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Author Topic: Poor year so far  (Read 3705 times)

Offline Kris^

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Poor year so far
« on: June 24, 2007, 07:19:40 PM »
Man, this is rough.  I started this spring with five hives coming out of winter (started with ten going into winter).  Had one really strong hive, two decently strong hives (for early spring) and two weak hives.  I split the strongest one at the beginning of May and put the queen in the walkaway.  The walkaway is now my strongest hive, with another of the stronger one close behind, each with 6+ frames of brood in each box and bees galore.  I have three supers on each.

The cutdown, unfortunately, didn't fare as well.  I went into the hive the weekend of 5/26 and saw a nice plump queen in there, but no eggs yet, but booming with bees.  Today when I checked there was no brood other than some drone brood on one frame -- and only about 3 frames of bees.  Needless to say, no queen among them.  Quite a change from last time I looked!  I  put a frame of eggs and mixed brood (all range of ages) from another hive, removed the supers and closed them up.

The other "decently" strong hive had a little fewer bees than before, but still new brood and several queen cells throughout the brood box, one of them opened and empty.  So I caught them in the middle of supercedure.  Closed them up and left them alone.  The two weak hives were still weak and not growing, although they all had frames of eggs and brood in them.  So I just cut them down to one box each and closed them up.

I'm trying to figure out what happened to the two stronger hives, and have a theory.  Last Sunday about mid-afternoon when I was working out in the mum field, I thought I heard a loud buzzing sound.  I stopped and listened, trying to locate it, but I couldn't.  A few hours later I went back to the house and as I passed the pavilion where I store my extra equipment, I saw a mass of bees flying in and out of a gap between two boxes.  Could have been robbing some dribs and drabs, but they hadn't been there the day before when we had our party and besides, they kinda acted like they belonged there.  The boxes were stacked all catty-wumpus, so I went out that evening and reset them with a real bottom board and top.  They were there Monday morning, Tuesday morning, and gone Wednesday morning.  But Wednesday evening there were a slew of bees flying in and out of a bait hive I set up at the back of our field.

So I figure at least one of my hives swarmed, but one of the swarms didn't like when I messed with their new home.  I've been leaving the bait box alone, and the bees are still there.   So I guess technically I've got seven hives now, but unfortunately, only two of them are making any progress toward putting honey away.

This has been a very weird (and disheartening) year so far.   :'(

-- Kris

Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2007, 08:19:02 PM »
Ten four on that good buddy
kirko
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Offline paulybee

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2007, 08:41:03 PM »
It doesn't look good for honey this year...are the mums at least doing well?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2007, 08:53:46 PM »
There are no apparent reasons I see for the poor year here, but it has been poor.  There was practically a dearth during out wettest spring in decades.  The queen cells keep getting torn down, the queens that emerge don't go off to mate for weeks, then they often don't return.  I don't see why.  We have had plenty of sun shiny days.
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Offline asprince

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2007, 09:20:56 PM »
My hives don't seem to be doing very well. Lots of bees, not much honey. They don't seem to interested in drawing out frames for expansion and honey stores. My queens get supersceeded often. I am blaming it on the sevear drought that we are having this year. 

I live less than 50 miles from another member doak. He posts that he is having a banner year. Go figure?

Steve
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Offline doak

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2007, 10:25:54 PM »
I don't Know. I have already taken around 160 lbs of honey from 5 colonies. I have 2 that didn't do so well. Mat get one super off one of the 2.
I still have well over 100 lbs to get off.
The early nice weather the last half of March was a God send.
Then the Easter freeze didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I got some good rain just in time to bring on some June blooms and should get some Stag horn and Kudzu in July. Both these plants are drought tolerent.
I think what it boils down to is, I had 5 good strong colonies and got some good rain just at the right time.
doak

Offline indypartridge

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2007, 08:43:46 AM »
I live less than 50 miles from another member doak. He posts that he is having a banner year. Go figure?
Ditto. I have a friend about 50 miles away telling me how busy he is extracting. I'm busy buying sugar to feed my bees....

Offline JP

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2007, 10:22:34 AM »
not seeing great production this yr either. Getting rain now that we should have gotten months ago. Will be pulling supers soon, but not what I was hoping for. :'(
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Offline SteveSC

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2007, 11:31:30 AM »
I'm not going to pull my supers until the last of Aug..  I'll let them get what they can for the next 2 months - maybe a late flow will help things. I'll harvest late - put the wet supers back on the hives for the bees - let them clean them up and then store them until next spring..

