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Discussion Starter #281
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

An axiom I find often used in beekeeping circles. Here's hoping you hive several more swarms yet this year.

Russ
Russ,

Thanks for the good wishes. Another 3 lb swarm captured on 4/19, and moved to the beeyard the same night. This brings the hive count to 6.

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?321131-Virginia&p=1796637#post1796637

Also, Yesterday there were bees crash-landing by the dozen in the beeyard. Obviously, too loaded down to stick the landing. Most opt to walk up the bricks to the entrance. I think the tulip poplars are blooming.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

This brings the hive count to 6.
clong:

I apologize for my delay in reply- between work and lots of activity in the bee yard, I have been away from the computer.

Hopefully all 6 of these colonies prove to be indestructible and serve as a good foundation for your apiary.

I imagine you might have caught another swarm or two by now?
 

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Discussion Starter #283
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

clong:

I apologize for my delay in reply- between work and lots of activity in the bee yard, I have been away from the computer.

Hopefully all 6 of these colonies prove to be indestructible and serve as a good foundation for your apiary.

I imagine you might have caught another swarm or two by now?
Russ,

No more catches. Cooler weather has hindered the scouting. Though the bees can fly at 44-53F, I don't often see scouts until it is 60F and sunny. Once the temp hits the high 60s, they'll show up even if it is cloudy.

Two traps did see some scouting activity yesterday afternoon.

I guess I may have to get one of those Warre swarm generators.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Here are a couple pictures of the insulated boxes I’ll be using this year. They still need to be painted.

View attachment 45995
View attachment 45997

I am moving to permanently insulated boxes for 3 reasons:
1. Better winter survival. I’ve seen the difference myself, along with some anecdotal evidence.
2. Better health for the bees. I haven’t seen any formal proof of this, but I have my suspicions.
3. Better honey production. There is anecdotal evidence of this, and research backs it up. See Derek Mitchell’s latest paper:
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2018.0879?mc_cid=5782b69aa0&mc_eid=8425a04372

I am currently using some polystyrene boxes, but I am in favor of boxes like those above for the following reasons:
1. Wood interior (scored) allows for bees to create propolis “envelope”.
2. Stronger hive bodies. My worry has been poly boxes with several full honey supers above might crush.
3. Ability to retro-fit existing equipment.
4. Insulation can be easily removed or replaced.

The materials are ¾” hive body, 1” rigid foam insulation, ¾” 1x6 cut into 1 ¾” strips. The only thing holding the cleat on is 2 screws. I question whether the two screws will be enough to hold a full super of honey. Any pointers on how to improve the design would be appreciated

This design was borrowed from Bob Stewart as seen in the following link:

http://www.stewartfarm.org/docs/Stewart%20Farm%20Year%20Round%20Insulation%20System%20for%20Bee%20Hives.pdf
old thread I know but how did these work out, stiil using the same any improvements?
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

I guess I may have to get one of those Warre swarm generators.
clong:

You are welcome to one- free for the taking.

Only catch is that you have to pick it up in Western Kentucky- I might even throw in the bees inside!
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

clong:

You are welcome to one- free for the taking.

Only catch is that you have to pick it up in Western Kentucky- I might even throw in the bees inside!
Hi Russ,
So the Idea of the Warres being a "swarm source" had merit. Glad you have all the bees you need.
You may need to get some of those white card board NUC boxes and start taking orders.
Sell 3 or 4 a year if you find your self with too many.
IF the stock is good, Ideally you sell some what Cheap like 100$ and "Local" Next Idea being saturate the area around you with "Drone" mothers, of your choosing.. The bees do swarm , and supersede, so think long term open breading
If a neighbor is on the hunt for bees and is bound to buy and bring in stock... you have value in keeping the local stock somewhat pure, I understand the replies that "they are Mutts" But they are adapted survivor mutts.

May also be a club near you, maybe offer some "local Feral" stock there. could even barter....

Full up on bees by may 15th is an easier problem than , Rats I am down 8 hives and need to scramble to do some splits.

