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Discussion Starter #1
I inspected both hive yesterday it was in high 60's here in North alabama.
There were a good amount of bees in the supers and very little in the actual
brood box. I saw no signs of brood in what little of the frames i took out.
I pulled out ine super that was so cross combed that it ripped the next one
too it all to pieces. I stopped there and replaced it hoping to not have
killed the queen. i did notice in the brood box of one hive a lot of
supercedure cells that maybe were started and then abandoned or not finished.
A hefty amount of shb but no signs of wax moth or other diseases. I feel
certian that there was at least a queen when I started because they were
crowded around the landing fanning like crazy while I had the hive apart.
What I guess I want to know is where do I go from here. I want to swap them
over to HSC but not kill them in the process. I believe the worst of the
cold here is gone but no garuantee. I have been feeding pollenn patties and
Fondant due to the fact that I found this site after I had robbed them
blind.I was told they would be ok if I did this but I am certian that they
would have died. I will not be using anything in my hives soft or hard. I
will stop feeding for all future generations but could not lose the only 2
hives that I have. Do I reverse boxes at this time even if the bottom box
would end up being a super?(good reason to go with all one size). Do I just
wait untill they start new brood? Do I place new boxes on the top of the
super(s)? Do I put the HSC above or below all HSC or alternating? WOW I am a huge pain in everyones butt.
Thanks for any and all help. You are all great!
William Richardson
 

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You need to make sure you have a queen, I would think. Look again in a week or so checking for eggs or brood. If they have been queenless for any length of time they may not be able to make there own now. I would go from there depending on what you find. Do something with the beetles. If no queen get one now from any where you can and then requeen later on in the year with a more desirable queen if you want. Does that sound about right guys?
 

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Sounds like to need to really go thru them, and figure out if they are queen right, I'm pretty sure there shold be some brood by now ni your neck of the woods. You may want to make/buy some beatle traps. If you do have a queenless hive, the next question is are drones flying, if so you should be able to take some eggs from the hive that has them and give it to the hive that doesn't. However if they have been queenless for too long you may have laying workers, then things are much harder to fix. Good luck and let us know what you find when you can really go thru them.
Brac
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have one question. Do I get into the supers where all the bees are residing and do as little damage cause of cross comb or just wait untill it gets alittle warmer and then check agian. It is supposed to get down in the upper 20's agian sometime this week here.
Does anyone know of a seller that is selling untreated small cell(natural cell) Queens close to Alabama?
 

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....untreated small cell(natural cell) Queens .......

Do you see the irony in this "natural" approach and dumping frames of plastic (HSC) on them? Be cautious who you learn from.

dickm
 

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First, take a long kitchen knife out with you to use to cut through the burr comb between your frames. This will keep them from "ripping" each other apart. Also, you won't be crushing your bees by doing this. Start with the outside frame and remove them one at a time. Inspect them for brood and the queen before setting them aside and going to the next one. Once you finish, take each frame, shake the bees into the brood box and cut the burr comb off. If there are no brood in the super then shake all the bees into the brood box and keep the super off till they start filling out the brood box.

Also, I am no expert on SHB, but I think feeding a pollen pattie just gets them fat. I also don't understand what you mean when you say you will "stop feeding" all future generations. Here is a little hint. If bees are in a darth or where there isn't enough food they will move the hive to better areas. If you place a hive in an area that cannot provide for the hive and expect them to stay put then expect them to die if you don't feed. You can't breed starvation traits into you bees. Certain types will use less, but they will all die if there is no food. :rolleyes:

Good luck.
 

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If you decide you want to use the HSC, I'd say put that box on top, & let them move up into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just trying to raise strong stock. I am only helping them out right now because I took most of there honey stores when I first got them on someones advise. I want my bees to be strong and healthy with very little help from me. I believe that the bees have been done wrong with all the chemicals and up sizing that we should give them every opportunity to just be bees agian. I believe that my area has more than enough food and water for the amount of bees that I intend on having. If they make it with no help from me or dont then they are doing what nature intends for them to do.

As for the HSC I am only using this to regress my bees in a faster way and totally intend on going foundationless there after.
 

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Well, I don't think nature intended for them to be kept in a Longstroth hive with removable frames. If you are going to let nature take it's course then take all your bees this spring and shake them into a pile at the edge of the forest and burn all that nasty man made hive equipment. They will find a home in the woods..."as nature intended" or die. :rolleyes:
 

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"...I want my bees to be strong and healthy with very little help from me. I believe that..."
my advice is do whatever it takes (treatment wise) to keep them alive. learn to keep bees, then try the "natural" route. times have changed from keeping them in gums and robbing them out once a year. good luck,mike
 

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Yeah Yeah I see where you are coming from and you are right. But, surely you must understand what I am at least trying to say even if I use the wrong wording or terminolgy. I just want to be as close to natural as I can be while keeping bees for my and others benefit. I know that what we are doing is not natural to the way nature,i.e GOD, designed it but we as keepers of the bees should, in my opinion, do what ever we can to mimick the natural design of things. I am specifically talking about natural cell size and no chemicals of any kind. Before anyone say it, no I am not living what I am preaching but I do have a plan to get there in the shortest amount of time possible at the expense of a honey crop for this year and maybe even the next 2.
Thanks to everyone for there advise and Alpha6 I will do the kitchen knive thing as soon as it gets warm agian.Probably a week or so though.

I respect everyone's opinion here and elsewhere about keeping bees and my personal opion is worth exactly what you paid for it.
 

