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On 2/11/2019 at 7:51 PM, jamesc said:

Ok, so, in the cool of the verandah this morning I sat scrolling through photos and wondering at the demise of my hives last year. And I started looking at the dates and the strengths of the colonies. So I'll throw these photos up as something to put into Phils trials ..... that a smarter brain than mine can use them to the communal advantage in order to learn how to use the O/A to our advantage.

Ah crud ..... someones hacked my data and the phone don't work  and it's getting bogged with ads.

8086C956-E2F1-4866-BAF7-54B92D431725.jpeg

0E3074BF-490D-418B-AF86-E55D518913B1.jpeg

D61169B7-8871-453F-AB9C-DFCBC0B498D8.jpeg

1BF5E637-E765-4EE2-B78F-504E39D8A282.jpeg

CF6E0F6F-C8AA-4959-953D-21AEC925F1A0.jpeg

OK .... got that done.

 

I was looking at the photos, and the dates ...... and I got to thinking. We started taking honey off on January 8 2019, and as we took honey off we placed four staples in the brood. On the 7 march the bees still looked good, and many had done another two boxes. We placed more staples at about that time, and it was after that that the hives collapsed.

Why ?

Some had a very high mite loading, but past experience from the staples  told us they could control the problem .

The second to last photo says it all.

The last photos says we just hunkered down into hibernation and would pick up the pieces in the spring.

 

I am still nine the wiser as to the collapse, apart from the fact that the Varroa won the battle, possibly.....

 

 

Why do you have QE between the boxes after you take the honey off and through winter ? 
Surely the queen is better free ranging over two boxes over that period and moving up to the second box , or down , depending on what they see fit to do 

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2 minutes ago, CraBee said:

I think Phil has the benefit of having his sites relatively isolated.

I tend to think its because of 3 years work 

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24 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Believe me .... I want the staples to work ..... but I do wonder if there is'nt a bit of photographic licence going on here. I fail to believe that you can walk away from a hive on the 5 April and return to find it alive .... and looking sweet ... eight months later . 20 years ago,  quite posssibly ..... in this day and age ..... yeah , Nah.

 

But .... if that is the case , then I have a LOT to learn, and I will be the first to admit that I do not know everything.

 

 

some hives for sure. My experimental hive finally got strips last week, hadn't been treated since last spring with apivar. Looked pretty similar through 4 x 3/4 boxes but needed treatment unfortunately as the slabs of brood were starting to look less complete - i'd checked in on it a couple of times along the way though. I feel like flow and food supplies left on have a lot of impact.

 

Edited by tommy dave

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3 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Why do you have QE between the boxes after you take the honey off and through winter ? 
Surely the queen is better free ranging over two boxes over that period and moving up to the second box , or down , depending on what they see fit to do 

Nup

That just makes for more work in spring trying to find queens.

The myth is that the Bees move up and leave the Queen behind but that hasn't happened to my hives.
I do have a few free ranging Queens and I dread those Hives 
 

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Could’ve taken awesome photos of hives wall to wall with bees treated twice with gib strips (April, September). Also a nuc that I thought was a dead out 3 weeks ago that in fact had a queen and about 100 bees, no nectar, pollen small circle of brood and eggs that were being cannibalised. This Nuc? got donated bees, brood and food supplies.

But Alas my fingers were covered in propolis freshly softened by the days and weekends heat so no pics.

Swam cells in a few hives so frantically trying to stop them from persisting on their destructive path.

Hoping a real nectar supply happens soon as bees have well and truly emptied the pantry.

 

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2 minutes ago, tommy dave said:

have a lot of impact.

Huge impact.
Bees evolved eating Honey and Pollen.
I dont feed sucrose to my Dog or Horse so  its been no real surprise that Bees do well without it also.

