Turkey

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Ferdi
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Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:06 pm

Today I went to check my hives and I was pleased to see all my 6 hives were still alive. The temperature was around 7 °C, which is normal at this time of year.
Since I bought 2 of them in the last spring and the other 4 are splits of from those 2, I have no clue about their genetics and wintering abilities. However, I'm relying on the fact that the guy from who I bought my two hives is raising his own queens and his apiary is very close to mine. So I expect some locally adapted genes :)

To be honest, I was expecting to find one dead colony, which was only the honey producer of last season and had a very low population. Its population dropped significantly after honey harvest in August and couldn't produce enough young brood for winter, which was typical mite effect expected in autumn. But it seems it has tolerated the varroa load so far. I still think it won't make it but if this colony survives, I will take good care of its queen.

BTW, there were a lot of bumblebees around checking entrances of my hives; some even were going in and out of hives. I guess they were either trying to steal food or looking for their new nest for the upcoming spring.

I took a photo of one of them.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:06 pm

The bumblebee queens here are still asleep :)

Ferdi, what is your cell size?
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:20 am

SiWolKe wrote:The bumblebee queens here are still asleep :)

Ferdi, what is your cell size?


I was really surprised by bumblebee activity. There were a lot of them.
Here in Turkey, the cell size of foundation is 5.1mm so mines. But there are one or two foundationless frames drawn by bees in every hive.

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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:01 am

Here in Turkey, the cell size of foundation is 5.1mm


Ah, very good. So you don´t need to take the step to 5.1mm first.

I look forward to your update using the 4.9 foundations I will send tomorrow.

Maybe it´s best to use them in central broodnest and leave the 5.1mm in food area.
Especially if there is good flow they need big cell areas, same with drone raising.

Don´t forget the beespace between the central frames if you want to go 4.9mm.
In our climate they will not build 4.9mm if your spacing is more than 33mm. They build "wonky" comb.
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:13 pm

Sibylle, thanks for your suggestions. It seems my bees are ready for small cell :)
I'm looking forward to getting those small cell foundations but I have not really decided how to use them. Probably I will use them in hives from which I barrow frames for my splits. I always put some foundationless frames in supers so there is no lack of drone and storege area. BTW, you can also send them on Wendnesday because that day early I will leave Stuttgart and come back again on Friday.

This frame spacing thing is coming up regularly but I have not paid attention to it because have no problem to get my bees to draw straight combs. The real challenge for me is to make them draw worker cells when you go foundationless. Of course I have observed and learned some tricks and I want to learn more from beekeepers here who have more experience than me.

Basically; since new nucs want expand quickly they tend to draw worker cells so I can steal from them :) But this won't be super helpful in my case because I won't have so many nucs.
Also until now when I needed to add an extra frame into broodnest, I usually used to put it in front of last drawn frame but I plan to change it because it is said that bees tend to draw worker cells in the centre of broodnest. I always though dividing broodnest by inserting a new frame in between would be bad idea but let's try. I would like to hear other's experience about this topic :)

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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:41 pm

Re inserting frames in middle

Once the population is building in the spring and a flow is on it is ok. The colder it is the more careful you have to be.

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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:12 pm

it is said that bees tend to draw worker cells in the centre of broodnest. I always though dividing broodnest by inserting a new frame in between would be bad idea but let's try.


If you do this while temperature is under 12°C do it with empty frames only, so they can cluster if they want to..
Don´t do this if they can be chilled.
If you want to put in a frame with foundation the best time is in late june, the main flow is over and storaged, if you leave some of this food the bees draw out one or two foundations in the middle of broodnest. I did it once with one hive and this was one of the best drawn comb and drawn in one day.
I put it in when a rainy spell came and they had much capped and uncapped food inside.
Nothing to do except drawing, I expect. :)

Frame spacing is to have heat in broodnest area so the bees hatch one day earlier and outbreed the mites. So the theory.
It´s not so much the comb structure.

Of course I have observed and learned some tricks

Please share these with us.
I will start natural comb. Michael gives very good advise but people´s experience still is of interest to me.
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:25 pm

If you do this while temperature is under 12°C do it with empty frames only, so they can cluster if they want to..
Don´t do this if they can be chilled.

Yeah, as also @Iharder stated timing is important chilled brood can lead to many bad things. I will certanly do it with foundationless frame because they will draw foundation anywhere in hive if the conditions are favourable.

Frame spacing is to have heat in broodnest area so the bees hatch one day earlier and outbreed the mites. So the theory.
It´s not so much the comb structure.

Interesting, I will look into it when I have time.

Please share these with us.
I will start natural comb. Michael gives very good advise but people´s experience still is of interest to me.


I have already shared my two tips in my previous post above :), which will be my main ways to make bees draw worker cells. Any useful experience is very welcome.