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I think there are at least two ways to look at the discussion of "natural" in terms of beekeeping.

Of course the first and most obvious is 'natural' conditions ie... bees living in a hive of their own making/choosing, not forced or selected for them by people.

In a non-people populated area, honey bees will indeed choose trees and cavities in which to build their nest.

When bees are in an urban area, they will 'naturally' select any cavity that provides a similar environment to that which they would seek out in a rural or wooded area. All on their own. That means that honey have, can and will 'naturally' select to live in a wall or a roof or a parked vehicle, etc... as they have been found countless times.

The other 'natural' is the discussion of natural behavior. meaning, allowing bees to do as bees would and make the choices they would 'naturally' make even though living in a hive that is man made and man chosen for them.

when people place bees in one of our hives, we have made some of the decisions that the bees would naturally make on their own, such as where to build a nest.

We also impose upon them our terms of hive management when we go to inspect, as most states have laws requiring haves that are inspectable.

Beyond that, which is quite enough in some people's thinking, the idea to allow bees to live 'naturally' as possible, or make those decisions according to their own determination as much as possible outside of the inspections, management and harvesting we impose on them, is a good thing.

Yes, we 'force' bees to make their comb on removable, inspect-able frames, again, most state laws require that. However, allowing the bees to make their own comb and determine cell sizes and usage on their own is an act of 'natural' bee decision making.

The list and the discussion can go on and on about what things bees do in a man made hive that are 'natural' or left to the determination of the bees.

A least, in my opinion anyway.

Big Bear
 

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I agree with BBO, there are so many ways to do it. Some will alwys say its not natural or whatever if they are in a hive, but when they go into a tree, people exterminate them....so how do you win? All I can say is be the best husband to them that you can be, in your own way. I choose not to introduce chems to mine, and if i lose them because of it, then who's in the wrong? Is it me? I don't think so, as everyone else has said, we are after survivor stock if possible. Eventually my son got immune to the drugs they kept giving him for ear infections......do we not expect the same for the pests that plague our little women? Again, we all have our opinions, and we are all entitled to them. DOn't let anyone, including me, tell you how to do it. Do it as you see fit. Take the advice with a grain of salt and learn as you can, and if you lose some bees, learn from that too. i plan on it.
 

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"I will not be using anything in my hives soft or hard."
"....but could not lose the only 2
hives that I have." >> New Beek.

You mean,.not even a powdered sugar dusting,.. or two?

You may be underestimating the ability of Varroa destructor to decimate a colony of bees; even in the first year. They don't call it,.. "destructor' for nothing!

It is admirable that some 'new beeks' want to go chemicals free, but for those just starting out with one or two colonies and no [or little] experience,...?? I have heard and seen it locally, as well as on Beesource, that some "new beekeepers" are losing hives,. right and left.

Those beekeepers that "claim" to be chemical free, have probably been doing it for many years already and have queens and bees for their particular environement that are resistant :rolleyes:.

I tried it and lost all four colonies to mites, DWV. It ain't easy to just buy packages again, or have 20 colonies and "breed" from your "survivors".
 

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I would say that powdered sugar, while not al natureal' so to speak, would/could be done by a beek that doesnt want to treat. I see both sides, thats for sure. Good point Oldbee, it just goes to show that in the overall scheme of theings, you ultimetly have to make that decision for yourself. I woud do a sugar dusting.....if need be!
 

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"...in the overall scheme of theings, you ultimetly have to make that decision for yourself." --devdog108.

Right ON!,, Amen.
 

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Hey Will:

I'm a new Beek, learning and new on here too, in Anniston. I have a mentor in Gadsden (close to you as well) teaching me, helping me get started; he doesn't use chemicals. He is very helpful to all. He knows where to get queens around here.

If you'd like to talk to him, let me know & I will PM you with the information.

Chris
 

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Oldbee, you make some very good points. And some folks do make claims that are perhaps more grounded in hope than reality.

I had been out of beekeeping almost 20 years when I restarted... and went whole-hog, cold turkey, treatment free. BUT, my belief is that is depends on the bees. To be successfully treatment free, one simply must start with resistant bees... bees that were not treated and have not been treated at the breeders. Then I don't think level of experience makes much difference. It's all in the pedigree of the bees. We all start somewhere, and usually learn some difficult lessons along the way.

Isn't it cheaper to make costly mistakes with one or two hives, than with 10 or more? Personally, I'd rather lose all my hives when I have two, than when I have 10. But I really don't want to lose any. It hurts. Just some thoughts...
Regards,
Steven
 

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All I can say is be the best husband to them that you can be, in your own way. I choose not to introduce chems to mine, and if i lose them because of it, then who's in the wrong? Is it me? I don't think so, as everyone else has said, we are after survivor stock if possible. Eventually my son got immune to the drugs they kept giving him for ear infections......do we not expect the same for the pests that plague our little women?
Devdog you have sort of stuffed up your own argument by saying your bees can die because you want survivor stock and wont treat with chemicals and then turn around and say " eventually my son got immune to the drugs they kept giving him for ear infections" If you followed your own argument you wouldn't have treated your son for his ear infections you would have left it for his own natural defences to overcome the infection just like you expect your bees to do.
Why is it ok to let bees die when you can save them? if you did the same to a dog or cat would that be ok? and if that's not ok why? whats the difference?
I dunno it makes no sense to me ,
I couldn't stand back and watch my bees die a slow death like that.
kiwi
 
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