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7 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Why do you have QE between the boxes after you take the honey off and through winter ? 
Surely the queen is better free ranging over two boxes over that period and moving up to the second box , or down , depending on what they see fit to do 

It's always a conundrum when we put the bees into the dew ..... queen excluders or not. The easy option is to pull the xcluders as the main crop comes off  in january and leave the bees to it ......til November ..... Haa haa .... So generally we leave the excluder on until we start wintering in April. That way, if there is excess honey we don't have to mess around looking for queens. I suppose if we were true hobbyist's we'd pull the excluders in january and call it quits.  But .... honey is money  and I have uses for it.

14 minutes ago, Philbee said:

I tend to think its because of 3 years work 

Hmmm .... you need to run a few workshops for us wannabees.

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34 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Nup

That just makes for more work in spring trying to find queens.

The myth is that the Bees move up and leave the Queen behind but that hasn't happened to my hives.
I do have a few free ranging Queens and I dread those Hives 
 

Do you think having the q restricted to the bottom box helps keep the staples in the brood all winter ? Mine were in 2 or 3 boxes and although staples were in all 3 boxes as the bee numbers shrank into the middle frames they were able to move away from the staples. 

Do you have staples in all the boxes or just the brood box.? 

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43 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Why do you have QE between the boxes after you take the honey off and through winter ? 
Surely the queen is better free ranging over two boxes over that period and moving up to the second box , or down , depending on what they see fit to do 

Ill revisit this question Matt

In the old days I wanted my Queens to free range as I believed that by shifting the Brood continually nest the wax contamination would be reduced or spread out (diluted)

I viewed a single Brood box as a cess pool.
Generally I still believe that but would be very happy to learn that my pathogen loads in the wax have actually reduced. 

This is a possibility.

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1 minute ago, Philbee said:

Ill revisit this question Matt

In the old days I wanted my Queens to free range as I believed that by shifting the Brood continually nest the wax contamination would be reduced or spread out (diluted)

I viewed a single Brood box as a cess pool.
Generally I still believe that but would be very happy to learn that my pathogen loads in the wax have actually reduced. 

This is a possibility.

I don’t know about all that . I really know nothing about pathogens in brood frames . My brood frames only do a few cycles and get cycled out and replaced so they probably don’t build up as much pathogen as if I used black frames .   
 

My management style allows the queen to go where she likes most of the year , except during honey collection during the flow , which is when all the manky  frames go up above the QE, then out . 
 

I struggle to work thorough how I’d manage when we can no longer use brood frames for honey .

 

I like sharp, healthy , fully drawn and  newer frames in the brood area 

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James I'm looking at this pic and your others and something noticeable is the staples are placed at the ends of the frames.

 

When I worked in your neck of the woods in Leeston the bees formed tight winter clusters. Of course we didn't treat for mites back then but if we had, the clusters would not have even been in contact with those staples, I wonder if that may be an issue. 

 

I'm thinking in your situation another round after staple placement may be needed to re position staples that bees have moved away from.

 

 

111.JPG

 

As an update to my last post, I have been back to the sites I wasn’t happy with the results and done alcohol washes to get to the bottom of it. My findings are that for strong hives the staples got a good kill, almost no mites found. The hives with poor mite kills were ones I had intended to split and put extra brood boxes on and spread the bees a bit thin. Although the staples were within the brood, for some reason these hives did not get an excellent mite kill. Still don’t know why, but I’m finding that weak hives and thinly spread hives don’t get such a good kill.

 

I am also seeing that OA staples do significantly reduce the bee population. There is an obvious difference between staple treated hives and Bayvarol treated hives. Not sure if it will affect honey production this season, notwithstanding the weaker than normal hives, I have still been able to take and sell and good amount of package bees, and the other thing is this time last year I was flat out swarm controlling and losing plenty, this year swarming is virtually non existent for me, heck, I got nothing to do.

Edited by Alastair
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1 minute ago, nikki watts said:

Do you think having the q restricted to the bottom box helps keep the staples in the brood all winter ? Mine were in 2 or 3 boxes and although staples were in all 3 boxes as the bee numbers shrank into the middle frames they were able to move away from the staples. 

