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DuncanCook

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8 hours ago, Daley said:

Judging by the amount of pollen and the lack of any brood that I can see, it’s only queenlessness, even if they’re not dead yet, both hives are likely toast.

Doesn’t look like a PMS hive to me in the pics that looks like it’s just ugly honey cappings.

 

@DuncanCook where did you get your bees from?

Did someone is Waihi sell them to you?

You need some after sales service in future.

 

I think you need to learn a little more before you get any more bees, when did you last look at the hives?

Is there any brood in them at all? I can’t see any in your pics?

For there to be no brood they’ve been queenless for at least 3 weeks

Thanks for your feedback Daley

 

I got the bees last November from a commercial beekeeper in the Coromandel on the recommendation of a  friend. when he delivered them he said that he was going to replace the Queens in about three weeks, that didn't happen and no response to my texts or phone calls. Both existing queens died within the first month but the colonies made new and after a shaky start all seemed well and they thrived throughout the Summer. I left them a full box each of honey for the winter and alcohol wash after treatment showed 1 mite per 300 in one hive and none in the other, they continued bringing in stores right through winter and all seemed good.

I treated with Bayvarol on September 5th and apart from occasionally lifting the lid basically left them to it, I removed the treatment on 19 Oct and a check showed the same varroa level as in Autumn but bee numbers were way down  and although there was a little patchy brood no eggs so I guess I lost the Queens some time during treatment.

I take your point ref learning more but I spent 2 years reading books and doing Saturday morning courses before I took the plunge, there is only so much you can learn without practical experience and despite posting on here and joining clubs my efforts to find a mentor have so far fallen on stoney ground.

Not withstanding the current disaster I do feel that I have learned a great deal over the past 12 months so although I am a bit depressed now I will probably press on and try to learn from my mistakes.

 

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@DuncanCook- dont loose heart.

I'm sorry you have experienced the all too familiar deafening silence in your attempt to find someone to help you, and wish I were closer to assist- and hope very much you succeed.

Have you tried calling any local commercials and asking if you could talk with them? (you will need a thick skin tho to deal with the rejections). Where is the nearest bee club? I could be well worth while travelling some distance to attend a club. I have a 3/4 hour drive to ours.

8 hours ago, Daley said:

I think you need to learn a little more before you get any more bees

This may be harsh, or correct- but even these failures should have provided a learning curve. Most people don't set out to fail- and the fact you have been on the forum for a couple of years shows you are trying.

Push on with your attempts to find a mentor- get more bees and enjoy.

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Thanks for your encouragement Mummzie, I have joined the Waikato club but meetings in Hamilton are just too far, also the Thames group and BOP. I have attended meetings of both the latter groups, lovely people and have had some really good advice and discussion but that is not the same as someone experienced looking over your shoulder as you open the hive.

It is bucketing down with rain at the moment but when it stops I will take out the frames affected by wax moth and freeze them and decide what to do with the frames of honey left on the hive that wasn't robbed.

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Yes agree with @Daley the photos don’t show enough of the frames to know what’s happening in your hive. 

It does sound like you have at least one queenless hive ( the weakest one) and one with a failing queen. 

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Try not to be discouraged you have done well up till now and it really is just one of those things that happen in beekeeping.

We are all learning and that never stops. Anyone can be a honey producer but It takes doing the hard yards to become a beekeeper and your journey has only just begun.

i had to google Waihi and what a beautiful place in the world you call home :)

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1 hour ago, DuncanCook said:

Thanks for your feedback Daley

 

I got the bees last November from a commercial beekeeper in the Coromandel on the recommendation of a  friend. when he delivered them he said that he was going to replace the Queens in about three weeks, that didn't happen and no response to my texts or phone calls. Both existing queens died within the first month but the colonies made new and after a shaky start all seemed well and they thrived throughout the Summer. I left them a full box each of honey for the winter and alcohol wash after treatment showed 1 mite per 300 in one hive and none in the other, they continued bringing in stores right through winter and all seemed good.