Seen my first Dandelions this week so I am hoping we can some swarm activity here soon, Just not mine.....:)

Maybe I make a run down there to "relieve you" of too many hives. :)

GG
 

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Discussion Starter #287
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

old thread I know but how did these work out, stiil using the same any improvements?
Gray Goose,

They insulation works as advertised, though they still leak. Easy to see with a thermal camera. The best solution is to cut big sheets of foam, and fit them around all the boxes on the hive - no air leaks. However, I want them year-round, and don't want to have do all the fiddly stuff. One and done. I've observed that some of the hyper-insulated hives are a little slower getting to work when there is a rapid AM warmup, but there is also a lot more traffic in marginal temps than with the uninsulated boxes.

I'll go and take some pictures of the wear and tear. It isn't too bad. The foam is holding up better than I thought it would. One thing I've found is that you have to make bespoke excluders. The 3/4 pieces don't protect the foam, so the bees like to chew off some of the foam around the entrance. I've made some excluders that are 1 1/2" wide by 3/4" high. Only one 3/8" x 4-5" entrance.

About improvements, I came into 6 sheets of 2" foam (FREE!), so now I am installing that on the latest set of boxes. I would rather have everything identically sized, but I am incapable of turning down free materials. I had to hunt up 4" screws to attach the foam. I now drive the screws through the cleats and foam into the end wall of the boxes, per your suggestion. It works great.
 

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Discussion Starter #288
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

clong:

You are welcome to one- free for the taking.

Only catch is that you have to pick it up in Western Kentucky- I might even throw in the bees inside!
Russ,

You don't know how tempting that is. At a time like this, it would be wonderful to go on a road trip. And free bees! Thanks for the offer.

Right now, our idea of an exciting family outing is to take our trash to the dump! :)
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Gray Goose,

They insulation works as advertised, though they still leak. Easy to see with a thermal camera. The best solution is to cut big sheets of foam, and fit them around all the boxes on the hive - no air leaks. However, I want them year-round, and don't want to have do all the fiddly stuff. One and done. I've observed that some of the hyper-insulated hives are a little slower getting to work when there is a rapid AM warmup, but there is also a lot more traffic in marginal temps than with the uninsulated boxes.

I'll go and take some pictures of the wear and tear. It isn't too bad. The foam is holding up better than I thought it would. One thing I've found is that you have to make bespoke excluders. The 3/4 pieces don't protect the foam, so the bees like to chew off some of the foam around the entrance. I've made some excluders that are 1 1/2" wide by 3/4" high. Only one 3/8" x 4-5" entrance.

About improvements, I came into 6 sheets of 2" foam (FREE!), so now I am installing that on the latest set of boxes. I would rather have everything identically sized, but I am incapable of turning down free materials. I had to hunt up 4" screws to attach the foam. I now drive the screws through the cleats and foam into the end wall of the boxes, per your suggestion. It works great.
I have a "well insulated" hive and notice the same thing, more bees flying when cooler.
I have not noticed the slower AM start up to cause less honey.
I did want to steel some brood lately, and was disappointed to have a fail,, the frames in the insulated hive had brood end bar to end bar and the cluster in the NUC was not going to cover it all, only draw back I have seen, as well I may need to delay splits until warmer for the same reason.

6 sheets luck you , Ya free is too good to pass up.

I have ripped enough gloves on screws poking threw to either go to the end or get the right length.

Sounds like good results.

What about a 3 side + top box that would slid on (from the back), the front could use the AM sun and the rest has the extra insulation. 2x2 framing, exterior to help hold it together.

thanks for the update
GG
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

You may need to get some of those white card board NUC boxes and start taking orders.
Sell 3 or 4 a year if you find your self with too many.
GG:

As always you have good ideas- As I've said before, i appreciate you 'think outside the box' guys and after reading about what Riverderwent is doing and seeing a Facebook post about selling swarm stock, I can see how this idea might have real merit. That said, I have learned not to take too much for granted in beekeeping.

Here's hoping your season gets kicked off in earnest soon and that you have an exceptionally good year.