Do you have staples in all the boxes or just the brood box.? 

 

Generally I run and treat single broods, 

Sometimes hives will winter as a double Brood so I treat both boxes.

There are a few exceptions but they are just random experiments 

One such experiment is an overdose trial which is extreme and doesn't really count.

The only reason Id run a double is because it was just too big to put in a single box, so my preference is for single broods full treatment of that box and a QE between the brood and at least a  box of honey

I have had my best results this way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Alastair said:

. My findings are that for strong hives the staples got a good kill, almost no mites found. Although the staples were within the brood, for some reason these hives did not get an excellent mite kill. Still don’t know why, but I’m finding that weak hives and thinly spread hives don’t get such a good kill.

 

I am also seeing that OA staples do significantly reduce the bee population. There is an obvious difference between staple treated hives and Bayvarol treated hives. 

 

That’s what I’m seeing in my hives too. 

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Thanks for the confirmation Nikki.

 

Another interesting thing that has happened this season is that many hives have superseded. This would normally be very rare in spring they would swarm instead, but this time around I'm finding hives with one or two cells, which I've left cos something in the vibe of the hive feels like they don't want to swarm. And sure enough I've gone back later and they superseded without swarming, old and new queen walking around together.

 

Don't know if it's the staples or the climate, but i suspect it's the staples.

Edited by Alastair

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1 minute ago, Alastair said:

Thanks for the confirmation Nikki.

 

Another interesting thing that has happened this season is that many hives have superseded. This would normally be very rare in spring they would swarm instead, but this time around I'm finding hives with one or two cells, which I've left cos something in the vibe of the hive feels like they don't want to swarm. And sure enough I've gone back later and they superseded without swarming, old and new queen walking around together.

 

Don't know if it's the staples or the climate, but i suspect it's the staples.

I haven’t had any superseded but we have such a slow buildup we don’t have swarming either. 

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Maybe you weren't quite as lazy as me last season and don't have as many old queens. 😉

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1 minute ago, Alastair said:

Maybe you weren't quite as lazy as me last season and don't have as many old queens. 😉

I would have 10% queens over a year old . 
 

They turn over pretty quick these days, for no obvious reason . It might be the staples  but you’d need to set up a bayvarol versus staples trial to be sure 

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I came across a hive yesterday that had 2 queens,

One very dark almost Black and one so  yellow it appeared to glow.

On the other hand I found a red marked queen which for me was the spring or Autumn  before last

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

Maybe you weren't quite as lazy as me last season and don't have as many old queens. 😉

Lol, lots of old queens cause I got too busy in autumn to any queen rearing and cause my grafting skills are crap. 

 

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I did some work last spring comparing Bayvarol treatments (among others) with Phil’s OA strips. I saw the same thing you did @Alastair the Bayvarol hives grew noticeably faster and stronger and OA hives were delayed. I mentioned it to Phil at the time that I did have a honey yield impact as well. My thought at the time was that I had put too much acid into the hive too early as they were building and they struggled to deal with it and recover in time for the flow.

 

the interesting thing though was mite numbers - these were WAY higher in the Bayvarol hives and by mid season those hives still “looked healthy” but were carrying a high mite load.   The OA hives by comparison were carrying zero mites. It was a startling difference.  I was late getting post-harvest treatments in, the Bayvarol hives collapsed over winter and the OA hives are still going strong now.

 

this spring I have managed my OA introduction a little differently and matched numbers of strips to strength of the brood nest adding strips each visit as I thought appropriate. Our hives are in great shape right now.  Unfortunately I’ve been using up old strips with no edge protection and these strips are being destroyed in as little as 3 weeks in most hives now.

