Is your expansion successful?

Engaging a mode of expansion is how you keep ahead of mites and breed bees that can handle them. Get in the practice of staying ahead, and avoid the bad habit of always trying to catch up.
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SiWolKe
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:23 am

What´s your temperature with checking, Iharder?
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:10 pm

It was about 6 C. I just pop the top lid off, and if the bees are deeper take a frame or 2 out so I can see deeper in the box. A few bees were flying.

I checked the rest of my hives yesterday. 11 of 16 at one site still kicking though I think a couple more will drop out. 22 of 30 nucs still going. Think some more will drop out there too. But there were some with nice clusters. Maybe 50 % overall by the time the first pollen comes in? Looks like another warmish day today. Fingers crossed for a good cleansing flight.

Food is good, moisture excellent. In a couple weeks I'll put feeding shims on the strongest clusters and put frames of food from deadouts directly on them.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:27 pm

Sounds good. The nucs appear to be doing really well. It never ceases to amaze me that folks winter nucs that far north.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Dustymunky » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:28 am

Started last spring with 2 purchased nucs and a package. Grew it to 4 nuc sized hives and 1 double deep. We had a pretty harsh winter for Portland Oregon standards. All 5 hives died. 4 of the hives were out of honey. I'm guessing they were too cold to move up to the sugar under the cover. In retrospect I would have compressed the hives further (I left some empty combs in the hives), would have fed them sugar earlier, and wrapped/huddled the hives when the forecast called for very cold weather. On a positive note, I have about 60 drawn combs. I'm placing 6 swarm traps this spring and buying some more bees so hopefully season 2 is better!


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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby moebees » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:46 am

Sorry to hear that Dustymunky.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:53 am

Good luck on the bait hives.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:59 am

Dustymunky wrote:Started last spring with 2 purchased nucs and a package. Grew it to 4 nuc sized hives and 1 double deep. We had a pretty harsh winter for Portland Oregon standards. All 5 hives died. 4 of the hives were out of honey. I'm guessing they were too cold to move up to the sugar under the cover. In retrospect I would have compressed the hives further (I left some empty combs in the hives), would have fed them sugar earlier, and wrapped/huddled the hives when the forecast called for very cold weather. On a positive note, I have about 60 drawn combs. I'm placing 6 swarm traps this spring and buying some more bees so hopefully season 2 is better!


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Welcome to the club. :cry: I will have high losses too, same reason, but Dusty, I admire your positive outlook and wish you the best.

Since we have no ferals to bait I´m glad to announce I will get 3 hives from my friend in bavaria if those survive.
I will take them even if I have survivors.

One is a split he made at his bee yard especially for me, I wanted more diversity, these are hybrids Carniolan and elgon ( carni queen), and two are treated not regressed hives I want to place isolated and regress to learn more about the state the treated bees are in.

And he will do one or two artificial swarms to give to me this year from the elgon descendants of the queen he got from Erik Österlund. :)
Since his hives have normal losses, 15-30% and he keeps treated and tf together in one bee yard, his genetics must be very good.
There are AMM, Elgon and Carniolan. The AMM originals he sold, they had problems with overwintering. Bavaria has much colder winter than my area.

These not regressed I will put on natural comb and I will treat with sugar shakes and cut out drone cells ( part of ,I will open cells and monitor mites a little bit ) until they develop more mirofauna,
it´s not possible to go hard bond here.

This is my aim this year to find out a strategy to multiply which reduces mites now and again so chances are better with a more natural management.
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Re: Is your expansion successful

Postby lharder » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:34 pm

Thats too bad Dusty. I feed pretty heavily so far in the fall because I am new and error on the side of caution. I will have plenty of food frames from deadouts to distribute this early spring so no one should die from starvation. I have inch and a half feeding shims that I will put on and put food frames directly on the bigger clusters without digging into the top box and trying to exchange frames. I'll check them every week or so till I get an idea of how much they use. Even if they don't really need it, it will supplement. The smaller clusters are deeper and have plenty of food above and around them.