I treated with Bayvarol on September 5th and apart from occasionally lifting the lid basically left them to it, I removed the treatment on 19 Oct and a check showed the same varroa level as in Autumn but bee numbers were way down  and although there was a little patchy brood no eggs so I guess I lost the Queens some time during treatment.

I take your point ref learning more but I spent 2 years reading books and doing Saturday morning courses before I took the plunge, there is only so much you can learn without practical experience and despite posting on here and joining clubs my efforts to find a mentor have so far fallen on stoney ground.

Not withstanding the current disaster I do feel that I have learned a great deal over the past 12 months so although I am a bit depressed now I will probably press on and try to learn from my mistakes.

 

I’m not trying to be mean, if I was near you I would help you but I am in Gisborne.

I have an aunt and uncle in Waihi beach, next time I’m visiting them I’ll endeavour to come and see you.

 

There will be beekeepers near you who are capable of helping you but in recent years experienced beekeepers have started to shy away from helping beginners because of the number of new commercial operators starting up and putting bees where there isn’t room, I have friends who have been shafted by people they have helped and this makes them not want to help people.

Its not your fault and it’s a bit unfair, also this is a really busy time of year and I don’t even have enough time to do my own stuff.

 

I think you need to be inspecting your brood about once every 2 weeks between September and December because a lot can happen in two weeks.

Sometimes there isn’t a lot you can do but it’s good to always look for eggs when your in a hive or find the queen, as long as you pick a time when it’s nice and warm you won’t do the bees any harm.

The only time it’s not good to dig around in your brood nest is during requeening or when you have a virgin.

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40 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Try not to be discouraged you have done well up till now and it really is just one of those things that happen in beekeeping.

We are all learning and that never stops. Anyone can be a honey producer but It takes doing the hard yards to become a beekeeper and your journey has only just begun.

i had to google Waihi and what a beautiful place in the world you call home :)

Thanks for the encouragement, I don't think I am ready to give up yet but will stand back and consider my next steps very carefully

 

Yes we are lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of a beautiful country we bought 5 acres of neglected hillside which we are slowly renovating so not your typical retirement but keeps us active in body and mind

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47 minutes ago, Daley said:

I think you need to be inspecting your brood about once every 2 weeks between September and December because a lot can happen in two weeks.

Sometimes there isn’t a lot you can do but it’s good to always look for eggs when your in a hive or find the queen, as long as you pick a time when it’s nice and warm you won’t do the bees any harm.

The only time it’s not good to dig around in your brood nest is during requeening or when you have a virgin.

My mistake, I had the impression that it was best not to poke around too much while Varroa treatment was in and I actually forced myself not to look when I wanted to. Perhaps if I had I would have become aware of the problem sooner although whether or not I would have had the expertise to remedy it is debatable.

I don't think you are being mean at all, constructive criticism is always good

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@Grant I’m trying to send Duncan a message but it says he can’t receive any

i thought those that had conversation privileges could send messages to those that don’t ?

 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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55 minutes ago, DuncanCook said:

Thanks for the encouragement, I don't think I am ready to give up yet but will stand back and consider my next steps very carefully

 

Yes we are lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of a beautiful country we bought 5 acres of neglected hillside which we are slowly renovating so not your typical retirement but keeps us active in body and mind

I too live in a beautiful isolated part of NZ  With limited access to  physical bee keeping help.

I have a mate down the road who has kept bees for years but he has a pre industrial attitude to beekeeping, and the modern world in general ,so we clash at times.

I have learnt most from people on the forum.

Generally in my bee keeping I have lurched from crisis to disaster and back to crisis with the odd success in the middle to keep me sucked in.

Do not give up , things can work out and bees can be remarkable in their come back from the brink capacity .

And you have already invested in the gear.

I am hoping that this year , with the cooperation of the higher power , I may even get a box of honey .

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44 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

@Grant I’m trying to send Duncan a message but it says he can’t receive any

i thought those that had conversation privileges could send messages to those that don’t ?

 

The current level set is to send to those that can only, and those that can't, can't, as per our discussions. 

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46 minutes ago, Grant said:

The current level set is to send to those that can only, and those that can't, can't, as per our discussions. 

