Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

101 - 120 of 121 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Once again, the idea is that it's healthy for the bees to swarm.
Kathleen: Thank you for your update. It is encouraging to hear that your apiary is doing so well. Congratulations. I echo Gray Goose's sentiment that I make no judgment as to how you choose to manage your bees. I too have been considering cavity size as it relates to long-term success. One aspect of this that was insightful to me was to watch the two-part "Honey Bees in the Wild" presentation given by Patterson and Seeley that GregV recently posted. What I took from this is that Seeley in particular believes that swarming is a necessary component to successful TF operations. What seems less established is what role does cavity size itself play in this equation, assuming swarming is the reason for the small cavity? I think Gray Goose makes an astute observation when he concludes that there is a fairly clear-cut means by way of volume limitation to force swarming, but is there a clear-cut means by way of volume alone to prevent swarming?

Meaning, keeping colonies in small cavities will certainly incite swarming, but keeping colonies in big cavities (in-and-of-itself) will not prevent swarming.

So, I wonder if part of the discussion might include striking a balance whereby colonies are allowed to swarm naturally, but are maintained in sufficient volumes which allow for adequate natural winter stores and a modest surplus for the beekeeper, with the swarming 'penalty' built-in?

I am still thinking through the implications of all this, but just wanted to toss out the observation that I think the whole big volume = bad / small volume = good paradigm is a bit oversimplified, at least as it relates to swarm issuance (or lack thereof).

I appreciate your updates, and I do hope you will continue to keep us posted.

Russ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
..... I think the whole big volume = bad / small volume = good paradigm is a bit oversimplified,.......

Russ
+1

Somehow the simple assumption is made as if the only way:
* small volume --> swarming --> pest population control

This is true in 100% natural, human-absent setting.
Also true in most primitive ways of beekeeping (log hives/bee trees/skeps).

But we have more options and yet can achieve similar results:
* desired volume --> artificial swarming --> pest population control

PS: I already made comments earlier about assumption as-if the long distance between the hives is only way to prevent horizontal transmission.

Basically,Tom S. states that:
* vertical pest transmission is OK and done via swarming only (agree, but NOT about swarming being the only option; strategic artificial swarming works too)
* horizontal pest transmission is NOT OK and the hives must be separated by a distance to mitigate it (agree, but NOT about the distance being the only option; distinct hive placement works too)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
Kathleen:

I do apologize for appearing a critic.
I am more into criticizing the so called "qualified content providers" because they supposedly know something and teach others.
Well...
There is much to be said of that - that's what I am doing.

Yes - do share.
We are here to learn from each other so we all (the TF crowd) succeed in the end (maybe even convince the others).

I share all the time; too much even.
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter #104 (Edited)
Fascinating discussion with equally fascinating insights and opines...Applause to all participants!!

I've not been too active around here despite my deep interest in Seeley's methods, particularly Darwinian beekeeping as a means to keep bees alive and hopefully thriving.

Our summers are short and our winters are long in Northern WI, so our summer days are mostly filled with the many outside farm activities accumulated over the winter, lots of time scratching things off the never ending list B4 snow fly (but days are getting shorter).

I've noticed that some of you contributors to the discussion continue to use 'top' (and bottom) entrances as I have too, while we're experimenting with Seeley's methods and I was wondering if any of those who do still use top entrances have ever experienced a Queens return to the top entrance 'above' the queen excluder, after mating, and (at least twice in my case) resulting in a 'two queen' colony separated only by the still in place excluder, and one or 2 honey supers. This has happened to us twice until we began following Seeley's advise and started blocking the top entrance once we knew the colony had swarmed, forcing the returning queen to only use the bottom, below the excluder.

Both times this occurred we were able to split them before any fighting or robbing took place, lucky heh? In both cases we were pulling honey supers, not even looking for brood, but there it was just the same:)

Anyhow I was just wondering whether anyone else still using both top and bottom entrances and is experimenting with these ideas has had similar experience and how they dealt with it.