I did the sugar cake on top last year and had a good cluster starve out in contact with it. My feeling is that they have to process it when they are most vulnerable and if that's all they have... So I would rather feed in fall when a big cluster can process and store the sugar syrup where it is needed.

We are in warmer, and slightly above normal temperatures now. The bees won't be working so hard and consumption will be low for the next while. I heard at a bee meeting that bees full of feces will leave the hive and die in the snow. So with colder temps, extra consumption, extra feces, bees are probably leaving the hives in greater numbers, reduced clusters to the point they can't stay warm. But some of my clusters are doing just fine. I do wish that we had a solid cleansing flight day. We had only a couple of marginal days where a few bees flew. At my other site, it looked like a mini cleansing flight took place. Lots of poop right in front of the hive, but few dead bees.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:44 pm

han my area.

These not regressed I will put on natural comb and I will treat with sugar shakes and cut out drone cells ( part of ,I will open cells and monitor mites a little bit ) until they develop more mirofauna,
it´s not possible to go hard bond here.

This is my aim this year to find out a strategy to multiply which reduces mites now and again so chances are better with a more natural management.[/quote]

I think this is wise strategy to regress a bit to some intervention until losses become manageable. I can deal with 50 % and sometimes a bit more, but if losses were consistently higher, and it wasn't my fault, I would move that direction as well. In a way my feeding in fall is soft intervention. The benefit of a hard bond is that if you have enough survivors, I think it will take off quicker, but you have to get to that point where there are enough colonies at a large enough scale to make a hard bond possible especially since you don't have that backdrop of feral bees supporting your genetics. Its why I'm expanding my operation. The bigger my foot print, the better.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:10 pm

The problem is , it is my fault mostly or the fault of me having not enough experience.Well that will change.

Feeding is intervention and since I had not harvested I´m not sure I would be better of if I would have fed.. The weight of the hives was ok.

The winter we have now is what´s common. If the bees are not able to survive this with good space management, they are not adapted.
My space management was not good but those which are on one deep should make it.
If not, they are not adapted.

I believe if without interventions a strong colony with much stores could freeze too, if they started breeding too early.
In nature this happens.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:13 am

I started 2016 with 7 hives, built to 10 and 2 nucs after an intense year of swarming coming out of a mild winter and 2nd/3rd season queens. Gave 2 of these swarms to a friend along with a bait hive capture. Harvested more honey than I had in previous years. Reared some queens and even shipped a couple. I feel good about 2016, and feel I learned much more than in previous years. I feel many of you contributed to that and I thank you for it.

As of now, it appears all hives are doing well. One of the nucs I'm worried about regarding population and stores, but will see. All have a bit of pollen coming in. The plan this year is to maintain my current hive count by selling packages, which I'm currently sold out of based on projected availability. I also want to practice and research more advanced methods of queen rearing. Long term plans include searching for outyards and potentially establishing some hives from genetics of feral populations outside of my general vicinity I have access to. Longer term plans include selling bees to supplement retirement and eventually dying a happy beekeeper. Hope everyone has a good 2017, and look forward to following and hearing all your bee stories.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Ferdi » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:09 pm

I entered winter with 6 hives, I lost one last week but that loss was anticipated so there was no surprise there, typical varroa damage. The rest seems ok right now. My plan in 2017 is to increase my hive numbers to around 10. I might achieve this goal by splitting but I might also do grafting because I had good results in the past, which is more efficient way in terms of use of resources. I'm also looking for a land to buy for my long term plans.

On the other hand, my day-to-day work forces me to maintain beekeeping as a hobby so I do not plan to sell bees in the near future.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:01 pm

SiWolKe wrote:The problem is , it is my fault mostly or the fault of me having not enough experience.Well that will change.

Feeding is intervention and since I had not harvested I´m not sure I would be better of if I would have fed.. The weight of the hives was ok.

The winter we have now is what´s common. If the bees are not able to survive this with good space management, they are not adapted.
My space management was not good but those which are on one deep should make it.
If not, they are not adapted.

