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Alastair

Whole Apiary Broodless in Auckland

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Bit of a surprise today, checked an 8 hive apiary and not a stitch of brood in any of the hives. 

 

First hive or two i thought there must be a queen problem, but then found the same thing in all the hives, couldn't be a bad queen in all of them so must be something else.

 

They are not black bees they are your average Auckland mutts, tending towards Italian.

 

Will be starting the varroa strip removing round next week so will be interesting to see what i find in the rest of the hives. :|

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As soon as the colder weather came in about three weeks ago they seemed to shut down, fortunately the robbing did too.

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The robbing was miserable. Everything had bees in it and I lost several kgs of honey and a lot of bees in 8 hours when I screwed up closing a hive because I’m an idiot.

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58 minutes ago, cBank said:

The robbing was miserable. Everything had bees in it and I lost several kgs of honey and a lot of bees in 8 hours when I screwed up closing a hive because I’m an idiot.

I closed up all my entrances but on one hive it was just not strong enough and was over whelmed anyway .

But now there is a flow on I am thinking about opening them up a bit .

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1 hour ago, cBank said:

The robbing was miserable. Everything had bees in it and I lost several kgs of honey and a lot of bees in 8 hours when I screwed up closing a hive because I’m an idiot.

 

Wouldn't be that hard on yourself!  It happens.  

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I finished my 4 week round of trial Hives today and of the 13 untreated control hives 11 were broodless with Varroa counts that were not alarming and 2 had brood and alarming counts.

The 30 others had Brood, treatments and low to Zero counts.

Im starting to see evidence that the most powerful tool against Varroa is the Brood break, not only as an interruption in the varroa breeding cycle but also in that the brood break ages the young bees past their fatty stage which starves the the phoretic Mites.


 

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33 minutes ago, Philbee said:

evidence that the most powerful tool against Varroa is the Brood break, 

 

I believe this is how the most successful ‘treatment free’ keepers work... they force brood breaks. Not really sure of the details though. 

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Posted (edited)

We have hives here in Wanganui and up in the BOP and they all look the same with no brood and we had a SNIB Goup meeting and there was lot of beekeeper in the same boat 

Edited by Chris Valentine
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23 hours ago, Alastair said:

Bit of a surprise today, checked an 8 hive apiary and not a stitch of brood in any of the hives.  

 

 

I have the same issue, 3 hives no brood, 3 queens of different age and pedigree. I have never seen that before.

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Most of the treated Hives Ive been inspecting have lots of Brood and Bees

Its just the untreated control Hives that are broodless.
These broodless hives will not survive even although their V counts are survivable IMO as they probably wont have enough if any winter Bees.

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31 minutes ago, ctm said:

I have the same issue, 3 hives no brood, 3 queens of different age and pedigree. I have never seen that before.

It’ll be intersting to see what the winter is like. Do the bees know something we don’t?

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22 minutes ago, cBank said:

Do the bees know something we don’t?

Mine don't seem to know anything, brood, food, buzzing....

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Posted (edited)

Helped a friend shut down  her two hives on the weekend and gave them a very thorough brood check because of an outbreak in the area.

One had a handful of hatching brood plus a tiny patch of eggs and young brood and the other one had just a tiny patch of eggs and young brood. The other interesting thing was her hives are all plastic frames and it took two of us to get the two brood boxes apart. They were both way more difficult than any of my hives despite the gear being a lot newer than most of mine. All wood hives are just so much easier to work.

My hives definitely have less brood than I would expect at this time of year but I'm not worried. Most have got good autumn stores and good bee numbers and I find weak hives will actually breed longer than strong hives which seem to know they are good enough and that they don't need any more bees. Brood breaks for varoa control would probably be quite practical on a hobby scale but I can't see them working commercially. Is just too much work finding queens and then you have the problem of hives with two or even three queens. Often with two queens it is a new young supersedure Queen with the old Queen but I have seen hives many times over the years with two older queens and even occasionally three and I'm sure it happens more often than we think as I don't normally look for any extra queens.

Edited by john berry
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Posted (edited)

I have over a box of plastic frames .

Every time I give away a nuc people return the nuc boxes  full of plastic frames.

It seems thats what people are starting out with these days .

I just hope for a decent season this coming yr to draw them out .

