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August 2018 Apiary Diary

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4 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Today I got my hakea hives ready for moving.

Which meant taking a 3/4 box off the top of a hive and removing about 7 frames of capped honey and replacing them with empty and half empty 3/4  frames .

Anything to make the hives lighter to lift .

I extracted a couple of frames to see what the honey was like .

The frames were a mix of really dark caramel tasting  thick honey and the light hakea.

I wonder if the dark honey is the white Spanish heath .

I found the missing queen , she was the unmarked virgin I saw in June .

She has layed out 6 frames in the top box and I did not look in the bottom box.

I wonder if she mated with the drones in my hives at home that are 4 klm away .

So against all conventional thinking queens can mate in winter temps of about 16 degrees .

WP_20180815_13_03_41_Pro-1.jpg

I don't think there was anything unconventional about it.  Far more likely, she mated late last autumn, didn't start laying until early July.  Very conventional for Queens that mate after mid-April to not start laying  until early July. Virgins do not mate at temperatures of 16 degrees, Drones do not  fly at 16 degrees, especially in winter, and it is a total flight of fancy to  think that drones  or virgins would be making mating flights under those conditions.  I have spent the last 35 springs willing virgins to mate at temps just nudging 19 degrees in the Far North, and it never happens.

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@David Yanke I agree with what you say.

But  on the 5 th of June I posted this .

went through the hives I had put in thea hakea today .

The hive I had reduced to one box now has a laying queen and a virgin.

When I took the strips out two weeks ago I saw a queen cell with the top off but I thought it must be an old one.

No chance of her mating , do I just leave them to sort it out .

The DB next to the single hive had an 18 month old queen .

Two weeks ago I saw her but no eggs .

This time I never saw her but did see two queen cells with the tops off.

I must have missed seeing them on the bottom of the frame so there may be a virgin in there to .

Why did they leave it so late to supersede.

The hives are filling up with honey.  The bottom box on the DB that was pretty much empty frames has cells full of fresh nectar .

The laying queen will get honey bound , I shall have to shuffle things around .

 

both the existing queens were marked .

they have both disappeared .

and there was a virgin in the hive and now there is an unmarked laying queen.

I can not explain it .

 

 

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@David Yanke 

So would the new queens just wait for 2 or 3 months to lay .

Or in this case in one hive there was no pause .

Could a queen mate at the beginning of June .

We had a warm autumn and temps of 19 on a couple of days .

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9 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

@David Yanke I agree with what you say.

But  on the 5 th of June I posted this .

went through the hives I had put in thea hakea today .

The hive I had reduced to one box now has a laying queen and a virgin.

When I took the strips out two weeks ago I saw a queen cell with the top off but I thought it must be an old one.

No chance of her mating , do I just leave them to sort it out .

The DB next to the single hive had an 18 month old queen .

Two weeks ago I saw her but no eggs .

This time I never saw her but did see two queen cells with the tops off.

I must have missed seeing them on the bottom of the frame so there may be a virgin in there to .

Why did they leave it so late to supersede.

The hives are filling up with honey.  The bottom box on the DB that was pretty much empty frames has cells full of fresh nectar .

The laying queen will get honey bound , I shall have to shuffle things around .

 

both the existing queens were marked .

they have both disappeared .

and there was a virgin in the hive and now there is an unmarked laying queen.

I can not explain it .

 

 

I can't either, but it sounds like you are beekeeping on a different planet than I am-  with honey flows in June, I guess anything is possible! No wonder you guys can get away with  yellow bees, by early June our bees have already been broodless for  over a month.

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12 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

@David Yanke 

So would the new queens just wait for 2 or 3 months to lay .

Or in this case in one hive there was no pause .

Could a queen mate at the beginning of June .

We had a warm autumn and temps of 19 on a couple of days .

Yes, I would experience it regularly back when we were sending lots of Queens to Canada, and would push things by grafting until the end of the first week of April.  Those late mated Queens  would often mate, and then just sit until the days started to lengthen.  Now I don't  push things, and have my last cells out before the end of March, and usually those virgins will mate and start to lay before shutting down.

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43 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

Yes, I would experience it regularly back when we were sending lots of Queens to Canada, and would push things by grafting until the end of the first week of April.  Those late mated Queens  would often mate, and then just sit until the days started to lengthen.  Now I don't  push things, and have my last cells out before the end of March, and usually those virgins will mate and start to lay before shutting down.

