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Otto last won the day on November 16 2019

Otto had the most liked content!

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About Otto

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    Commercial Beekeeper


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  1. Why would this need to be expensive? Could surely be done electronically now...
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe Nothing particularly new but gives perspective to the joys of beekeeping in the US of A.
  3. Will try to find some time to read the actual paper but this quote from the article doesn't inspire confidence: "The study also showed that the bumblebee colonies close to the thiacloprid-treated red clover fields grew larger in comparison with bumblebee colonies in landscapes without red clover fields." I fail to see how a landscape without a red clover field is a valid control for a landscape with a thiacloprid-treated red clover field!
  4. @Alastair Do you know what kind of ants these are? If not, can you collect some and either send them my way or to your local museum for identification?
  5. Beekeepers have stated that they see increased superseding of queens when using the oxalic staples. I claimed earlier in this thread that I have not seen this and at that point in time this was correct. I have had more unexplained turnover of queens in my colonies over the last 5-6 weeks than what I usually see and I am struggling to understand why. Seemingly healthy queens in strong colonies suddenly disappear and get replaced. They are not particularly old and the cases I refer to here the hive hasn't swarmed. My question is: When you've had supersedures does this coincide with putting the oxalic staples in? In my case it seems to be happening a couple of months down the track. I am not convinced that it is the oxalic that is causing it but would like a bit more detail from others to try and work it out.
  6. I mark queens whenever I come across an unmarked one as it makes them easier to find again. I make splits for various reason quite often throughout the season so finding queens is essential. Anything that makes them easier to find is worth doing in my opinion. I also supply nucleus colonies and some queens to hobbyists, often people new to beekeeping and marked queens makes it easier for them to spot their queen/s. I mark queens by picking them up and holding their thorax between my thumb and index finger, then putting a dot of paint on the thorax. Handling queens can be quite daunting and takes a bit of getting used to. To work out how much pressure to use the easiest thing is to practice on drones. No big deal if you accidentally squash one and they cannot sting.
  7. Yes, oil based paint. Doesn't have any negative impact on queens. Have plenty of queens where it never wears off, some where it does...
  8. I use these paint pens to mark my queens. I get them from a local art shop. I also know a couple of beekeepers that use the CRC ones available at Repco, Bunnings, mitre 10 etc and they also work well. I have not noticed marks disappearing more since using oxalic but will be more conscious to check now.
  9. Also just realised I haven't mentioned anything with regards to actually putting the strips in the hives. I shake as close to all the bees off the frames as I can when putting the staples in place. This includes the frames beside the ones with the staples. I hate squashing bees and creating situations inside the hive that result in dead bees. I shake off the bees, put the staple in place and then push the frames together before the bees have started moving back up onto the frames. I also have no evidence from my application of staples for it causing some superseding of queens (which from reading comments is somethings others do find).
  10. No stitching. I thought it the easiest place to start but was fully prepared to bail and start stitching if needed. I would have to get my 15 year old son to show me how to use the sewing machine though... So far I'm quite happy and yes, I find the mixture holds them together well. They are folded at the ends rather than being three separate pieces of paper tape. It would be interesting for someone using the stitched ones to try it this way and compare. I find they stay together pretty well although I do try not to pull hives apart too much in the first 3-4 weeks after putting them in. Once most of the mixture is gone from them and they've been part chewed up the layers do come apart quite easily. I figure at that point they're not doing much anymore anyway.
  11. I hope the information helps. While I am very encouraged by my experiences so far I am aware that I am really a novice user so please don't take what I say as gospel! I am simply sharing my experiences to date.
