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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Nordak
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What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:36 pm

Hey all,

I'm hoping to make this an area where we can share our bee stories and see what's happening in the TF apiaries throughout our community here. If you want to talk about what's happening with your bees, feel free to post here. I look forward to your posts!

Editing to include those who are just starting this year but might not have bees yet. What are your plans? How many hives are you starting and what are you working on? Let us know!

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

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:49 pm

I might as well get things started. I have a very good problem going into the year in the sense all hives are coming on strong out of winter, bringing in tons of pollen from our unseasonably warm weather, but I am completely unprepared for it by equipment constraints as I haven't been able to build anything yet. I don't remember a year when the populations have looked this strong. I checked the hive of my oldest queen (this will be season 4 for her) and while extremely tattered looking, she is still laying. There were 3-4 combs with capped brood and larvae/eggs interspersed through the hive, capped sections being about softball or smaller in size. I want to try and get more daughters from her, and this will be the source of the queens for the packages I am selling this year. My feeling is that she probably isn't going to make it through the year, but hoping for at least next month when I will start my queen rearing. At this rate, I would expect to see drones in a couple of weeks if this weather trend continues. It's going to be a very interesting 2017, and I feel I'm in a position where the only limiting factor is my yard size and available equipment. I'm hoping to expand eventually by looking for outyard areas relatively close to me.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:02 pm

Still two months before my 4 packages (Carniolans) are scheduled to arrive. I have 5 locations for 4 packages and will be setting out swarm traps at the same time I install the packages. I plan on putting them on PF100 frames to regress them to 4.9 and then switch to foundation less. I am going with some of Tom seeley's findings on small hives and separation. My hive boxes will all be 6 frame deeps (Michael Bush notion of all the same equipment) which should be light enough for me to handle as I get older and provide the small hives like Seeley recommends. Two of my locations are suburban surrounded by lots of forested areas and two are heavy corn soy bean agricuture. In fact one of them is less than a mile from a Monsanto research farm. So far I have been purchasing equipment and getting it ready. Allot of work yet to do and lots of swarm traps to build. Hoping for warmer weather to get at some of it.
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 SiWolKe » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:06 pm

That´s wonderful Nordak! Now, have a good time doing your equipment. :D

My Eureka moments (Iharder, cool idea to tell about those moments in future) just now is the nice friendly contacts I have and making plans to expand again.
Hoping this winter will be not too bad a setback.
Best wishes to all.
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Nordak
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:10 pm

My hive boxes will all be 6 frame deeps (Michael Bush notion of all the same equipment) which should be light enough for me to handle as I get older and provide the small hives like Seeley recommends


I really like your thinking here on the 6 frame deeps. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with them.

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

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:13 pm

SiWolKe wrote:That´s wonderful Nordak! Now, have a good time doing your equipment. :D

My Eureka moments (Iharder, cool idea to tell about those moments in future) just now is the nice friendly contacts I have and making plans to expand again.
Hoping this winter will be not too bad a setback.
Best wishes to all.


Really excited to hear about how this all plays out. I bet you'll have some bees come Spring to propagate. My guess is if you can get them through, your going to see an increase in survivability. Keep us updated!

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:40 pm

Trump delayed listing the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee on the endangered species list today. We still have some of them in Illinois so I will be putting bumble bee houses out in my yard this spring.
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 SiWolKe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:17 pm

"All the leaves are brown.....and the sky is greyhey..."

I hoped in vain the bees would be able to fly this weekend.
Winter is here again, frosty nights, cold days.

Still, I hear 5 and a half hives, one is silent. I´m waiting.
:(
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:27 pm

That's frustrating. Sorry, Sibylle. Hope your bees get a reprieve soon. I know you must be anxious to see how they're doing.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:27 pm

Nordak wrote:I know you must be anxious to see how they're doing.


For sure. :)
Pulled the floor boards and there´s not much activity.
Al least they have some food left when I checked the weights.
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:06 pm

It is 4°C and suddenly the sun came out so we jumped into the car to visit the bees.

All 7 are still alive. The bee yard with two is still frosty and foggy so we listened to the sound,
in the wildlife park all 5 AMM cleansing flights were going on, dead bees pulled out and water fetched.