Edited by kaihoka
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True. Making, wiring, and embedding frames, is almost a lost art.

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33 minutes ago, Alastair said:

True. Making, wiring, and embedding frames, is almost a lost art.

 

Probably the one bit of wooden gear that irritates me is a running cost of buying more foundation. Meanwhile I have a little pile of wax that is slowly banking up. I need to make foundation I guess but it doesn’t seem easy.

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Ours have been broodless for about 3 weeks. Some are starting to lay again but most aren’t. 

Hive populations are dropping fast so I hope the queens get a wriggle on soon. Hives with heaps of stores are as broodless and the ones needing a feed. 

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On 7/05/2019 at 6:36 PM, Chris Valentine said:

We have hives here in Wanganui and up in the BOP and they all look the same with no brood and we had a SNIB Goup meeting and there was lot of beekeeper in the same boat 

Yeah, all our hives have no brood in either.  With the first few hives I found it in, I thought the queens were faulty - but it can't be that in all our hives and all our apiaries...!

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On 7/05/2019 at 9:48 PM, nikki watts said:

Ours have been broodless for about 3 weeks. Some are starting to lay again but most aren’t. 

Hive populations are dropping fast so I hope the queens get a wriggle on soon. Hives with heaps of stores are as broodless and the ones needing a feed. 

I would be surprised if the bee population in a healthy hive is diving because the bees should be winter bees by now.  And they are expected to live for some months.  It should be no problem if there is little or no brood, as the queen will start laying again quite soon.

 

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On 7/05/2019 at 7:58 PM, john berry said:

Brood breaks for varoa control would probably be quite practical on a hobby scale but I can't see them working commercially

If it is shown that the Queen or at least a specific type of Queen shuts down in the face of rising Varroa numbers then its simply a matter of figuring out how to shut here down at will.

A tincture of mite maybe?

Queens like this which I have, cant be left to use this measure as a sole defense because even my broodless  

untreated hive that have surprisingly low mite counts are doomed  IMO, they will struggle to make spring

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On 7/05/2019 at 9:10 PM, cBank said:

 

Probably the one bit of wooden gear that irritates me is a running cost of buying more foundation. Meanwhile I have a little pile of wax that is slowly banking up. I need to make foundation I guess but it doesn’t seem easy.

I made my own foundation this year with surplus wax. It is not difficult.  I placed these frames in at the end of the season and the bees didn't touch it. They rather worked the hexagonal patterned black frames and bought wax foundation. I will place them in  again at the beginning of the season and see if they draw them out. Maybe I made it too thick?

foundation.jpg

foundation1.JPG

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This might be the same as a method I saw somewhere. I found that it stuck to my bit of wood. Was that just a flat sheet, not embossed? I was contemplating making a mould from some plastic foundation somehow.

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3 hours ago, cBank said:

This might be the same as a method I saw somewhere. I found that it stuck to my bit of wood. Was that just a flat sheet, not embossed? I was contemplating making a mould from some plastic foundation somehow.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7VxZVSLm4E

You have to dip your wooden mould in water first, and roll the sheet flatter afterwards else it gets brittle. I made half a full frame sheets and melt them together into one so I did not had to have such a big wax bath. A flat sheet gives your bees a bit of artistic freedom. I can tell you next year if they appreciate this.

 

As for moulds, you might fill both sides of a plastic frame with liquid resin (remove) and press those bits together with wax in between. I think you will get many airbubbles and  need a huge force. You will also have issues in getting the wax out of the finer detail. If you ever invent the wheel, let me know.

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20 hours ago, tudor said:

I would be surprised if the bee population in a healthy hive is diving because the bees should be winter bees by now.  

 

That’s what’s worrying me. 

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On 7/05/2019 at 9:10 PM, cBank said:

 

Probably the one bit of wooden gear that irritates me is a running cost of buying more foundation. Meanwhile I have a little pile of wax that is slowly banking up. I need to make foundation I guess but it doesn’t seem easy.

 

As a spoon harvesting hobbyist,  I have just been going foundationless on my wooden frames - it's been surprisingly successful. Just iceblock sticks for them to build the comb off. 

If you're careful scraping away the honey you are left with a lovely bee built foundation to put back in the hive. 

 

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