  12. @Alastair I started with the summary that was put together by @cBank which is available in the downloads on this site. This is an outstanding resource to start with. The summary has pictures of staples hanging for drying and I had read enough comments to suggest that wet staples were going to be problematic. That is why I went with hanging them out to dry. Hanging them over frames seemed logical to me as that would mean they dry into the right shape for use in hives. Mixing and making staples: I have attached a wee slide show of how I make mine. I started with 40% oxalic acid/60% glycerine (weight by weight) as this was recommended. I tend to leave the staples to soak up the mix for around 24 hours and generally leave them undercover outside. I was a little concerned with one of my early spring batches where the mix obviously cooled very quickly and it was a cold night. I wasn't sure that these had soaked up quite as much of the mix but the staples still worked fine. I then hang them out to dry, again outside and undercover so they don't get rained on. Calculations for ingredients: The summary suggested that a 43cm long staple (which is what most people are using) holds around 20g of oxalic/glycerine mix. I didn't want to use staples this long as I have a lot of 3/4 depth brood boxes in circulation. I've attached a table with my calculations. I fold 1m length of gib paper tape into thirds resulting in a length of approximately 33cm. One roll of gib tape is just over 150m long - so makes around 150 staples. As luck would have it this requires bang on 1kg of oxalic acid and 1.5 kg of glycerine, I like round numbers😃I make my staples up one roll of gib tape at a time. Otto's Staples.pdf Yes, staples made in autumn that were left over and used in Spring. To me there was no discernible difference between these and freshly made ones in how well they worked.
  13. I am using (homemade) staples. Most of my hives and nucleus colonies were treated with them in Autumn and this Spring it is all I have used. I make my staples by cutting 1m length of gib paper tape and folding into thirds. These then get soaked in oxalic/glycerine mix and then hung to dry for about 2 days (have attached a photo). Some observations... 1) Hive populations. I definitely see a knock in populations when putting the staples in. This was quite noticeable in the Autumn but overall was not detrimental to the hives making it through the winter (not that we had a winter...). There are a couple of hives that I have put a second round of staples into this spring. While I can't see a dramatic reduction in population, these have shown a clear delay moving into honey supers compared to hives that have not had this on the same site. 2) Staple placement. For the Autumn treatment round. I did lose some hives but I am quite happy with how they are working overall. In the Autumn round I played around a bit with where I put the staples (middle of the brood versus round the edges). I had seen pictures on here of beekeepers placing them more around the edges - @jamesc and liked the look of not having them right in the middle. I found that the staples needed to be right in amongst the bees to work well. The hives I lost were, in hindsight, more heavily infested with mites that I realised. These were also hives that did not have the staples right in amongst the brood. I will only use staples right through the middle of the broodnest now. 3) Number of staples. I don't see the point of putting staples where there are no bees so put the staples where there is brood. If a hive has came through the winter smaller and had three frames with brood it got 2 staples. Next visit, if the broodnest had expanded beyond this I add extra staples as needed. I have found this to work well. 4) Longevity of treatment. I have only found 1 or 2 hives that have chewed through the staples fast enough for me to think I might need to reapply them. 5) Efficacy of treatment. I have not done any actual mite counting. I have always relied heavily on what I see in hives. I am very happy with the shape nearly all my hives are in. I have put drone frames into a number of colonies this spring and when I have removed sealed drone comb and broken it up I have not been able to find even a single mite in nearly all cases. 6) Honey flow while staples are being applied? Short answer no. In both Autumn and Spring rounds nearly all hives got fed sugar syrup when the staples were put in. A couple of other things I thought of after posting this... Storage of staples. I only used a small number from the last batch I made for the Autumn round. The rest were stored in a sealed plastic honey bucket over winter. I used these in spring and am happy that they worked fine. Had some oxalic crystals visible on them but didn't seem to matter.. I also had one site I visited in early May. In my notes for 3 of the hives on this site I had written "small and mitey". In other words, I had written these off given it was May. They only had staples as a treatment and I was very surprised when I came to these in late August and found 2 of the 3 still alive. These both made it through the winter and are now decent colonies of bees.
  14. Otto


    @kaihoka No, this is not true. A nucleus colony with plenty of bees in it can produce very nice queen cells. A key attribute of a cell raiser is that whatever set-up you have for it, it needs to be well populated with bees. A good way to think about it is to look at how quickly the colony might start building swarm cells. A nuc full of bees will very happily do that so makes a perfectly decent cell builder.
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