I am always grateful for your help and input- have a great day.

Russ
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Right now, our idea of an exciting family outing is to take our trash to the dump! :)
My how we understand this! My kids are keenly interested to see what their public school friends think of homeschooling, so they can now commiserate on the ills of learning at home ;).

Glad to hear you keep plugging-away. I imagine your CB'd colonies are really booming about now?
 

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Discussion Starter #292
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

My how we understand this! My kids are keenly interested to see what their public school friends think of homeschooling, so they can now commiserate on the ills of learning at home ;).

Glad to hear you keep plugging-away. I imagine your CB'd colonies are really booming about now?
Russ,

Neither CBed hive took off. One has very spotty brood. Perhaps the queen is failing? The other is building, but nothing like last year's Piper.

Both CBed hives had very low stores coming into early spring. I fed both hives, both neither really thrived. I am wondering if colonies build up aggressively in part because they perceive plenty of stores.

The bright side is I had another swarm catch. It was in the same location as the catch of 4/14. I took the host's reports rather lightly, thinking is was only scouting behavior. Today when I went to check on it, the bees were bringing in pollen.

The Corona hive still has me wondering. It is very cool to the touch. The temperatures of the hives that are roughly the same size are about 88F on the top of the inner cover. This one is only 74F at the top. The bees away from the brood area sit almost motionless. Incidentally, the brood pattern is excellent.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Russ,

Neither CBed hive took off. One has very spotty brood. Perhaps the queen is failing? The other is building, but nothing like last year's Piper.

Both CBed hives had very low stores coming into early spring. I fed both hives, both neither really thrived. I am wondering if colonies build up aggressively in part because they perceive plenty of stores.

The bright side is I had another swarm catch. It was in the same location as the catch of 4/14. I took the host's reports rather lightly, thinking is was only scouting behavior. Today when I went to check on it, the bees were bringing in pollen.

The Corona hive still has me wondering. It is very cool to the touch. The temperatures of the hives that are roughly the same size are about 88F on the top of the inner cover. This one is only 74F at the top. The bees away from the brood area sit almost motionless. Incidentally, the brood pattern is excellent.
Interesting observations, clong. I do appreciate your feedback.

I remain intrigued by the CB'ing process, but it seems to be contingent upon so many variables to make it reliably successful. Someday I need to make a pilgrimage down to Alabama and sit at the feet Squarepeg and learn what to look for and how to execute it based on what is observed.

It seems that there are so many variables to successful early-season manipulations to thread the needle between maintaining broodnest integrity and opening it up enough and in the right way to forestall swarming. Maybe someday I will figure it out...

I am glad to hear that you had another swarm catch- does this get you back to parity with last year regarding colony numbers?

Your Corona colony sounds like an interesting case-study. I suppose if they have a good brood pattern and continue to grow it is nothing to worry about?

I imagine the nectar is really rolling in at your place about now...

Have a great week.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #294
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

I remain intrigued by the CB'ing process, but it seems to be contingent upon so many variables to make it reliably successful. Someday I need to make a pilgrimage down to Alabama and sit at the feet Squarepeg and learn what to look for and how to execute it based on what is observed.

It seems that there are so many variables to successful early-season manipulations to thread the needle between maintaining broodnest integrity and opening it up enough and in the right way to forestall swarming. Maybe someday I will figure it out...
I think I need to make the pilgrimage too. I've failed a lot more than I've succeeded. Last year I watched my CBed hive supercede a healthy queen. That, and a decent honey harvest convinced me I did it right. The other three years - pffft!

I am glad to hear that you had another swarm catch- does this get you back to parity with last year regarding colony numbers?

Your Corona colony sounds like an interesting case-study. I suppose if they have a good brood pattern and continue to grow it is nothing to worry about?

I imagine the nectar is really rolling in at your place about now...
Yes, back to parity, thank God. This latest swarm catch turned out to be bigger than I thought. Probably 5 lbs.

The nectar is rolling in. It looks like I'll probably collect around 100 lbs, if they keep up the current pace for a couple more weeks.

