out. I see them do more of this when the flows are not super strong but coming in spurts. I took the four mostly drawn out frames from the dead out and put them in this hive after cutting and smashing the two or so cross frames kinda strait. I put these frame in around the cross framed ones so the bees won't really have a choice but to go strait.

Since the hive is a deep and two mediums, I will probably extract the top medium. The bees seem to be using the deep for babies and the two mediums for storage. Quite a contrast in storage compared to the first two big hives I looked in that also have lots of bees. I guess I will also see if the comb makes this hive sick or not. It might make a difference in my mind on whether to freeze and use again the comb that is in my two problem hives. I cannot believe it but those problem hives still have bees coming and going in them. I will look again at them soon but cannot believe they are not completely dead yet. From foraging at the entrance, I don't think they have improved much or got worse.

The bees are hitting the sweet corn in the garden hard and so are about to raise some babies and eat some honey I would say. They seemed to be flying a little better today after some rain and I seen them on mountain mint and still some yard clover. The yard clover does not seem to be coming up as thick after mowing and even with rain as it was earlier and so might be on its way out though I will take it as long as it will bloom.


The bees were still nice to me and I got not stings and they did not try and mob any open hives and so there is still something out there.

Cheers
gww
 

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Next time you call me to handle your apple trees.
I graft too.
:)

Good read AR (your article)!
Sometimes my garden is too successful. This year I did my typical lettuce seeding, shaking last years seed heads over the soil. There is so much lettuce it is choking out everything else, even the weeds. I am using lettuce as a mulch around the other stuff. Yanked out maybe a hundred large lettuce plants today. Still thousands left to yank.
 

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...didn't add space yet and have a feeling that unless I give them drawn comb, I would just have to take the space off later cause comb drawing is surly getting harder this late in the year.

...They were getting a little cross combed on the last of the frames they were drawing out. I see them do more of this when the flows are not super strong but coming in spurts. I took the four mostly drawn out frames from the dead out and put them in this hive after cutting and smashing the two or so cross frames kinda strait. I put these frame in around the cross framed ones so the bees won't really have a choice but to go strait.

...I cannot believe it but those problem hives still have bees coming and going in them. I will look again at them soon but cannot believe they are not completely dead yet. From foraging at the entrance, I don't think they have improved much or got worse.

The bees are hitting the sweet corn in the garden hard and so are about to raise some babies and eat some honey I would say. They seemed to be flying a little better today after some rain and I seen them on mountain mint and still some yard clover. The yard clover does not seem to be coming up as thick after mowing and even with rain as it was earlier and so might be on its way out though I will take it as long as it will bloom.


The bees were still nice to me and I got not stings and they did not try and mob any open hives and so there is still something out there.

Cheers
gww
Agree, I have in the past added space too soon and I think it slows down the bees. Maybe too much space slows brooding? Temp or humidity? At any rate it doesn't seem to help.

This seems to be the year for cross comb. Most of my hives have some, and some have lots. I don't bother about it since I don't use an extractor. If I want some honey I just scrape it all off, comb and all and strain it. Cross comb doesn't matter much to me. I suspect young hives just starting building make more cross comb, but just a suspicion.

Can't tell much what's going on inside a hive by activity outside. Very weak hives can appear healthy just looking at activity at the entrance.

Never saw bees on sweet corn much. I'll have to keep an eye out this year, if I get any corn. Planted in mid-June during a dry spell, it's only a few inches high now.

Still lots of flowers here. Red clover is going strong, and white. Been a good year for rain so far.
 
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