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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Should we look for swarms earlier this year?
Good question, CLong. I don't know, but if I were a betting man I'd expect swarms earlier this year.

Just based on early phenological clues, we are approximately 3 weeks ahead of where we were this time last year, at least in my locale.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Good question, CLong. I don't know, but if I were a betting man I'd expect swarms earlier this year.

Just based on early phenological clues, we are approximately 3 weeks ahead of where we were this time last year, at least in my locale.
Wow 3 weeks early that "could" be nice 3 more weeks for the swarm to grow. Also likely the parent hive swarms a second time.
Unless it is your hive.. :(
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Chris, I would expect swarms here early too. Last year was also a bit early as several of my hives swarmed right around April 15th, typically the beginning of our normal swarm season. I think it would be prudent to have your traps out by mid to late March.
 

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Discussion Starter #244
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Chris, I would expect swarms here early too. Last year was also a bit early as several of my hives swarmed right around April 15th, typically the beginning of our normal swarm season. I think it would be prudent to have your traps out by mid to late March.
JW,

Agreed. Last year I picked up a swarm hanging on a flowering redbud, March 31st.
 

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Discussion Starter #245 (Edited)
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Feb 3rd, 2020:

The once and mighty Piper is on the way out. Probably about 500 bees. There were a couple of circles of abandoned brood, but no fresh eggs or larvae. The queen is still there. I've shrunk the hive down to 1/2 of a medium with a rigid foam board providing one wall. I've wondered whether I should borrow a frame of bees from a stronger hive to see if I could save it, but I'm not sure it is worth it.

Meanwhile, the other hives are doing pretty good probably rating 4-8 on a 1-10 scale. Elisha is the strongest. I've already checkerboarded two mediums on top of the two boxes she started with. Westley is a daughter to Piper, so I that line still survives.

The bees started to ignore the pollen sub yesterday. They've found their own yellow pollen to bring in. No more yellow ghost bees.

So it looks like I'm 4/7 for this winter.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Normally I would say let it go, but Piper might be worth saving IF you can spare the brood and bees from another hive or two. 500 bees, basically less than a cup, is not going to make it and is not enough bees to raise brood in cool weather. You could try putting Piper on top of one of the other hives with a qe in between if bees are in short supply.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Normally I would say let it go, but Piper might be worth saving IF you can spare the brood and bees from another hive or two.
CLong:

Good update. I am reminded of some advice you gave me this time last year with a very small but queen-right cluster, who with some help made it through last season just fine. So I am with JW in saying that in my very limited experience Piper might be a worthwhile investment of your time and some nurse bees.

How is Westley faring in comparison to Elisha? I seem to recall you considered re-queening this colony last year?
 

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Discussion Starter #248
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

How is Westley faring in comparison to Elisha? I seem to recall you considered re-queening this colony last year?
Russ,

Sorry to be so slow getting back to your question. It is hard for me to compare Westley vs. Elisha. Westley has traffic on warm days, but not as much as Elisha. Elisha was looking so populous, I checkerboarded already. Usually I would wait until mid-Feb with warm days predicted for the following week. Westley is in 3 boxes, so it is harder to see down into the lower boxes. My guess is Elisha will be the 100-lb hive, assuming good weather during the flow.


Meanwhile, last Saturday I took a look into the top of Piper. 150 bees were dancing right at the top of the frame. Sunday morning I looked in and they were dead - "mostly", at least. I had prepared a quiet box with a microwavable heat pack in the bottom to facilitate the transfer of a frame or two of bees into Piper. I picked up the clump of bees, and placed them into the box on top of the heat pack and brought them into the house to see what would happen. Again, no chocolate pill.
Piper - Cold Bees.jpg
They slowly came back to life. They are now clustered at the top of the box. A honey frame with some open cells has been added, but I don't if the bees have moved onto it yet. I fear that the hypothermia may have affected the queen. Or that I may have squished her during the move. In any case, I am thinking of grabbing a frame of bees (likely tomorrow), and putting them and the donated bees back into their original box to see what happens. I don't really think this will work, but I am curious.

Does heat therapy qualify as a treatment?

Quiet Box in front of fire.jpg
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Does heat therapy qualify as a treatment?

