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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I started beekeeping this year with my 16 year old daughter (and my wife viewing from a safe distance). The two of us took a local beek associations 3 day course (third day was cancelled due to the COVID outbreak so we didn't get that last field day) but we had (meaning me) bought two 10 frame Langstrom hives, Nuc's and the various tool, outfits and equipment. The nuc's took off like rockets (installed March 27th), added a second deep and by May 29th, put two medium supers on by the end of June, they were full (90% capped) and added another (3rd) super on July 4th. Here n NJ, and I live n a fairly dense suburban area (downtown Princeton). It now looks like the 3rd is full and I may have to add a 4th super. Is this normal? I though year one you don't get honey. I'm thinking with the COVID thing, no one sprayed their lawns for broad leaf weeds so we've had white clover blooming since May and even in late July, is still flowing, the girls are still working them. The University is only two blocks away and has fields of wild flowers and from the planting signs, are loaded with fall bloomers-asters, milkweed and golden rod which should start blooming in a few weeks. Should harvest now-the brood boxes are full, queens are young and strong? I wish everyone had this problem!
 

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It happens. I have several over wintered nuc's that have exploded this year.
I would pull the full suppers and extract them. Then place them back on the hives so they can fill them with the fall flow.
I like to over winter with 2 deep boxes and leave a full supper on also. Then your concerns about enough stores for winter are greatly reduced. You should also be prepared to split them next spring. You could expand in numbers or sell the splits.
Ant bee keeping FUN
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Jim
Another question, I was planning on after harvesting later this month, put two super back on for any fall flows and storing them intact for a jump for next year, have a refrigerator in the basement to store in. Should leave a full super on the hive over the winter for a just in case or add a stored one if needed in late winter? I used a full top feeders this year and they worked really well with earlier season start. I could store any honey in frames if needed. The brood deeps are solidly filled at the moment in the double deeps. felt the natural thing was for the bees to use up the honey filled cells over the winter and lay brood in the spring. We have days n the sixties in late March here-coastal influence but 've seen snow n May too
 

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Well done Larry, it's great when it all works out.

Next season will not be so simple, you will have to control swarming and your success at that will determine your honey crop.

You may also be about to fall into a first year beekeepers trap that happens to first timers when the bees have done very well. The assumption is that the bees have done very well, there are lots of bees, so surely they are not suffering from varroa mites, there is no need to treat for mites.
However such hives are the ones that die from varroa during winter. Because the big bee population has enabled a big varroa population to exist. Come winter the bees reduce their population to save on food reserves, but the varroa population continues growing and the varroa / bee ratio becomes such that the hive dies and it can be very quick.

So far things have been easy. Just install the nucs and let the bees do their thing. But now, your own skill is needed in 3 main areas, to ensure continued success next season. These are leave the bees enough winter feed, ensure varroa mite levels are near zero, and then next spring control swarming. Do those and next year will be another good one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you Old Timer;
I appreciate your thoughts. I started the first deep with Apitar strips and added two more with the second deep. I only removed them when the brood boxes were fully built out and I had added the supers. The plan now is to harvest, then add Hopguard III strips (which are approved for use during honey flows). In the September, I'm planning on dong an Oxi whatever treatment and then close the hives for winter with Avtar strips. I was told that treatments should vary, change methods rather than stay the same to avoid developing a resistant mite. I'm marred to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chemical Engineer (professional tree hugger) and she's reading every treatment packages and data sheet's fine print. I'm open to hen-pecking and sold advice-i want to learn, tell me your thoughts!

Edit-I plan on doing splits this spring, good Lord willing we get through the winter. Want to get there strong!
 

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Wow, sounds like you are certainly bombing those mites. Yes apivar is an excellent treatment. Just, the active ingredient (amitraz) works by paralysing the mites which prevents them feeding, they starve and die. So treatment with apivar can take a bit longer, the strips should be left in the hive 8 to 10 weeks. If you read user experiences with hopguard you will find a majority of negative experiences, the reality with this product has not quite matched the sales pitch hype, could be better to avoid. Will kill your queen if she gets some sticky on her too.