I believe if without interventions a strong colony with much stores could freeze too, if they started breeding too early.
In nature this happens.


There are small things that are helpful. But bees may be set back if we don't do things perfectly right, but should generally survive given decent lodgings and food. I'm noticing big differences in my bees in how they overwinter. My die outs were not distributed compactly as they should have been compared to the healthy clusters. In a mild winter they would have survived, but not this winter. But I have great clusters in other hives and nucs and they are perfectly content. I've also noticed that the nucs that are having trouble, are daughters of queens that died out this winter. Coincidence?

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:04 pm

lharder wrote:
There are small things that are helpful. But bees may be set back if we don't do things perfectly right, but should generally survive given decent lodgings and food. I'm noticing big differences in my bees in how they overwinter. My die outs were not distributed compactly as they should have been compared to the healthy clusters. In a mild winter they would have survived, but not this winter. But I have great clusters in other hives and nucs and they are perfectly content. I've also noticed that the nucs that are having trouble, are daughters of queens that died out this winter. Coincidence?


Please keep us updated, Iharder. Much to learn from this stories.

Next week I should be able to see if any survived and check the food situation. It´s still frosty day and night, very low frost in the nights but it will change next weekend.
If the AMM survive this about overwintering will not be true in my yard, because those are coming from canary island.
The carnis should have no problems but they are dead now. Even the second year carni queen hives.

On BS much is spoken about the fall pollen. Could be that my carni hives had not enough of good pollen to feed the winter bees because of the weather.
The weather and plants there are different from my other bee yard.
This shortens life.
The dead AMM hive had so much pollen stored I believe they had a queen problem and did not breed winter bees at all. Dwindled and died.
But those looked like a varroa crash, too.

It´s good to speculate about such things. :) To find out about your mistakes and managements.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:15 pm

Bernhard on BS talked about how year round forage is difficult in Germany, and he has to move hives, so maybe its a factor.

My impression is that they don't really use pollen until they start raising brood. Too much and it would make them accumulate poop, not good in winter. But nutrition leading up to winter could be very important. Maybe once they get more flying weather, they can start using more protein in the late winter to build stores back up and can get some brood going. Very interesting dynamic that I don't think we have a great understanding of.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:58 am

Bernhard is a commercial beekeeper.
Since our rural areas are sparse we have to move or we have no honey.
Or, as a commercial, you need more than 10 places which is hard on your time.

You have to be very careful how many hives you place without migrating, more than 10 in one place could be too much.
I have some in such an rural area. So far they have had no surplus of honey. Ok, I have only splits.
No honey to harvest is no problem to me because I´m only interested in survival. And these are the areas where nobody wants to place his bees so I´m slightly isolated.
And no pesticides are used there.

This about protein is very interesting to me right now. Queen rearing, winter bee build up are main factors for healthy hives and so far I paid not much attention to this.

This moment I have 5 survivors. One week with very low frost still to endure.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:16 pm

Small beginnings. A very common story. Let us know how they look coming out of winter.

If you have some bees, and you don't depend on them, then time and patience is on your side. The promise of spring is around the corner and once bees are flying and bringing in pollen, the outlook improves.

Do you have some plans for introducing some interesting genetics to the mix this year?

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:20 am

The bees I will get from my friend have the same mixed genetics as mine , because all of the more resistant stock was distributed among us 2 years ago.
These genetics are already mixed with local genetics.
If I will have survivors I will try to make the stock more local and multiply until I see which ones will be the future survivors.
And I will try not to weaken them and change some methods. learn from my mistakes.

Two of my friends and I will go on hard core, doing the hard bond. But they are not near me.

My second bee yard I will use to regress treated hives to small cells and change them to tf. The treatments I will use for a time with this hives will be sugar shakes and drone cutting, but only if necessary, I will monitor those hives.

Second we will have a meeting again and i will try to change the attitudes of those who are afraid.
I will offer them a place in my "regress" bee yard, so their others are not jeopardized.

