Winter projects for spring plans

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
Kwalt
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Winter projects for spring plans

Postby Kwalt » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:42 am

I’ve been encouraged to share my aspirations for the upcoming beekeeping season in southeast Kansas. My first season with bees is coming to an end with three colonies going into winter. These are in Langstroth boxes. I have 2 more Langstroth deep nucleus colonies on order for next spring from a local breeder. Their bees are all raised from local survivor stock.

My winter plans include building a few more bait hives. I used 3 this year but even though they received scouting no swarms were caught. More traps should increase my chance for success.

The two new nucs are Insurance in case none of my colonies overwinter. The plan is to build Layens hives to transfer them into. I enjoy experimenting with different methods so I don’t mind heading in a different direction than what I started in. Time in the wood shop is something I enjoy also. I thought about heading off in Greg V territory and coming up with a design of my own but after more thought decided to use an established form factor.

I’d also like to try my hand at queen rearing. Grafting a few queens is the goal as long as I have the bees to support the increase. I’m still studying to decide how I want to start and finish my queen cells. I’ve been reading Dave Cushman’s beekeeping website http://www.dave-cushman.net and his articles on small scale bee improvement. The UoG research center has beekeeping videos on YouTube that are in my opinion, very well done.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... 1VffkIB1hA

The last shop project on the list is to build an observation hive. I have some general ideas on how I want to go about this but at this time I haven’t drawn anything up.

I think that is an aggressive enough approach to year two for me. If I accomplish it all may be questionable.

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GregV
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby GregV » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:58 pm

Kwalt wrote:I thought about heading off in Greg V territory and coming up with a design of my own but after more thought decided to use an established form factor.


Here is a "free advice".... :D Feel free to ignore.

Take an established form factor and optimize it. This is what I do.
I am not doing pure Layens (as pointed out) as a non-efficient way to spend my own time/resources.
No need to fight the existing system, but use the aikido approach and redirect the already produced equipment and spent energy for your advantage.

Just turn the existing frame and give bees what they want.
Last edited by GregV on Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:59 pm

First I want to encourage you in making all your plans come true and hopefully have your colonies surviving until spring.

I too will build bait hives but for my own swarms, since I plan to follow Tom Seeley on darwinian beekeeping but will have slightly bigger hives to have them throw swarms only once a time hopefully.
I plan to use a dadant box with medium fixed at the bottom and use my dad ant frame top bars only with starter stripe. Still have to experiment on this.
The broodnest areas I plan to leave undisturbed mostly and if there is a very good flow and a strong hive I will super on top.

My grafting attempt was a total failure so I will refrain from this in future and let the bees decide themselves.
The miller method though is still of interest.

After my apprenticeship with Erik Österlund in june I will probably take some queens from his resistant breeding enterprise home with me. Therefor, if I have no survivors, I will purchase bee stock ti introduce them.

An obsevation hive would be very attractive for me too, I have a hole in my kitchen wall and maybe will build an interior small box with glas front and use the hole as entrance. This hole was once the outlet of my kitchen stove which is now moved to another place with a new hole.

Many thanks for the links, Kwalt, and please update.
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Kwalt
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby Kwalt » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:21 pm

Thank you for the encouragement. I've read about encouraging horizontal hives to swarm after their second year and every year thereafter. I think they do this by pulling excess frames going into winter and delaying expanding the hive early in the spring. This sounds like a management technique that would mimic the actions of a healthy hive and give a brood break to begin the season.

We have a second house on our property that we keep lightly heated in the winter and it stays reasonably cool in the summer that I would place my observation hive in. My wife has already vetoed the idea of any kind of bees in the house we live in.

I'll be sure to post pictures of my progress.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:46 pm

Kwalt wrote: I've read about encouraging horizontal hives to swarm after their second year and every year thereafter. I think they do this by pulling excess frames going into winter and delaying expanding the hive early in the spring. This sounds like a management technique that would mimic the actions of a healthy hive and give a brood break to begin the season.


A very good idea which was not in my mind! This could mean swarming can be triggered a little bit correlating with flow so the swarm will not be lost.
Many thanks, Kwalt!
:D
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kdolan
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby kdolan » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:27 am

I am pretty excited about plans for next year. I had 9 swarm traps and caught 2 small swarms that have expanded nicely and produced 40 lbs of honey each with lots for them to overwinter here in Ontario , they seem to be very hardy local stock. So I am planning to build another 11 traps and get 4-5 swarms caught this coming year. I am also thinking about building a top bar hive and trying it as it is fascinating to be able to see the bees build the frames in that config and such a simple hive design. Lots of brood chambers and some honey supers as well so the wood shop will be busy.