Thanks again for continuing this discussion. I'll try to add more as winter closes in. I personally believe keeping bees using these methods will only benefit bees, along with our understanding of them in the long run.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
I've noticed that some of you contributors to the discussion continue to use 'top' (and bottom) entrances as I have too, while we're experimenting with Seeley's methods and I was wondering if any of those who do still use top entrances have ever experienced a Queens return to the top entrance 'above' the queen excluder, after mating, and (at least twice in my case) resulting in a 'two queen' colony separated only by the still in place excluder, and one or 2 honey supers. This has happened to us twice until we began following Seeley's advise and started blocking the top entrance once we knew the colony had swarmed, forcing the returning queen to only use the bottom, below the excluder.
Drummerboy:

Glad to read your post- and while our summers down here in Kentucky are no doubt longer than yours, we still deal with the problem of more work than hours in the day (or days in the season) so I understand your need to make that proverbial hay while the sun is shining.

While my beekeeping experience is limited (so please discount my observations accordingly), I observed a very similar situation in an overwintered colony with both top and bottom entrances a few weeks ago. Specifically, it is a stack of 8 eight-frame medium boxes and there was brood in the bottom three boxes, two boxes of solid nectar and then the three top boxes had brood in them as well. I decided to leave it alone to see what happens. I should also point out that this stack does not have a queen excluder.

Currently, they are hauling in nectar and pollen frenetically like the early days of spring (we have an oddly-timed flow going on here locally) to an extent that I would not be at all surprised if they swarm in the next few weeks.

The funny thing is that they started using the upper entrance in the Winter and have never really gone back to using the bottom entrance. I see guard bees and fanners at the lower entrance, but very little in terms of returning foragers.

Given that you have now had this occur multiple times, do you conclude that having two entrances is the primary contributor to this issue manifesting itself?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,759 Posts
Fascinating discussion with equally fascinating insights and opines...Applause to all participants!!

I've not been too active around here despite my deep interest in Seeley's methods, particularly Darwinian beekeeping as a means to keep bees alive and hopefully thriving.

Our summers are short and our winters are long in Northern WI, so our summer days are mostly filled with the many outside farm activities accumulated over the winter, lots of time scratching things off the never ending list B4 snow fly (but days are getting shorter).

I've noticed that some of you contributors to the discussion continue to use 'top' (and bottom) entrances as I have too, while we're experimenting with Seeley's methods and I was wondering if any of those who do still use top entrances have ever experienced a Queens return to the top entrance 'above' the queen excluder, after mating, and (at least twice in my case) resulting in a 'two queen' colony separated only by the still in place excluder, and one or 2 honey supers. This has happened to us twice until we began following Seeley's advise and started blocking the top entrance once we knew the colony had swarmed, forcing the returning queen to only use the bottom, below the excluder.

Both times this occurred we were able to split them before any fighting or robbing took place, lucky heh? In both cases we were pulling honey supers, not even looking for brood, but there it was just the same:)

Anyhow I was just wondering whether anyone else still using both top and bottom entrances and is experimenting with these ideas has had similar experience and how they dealt with it.

Thanks again for continuing this discussion. I'll try to add more as winter closes in. I personally believe keeping bees using these methods will only benefit bees, along with our understanding of them in the long run.
yes i have had queens in the top, i assumed the hive superseded, and a queen returned in the top. There was brood also in the bottom. I removed the excluder, placed all the partial filled frames back and trapped out the full honey frame after a shake of 75% of the bees, i was looking for queen and or brood. Not sure if both queens survived, it was a strong hive as you can understand. I now lean toward unlimited brood nest (no excluder) and the first 2 supers are brood sized cells. once the top box is full add the drone cell sized supers, or smile and call it a "breeder" hive
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
......
Anyhow I was just wondering whether anyone else still using both top and bottom entrances and is experimenting with these ideas has had similar experience and how they dealt with it.
.
I use all entrances (top, bottom, in between) in the hybrid hives.
No excluders.
This problem is not familiar to me then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter #108
Drummerboy:

Glad to read your post- and while our summers down here in Kentucky are no doubt longer than yours, we still deal with the problem of more work than hours in the day (or days in the season) so I understand your need to make that proverbial hay while the sun is shining.

