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Our nighttime low of approximately 16 degrees F on Christmas Eve produced the second dead-out of the season (#2012). This colony was a swarm hived on May 1st that never really took off and has been on the watch list all season.

They drew-out almost a full Warre box, albeit on a 45 degree angle from the entrance and the spacing of the interior combs is approximately 1-1/2" center-to-center, which seems to be consistent with the value noted in colonies around here which choose to improvise on the top bars (currently at 1-1/4" center-to-center).

In the spirit of experimentation, I decided to try Squarepeg's trick of doing a mite wash on the dead cluster. There were exactly 241 bees in the cluster and an alcohol wash with through shaking produced 21 mites.

I sincerely hope you all have a healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with an abundance of God's simple gifts.

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Russ,
good notes
21 on 241 almost 10% defiantly an impact.

The wonky box has a neat look could be used as a super for cut and strain.

For an interesting experiment, next box you place in that spot put the top bars parallel to the comb built this time. seeing is believing.

have a great year

GG
 

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... seeing is believing.
Thank you for your feedback, GG. You've got me intrigued now- what should I expect to see that will have me believing?

I sincerely hope you have a great bee year too. How's the bee barn coming along?
 

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Thank you for your feedback, GG. You've got me intrigued now- what should I expect to see that will have me believing?

I sincerely hope you have a great bee year too. How's the bee barn coming along?
IMO in the same stand the bees will build the comb in the same orientation, so if you twist the stand to match the old comb way and it works, you will be a believer, if you move the stand in the method discussed , and again they cross comb a different way, then I am all wet.

GG
 

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i have forgotten which thread the topic of smr was being discussed in, and i'm not sure if this paper has been mentioned yet, but i just received notice of it today.

 

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IMO in the same stand the bees will build the comb in the same orientation
GG:

Thank you for your response, and I apologize for my delay in reply as I have been 'snowed under' with work of late.

I might just give this experiment a go this Spring. Would you suggest I put the box with drawn comb back in this location and add an empty box below or start off with no drawn comb and see if the comb is drawn parallel to the top bars when the entrance is oriented approximately aligned with the box that was drawn out this year?

I see some challenges to the experimental design no matter which way I go so I am inviting your input.

Hope all your cold-blooded ladies are overwintering successfully thus far.

Russ
 

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In the spirit of experimentation, I decided to try Squarepeg's trick of doing a mite wash on the dead cluster. There were exactly 241 bees in the cluster and an alcohol wash with through shaking produced 21 mites.
So I got more dead-outs (details later).

Got me thinking....
Why exactly use alcohol to wash out dead mites off of dead bees?
Wouldn't just simple water do the same trick?

I understand alcohol is needed to kill the mites so they fall off the bees.
But why kill the dead mites?
:)

PS: isopropyl alcohol is cheap enough to worry about it;
but one still needs to drive to get it when no more left at home
 

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Solvent, wetting agent and breaks surface tension.
Frank, I find that alcohol takes away a lot more than just surface tension. It makes things downright relaxed.
 

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GregV:

Good question. I will only add that Mr. Randy Oliver recently had a great series in the American Bee Journal on this very topic.

Here is the final installment (well worth the read IMHO) in which he summarizes:

"Isopropyl alcohol at 70% concentration has long been considered to be the “gold standard” for mite washes. But the 91% concentration is clearly more effective.

To my surprise, one dishwashing liquid, Dawn Ultra, not only performed equally as well as 91% isopropyl alcohol, but requires less agitation, is cheaper, and is non-flammable. We’ve now performed well over a thousand mite washes with Dawn, and are very pleased with it. I’m not stuck on Dawn — I suspect that any foaming detergent containing enough sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate would work well.

Practical application: For best results, allow the bees to sit in the detergent solution for a minute or two before agitation — most of the mites will have by then dropped to the bottom of their own accord. Then agitate by swirling, not shaking."
 

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Frank, I find that alcohol takes away a lot more than just surface tension. It makes things downright relaxed.
Now that is funny, JW. I am laughing out loud!
Ya'll ain't right. :p

You did get me thinking. Perhaps you could do a weak ethyl alcohol dribble between the frames and the mites would fall off and the bees have a party. Fogging with cannabis might work too, but neither the mites nor the bees are likely to get much done after that, at least for several days. That's the way it appeared to work on a few folks in our neighborhood, results may vary.
 

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That's the way it appeared to work on a few folks in our neighborhood, results may vary.
To be sure, it would bring new meaning to the word 'smoker' and I know of more than a few folks who would suddenly be rather interested in taking up the hobby...
 

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I've felt rough for days, and that one got a laugh out of me.
I for one am thankful for the gift of laughter... even laughing at myself most of the time.

As Proverbs 17:22 reminds us, 'A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.'

I sincerely hope you find joy in the midst of everyday life this week.

Russ
 

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GG:

Thank you for your response, and I apologize for my delay in reply as I have been 'snowed under' with work of late.

I might just give this experiment a go this Spring. Would you suggest I put the box with drawn comb back in this location and add an empty box below or start off with no drawn comb and see if the comb is drawn parallel to the top bars when the entrance is oriented approximately aligned with the box that was drawn out this year?

I see some challenges to the experimental design no matter which way I go so I am inviting your input.

Hope all your cold-blooded ladies are overwintering successfully thus far.

Russ
no if you start with it started I would think they continue.

My suggestion was for that stand location,, set the next swarm there with the bars oriented to the way the comb was drawn by the previous hive, with a rotate to match. then if it is on the bars there may be a reason, if not then we may be back to the way of the old hive.

I try to turn the hive to match what the bees are doing rather than cut and move comb fighting them, more due to the time it take to futz with it than any other reason.

GG
 

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Solvent, wetting agent and breaks surface tension.
Alcohol is a very effective solvent and desiccant and, thus, an effective insecticide/miticide.
But why kill the dead mites?
LOL.

Anyway, I will test and see for myself if hot water is just as efficient on dead bee and dead mite mix to separate them.
 

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Practical application: For best results, allow the bees to sit in the detergent solution for a minute or two before agitation — most of the mites will have by then dropped to the bottom of their own accord.
worth noting that the mites are dropping do the bees struggling from a slow death compared to a quick kill with alcohol
 

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... set the next swarm there with the bars oriented to the way the comb was drawn by the previous hive, with a rotate to match.
GG:

Thank you for your response. I sincerely appreciate it. If the fates allow, I will definitely take you up on this experiment and note the results here.

As always, I appreciate your input. You have a lot of good ideas and the ability to think outside the box.

Russ
 
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