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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

The hardest thing I did was burn 2 colonies that had AFB. I diagnosed it myself but had the state apiary inspector come out and verify that it was AFB. I only had 5 colonies at the time. The two I burned were the best with the most honey on them. That was in 1976 when I was 16 years old. Lesson learned: don't accept a gift of old combs from a friendly beekeeper who prophylactically treated his bees twice a year with tetracycline.

Will be interesting to see the test results.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

...the 'new normal' will be determined by whatever success or lack thereof i have at propagating the survivors and obtaining resistant stock via swarms caught from the nearby woods.
Thank you for the response, Squarepeg. I am sincerely hoping that this coming year exceeds your expectation, and I will be watching your efforts with great interest.

Thanks again for your reply, and have a great week.

Russ
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

it is interesting to note that the strongest of the colonies at present is a caught swarm that was given almost 2 deep supers worth of drawn comb that was washed and bleached after being recovered from efb infected hives.
Interesting indeed.

Back when you said you would treat combs with bleach i was thinking wow, major mistake.

But, seems you have made it work. :)
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

many thanks ot. :)

we'll have to see what happens over time and with more attempts at repurposing the bleached comb into more hives.

the last time i checked all 7 of 7 colonies that made it to winter after surviving the efb outbreak still have decent cluster roar.

i am expecting to see the first tree pollens of the season coming in any time now. my first inspections/manipulations typically occur mid to late february depending on the weather.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

...the plan is to see what is left if anything coming out of winter, destroy any colonies and equipment in which efb shows up, and split agressively in an attempt fill up all the empty boxes taking up space in my garage and carport.

i'll likely ramp up the swarm trapping next spring as well. i'd like to end up with 10 - 15 strong colonies (20 would be nice) spread out between 4 - 5 yards to take into next winter. i'm not expecting much of a honey crop for 2020.
Squarepeg:

I was thinking of your recent post about your 7 colonies doing well thus far and wondering what your general approach would be to rebuilding your apiary this year based on the goals above and an assumed 7 colony base to work with?

Please don't feel rushed to reply, but if you are willing I am interested to know your strategy to go from 7 to 20 this year.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

thanks for the question russ,

and even more thanks for the great job you are doing keeping us updated on your thread, as well as thanks for the overall contribution you are making to the forum at large.

i'll perform cut down splits on all colonies that survive and are strong enough to do so. i'll place a half dozen or so swarm traps out as compared to the 2 or 3 that i usually place. if time permits and we have exceptional spring build up i might do some grafting and extra splitting.

dar has a surplus hive left over in langstroth equipment that he has earmarked for me, and a couple other friends who have built up apiaries from nucs obtained from me have offered splits as well.

if i didn't already have all the empty equipment to fill with bees i would probably be happy with 10 - 12 colonies to play with while still on this side of retirement.

the bigger unknown in terms of growing the apiary back is how many colonies may end up with efb reblooming and have to be destroyed?

i'm holding on to my 'goals' rather loosely these days, and have purposed myself to be decidedly content with however things work out. time will tell.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

SquarePeg
good plan on "i'm holding on to my 'goals' rather loosely these days, and have purposed myself to be decidedly content with however things work out. time will tell."
When I want what I have I am a lot happer. Only if I desire What I do not have and maybe cannot have do I get down in the dumps.
So One of life secrets has shown itset to you, Desire what you have and then be happy. Who knows One of the swarms in the 3rd, 4th, 5th Decoys you place is a great swarm to get you back on track. One you would never have caught unless you were in this boat today.
All thinks have a reason.
GG
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

A wise man sets goals that are attainable and be achieved with a reasonable amount of effort. Attaining those goals provides a measure of contentment and satisfaction that cannot be otherwise obtained. Lofty goals and unreasonable expectations sound good but are the basis of pipe dreams and a prescription for diappointment. It is good to see that you are well established in reality. Best of luck this Spring.
 

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thanks for the question russ,

...

i'm holding on to my 'goals' rather loosely these days, and have purposed myself to be decidedly content with however things work out. time will tell.
Thank you for your reply, SP.

I ask given that I imagine your general approach, guided by your past experience may prove helpful to many of us should we encounter a similar circumstance down the road.

I do appreciate the ethos of holding loosely to goals and appreciate the sentiments of GG, Fusion and JW.

That said, I am also reminded that Louis Pasteur once opined, 'Chance favors only the prepared mind.'