While my beekeeping experience is limited (so please discount my observations accordingly), I observed a very similar situation in an overwintered colony with both top and bottom entrances a few weeks ago. Specifically, it is a stack of 8 eight-frame medium boxes and there was brood in the bottom three boxes, two boxes of solid nectar and then the three top boxes had brood in them as well. I decided to leave it alone to see what happens. I should also point out that this stack does not have a queen excluder.

Currently, they are hauling in nectar and pollen frenetically like the early days of spring (we have an oddly-timed flow going on here locally) to an extent that I would not be at all surprised if they swarm in the next few weeks.

The funny thing is that they started using the upper entrance in the Winter and have never really gone back to using the bottom entrance. I see guard bees and fanners at the lower entrance, but very little in terms of returning foragers.

Given that you have now had this occur multiple times, do you conclude that having two entrances is the primary contributor to this issue manifesting itself?
Since this has only occurred twice I cannot make any absolute conclusions but I am leaning toward the '2 entrances' as a possible cause (I' ain't complaining;), just wondering) I believe that even without the excluder in place the same may have occurred based on the filled honey supers keeping the 2 queens apart, much like you described.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter #109
yes i have had queens in the top, i assumed the hive superseded, and a queen returned in the top. There was brood also in the bottom. I removed the excluder, placed all the partial filled frames back and trapped out the full honey frame after a shake of 75% of the bees, i was looking for queen and or brood. Not sure if both queens survived, it was a strong hive as you can understand. I now lean toward unlimited brood nest (no excluder) and the first 2 supers are brood sized cells. once the top box is full add the drone cell sized supers, or smile and call it a "breeder" hive

Yes, our experience is similar. We also used to run 'unlimited' brood nests....until we discovered Seeley's Darwinian Beekeeping, which brought about this particular issue.....not necessarily a bad thing, just something to watch for if using 2 entrances with an excluder...or perhaps its not the excluder???, its the honey. Although we never had the same experience before when running wide open, non-restrictive colonies.

Only the bees know and I'm good with that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,759 Posts
Hi Drummerboy, GregV stated he does not use excluders, I have only seen it with an excluder on.

Hence IMO the excluder "allows" this to "sometimes" happen. I do have 5/8 or 3/4 inch holes in a lot of my supers, for air flow , however.
GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter #112
Hi Drummerboy, GregV stated he does not use excluders, I have only seen it with an excluder on.

Hence IMO the excluder "allows" this to "sometimes" happen. I do have 5/8 or 3/4 inch holes in a lot of my supers, for air flow , however.
GG
Yep, same experience. I've had excluders around here for several years but never used them until I began using Seeley's methods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
One reason I don't use excluders - with the tall frames the queen is supposed to just stay in the first tier and never go up.
Well, that my be true for the folks with strictly bottom-only entrances.

I now know this is NOT true for me.
My queens laid up into the first super above the main brood chamber - not a problem.
Bad or good - what it is.
I think availability of the upper entrances allows the queen to go everywhere she pleases to go (plenty of air - everywhere).
I have no idea how the nests are organized in my hybrids at the moments (been 1-2 months since I ever looked down inside).

My hybrids look like this at the moment (deep brood chamber of the 3 fused boxes with asymmetric entrances; 2 Lang supers stacked on the top for honey).
20190626_201158.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,759 Posts
One reason I don't use excluders - with the tall frames the queen is supposed to just stay in the first tier and never go up.
Well, that my be true for the folks with strictly bottom-only entrances.

I now know this is NOT true for me.
My queens laid up into the first super above the main brood chamber - not a problem.
Bad or good - what it is.
I think availability of the upper entrances allows the queen to go everywhere she pleases to go (plenty of air - everywhere).
I have no idea how the nests are organized in my hybrids at the moments (been 1-2 months since I ever looked down inside).

