What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

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.
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GregV
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby GregV » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:00 pm

moebees wrote:
I observed a video where tiny mating nucs in polystyrene hives wintered just fine outside (Ukraine; similar USDA zone).
Out of 4-5 all made it fine.


That is encouraging.


To clarify: the tiny nucs were configured the warm way on those teeny-tiny square frames;
there was a ventilation hole in a floor (otherwise, one round ~1/2 inch entrance);
they were under plastic film that created a hermetically sealed ceiling.
Polystyrene compatible to 2 inch/R10 US version.
They just set there on a bench, in a protected, sunny spot all winter long.

I think the fellow mated the queens late in season and took them into the winter as backups (and as an experiment; he sells queens for living and so early season queen availability from a local source is a big deal).

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:53 pm

Not much Buzz here. The weather is cold and rainy and all the hives are buttoned up for winter.

A local Beekeeper that I purchased two packages from this year was on a local radio program last weekend. He made the comment that annual losses in the northern Illinois area now run 80%! I texted him yesterday and asked where that came from and he said the American Bee Journal but couldn't remember the exact number. With minimum searching I was not able to find it but it may not be far off the mark because I did find another recent newspaper article for one of the counties that I have two yards in that reports 70% losses last year. And the Bee Informed Partnership says that losses for the entire state last year were near 60%. Wish me luck because it looks like I may need it!
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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GregV
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby GregV » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:25 pm

moebees wrote:Not much Buzz here. The weather is cold and rainy and all the hives are buttoned up for winter.

A local Beekeeper that I purchased two packages from this year was on a local radio program last weekend. He made the comment that annual losses in the northern Illinois area now run 80%! I texted him yesterday and asked where that came from and he said the American Bee Journal but couldn't remember the exact number. With minimum searching I was not able to find it but it may not be far off the mark because I did find another recent newspaper article for one of the counties that I have two yards in that reports 70% losses last year. And the Bee Informed Partnership says that losses for the entire state last year were near 60%. Wish me luck because it looks like I may need it!


I am not worried too much about those "official" numbers.
If feel bullish about my bees since they are mostly sitting in appropriate equipment.
Should be better than those 70-80% announced.

I truly believe this country needs beekeeping Renaissance where all the commercial equipment should be just dumped and we just all should restart with the log hives and relearn the beekeeping proper. The answers will come along the way and the bees will just rebound along the way.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:30 pm

I am not worried too much about those "official" numbers.
If feel bullish about my bees since they are mostly sitting in appropriate equipment.
Should be better than those 70-80% announced.

I truly believe this country needs beekeeping Renaissance where all the commercial equipment should be just dumped and we just all should restart with the log hives and relearn the beekeeping proper. The answers will come along the way and the bees will just rebound along the way.


I wish you luck with your bees and hope they survive the winter. But I think your confidence in the equipment is misguided. There is allot more going on than just weak equipment.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Dustymunky » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:41 am

Started spring with 4 nucs from 3 different sources. Had a good amount of drawn comb from last years deadouts. Im using a combination of mann lake small cell foundation and foundationless frames. Caught 3 swarms and ended up with 6 double deep hives. Of the 4 nucs i started out with, 3 requeened themselves. All 6 of my hives have pretty much a full deep of stored honey. Now just a waiting game till spring to see how many survive.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:09 am

Sounds good Dustymunky!
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 am

We had a nice weekend so I made the rounds of all my apiaries to check on things. When I winterized the hives at the end of October I had one that was bursting at the seems with bees and loaded with honey. I said at the time if it was May they would swarm. Today they are gone. Absconded I guess. I've had two hives at two different locations hit be skunks so don't know if either will survive. The rest are looking good including the swarm I caught. Even the tiny tiny little nuc is still going. They are one tough little bunch but I just don't see how they are going to have enough bees to make it until spring. Maybe they can start raising brood early.

