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Author Topic: What beehives look like in Florida in December  (Read 2989 times)
Understudy
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« on: December 09, 2007, 03:43:13 PM »

I don't extract honey from my hives in december but I do check their health.
Here is what hives in South Florida look like.










I do my checks for Varroa by breaking open the comb that exists between the bottom of frames and the top of frames. Also my top entrance lids give me a great set of burr combs to look through. You can see the pupae in some of the photos. My inspection showed no varroa.
Small hive beetles are still there. However they are kept in check since the hives are healthy.

As you can see there is also honey going quite well. But I will leave them that since it is the slow period.

Also I had one of other oddity happen. I had a mating flight in December. I had a nuc that went queenless. They formed a few queen cells out of what was left of the brood. I removed a nearly empty frame and replaced it with a brood frame. That was just over a month ago. I check the hive today. I have eggs being laid in a nice orderly manner. I am starting to see some capped brood. So she must have just started a little bit ago. I didn't spot her but I didn't look very hard. I didn't want to disturb them to much. So if anyone tells you bees won't do mating flights in December you you can tell them that they will in South Florida.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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annette
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2007, 04:27:53 PM »

Nice Brendhan, but a bit messy on the burr comb. I would probably end up scraping all that off. You need to know my experience that happened with the burr comb. I opened up my hive last year and found lots of that burr comb some filled with the drone larva. (Not as much as you have) Well I started to scrap it off onto the ground until I finished the work. Well I finished and the super was totally cleaned off.

Well I turned my back for a few seconds to get something, and when I looked back at the super, well there was a huge chunk of burr comb back on the hive again. Those bees went to the ground and flew with the burr comb and placed it back onto the super. I know I am not crazy, because this burr comb was not attached. Anyone ever have an experience like this???

Annette
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2007, 04:56:57 PM »

I like the burr comb because my bees build it right on top of the frames and it is usually drone comb. Which is great to check to see if you have Varroa.

Permacomb is designed to cause the bees to build a layer of burr comb between the bottom of a frame and the top of the next frame, usually drone comb. Also my top entrances also get burr comb. This does not bother me. I scrape it off if I have add a box so the frames lay level in the new box. other than that I leave it alone. If I can guide the burr comb they build I know what to expect when I go inside.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2007, 09:12:03 PM »


Burr depends on some things:

1) big gap between boxes

2) Hive is full of honey. Then bees add burr everywhere.

3) Some strains are eager to make burr than others.

Burr is a nuisance. I doupt tha some one has planned it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2007, 09:20:05 PM »


Burr depends on some things:

1) big gap between boxes

2) Hive is full of honey. Then bees add burr everywhere.

3) Some strains are eager to make burr than others.

Burr is a nuisance. I doupt tha some one has planned it.
I plan it.

The permacomb is designed to create burr comb from the bottom of the frame to the top of the next frame. The top entrances I use allow for burr comb between the top of the frames and the bottom of the top cover.
Burr is not a nuisance to me.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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bassman1977
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2007, 09:21:02 PM »

Nice.  I am ready for bee season.  Winter SUCKS!   Sad
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2007, 10:02:23 PM »

I always take late season burr comb as a sigh that the bees have sufficient stores.  When the combs are full and backfilled with honey then burr comb indicates thay have sufficent stores.  No burr comb and I worry.  Burr comb can be a usefully indicator within a hive.
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2007, 12:04:24 AM »

Reading and learning!!!!!

It is amazing how actual experience goes against all the books I read. Lots of good information here and I have a different opinion now about the burr comb.
Thanks
Annette
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2007, 12:31:02 AM »

From Michael Bush's site
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#leaveburr

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2007, 12:43:23 AM »

Yes, thanks
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2007, 01:08:34 AM »



I plan it.

The permacomb is designed to create burr comb from the bottom of the frame to the top of the next frame.

I have it tens of years even if no one has planned it  tongue. It is like I planned fine day.

I always take late season burr comb as a sigh that the bees have sufficient stores.

I look how totally bees have capped the combs in frames. Most of hive are not full of burr. Some has any. 
I take all honey away and give enough sugar for winter.

I have not noticed that burr has something special in beekeeping and these are things what I am not going to learn.  Cry

.
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 01:17:23 AM »

Reading and learning!!!!!

It is amazing how actual experience goes against all the books I read.

Don't take all as learning. Use your own brains. It is only which saves in chaos.

.
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 11:08:23 AM »

Look great. Bees boiling over the top is a nice site isn't it! I wish I could take a peek at my bees but its too cold and nasty out again.

I personally don't like the extra burr comb the bees place when using mediums. It seems to be excessive w/ mediums and i feel like i am losing worker brood area between the boxes w/ med. It is a good way to check drones for mites however and steal a taste of honey when cleaning out the comb!
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2007, 12:27:34 PM »

Can't help but to chime in...

You have all heard that there are bee keepers and bee have-rs?  Pictures of those hives are definitely from a bee have-r!  
I can't believe that anybody would go so far as to brag about it and claim that that mes was planed?
I would be ashamed to open a hive and see mess like that! Newer mind somebody else seeing it!