I don't think the Corona bees are anything to worry about. I just think they are very careful not to exert excess energy. They are very productive. They are already filling up a honey super.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

I don't think the Corona bees are anything to worry about. I just think they are very careful not to exert excess energy. They are very productive. They are already filling up a honey super.
Maybe they are simply super-efficient- they're like EnergyStar-rated bees...
 

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Discussion Starter #296
Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

Hive Report 5/8/20:

1903 Mims – Checkerboarded, then un-Checkerboarded. Building slowly but steadily. Likely no excess honey

1905 Elisha – Also CBed then un-CBed. I haven’t dug into this one recently. I think this is an underperforming queen, but not sure.

2001 Salem – started as a baseball-sized swarm with a red-queen. Installed in a nuc. Growing slowly.

2002 Corona – When installed, they completely filled two 8-frame mediums. I put a Flowhive on with one frame of drone brood pulled up into the middle, to see what would happen. After 1 week I was about to give up and give them regular comb. They finally started storing nectar in the Flowhive. This might be my first significant harvest from a Flow Hive in 5 years of trying. They build beautiful pollen stores. The rest of the hives gather yellow and orange pollen, with a couple cells of tan or pale green. Here is a picture of a pollen frame from this hive.
Multicolored Pollen.jpg

2003 Canada – This swarm has filled two 9-frame supers, and got a third one 5/7/20. The nectar is medium-dark. Presumably, tulip poplar.

2004 Raub – A 3-lb swarm installed in a 10-frame medium box. Progressing nicely. I hope to see some new bees orienting soon.

2005 Northwind – This swarm occupied 80% of a 10-frame box. With the anticipated population drop, I intended to delay adding another box. They are storing nectar aggressively, so another 10-frame box was added on 5/7/20

2006 This swarm will be picked up tonight and installed this Sunday.


My ultimate plan is to propagate from Corona and Canada to make up a few more hives to get to 12. I'll try to make 3-6 nucs by June. I'm hoping to go into fall with 15-18 colonies.
 

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Re: clong 2018-2019 Treatment Free Experience

My ultimate plan is to propagate from Corona and Canada to make up a few more hives to get to 12. I'll try to make 3-6 nucs by June. I'm hoping to go into fall with 15-18 colonies.
Sounds like you are well on your way, clong. Good for you.

And a little surplus honey along the way... I'd consider that a good year.

Good update, and best of success to you as as the rest of the year unfolds.
 

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Just been lurking around here. Clong my swarms this year were overwhelmingly lethargic as well of the 15 or so I caught 2 grew like I have seen in years past. It's been very odd. Weather was very spotty during swarm time here so if it was a virgin there were lots of problems with mating.

Wanted to ask how your results with the top vents went. If I were to guess you haven't seen an advantage to having a top vent.
 

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Just been lurking around here. Clong my swarms this year were overwhelmingly lethargic as well of the 15 or so I caught 2 grew like I have seen in years past. It's been very odd. Weather was very spotty during swarm time here so if it was a virgin there were lots of problems with mating.

Wanted to ask how your results with the top vents went. If I were to guess you haven't seen an advantage to having a top vent.
Jovian,

I have been either busy or distracted the last few months. Sorry for such a late response. I don't see any major advantage to having a top vent. I'm not running any of my 9 current hives with top vents. I know that thermodynamically, ventless hives should be able to dry down the nectar faster, but I haven't gotten more than one strong hive through the winter, so I haven't seen it myself. Does that answer your question?

My hives are in 80% shade. I am going to cut down several trees which should allow for 1-2 more hours of sun to hit the hives mid-morning. That might have an effect on whether I experiment with opening the top vents next summer.

The one effect I have noticed so far is that insulated hives with no top vent, are able to build comb sooner in the spring, and later in the fall. One of my hives started making white comb in Feb/Mar 2 years ago. The were fanning at the entrance by mid-March. A different hive made white comb late into September the previous year.

I need to give a pre-winter report. I now use Nov 15th as the start date of "winter" in my beeyard, so I'll do one after that date.
 
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