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My pull offs and hammer on sound nothing like the video.
I wouldn't worry too much about that- Keith Richards doesn't sound much like anyone else and he's gotten along o.k. ;)

The trick is to sound like the best-sounding you- and keep having fun... sounds like you're making good progress- congratulations.
 

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Russ
Working on the into to sweet home alabama, my first intro. My pull offs and hammer on sound nothing like the video.

I worry till pollen and then worry about starvation but can't wait to see anyway.
Keep up your good work.
Cheers
gww
Well, I got two surprises today. One is that my oldest hive and the one that I got the most honey off of the last two years is dead. So it made it unsplit for five years. About six months ago, I saw what looked like a supeceedure cell in it and quit digging. With me, there is always the chance I took a queen with my honey harvest or it could have been something else.

I also think one of my gangbuster swarms might have died. It is at the end of the row of hives and was one of my leave alot of food hedge hives that I thought would do well. I left two with lots of food cause the rest seemed light and I did not want to feed.

Another surprise is that the two hives I was dead sure were not going to make it still have some buzz in them. Go figure. Doesn't mean they will live but I sure would have thought they would have died before the other two.

We have our first real cold spell heading our way in the next week. If the bees live through it and can make it to our next warm spell, they will have those dead hives to rob and stock up on stores cause they should have honey and the ones left could be really light. Hope more don't die before they find out how good robbing can be.

So 8 still alive and one for sure dead and one I am mostly sure is dead by tapping with my ear to the box. Hated to lose the old hive cause I was proud of it.
Cheers
gww
Time will tell.
Hey gww, I enjoy your posts, a true beekeeper doing experiments; maybe your supersedure queen didn’t work out, I have had that happen; queen failure for whatever reason. I’m sure the cold will be fine for your bees. Keep posting. I’ve seen you on another forum but I haven’t pursued reading or posting on it. Have fun with your bees and guitar. Deb
 

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Discussion Starter #623
Deb
That cell was noticed on july 17th which seems like pretty much into our summer derth and so not a good time in my mind. They were probably in trouble already to make the cell.

I do like that on this site, the bee part is separated from the political part.
Thank you for your comments.
This year will be interesting.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter #624 (Edited)
Ok 52 degrees, the last of the snow is melting and I still have bees and still have not weed eaten.
62201

The yard maples seem to be on schedule and the blooms have purple color though not popped I am sure. It is 52 degrees and supposed to be 60 degrees tomorrow and then back down in the 40s.

I think another hive is dead making three out of ten and might still have more I don't know for sure about.

I popped the top of the 5 year one that is dead and the top box is capped honey and I did not look lower. I was going to scratch the cappings so the hives around it could find it but then thought I might ask my wife if we were greedy first. We decided we were not greedy and to give it to the bees. I did not go back down and scratch them though. I thought about just moving frames to other hives or put it under a hive but will probably take the easy way and just scratch and get a robbing spree going. I am sure once started, it will put pressure on any other weak hive in the apiary. I am guessing there is probably honey in the other dead hives too but I am a fair weather bee keeper and it is muddy as heck out there.

My early plans when it is seventy degrees out is to take my one hive that has a deep trap with medium frames in it as a bottom box is to cut the comb out and get all mediums on that hive.

It is also time to drop a lemon grass q-tip into all my traps for the first time of the year.

Mom and dad have water pipe that froze and broke that I might get to tomorrow and I have about 6 traps in that direction if I don't wake up in a new world and forget to take the bait.

