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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

GG,

Thanks for that insight. The brood box still had 30% capped honey, so the bees moving stores makes perfect sense.
If they are moving and capping , it is time to add a super of comb if you have it. Ideally they move it into a super, unless it was from Syrup :)

If making swarm prevention Splits, pull some full frames of stores to open the brood nest a bit more.

Could even pull and refrigerate or freeze, for a few months. Add to a late captured swarm or a hive that seem to be struggling to get enough stored for winter. I had 30 frames deep last year I eventually added to all of it to 5X5 NUCs when I put them in 10X10 for winter.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Chris, I put supers on some of the stronger hives last weekend. I doubt much is happening there yet, but they had started drawing some burr comb so I knew it was time. Most of the hives have new nectar that I am sure is not moved stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #263
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

JW,

How do you determine whether the nectar is moved, versus incoming? Do you check to see if the nectar drips out easily?

In this case cited above, the nectar was very light-colored. It looked like sugar syrup. On the other hand, the incoming bees did have the loaded-down look.

I assumed that since the brood chamber was so glutted with capped syrup, the bees moving it up made good sense. Maybe it's both?
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Very watery and appearing in lower comb that had prevoiusly been empty. Upper frames all still capped.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

CLong:

Enjoyed reading your update- sorry to hear about the late fail.

How is 'Piper' holding up? Did this colony pull through after your intervention?
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

CLong:

Enjoyed reading your update- sorry to hear about the late fail.

How is 'Piper' holding up? Did this colony pull through after your intervention?
Russ,

No, it fizzled. I only gave it one full frame of bees, plus another shake of nurse bees into a 5-frame insulated nuc. It wasn't enough. If I had more hives to work with, I would have given it more bees.

I tried not feeding the strongish hives last fall, but that was clearly a mistake. If a hive is light next fall it will get fed, until I've got more stock to work with.

I suspect the frequent warm-ups this winter led the hives with marginal stores to consume more honey than usual.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

If I had more hives to work with, I would have given it more bees.

...

If a hive is light next fall it will get fed, until I've got more stock to work with.
CLong:

Sorry to hear that 'Piper' didn't make it through. I can certainly understand and appreciate the reality of how one's management decisions can at least in part be constrained by the resources on-hand. It is certainly easier to experiment and/or gamble when you have more than enough (bees, comb, equipment, time, etc.) to go around.

Here's hoping that your remaining colonies do well for you this year and that you have a great swarm trapping season. Any interest in your traps in Richmond yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #269
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Russ,

Yes. Trap #1 had 4-10 scout bees all over it yesterday. It was 70F and sunny. Trap #2 had 1-2.

At another location, I was cleaning out and refreshing the trap, and a scout started circling around right as I put in the LG oil and Swarm Commander. The same thing happened last year. This trap has caught 2 years running.

Traps #5-10 will be set up by the middle of next week, Lord willing.

How about you? How many traps are you putting out? Will you use swarms to create new hives, or to boost current ones?
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Russ,

Yes. Trap #1 had 4-10 scout bees all over it yesterday. It was 70F and sunny. Trap #2 had 1-2.

At another location, I was cleaning out and refreshing the trap, and a scout started circling around right as I put in the LG oil and Swarm Commander. The same thing happened last year. This trap has caught 2 years running.

Traps #5-10 will be set up by the middle of next week, Lord willing.

How about you? How many traps are you putting out? Will you use swarms to create new hives, or to boost current ones?

Sunny and 70, you're killing me. Was in the upper 50's on Sunday and thought that was nice but didn't really last. Super windy and cloudy yesterday. Rain overnight and cool 40 today. It'll be 7-8 weeks here before we get into "bee spring"
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Sunny and 70, you're killing me. Was in the upper 50's on Sunday and thought that was nice but didn't really last. Super windy and cloudy yesterday. Rain overnight and cool 40 today. It'll be 7-8 weeks here before we get into "bee spring"
B3,

I am really sorry. I was born in Michigan, so I understand a bit. My Mom used to call it "darkest Michigan".

However, I envy the almost continual flow you guys enjoy from bee spring to bee fall. In Virginia, we get 6-8 weeks of nothing. 1/3 the time we don't even get an appreciable fall flow.

Hopefully, you'll make up for the later start, with 5 supers on each hive. :)
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

How about you? How many traps are you putting out? Will you use swarms to create new hives, or to boost current ones?
CLong:

Glad you have scouts afoot- not much action at the swarm traps yet, but I expect we are a couple weeks behind you all.

