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Except for apple, my trees are loaded. I usually have most luck with the stone fruits giving every year though it is very sporadic which years animals beat me to the bounty. In town my apples were more only a bounty year every 5 to 7 years. Out here in the woods, I have never had a bounty year of apple yet.

My grandma used to can plums but I have a different type then the red sour ones she used to use. I have really found no real use for them but a snack. I usually only get a pie or two out of the peaches before I get tired of the process and it takes a lot of my peaches to have enough for a pie.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,922 ·
Since then it has been a few at a time, this year is the most since that great year, about ten years ago.
Out here in the woods, I have never had a bounty year of apple yet.
This year, I am simply grateful that most of the trees that I planted last fall and this spring have survived, owing mostly I expect to the mild and protracted spring we enjoyed this year. Also, while working in the orchard I've found a single Asian pear along with a mulberry, so my yield has almost doubled since my last report 😎.

I expect my approach to the orchard has become one of hopeful pessimism. As the Roman poet Horace famously opined, 'A heart well prepared for adversity in bad times hopes, and in good times fears for a change in fortune.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,923 ·
I recently had the pleasure of finally reading Fedor Lazutin's 'Keeping Bees with a Smile'.

While it does offer quite a lot in terms of his specific management techniques relative to 'natural beekeeping', the most endearing aspect of the book in my humble view are the philosophical pillars which undergirded his approach. A few thoughts that stuck-out to me:

The behavior of any living creature, even the very smallest, is so complex and multifaced that no science can hope to explain it fully. After the most complicated studies, the only thing scientific learning has learned (forgive the tautology) is to describe the processes taking place in living tissues – but the question of what stands behind these processes remains unanswered. The only possible answer requires us to presume that everything that lives is intelligent. (pp. 10 + 11)

What do you think – why were human beings endowed with intelligence? To complicate our lives, or to simplify them? To create new problems by violating nature’s laws, or, by going with the natural flow of things, to achieve our goals simply and easily? (p. 123)

The longer I work with bees, the more I am convinced that the most important aspect of the natural approach is knowing the laws that govern the life of a bee colony, as well as a thorough understanding of what the beekeeper does, and the effect his actions have on the bees. And the more understanding we gain, the less need there is for the actions themselves. That is, one might say that the number of actions is inversely proportional to the depth of our understanding. (pp. 132 + 133)

Beyond this, it seems safe to say that his foundational principles to 'natural beekeeping' might be summarized as follows:

Keys to successful beekeeping (listed in order of priority):
  • Nectar resources
  • Locally-adapted genetics
  • Hive design and corresponding management
Natural beekeeping approach:
  • Minimal interference.
  • No feeding.
  • Treatment-free.
  • Propagate by swarming only.
  • Harvest surplus once per year- in the fall.
 

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Keys to successful beekeeping (listed in order of priority):
  • Nectar resources
  • Locally-adapted genetics
  • Hive design and corresponding management
Natural beekeeping approach:
  • Minimal interference.
  • No feeding.
  • Treatment-free.
  • Propagate by swarming only.
  • Harvest surplus once per year- in the fall.
I have read his book in the original format, as well as his many other on-line writings.

Lazutin had good-enough isolation to be able to practice his ideas.
Not to mention the idea of routine seasonal migration (the US-style) is unknown to him.
He is aware and does discuss the long distance/cross-region bee sales as not acceptable.

His own situational context formed many of his viewpoints - not entirely accurate outside of his own context. Not to mention some of his viewpoints are completely debunked (even I have such examples I can easily produce).

His book is a fun read, but hardly applicable as a general way forward for everyone.
Here is just one example where the out of context reading of this book does more harm than good (a quote from my emails; a case more common than not, as readers have difficulty with the situational context meaning)

Yes, a hand's on mentor program would be nice. I've been reading a lot of books on bees lately, but I'm especially concerned about being able to over-winter bees successfully. I've paid for bees from Datant & Sons for 3 years now, and if I can't successfully over-winter my 2 hives this year, I'm probably going to give up. I will admit that I haven't kept a close watch on my bees, I prefer to leave them alone most of the summer, per Fedor Lazutin's book, Keeping Bees with a Smile. (A vision and practice of natural apiculture).
I did wrap my hives with black roofing paper to keep them warm, before the cold weather hit us last year
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,926 ·
His own situational context formed many of his viewpoints - not entirely accurate outside of his own context.
Good point, GregV. I think this is a truism that we all do well to remind ourselves of often.

One thing I appreciate about the Second Edition is that Dr. Sharashin offers frequent editorial comments regarding modifications to the approach relative to his experience in the Missouri Ozarks- his warning about expanding the hive volume too rapidly in the face of SHB pressure is one example.
 