Best of success to you this year- I fully expect to be reading about your 20+ colonies getting Winter prep'ed 9 months from now.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

we made it into the low 60's with fair skies and light wind today which set the stage for our first big day of foraging on the late winter pollens, (elm, maple, wild and domestic plum; also henbit and daffodil).

it appears that 6 out of the 7 colonies i took into winter (sans mite treatment) have made it through to this point and are looking fantastic judging by entrance activity.

unfortunately the one loss was the 'experimental' colony that received the frames from efb deadouts that i 'sanitized' with bleach.

that colony was a 2019 caught swarm that built up to become my strongest colony going into winter with no sign of efb rebloom in the fall. it had cluster roar up until about 2 weeks ago and then went quiet.

i found it to be queenless, broodless, virtually no mite frass, and almost all of the honey it had in the fall was still there along with a little uncured nectar that must have come in through the winter.

we got into a severe drought at the end of last summer and drone production was ended early in the season. my guess is the old swarm queen petered out and the attempt to replace her was unsuccessful.

so i wasn't able to get a good read about how effective or not my comb sanitation worked, but i'm guardedly optimistic about it.

a few weeks ago i was fortunate to receive a 2019 split from dar, aka fusion_power. this colony is also looking good judging by entrance activity and it puts me back to a total hive count of 7 to work with going into this season. thanks dar!

i'll be doing my first inspections, reversals, checkerboarding, ect. on the next warm day i'm free from the day job. the plan for this year is to split aggressively and fill up as much of my empty equipment as i can. fingers crossed we don't see much if any efb rebloom.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

it appears that 6 out of the 7 colonies i took into winter (sans mite treatment) have made it through to this point and are looking fantastic judging by entrance activity.
Squarepeg:

Glad to hear that you have six good overwintered colonies to form the foundation for your rebuilding effort. I am sincerely glad to read that you are now in a position to hopefully get back to your +/- 20 hive baseline.

I do hope you will continue to chronicle your rebuilding effort this season. I for one hope to learn how experts like you go about increasing apiary numbers.

Best of success to you this year.

Russ
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

i found it to be queenless, broodless, virtually no mite frass, and almost all of the honey it had in the fall was still there along with a little uncured nectar that must have come in through the winter.
I am now having winter queen failure in around 3% to 4% of hives, leading to deadout or nearly dead by first spring check.

I always breath a sigh of relief checking these hives and finding no dead brood or scale. At least i know it was not any kind of foul brood that killed the hive.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

many thanks russ. it may be possible to approach the +/- 20 hive count this year assuming making a cut down split on all the surviving colonies plus trapping a few swarms, and assuming not having to euthanize any with with efb rebloom.

many thanks ot. given no queen, no brood, stores intact, virtually no frass, no scale, making it through winter with cluster roar until just a couple of weeks prior, and ending up with only a few dozen frozen workers in the end...

my interpretation on this one is most likely queen failure late last season with gradual attrition due to the aging out of the remaining workers.

my sense is that the prior disinfection of those combs was effective and that efb wasn't a factor with this dead out, but to be on the safe side i'll go ahead and burn the frames containing bee bread and extract the honey. i'll then give the emptied comb a good rinse and bleach treatment before using again.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

Thanks for the Update squarepeg. When you make bleach water, what ratio do you use? I have some dead outs that have some bee poop on them I was wanting to rinse.
thanks
GG
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

Thanks for the Update squarepeg. When you make bleach water, what ratio do you use? I have some dead outs that have some bee poop on them I was wanting to rinse.
thanks
GG
Bleach is really cheap. I'd make it pretty strong. It evaporates away so no residual to worry about.
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

It evaporates away so no residual to worry about.
bleach is usually 3-6% sodium hypochlorite and water .. the sodium hypochlorite does not evap
 

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Re: squarepeg 2015-2019 treatment free experience

Bleach is really cheap. I'd make it pretty strong. It evaporates away so no residual to worry about.
Sorry AR1, I am a bit of a Analytical, so "use lots" can be a confusing starting point :)
So lets say I use a 5 gallon bucket for dipping, that is 20 Quarts. would 20 to 1 using 1 quart bleach be "enough" "too much"
I agree the bleach cost would not be an issue, I would hate to ruin 100 combs in the spring , to me, that would be a big cost.

For those who do this bleach wash/dip, kindly offer your "ratio" As well do you "dip" or "Soak"
My initial idea would be to scrap, soak for 2-4 min, shake and dry, leave out in the open air for 2 days, then ready for use. However this is a guess, as I have not done this before. I have, in the past, just let the bees clean up the comb, but if I can assist them and kill off some germs maybe it is worth the extra time.
GG
 
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