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First question @Maru Hoani and @jamesc, have either of you or anyone else done mite counts by way of alcohol washes.

If so what are your counts this spring.

Wahoo on Tuesday went out with my alcohol wash to check some hives that had staples in last spring and then new ones in the autumn.  

It was a little overcast so only did a couple of strong hives on that site. 1 -1 3/4 boxes of bees   very happy brood and bees.  Guess what 0 mites.

Wow I was stoked.  Didnt check a weaker hive of half a box of bees.  They looked happy.  (now wondering)  Also went to another site to check out a queen I had been watching and wanted to breed from. about 1 and three quarter boxes of bees and 2 varroa. a beautiful and happy hive.

 

Our autumn regime was half of the sites got apistan( the sites that we maybe wouldnt get to if it was too wet.) and half got staples (easily accesible sites)

 

Yesterday went to do alcohol washes on an apistan site.   Sunny day so decided I would do strong hives( over a box bees) and weaker hives (under half a box bees)  3 washes at this site over 30 in each wash.  The hives look okay happy good pollen stores and fresh nectar, but the not as robust as the hives I saw the day before,  if I hadnt seen the hives on Tuesday would have been very happy with the apistan hives (oops bar the mite count)

So off I twaddled to some more sites some apistan and some staple sites.   All with high mite counts (6 and upto 43), no more zeros.

Hives with staples in look decidedly fatter happier inspite of high mites.

Saw one with apistan but had part of a staple left (must have been a spring trial) bees more robust than the plain apistan).

 

These are my observations and ramblings, have done very little mite counting in our operation, but am left concluding that I need to do lots more and also am thinking that we may all have higher mite counts due to a warmer winter and longer laying of the queens.

 

Comments or others observations welcome.

24 minutes ago, fieldbee said:

First question @Maru Hoani and @jamesc, have either of you or anyone else done mite counts by way of alcohol washes.

If so what are your counts this spring.

 

 

24 minutes ago, fieldbee said:

Wahoo on Tuesday went out with my alcohol wash to check some hives that had staples in last spring and then new ones in the autumn.  

It was a little overcast so only did a couple of strong hives on that site. 1 -1 3/4 boxes of bees   very happy brood and bees.  Guess what 0 mites.

Wow I was stoked.  Didnt check a weaker hive of half a box of bees.  They looked happy.  (now wondering)  Also went to another site to check out a queen I had been watching and wanted to breed from. about 1 and three quarter boxes of bees and 2 varroa. a beautiful and happy hive.

 

Our autumn regime was half of the sites got apistan( the sites that we maybe wouldnt get to if it was too wet.) and half got staples (easily accesible sites)

 

Yesterday went to do alcohol washes on an apistan site.   Sunny day so decided I would do strong hives( over a box bees) and weaker hives (under half a box bees)  3 washes at this site over 30 in each wash.  The hives look okay happy good pollen stores and fresh nectar, but the not as robust as the hives I saw the day before,  if I hadnt seen the hives on Tuesday would have been very happy with the apistan hives (oops bar the mite count)

So off I went  to some more sites some apistan and some staple sites.   All with high mite counts (6 and upto 43), no more zeros.

Hives with staples in look decidedly fatter happier inspite of high mites.

Saw one with apistan but had part of a staple left (must have been a spring trial) bees more robust than the plain apistan).

 

These are my observations and ramblings, have done very little mite counting in our operation, but am left concluding that I need to do lots more and also am thinking that we may all have higher mite counts due to a warmer winter and longer laying of the queens.

 

Comments or others observations welcome.

 

 

Cant find the edit button.

 

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46 minutes ago, fieldbee said:

First question @Maru Hoani and @jamesc, have either of you or anyone else done mite counts by way of alcohol washes.

If so what are your counts this spring.

Wahoo on Tuesday went out with my alcohol wash to check some hives that had staples in last spring and then new ones in the autumn.  

It was a little overcast so only did a couple of strong hives on that site. 1 -1 3/4 boxes of bees   very happy brood and bees.  Guess what 0 mites.

Wow I was stoked.  Didnt check a weaker hive of half a box of bees.  They looked happy.  (now wondering)  Also went to another site to check out a queen I had been watching and wanted to breed from. about 1 and three quarter boxes of bees and 2 varroa. a beautiful and happy hive.

 

Our autumn regime was half of the sites got apistan( the sites that we maybe wouldnt get to if it was too wet.) and half got staples (easily accesible sites)

 

Yesterday went to do alcohol washes on an apistan site.   Sunny day so decided I would do strong hives( over a box bees) and weaker hives (under half a box bees)  3 washes at this site over 30 in each wash.  The hives look okay happy good pollen stores and fresh nectar, but the not as robust as the hives I saw the day before,  if I hadnt seen the hives on Tuesday would have been very happy with the apistan hives (oops bar the mite count)

So off I twaddled to some more sites some apistan and some staple sites.   All with high mite counts (6 and upto 43), no more zeros.