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his warning about expanding the hive volume too rapidly in the face of SHB pressure is one example.
Indeed.
The SHB is another unknown for the Russian beekeepers and, thus, not a concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,928 ·
The SHB is another unknown for the Russian beekeepers and, thus, not a concern.
Similarly, we don't have to deal with 6 months of winter here in the Midsouth so prolonged flightless periods are unknown to us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,929 ·
Things are quiet around here in the apiary. There is significant foraging and an abundance of pollen coming in- particularly in the morning but there is no more surplus nectar showing up in the supers. Most stationary beekeepers around here use the 4th of July as the unofficial date when they pull and extract their summer surplus.

It is interesting to look at the weight data from #2011 to see this year's flow characteristics. Starting in early April you see very little surplus stored back until the middle of April. Then at the end of April you can see where the colony issued a swarm and then another mid-May before making steady increase until the end of the Month which is where they remain.

Also saw something new today. I have a hive body that had previously been worked on by a wood bee. This hole has been in the hive body for two years and previously went about half-way through the width of the wall. This afternoon, I see bees emerging from this hole. Upon further inspection I discovered that the bees have completed the tunneling operation and have begun using it as a side entrance of sorts. So I plugged it with the best I could find at-hand- as my wife's uncle says, "Poor folks have poor ways".

Happy Independence Day to one and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,930 ·
Great interview on the ‘Two Bees in a Podcast’ between Dr. Jamie Ellis and Ms. Amy Vu with the University of Florida Research and Extension Lab and Dr. Ralph Büchler, Director of Bee Research at the Kirchhain Bee Institute.

The first 12 1/2 minutes outline a biographical sketch of how Dr. Büchler found his way into bee research and some of his goals, aspirations and approaches to his efforts based on his life experiences.

Following, there is a very detailed outline of research in Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR), and at the 25 minute mark, Amy asks, How do you select for SMR in your bee population?

At the 30 minute mark, Dr. Ellis asks, Where do you see all this heading?

At the 32:35 minute mark, Dr. Ellis follows-up, Do you feel that our defeat of varroa is eminent?
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,931 ·
Recently on Bee-L, there has been an interesting discussion about the potential role of colony learning in the development of resistance. In that discussion, someone suggested that Dr. Stephen Martin at the University of Salford was endeavoring to study this hypothesis.

While I haven't yet been able to run this research to ground yet, I did ironically stumble upon an update from Project Apis m relative to the Hilo breeding program while looking for research into colony learning (I assume due to the behavioral aspect):


While the whole video (largely narrated by Dr. Bob Danka) is good, the last bit starting at about the 6:00 mark is interesting and I think helpful for those trying to bridge the divide between success in a TF context in a stationary / hobbyist setting versus a migratory / commercial setting.

I also found it interesting to hear that the Baton Rouge lab remains the germplasm for the USDA's resistance breeding efforts despite the scale breeding efforts taking place in Hawaii.
 

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I must have not been paying attention or have a bad memory. Seems I missed a post or two of yours. Did you harvest any honey?

As a side note: I leave most of the holes the bees make though the ones near the back of the hives get in the way of my inspections at times. When you move a box, it messes with the bees for a little bit and is interesting to watch.

I would be interested in how much honey the bees use during the dirth since you are weighing.

I always put forth the bees could learn with no proof and so it will be interesting to see what somebody studying finds. Be neat if they could ad to the study environmental factors the bees might learn by being in one environment with no movement. Like seeing if bees learn their own medicine if given the chance. Just rambling on.
Hope you are well, back to the guitar now.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,933 ·
Did you harvest any honey?
GWW:

My apologies for the delay in reply. It has been a bit wild and woolly at work of late.

I have not yet harvested any honey, partly as I am again experimenting with taking it off later in the season and partly because I do not yet have my new extractor due in large part to there being no equipment deliveries to apicultural shows in my area this year. Makes for a convenient excuse to procrastinate...

I would be interested in how much honey the bees use during the dirth since you are weighing.
That is an interesting study- I've attached a graph of the last 90 days of weight readings for #2011. On it you will see:

On April 29th, the colony weight was approximately 88#.

Immediately following the issuance of a prime swarm on April 30th, the weight dropped to approximately 78#.

Following a secondary swarm on May 13th, the weight dropped from approximately 80# to 76#.

Since that time, you can see a slow but steady growth of the colony weight which continues up to yesterday when the weight was approximately 95#.

It is interesting to me to see daily variations of up to 4#, and I have noted that this figure is impacted by temperature/humidity and presumably the collection and subsequent drying of nectar.

Currently it is stifling around here and to the best of my knowledge the two biggest foraging resources at the moment are sneezeweed and partridge pea.
 

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I do not have near the partridge pea though it is in bloom now. I still have never seen a bee on it. I have lots of dead nettle which I also don't currently see bees on. Still have small amounts of white clover in my yard that I do see a bee on once and a while. It is forecast for 98 degrees for the next two days..