 

James your comment on Phil’s photo of a hive not treated since April - I could easily achieve that on higher-altitude sites here (and in fact have done in the past) they would be right on the edge of swarming now Most seasons, but build up has definitely been delayed for us this year. I’ve found autumn treatments like that, going into winter clean with good queens and plenty of food, will run through until the following summer - at which point they typically collapse.

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Thanks Pinnacle that is great info. I wonder if the hive is acidified somewhat and mite killing continues after the strips are removed?

 

This was my first go with staples so i just followed what seems to be the general consensus about dose rates, but like you, I think there may be a learning process and next time around i'll probably do the same as you, adding strips as seems appropriate.

 

Next interesting thing will be the winter treatment. I do not want to lose hives or have them go extremely weak, so it's going to be a lot of experimentation.

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On 2/11/2019 at 7:51 PM, jamesc said:

Ok, so, in the cool of the verandah this morning I sat scrolling through photos and wondering at the demise of my hives last year. And I started looking at the dates and the strengths of the colonies. So I'll throw these photos up as something to put into Phils trials ..... that a smarter brain than mine can use them to the communal advantage in order to learn how to use the O/A to our advantage.

Ah crud ..... someones hacked my data and the phone don't work  and it's getting bogged with ads.

8086C956-E2F1-4866-BAF7-54B92D431725.jpeg

0E3074BF-490D-418B-AF86-E55D518913B1.jpeg

D61169B7-8871-453F-AB9C-DFCBC0B498D8.jpeg

1BF5E637-E765-4EE2-B78F-504E39D8A282.jpeg

CF6E0F6F-C8AA-4959-953D-21AEC925F1A0.jpeg

OK .... got that done.

 

I was looking at the photos, and the dates ...... and I got to thinking. We started taking honey off on January 8 2019, and as we took honey off we placed four staples in the brood. On the 7 march the bees still looked good, and many had done another two boxes. We placed more staples at about that time, and it was after that that the hives collapsed.

Why ?

Some had a very high mite loading, but past experience from the staples  told us they could control the problem .

The second to last photo says it all.

The last photos says we just hunkered down into hibernation and would pick up the pieces in the spring.

 

I am still nine the wiser as to the collapse, apart from the fact that the Varroa won the battle, possibly.....

 

 

James, in your photo series, the last photo June 1 that can't be part of the series though - because impossible IMO for a hive to deteriorate that badly from being alive to wax moth wall to wall in six weeks....also on that last photo it looks like a blue shop towel on top of the bars?

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10 hours ago, Alastair said:

Thanks Pinnacle that is great info. I wonder if the hive is acidified somewhat and mite killing continues after the strips are removed?

 

This was my first go with staples so i just followed what seems to be the general consensus about dose rates, but like you, I think there may be a learning process and next time around i'll probably do the same as you, adding strips as seems appropriate.

 

Next interesting thing will be the winter treatment. I do not want to lose hives or have them go extremely weak, so it's going to be a lot of experimentation.

Trial a couple of apiaries half synthetic and half Oxalic/glycerin gib (or cardboard) strips?

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5 hours ago, CraBee said:

James, in your photo series, the last photo June 1 that can't be part of the series though - because impossible IMO for a hive to deteriorate that badly from being alive to wax moth wall to wall in six weeks....also on that last photo it looks like a blue shop towel on top of the bars?

You are right Crabee ......all these bees were moved into the dew in late January/February .....live hives .  I have never seen  seen wax moth like that down here .....ever ..... it was the only hive in the operation and we promptly burnt the whole thing.

The shop cloth was a left over from supering up in late November ..... we had a few left over, so chucked them in A'la Yesbut.

We pretty much run the operation on a blue print ..... everything gets the same treatment in the same round ...... evened up, disease checked , varroa treatment ..... so when we hit the flow every hive should look identical and have equal opportunity. Despite our efforts, sometimes the bees think otherwise.

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17 minutes ago, jamesc said:

the only hive in the operation and we promptly burnt the whole thing.

If this hive is such an outlier, why are your using it as an example?

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