Nothing out there for bees right this second cause they are flying and checking out every thing. I better go check the chicken house feed cause it is inside due to the weather and the bees could be crowding the chickens hard but only now thought to look.
Good luck all
Cheers
gww

Ps I did see some bees doing clean up and carrying out dead. I consider these as live hives cause why clean out what you are robbing.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #625
Here is my five year hive cluster. I scraped the capps on the honey and left the hive open and the bees are already noticing it and so they have 3 or 4 gals coming their way if they fight for it.
62202

Cheers
gww
 

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Texas got cold, I have at least one that looks like your pic gww. It got really really cold. I have one solid survivor, one dead and one maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #627
Gypsi
Yea, you guys are not used to that kind of cold. Good luck with what is left.
Cheers
gww
 

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Had this huge swarm come in, in 2018, deep 5 frame nuc and it was overflowing when I went to add a feed jar to my swarm trap so I added another box of frames instead. Pretty decent bees, given I was working near dark to add that box. And it has pulled thru, the nuc I lost was due to robbing from this wild hive, and my beeweaver hive may not make it, partly due to robbing, but I think I may just have to "if you can't beat them, join them". add a box of frames and use her for splits... Looks like they threw out maybe 2 cups of bees, probably just one, dead, when they did housekeeping this morning. They're a little hot but not too bad. And they appear to be hardy
 

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Discussion Starter #629
I have had a few get hot every once in a while with it being most time food or queen making being the difference. Most time mine are really nice to me though. If you decide to take a few pics while splitting, put them here or somewhere and I will enjoy them. If you don't feel like that hassle, that is also something I can relate to.
Cheers
gww
 

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Well the good news is the beeweaver 2 box (1 deep 1 medium) is alive. and probably has plenty of bees. I put a 10 frames of empty medium comb on top of the wild hive for them to fill up, and spread out all the goodies from the 4 nuc box stack that died off. there were probably a good 6 frames of capped honey on there, they were just short on bees from being robbed. Split will wait til things calm down, Texas is going straight from winter to 70 degree weather, so the more populous hive will need that box to fill, while the beeweaver did need fed I think, since they were emptying the honeycomb I fed on top of the inner cover a month ago. Gave them a jar of syrup but no extra frames to patrol. I'm tired. If I manage a split with pics, I'll post them. Be a little while before I'll feel comfortable going thru that hive. Got 3 grandchildren here today
 

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Discussion Starter #631
Gypsi
Have fun with the grandkids. Can't wait till mine come around again. Been a couple of weeks. Mine usually stay a few days and then I am tired too.
Cheers
gww
 

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I consider these as live hives cause why clean out what you are robbing.:)
GWW:

I always enjoy reading your posts, and I am glad that you've got live bees to work with. While I note that your dead-out percentage is higher than usual, I imagine your 5 year average is well below 15%?

To be honest, I have never considered seeing dead bees hauled out as a test of colony life- but your rationale makes sense to me...

Best of success to you in this coming year- hopefully the maples will come on strong for us in the next couple of weeks.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #634 (Edited)
Dead out 2 and 3 of ten. Might have more but might have robbing going on and not be able to tell with lids on.
62249

Starve out. Hive with nothing, nadda, zip. Small cluster and so even with food, who knows.


62250

This also was starve out but in a different way. This I do consider and actual loss as there was four good solid frames of bees and maybe more.
I say in advance that member danial d warned me of this but I decided not to listen. This hive does have some honey in the lower box. The bottom of the cluster should have been barely in contact with it. The top box was dry as a bone. Even if they were alive, the honey in the bottom boxes probably would not have got them though brood build up. So I left this hive open to let the others rob also.

I had tapped on the end of the row hive earlier and thought it was dead also but is has activity right now. Robbing? Probably but time will tell.

I guess you guys will be able to recognize me by my thumb that I seem to be able to get into every picture.

I did not take a smoker and so did not even try to mess with any hive that had any kind of bee traffic. So that will have to wait. Still have not weed eaten.

Russ
You mention my five year rate of loss. I do not see this extra loss as totally unexpected (as well as a little self imposed by refusing to feed this fall). If you look at what happened in my apiary and compare it to squarepeg's, he like me did not really lose anything the first two years, Then he lost like 15 percent and then 30 percent and than got the bad year. The one difference for sure is that he made a ton more honey than me. Side note, my neighbor who had four hives that dies several years ago stopped by and bought two quarts of honey from me. He has four empty hives and I told him to day I would give him a split to fill one of the boxes but he did not take me up on it. Lives 4 to 6 miles from me on the same road.