Also landed a new apiary site yesterday for next year. I'm excited because it is .57 miles from one of my other locations the way the bee flies. I hope to make it a production yard and turn the other into a breeding yard so I can have some control on drones.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Dustymunky » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:25 am

Sorry to hear about the losses. Hopefully the remaining hives make it.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:44 pm

Thanks Dusty. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby GregV » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:34 pm

(a short self-unban)
As of Black Friday audit - lost 4 out of 11 to mites (classic mite bombs).
The remaining 7 are holding on.
Surprisingly, even those that seem to be crashing as of Black Friday - stabilized somehow and holding.
One very strong hive dropped down to just 2-3 frames of bees (scoop fulls of dead drop off) and I wrote them off a month ago - still holding.
With my configurations, I am not worried - even 2 frames of bees will do fine for as long as they resist the mites/infection.
This tiny 2-3 frame cluster is able to maintain the same temp (due to extra insulation, however) as a very strong 6-7 frame cluster just next to them.

I am still bullish and targeting 50% survival with doing nothing.
So - resist.
(self-banned)

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:41 pm

Good luck Greg. Hope you reach your goal.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:13 pm

Its been pretty chilly here in portland oregon area, highs not getting above 50f and lows around freezing. I know this is warmer than alot of areas. Are people still opening hives? I last opened mine in October. Just curious as to how one would know that hive was lost in December. Even if no activity I will still hope the bees are in torpor or possibly trying to heat a tiny patch of brood. Im not planning on getting into hive till a sunny day in Feb unless they run out of stores.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:23 am

You can open them quickly and just peak in at 50 and above but I wouldn't pull any frames unless it was in the 60s. Some people rap on the side of the hive and listen for a hum but I don't do that.

This coming week we aren't getting any days above 30 and tomorrow we are supposed to be near 0.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:51 pm

I last opened mine in October as well. I don't plan to open them until spring, but if they get light I may open them to put some sugar on them. Otherwise I won't.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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Dustymunky
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Dustymunky » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:21 pm

Winter in Portland has been mild overall. Only a few nights below freezing and just barely. Mid to upper 50’s on Jan 13. Its pretty obvious which hives are alive. 3/6 are dead. The three that are alive are very active and look healthy. The three that died had alot of DWV. It appears that DWV/mites dwindled the populations of those hives. They died with tiny little clusters. Hopefully the remaining 3 hives make it till spring.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:34 am

Good luck Dusty. When do you start getting new pollen?
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:07 pm

The bees were actually bringing in pollen today.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:44 pm

Wow. Its about 10 degrees here!

Seems like your chances of them surviving are pretty good then.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby GregV » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:24 am

So the buzz is:
* 3 out of 11 left alive (27%) but the remaining survivors look good
* every single commercial swarm I got - dead --->>> pretty good because they died rather quickly and left me tons of honey and combs (these commercials swarms are just that - one-time use resources; all it is to it; going further this is how I will use them)
* however, 3/4 of the Nordak's queens are holding --->>> people do not need to be looking for queens sold under fancy market names
* the survivors are late nucs and this maybe a part of the equation --->>> for myself, I will surely create more late nucs going forward (again, see Mel Disselkoen).

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Salvatore » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:19 pm

I spotted the first signs of real pollen (yellow & tiny bits of orange) coming into the colonies today outside of Asheville, NC with a high of 64°

Daffodils, henbit and the few random dandelions are starting to open up.

I say "real pollen" because on Feb. 9th the bees kicked the chickens, ducks and guineas off of their feeders and went to rolling in the grain and collecting their idea of a pollen substitute. I posted a video to YouTube here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFg9AhWzrQQ
"Everyone must, in reality, take the greatest interest in bee-keeping, for in fact, more in human life depends on it than one usually thinks."
- Rudolf Steiner

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:07 am

Meanwhile we are still buried under at least a foot of snow.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Mark Smith » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:58 pm

Salvatore wrote:I spotted the first signs of real pollen (yellow & tiny bits of orange) coming into the colonies today outside of Asheville, NC with a high of 64°

Daffodils, henbit and the few random dandelions are starting to open up.

I say "real pollen" because on Feb. 9th the bees kicked the chickens, ducks and guineas off of their feeders and went to rolling in the grain and collecting their idea of a pollen substitute. I posted a video to YouTube here...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFg9AhWzrQQ


I think swarm season will come early this year.


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