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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #1
Guess it is finally time to start my on thread. Started on 3/28/20 with a nuc
from Tpope which has grown to two hives and a nuc. Made a few newbie
mistakes along the way but got incredibly lucky with with most of them.

Yesterday I more than doubled in size. Bought 4 1/2 hives and 2 nucs, 5 of
which have bees, from a list member who is moving to Hawaii. 4 are caught
swarms and 1 has a VSH queen. Thrilled as I had no luck catching a swarm
this year (other than my own:rolleyes:) and buying a VSH queen was high on my wish list.

Must have been prophetic back in back in March when I registered the domain
name resembling the subject line. Now in addition to another Lang hive and
nuc, I have a Warre hive and 2 top bars (1 hive, 1 nuc). Which I have
exactly ZERO experience with. Might be asking lots of questions about them
here and in the sub forums devoted to those flavour hives. Oh, the empty hives are
a very nice cathedral and most of a smaller octagon.

Also now have plenty of old black comb for swarm traps next year, so I can run out of equipment even faster.

Still TF! MMK thermal 'back up' still unused. Still just an aspiring Idiot.
Sure felt like professional Idiot yesterday, had the sweating part down pat.
 

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HAHA! Had a laugh at myself, I was thinking TF that he put in, "Still Thank Full"! :lpf:
 

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Looking forward to hearing how the cathedral hive works out for you. Being TF the first year is the easy part. Staying TF and still having bees is a little harder. I understand you are starting off with really good stock.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #5
Hi William,
Since you are "still TF", I'd like to hear your story!
Much of the early stuff is over in Tpope's thread and a lot of the rest is off topic here (hive stand, electric fence...) JWPalmer hits on two key points in that I started with good stock and the first year is easy.

Two mistakes I made were not recognizing queen cups at the two week inspection. Knew there were not any 'peanuts', but after the hive swarmed on day 27 went back and spotted the cups in the pictures. Caught the swarm BTW and it is now the strongest of the three.

Second was while making my first split. Have read countless times to give splits extra nurse bees. Since I was moving a mostly drawn medium from the hive that swarmed to the new hive with the swarm (thinking it could make immediate use verses the hive raising a queen) I shook all ten frames of wax drawing bees into the nuc. Think you can guess the result. Nuc survived despite the very slow start and is almost equal in number of bees with the much larger original hive.

New chapter with my "Dunwoody" bees starts here so stay tuned.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #6
Looking forward to hearing how the cathedral hive works out for you. Being TF the first year is the easy part. Staying TF and still having bees is a little harder. I understand you are starting off with really good stock.
BTW was wrong about there being part of a seventh hive, just spare parts to the cathedral. Got a much better look at it this morning and it is fascinating design. A lot of work went into building it! Not real crazy about some of the materials chosen for the exterior. Plan to research bee safe wood preservatives that will maintain the natural look and get it all cleaned up and ready for next spring. The top bar by comparison is kind of 'meh' blue paint.

Not sure my new stock will as good as what I started with. Though they do all appear to be mixed mutts as well. Hope that diversity will help in the future in that they will not all have a bad year at the same time. Hope that makes sense? Getting late and I'm on ten hour days due to Covid.

What's up with the edited thread title? Understand the quibble with the apostrophe, had one myself then took it out. But adding a "The" at the start changes the whole context.
 

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......Not sure my new stock will as good as what I started with. .....
Old stock/new stock...

So, OK, did you go through 100% loss (yet)?

Mostly I care about survival rates and how they can be made reasonable while doing things chem-free.
People get shy to just honestly put up their #s - not helpful if we are to get better at it.
To be sure, am rebuilding from 100% loss this year; that's what I got.
Still TF.
:)
 

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William:

I am glad to see you started your own thread, and your TF experience in many ways mirrors my own.

I too 'inherited' some top-bar Warre equipment and have had a 'love-hate' relationship with it ever since. They do afford one the opportunity to learn more about what a colony would normally do when left to their own devices.

I also identify with your thread title. Fits me to a 't'... I'll look forward to your updates.

Russ
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #9
Old stock/new stock...

So, OK, did you go through 100% loss (yet)?

Mostly I care about survival rates and how they can be made reasonable while doing things chem-free.
People get shy to just honestly put up their #s - not helpful if we are to get better at it.
To be sure, am rebuilding from 100% loss this year; that's what I got.
Still TF.
:)
Old as in what came from Tpope, new is what I brought home Sunday. Can not fathom 100% loss with more than just a few hives. So sorry for you and plan to re-read your thread from the beginning. Think I have at least skimmed all the stickies in this sub forum.

Plan to be honest with my losses and hopefully with eight total hives it will be statistically meaningful. With only three it could be 100% either way just due to random chance.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #10
Wish the top bar was a long lang for compatibility. Do think I'm going to enjoy the cathedral most of all once I get it going. Well, at least until I get around to building an observation hive:)

Several of the hives I just bought have small windows in them. Know that will be fun as I already have one of the plastic 'bubble tops' and it is always a hit with visitors. Pull off the telescoping cover for a few minutes and watch the bees with no suit on.
 

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Trying to come up to speed in both the top bar and Warre world...
https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?363895-Feeding-a-top-bar-nuc&p=1824329#post1824329

One thing - I don't see an coherent strategy regarding the equipment.
Is this mish-mash of non-standard hives is actually by choice?
Because IF so, then I wonder what are logistics of cross-platform moves.
Hive-to-hive bee/frame moves should be trivial, bi-directional, and not require a circular saw. :)

I mean, I am non-standard myself, but I do have a fundamental standard - all frames must be 12.5" long.
StandardFrameLength.jpg
This standard makes cross-platform moves easy for me.
Not to mention my long hives are compatible to the Lang frames in two directions, not just one.

