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December 2019 Apiary Diary


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Camping in my own backyard, house is full of kids & mokopuna   @Goran   Mokopuna = Maori = grandchildren

No rest for the wicked ! This yard took me by surprise today, and bears witness to what I was taught many years ago ..... "A good beekeeper will go broke in a bad site, and  a poor beekeeper wi

Beautiful day on thurs,trailer refurb completed so tiki toured up the east coast,prospecting ,inspecting,supering and snorkelling...

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12 minutes ago, Alastair said:

 

Interesting though how now with lower honey prices, we are seeing the return of 2 box brood nests.

yes thats quite possible. but its probably more about running the same number of hives with less staff and doubles are less swarm prone so can handle longer round times.

some of the crowds only visit the hives once a month.

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46 minutes ago, tristan said:

i think it depends a lot on your local conditions. doubles can run more brood but can get over populated and swarm before main flow starts. doubles tend to pack honey into the brood boxes when flow is patchy which is fairly typical. in a poor year all your crop is in the brood boxes (especially when you can only get one box in the flow). doubles take a lot more to go brood check however they can be less swarmy and can suitcase check.

fairly common practise to run doubles to build up bee numbers then drop the excluder down and convert them to single broods for the crop. thats a fair bit of work and not always successful which means wasting huge amounts of time fixing it and often annoying the hell out of the extraction guy.

Putting an excluder between the two broods is our current method.

Hive runs as double brood in spring, the singled during/after pollination. 

Easy to requeen. Gives us a good food store box. Avoids having a double full of brood and a heavy third. No surplus at harvest. Less feeding. A lot of work to single, it's a turd job. Especially during pollination.

We usually pull the excluder in autumn. Someone nearby left excluder in all winter and spring. Worked very well. Though not a very swarmy spring this season. He set a brood frame count, say 3 beginning of October, pulled rest to fix deads. 

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21 minutes ago, tristan said:

yes thats quite possible. but its probably more about running the same number of hives with less staff and doubles are less swarm prone so can handle longer round times.

some of the crowds only visit the hives once a month.

 

Interesting comment Tristan. What I noticed going to singles was a lot less labour in queen finding, swarm control as in finding queen cells, that kind of thing. But on the other hand, you are forcing the bees to be more swarm minded, thereby requiring more beekeeper intervention. All up though, probably less work and definately less equipment. But yes, if you want monthly visits in spring don't bother with single brood boxes. 😳

 

Honey harvest, I've been surprised, a properly run single brood box hive can yeild about as big of a harvest as a double. My old boss from way back told me a queen actually only lays enough eggs to completely fill a single box, but in the doubles we ran then, the bees could shape it naturally plus have food stores accessable. With that principle in mind I have got my own methods to where at peak breeding season the bees will have brood in most all of the cells in the bottom box. And the hives that accomplish that are also the ones that make the bumper crops.

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36 minutes ago, Alastair said:

My old boss from way back told me a queen actually only lays enough eggs to completely fill a single box, but in the doubles we ran then, the bees could shape it naturally plus have food stores accessable.

what i have seen is a super queen can fill two FD brood boxes. most decent queens will do a FD and 3/4. hence the shape in the top FD.

a single FD even when fully utilised is a bit to small hence swarmy. that can be overcome to a degree with manipulation.

bumper crops is often about timing. having the right amount of bees peak at the right time.

however what also matters is what happens in a poor season.

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The frustration I have with most of my sites in spring and early summer is that if I run single broods the bees fill 1/4 - 1/2 of the honey super above the excluder with Broome and blackberry pollen. It’s hard to get that 1st honey super clean with only honey and then that becomes my wax moth box....😬

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4 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

How would you know?

 

In my experience, the bigger and better the queen, the longer the lifespan. On average of course.

Because Ive looked enough of them.
Whats more bigger queens that "might" have a larger spermetha would also need to mate better to fill that spermetha which adds another  layer of multiplication to the probabilities

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Big queens do mate better, my years working for a commercial queen breeder showed me that.

 

And after that, running queens in hives that make a decent honey crop.

 

You can have your runty queens, I'll stick with big fat ones. 😉

34 minutes ago, dansar said:

The frustration I have with most of my sites in spring and early summer is that if I run single broods the bees fill 1/4 - 1/2 of the honey super above the excluder with Broome and blackberry pollen. It’s hard to get that 1st honey super clean with only honey and then that becomes my wax moth box....😬

 

Do you take all supers off and winter them in singles Dan?

 

The clogging with pollen is because they think that area is for brood raising and they stock it accordingly, just, no larvae show up to eat those stores. Maybe just leave that second box on for the winter?

