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Guitar? Only 15 days in, no picking yet. My two months on the ukulele has not made the guitar easier except for tough fingers. I thought it would be easier then it is but have lots of time to keep plucking away.
Keep at it- I am almost 30 years in and I am still learning new things every time I play. Like beekeeping, it is gratifying when you do reach progressive milestones along the way that make it worth all the aggravation and slow pace of progress. Besides, once you learn about a half-dozen chords you'll be able to play 80% of the songs you want to- unless of course you are ultimately looking to go a more classical/jazz/flamenco route.

Good luck to you- maybe you can join in with Sam Comfort in a duet one of these days:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2jcZr4HfTU
 

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Discussion Starter #602 (Edited)
Got in just a few hives today to just get a small feel of what is going on. One was an older hive and one was my problem hive. I would not be surprised if I don't still lose them both. They are both light on stores and the brood is just in small spots on several comb. I know the picture is not great but I was surprised it is as good as it is. The bees were shaking thier butts all over the place and I am assuming it is excitement over the flow though I did see one video once that it could indicate mites. These hive also have larger numbers of hive beetle and other bugs cornered on the enter cover then some of the better hives. They all jump and run when you take the lid off.


I looked in a big swarm that I had extracted the last box on it and put it back on at the end of last month. They are storing honey now but it is nowhere near full. They got another 15 to 30 days to Finnish. I did not look at the brood but they are out foraging in abundance looking at the traffic from the entrance. I thought they might have a little more by now but might be on track.

I looked at my smallest swarm that I also put an empty on. It was one medium with a completely empty medium on bottom that only had one comb in it. I am going to leave that empty till spring and see how that goes. They have stored more in the added empty box of comb then the bigger swarm has but still have not filled it. I was ask if my brood problems had moved to any of the swarms. I mentioned that i had seen some funny dead bees on the enter cover and this is sorta what I seen last time also.

This is the brood pattern in the smaller swarm.

Looks good to me and I did not count but looks like it has several frames like this.

I do not remember being stung during inspections all year. This little hive was a bit jumpy and lit me up two or three times. I don't really know how many times but took out at least two stingers and flicked one lose that had its stinger stuck in my shirt. They jumped all at once and I admit to small panic and walking away fast and that makes it hard to count stings and I don't always react to tell where I have been stung once I remove the stinger and so find it hard to count what really happened. It was a little my fault cause I smashed a few with the inter cover before I noticed I had forgot to put the top box on and had to take the cover back off to fix. They have a big hole in the side of one of the boxes on the side where I hang frames while inspecting and so I had been in their space for some time while I had the hive open. Dang, I guess I need to patch that hole some time in the future.

Over all, I got about 9 gal of honey and could have got more then my normal ten. I went into winter with 9 hives and am sitting on ten now though I am pretty sure that 8 might be a closer "real" count. So over all, I did not go forward or backward too bad. I am way ahead on drawn comb now though using it might kill some bees but my two small swarms might tell me this as they each have this comb on them now. Time will tell.
Cheers
gww
Ps Word to the wise, if you are lazy and, due to that, have to inspect you hives wearing shorts and crocks in the tall grass that rubs up high on you, it will make you paranoid that bees are crawling on you.:)
 

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Over all, I got about 9 gal of honey and could have got more then my normal ten. I went into winter with 9 hives and am sitting on ten now though I am pretty sure that 8 might be a closer "real" count. So over all, I did not go forward or backward too bad. I am way ahead on drawn comb now though using it might kill some bees but my two small swarms might tell me this as they each have this comb on them now. Time will tell.
Good update, GWW. I apologize for the late reply.

Sounds like you are in a decent position all things considered. Are you having a strong Fall flow? Have you decided whether you will have to provide any supplemental feed to anyone?

For my part, I am thinking about going through the hives one last time mid-October if the forecast holds. I think I will have enough surplus honey available to prop-up those who need a little help as it has been a good nectar year here.
 

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Discussion Starter #604
Russ
The bees are working hard. I do not have much golden rod on my own land but what is there is fuller bloom then I remember ever seeing. Just today, I saw the bees on both the golden rod and the frost astors that are plentiful in my field. I am thinking things are going well. I am not sure the two hives I worry about have the field force to take good advantage but will probably not feed any hives unless I am really surprised when I look at a few top boxes in the beginning of oct.

The weather is cool and I don't know how early in the days the bees start foraging but do know they seem to like it and are working hard. I think the flow is probably going pretty good till frost which will be some where close to oct 15 give or take. Take it for what it is worth.
Cheers
gww
 

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I think the flow is probably going pretty good till frost which will be some where close to oct 15 give or take. Take it for what it is worth.
Thank you for your reply, GWW. I apologize for my delay in responding.

Let's compare notes over the next few weeks. Our killing frost last year was on October 31st but they are predicting a colder and wetter October for us.

Good luck in getting everything buttoned-up. I hope your pickin' and grinnin' is going well.
 

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Discussion Starter #606
This may be my last look inside the hives this year. I only took the top off and lifted the top box on about 4 hives. I pulled no frames.