Back to bees. So I had expected some trouble just based on history of several people doing what I am doing.

Does that mean it does not work? That remains to be seen but right now for my needs, I am still staying afloat with out have to by bees and getting something from them with out putting any thing in them. That makes adjustment to better pretty hard even though the change might be easy. It would be easy enough but would not satisfy my curiosity nearly as well. What I am doing may be a bit cruel in some peoples eyes but from a selfish stand point is just so easy and fun and I hope I am learning to see bees though I have my doubts. I keep thinking if I ever did (which I won't) decide to become ambitious and treat or something, it would be good experience to have seen this first.
Cheers
gww
 

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I use old hives for bait hives sometimes. I wasn't sure that my beeweaver hive was alive - as that wild bunch has so many bees, could have been robbers at the top, but I checked yesterday after granddaughter had gone home, and they are there. I didn't dig in and look for brood. I did feed less last year, I also took less honey, letting them feed themselves. I did treat for mites. All in all, I like a year when I only go thru 50 pounds of sugar between me and the bees. I saw a swarm leave and let them go, I know I should have caught them, but my area really only supports 3 hives. And now that I've lost one I can do a split or catch my own swarm and be within what the area will support foragewise. I'm good with that
 

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So I had expected some trouble just based on history of several people doing what I am doing.
GWW:

Thank you for your reply- and I do appreciate what you are saying.

I have read the anecdotes and know more than a few beekeepers who have initially met with success in a TF context only to have significant failures after a few years.

It thus begs the questions (at least in my mind):

1. What are we doing (or not doing) initially that allows the colonies to survive?

2. What are we doing (or not doing) in subsequent years that ultimately leads to failure?

I think there is a lot that could be said concerning both questions- and likely all of us attempting TF should go into each year eyes wide-open with these questions in view.

Best of success to you this season- the maples and elms just started blooming today around here- I imagine yours won't be far behind.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #639
russ
One thing I think is that a congregation of bees lets stuff build up. It takes a bit and might work itself out again but just makes sense in my mind. Even though the bees may come from a similar environment and there are always bees with in flying distance, I think it is sorta natural for virgin earth (no bees directly on it) and new wooden wear to just gather stuff slowly but faster than the bees adjust. No science, just thinking. I might get by with leaving the chicken door open till something finds it once. Chickens may not have a congregation of worms till they have pooped on the ground many times kind of thing. To me, it doesn't mean the bees can't live through it but more that it might get harder.

But what do I know. Only that I am not surprised. I still remember reading about a long term bee keeper and treater that lost 70 percent one year. The good thing is he did not do that every year. Time will tell.
Cheers
gww
 

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One thing I think is that a congregation of bees lets stuff build up.
GWW:

You might very well be right. Our State Apiarist recently posted the following:

'An article in which the health data from the USDA Honey Bee Health Survey has been published. Kentucky results from 2015-2017 were included (I started doing samples for USDA in 2015). The journal requires a subscription, although you can see the abstract: at Pesticides in Honey Bee Colonies: establishing a baseline for real world exposure over seven years in the USA

Good news, more than 18% of all apiaries sampled between 2011 and 2017 (and we sampled 1,055 apiaries) were completely pesticide free.
Bad news, we found that colonies with high levels of fungicides also tended to have more nosema and queen events. The main drivers of pesticide risk were, unsurprisingly, insecticides.

And regarding neonics, we didn't find very many. Out of the almost 3,000 pesticide detections, only 60 were neonics. So we don't see them often. But when we found them, they were often at high levels.'


So maybe at least part of the build-up you suggest may not entirely be the bees' fault. Does your hypothesis lead you to consider a strategy to conduct systematic comb renewal?
 
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