I currently have twelve traps out, and should I hive any swarms, I will likely utilize them to boost my hive count. We'll see...

We do have some drones-in-residence now and lots of capped drone brood so things are starting to move along.

Based on bloom cues, we are about 3 weeks ahead of last year- extending that to swarms, that would suggest first swarms in early April here.

As you wished me last year, I sincerely hope you end up with a swarm for every hive.

Russ
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Chis, glad to hear you have scouting activity. Getting mine ready to put out this weekend. Set up one with all drawn comb in the bee yard this evening. The trap I have at work will get baited tomorrow.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

B3,

I am really sorry. I was born in Michigan, so I understand a bit. My Mom used to call it "darkest Michigan".

However, I envy the almost continual flow you guys enjoy from bee spring to bee fall. In Virginia, we get 6-8 weeks of nothing. 1/3 the time we don't even get an appreciable fall flow.

Hopefully, you'll make up for the later start, with 5 supers on each hive. :)
Thanks. Yes we do have a couple things going for us. More pollination is available than most areas of the country so that can be helpful for those involved. And we do have relatively continuous flows from May into mid June and then early July into Late August and then early September until the freezes that both provide a solid honey crop and/or fall stores. Not big crops of western states by any stretch and the per colony average has been trending downward for 40 years due to changes in farm practices, increase in population and some state practices regarding control of invasive species but overall perhaps better than many places.
 

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Discussion Starter #275
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

4/15/20 Hive Report

1903 Mims: This hive was building comb off the glass in March, so I took that as a hint to add room. I checkerboarded rather early. The population doesn't appear to building that quickly, but more quickly than 1905

1905 Elisha: Plodding along. I am hoping to see it boom one day. I have a Broodminder scale and temp/humidity sensor on this one. I can see that it maintaining low-to-mid 90s above box #3. Last time I inspected, it was brooding up, but not using the 3 frames to the left (North side) of the box. The weight of the hive is fluctuating up and down several pounds. I attribute this to frequent cold snaps at night, coupled with the increasing shade as the trees leaf out. It just isn't warm enough yet.

2001 ??: A baseball-sized swarm that was part of a larger swarm containing 3 queens. This queen had a well-worn red dot. It was installed in a well-insulated 5-frame nuc to help it get through several more cold nights near freezing.

2002 Corona: This one is interesting. It was "captured" on 4/9. It moved into an empty hive consisting of 2 8-frame mediums. The bees completely filled the two boxes. The bottom box had 8 combs; the top had two. Apparently, the bees though it was big enough. 6 empty frames were added the next day. What was curious was how eerily still the bees were. Virtually no movement, even with daytime temps approaching 70F. Over the next couple days, I didn't see any bees carrying pollen in.

I inspected the hive on on 4/12. The bees were busy at the entrance, but they were still hardly moving. Even on the frames in the lower box. The other thing that was curious was they hadn't drawn out any new comb. Nada. I found the queen and marked her. She was blonde in color. The lightest queen I've ever seen.

I added a new box on the bottom of the hive, and put on a jar of sugar water. Late that day, I started seeing pollen come in, and the bees on the top of the hive were a little more lively.
The only thing I can figure is the bees had consumed all of their honey reserve. Perhaps they had a long bivouac, or absconded a previous location? Has anyone ever seen this sort of listless behavior in a swarm?

Just brought home a bait hive swarm yesterday for Hive# 2003
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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

4/15/20 Hive Report
clong:

Good update- and it sounds like you are making good progress at getting your apiary numbers back in shape.

I took a half-hearted run at your question about the Corona swarm over on the Virginia swarm page- I do hope that our experienced bee gurus have some good advice for you.

Best of success to you this year!

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #277
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

clong:

I took a half-hearted run at your question about the Corona swarm over on the Virginia swarm page-

Russ
Russ,

Thanks for the reply on the lethargic swarm. They are mostly back to normal behavior, though I found a couple of frames today that were still showing that sleepy behavior.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

They are mostly back to normal behavior, though I found a couple of frames today that were still showing that sleepy behavior.
clong:

I'll be interested to see how this swarm develops over the year- is this lethargy any indication (good or bad) of colony decision making?
 

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Discussion Starter #279
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

clong:

I'll be interested to see how this swarm develops over the year- is this lethargy any indication (good or bad) of colony decision making?
Yesterday, I peeked again. They had finally drawn an almost complete frame of white wax. The queen was on this frame. There were still some sleepy bees on the side of the box away from the queen. Perhaps the non-essential bees (by decree of the queen) are quarantining themselves, conserving energy. Time will tell.
 
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