Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

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Solomon
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Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:45 pm

As some of you are aware, I have moved to Colorado and have taken the bees with me. As I warned, moving bees is very hard on bees. Bees aren't meant to move. I expected big losses and I have gotten them. I have expected big problems and have gotten them. I have expected hardships and have gotten more than I have expected.

Since my last update (probably on the Facebook page) I have lost a couple more hives, including one where there was essentially nothing left but the queen and three workers. (I let it ride. ;-)) And I have had a lot of difficulties with splits. The vast majority of the splits simply never had a mated queen return. I don't know why, she just wouldn't come back. I'd split seven ways and get one queen. I have also had problems with queens falling out on the ground during inspections and get baked on the sand or a brick. Why can't queens hold on? I don't know.

Anyway, I am now planning a move back to Oregon where I started this whole thing 12.5 years ago. This time, the move should be much better accommodated since the seasons are much much milder there. I am down to 11 hives now. Easier for moving, for sure. And they're no longer 6 deeps tall, only 3-4. There aren't any hives I'd consider to be thriving and I had to cancel nuc orders this year. Most of them are doing fine, some are struggling, all are adjusting to a new normal with a smaller compact broodnest to keep warm on the cool nights around here. Sunflower bloom is just starting, so like last year, I hope they go into winter with an excessive amount of stores, even though sunflower honey granulates pretty badly.

Still rebuilding. West coast people, stand by for nucs!
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Chuck Jachens
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Chuck Jachens » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:31 pm

Colorado weather is a challenge any year, especially when your considering the needs of the bees. Oregon has lots beautiful country and wonderful bee habitat. I really like the I5 cooridor

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Solomon
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:38 pm

I grew up in the Medford area. I plan to move back there in the immediate future. Denver hasn't suited me well.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby waspkiller » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:00 pm

Well like they say, beekeeping is local and your experience is a good example.

I hope you are moving for reasons other than just the bees though, although it seems your environment is hard on bees, it may take a while to adapt your management to work best in the new area. You will come out stronger.

Anyhow, all the best!
Last edited by waspkiller on Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:02 pm

It has little to do with bees, but it is a factor.
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby waspkiller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:21 am

Well just out of curiosity I googled medford Oregon. Looks like a great place for bees the temperatures are ideal, only worry it's a little bit dry, probably spring will be good then there will be a summer dearth. (Just guessing based on rainfall numbers).

But here's hoping it works better than where you are now, when's the move, before spring I hope?

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:26 am

It's pretty decent even through the lack of rains. The bees will be near a river that has plenty of blackberries and other plants. There is also star thistle, bull thistle, and other thistles. It's where I started beekeeping. It's where my bees where for the first five years.
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby waspkiller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:00 am

Sounds good.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby lharder » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:23 pm

So when is the big move? How did your last move go and what are you going to change for this one?

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:49 pm

It be the weekend of the 19th.

Last move went okay, but I was moving 16 hives with 6 deeps each. Not doing that again. I have everything set up already and ready to go. I have four hives with four deeps and 6 with three deeps. This time, all the bees will be on the trailer, none in the pickup. I couldn't tie them down that way, only could tie the hives together, so sometimes they'd like to tip going around corners. Didn't lose anything, but was a little heartstopping.

There were a few other mishaps like not noticing one of the hives hadn't been released (died, really a drag). Also, this is a two day trip whereas the last one was a one day trip. I will be sleeping in the cab of the pickup. All the hives this time are in my ten frame nuc bottoms with disc entrances. So they'll all be easily confined. And since they're all on the trailer, I'm not even going to bother unloading them when I get to Oregon. They're just staying on the trailer for a while so I won't need to put on the heavy gear to unload them while they're mad from being confined for two days. Should be a much more peaceful process this time.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby waspkiller » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:55 pm

Wow dude you really like to do things the hard way!!

I'm sure you have thought about this, but me, I'd take off empty boxes and reduce all hives to 2 boxes. The rest of the boxes could either be piled on top of the trailer load, or moved separately.

Moving them without tying down!! Yikes, is it the trailer does not have tie down rails or something?

Wish I had a pic of me moving bees but I don't, but around here it's hilly and windy, everything well tied down is a must.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:06 pm

I have taken off all the empty boxes. I don't do double deep hives. I do big hives.

As I said, the pickup doesn't have tie downs, not anyway ones with enough capacity for my uses. You see, I built the trailer. Toyota built the truck.

The hives were tied to each other. That means there were two pallets of hives (six deeps). The pallets stay put pretty well, just not perfectly. They liked to rock back and forth in the pickup bed. The trailer was tied down fine. It could have done a barrel roll and not winced.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby lharder » Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:43 pm

That should give them a bit of time to get acclimated. When the dust settles maybe post some pics. I'm thinking of getting a trailer eventually. Was at a ski resort this summer and having a look at all the fireweed and other flowers. No shortage of nectar there. I'm debating the merits of moving bees to get some wild flower flows for a couple of months in the summer.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:44 pm

We have the same sort of situation with the alpine meadows here. There are loads of wild flowers, but bees can't really make it up there with many months of deep winter, rapid and profound temperature changes, crazy weather, and all sorts of other challenges. Other pollinators do quite well though, creatures which hibernate for extended periods like bumblebees.

For me, having the bees where I live (or very reasonably close) is vital. They really need to be in my back yard. I don't have the time to devote to travel around to manage them.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby lharder » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:51 am

I would only move them up for a couple of months to catch a flow when things are warmest but winter them in the valley bottom. There is a bit of that going on, though I think most are trying to catch fireweed flows in logged or burned out areas.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:37 pm

I'm strictly against moving bees. Well, no, yeah, I am. But I've argued that position elsewhere. I'm looking forward to settling down for a while. No more moving bees. No more moving at all. Time to build my operation back. I'm probably going to have to feed a lot this year. I think they'll do a whole lot better next year in a more agreeable climate.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby lharder » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:29 pm

I'm against cross country mass movement of bees, but not intraregional. I'm kinda against my own plan, but I'm too curious to let it sit. I think I'll have to accumulate a store of comb first as the window will be short.

We have our first confirmed case of shb in coastal bc. I just filled out a survey on what I think the policy should be. Now we require inspections before moving interregionally, but I think they are considering movement bans in the short term from infected areas.

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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:04 pm

I'm exploring the beekeeping laws in Oregon. Oregon used to have a more comprehensive beekeeping regulation but most of it got axed in 93. Now all they have is a hive registration requirement, but no enforcement. So I'm not going to worry about it, just like I didn't worry about it from '03-'08. And just like '08, I'm going to avoid travelling through California.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
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Re: Solomon's Colorado Beekeeping Update

Postby Solomon » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:05 pm

Looks like I'm avoiding Idaho too, you have to have a permit to move bees in.
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