Hives with staples in look decidedly fatter happier inspite of high mites.

Saw one with apistan but had part of a staple left (must have been a spring trial) bees more robust than the plain apistan).

 

These are my observations and ramblings, have done very little mite counting in our operation, but am left concluding that I need to do lots more and also am thinking that we may all have higher mite counts due to a warmer winter and longer laying of the queens.

 

Comments or others observations welcome.

 

 

 

Cant find the edit button.

 

Just curious .

 

Your hives with staples and mites, did you follow the cluster around with the staples over winter ?

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1 hour ago, M4tt said:

Just curious .

 

Your hives with staples and mites, did you follow the cluster around with the staples over winter ?

In autumn staff were told if bees numbers shrink then move strips in.  The first site I saw with the zero mites and loads of bees had removed very little of the strips only a few nibbles of the centre strips they were basically intact.

 

i have never tasted new strips.  Tasted a couple of outside strips old  and they were very salty, still had lots of bees on those frames

.  maybe others who have done the taste test can comment on levels of saltyness..  just got a little bit on my tongue but kept spitting it out.

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Just now, fieldbee said:

In autumn staff were told if bees numbers shrink then move strips in.  The first site I saw with the zero mites and loads of bees had removed very little of the strips only a few nibbles of the centre strips they were basically intact.

 

i have never tasted new strips.  Tasted a couple of outside strips old  and they were very salty, still had lots of bees on those frames

.  maybe others who have done the taste test can comment on levels of saltyness..  just got a little bit on my tongue but kept spitting it out.

Not sure about salty. I tasted some over wintered  ones yesterday and they were still acidic but def not salty. 

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1 minute ago, nikki watts said:

Not sure about salty. I tasted some over wintered  ones yesterday and they were still acidic but def not salty. 

Hi @nikki watts how do you describe acidic?

 

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19 minutes ago, fieldbee said:

In autumn staff were told if bees numbers shrink then move strips in.  The first site I saw with the zero mites and loads of bees had removed very little of the strips only a few nibbles of the centre strips they were basically intact.

 

i have never tasted new strips.  Tasted a couple of outside strips old  and they were very salty, still had lots of bees on those frames

.  maybe others who have done the taste test can comment on levels of saltyness..  just got a little bit on my tongue but kept spitting it out.

I’ve never tasted them , so I can’t help you 

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They have a real "tang" or "bite" to them, it is very strong.  If you taste them and you don't screw your face up then they are running out of acid.  All very scientific 🙂

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2 hours ago, fieldbee said:

Hi @nikki watts how do you describe acidic?

a strong vinegar taste. 

 

1 hour ago, CraBee said:

They have a real "tang" or "bite" to them, it is very strong.  If you taste them and you don't screw your face up then they are running out of acid.  All very scientific 🙂

Hmmm. Perhaps mine needed replacing after all. They were Unpleasant but no screwed up face. 

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I’m very interested to read of all the strong hives out there after using staples over the autumn .

Our experience has been very different but I can’t say it was because of the staples because we just don’t know what has happened.

We have a lot of dead hives and hives that have dwindled down to 2-3 half frames of bees and a little brood.

We also have good strong hives in the mix as well.

its the worst over wintering we have ever had by a very long way .

I think we were too lax and just put the staples in and walked away. 

I had such a good experience over the spring using staples we decided to use them in the autumn but because we didn’t follow up we can’t say what has caused the crash in bees.

Most of the hives that were alive only had brood on one side of the staple .

We got a call from a landowner a few days after putting staples in one site to say there were piles of bees dead all over the place but whose to know whether it was something to do with staples or something else.

 

I wonder if a die off of bees is typical when using staples for the first time and if we kept using  them the bees would come right.

 

i guess it’s one way to downsize :( 

 

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1 hour ago, nikki watts said:

a strong vinegar taste. 

 

Hmmm. Perhaps mine needed replacing after all. They were Unpleasant but no screwed up face. 

Interesting answers.  The only ones I tasted were at the first site and heaps of bees with the staples intact.  Definitelly screw up face material (which I find interesting) and probably vinegar taste maybe nearer,.  Lots of spitting after tasting.

I suppose I will have to taste some outside ones in a weak hive.

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55 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

I’m very interested to read of all the strong hives out there after using staples over the autumn .

Our experience has been very different but I can’t say it was because of the staples because we just don’t know what has happened.

