Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On-going silly questions from a New Beek, so please don't hold back, let me know your thoughts Ok. Getting ready to harvest two first year hive and am learning that every action, has an equal and opposite reaction. Had a great year (so far-fingers crossed) with two hives that started as 5 frame nucs on March 30th. One hive has 4 supers above 2 full broods, the other has 5 supers. Aside that it's on a shared platform which raises it another foot-I'm about neck deep in supers. As far as I can tell, we've had a flow of some type or another all summer and now it looks like were starting knapweed and maybe two weeks until a strong goldenrod and aster. After reading about Colony Collapse Disorder, the girls are coming first-I'd rather have the hives make it over the winter than have some extra honey.

The harvest plan is to first, open the hives pull all the supers off, get into the brood boxes and do alcohol washes, restack the supers reversed as the top on both hives are only around 60% capped but the rest are 80% or better.

Plan A, if the mite counts are acceptable, I plan on putting a third deep on each hive, the put the current +/-60% on top of the third deep and see what happens on the fall flow. (D-D-QE-D-M). I would also (on top of the top medium), return the wet extracted frames on, one at a time, for cleaning. Those would then get stored for next Spring. Once the fall flow finishes up, figuring early October, I would pull any remaining super(s) and the third (top deep above the QE), do another alcohol wash and see if I need to do an OAV now, or wait until early winter, early December here can still be in the 60's, closing up the hives with a "one and done" with Apivar starting when the weather warrant's opening the hives in late winter/early spring.

Plan B, if the mite counts are high, pull all the supers and harvest what's there, start a 21 or 27 day AOV treatment cycle. I would still put an empty deep with blank frames above the QE (as it will be eventually used as a brood box next season) to leaves some room for the colonies. i don't see how colonies that are now 2 deep and 4 or 5 supers would fit without that room.

Now my questions:

Question would be A, should I put the wet supers back on between treatments for clean up and then remove for storage before the next one so they're not exposed to the AOV?

Question B (the most important) would be what would be an "acceptable level" of mites in the wash count? I'd hate to miss the fall flow but I'd rather have the hives have the best shot of getting through the winter. If I was to get honey on the third deep frames, I'd stow it for next spring or any winter emergencies.

Question C, if the mite counts are above 0 and below x (being the upper limit of acceptable mite count), should I try something like Hopguard and stay with the fall flow. What is the upper limit of acceptable counts.

Question D On having multiple supers full of capped honey-do I use the fume board for a one at a time removal or just go for broke and grab all of them or something in between?
 

·
Registered
2020 6 hives
Joined
·
239 Posts
LarryBud,

I would suggest that you split the harvest and mite wash/count into 2 separate functions. Just like you and I the bees hate getting robbed, they will be very testy/aggressive when you remove the honey supers. Way to go on your 9 supers. Since they will probably need the space I'd put the 3rd deep on after I pulled supers. If we have a good fall flow they can fill the 3rd easily.


I'm planning on starting my 3 OAV applications 7 days apart on 8/18/20. I'm going to do a OAV treatment on all of my hives this fall to help the winter bees. I haven't done this in the past so I can't talk about it's effectiveness. I do mite washes 5 days after the OAV treatment. This year my counts have been 0 or 1. This year I started in March with a 3 round OAV treatment and then a monthly treatment.

I put my empty supers off of the hives now. Any and all bees will clean them out. 100' away or more so your hives don't get robbed. I have tried to put them back on but they want to refill right away.

I helped my mentor last week and we put the fume board on for a few minutes, then leaf blower to get the last of the bees out. Move the fume board to the next box then repeat. The 2 of us did 33 supers in less than 2 hours. We had a 10 minute drive to the second yard between.

I last 8 out of 14 colonies after using HopGuard in 2018. I can't prove that was the problem but I won't use HopGuard again in case it was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,066 Posts
@Larry, CCD is now thought to be a term given for a variety of issues like mite overload combined with other problems and is generally out of favor among beekeepers. Check your mite level.
Are the deep frames you hope to add all drawn? If not, don't harvest all of that honey. They are unlikely to draw and fill them. J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Guys (and Gals)

I guess everything rides on the mite count. I've been really drawn to the bees and I'm usually leaving the house around dawn every day and get home around six pm. I usually sit and look at the hives with the first cup of coffee and unwind after work (or dinner) watching the bees from the side of the hive up close. I look for any abnormalities on the bees or bee behavior, look for any ants or moths and if the weather right, pull the board on the SBB briefly to examine any debris, look for mites, SHB or other things. I juts got the alcohol wash kit so we'll get that done shortly and be able to base plans on real data.