 

So if I’m wanting to send a private conversation how do I do that?

if I’m wanting to try and help someone out surely I don’t have to go through a whole heap of hassle to do so ?

 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

So if I’m wanting to send a private conversation how do I do that?

I don't believe you can unless they've also donated. Which I reckon is fair enough. 

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

I don't believe you can unless they've also donated. Which I reckon is fair enough. 

I am sure I donated.

But it has not come through with the new software so I have lost my inbox 

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10 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

Thanks for your encouragement Mummzie, I have joined the Waikato club but meetings in Hamilton are just too far, also the Thames group and BOP. I have attended meetings of both the latter groups, lovely people and have had some really good advice and discussion but that is not the same as someone experienced looking over your shoulder as you open the hive.

It is bucketing down with rain at the moment but when it stops I will take out the frames affected by wax moth and freeze them and decide what to do with the frames of honey left on the hive that wasn't robbed.

@DuncanCook we are members of the Waikato club.

the evenings are of interest, but it’s the practical and experience of a mentor found through the forum that has made the real difference 

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9 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

My mistake, I had the impression that it was best not to poke around too much while Varroa treatment was in and I actually forced myself not to look when I wanted to. Perhaps if I had I would have become aware of the problem sooner although whether or not I would have had the expertise to remedy it is debatable.

I don't think you are being mean at all, constructive criticism is always good

I too, had the same impression last year! 

This Spring, the  Bayvarol treatment went in at the beginning of spring and moved around with the brood

 

 

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@DuncanCook I'm picking you are about two hours from me, which isn't out of the question, but November is. It's pollination time and I feel lucky if I get home to a good nights sleep. I will be human again about mid-December. Maybe I'll take a trip out, but until then;

I think you perhaps worry more than you should. You appear to know more than a lot of people starting up. Your swarm trap was good work. Most new beekeepers over estimate the strength of their hives, and I suspect yours were weak from the off.

1.Glad to see your swarm trap worked. Is that the design I said was too small in the deep box?

2.You've lost some bees. Move on, we all do. Concentrate on the swarm and make the most of your good fortune.

3.I understand you want to learn what happened, and I can speculate with the best of them, but you appear to be able to eliminate AFB.

4.Secure those honey frames. Drop them in a freezer for at least 48hr, then store them somewhere ant/wasp/bee proof where they wont melt. I'd look at giving them to the swarm to look after soon.

5. Put strips in the swarm soon; it's good to treat with no/little brood and it sounds like you have a high chance or re-invasion from surrounding hives.

6. Inspect and post a report on the status of the swarm (with picture(s)) to the group asap.

Edited by Dave Black
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11 hours ago, Dave Black said:

@DuncanCook I'm picking you are about two hours from me, which isn't out of the question, but November is. It's pollination time and I feel lucky if I get home to a good nights sleep. I will be human again about mid-December. Maybe I'll take a trip out, but until then;

I think you perhaps worry more than you should. You appear to know more than a lot of people starting up. Your swarm trap was good work. Most new beekeepers over estimate the strength of their hives, and I suspect yours were weak from the off.

1.Glad to see your swarm trap worked. Is that the design I said was too small in the deep box?

2.You've lost some bees. Move on, we all do. Concentrate on the swarm and make the most of your good fortune.

3.I understand you want to learn what happened, and I can speculate with the best of them, but you appear to be able to eliminate AFB.

4.Secure those honey frames. Drop them in a freezer for at least 48hr, then store them somewhere ant/wasp/bee proof where they wont melt. I'd look at giving them to the swarm to look after soon.

5. Put strips in the swarm soon; it's good to treat with no/little brood and it sounds like you have a high chance or re-invasion from surrounding hives.

6. Inspect and post a report on the status of the swarm (with picture(s)) to the group asap.

Thanks Dave

Mid December would probably be better for me as well

Unfortunately after a day of heavy rain yesterday the bees in my swarm trap seem to have moved on so I guess they must have agreed with you that it is too small

I am in the process of making a larger one as per your advice and in the meantime I am not going to rush out and buy more bees but will heed Daley's advice and keep studying

I am certainly not ready to give up though and if serendipity should bring me more bees through the swarm box  will be delighted.

