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Alastair last won the day on December 14

Alastair had the most liked content!

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About Alastair

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    Field Bee


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    Semi Commercial
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  1. How would you know? In my experience, the bigger and better the queen, the longer the lifespan. On average of course.
  2. Carol you will find most of them pretty helpful. 🙂
  3. Agreed, the star performers are identified in a poor season, or a poor location.
  4. 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.
  5. Back when i started, all beekeeping was done with 2 box brood nests. It suits the bees natural urges, and we can tell that by the way that in one box brood nests, the bees keep a clear queen laying space, in a circular shape, bottom middle of the second box. Clearly they see that as what should be used for brood raising, just, we are preventing them with a queen excluder. The so called jumbo box was designed to give the bees what they see as the correct sized brood nest, but in one box. A few things happened all about the same time that brought about the popularity of single box brood nests. They were varroa mites, the cost of treatment can be halved if you only have to treat one box. The high price of honey, a single brood box allows all honey to be harvested instead of leaving 1/2 or more of a box on as was done with double brood boxes. ( Removed honey has to be replaced with sugar of course, but that was an economic no brainer when honey prices were high). Increased migratory beekeeping, easier with one brood box. Me, I was a 2 brood box advocate until i did a season working for a 1 brood box beekeeper, I did see the advantages, so now i have joined the dark side. Interesting though how now with lower honey prices, we are seeing the return of 2 box brood nests. I think though that other than breeders (of which there will currently be very few), most commercials are sticking with single brood boxes.
  6. Good thought. Might be one change i could make in the search for a way to be successful with staples. When do you remove them, and when does your flow start. Also, i imagine where you are your clusters would be very small in August, how many staples do you put in?
  7. About these bees that have "bounced back quickly". I shared this in the interests of giving fair and balanced information, good and bad, about my observations. But please don't get the idea that all is good, no harm done. That is not the case. A lot of financial damage is already done, because these recovering hives are already 2 boxes of honey behind the eight ball. Then a layer of financial pain below that, are the hives that are still not recovering.
  8. Agreed but. A beekeeper who is so up themselves they cannot even share some basic info like how to treat mites, has a personality disorder. It has always amused me these beekeepers who think they have special knowledge nobody else does, and most of the time they are the most ignorant. I'm not going to share my secret spot, no. But help somebody be a better beekeeper, I'm all in.
  9. My suspicion is OA has weakened the bees and made pathogen levels worse. To be honest, the last pathogen tests were done because Phil insisted, over and over. Which gave the impression that once i had it done and produced the results, he would have something useful to say about it. But he had nothing. So why would i waste my time doing more.
  10. Be interesting Tommy. Seems to me that the majority of people here have had no or few issues. It is just the select few, which unfortunately include myself. However there is a reason for everything, it's just a case of identifying it. I'm wanting to continue using OA, so will keep digging around for answers.
  11. These pics taken today, one of a bayvarol treated hive and one of an OA treated hive. Both next to each other in the same site. Still searching for reasons / something i could do different.
  12. Found a swarm at a site yesterday, believe it or not this is only the second swarm i have found this season. Other than that, still finding hives superseded or in the process of superseding. Yesterday found 2 hives with a hatched queen cell and a virgin, but the "old" queen was young and healthy looking. A pleasant surprise, my worst site, where the hives had been reduced to 3 or 4 frames of bees, which looked listless, and pathogen levels tested high, i took another look. Previously I had left them in 2 boxes and decided that if by seasons end they had filled those 2 boxes and were ready for winter, that was the best i could expect, i had written them of for any harvest this season. So went there, immediately noticed good activity at the entrances. Opened them up, and chocablock!! I had a truckload of wets so have put 2 boxes on each hive, pretty sure they will fill them before flows end. This site has been left to requeen themselves for several seasons and has gone black like the surrounding bees. I'm thinking maybe this is why some beekeepers swear by blacks. You can get away with extreme abuse, but they can bounce back very quickly. I am certain that had i not killed most of them with oxalic acid, they would have had little option but fill the surrounding trees with many swarms.
  13. They are pretty good at killing mites. I have had a few other issues, but as far as mite control, they work.
  14. Sounds like the ten dollar manuka for sale in NZ supermarkets. However exported manuka has to meet standards. I am wondering if this honey was packed overseas. They can still claim country of origin.
  15. Straight up answer is take them out. Your bees likely have near zero mites so no need to leave the staples in, treat again after honey harvest.
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