My hybrids look like this at the moment (deep brood chamber of the 3 fused boxes with asymmetric entrances; 2 Lang supers stacked on the top for honey).
View attachment 50737
Hi Greg, IMO and from what I have read, the bees place the brood, close to the Air source, (somewhat move toward the air in the spring and away in the fall, with max air needed mid summer) this would make sense with the bottom entrance model. As you add entrances ,you change the dynamics a bit. For an experiment try to use low entrance until the first super is filled, then when adding the second super open the second super air hole so there is a honey barrier. if you keep sequentially, opening a hole higher, you have the chance of the queen moving up to the new air source. Unless it really does not matter. I played with this a bit in the 80's with 2 queen hives they each "need" an air hole to pull it off the best. If I ever do the 2 queen again it would be in a side by side setup, 8 to 10 foot stacks of langs are a pain to work, late season. try playing with a full deep on a ladder.
GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Hi Greg, IMO and from what I have read, the bees place the brood, close to the Air source, (somewhat move toward the air in the spring and away in the fall, with max air needed mid summer) this would make sense with the bottom entrance model. As you add entrances ,you change the dynamics a bit.
Interesting, GG. I did not know this, so I appreciate you outlining the principle.

Russ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
Right; I know about "the queens sticking close to the entrance".
Pretty much no one is doing what I am trying to do - hence different outcomes are always a possibility.
Shorter frame should allow for smaller increments (and more control over where I want the honey stores placed for wintering).
This is how I now dislike the long Lang frames (they are not fitting into the square-tall structure I would like to construct for the wintering - inside the hybrid hive).

Most of the advice given around is always attached to some context.
My own context is different that way.
So when the tall frame keeps swear the queen will only stay on the tall frames - they neglect to mention their own entrance configurations (assuming everyone is doing the same).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Time to reawaken the thread? How are the Darwinians doing? I don't mind swarming. It costs honey but if I am too far behind I can't complain of they go.... I do overwinter many smaller colonies, like the equivalent of 8 deep langs, there are always a few on 5 deeps. This is not for Darwinian purposes but just because I think many smaller units works better and gives more potential. Each year I have some 5s that do not require any feeding and just boom when the weather is right. For my upstate NY location we need 5/8 honey, some pollen and about 1.5-2 empty frames for cluster space. That's about 30-50# honey per colony going in to winter. They boom in the spring. The ones I keep ahead of are productive, the ones that swarm are Darwinian! 🙂
Happy beekeeping every one. Spring is here ... Ish...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,873 Posts
I am not a Darwinian, but have been checking it out. Just watched Tom Seeley's talk on it on youtube. Awfully quiet over here in the TF forums. Where is everyone? J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
Social benefits require a community: the influence of colony size on behavioral immunity in honey bees

Abstract
Emergent properties of eusocial insect colonies (e.g., nest architecture and defense) highlight benefits of group living. Such emergent properties, however, may only function as a benefit if the group is large enough. We tested the effect of group size on colony-level fever in honey bees. When a colony is infected with Ascosphaera apis, a heat-sensitive brood pathogen, adult bees raise the temperature to kill the pathogen and keep brood disease free. In relatively large colonies, we show a rhythm to honey bee fever: colonies inoculated with A. apis generated a fever in the afternoon and at night but not in the morning. In comparison, relatively small colonies did not generate a fever following inoculation, although they invested more in thermoregulation on a “per bee” basis than control colonies. Thus, in small colonies, honey bee fever could be regarded as a cost of group living: individuals futilely exerted valuable energy towards fighting a pathogen.

Bonoan, R.E., Iglesias Feliciano, P.M., Chang, J. et al. Social benefits require a community: the influence of colony size on behavioral immunity in honey bees. Apidologie (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-020-00754-5

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13592-020-00754-5#Sec8
 
101 - 120 of 121 Posts
Top