I desperately hope I will have more co-workers in my area to have better drones.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:19 pm

Is there a problem regulation wise, setting up a bit of a network of feral bee boxes in your area? This would get hive count up without becoming a commercial. You could let them populate themselves in the spring and populate unused boxes with small spring splits from your good stock.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:43 pm

I have my hive numbers registrated and this is law.
But ;)
On our property there is a small forest area. When the bees are regressed...

Where my small cells are or will be there is a wild life sanctuary with hollow trees and old bee houses.
I´m not always present at my bee yards...so... :)

The problem is the wildlife park with the visitors.
Imagine my AMM nesting in a hollow in face`s height! God, they will spray them before thinking these could be my bees!
But maybe i distribute flyers again with my telephone number.

But first: I need more bee colonies!
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:06 am

If you have some neighbors with groves of trees. You could recruit them in your conservation effort. What was the density of bee colonies in the Arnot forest. Something like 1 per square km?

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:19 am

So I did go out and visit the bees again this week. Popped inner covers and any strong clusters were given a feeding rim and a food frame from a deadout was placed on the cluster. Just a bit of insurance for those extra strong colonies. Hate to lose those to starvation. With the nucs, a frame wouldn't fit inside the feeding rim, so I cut foundationless comb from the frames to make it fit. Worked well. Better than ruining frames.

I have to say that even if my survival is in the 50 % range, it looks like I'll have strong colonies to work with this year, both in the nucs and the 2nd year hives. Overall I have more stronger clusters than last year. I felt kinda good coming home.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:29 am

Sounds good Iharder!
Congratulations!

I hope to check this weekend or next week and do the same to the survivors.
Do you think I could use a shallow as feeding rim or is it too much space?
I did this once in march but the clusters were very strong then.

My possibilities are putting in food frames next to broodnest or crystallized extracted honey put directly on top of the bars and into the frame spaces.
My space between bars and lid is one or two bees.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:12 am

coming back to the subject.

I had enormous loss this fall/winter. I lost 40 out of 41 hives that went to winter. I checked the apiary (even though I don't want to disturb bees in winter) because of the woodpecker that destroyed some hives. I wanted to see if they were ok, and there were no bees left. So I checked the other hives - almoast all dead. I had bees in 5 places - only in one of them, one colony was alive (21st january). The rest of the hives were empty or almost empty (fozen clusters of 500 bees or so), almost no bees on the bottom. So my conclusion is they mostly died in the Fall, and winter finished what was left after Fall.
Some friends here had similar loss, but some friends in other localisations are better off, and have much less loss TF (their second winter beeing TF, as mine was). So I hope for at least one or two colonies TF from them to rebuild apiary using TF stock. I already ordered some treated genetics, because I have to have some more bees to start with.

So the conclusion: my expansion was not successful in 2016...
It was one of the most difficult beekeeping season in years in my localisation. bees were on the edge of hunger allmost all year. I gave them minimum sugar during summer, because I believe sugar is bad for them and I don't want to feed bees in the summer. I fed from begining of August for winter. I gave everage 8 kg of sugar per colony, taking 0 honey all year from more than 40 hives... queens were not returning from mating flights, nucs died in dozens, full colonies of 4 boxes "dissapeard" in couple of weeks in the middle of summer etc. Very bad year for me....
Now I'm left with build comb and lots of honey (sugar-honey) which I intend to use for new nucs/colonies...

hopefully the only survivor lives and I will be able to make some splits... But spring here starts usually in march, and I can start thinking of making splits in may... so there's a lot of time left for that colony to die... :(

Here are some pictures how the hives and what was left looked like: http://pantruten.blogspot.com/2017/01/s ... czyli.html

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:25 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Sounds good Iharder!
Congratulations!

I hope to check this weekend or next week and do the same to the survivors.
Do you think I could use a shallow as feeding rim or is it too much space?
I did this once in march but the clusters were very strong then.