Like JP said about the recent rain....it's 2 or 3 months late. 

Offline KONASDAD

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2007, 11:31:52 AM »
I'll harvest next week. I have at least five mediums and two deeps to harvest and they appear to still be going strong on my two hives. One hive requeened a few times, and produced more honey than the other as they didn't have brood for a while.
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Offline Kirk-o

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2007, 10:32:36 PM »
Here in L A I'd say it is Bleak Very Bleak a real Bummer to say the least
kirko
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Offline bluegrass

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2007, 06:50:12 AM »
I have one hive going crazy; even flying in the rain. The other three are not doing much, they start late, end early, and are still in the brood boxes.
Sugarbush Bees

Offline Kris^

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 09:39:14 PM »
The mums are doing great -- they get watered and fertilized on a regular basis.  But Konasdad -- I'm amazed how different things can be 20 miles apart!  The bees are busy enough, and there's plenty enough of them (at least in two hives), but they just don't seem to be putting it away like you'd think they would.  I look at my records, and this year is running later than last year, and more like 2005.  Then, I got 52% of my harvest in  mid-August, and the rest of it some before (no earlier than mid-June) and more after.  So I'm not getting bent outta shape yet.   :)

-- Kris 

Offline rdy-b

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2007, 10:23:38 PM »
Kirko I got a bummer for you; one of my best yards got new neghbiors.migratory keeper never left  after cheeries less than 1/2 mile away. two loades of bees 128 colonys. says this is a good spot. I said give me a break only leave one load of 64 to many bees not enough flow. maybe i should have them inspected by ag maybe the spot wont be so good after all. 8-)

Offline Bennettoid

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2007, 06:02:47 PM »
Kirko I got a bummer for you; one of my best yards got new neghbiors.migratory keeper never left  after cheeries less than 1/2 mile away. two loades of bees 128 colonys. says this is a good spot. I said give me a break only leave one load of 64 to many bees not enough flow. maybe i should have them inspected by ag maybe the spot wont be so good after all. 8-)

LMAO!

Offline Understudy

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2007, 06:56:05 PM »
.....mmm.. yeah... bad here too. .....Well not exactly.....
Okay my problem with this year relates to my day job not much else. I was home yesterday for about 22 hours and did a presentation and took a very quick look at my hives.

I can pull mucho honey from my hive but I would have to leave in the house for a month. I think it is better on the hive. the problem is the hives may swarm while I am on the road for the next 30 days. If they do half my honey goes with them and my good queens. If I weren't  so busy and on the road. I would be pulling probably 18-24 gallons of honey and rotating for the round. This is in spite of the drought which had me really nervous.

I won't be home until the end of July. I sat there and look and my honey and each hive and waved my little finger at each of them and said "stay."

I think the bees laughed at me.

Sincerley,
Brendhan

Who the hell names their town King of Prussia. (Just outside of Conshohoken)
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Offline Bennettoid

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2007, 07:12:12 PM »
Who the hell names their town King of Prussia. (Just outside of Conshohoken)

LMAO!

Its those goofy Pa people.

They are always coming down here to the Beach on vacation during Tourist Season.

Last year they upped the limit to 3 a day, I plan to fill all my tags this year.

Offline kathyp

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2007, 07:14:28 PM »
can't you store your full supers somewhere and pop on some empties until you get home?  i'm sure your wife would not mind if you stack them in the kitchen for a couple of weeks?  :-)
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Offline Understudy

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2007, 07:17:59 PM »
can't you store your full supers somewhere and pop on some empties until you get home?  i'm sure your wife would not mind if you stack them in the kitchen for a couple of weeks?  :-)

Yeah, my wife loves it when I have honey supers stacked in the kitchen......
Wait dear, love of my life put down the cast iron skillet. I won't leave the supers in the kitchen, it was all kathyp's idea, blame her.

And since I am already over a thousand miles from home it isn't going to happen.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

Currently in King of Prussia, is there anything here besides this mall?
The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible

Offline Bennettoid

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Re: Poor year so far
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2007, 07:22:46 PM »
Billy Penn and Independence Hall aren't too far.