I've heard mixed reviews on Hopguard-the only thing it has going for it seems it does do something on mites and can be used with supers on but it seems short termed from what I read and has to be replace every week for three weeks. Mixed reviews.

The deeps are new-just painted then last night, frames are Mann Lake wax rite and are bare. My plan all along was to get them to draw out comb on them during the fall flow for use next spring as supplemental comb on splits or second deeps. I'm planning on keeping the all of my medium supers for support above the QE's on brood deeps for honey so I do need to keep them off the hives during and after treatment from what I've read. I want to keep treatment to a minimum but don't think TF is realistic at this time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,066 Posts
Formic Pro can be used with supers on. You are correct that hopguard does have mixed reviews. J
 

·
Registered
6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
Joined
·
635 Posts
Congrats on a great first year. About mites- don't forget about adding a fall/late fall treatment. I'm doing an OAV series right now (4 treatments 5 days apart). This is when mites will start to outnumber the bees so it makes the most sense right now.

However, crazy town numbers start in fall/late fall when other colonies may be crashing around you. Also known as mite bombs. So even though mites within the hive have been dealt with, your bees may rob out other hives or you may get hive drift. In those cases counts can skyrocket overnight. That's the effect of external pressure. I pull inspection boards every few days in the fall as an early warning indicator. So I'll likely wrap up with an OAV series in late September early October for that dangerous time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I got the first hive pulled apart and did an alcohol wash done this morning and it was brutal but the results were clean-0 mites and was slightly more than the 1/2 cup measure of nurse bees. It was low 80's at sunrise (6 am), full beekeeper costume including long gloves. The girls were less than impressed as soon as the cover came off and the fun began. Dive bombing the daylights out of me covering my arm and ignoring the smoke. I got into the deep broods (****ed heavy) and took about a quarter cup off the upper and slightly more off the bottom (which had the original "black frames" of the nuc). Didn't see a single drone and any remaining drone comb I saw were empty (seems early but I'm a first year). Brood and eggs in both deeps, didn't see any SHB's or moth cocoons. Bees still diving bombs, was sweating bullets in the heat, restacked the supers in reverse order (thought it might help to finish the capping), threw the covers back and on and ran (with the jar of nurse bees in my hand) as fast as possible from the yard to to strip down before heat stroke ste in and I was safe from 50,000 pissed off bees. Shock the jar, flipped it over and while drinking a gallon of water kept checking it. After the obligatory 60 second shake (and a 3 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute) neither me or my Smurf-like assistant saw anything settle out. We debated on piece of debris which eventually we agreed was a foreign contamination or possible wax flake. Maybe our luck is holding on or we screwed the test up (But the Smurf was watching, has researched as much as any PhD would and watched my every move. With the heat, pissed off bees and the Smurf, this was a challenge. I still have the bigger hive to do, 3 feet away, so while I'd like to call it all good, we'll see what the other hive 's results are-Thursday is supposed to be in the 70's.

I'd like to hold off until late September/ early October when the flows end on treatment if possible but know I will have to get this done by then and again around Thanksgiving. Can't imagine what 100 hives would be like...
 

·
Registered
2020 6 hives
Joined
·
239 Posts
LarryBud,

Isn't sweating fun? Wait until Thursday to go after the other one. Great news about your 0 mite count. You said earlier that you were going to have them draw out your frames but you may be able to trick them into thinking there's a flow on by feeding 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. See Fivej's post above. I'm starting my 3 OAV treatment to make sure they are at 0 mites this week. If you wait until September/October your winter bees will already have been laid. You want them to have good fat bodies to make it through the long winter.

Big colonies can be overwhelming at first. Anxiety will bother you more than the actual bees.

How many supers did you pull off? It sounds like you may get a great harvest.

Keep up the good work!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,112 Posts
" Can't imagine what 100 hives would be like..." ----- You are a the beginning of the learning curve, efficientcy will increase with time. Having more hives heps you learn faster.