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27 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Big queens do mate better, my years working for a commercial queen breeder showed me that.

 

And after that, running queens in hives that make a decent honey crop.

 

You can have your runty queens, I'll stick with big fat ones. 😉

 

Do you take all supers off and winter them in singles Dan?

 

The clogging with pollen is because they think that area is for brood raising and they stock it accordingly, just, no larvae show up to eat those stores. Maybe just leave that second box on for the winter?

Yeah I have always wintered as singles. There’s been a change in my work load through late winter when I would normally be doing checks for feed stores. That caught me unprepared last season and a number of hives starved. That won’t happen next season. I’ll just be trying to control swarming instead!🤣

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6 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

 

you could try to place a piece of plastic or a piece of board over the middle of the excluder leaving say 2-3 inch gap around the sides so bees can come through the sides.

That can slow/stop the amount of pollen placed in that area.

Good idea. I’ve done something similar using it as a pheromone board when rearing queens before.

Some of the sites fill up a complete FD box with Broome pollen, drives me absolutely nuts. It’s good if you’re splitting all the hives but a nightmare trying to keep the brood nest open.

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8 hours ago, Alastair said:

clogging with pollen is because they think that area is for brood raising and they stock it accordingly, just, no larvae show up to eat those stores.

Yes, and often the bees keep some frame space open directly above excluder. Anticipating queen arrival. 

I think single broods are good early crop gathers, and doubles later/longer flows. 

 

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20 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

 

you could try to place a piece of plastic or a piece of board over the middle of the excluder leaving say 2-3 inch gap around the sides so bees can come through the sides.

That can slow/stop the amount of pollen placed in that area.

 

All my excluders are like that, only 4 to 5 cm open at either end. Have used them for more than 15 years, and you get very little pollen above the excluders.

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3 minutes ago, Pat MacKay said:

Shiny Bees:  What does this mean when they are like this?  (Obviously, I'm a Very Beginning beekeeper!)

That depends. They could be old bees or they could have Chronic Payalysis Bee Virus . Old bees lose their hair with old age and the sick bees with virus lose hair very quickly after contracting the virus, and are not necessarily old. 

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On 15/12/2019 at 12:29 AM, G Przybylski said:

JamesC,  A couple of questions and some thoughts about your unexpected marked queen.

 

Was the hive always occupied by a colony, or is it possible your colony absconded or died out between the time you last looked, and when you discovered that marked queen?

 

If the hive was empty or nearly empty, it's possible a swarm just moved into it.  The marked queen would be the mother queen of the colony that produced the swarm, obviously. i.e. a primary swarm.  They're glad to move into digs that smell good. I had three colonies move into vacant equipment in our back yard just last year. One built up beautifully, and gifted us some honey. One of them eventually died out.  (it's "winter" in the bay area right now)

 

If the colony wasn't particularly strong, and that marked queen and a "swarm" of bees absconded from someone else's yard,  perhaps the swarm engineered a Usirpation of your colony.
The Africanized bees in southern California are reported pulling off this usurpation stunt with annoying frequency. 
It goes like this: A small swarm clumps on the side of the target hive;

some of the workers move into the target hive, and kill off the queen inside of it;

then the swarm on the side moves their interloper queen in under the protection of her loyal workers until the colony gets used to her.

 

So which scenario do you think it could have been?

 

A couple of summers ago I spotted a small swarm on the side of a hive, so I tried to move them into some empty equipment.
I think they absconded again rather than getting established. I didn't have time to check for a queen in the hive where I first saw that swarm.

If I see something like that again, I'll treat it like a split opportunity -- I'll create a nuc for the swarm, and give them some brood and food.


We learn from our mistakes if we can figure out what our mistakes are.

Apolgies for the delay in getting back .... we get kinda busy in the final push to Christmas when we like to shut the shed door and go do something else for a few weeks.

I don't think it was a swarm that took up residence in a deadout as we generally place all deadouts above a feeder and mat on the bottom board. Keeps the mice out and makes it easy to tally up up how many nucs we need next visit.

So a swarm queen ...... maybe visiting a queen less or weak hive and liked it so much she stayed.  She looks quite young to be a swarm queen ,and obviously was'nt a vrgin when she arrived.

Probably happens all the time and we never know it as we don't mark queens.   Our neighbour though is at the top of his game , and does mark ..... so that might be the answer.

Next time we chat I'll ask.

What I should have done was marked the hive and kept her as a breeder as the neighbour has done some good work on breeding.

Bettter still, I'll send him the photo on txt as i think he follows other social media these days.

 

 

 

 

 

This wss one lucky bunny...

12974549-E80A-4101-B3AF-AAD277E93793.jpeg

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