We have a lot of dead hives and hives that have dwindled down to 2-3 half frames of bees and a little brood.

We also have good strong hives in the mix as well.

its the worst over wintering we have ever had by a very long way .

I think we were too lax and just put the staples in and walked away. 

I had such a good experience over the spring using staples we decided to use them in the autumn but because we didn’t follow up we can’t say what has caused the crash in bees.

Most of the hives that were alive only had brood on one side of the staple .

We got a call from a landowner a few days after putting staples in one site to say there were piles of bees dead all over the place but whose to know whether it was something to do with staples or something else.

 

I wonder if a die off of bees is typical when using staples for the first time and if we kept using  them the bees would come right.

 

i guess it’s one way to downsize :( 

 

Ours are all a mixed bag too. Some hives are still on 3 boxes and some that have dwindled down to nuc size.

Only a handful of dead outs so far. 🙏🤞

We don’t feed over winter so i think some may have just been too strong for their own good. The weak ones mostly are  very low in stores. 

Only 1 has gone drone so far but we ran out of time for re queening in autumn so that’s likely a contributing factor in queens not laying as much.  

I also believe overcrowding on winter sites is also a factor. We have a site that’s well away from anyone else and the hives there are Waaay better than the others. 

 

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Mostly really strong but hungry at the first 2 sites of 20 with only 1 loss (DL) 

So I fed around 7L of inverted syrip and used Apitraz on weaker hives so that they don't get knocked back for the flow in 6 weeks. 

So far I'm at 35 losses from 700 due mainly to failed queen's and 3 starved out. 

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Mine are a mixed bag too . Some with too many bees and others dwindled down to a couple of frames . None are due to hunger as there is plenty of honey on them and none is due to varroa . I have lost hives to varroa every winter and it is not the same as these . Everything about the residual bees is healthy , except for the lack of them . 

It’s site specific here . All dwindled hives are on one site , which is also the hives with the most honey on . For my flow , which doesn’t properly kick in till Christmas time , I’m pretty sure they will be big and powerful by then and I’ll be trying to tone them down . 

The missing bees must be dead in the field because there is no sign of them in the hive .

 

On a side note , I checked the entrances of the hives I replaced old staples with new , yesterday , and there are no mass bee deaths out front . Just a few casualties of a full hive inspection 

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Our experience has been very different but I can’t say it was because of the staples because we just don’t know what has happened.

We have a lot of dead hives and hives that have dwindled down to 2-3 half frames of bees and a little brood.

...

its the worst over wintering we have ever had by a very long way .

I think we were too lax and just put the staples in and walked away. 

I had such a good experience over the spring using staples we decided to use them in the autumn but because we didn’t follow up we can’t say what has caused the crash in bees.

Most of the hives that were alive only had brood on one side of the staple .

Really dry summer in Nelson right? Wonder what sort of things that caused.

 

Another thought, I know that Argentine ants cleaned out a few hives in or around Nelson late last summer and they're spreading, could they have struck?

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A few years ago a young lady we employed presented me with this mug . I quite like it, but thought I  might now pass it on to someone more deserving.

We've been looking around our bees the last few days.

First round of the spring is always interesting ..... the good , the bad and the ugly, and wondering how some are ever gonna make a crop. But with love and diligence and a bit of luck, they seem to.

This afternoon I came across a little trial we ran last late summer.

Two hives looking similar, no mite wash.One got Apivar in february, the other staples. In May they both got staples. 

The hive on the right got the Apivar.

 

Highly un scientific , but Interesting non the less. 

 

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34 minutes ago, nikki watts said:

also believe overcrowding on winter sites is also a factor. We have a site that’s well away from anyone else and the hives there are Waaay better than the others. 

How much energy and bee numbers do you think get used up defending a hive from investigation by scouts from hungry hives

20 minutes ago, M4tt said:

 

The missing bees must be dead in the field because there is no sign of them in the hive .

And from flying more due an unseasonal winter = plenty of flying days and micro.flows

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9 minutes ago, jamesc said:

18A2B498-9D83-418A-B805-BCA4A6FCC43B.jpeg

C8E19F99-7AED-4C56-95DD-0C5A6A4F8D89.jpeg

May be your putting the staples too close together in the cluster and the aciditys knocked them for 6.

I been spreading mine around the edge of the cluster but still just touching the bees so that they have to chew their way out to expand and that keeps the staples directly from touching the brood and killing next gen bees, 

But if they're pumping I'm still going straight up the guts as a swarm provention and if they're still too strong in spring they get the check and equalisation takes place. 

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7 minutes ago, jamesc said:

A few years ago a young lady we employed presented me with this mug . I quite like it, but thought I  might now pass it on to someone more deserving.