Although the evidence was very clear nobody has made much of the prescence of wax moth in the hives so I guess that is mainly a function of the very weak hive.

I have been meaning to make a contribution to the site for some time now Frazzledfrozzle so will do that soon, I hadn't realised it affected the functionality of the forum though. It is worth it for me just for the help and understanding from members I have received on this thread alone.

 

 

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2 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

I have been meaning to make a contribution to the site for some time now Frazzledfrozzle so will do that soon, I hadn't realised it affected the functionality of the forum though. It is worth it for me just for the help and understanding from members I have received on this thread alone.

Only you can judge what it is worth.  However, I for one feel that it is a very cheap investment in my world of beekeeping.

We all learn something on here. (But only if you participate)

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On 09/11/2017 at 7:51 AM, DuncanCook said:

the bees in my swarm trap seem to have moved on so I guess they must have agreed with you that it is too small

A somewhat phyrric victory. But it 'trapped', so I hope you left in place (just prepare to check and empty it). Where there is one swarm, frequently there are more. 

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What an interesting thread. 

 

Man there are some helpful and knowledgeable people here. 

 

I hope you catch some bees soon and get back on the horse. If you do:

 

1. Let the swarm build all new comb for a couple of weeks before introducing any of the built out frames in storage. 

2. Treat them straight away (strips)

3. Over inspect, not under. It’s fun and you learn a lot. And, while it may disrupt the bees a bit, you will really get to know the inside of a hive. 

 

You are are clever to have two hives. But for now focus on growing one to be huge and use the other one for resources and education (once you are up and running again). 

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The only way you learn about keeping bees is by keeping bees yourself.  More reading helps not, so I would suggest getting back on the horse and getting some more bees right now as this is the growth time of the year.  And keep on looking and inspecting as suggested by the previous post.

Good luck, and keep on asking for advice and help.

 

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6 hours ago, tudor said:

The only way you learn about keeping bees is by keeping bees yourself.  More reading helps not, so I would suggest getting back on the horse and getting some more bees right now as this is the growth time of the year.  And keep on looking and inspecting as suggested by the previous post.

Good luck, and keep on asking for advice and help.

 

Yep the best way to learn is by doing for sure.

 

But if your shelling out upwards of $300 for a nuc you need a mentor to help you otherwise you could end up just throwing money away.

 

Learning what is normal for the bees is a very important part of looking after them well and if you don’t know what normal looks like you can miss some cues and kill your bees.

I really think the person your buying your nucs off should be helping you.

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On 11/11/2017 at 6:44 AM, Dave Black said:

A somewhat phyrric victory. But it 'trapped', so I hope you left in place (just prepare to check and empty it). Where there is one swarm, frequently there are more. 

Yes it is still in place and odd bees are still nosing around now and then so fingers crossed, we have family staying at the moment so I am having to divide my time, also only room for 10 frames at a time in the freezer so has to be 4 lots of 48 hours before they are all frozen (I am sealing the ones I remove from the freezer in black plastic bags, is that right?)

I also wondered if I could put fresh frames and a little lemon grass oil in one of the now empty boxes and see if it attracts anything.

You are absolutely right Daley, we are pensioners so the $1000.00 we spent on those two boxes represented a significant investment and it would not be fair to my wife to throw another wad of cash at the problem without being certain that I have a really good chance of not repeating the same mistakes.

 

ps. Just to be pedantic no losses to you Dave so it cannot really be described as a Pyrrhic victory. (My children and grand children hate it but I am a pedant)

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1 hour ago, DuncanCook said:

only room for 10 frames at a time in the freezer so has to be 4 lots of 48 hours before they are all frozen (I am sealing the ones I remove from the freezer in black plastic bags, is that right?)

Correct.

 

1 hour ago, DuncanCook said:

I could put fresh frames and a little lemon grass oil in one of the now empty boxes and see if it attracts anything.

Good idea. Raise the height if you can.

 

1 hour ago, DuncanCook said:

to be pedantic no losses to you Dave so it cannot really be described as a Pyrrhic victory

I understand your point, but I share in your loss (of the swarm)  ;)

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