View attachment 53493
CLong:

It is now my turn to apologize for the delay in reply. In short, I won't lie that I am jealous of your 'quiet box'. Did you build that yourself?

I am pulling for Piper to pull through...

FWIW I am always confused by what qualifies as 'treatment'. I suppose I take solace in the idea that I ultimately get to decide what I am willing to do to help augment my bees' survival.

Do keep us posted on how your Piper intervention turns out- I am reminded of the idea of 'compensation' that was addressed in the recent National Honey Show videos- specifically that bees can do amazing things when confronted with a battle for survival.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding Winter and it sounds like you are turning the corner in Richmond too...
 

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Discussion Starter #250
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

CLong:

It is now my turn to apologize for the delay in reply. In short, I won't lie that I am jealous of your 'quiet box'. Did you build that yourself?
Please don't lie. :) Yes, I built it. I have extra pieces to build another one, one of these days...

I am pulling for Piper to pull through...

FWIW I am always confused by what qualifies as 'treatment'. I suppose I take solace in the idea that I ultimately get to decide what I am willing to do to help augment my bees' survival.

Do keep us posted on how your Piper intervention turns out- I am reminded of the idea of 'compensation' that was addressed in the recent National Honey Show videos- specifically that bees can do amazing things when confronted with a battle for survival.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding Winter and it sounds like you are turning the corner in Richmond too...
Thanks for pulling for Piper.

I'm not really conflicted about the heat "treatment". I was just curious to see if the bees could recover, especially the queen. I installed her today along with a frame of bees and brood from Elisha. The Elisha bees balled her. I pushed the antagonistic bees away, and then drenched the queen in honey. Hopefully they will decide she smells better after licking her clean. I'll check in a week or so and see if the queen still lives.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Please don't lie. :) Yes, I built it. I have extra pieces to build another one, one of these days...
I am serious- with as many 'queen adventures' that I've had in the past two years, I am beginning to second-guess the wisdom of setting frames on the ground during inspections. The queen is not 'supposed' to be on the outside frames, and yet I have had a queen outside the hive once each year. I am afraid I won't be so fortunate next time. Until I can build something, I suppose I will have to make due with a nuc box.

I'm not really conflicted about the heat "treatment". I was just curious to see if the bees could recover, especially the queen. I installed her today along with a frame of bees and brood from Elisha. The Elisha bees balled her. I pushed the antagonistic bees away, and then drenched the queen in honey. Hopefully they will decide she smells better after licking her clean. I'll check in a week or so and see if the queen still lives.
I am going to wait with baited breath to see how this turns out- please do keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #252
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Until I can build something, I suppose I will have to make due with a nuc box.
Russ, if you like, I'll post pictures of the quiet box. I think I'm going to build a second one, so I can take a few pictures as its going together. On this second one, I plan to include a plexiglass window underneath the drape.

I am going to wait with baited breath to see how this turns out- please do keep us posted.
Today, it was 60F, so I took a look into the hive and found Piper was alive and well. I 'll include a brief videos of the before and after.

Piper frozen: [video]https://www.dropbox.com/s/nytw0rs4dqj8fh3/IMG_6018.MOV?dl=0[/video]

Piper thawed: [video]https://www.dropbox.com/s/637auj55c70163n/IMG_6107.MOV?dl=0[/video]

It remains to be seen whether this queen will still be productive. I'll check for eggs on the first warm day near the end of the month.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Russ, if you like, I'll post pictures of the quiet box. I think I'm going to build a second one, so I can take a few pictures as its going together. On this second one, I plan to include a plexiglass window underneath the drape.
CLong: Please do! Even better yet (and since your upgrading and won't be needing your old one), how about you ship it to your buddy from Western Kentucky ;).

Today, it was 60F, so I took a look into the hive and found Piper was alive and well. I 'll include a brief videos of the before and after.
Those videos were amazing- quite a turn-around. Do you expect you'll give them a few more shakes of nurse bees such that there is enough critical mass to cover brood?

Keep up the good work- enjoying reading how things are getting on.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #254
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

CLong: Please do! Even better yet (and since your upgrading and won't be needing your old one), how about you ship it to your buddy from Western Kentucky ;).