We've been looking around our bees the last few days.

First round of the spring is always interesting ..... the good , the bad and the ugly, and wondering how some are ever gonna make a crop. But with love and diligence and a bit of luck, they seem to.

This afternoon I came across a little trial we ran last late summer.

Two hives looking similar, no mite wash.One got Apivar in february, the other staples. In May they both got staples. 

The hive on the right got the Apivar.

 

Highly un scientific , but Interesting non the less. 

 

To continue, before I got so rudely interrupted by the auto edit ....

 

It was put to me the other day that I need to up my game when it comes to running bees with O/A. But I'm not sure how to....

As we drove home, Main man  and I had a philosphical discussion ......  the gist of which went like .... "Mate, you and I are very similar. We walk and talk and get sore backs, but you smoke more than I do, and I drink more than you do ..... so although we are the same, we are very different.

So to with the bees. They may look the same when you crack a lid, but they are also very different. And how do you run lotsa hives without getting bogged down in the complexities of running tests on each and every hive before you decide on it's management plan for the coming weeks. 

So yes .... somewhere we have to learn to up our game.

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26 minutes ago, jamesc said:

18A2B498-9D83-418A-B805-BCA4A6FCC43B.jpeg

C8E19F99-7AED-4C56-95DD-0C5A6A4F8D89.jpeg

Mate I gotta say that hive on the left has had  a serious walloping of gib tape to work around..  and musta been a fairly small cluster to be hit like that?? 

you gotta think of these things different to how you think of synthetics.

They are like chalk and cheese.. if you don’t like chewing on the chalk I’d say grab  ya self a block of cheese. 

Placement and staple numbers - to colony size is pretty crucial but once you’ve worked it out the girls will reward with complete usable wings and a shimmering vigour to build up.

we run Italians down round here.. on fairly juicy warm wintering sites.. they wear staples only and look smashing. 

I cant explain the losses you guys are seeing when everything is pretty rosy round here. 

Are the sites cold? At altitude? 

 

 

 

 

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Just thinking......possibly the quantity of honey is not going to matter so much this year so the old focus on quality not quantity? Quality of hives in particular as opposed to quantity I tend to think. In regard the quantity of honey it will probably pay dividends.

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I run one staple “leg” in each seam of bees.. on the edge of the brood area so just touching the outside extremity of the brood. These thumping beasts were last treated with staples in April. 

F87BDE93-639A-40BF-9A68-A529C6CEB144.png

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6 minutes ago, jamesc said:

To continue, before I got so rudely interrupted by the auto edit ....

 

It was put to me the other day that I need to up my game when it comes to running bees with O/A. But I'm not sure how to....

As we drove home, Main man  and I had a philosphical discussion ......  the gist of which went like .... "Mate, you and I are very similar. We walk and talk and get sore backs, but you smoke more than I do, and I drink more than you do ..... so although we are the same, we are very different.

So to with the bees. They may look the same when you crack a lid, but they are also very different. And how do you run lotsa hives without getting bogged down in the complexities of running tests on each and every hive before you decide on it's management plan for the coming weeks. 

So yes .... somewhere we have to learn to up our game.

 

I don't know if this will help but here goes.  

I sugar shake two or three different hives in an apiary when I'm there.  If I get three mites in a shake, all hives get treated.  If less than three, I don't treat.

I use the OA/Gly staples and place them usually mid-frame / on the edge of the brood and I only have one staple leg down each seam between the frames.

I use three or four of these per brood box, no staples in the supers.

I treat at any time of the year if mite levels warrant it.

In Autumn this past season I didn't lose hives to varroa, whereas in the previous few Autumns I was losing plenty.  From November to mid Feb was just too long to leave hives untreated in our area(s)

I find the monitoring / sugar shakes a bit painful, I'd rather be doing something else......but it does inform you about what you need to do.  I've had perfectly good looking strong hives that have sugar shaked above three and been very surprised.....if I hadn't treated they'd be very damaged by the next round.

 

 

 

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We put staples in after pulling honey they went in a line right through the middle.

The hives were strong single brood box’s with a box of honey left on top. 

Some sites I would say are cold over winter most of them aren’t.

we also need to up our game. 

@Stoney your placement is different to ours we had them right through the middle. 

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33 minutes ago, tommy dave said:

And from flying more due an unseasonal winter = plenty of flying days and micro.flows

Yep, the theory fits. The dwindling hives are on the peat . Most of the year dandelion type flowers , but this winter there have been none. 

All my other hives have access to a variety of trees that feed them over winter .

 

The peat hives are more exposed and nothing useful there till the blueberries flower ....soon , then they will go mad 

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