Some bees are working hard.
64798


And some not so hard.
64799

Thanks for your answer.
Cheers
gww
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,935 ·
Some bees are working hard.
...
And some not so hard.
GWW:

Thank you for posting the photos- it looks like we are both experiencing high heat and humidity during these Dog Days of Summer.

Glad to read (if I understand correctly) that your bees with spotty brood performed well- was it simply a matter of the cells being laid up with eggs of different ages?

Have a great weekend.

Russ
 

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Russ
The spotty brood did not make excess honey but still have lots of bees. Go figure. I have no ideal but believe if they can not make excess honey that something may be wrong and will probably not get better. Hive looked too dry for the amount of bees and so probably all used on raising brood. They are still alive though and who knows for sure how it will go.

Got to thinking about the bees dyeing with honey in the hive under them last year and do wonder if I did not move comb around enough that lower was where the combs made for honey were in the hive and so not so good for brood. I have put them on other hives for supers and so will never check now.

I will be interested in what will be in the supers come 1st of sept when I remove them for good. Hope not to find too much brood up in them though I bet I do. On the ones that do have brood, I will probably mess up their brood nest right before their last chance to forage.

Either way, come sept, I am taking every thing above three boxes regardless of if full empty or having brood though I will move the brood down. Some will not have brood cause they did not before I took it last time but the ones that did have brood will probably still have it. Any thing in them that does not seem capped or dry enough I will let the bees rob out. Not that fair to the bees that actually made it but the easiest way for me to get a little of what might be there. Will know more in sept.

I am going to work more toward getting more like riverderwent and not ever move anything in the bottom three boxes and just add and then take from above that. That was not as possible when I had no drawn comb if I wanted to control swarming. If I got a big honey dome, it may not be possible now unless I don't worry if they swarm.
Sorry if I have abused your thread.
Hope all is good for you.
Cheers
gww
 

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Makes for a convenient excuse to procrastinate...
I'm with you Russ. Planning to pull this week if at all possible, ... unless I can convince me to wait a week. Stopped buying frames so I would have to extract and not just keep throwing more boxes on. They haven't really done a ton, weather turned and they lost a bit of weight.

Also digging varroa out of drone brood in both my feral-ish colonies(2) and my Russians. I have a cabinet full of Api-everything and trying to keep my nerve, especially on a few experiments. Last year I dribbled around Thanksgiving and mid-Dec. I think they would survive until then as it's a ton more prevalent in drone brood, but I think they'd be healthier if I gave the mites a beat-down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,938 ·
I do not have near the partridge pea though it is in bloom now. I still have never seen a bee on it.
GWW:

Thank you for your recent post. I do apologize for my delay in reply. I thought of your comment above this week when I had two private lands biologists from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources out- they were assessing the overall success of the conservation cover and pollinator plantings we put out a few years ago.

Along the way in a wide-ranging discussion about bees (both are beekeepers), politics and life was a discussion about how hard it is for them to confidently recommend pollinator forage resources to plant due to the fact that something that might perform splendidly on one site in terms of nectar availability will not provide the same benefit on another site even one county over. They suspect it has everything to do with the soil and microclimate at one's particular location.

I am going to work more toward getting more like riverderwent and not ever move anything in the bottom three boxes and just add and then take from above that.
Thanks for the update on your progress and your plans. I've learned a lot from both you and Riverderwent and I think there is a lot to be said for mimicking his approach. The only thing I have tried to add to this approach is an effort to effect comb renewal- as it seems to me (at least anecdotally) that bees are generally healthier on newer comb.

Keep plugging away- it's hard to believe that we might have to start thinking about getting the fireplace ready to go in two months time.

Otherwise, the early goldenrod has just started blooming around here- but I don't ever see honey bees on it.
 

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... unless I can convince me to wait a week.
Joe:

Enjoyed your post- and glad to read that I'm not the only one on here debating myself...

trying to keep my nerve, especially on a few experiments.
Given how good you have gotten at queen rearing and propagating bees, it seems to me (strictly from the outside looking in) that you are in a good position to try a few experiments- though I won't fault you if you elect to take the prudent route.

If you're livelihood isn't dependent on it and you haven't grown emotionally attached to your TF bees, I say give it a go.

That said- I try not to offer unsolicited advice but kind of felt that you were leaving the door open a crack for someone to tell you to go for it :cool:.

I hope your season is wrapping-up strong. The year around here has been unique for us in that we have not had a hard dearth so the bees are in good shape heading into Fall forage.
 

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Russ
Otherwise, the early goldenrod has just started blooming around here- but I don't ever see honey bees on it.
I have never seen them work early but have seen them just killing the big late stuff. I always feel guilty when I bush hog big fields of it before deer season.
Cheers
gww
 
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