Don't show us the links from MB.  If he talks about it, it does not make it a "mast copy!" First it should be pondered if it was meant, for what we saw above?
IMO, that is sure not what he talks about, when he mentions that bees build burr as a step to upper frames. Bee-ladders are totally diferent thing and should not be mixed with that mess.
Hive like you are showing, is honey bound and has of course nothing to do with checking for mites. MB don't check for mites between combs!? He claims that he probably has them, but they are not a problem and he don't think about them!  He is on natural system and mites and other miladies are the least of his worry.
He is also a self proclaimed "lazy man" and a lot of stuff he has is OK by him - but not necessarily a "must-have" for others!

A hive in picture probably already swarmed.  If not - it will!  If that is your standard - they probably swarm more than once?!
If that hive is in a region where bees need to cluster - that one is a goner!  Bees need open comb to cluster when cold hits. And don't nobody say they will eat it and make room? Yes, they will make room but for spring!  Those won't make it in cold country cause they need cluster room now!
And you said that you leave all that, that the way it is?
I feel sorry for your bees!
When comb is torn like this?  Bees congregate on it to clean the honey, save the brood and repair the destruction. A traumatic experience for the bees, to say the least!
Now, all that said. You than take the box and put it back?  No matter how careful or gentle you maneuver might be?  In that single process you squish hundreds, if not thousands of innocent bees.

Talking about them frames being made for this purpose?  So bees have someplace to build drone-comb?
Bull!
Get an empty frame for that purpose. (Drone-catcher)  If money is an issue - cut the corners off the frames. (comb only)  Bees themselves make holes in wax for that purpose, for ease of passage if nothing else...
Or, frames are not of proper size, or the boxes aren't?
The top mess is inches thick? Not planed! IMO you don't know that you need an inner cover or you don't have one cause MB don't have one?
 Whatever the cause/reason? No excuses for mess like that!

I must apologise to the rest of you for my carry-on.  I see too much of wrong stuff going on and if nobody chimes in and/or criticise - the newbies surely think that that is the cool way to go - and copy it in their own practice.  
I know of one beek, and I use this term loosely, who thinks that MB is GOD...?!  Don't get me wrong now?  He is a good man, (MB is) and a good beek and I personally have a lot of respect for his knowledge - only his practice is not my cup of tea.  My motto is: "If it is worth doing - do it right!  Or don't do it at all!"

Now, when somebody opens up a hive and the frames are nice and clean - now, that is a sight to behold.  A sure sign of a good beekeeper, who has self respect, respect for his craft and more importantly - he/she treats bees with care and respect that they deserve! ( For we all know that poor buggers have enough problems, thanks to all of us.  So, why compound it??!!) Somebody like that can brag to his heart's content !  I have no problem with that at all....



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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2007, 01:24:08 PM »

Wow, take a breath!  I can't help but notice that you are from a different climate as well...perhaps things are different in the tropics???

I don't like that much bridge/burr comb either...but really...in a subjective hobby such as beekeeping, is there really a right way?

I prefer to enjoy my bees, and if my knickers are riding a little too high, then it is time for a more relaxing hobby.

-r
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2007, 09:32:36 PM »

I've never heard of Ontario being called  the 'tropics'  evil
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2007, 09:43:32 PM »

Trot,

Calm down and take a deep breath.  This is a forum where all lot of different beekeepers with lots of different management styles talk things over.  Learning can be an experience, even learning something bad can be a positive experience.

If I wanted the inside of my beehives to look like an operating room I'd keep them in a Hospital.  I like to use the "natural" way and let the bees do as much their own way as they like with as little intervention from me as possible.  One of the things I do insist on, however, is to be able to move the equipment I use, which for me means 8 frame mediums--Trying to wrestle a 10 frame deep from a wheelchair is a little difficult.  Bees are good house keepers so I let them keep their own house.  Superimposing human requirements onto the bees is IMO counter productive.  Lighten up!
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« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2007, 09:55:18 PM »

Can't help but to chime in...