It was a surprisingly disappointing look for excess stores for winter. Every thing I looked at was almost dry with no capped stores I could see from the top.
Especially telling, was on one of my big swarms that I had put an extracted empty back on. It was a deep and two mediums when I pulled one medium for extraction. The medium below seemed to be pretty much capped honey also and it seemed most of the brood nest was in the deep. When I look down from the top now, it is not still full of capped honey. I didn't lift that box and assume it does have some weight cause the bees have stored some honey in the top box now. If I were to guess by weight, the top box might be a third full of uncapped honey.

The one that put the most in an empty medium was my single box medium swarm. It is now about half full.

One of my older hives is almost empty on top. My problem hive seems to have more bees now but is also super low on excess stores.

I did not look at the two hives that I left the full mediums on back in sept.

The bees have till the first frost to improve their position. At most that is 14 to 20 days, some of which might not have high enough temps for good foraging but for a few hours.

What to do with the info gained?

I am not going to do the prudent thing and drop 200 to 300 lbs of sugar on them. That would probably guarantee the minimum needed for pretty sure success. I doubt I even put sugar blocks on them. This is of course unless I change my mind. Now why have such a harsh view? Looking at my apiary as a whole, Most of these hives did not really produce this year and are not taking care of them selves (I do recognize that I did not help them with any type of treatment). Two of the 5 year old hives did pretty much take care of themselves and give excess honey in hard conditions. I did leave two 1st year swarms extremely fat at extraction time. So my belief is that I will not be with out bees come spring and if the others can not some how make it, their loss may not be catastrophic to my hobby operation. This means that everything that was profit will stay profit and no real loss will occur in the pocket book as long as you do not count potential profit that I could work for and pay for to get. Unless things go super bad (possible using this year as an example), I could do this forever.

Plus, It could cycle back to my previous five years starting next spring if I get rid of a few laggards. Of course it could also make me rethink depending on next year.

The one thing I did do different in those first years is feed in early oct and that is a big change though last year they had plenty on their own.

Regardless, the bees have still a little time to improve on their own and they are working really hard right now and it should be an interesting spring, one way or the other.

This is where I am at this point and I still have a tiny bit of time to get scared and change my mind. I doubt I do but also know that I am like that when I am running things around in my mind and it makes me change my goals in some way.
Man there are lots of frost asters (little white flowers) out there and you can see the bees working them like mad and hope is eternal.
Cheers
gww
 

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Glen, it sounds like you are still having fun with the bees. One of my thoughts is that, in the fall when they are bringing down the brood nest, they will fill the brood space with honey as they emerge. That may be why you don't see so much being stored up on top. There could be stores in the brood nest area. lift one side of the hive and see what it feels like. Another thing is that as the brood nest shrinks, there's more nectar left over to store up. You could get a good warm week coming up that gives them longer fly time where they can pack it in. I would make sure though that there's a good pile of honey in the top box since they could get stuck on top while there's honey below.

I see a record amount of asters around up here too. All year has been the largest amount of bloom that I have seen with the sweet clover and goldenrod especially. It's been a perfect year for honey.
 

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Asters are only good enough to stay afloat so that bees don't eat into the stores.
They are not strong enough producers to, somehow, give you any significant boost.

I'd dump dry sugar when proper times comes - easy enough to do.
The idea of "fending for themselves" does not always work (especially, when you don't do mite treatments - adding enough of a load).
Some of mine will have dry sugar for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #609
Danial
I always figure if there is honey in the top, the bottom is like it should be. So I like seeing honey up top. Truth be known, I did not remove anything from the bottom three boxes when I pulled for extraction and so took it for granted the bottom three would be fine on the ones that produced excess. The only problem with this is that some did not produce above three boxes and there is always the chance that putting the boxes on as early as I did that the brood nest never moved down through the whole year. I am not that worried about possible losses of a few of the hives cause I did have some build up issues on some and so maybe good riddance.

I do think if the bees get stuck up top that unless a really extended cold spell, They can move stuff up during the few warmer days we get sometimes.
Good to hear from you and hope you are well.

Greg
The idea of "fending for themselves" does not always work (especially, when you don't do mite treatments - adding enough of a load).
This I do realize. I had big sugar blocks during my first years. I know mountain camp is easy to do also. Even so, weeding out weak stuff naturally when unwilling to treat has its draw also. I understand the view of re-queening the weak stuff and such and saving the bees as a resource can make much sense. But like I said in the earlier post, Playing the odds on an apiary wide basis has some draw to me and looking at the big picture with my goals in mind, I do not think I will be beeless next year. If I am, I will put my traps out and defiantly change how I keep bees even to include a treatment here or there.

So, I don't believe that is the position that I will be in but will cross that bridge when I get there. Right now, I am ending up with 9 or 10 gal of honey every year doing things as I am and that is a big draw and the place I like being at for now. Don't really want to make less but am not sure I want the hassle that goes with more. Plus, I do really like sitting down by the hives and looking from the out side of them and trying to guess what is going on on the inside.
Cheers
gww

Ps I the asters filled the hives last year fast or something did.
 