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GregV
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby GregV » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:20 am

Interesting topic..

Assuming 50% survival, I should get 5 hives next spring (more is a bonus).
Though, I am pretty bullish about the 7 hives out of 10 I got; the remaining three - not very bullish; the Italians will surprise me if they survive.

So I will make a 2-3 combined honey hives configured to produce..
The remaining hives will go into expansion and honey hive support.
Will trap more swarms, time permitting.
Likely be trapping just directly and around my bee yards - it works per this year.

kdolan
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby kdolan » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:17 am

Greg I think swarm trapping is becoming an obsession for me, I really enjoy doing it. I am going into my third season trapping and some of the changes I am going to make are :
- expanding where I put my traps geographically and close to field corners and creeks
- double my number of traps from 9 to 20
- last year I used full langstroth deeps with 9 frames with foundation and one of old comb, this year I am switching to 7 frames foundationless, 2 outside with foundation and 1 old comb. I had scouting at all my traps but only 2 hits and I believe it was mainly due to the lack of perceived space the scouts found. I will see how that changes this year
- I put all my traps at shoulder height for ease of handling but will try a couple higher up to see any difference
- I am mouse proofing all my entrances as half of them had mice in them before season end, this also probably decreased my hit %. I am using half inch screen over the entrance to do this
- I am not putting a trap close to my own hives as they did not produce so I am interested in your comments on catching swarms close to your hives. Any thoughts on this?
So those are some of the things I am going to try differently, maybe should start a new thread about this in expansion section . Also I am going to reread Tom Seeleys book honey bee democracy again, wonderful read. Any other good books or articles on trapping you can recommend?
Cheers

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GregV
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby GregV » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:42 pm

kdolan wrote:Greg I think swarm trapping is becoming an obsession for me, I really enjoy doing it............. Also I am going to reread Tom Seeleys book honey bee democracy again, wonderful read. Any other good books or articles on trapping you can recommend?
Cheers


Based on the feeling when you find a trap with a swarm moved in - trapping IS contagious. :D

My conclusions that will affect the next season for me:

* try as much as possible to use "primed" (i.e. used) equipment - should increase chanced by far; no matter how bad the equipment - use it or use parts of it; I commented about this. Most all of my existing traps have been primed now by holding nuc colonies.

* no need to climb trees; I will never do it again (properly primed equipment trumps the climbing handily, anyway);
the only reason to climb is to prevent theft/vandalism which I would rather avoid by better traps placement (lost one cardboard trap this season);
otherwise - not worth injuring yourself; my traps will be standing directly on the ground OR strapped to a tree/pole within reach from the ground

* based on my observations, I will try to make 2-3 additional traps in vertical configuration (imagine Lang deep frame turned 90 degrees and hanging like so); that's the configuration bees really want, I strongly believe - the configuration of vertically oriented cavity (but bees seldom find these and settle for less optimal space); basically - kind of a Warre-type box with 5-6 vertically oriented Lang deeps and about a Lang deep of additional free space just below the frames - this is what I will try now for new traps and will incorporate pieces of old hives into them. By design these are to be deployed directly on a ground stand. Also by design, the 90-degree turned frames are directly compatible to my equipment.

* finally, existing and active bee yards are the best lures one can find - an absolute must to have traps within the yard as well as outside of the perimeter of the yard; the traps within the yard are for the incoming swarms; the traps outside of the perimeter are to intercept your own outgoing swarms; doing this is such a no-brainer because (1) the active bee yard creates such great scent plume attractive to passing bees - hard to do any better with no additional effort and (2) this is very efficient way because you must visit your bee yards periodically anyway and so this saves tons of time and effort. My three swarms this season landed into the traps within or on the perimeter of my active yard. This is enough evidence for me.
I will only do the remote stand-alone traps next year if time permits and if I have no live bees left in spring. :D

The book - The Nest of the Honey Bee (by Tom Seeley); free and I posted a PDF link on this forum.
This is a loaded book and I keep slowly re-reading it.
It has all the numbers one needs to understand what the bees are really looking for and this is what I refer to while making up my own designs.

PS: anti-mouse grids - I do this by default on ALL of my equipment up front from #2 wire screens; do it up front and forget this mouse talk; I don't even know why people keep talking about it - it is a non-issue regardless of the entrance placement (top or bottom). Being a scavenger that I am - I scored a huge load of the #2 wire screens from the city dumpster - all free and should last me for many years to come. :D

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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby kdolan » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:49 pm

Greg awesome reply with tonnes of great insights- thanks.
I am going to rethink some of my plans in light of some of the stuff you mentioned, especially using primed equipment.
I am struggling to understand what you mean by reorienting the hive body 90 degrees, do you have a pic of that?
I will also dig out the Seeley article you referenced.
Thanks again.