1. You need to adapt to your environmental zone.
2. I created a standard brood chamber with a QE on top than supers. Brood chamber, multiple boxes does no change for winter - sized to hold the feed I think they need for my winter.
3. I will remove all supers for extracting before treatment - starting now in chunks - before the end of Fall flow, actually closer to early to mid timing. I give them a good part of the Fall flow for the brood chamber.
4. I then weigh hives and feed to a specific minimum weight ( 80lb. net minimum for me) by early Nov.
5. OAV while brood population is falling and the Fall Varroa Invasion starts - happens every year here. I do Dead Drop Counts onto a sticky board for guidance - treat until the numbers drop significantly. Then I OAV treat again in winter to clean house.

6. I check drone brood for varroa, occasionally, forgot to do it this year. My summer numbers have been very low two years in a row ( since winter treatments). I do not have faith in wash systems - gave up - watch the bottom sticky board and entrance for clues. Getting old so I keep it simple now.

Clue - stick a temperature sensor on the top of the hive - it tells you a lot.

Good Luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again for the guidance. I wanted to respond to all of you so I apologize for writing another novel. I am not "dug in" in my thoughts below and welcome your comments.

To Fivej; I didn't know that the term CCD is out of favor, seems to be a reasonable description and agree (from my reading) it stems from mite infestation, weakening the colony allowing other maladies to take hold. The key is to stay on best practices and keep the hives strong. While I would love to be TF, the reality is current circumstances, it is not necessarily the best practice, possibly akin to watching a house fire start band waiting until it's full engulfed to get an extinguisher-too little too late. I'd rather not add chemicals at anytime but I want to deal with issues as soon as they arise.

to ALlldredge; Thank you, I think I've been VERY lucky for a first year beek. My mite count maybe related to my location as I am in an urban center where I don't think there are many feral or other hives. We are kind of an urban island around the University and there is commercial agg and horse farm a mile away (westerns NJ). In NJ, we are supposed to register our hives with the Depart of Ag and on my lot (7500 sq ft) I'm allowed to have three colonies (less than 1/2 acre). The State does this in part so that pesticide applicators have to notify beeks 48 hours in advance of any application within a certain distance of the registered hives. From their list, there are small two apiaries (a couple/few hives) that are two miles away. Obviously feral hive don't register and I heard from a friend there's a Brazilian guy a mile away with two established hives-assumed unregistered. I would think that transferring of mites is minimized here but I'm still checking. This first hive has a SBB so I've been checking every few days on my daily inspections.

Jim: It was miserably (and that's from a guy who's lived in the Middle East and Africa) hot and sweaty, I only took the supers off to get at the brood box deeps to get some nurse bees for the alcohol wash but then re-assembled them in reverse order to try to get the top one filled out a little more. I thought that top super being lower that they'd put a little more effort in and get it better capped before extracting. I may leave the top super on top of the planned addition for the new deep going on right after I pull the supers and then feed back the extracted super's frames to give some motivation to build some comb of the deeps frames. Once that done store the drawn frames for next year and leave the deep on until it the flow ends-late September/early October and then mite treatment. The plan is, hopefully, to inspect the other hive for mites and then harvest everything, possibly leave the top medium super on the third deep until the flow stops. Then OAV treatment in early October (4 @ 5-6 days).

Robert; Very inciteful as usual, I'm a civil engineer that manages large scale heavy highway construction up and down the east coast so my daily routine starts with NOAA weather reports and half my day is usually outside in the weather. I used Mann Lakes 4 gallon top feeders to start the year so my plan is once the flow ends, to put those back on the third deep (to account for population) and treat for mites as above then another treatment after Thanksgiving. Having lived up by you, I know here we're about 2-3 weeks behind your weather in the fall, 2-3 weeks ahead in spring but we do get some cold. I'm building one of those top mounted AOV treatment Boxes from the link I posted last week. It seems smarter than going into the bottom with the Verrox wand, worried about burning the hive-I'll post some pictures in a day or so. Interestingly, I did not see any drones. larval or adult during the inspection and have been watching them being pushed out the last few weeks.

And I'm like you, I think watching the activity is best to assess the hive, looking at the landing board, pulling the (always closed) SBB board) and watching. I would only have one thought on that though, visual inspection is a lagging indicator and I would still want to do the washes now and then to stay ahead. Health strong hives have the best chance.

Thanks All
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top