Looks not too bad, so I´m very happy again.
:D
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:22 pm

Awesome Sibylle!

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby lharder » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:28 pm

The rollercoaster we put ourselves through:)

We went through another cold spell, its warming up a bit but flying weather is always 4 days away like an unkempt promise.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:19 pm

lharder wrote:The rollercoaster we put ourselves through:)


That´s true. I never thought I would do so much contemplation on weather....
Experience coming I will perhaps be more relaxed. ;)
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:53 pm

Ok, so I opened 3 hives today, some of my most active to see how they looked. I did this after hearing the flight sound of drones, that deeper pitch they have, but after never seeing one, I thought perhaps I must be hearing things. Opened the hives, and yep, drones. Some have already emerged and many more capped in all 3 hives. Lots of capped worker brood, stores galore, pollen by the pound. It's crazy. I've never seen bees in February building up like this. For those on Beesource, I posted some pics under the TF sub-forum. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment thinking about how far behind I am.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:19 am

That´s wonderful, Jeff.
Now be careful or they will swarm.... ;)
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:00 am

That's my worry. I'm hoping to get at least a few mating nucs cobbled together and start rearing some queens by next week.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:13 am

Nordak wrote:That's my worry. I'm hoping to get at least a few mating nucs cobbled together and start rearing some queens by next week.


Maybe if it´s warm enough you can put one or two frames in to open the brood nest.
So you have some comb build.
And if they are supplied so well put out some food combs for the nucs.
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:53 am

One of my favorite queens from last year. Spotted her on my last inspection.

Image

Her brood pattern.

Image

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby lharder » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:43 pm

All those beautiful photos. I have an older camera and just get blurry pics. See that blob there? Nice queen eh?

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:47 pm

I have my wife to thank for the pictures. She lets me borrow her IPhone long enough to take some pics. You should invest in a good camera. There are times I've come into the house worried about not seeing eggs or larvae only to discover once zoomed in to the cells there they are. It's a nice tool to use for post-inspection inspections, and just admiring the bees when getting into the hives isn't necessary or an option.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:57 pm

Are these pics from this year?
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 Nordak » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:22 am

Yes Moe. I posted quite a few on Beesource from this past inspection.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby moebees » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:23 am

I won't be able to see them on BS. The thing that got me is in the background the foliage looks like summer!
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 SiWolKe » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:35 am

Great picts, Nordak!
This queen looks like my elgon. Here it is likely the buckfast genetics which makes her so yellow.
Hope, you have not got a scutellata!

I´ve got a little Nikon P340 to use at my bee yard. You can use it one handed and it is not sensitive to propolis, I cleaned it many times.
Makes extraordinary good pictures if you are fast enough.

I´m always doing comb picts. Same reason you give. I don´t like to open the hives very long. At home looking at them on PC, you see what happens.

I have an iphone now for the first time in my life , I´m not one for smartphones or "handy" but got it as a present.
Must try this!
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:18 am

Hey Sibylle,

Thanks. There's only been one report of scutellata ever documented in my county as far as I know. With these mild winters, I wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't start happening more often. Who knows. Regardless, if indeed she were part scutellata, her offspring are about as gentle as can be. She's a daughter from my oldest queen from one of my original 3 hives. Hard to say what she is honestly besides a mutt. I noticed a jet black virgin last year that hatched out among the swarm cells I left in the hive she was in. I guess she won the battle, though I should have tried to catch that other virgin. I've seen this happen a couple times but it seems the dark queens never survive the onslaught. This year I'm going to raise a few through grafting so hope I can find another one of those dark queens and hold onto her. They vary in color from leather, golden with black tipped abdomens, tiger striped...you name it.

I like the IPhone because it's easy to hold and take pics. I'm sure you will love it for that purpose. They have very good cameras as far as smart phones go, and hers (my wife's) is a lower end model. Some of them have amazing detail.

Here's one with likely scutellata background being a BWeaver descendant. Another overwintered queen from last year.

Image

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:55 am

Very nice, thanks, Jeff.