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Re: Turkey

Postby pantruten » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:12 am

I use only foundationless frames for three years now. I haven't put any full sheet foundation to the hive for that time - I had some frames prepared from 4 years ago with foundation strips so I used them (it was like maybe 15 frames altogether - I went into winter with 41 colonies, so that was only small number of frames like that in the apiary - not even one for a hive)

In nucs/weak colonies/swarms I put them beside the wall or on the outside of the brood. I rarely put it in beetween brood (only in stronger nucs - 6-7 frame nucs - that develop well, but sometimes that seems like mistake)
in stronger colonies if it's warm (like June) I put them often in beetween brood frames or just like with nucs.
I try to put frames in the lower boxes to make bees build down like in the "wild nest". So from 2 boxes I leave the upper, and divide frames from lower into 2 groups to make the medium and lower box and put foundationless beside/in beetween. Rarely I take one or two frames from upper box too.

I don't care at all if there are drone cells or worker cells. If the bees want to build drone cells I let them, I do not change the place of them etc. If they want to draw only drone cell comb - that is their decision, and their hive.

new colonies (nucs, swarms, or "artificial swarms"/package) rarely or never draw drone cells - even if they are created with last year's queen or older. Colonies created in previous year draw drone cells - sometimes 4 - 5 frames of comb with drone cells (my frames are not big - they are little higher but narrower than Langstroth mediums).

my frames are 32 mm wide (with propolis it is mostly 33 mm).

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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:10 pm

I never get full frames of drone cell. Well once with a drone laying nuc. All capped drones.

But lots of frames with quarter to half drone cells. But not all have drones being raised. Often used for nectar storage in the middle of the brood nest. Especially past swarm season.

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Re: Turkey

Postby Nordak » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:14 pm

I've had whole combs drawn of what I would call storage comb, not drone comb. Generally the larger cell combs, the ones fully drawn, are in the storage area of my TBH. The bees draw half brood comb half worker or similar when getting into expansion mode in Spring, as lharder discussed. I have had them build whole combs in the brood nest before. One hive last year had a massive drone population for this very reason. I was starting to worry the queen was a drone layer. Now I see that it was just part of their plans to reproduce. I'm generally happy with letting them build as much as they want as in the end it will throw the genetics out there I'm needing. My guess is that's one reason foundationless seems to compliment a TF Apiary, this and mites are drawn to drone comb before worker brood.

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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:56 pm

That´s a very good post, Jeff, thanks.
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:29 pm

Thanks to all of you for sharing your precious experiences on foundationless.
As you said, of course, bees know better than me when it comes to brood production and I tend to let them do their job. However; this year I have limited resources in terms of hive and drawn comb numbers, so that is why I want to make them draw worker cells as much as possible. It will help me make stronger splits. Once I have overcome those limitations, I will let them do whatever they want.

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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:16 pm

In the spring when the bees are in build mode during the spring flow I have aggressively pyramided up. Putting 3 or 4 brood combs above the rest of brood nest in the box below. The brood nest is in the top 2 boxes with an upper entrance. They really want to get that top box full of comb and will build comb fast. Gradually the stack gets higher, they build comb while leaving some behind in the lower boxes. They don't accumulate much honey at this stage. Once they start storing lots of nectar, I reverse the set up, put the empty left behind comb on top, put the brood nest on the bottom. Last year I didn't put on excluders and the brood nest would often wander back up, making managing the set up difficult. I did do a snelgrove board split on one and left the broodnest on the bottom with an excluder. It was very easy to manage this hive's honey stores, so will do the same this year. During the warm months of the honey flow, I take combs with mostly stores and put them in the honey boxes and insert empty frames in the brood nest to keep some comb building going. In the supers, undrawn plastic frames are used to help manage boxes with only a few drawn combs.

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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:24 pm

Yesterday the weather was warmer than normal - because of wind blowing from south - so I took some time off from my work and went to check my hives. I found out one of my nucs was dead, as usual there were a handful of bees in the hive, which were stacked together between two frames. The remaining 4 looked good in terms of population density and I added a honey frame to one being light.

I checked the bottom boards of some and saw a lot of dead varroas. Because this time of year is broodless period, it should be normal for bees to handle varroas more effectively.

One surprising thing for me was to see my bees bringing in first pollens of the year, although I have not seen any blooming plants around.

Of course you never know but I assume my remaining 4 hives are in a good condition to survive the rest of winter. With March spring is going to be starting here and I do not expect any losses after that time.

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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:36 pm

It sounds like winter has been kind to you. What are you plans for this season?

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Re: Turkey

Postby Nordak » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:21 pm

Sounds really good, Ferdi. Thanks for the update.

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Re: Turkey

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

Nice, Ferdi!
Did you put in the frames the foundations I sent you?
I look forward what the bees will do but it will be march or april you may use them.

Here willow started to bloom. Hazel too. Still no weather to forage, though.
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:28 pm

lharder wrote:It sounds like winter has been kind to you. What are you plans for this season?


we can say so but it is not over yet, so fingers crossed :)

This year I have two main goals :

1- Going from 4 to 10 hives while keeping 2 in honey production.

2- Being on 100% natural or small cell.

I would expect challenges with the second one but with the support I got from @Sibylle things might go just fine.

