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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was invited to Laughlands, St. Ann, Jamaica to teach current beekeeping practices and queen rearing. Laughland is centered on the North coast. http://www.fallingrain.com/world/JM/09/Laughlands.html
William Masterton met me at the Montego Bay airport for the drive to the farm. Wednesday, the next day, was the first day of training. William and Tom Hall were eager and ready to learn.
Most of Williams hives are a few feet from the farmhouse.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/FarmhouseApiary3.JPG
They have hives near the shore.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/SeasideHives.JPG
http://americasbeekeeper.org/CheckingSeasideHives3.JPG
These two hives were feral colonies the beginning of October.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/CheckingSeasideHives7.JPG
It rained Wednesday but we had work to do. The bees were not happy after being opened twice in the rain and twice the next two days. By Friday most of the hives were quite defensive. William and Tom set up a starter hive. We pulled two frames of brood for grafting larvae.
Tom practiced grafting a cell bar.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/TomGrafting.JPG
William grafting under the watchful eye of Tom.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/WilliamGrafting.JPG
Patrick joined the training Thursday. We are getting Patrick a frame to practice grafting.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/GraftingFramesPatrick2.JPG
Tony and Rose Marie Allen joined the training Friday.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/TonyRoseMarie2.JPG
I pulled a frame of brood for Tony and Rose Marie.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/FrameforTonyRoseMarie.JPG
We added the Allen's frame to the cell frame under Patrick's and put them back in the finisher hive.
http://americasbeekeeper.org/TRMbaronBottom.JPG
We did queen rearing in the morning and FABIS in the evening. There is plenty of further opportunity to return and continue teaching.
 

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Is that an ultrabreeze suit on the right in the last photo?

Interesting Am., thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
William and Tom use UltraBreeze suits. Cotton suits or jackets are too hot. Some of their hives are hot too so they need a full suit. Tom and William went to heavy rubber gloves since the bees were attacking and getting a few through leather gloves. I was not using gloves on Wednesday or Thursday. By Friday I had my leather gloves on. I had several pictures that bees were on the camera lens.
 

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Why don't you reduce the size of the photos so they load faster?
 

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Good Photos thanks for sharing!

I see SHB traps do they have huge issues with them?
Do they have issues with entrance feeding?

Did you learn anything new?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Small hive beetles are a huge problem in Jamaica. The hive is overrun and absconds whenever a third super is added.
Entrance feeding is a problem everywhere. I suggested they move to feeder covers.
I learned what generations of "walk away splits" do to foster increased instinctual swarming and piss poor queens.
The growing season is nearly year round. It is always year round in urban environments where it does not snow. The peak flow is in March.
odfrank, I will compose a proper page when I get time.
If you PM I will tell you what challenges they face with the Jamaican Apiary staff. I was always told "if you do not have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" So I did not share the real obstacles they face.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In the United States we have tried plenty of genetic mixes and almost every management practice. In Jamaica they are isolated with the same genetics and practices with every swarm prevention known -- with repeated results like clockwork. How can a queen raised on daily diminishing resources, food and nurse bees, be acceptable? Natural beekeeping is swarm queens and supercedure. The swarm queen is raised on a surplus of food and bees. Supercedure queens are laid by a failing mother with depleted food and bees. Emergency queens and split queens are unnatural and can never be as healthy. Jamaicans have only used split queens for as long as they know. It was so disturbing to see what they have done to bees on the island. To say something is or is not when several variables are dynamic is ludicrous. I really feel sorry for inexperienced beekeepers that fall into the trap with crap they read on the Internet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just received an update from William,
Tom and Patrick went into the girls today. I couldn't go down as my father-in-law died on Monday and I am busy helping organise a funeral. Tom says we produced 25 queens. We requeened all the miserable hives and made up annother 18 matingTnucs. Put patties and sugar into and on all of them. (Very little honey and pollen to go around.) Tom thinks the queens were a little young but next time we will just add an extra day in the finisher. Thinks we might have damaged a few with the heavy gloves as well! Patrick excelled at queen spotting to kill the miserable girls! What we really need now is a formulae for making up the patties. I'll let yu know how many actually take! Happy Christmas.
William
 

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Sorry for your lose.

Can better queens legally be brought in to the country?

Is the first step to graft new queen for every hive?

Based on the quality you get for these queens do you then consider new genetics?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jamaica has import restrictions worse than the U.S. They cannot bring in new better genetics.
Replacing all their queens was their idea. It makes some sense in their restricted environment since they are the first queens with full nourishment from day one and the beginning of changing a behavior that seems to stimulate swarming as soon as the hive is strong enough to store honey.
It was William's father-in-law that died.
 

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Having made several medical mission trips into St. Mary's Parish, I can vouch for the restrictions and the hassles. You definitely need a local to open the doors and work the system. I tried to wrangle some contacts with beekeepers, but the most of the people we worked with had no interest in the bees and knew no beekeepers.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
William, Tom and Patrick wear heavy rubber gloves so they cannot be gentle with new cells.
Latest update from William --
Hi Gary,
Happy New Year.! We went into the hives for the first time since the capped cells were placed. We re queened 6 hives and made 18 three framed mating nucs. We grafted 34 larvae, of these 25 were properly capped. We opened one to see what it looked like . (it was great!).
The remaining 24 results are interesting.
1/ None of the hives accepted the queen cells. (0 for 6) 2/ 1 queen found her way across and killed her neighbor! We found that the divider wasn't set properly!!
3/ 3 of the 3 frame mating nucs were flooded by rain and died out leaving a mass of dead bees in the bottom, however not before all feed was
consumed!. Blue mold was evident within the chamber and on the frames.The queen cell was opened.
4/ 5 of the 3 framed nucs were completely empty. No bees, no feed, no brood, no nothing evident. Queen cell was open.
5/ I of the 3 framed nucs was as above but only the queen alone was in the chamber. (She was a nice size.)

So we have 8 going new hives. The queens are larger than the ones we replaced. One of the replaced queens from the naughty hives was not much larger than a drone! Tom, Patrick and myself going to graft again this weekend.

Some lessons learned.
A/ Need to redesign 3 frame boxes to ventilate better and allow water to drain. I think I'll just build independent 5 frame nucs and use them instead of
converting full frame boxes. I'll screen the bottoms as well for better ventilation and drainage.
B/ Leave hives queenless for at least a day before introducing queen cells. (We only allowed about 2 hrs before putting in queen cell and I am assuming that this is why they were rejected but I may be wrong.)

C/ I am at a complete loss as to why the 5 were completely empty.
Could they have swarmed? Or could it be that there was not enough capped brood to sustain the whole process?

Thoughts welcome!
See you in March.
Regards,
William
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UPDATE -- William was at the latest Florida Bee College last week in St. Augustine. The Jamaican group has raised three sets of queens now. They are not absconding/swarming as much and are not as defensive (Africanized) as the original bees. They sourced one day old larva from a calmer hive on the island.
Goals achieved -- calmer bees, able to pass the threshold of more hives without absconding/swarming
 
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