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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby GregV » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:02 pm

kdolan wrote:....I am struggling to understand what you mean by reorienting the hive body 90 degrees, do you have a pic of that?


Not the hive body itself - turn the frames within the hive.
Turn them 90 degrees so that they become narrow and tall (not wide and shallow).
Obviously, you'd need to construct something to hang them that way.
I now have a whole design around them.
Should work great, even using standard Lang supers.

When turned, the Lang deep frames become, essentially, Levitsky frames (a very well known Polish beekeeper, 19 century; a great hive, still used in Poland). These are what I use in my successful hex swarm traps and, pretty much, have to use them as-is since my swarms built onto them.

If/when I develop something about these made-up "Levitsky" frames, I will post stuff.
Got some ideas, mostly for nuc usage.

Varroa Apiary
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby Varroa Apiary » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:53 am

You mean Kazimierz Lewicki who constructed this great frame 240×435 mm in his orginal Lewicki hive in 1880 year. It was complicated and hard to build hive with two parts. One was cold for summer honey storage for beekeper and one was warm with wide insulation with straw for nest for bees left only for wintering. Cold part was behind the warm one. Frames were inside on the warm way. Later in XIX century beekeepers in Warsaw Group changed this hive to more simple contruction with wide insulation with straw inside two wooden layers on the three walls, deep warm bottom and one wide wall without insulation but with door for beekeeper. Now frames were in cold way with two entrances on one of wide insulation wall. Standard tools are inside straw wall for winter for the cold wall with door and straw pillow up on frames. The name of this more simple hive is Warsaw standard hive and indeed it is one of the more popular in Poland for now. Later in XX century Stanislaw Brzoska made some changes in this hive specially to lower the cost of this hive but it wasn't the most popular version of Warsaw hive. But one of his advantages it is quite popular. He used honey suppers in the summer because classic Warsaw hive is only horizontal. The warsaw frame and classic Warsaw hive is one the greatest hive for bees in the world. Specially for climate with cold winter.

This is my standards Warsaw hives with Lewicki frame in my apiary. Three of those are version with frames on the warm way.
https://youtu.be/Q8guTIIFaSk

As a curiosity this is a film from the construction of a new Warsaw hive special version with two colonies in one hive with honey suppers. This version of the hive was used in XX century by Radomski family beekeepers. Well known polish family proffesional beekeepers in XX century.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... M1Z8u5AwTw

This is original Lewicki hive prototype of Warsaw classic hive
https://www.pasieka24.pl/images/stories ... ego_LK.jpg
https://pasieka24.pl/images/stories/Pas ... 8_fmt.jpeg

This is Warsaw classic hive, one of the most popular in Poland with the same Lewicki frame.
http://forum.pasiekaambrozja.pl/downloa ... hp?id=4544

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GregV
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby GregV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:20 pm

Varroa Apiary wrote:You mean Kazimierz Lewicki who constructed this great frame 240×435 mm in his orginal Lewicki hive in 1880 year. It was complicated and hard to build hive with two parts. ..


Yes; that's him. Thanks for the correct name spelling (I was not sure).

His original hive was not the greatest and over-engineered.
It has since been much simplified and is more usable now.
But the frame design was the true gem and is foundation of good frame designs going forward (Warsaw, Ukrainian, etc).

The so-called current designs of Langstroth/Dadant are nothing more than vertical heritage frames turned 90 degrees for the beekeeper's convenience and efficiency for large scale industrial beekeeping (at the expense of the bee well-being).

I build all my equipment around this basic idea of Lewicki frame (and other similar heritage designs).

HiveOfLewicki.jpg
HiveOfLewicki.jpg (298.6 KiB) Viewed 99 times

HiveOfLewicki01.jpg
HiveOfLewicki01.jpg (119.62 KiB) Viewed 99 times

HiveOfLewicki02.jpg
HiveOfLewicki02.jpg (30.94 KiB) Viewed 99 times

Varroa Apiary
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby Varroa Apiary » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:32 pm

Nice. So like I said before in Poland the name of more simplified hives, that's like You showed on the photos, is Warsaw hive.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:21 am

In spain these hives are called truebanos.
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flamenco108
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Re: Winter projects for spring plans

Postby flamenco108 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:16 am

SiWolKe wrote:In spain these hives are called truebanos.

No, no, no ;)

Truebanos are similar to Polish "paka" hive, which can be translated into "crate hive" - resembling log, but built from planks.

Image

These are truebanos

Image

And this is paka.


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