Those videos were amazing- quite a turn-around. Do you expect you'll give them a few more shakes of nurse bees such that there is enough critical mass to cover brood?

Keep up the good work- enjoying reading how things are getting on.

Russ
Russ,

He, he. The second quiet box is so that I'll have a bit of redundant redundancy, and I'll be able to neatly transport 10 frames of bees at a time. Besides, the one in the picture got invaded by wax moths. It's pretty chewed up on the inside. You deserve better. :)

Yeah, seeing her flitting around was encouraging. I don't know if I'll add more bees. I am inclined to see how it goes.

I put in a frame that was about 10% covered in brood, so I am hoping that will give the bees a head start. I also sprinkled dry pollen sub into a couple dozen cells. In the next 7-10 days, I'll reassess. My goal is for Piper is to produce enough eggs so I can make some daughter queens from her.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

My goal is for Piper is to produce enough eggs so I can make some daughter queens from her.
Your goal ought to be to restore Piper to it's former status. A frame or two of brood and a shake or two of bees and voila, a strong hive once again.
 

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Discussion Starter #256
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Your goal ought to be to restore Piper to it's former status. A frame or two of brood and a shake or two of bees and voila, a strong hive once again.
JW,

Thanks for the advice. I'll take it. I just don't want to jeopardize the honey-making this spring. I'll try to get a few bees from the other hives. The thing I'm reluctant to do is to invest too much, and find out Piper is damaged and can't lay a good pattern any more.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

That is always a possibility. One of the fun things about being a hobby beekeeper is that we can try rescuing a hive the commercial beek just is not going to waste the time with. Last year I had an overwintered nuc that went LW on me. Took two attempts at introducing queen cells with frames of brood to correct and now that hive has the most brood coming out of this winter than any other. Roll the dice, just don't bet the farm.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Another hive is gone. Two of my losses this year were due to dwindling populations. One looked like mite stress, the other I don't know. The latest one was starvation. There were plenty of bees, but not a drop of honey left. They had sugar up top, but clearly, that was not enough. I think I should add Russ' title "bungling", to my thread, along with bumbling and bone-headed. If there is a way to kill bees, I will find it. Even if I excuse the two hives lost early this winter, I am 2/5. Not a good year.

On a brighter note, my mentee of the last two years has his bees cranking right now. Bursting with bees. Two of the hives have gone through two winters. The third was a captured swarm from one of hives. That makes 5/5 over the last two years. He insulates and has no top vent. He fed his bees heavily the first year, and did the same last year. Too much perhaps. But his bees didn't starve. We inspected his hives yesterday. The interesting thing is, one of the hives had a couple of frames of plastic foundation with new white wax in the top box. One of the frames was 25% capped. I don't know if that is unusual, but I've never seen it that early.

Could the capped frame be maple honey?
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Another hive is gone. Two of my losses this year were due to dwindling populations. One looked like mite stress, the other I don't know. The latest one was starvation. There were plenty of bees, but not a drop of honey left. They had sugar up top, but clearly, that was not enough. I think I should add Russ' title "bungling", to my thread, along with bumbling and bone-headed. If there is a way to kill bees, I will find it. Even if I excuse the two hives lost early this winter, I am 2/5. Not a good year.

On a brighter note, my mentee of the last two years has his bees cranking right now. Bursting with bees. Two of the hives have gone through two winters. The third was a captured swarm from one of hives. That makes 5/5 over the last two years. He insulates and has no top vent. He fed his bees heavily the first year, and did the same last year. Too much perhaps. But his bees didn't starve. We inspected his hives yesterday. The interesting thing is, one of the hives had a couple of frames of plastic foundation with new white wax in the top box. One of the frames was 25% capped. I don't know if that is unusual, but I've never seen it that early.

Could the capped frame be maple honey?
Sure it could be, or someone is open feeding, or there is a dead out they found in a 2 mile radius, they may have moved stores from lower area to expand the brood nest as well.
GG
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Sure it could be, or someone is open feeding, or there is a dead out they found in a 2 mile radius, they may have moved stores from lower area to expand the brood nest as well.
GG
GG,

Thanks for that insight. The brood box still had 30% capped honey, so the bees moving stores makes perfect sense.
 
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