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Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:00 pm
by GregV
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).

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:53 pm
by moebees
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!

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:25 pm
by GregV
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:30 pm
by moebees
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:41 am
by Dustymunky
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:09 am
by moebees
Sounds good Dustymunky!

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 am
by moebees
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:25 am
by Dustymunky
Sorry to hear about the losses. Hopefully the remaining hives make it.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:44 pm
by moebees
Thanks Dusty. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:34 pm
by GregV
(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)

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:41 pm
by moebees
Good luck Greg. Hope you reach your goal.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:13 pm
by Dustymunky
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:23 am
by moebees
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:51 pm
by Michael Bush
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:21 pm
by Dustymunky
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:34 am
by moebees
Good luck Dusty. When do you start getting new pollen?

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:07 pm
by Dustymunky
The bees were actually bringing in pollen today.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:44 pm
by moebees
Wow. Its about 10 degrees here!

Seems like your chances of them surviving are pretty good then.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:24 am
by GregV
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).

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:19 pm
by Salvatore
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

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:07 am
by moebees
Meanwhile we are still buried under at least a foot of snow.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:58 pm
by Mark Smith
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.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:49 pm
by moebees
Got close to 60 degrees today and I made the rounds checking on hives. The good news is I have 3 hives alive and in pretty good shape. Plenty of bees and I added sugar cakes even tho I think they have plenty of honey left.
To review. I began last year with 6 packages, caught one swarm, did some splits and went into fall with 10 hives and 2 really weak nucs. Between absconds, queen problems, robbing, and skunks I went into winter with 6 hives and 1 tiny nuc. Two of the hives had small clusters do to skunk predation and I thought they might not make it. I also had little hope for the small nuc. So actually only found one dead hive today that I was surprised by and I am delighted my losses were not 100% given the harsh winter we had and the knowledge that many beekeepers around me lost all their hives.

So it looks like I will have something to build on this spring and raise some queens from. :D

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:50 pm
by Michael Bush
It was in the mid 60s yesterday here too. I had thought maybe a lot of them had died based on lack of sound from the hives even when I banged on them on a moderate 40s day a while back. But yesterday there were bees flying in and out of all the hives. I'm sure some of them are dead and being robbed out, but still there were an awful lot of bees so I'm pretty sure most of them are doing well... A big relief and very exciting to see.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:57 pm
by moebees
Glad to hear it Mb.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:58 pm
by GregV
Have 2 out of 11 surviving.
Both are queens from Nordak.

PS: good news - BIG honey harvest from dead outs; :D
have been crush/straining non-stop as I don't have the means to store all those frames free of moths;
honey from dark brood combs is delicious.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:04 pm
by moebees
GregV wrote:
Have 2 out of 11 surviving.
Both are queens from Nordak.


So none of your caught swarms survived?

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:50 pm
by GregV
moebees wrote:GregV wrote:
Have 2 out of 11 surviving.
Both are queens from Nordak.


So none of your caught swarms survived?


Not a single swarm survived (all being commercial swarms as it becomes apparent).
Going forward I will view these commercial swarms as one-time resources, if catch any.
Looks to me, in my area the practical TF way forward is to bring in queens from external sources (say from Nordak) and create a resistant population that way.

PS: I am planning to play with the brood breaks/late nucs per the Mel Disselkoen, this season, however; last season it was brutal 100% Bond.
Of the two survivors, one is a mid-July nuc with a good queen (kinda fits Mel D's model).
The other survivor is a May nuc and took a lot of beating by mites and skunks, and yet they are alive.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:11 am
by moebees
GregV said:

PS: I am planning to play with the brood breaks/late nucs per the Mel Disselkoen,


I think that is an excellent idea. Make as many end of June/early July splits as possible. They will be the survivors that become full hives the next year. You can also do August splits if you bring in outside queens but it is too late to rear them.

I think your area is like where I am. Very difficult to keep bees alive.

Re: What's the Buzz in the Beeyard?

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:32 am
by GregV
Getting excited for the 2018 season.
Swarm chasing, hive building, and splitting...

Meanwhile, I find one benefit in the massive and early die offs - the honey crop.
It is kinda of how people used to keep bees in the skeps/logs - they just selectively killed some of the hives so to harvest them.
Well, the mites are doing the killing for me and I keep the proceeds. :D
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