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This I do realize. I had big sugar blocks during my first years. I know mountain camp is easy to do also. Even so, weeding out weak stuff naturally when unwilling to treat has its draw also. I understand the view of re-queening the weak stuff and such and saving the bees as a resource can make much sense. But like I said in the earlier post, Playing the odds on an apiary wide basis has some draw to me and looking at the big picture with my goals in mind, I do not think I will be beeless next year. If I am, I will put my traps out and defiantly change how I keep bees even to include a treatment here or there.
GWW:

Good post. I've said it before, but I do appreciate the manner in which you stick to your proverbial guns for the purposes of identifying probable outcomes based on what you observe.

While I have no qualms about the decision to provide supplemental feed to colonies that need it, I also can appreciate the selective pressure exerted on colonies that are unable to adequately provide for themselves.

I know it goes without saying, but I personally think it is worth considering the impact that our management has upon a colony's ability to successfully prepare for Winter. Case-in-point, we have discussed previously the impact that upper entrances have on the relative location of the active broodnest (and thus on overhead stores at the end of the season).

Here near the end of this season I have observed that approximately 25 of the 27 active colonies I currently have are rearing their last rounds of bees in the very top box- and based on the great feedback that DanielD provided concerning his experiences, I suspect this is due in no small measure to my use of upper entrances.

There is a lot to consider and assess in beekeeping, especially when attempting to provide the appropriate selection pressure.

I enjoy your updates- keep up the good work!

Russ
 

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Greg
This I do realize..
Whatever works, gww.
Clearly it is either you, or the bees, or together - you still manage to say afloat somehow.
This can not be said about me!
---- even dry sugar did not do it in the season 2019 as you know;
---- the season 2020 I am already out of sugar - everything has been fed
 

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Discussion Starter #612 (Edited)
Russ
There is a lot to consider and assess in beekeeping, especially when attempting to provide the appropriate selection pressure
Add to this fact is the fact that most things you do are for way later cause it takes a year or two to notice any real changes. Bee keeping is a long game and not much on the instant gratification item.

It is easier if you don't need a particular out come and are willing to take you lumps as they come. If I were commercial, I would follow a commercial cookie cutter plan that I already knew would work more times then not.

So far what I do is fine and working for my needs but defiantly not best practices which I hope to be learning also from others while I do what I do. Some things perplex me along the way but big picture, I am enjoying myself and can eat peanut butter and honey if I want to though I usually go for grape jelly.:)

Do you notice any difference having more bees in one place than when you had fewer as far as honey gathering is concerned?
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter #613
Greg
Everything is probably not feed cause my bad hives went through a lot of honey with no improvement in hive size and livelihood. However, leaving out all other things, I think you are still correct in taking a lack of food out of the equation. I know I should also but am just not going to and may pay. That may even be stupid. You at least keep plugging away and "doing as opposed to just thinking", is the best chance for eventual success. Keep up the good work.
Cheers
gww
 

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Some things perplex me along the way but big picture, I am enjoying myself and can eat peanut butter and honey if I want to though I usually go for grape jelly.:)
I chuckled at this, and I share your sentiments. As a hobby, I am glad we get to determine what success looks like in our individual apiaries. I expect in a commercial setting, success is largely defined by the market and thus I am reminded that what is sustainable in a hobby yard is much different than that in an enterprise. Regardless, I enjoy following your experiments and appreciate you outlining your thought process- gives me things to think about in my own situation.

Do you notice any difference having more bees in one place than when you had fewer as far as honey gathering is concerned?
While I will admit that this year has been unique in terms of timely rainfall throughout the summer, it seems to me that the colonies have largely been constrained by their available foraging force and the limited amount of drawn comb on-hand rather than by competition. It has also been interesting to me to see how individual colonies have responded differently to the various nectar and pollen sources throughout the season based on their need and the status of colony development.

Case in point- the colonies that overwintered last year appear for the most part to be active with our fall flow but the new swarms are currently working at a frenetic pace- a reminder to me that each colony has an acute understanding of the amount and adequacy of their stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #615
Russ
Case in point- the colonies that overwintered last year appear for the most part to be active with our fall flow but the new swarms are currently working at a frenetic pace- a reminder to me that each colony has an acute understanding of the amount and adequacy of their stores.
This is why I really like comparing the activity at all the hives entrances and then trying to guess what is going on inside the hives. It is amazing how many times I open hives and find out how wrong my thoughts were but I figure I will get better.
Cheers
gww
 

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It is amazing how many times I open hives and find out how wrong my thoughts were but I figure I will get better.
GWW:

This I understand- but it is amazing how much one can normally ascertain just by watching the activity at the entrance. I routinely refer to the 'At the Hive Entrance' book to get a sense of things.

I hope you enjoy this Fall weather that has suddenly swept through the Midwest.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #617
Russ
I have read it a few times but am not sure I understand when I am at the hives. It is all good. Thanks for the encouragement you give in all things including your post to me on your thread about music.
Cheers
gww
 
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