Greetings from southern Indiana

Please post a new topic introducing yourself, where you are, what you do, your beekeeping experience and what you plan to do in the future.
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Rurification
Freshman Beekeeper
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Location: Solsberry, Indiana
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Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Rurification » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:17 pm

A member of this forum sent me a link and said I'd be a good fit. I'm always glad to find beeks who want to go treatment free. I'm really happy to be here.

I live in southern Indiana in a little hollow whose winter microclimate was tricky to figure out. We didn't see a single honeybee on this place in the first 18 years we were here. I started keeping bees in 2012, when I saw the first honeybee out here - and had a devil of a time getting them through the winters. I study beekeeping every day via forums and blogs and eventually hit on Honey Bee Suite's idea for a winter quilt box. Tried one in 2015-16 and it kept my last hive alive through the winter. Tried them again this past winter and got all 4 hives through just fine. Whew!

More details about my beekeeping on my blog: www.rurification.com [Click on the 'Bees' tab at the top for a brief year by year summary of how things have gone.]
Robin Edmundson
www.rurification.com

Beekeeping since 2012

moebees
Backyard Beekeeper
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby moebees » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:25 pm

Welcome Robin,

Thank you for sharing your story with us and I look forward to hearing more about your adventure with bees. :D
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Nordak
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Location: Arkansas

Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Nordak » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:26 pm

Hi Robin,

Glad to have you aboard and look forward to following your story.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:51 pm

Hey Robin,
welcome!
Your story is really interesting, are you already tf? I found nothing about treatments. I have to study your website, this looks great!
And nice, a woman beekeeper once more!
Sibylle
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Rurification
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:41 pm
Location: Solsberry, Indiana
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Rurification » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:23 am

Over the years I treated one time [formic acid strips, can't remember the brand name] for mites and the bees died anyway over the winter.

Because I have such limited experience keeping a colony for more than a year, I haven't had a chance to try many things. A trend I have noticed here is that a colony does OK with mites in a queens first year. It's the second year where they collapse.

Now that I've got 2nd year colonies, I'm a bit worried. There is So Much Pressure to treat - and beeks who don't are harrassed and blamed for ruining beekeeping for everyone else. Seriously, you'd think I was personally responsible for the infection and demise of every colony the midwest.

I'm a lazy beekeeper. I have the stuff to do sugar rolls, but I don't actually want to do them.

I have mixed feelings about swarming - seems to me a fabulous way to provide a brood break and perpetuate the species, but geez, it's been 5 years and I'd like to have some honey. My conundrum for this year is how to get some honey AND provide a brood break for the mites.

I've added supers because we're just beginning the spring flow and I'm surrounded by honey locust trees [Best. Honey. Ever.] and hopefully that will keep them from swarming, but I have 2 traps set up in case they do anyway. Now that I've 'prevented' swarming [we'll see...], how do I instigate a brood break?

And another question - If I decided to isolate the queen for 10 days, how would I do it once I found her? And how early in the seasons is too soon? It's way easier to find her in a single box than in 3 boxes....
Robin Edmundson
www.rurification.com

Beekeeping since 2012

moebees
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Location: Illinois

Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby moebees » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:25 pm

I'm glad to hear you have put up swarm traps. You just might catch some feral survivors and improve the genetics of your apiary.

There are probably many ways you can institute a brood break and try to harvest honey but one method some use (and hopefully those with greater experience will chime in) is to designate some of your colonies as production colonies and then do artificial swarms or splits on the others. So maybe in your case keep 2 for production and split two. You could split several ways and try wintering nucleus colonies as well.

You may want to post this under one of the beekeeping sub forums to get more discussion since this is the introduction sub. But good questions and I hope others offer there opinions. I will say that you probably have not lost anything by not doing sugar rolls. They don't seem to be effective.

As to the pressure to treat, I think we all can relate and that's one of the reason this forum is a little bit of a sanctuary.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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GregV
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby GregV » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:30 pm

Rurification wrote:... My conundrum for this year is how to get some honey AND provide a brood break for the mites...


This is why you keep MORE hives (not less).
You continuously propagate hives (via splits and/or swarms) and keep them on the smaller side (but many of them).
Brood breaks come along as a side-affect of keeping small hives.
You need to figure out how to keep small hives (read - nucs) alive all year long.
This is a fundamental idea.

Then, once you have enough nuc-hives to spare, you combine few into huge mega-hives for the main flow, so to produce honey crop.
The down-side of the the mega-hives - they will likely collapse at the end of the season due to the mites.
BUT, you will get honey.

In short:
keep as many as you can manage so you always have "spare parts" to keep going;
combine (basically - sacrifice) few into honey producers each year for honey production.

All of this - untreated.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:35 pm

Rurification wrote: My conundrum for this year is how to get some honey AND provide a brood break for the mites.

how do I instigate a brood break?



I hope Michael chimes in here.

My experience is that splits with the old queen AND more than one frame of capped brood will not work in my location.
No broodbreak to speak of and too many mites bred.

So now I will try a small split with the old queen ( one or two frames of mixed brood) and have a broodbrake with the queenless to raise more queens and be a honey producer.
Later to split this starter colony again maybe using the new queens. I need the honey stores for that.
If you let this part raise only one queen it will bring the honey in if you let them stay at the old place. Feed the old queen`s colony.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

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Nordak
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:24 am
Location: Arkansas

Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Nordak » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:24 pm

Agree with what Moe said on the swarm traps. I read an interesting post on another forum, from a TF beek whose philosophy I agree with, that equated a good area to place swarm traps in might also include looking over your shoulder for sasquatch.

If I were in your situation, Greg is correct in the sense if you time your split(s) right at the beginning of the flow, the bees will still haul in the honey. They will also plug the brood nest, so once the new queen takes her throne in the original hive, you'll need to give them more room either in the form of drawn empty comb or undrawn frames. The means to the end is very dependent on your flows and timing, so there isn't a simple answer to your question. I'm sure we could hash it out if you want to post in one of the other sections of the forum as previously mentioned.

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Michael Bush
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:03 pm

>My conundrum for this year is how to get some honey AND provide a brood break for the mites.

Brood break and MORE honey:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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Rurification
Freshman Beekeeper
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:41 pm
Location: Solsberry, Indiana
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Re: Greetings from southern Indiana

Postby Rurification » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:25 pm

Thank you all for the great ideas and links! I'm so glad I was referred to this group. I am already thinking about things in a different way.

I will post my questions again under the relevant topic to open up a wider discussion. Thanks very much for the feedback!
Robin Edmundson
www.rurification.com

Beekeeping since 2012


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