I was really hoping these hives would supersede earlier than they did.

They were a mother and daughter.

The mother did not swarm in spring,  just built one cell.

I was hoping she would do it again in late summer .

But they both left it very late.

I have a hive at home that stopped laying in early may for 2 months.

I am wondering if having no population pressure on my bees makes them behave differently.

Wind is the big bee keeping problem here and we have very little in winter .

But in spring it's a killer .

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1 hour ago, David Yanke said:

I can't either, but it sounds like you are beekeeping on a different planet than I am-  with honey flows in June, I guess anything is possible! No wonder you guys can get away with  yellow bees, by early June our bees have already been broodless for  over a month.

But you are in the far north and so much warmer.

You must have lots of winter flows .

I read you had hakea up there .

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38 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

But you are in the far north and so much warmer.

You must have lots of winter flows .

I read you had hakea up there .

Only winter flow here is out of the sugar tank.

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2 hours ago, BJC said:

Thank you. Did have a silly thought that maybe the bees had heard of wing clipping and thought we preferred them that way. Seeing a queen with what may have been deformed wing virus being smooshed made me wonder about that. She didn't go to waste at least. Was so annoyed with myself about the Queen wasp I found when I moved the spare top bars I wrote her an ode. Rolled her by accident and then gave her a chance to get away too. Been  watching my bees at the hive entrance and some of their behaviour is so fascinating. Managed to identify a bug I was unfamiliar with so perhaps a bit more study wouldn't go amiss. 

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10 hours ago, David Yanke said:

Yes, I would experience it regularly back when we were sending lots of Queens to Canada, and would push things by grafting until the end of the first week of April.  Those late mated Queens  would often mate, and then just sit until the days started to lengthen.  Now I don't  push things, and have my last cells out before the end of March, and usually those virgins will mate and start to lay before shutting down.

Out of interest David when do you start grafting in the spring?

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This is an Autumn Split (March)
Its donor Hive will not have had Synthetics in for at least 4 years
This is a typical Autumn split this season

 

OA Autumn split.jpg

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2 hours ago, Ted said:

Out of interest David when do you start grafting in the spring?

The 27th of August is the plan this season because the bees are telling me to wake up and get moving, but because we have had a run of pretty crap springs in recent years, I generally aim for the 1st of September or just after- it just isn't worth the risk of starting too early, and stuffing up a lot of nucs because you can't get virgins mated.  Back in my yellow bee, pre-varroa days, I would always start grafting on August 1st, and you could usually count on being able to cage off sealed brood by the first week in September- Awe, those were the days, beekeeping was so easy, and beekeepers kept bees for all the right reasons!

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31 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

Awe, those were the days, beekeeping was so easy, and beekeepers kept bees for all the right reasons!

Yes but my rotten sheilas still flew off down the road some where and came back with some crappy horrible eucalyptus brew. Some things don't change.

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8 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Yes but my rotten sheilas still flew off down the road some where and came back with some crappy horrible eucalyptus brew. Some things don't change.

Sometimes I think of moving to aus where most of my kids are and I could be a beek there.

They have no varroa.

But all my honey would taste like gum !!!

I think I would rather live with varroa.

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

Sometimes I think of moving to aus where most of my kids are and I could be a beek there.

They have no varroa.

But all my honey would taste like gum !!!

I think I would rather live with varroa.

Don’t forget about EFB and small hive beetle!!

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2 hours ago, David Yanke said:

The 27th of August is the plan this season because the bees are telling me to wake up and get moving, but because we have had a run of pretty crap springs in recent years, I generally aim for the 1st of September or just after- it just isn't worth the risk of starting too early, and stuffing up a lot of nucs because you can't get virgins mated.  Back in my yellow bee, pre-varroa days, I would always start grafting on August 1st, and you could usually count on being able to cage off sealed brood by the first week in September- Awe, those were the days, beekeeping was so easy, and beekeepers kept bees for all the right reasons!

Yes that was my plan too but as the hives were so far ahead this season I did my first graft on the 13th.  Mating is the key though and certainly the last couple of springs have been terrible.  Intend on using poly nucs for the first couple of rounds so if they don’t mate due to weather all I will have lost is a couple of cups of bees per Nuc.