My possibilities are putting in food frames next to broodnest or crystallized extracted honey put directly on top of the bars and into the frame spaces.
My space between bars and lid is one or two bees.


If the cluster isn't covering all the frames, then I would approach the cluster from the side replacing empty frames with food frames without disturbing the cluster. No harm taking a beeless frame out of a box. You have those large boxes right so you may be able to add food frames this way? With my nucs, 8 frames and 10 frames, I cannot do this without disturbing the cluster when its cold, hence the feeding rim. A nice problem to have. My feeding rims are an inch and a half tall and it takes little time to make a few. Probably better than putting a shallow super on. Depends how desperate one is. If they need food now do what you have to do.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:32 pm

Ok, I understand.
I will cover the bees while working with a wax cloth and carefully approach them from the side.
If I see no dome left on top of the cluster I will smear some honey between the frames. It´s crystallized, not dripping down.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:42 pm

pantruten wrote:coming back to the subject.


Thanks for sharing this with us Bartek, even if it´s a sad story.
No bed of roses sometimes, isn´t it?

But I know your courage, you will go on and you will have success in time. :)
We are convinced it is the right thing what we do, no setbacks change us.

If I had more survivors I would give you some for free.
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:52 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Ok, I understand.
I will cover the bees while working with a wax cloth and carefully approach them from the side.
If I see no dome left on top of the cluster I will smear some honey between the frames. It´s crystallized, not dripping down.


I think you are doing just fine. I wouldn't second guess yourself, You know what you need to do.

I popped the lid on a few hives to see how they were doing on the food introduction. By introducing a feeding rim and a frame, I had separated a bit of the cluster that was on the inner cover. So I wanted to see if I had done damage. They reorganized nicely around the frames, no isolated dead and cold killed bees. I'm sure the insulated telescoping lid helps.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:11 pm

Thanks for telling these things exactly, Iharder! It´s very important to me.
I´m still unsure about many things an experienced beekeeper does without considering.

Today 5 still had sound and temperature already rises. My hopes rise a little too!
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:08 pm

pantruten wrote:coming back to the subject.

I had enormous loss this fall/winter. I lost 40 out of 41 hives that went to winter. I checked the apiary (even though I don't want to disturb bees in winter) because of the woodpecker that destroyed some hives. I wanted to see if they were ok, and there were no bees left. So I checked the other hives - almoast all dead. I had bees in 5 places - only in one of them, one colony was alive (21st january). The rest of the hives were empty or almost empty (fozen clusters of 500 bees or so), almost no bees on the bottom. So my conclusion is they mostly died in the Fall, and winter finished what was left after Fall.
Some friends here had similar loss, but some friends in other localisations are better off, and have much less loss TF (their second winter beeing TF, as mine was). So I hope for at least one or two colonies TF from them to rebuild apiary using TF stock. I already ordered some treated genetics, because I have to have some more bees to start with.

So the conclusion: my expansion was not successful in 2016...
It was one of the most difficult beekeeping season in years in my localisation. bees were on the edge of hunger allmost all year. I gave them minimum sugar during summer, because I believe sugar is bad for them and I don't want to feed bees in the summer. I fed from begining of August for winter. I gave everage 8 kg of sugar per colony, taking 0 honey all year from more than 40 hives... queens were not returning from mating flights, nucs died in dozens, full colonies of 4 boxes "dissapeard" in couple of weeks in the middle of summer etc. Very bad year for me....
Now I'm left with build comb and lots of honey (sugar-honey) which I intend to use for new nucs/colonies...

hopefully the only survivor lives and I will be able to make some splits... But spring here starts usually in march, and I can start thinking of making splits in may... so there's a lot of time left for that colony to die... :(

Here are some pictures how the hives and what was left looked like: http://pantruten.blogspot.com/2017/01/s ... czyli.html


I thought I wrote a note about asking about your plans. Since it mentioned perhaps the need for short term treatment in your particular situation to maintain enough bees to work with, perhaps it got deleted. Would be helpful to know one way or another.