@Sibylle,

I have not used small-cell foundations yet because bees are still in cluster but I assume they will start to raise brood in a couple of weeks. So as you gussed, I will probably start to use them in March.
Since I live in highly urbanized area, which I hate most, I really do not have a chance to follow blooming plants effectively unless I go to my apiary. But In Turkey, blooming of plum trees is perceived as the beginning of the new season.

@Nordak,
Thanks, I will keep posting about my progress as days pass :)

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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Tue May 16, 2017 10:14 am

I think it is time for an update because I could not post anything since February, when I stated my hive count as 4. But one of nucs lost its queen at the beginning of March so I went into spring with 3.

When I gave a frame of brood to this queenless nuc I was worried because March is seen to early to raise new queens in my area and I did not see drones around. However, it seems I was wrong because the queen raised in March is performing very well. I have started to think that locally well adapted strong colonies are definitely beginning to raise drones earlier than others. In sum, after doing some splits the number of colonies I have is currently 6. But I plan to do some more splits at the end of June.

This is my first full spring in this area and I must say there is a huge spring flow going on, so colonies are developing well and collecting a good amount of nectar. Next year I will plan my activities to more make use of this spring flow.

I hope your colonies are also doing great.

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Re: Turkey

Postby moebees » Tue May 16, 2017 1:56 pm

Thanks for the update Ferdi. Good to have you back.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Wed May 17, 2017 5:16 am

Hey Ferdi, nice to hear from you, thanks for updating!

Interesting theory on the local adapted colonies.
My location differ by climate and the warmer one raised the first drones in april, the colder one two weeks later.
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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Thu May 18, 2017 4:42 am

Ferdi wrote:I think it is time for an update because I could not post anything since February, when I stated my hive count as 4. But one of nucs lost its queen at the beginning of March so I went into spring with 3.

When I gave a frame of brood to this queenless nuc I was worried because March is seen to early to raise new queens in my area and I did not see drones around. However, it seems I was wrong because the queen raised in March is performing very well. I have started to think that locally well adapted strong colonies are definitely beginning to raise drones earlier than others. In sum, after doing some splits the number of colonies I have is currently 6. But I plan to do some more splits at the end of June.

This is my first full spring in this area and I must say there is a huge spring flow going on, so colonies are developing well and collecting a good amount of nectar. Next year I will plan my activities to more make use of this spring flow.

I hope your colonies are also doing great.


That is good information re queen timing. There is hope in March at least for Ferdi:) I lost one queen in April, but salvaged by combining with a weak nuc. Seems you are well on your way this year after decent overwintering. Looking forward to more reports.

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Re: Turkey

Postby Nordak » Thu May 18, 2017 4:45 am

Good work, Ferdi. Keep us posted!

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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Thu May 18, 2017 1:02 pm

Thank you all for your replies. I will keep you updated for sure :)
I would like to report one more thing; I have a nuc which overwintered with tree frames (it surprised me a little bit because last winter was very harsh) but did not develop well during the spring so when I made a split out of it couple days ago, its population was barely filling 5 frames while other hives are thriving. However; I did not pinch its queen because as we all know, survivability is the first trait we have look for in TF beekeeping so I will try to keep those genetics around.

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Re: Turkey

Postby SiWolKe » Thu May 18, 2017 5:34 pm

My weakest hive is now the strongest.
But depends on the mite situation.
A hive fighting against the mites uses all energy for this and loses much brood so I would probably not have splitted those except as a treatment.
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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Sun May 28, 2017 8:30 pm

Last week my strongest hive gave me some unexpected surprises. Putting the super aside, I started to inspect that hive starting from the brood nest and soon saw some capped queen cells. I thought the hive must have already swarmed because there were simply no eggs, so I also decided to make a split out of it because bee population seemed sufficient and there were very good-looking queen cells.

Having done a split, I also wanted to take a look at the super and found the queen laying there, which was the second surprise :lol:. So I did my second split with her :D

In sum, there were queen cells in the brood nest but the queen was laying in the super. There might be many reasons why this happened but my evaluation is that since I sometimes move drawn frames from the brood nest to the super and put frames with foundation or foundationless in their former places to keep brood nest open. Probably on one of those occasions I might have pulled the queen up with a frame and she couldn't or just did not want to go below, and as a results bees in the brood nest might have felt queenless and build emergency cells. I think in that way because if it had been a swarm preparation, then the queen would have stopped laying and gone when the cells were capped.

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Re: Turkey

Postby lharder » Mon May 29, 2017 5:50 am

Could it be supercedure?

In that case I've seen a queen and her daughter in the same hive.

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Ferdi
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Re: Turkey

Postby Ferdi » Mon May 29, 2017 10:00 am

lharder wrote:Could it be supercedure?

In that case I've seen a queen and her daughter in the same hive.


It could be, but probability is low because the queen is very young and she is still performing very well (currently best queen in town :D ). Additionally, all queen cells were at the bottom of frames. But these are just my assumptions.

Actually, I would anyway remove the queen from this hive to increase the honey yield just before the main flow, but it just happened around 2 weeks earlier. I just hope this event does not have so much negative impact on hive's end result.


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