Here some of mine:
original AMM queen.jpg
original AMM queen.jpg (153.75 KiB) Viewed 2355 times

From the canary island. She is very slim, but a great breeder. Looks like carniolan though. This is another haplotype than in rest of europe.

Elgon.jpg
Elgon.jpg (162.8 KiB) Viewed 2355 times

Looks like yours but has a red-brown spot on the back. A little lighter perhaps. The bees are still carnis not her descendants.
She is F1

black carni.jpg
black carni.jpg (127.83 KiB) Viewed 2355 times

This one seems to have some AMM genes from her mother which was bred with AMM drones around.
The only carni mutt still living.
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby lharder » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:27 pm

Nordak wrote:I have my wife to thank for the pictures. She lets me borrow her IPhone long enough to take some pics. You should invest in a good camera. There are times I've come into the house worried about not seeing eggs or larvae only to discover once zoomed in to the cells there they are. It's a nice tool to use for post-inspection inspections, and just admiring the bees when getting into the hives isn't necessary or an option.


That's why I pop on reading glasses during inspections:) These eyes can't do what they used to. My best photos are when I have visitors taking pics.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:27 pm

Leroy-Reading glasses are a good idea. I'm nearsighted, so I can still see pretty well when the lighting is right, though I have noticed a little diminishment in that regard.

Sibylle-Your elgon queen does look very similar. Pretty queen. That spot your referring to, I think that's a mite.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:11 pm

Hehe a mite!
Yes I thought so too but no. I inspected her very well after taking that pict.

I use glasses too being not so young anymore :lol: but I put magnifying glasses on the glasses.
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:36 am

A pic of elgon bees with "mites" on back. Every bee has such a spot.

young elgon bees.jpg
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Nordak
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:55 am

Could just be a trick of the camera on the one pic. Or could have been a mite that a bee removed before the next inspection, which is why it was no longer there. Either way, obviously the Elgons are doing something right. Is that your only Elgon?

I had someone claim they saw a mite on one of my queens before. Said it was right where the wing started on the body. Turns out they were seeing the wing joint at the thorax and mistook it for a mite.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:49 am

Well all hives have mites for sure but we have to put up with them.
I rather like Kirk Webster telling us they will help with selection ;)

For now they are my only elgons, still alive. The other queen was a failure.
The new colonies I will get in late spring have elgon genetics, being bred in a bee yard with elgon drones.
They will be carniolan-elgon hybrids.

Thinking about all the problems with expansion, surviving and selection I believe I should have started with local mutts instead of using more resistant stock.
Then expand, maybe do some sugar shakes to reduce phoretic mites.

The more resistant queens I should have introduced later after learning how to keep in my location.
So now my losses are the "better" stock, not even mite crashes but some my mistakes, and I have to expand again.

Hopefully some of these survive and I´m able to breed from them.
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Nordak
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:09 am

Well all hives have mites for sure


Not me, I never see mites. :lol:

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:32 pm

Nordak wrote:
Well all hives have mites for sure


Not me, I never see mites. :lol:


8-)
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby DocEvil » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:00 pm

In Arkansas near Nordac, so I thought I'd take a peek at one of my hives and sure enough drones are around. In fact found some that have dropped on my deck from up above where I have a hive on a patio rooftop. They seem disoriented. Maybe it's a little early for them to really be around ?
IMG_0497.JPG
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Nordak
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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:11 am

Sounds good, Doc. Looks like our swarm season is going to be early this year. We'll have to keep a close eye on them.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby lharder » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:04 pm

Still jealous. We had the one good day of flying, then its back to seasonal. A few degrees above freezing.

Am going to install the chargers, batteries and solar panels today. Bruins will be starting to stir.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby GregV » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:57 pm

lharder wrote:Still jealous. We had the one good day of flying, then its back to seasonal. A few degrees above freezing.

I would not be jealous.
We have here entire week projected to be in high 50/60 range; not really good.
The bees will be flying around and wasting energy and life for nothing.
I'd rather have it more seasonal and cool.

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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Postby Nordak » Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:02 pm

Greg makes a good point. Weather can be strange in our area, and we're known to have prolonged cold snaps in March. This is so unseasonable for us, it's hard to determine exactly what to do. I guess we better get used to it and adjust accordingly.


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