Ie deleted post with reason.

Still just want to say I'm cheering for you moving forward.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:34 pm

pantruten wrote:It was one of the most difficult beekeeping season in years in my localisation.


Sorry to hear about your losses, Panruten.

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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby pantruten » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:03 pm

thanks.

I just hope for that colony to survive. I checked on it today - that is what I hate to do - to see whether bees have food. I would hate if the only colony died of hunger, when survived all that was happening... I've never checked on bees in winter by opening hive before. Since most of my hives have upper entrances I can look with a flashlight and see if bees are alive (this is the only way I checked bees before). Anyway the colony is not big, but it looks ok (for a 5-second glance). There is honey in the frames, so I leave it up untill cleansing flighs (probably begining of March) and will not disturb it any more.

bryan4916
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby bryan4916 » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:54 am

My summary for 2016:
I came out of winter with 5 production sized hives and 6 nucs. In early March I did a house cutout. Spring was early this year so I transferred nucs to 10 frame hives and added boxes to production hives on March 13. This gave me 12 hives entering flow. I left town as few days later as the flow started.

The business trip lasted 3 months. A friend did two quick checks on the hives and added boxes as needed. One absconded in early April because of something stupid I did with sugar over the winter. Nearly all the larger hives swarmed at some point. All but 1 successfully replaced their queen and It apparently was too late for them to try again when I returned.

I returned to 10 healthy hives in late June. Our flow was over. One had swarm cells at inspection and was split. One of the splits survived and remaining splits were merged with the successful queen. For expansion, I removed a known survivor queen to a nuc and let the hive make queen cells. I spit it 4 ways. I later merged to the 2 surviving queens.

Honey harvest was around 13 gallons (~39 lbs) total from 3 hives. A friend with a similar setup harvested 26.

I trapped a very small July swarm and gathered another about the same time. They didn’t have much of a chance. Each grew to cover about 3 medium frames going into winter. I gave them 3 frames of honey each which turned out to be a mistake. Both were robbed out earlier this month (January). Maybe I should have merged them. Traps and swarm catching was just a burden this year.

The remaining 12 hives (8 production sized and 4 nucs) continue strong this winter and I expect them to do fine.

Good genetics is the only reason I can walk away from my hives and still get a good harvest for my family. My original plan for the year was to be more proactive in selecting breeding queens instead of reacting to swarm cells and concentrate on expanding using only my own stock. That was done to a small measure. I could do with a few more nucs but it isn’t critical.

For next year:
My pans for next year is to dismantle 1 hive that has refused to be productive for 2 years, that is if their new queen isn’t any better than the last. 3 other hives are being eyed for breeding. The goal is the same as 2016.

My approach so far:
I have kept bees on foundationless medium frames in 5 or 10 frame boxes without treatment since 2012. More recently the hives have custom solid bottoms with 3/8” slot or 1.25” hole entrance and pillow tops but I constantly experiment. My equipment is selected for my apiary and I don’t know if it would work elsewhere. I add granulated sugar, if needed, to light winter hives. Usually, the nucs are the only ones that need it. All but 1 queen is derived from either a caught swarm or cutout. The one was inherited and has requeened twice since. Wild hives continue to be present in my specific area. My apiary is in a creek bed completely shaded by pecans, willows, and who knows what else. They sit on cinder blocks to keep them out of the mud that usually persists through spring. They gather water from the muddy ground and from a natural spring some 25 ft away. Yes, SHB is a problem in my shaded area and has brought down many very young or struggling nucs. Varroa exists here but I don't keep track of it.

My "Expansion Model" switched from active swarm and cutout gathering after 2014 to being self contained with selective swarm or cutout for fresh genetics. I still hear the swarm hunt calling but I usually end up helping someone else out instead.

lharder
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:55 pm

Nice summary. Sounds like your bees have gotten to the place where making lots of replacement bees isn't necessary. A very good thing. I certainly couldn't do that yet in my location, though there are signs of strength.

lharder
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:30 pm

So we have had another couple nights of -20 C. The bees are probably at their most vulnerable state now. Supposed to warm up today and turn nice next week with possible flying weather. Will check out thing then.