I too want to experiment with vertical hives, but those will be compatible to my long hives.
One exception - my hex swarm traps.
Those were free and so was a no-brainer to take and use them.
These are compatible to the rest of the equipment by simply screwing a longer top bar when moving a frame from the trap to a standard hive.

So I would suggest to make some decisions on this regard asap - else you are looking for more and more pain along the way.
If was doing TB hives, I'd be doing TTBHs with the bar compatible to the Langs (in fact, fully compatible to the Lang single deep frame - a no brainer there).

This cathedral hive (hopefully free or very cheap) - is nothing but a pain with no discernible benefits to it.
Search the forum on this subject for the opinions.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #12
It was a bargain any way you look at it. Owner is moving and was thrilled to sell all to one person who showed up (semi) prepared. 5 of the 6 have bees and that includes a Lang and Lang nuc.

True, the rest is a mish-mash of non standard 'toys'. Learning experience at the very least. Have already decided that if I ever build a long hive it will be a long Lang. And not planing on buying any of them odd ball hives new.

May borrow your 'two frames lashed together and turned sideways' idea when I start an OB hive. Have a bunch of free glass that is naturally the wrong size. Can cut glass but lack the skill to cut just a small amount off.

Will search for discussion of the cathedral here. A bit disappointed in what you are suggesting. To my inexperienced with bees eyes it looks no more (or less) useless than the other non standard toys.

As to your reply in the other thread. Yes, I did not search:( Did browse 10 years worth of subject lines and found nothing more useful than the bag feeder. Dead links to pictures of home made stuff and one reference to a purchase at Brushy Mountain. Can I borrow your time machine:)
 

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Speaking of the Cathedral hive, here is one recent talk:
https://www.beesource.com/forums/sh...hive-Year-2-Modified&highlight=cathedral+hive

But I agree - if you got it for (nearly) free, then anything goes at that price (with the understanding of issues).
It is just people pay eye-popping amounts of money for some over-promised, non-existent features.

I too have hex hives (because I got them free) - these are for swarm trapping and experimentation.
Log hives too - the same (experimentation).

Anyhow, toys are toys.
As long as you are aware of the compatibility issues and, in fact, breaking away from compatibility by design and for your own reasons - then you are the boss and you know what you want.
 

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....... Can I borrow your time machine:)
In fact, I have found that using Google to do the beesource search is a better approach.
This is what I have been doing (the beesource search itself is, eh... janky; I avoid it).

Google: "top bar feed beesource" and you will have very good results.
 

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While I have heard of treatment free, I had not put it together with the acronym TF. Honestly upon first reading this thread I thought the "T" stood for "Totally" and the "F" well you can take a guess. It is an interesting shift in perspective.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #17
While I have heard of treatment free, I had not put it together with the acronym TF. Honestly upon first reading this thread I thought the "T" stood for "Totally" and the "F" well you can take a guess. It is an interesting shift in perspective.
That alternate meaning is often true for those who try treatment free with commercial stock. Starting with a nuc from TPope I hope to remain in the "Mostly" category. But agree there are too many acronyms used here. Likely would have spelled it out elsewhere.

Now to follow the links GregV posted...
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #18
Why; doing "top bar feed" returns many useful links.
Here some of them.

https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?358151-Top-Bar-Feeding&highlight=top+bar+feed
Bingo! "bottle feeders with long ports" AKA Duckbill Water Bowl and various other names. Under a buck apiece in quantities of 13 on Amazon. Have not seen them at any of the bee vendors, even ones that sell the much wider Boardman feeders. For future nucs can make a tiny rectangular hole in the back so it will not be in the entrance. This one will have to take its chances...
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #19
Bingo! "bottle feeders with long ports" AKA Duckbill Water Bowl and various other names. Under a buck apiece in quantities of 13 on Amazon.
Scratch Amazon if your in a hurry. Slow boat from China, estimated arrival late September:eek: Slightly higher but ordered from, oddly enough, an organic seed company here in the US. Not going to link an untested source.
 

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Mutts.
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Discussion Starter #20
Update: Sad to report my first loss. Original TPope hive that swarmed, had a split taken from it the next day and later cast at least one small after swarm is now a dead out. Both the split and caught swarm from it are still doing fine. Did an inspection back on June 11th when I noticed it dwindling and there was still at least some brood. Early on would have bet the split would be least likely to make it, but they evicted their drones sooner and had a much smaller space to maintain. Too much space, too many drones for the number of bees. And possibly a poorly mated queen.

So now down to seven, five are being fed at the moment. Still have not received my duck bill feeders for the top bar nuc. Working on cobbling up a feeder for the Warre. Both have some stores so are not starving. Did not plan to feed as much as I have this past week but trying to keep them out of the neighbours humming bird feeders. This has worked for the co-worker who lives on the highway behind us, but not so far for the much closer feeder at the in laws.

The lang nuc from the recent Dunwoody bees is now in a six frame box (10 frame with foam spacers) and on a screened bottom board with oiled inspection board. Have found *zero* mites since last Sunday! It is supposed to have a VSH queen so this is very encouraging. Lots of SHB in the rotten base of the nuc they were in though. Rotted parts went straight in the burn barrel:D Later did the same with the guts of the quilt box off the Warre. Will rebuild it later as a quilt box after its temporary use as a feeder shim,

Need to get the new lang hive on a screened BB for comparison since it is from a caught swarm.
 
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