Splitting in spring, yes great idea. More hives, and swarming taken care of all in one. Sounds like you have everything well in hand. :)
 

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It sounds great! Just to be sure - you weren't feeding those hives with supers on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all again;
No, removed the top feeder, pulled the apivar strips and swapped in the first super the same day. Not to enter the great queen excluder debate but it came with the hives, I had no clue, so had it between the top feeder and the first brood box when I installed the nuc's and moved it up on the second when that went on. The girls had no problem getting through it and crowded the top feeder almost immediately. It appeared then, that the girls had no interest in the supers for a few weeks and I began to panic and read what appears to be a million forums on the pro's and cons of QE's. Just about then, with a deep fear of swarming, we opened the hives for an inspection, and both supers had fresh comb started and the rest is history. Maybe they went through the QE for syrup when they needed it and got used to it, maybe they go where ever they want but agreed, bees work on their own schedule. Of course my daughter just gave me that "Dad, you're such an idiot look." Yeah, she's my fourth and I know that look-they all learned it from their mother.
 

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Fantastic start for sure Jim. A couple suggestions. You need to determine how much honey to leave for the winter from a local. My guess is 2 deeps and a medium, but check to be sure.
If that is the case, I would keep adding supers with foundation to get them to draw out as many as possible. You can also swap them out frame for frame, even deeps. Reserve a super for winter. Freezer is better than fridge. Be sure to allow enough time in the fall to extract, have them clean up wet frames, dry them and treat or store them properly.
You are way ahead of a typical first year experience. Look ahead. Comb is what you want. It will solve future issues and give you flexibility. Next year, think of how much faster they will fill the supers without having to draw foundation. If they are drawing it, keep providing foundation. Nice job. J
 

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Fivej

I think you meant your comment for LarryBud.
Good advice for anyone.

I have been keeping bee's since the 70s.
I had 3000 frames stored last winter and ran out twice so far this year.
I started 28 nucs so far to over winter for next year.

Jim
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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OT, the instructions for Apivar are to leave the strips in the hive for six to eight weeks. By day 56, they are to be removed so as not to cause amitraz resistant mites to develop. I agree that Hopguard is not likely to provide the anticipated results.
 

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Agreed. That's because it suited better to get registration. However if you talk to the guys in France who make it, like I have, they will privately recommend 8 - 10 weeks. Which in my own experience also gets the job done better.
 

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Good to know, but maybe should have had a disclaimer? When I first started, I may have left it in the hive about that long myself. Got read the riot act when it was mentioned at the beeclub meeting and have been leary of leaving it in that long ever since. Funny, as flea collars are supposed to be good for three months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
First, I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful advice and encouragement. We're gong to do an inspection on the hives' supers tonight and determine if it's time to harvest honey or wait another week or two. Heavy thunderstorms and rain are predicted for both tonight and tomorrow and I'm thinking that the white clover flow may continue for a few more weeks into August. The girls have been working the daylights out of the clover even after a few days of hot dry weather and by the rocketing of foragers in and out of the hive, something is going. I'm figuring either we decide to harvest or add another medium super and hold off for two weeks more. I'm watching the goldenrod, milkweed and asters for blooms and would like to harvest as the clover fades and they bloom. I plan on putting all the wet frames back in the extracted supers, possibly leave one (hopefully number 4) untouched above the brood boxes with the extracted supers above for clean up. I am think IF the fall flows are good and , they might fill no. 4 supers, I could reserve a bunch of frames for the over winter emergencies or spring splits.

But back to one of my earlier questions - go or no go on the Hopguard? Is there a recommendation for any treatment between the flows during harvesting? Both hives have very large populations and I'd like to avoid any fall swarms, so I'm planning on getting the extracted supers and wet frames (all mediums) back on the hives as soon as they are harvested. Last thought-since the number 4 supers are my last spares, would to pay to but a couple of deeps with waxed foundations to start getting built up comb (if all goes right) to help get my spring splits gong next year?
 

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How, if manufacturers instructions are followed?

Did you know that the active ingredient, amitraz, once out of the strip, has a 1/2 life of just a few days before breaking down?
 
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