In the mean time I had fall mite counts reported to me. Looks like mite counts in the 8 to 15 % range. One was in the 1 % range. I will do a full reporting sometime to provide some context to the results and who is living and who isn't.

In the mean time, I've been in contact with the person who has spearheaded this survey in our province in regard to possible further collaboration. It looks like he is really interested in some population genetics type of work in the context of a TF situation and surrounding bees, including feral if we can find them. There is also interesting possibilities about introducing interesting genetics that he has come up with to test in a TF situation. Possibility for things to get real interesting around here, fingers crossed.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:34 am

That´s great Iharder, please update!

I hope to be in such a situation in some years and find an institution to work with.
A little scientific research would be fine even if in my practical beekeeping it will rather have no consequence.
But, as you do, I like to know what´s going on.

Today the first commercial beekeeper registered in my forum. Makes me kind of nervous, I admit. He tries for 3 years now to be tf as I know him from the past but I don´t know his success.
He is an organic working beekeeper with an registered organic label and very experienced.

If I´m able to convince him to support us it will be a great future because he has some nice connections.
And he can provide us with new stock if our losses are too high.
He treats ( maybe not all his bee yards, as I know he regressed some hives to small cell) but his stock is locally adapted and much better than any other.
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

lharder
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:45 am

It will be interesting as maybe we can see a little genetic pull and push between treated and untreated stocks of bees and how they affect each other. I would also like to get a sense of the viral environment our bees are working in and how it changes.

It sounds like an interesting connection. I hope you develop some positive dialogue with him.

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Nordak
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Location: Arkansas

Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:07 am

I'll be following you both with interest. Looking forward to updates.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:50 am

My situation forces me to change my path and not just keep on like I did the last two years.

In the year 2015, after my first treated hive died of varroa disease, I purchased "resistant" stock, not treated for some years and went cold turkey.
This stock is living on small cell with narrow space between frames.
The wax is organic wax from sweden and my own wax foundations.
I was mentored to keep them on two deeps to be able to shift and exchange all the frames.

I splitted and never counted mites.
I never treated and they kept their honey.
The two deep hives had brood nests in bottom box, a deep filled with honey on top going into winter.

The problems appearing are:
- high losses in the second year ( three varroa crash, two queen failure, the rest isolated from stores and frozen, IMHO)
- all colonies in two deep boxes died, those in one deep survived so far except one with queen failure
- mating problems because of weather conditions
- we have no ferals to improve stock or supply our beeyards with

My plans:
- monitor mites and isolate those which are likely to crash to another bee yard, treat them with non chemical treatments like sugar shakedowns, brood taken out, change the queens and put them back to the tf bee yard later. This to have some bees left to go on with.
To let them die, as I would prefer, is not possible because of our laws. If they die in winter, no problem. I´m watched. To have a reputation as to let them die from varroa could be the end of my beekeeping.
- Use one deep Dadant as broodnest, use supers on top for honey stores, leave them on if they contain brood, only take surplus of honey out of the supers,
split when brood box is crowded or swarm cells will be build.
- try natural comb
- be more careful with multiplying, meaning well fed queens and observing mating possibilities. Not split all at the same time.
- try to breed some local queens to have reserve
- split evenly, make artificial swarms or leave the queen with less capped brood to hinder the mite reproduction more
- overwintering on one deep with or without a shallow of honey on top
Civility is strength. http://www.VivaBiene.de

lharder
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Re: Is your expansion successful?

Postby lharder » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:45 pm

First decent flying weather of late winter. I took a cup of tea and stool out to enjoy the spectacle. Bees were out in force. The air was humming.

Only 2 of 4 big hives survived the winter. But the ones that did look very good at this point. Heavy traffic at their entrance and lots of excitement.

I saw 8 of 11 nucs flying, 7 with decent activity. Overall pretty pleased.


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