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Rick Butler

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  1. Had a few losses early in winter and gave a couple of THB's away, now have 2 langs, 1 lang nuc, and 2 TBH.
  2. I've just gone through my Langstroth hives at home, putting clearer boards in and I'd be lucky to have a box and a half from each hive from my quick look. I suppose I have raised queens and made heaps of splits from these hives. And not to mention our one day per week of summer that we had down here! Still, we didn't do too bad, we did get plenty of honey from the early blossom flow and some cut comb before Christmas. The upside, I guess, is all the uncapped honey that they will be left with will feed them well over winter. After today's efforts it looks like I'll be over wintering 4x
  3. Looks like we often forget the gift of the bees, and their honey.
  4. Harvested from one of my TBH today. 11 kg of comb to crush and strain from 5 bars. Some of this comb was up to 50 mm between centers
  5. Rick Butler

    Treatment Free

    Just watch this, be patient at about 35 minutes he gets to the point
  6. Rick Butler

    Treatment Free

    At about 15 minutes he talks about bee incubation time and varroa breeding. At around 19 minutes he talks about cell size and influence on incubation time.
  7. I will not be making flat foundation for myself, like you say @@Jean MacDonald , the bees do fine for themselves. Both of my Chandler style hives have screened bottoms. And I use oxalic acid vapor if needed, but I also make use of drone brood for mite removal. But saying that, I fully agree that the consequences of using any treatment, no matter how "safe" or organic are not understood. (time for a bit of a rant- saddle up that high horse!) Michael Bush, in his book The Practical Beekeeper says that by treating at all, we are killing the good organisms with the bad, breed bees that can
  8. I think a 4 foot long golden mean "style" may be the go, I might build one for next year. I have been using foundation less lang frames quite a bit, wired and unwired (they just build right over the wire) they work well for the non TBH keeper. I also thought about plain flat foundation, the Fat bee man talks about this a bit. Lots of options even for the less adventurous. The just have a go types always get all the hot potatoes they (we) can eat.
  9. Yes I think they do smell a bit, it is not a honey bee smell at all.
  10. I like the natural comb too @@Jean MacDonald and I find it amusing that there is such a deal about it when it is just what the bees will make if left to build it themselves. In the middle of a natural brood nest the cell size, so I am told, is anything from 4.4 mm to 5.1 mm. That hive of mine just happens to make 4.9 mm.
  11. I have pitched roofs on 2 and corrugated iron specials on 2 (actually not that special). There is about 50 mm of space under the pitched roofs, and about 150 mm (potentially) under the corrugated iron because of the way it telescopes over the sides. We have no ants that cause a problem this far south, so a couple of wads of hay will do I think. I really like the CI one- rustic look, free, great ventilation, free, light weight, free and it overhangs like a veranda- for free. This one is on a hive I knocked up out of some scraps of untreated ply to "Golden Mean" (google it) dimensions. The fro
  12. Ask 5 people and get 6 different answers. But that was not the intent or the question of the post; Has anyone had a play with the spacing of the top bars when comb is being drawn? I think that being able to manipulate the type of cell made in a foundation-less system may be very useful. Discussion, observations, comments......
  13. Yep. Very nice quiet bees, great looking queen. Finders keepers! I read somewhere that you can get a good advantage in regressing to small cell if you hive a swarm. I do have another that was a nuc that I shook onto 3 topbar brood combs. It took a lot longer to get going. A third was a chop job split from a Langstroth. It still has the 4 original cut up combs in the brood nest. As far as I know, I'm the only one in Invercargill with TBH's. No one in our bee group (60 odd on the list) has owned up to keeping one except me. So I have no one to compare notes with in person.
  14. Reading what @@deejaycee posted that sounds right. Maybe this bigger spacing between combs makes the bees "feel" like it is the edge of the brood nest, even if there is brood on both sides. I do only put new bars between 2 nice straight full ones, most of the time these will have some brood. More playing needed
  15. They have had a few cycles, I just measured 10 cells- 49 mm. The hive I am playing with has not been wintered yet. This may be the case, but if there is no nectar coming in it still gets filled with drones.
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