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18 hours ago, Philbee said:

A while back James and David gave me some stick about a hungry little mating nuc I was bringing through winter
I cant find the posts but I said Id post some photos of it as time went by

Its at home and I feed it clean honey.
I will put this nuc somewhere generous and see what it grows into
Here it is this afternoon, still small but has staked it's claim.

pet nuc.jpg

I remember the picture of the apple size cluster! It's growing, and that says it all, aye Phil.

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17 minutes ago, Adam O'Sullivan said:

I remember the picture of the apple size cluster! It's growing, and that says it all, aye Phil.

Sure does

A vulnerable little hive wont survive winter if there is even the slightest  viral or parasitic  challenge.
This was a tennis ball cluster, although I have been feeding it, starvation issues are separate issues to viral/mite issues.
I dont think this hive actually got too close to starvation though.

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2 hours ago, Ted said:

Don’t forget about EFB and small hive beetle!!

Yes , the small hive beetle may eat all the gum  honey ?.

What can I say .

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2 hours ago, Ted said:

Yes that was my plan too but as the hives were so far ahead this season I did my first graft on the 13th.  Mating is the key though and certainly the last couple of springs have been terrible.  Intend on using poly nucs for the first couple of rounds so if they don’t mate due to weather all I will have lost is a couple of cups of bees per Nuc.

What do you think has been different about this winter .

It's certainly been wet but there has not been all the systems from the Antarctic . And souwesterlies.

Have all the north Easterlies kept you warmer .

 

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51 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

What do you think has been different about this winter .

It's certainly been wet but there has not been all the systems from the Antarctic . And souwesterlies.

Have all the north Easterlies kept you warmer .

 

Yes definitely been warmer with only a couple of real cold snaps.  I have put a lot of effort into getting the queens laying early - (pollen patties from beginning of June and regular syrup feeds from mid July) so I’d be pretty disappointed if they weren’t really firing!!  

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20 hours ago, David Yanke said:

I don't think there was anything unconventional about it.  Far more likely, she mated late last autumn, didn't start laying until early July.  Very conventional for Queens that mate after mid-April to not start laying  until early July. Virgins do not mate at temperatures of 16 degrees, Drones do not  fly at 16 degrees, especially in winter, and it is a total flight of fancy to  think that drones  or virgins would be making mating flights under those conditions.  I have spent the last 35 springs willing virgins to mate at temps just nudging 19 degrees in the Far North, and it never happens.

I disagree David. Queens and drones fly at those  lower temperatures in the South Waikato. They have to when that is the only option. If I was waiting for 19 degrees day temp queens wouldn’t be getting mated until mid to late November down here.

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16 minutes ago, dansar said:

I disagree David. Queens and drones fly at those  lower temperatures in the South Waikato. They have to when that is the only option. If I was waiting for 19 degrees day temp queens wouldn’t be getting mated until mid to late November down here.

Yes I agree.  One of my home hives had an old marked queen that I had used previously as a breeder so I was very well acquainted with her.  I checked it 3 weeks ago and found she had been superseded and there was a virgin running around.  Early this week I pinched a queen out of an overwintered poly to replace the virgin and discovered she was mated,  laying and had sealed worker brood.  The maximum temp was 17 degrees through that period.

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1 hour ago, dansar said:

I disagree David. Queens and drones fly at those  lower temperatures in the South Waikato. They have to when that is the only option. If I was waiting for 19 degrees day temp queens wouldn’t be getting mated until mid to late November down here.

There is an option, they don't fly.  You can believe they mate at below 19 degrees if you like, but I haver never seen it. If you want to believe they mate at 17 degrees in mid-winter, you can believe that as well.  Beekeepers have all sorts of strange beliefs.  Facts are, virgins  will rarely fly out on a mating  flight when the ambient air temperature is below 20 degrees. 

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1 minute ago, David Yanke said:

There is an option, they don't fly.  You can believe they mate at below 19 degrees if you like, but I haver never seen it. If you want to believe they mate at 17 degrees in mid-winter, you can believe that as well.  Beekeepers have all sorts of strange beliefs.  Facts are, virgins  will rarely fly out on a mating  flight when the ambient air temperature is below 20 degrees. 

How can you explain @Ted and my experience with our queens ?

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