You have all heard that there are bee keepers and bee have-rs?  Pictures of those hives are definitely from a bee have-r! 
I can't believe that anybody would go so far as to brag about it and claim that that mes was planed?
Different opinions are welcome. make sure you have all your info before diving into this pool.
Quote
I would be ashamed to open a hive and see mess like that! Newer mind somebody else seeing it!
Maybe you would I am not. Here is a hive in December in Florida. With some honey stores that I will leave in there. Not because it gets cold in Florida it doesn't But because the blooms tend to get light. Even when light they still do pretty well.
Quote
Don't show us the links from MB.  If he talks about it, it does not make it a "mast copy!" First it should be pondered if it was meant, for what we saw above?
You have never seen some of my discussions about Michael and his means. Michael and I do things alike (not exactly), but for very different reasons. However his basis is very sound and works very well for me.
Quote
IMO, that is sure not what he talks about, when he mentions that bees build burr as a step to upper frames. Bee-ladders are totally diferent thing and should not be mixed with that mess.
Hive like you are showing, is honey bound and has of course nothing to do with checking for mites. MB don't check for mites between combs!? He claims that he probably has them, but they are not a problem and he don't think about them!  He is on natural system and mites and other miladies are the least of his worry.
If you look at the comb you would see that some of it is honey and some of it is drone. Michael recommends checking burr comb for mites. I haven't watched him do it personally but I do it in mine. My mite count is none or very low.
Quote
He is also a self proclaimed "lazy man" and a lot of stuff he has is OK by him - but not necessarily a "must-have" for others!
Yeah but it sure seems to work for quite a few of us.
Quote
A hive in picture probably already swarmed.  If not - it will!  If that is your standard - they probably swarm more than once?!
They haven't and right now they probably will not. Not enough daylight to allow it. Several of the hives you saw got an extra box added to them. And some empty frames swapped in to allow for continued growth. Not real checkerboarding but it keeps them working.
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If that hive is in a region where bees need to cluster - that one is a goner!  Bees need open comb to cluster when cold hits. And don't nobody say they will eat it and make room? Yes, they will make room but for spring!  Those won't make it in cold country cause they need cluster room now!
Again the point of this forum and my beeing here is to help people who don't have winters. This is where you fail. You need to understand not everyone keeps bees the same way. Your rant does a disservice to our members who don't live in a winter area. The title even states "Florida" I realize that keeping bees in a winter area is different you need to realize that keeping bees in the south and in tropical climates is very different. This is the probelm northern beekeepers come down and rant and rave about how bees should be kept in the south and it fails. I appreciate you input but you show a lack of diverse knowledge. That is a disservice to others. However wisdom comes with expperience. In time you will learn not everything is as you assume it is.
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And you said that you leave all that, that the way it is?
I feel sorry for your bees!
I don't and my bees seem pretty darn happy.
Quote
When comb is torn like this?  Bees congregate on it to clean the honey, save the brood and repair the destruction. A traumatic experience for the bees, to say the least!
Yes it is. But if you use permacomb and top entrances you better be prepared for it. Because it is a design feature not a flaw. If you don't believe me please contact John Seets who makes Permacomb.
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Now, all that said. You than take the box and put it back?  No matter how careful or gentle you maneuver might be?  In that single process you squish hundreds, if not thousands of innocent bees.
A few puffs of smoke and flicks of the brush and the bees disappear. Do some bees get squished. Sure with any hive opening that will happen.
Quote
Talking about them frames being made for this purpose?  So bees have someplace to build drone-comb?
Bull!
Again if you don't use permacomb please don't comment on things you know nothing about.
Quote
Get an empty frame for that purpose. (Drone-catcher)  If money is an issue - cut the corners off the frames. (comb only)  Bees themselves make holes in wax for that purpose, for ease of passage if nothing else...
No need to. My method works great.
Quote
Or, frames are not of proper size, or the boxes aren't?
The top mess is inches thick? Not planed! IMO you don't know that you need an inner cover or you don't have one cause MB don't have one?
 Whatever the cause/reason? No excuses for mess like that!
The top entrance is at it's highest almost 2.25 inches which then angles down to nearly .5 inches. Since you are unfamilar with my top entrances you may want to take another step back and learn something. Top entrances in Florida and tropical climates with screened bottom boards make a world of difference in how your bees work. You bees are not in an oven so they are out gathering nectar and pollen not trying to keep the hive from over heating.
You don't want an inner cover down here unless you like cooking your bees.
Quote
I must apologise to the rest of you for my carry-on.  I see too much of wrong stuff going on and if nobody chimes in and/or criticise - the newbies surely think that that is the cool way to go - and copy it in their own practice. 
I know of one beek, and I use this term loosely, who thinks that MB is GOD...?!  Don't get me wrong now?  He is a good man, (MB is) and a good beek and I personally have a lot of respect for his knowledge - only his practice is not my cup of tea.  My motto is: "If it is worth doing - do it right!  Or don't do it at all!"
I hope people copy it as matter of fact I will be teaching some of it in Feburary. However it's for Florida beekeepers and those in warm climates.
Quote
Now, when somebody opens up a hive and the frames are nice and clean - now, that is a sight to behold.  A sure sign of a good beekeeper, who has self respect, respect for his craft and more importantly - he/she treats bees with care and respect that they deserve! ( For we all know that poor buggers have enough problems, thanks to all of us.  So, why compound it??!!) Somebody like that can brag to his heart's content !  I have no problem with that at all....

Considering I have no mites and no disease and bees that are a pleasure to work with. I will gladly stick to my stance. And I will do it with a frozen margarita in my hand a pair of shorts on and sitting in my backyard watching them fly back and forth. In 70F/21C or higher weather.
Do not doubt that I have self respect and respect for my craft. I have more than enough and an ego to go with it.

Sincerely,
Brendhan






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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2007, 09:02:02 AM »

I've never heard of Ontario being called  the 'tropics'  evil

No, but isn't Florida tropical?  tongue
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2007, 11:34:13 AM »

Ontario is a "Tropical" area huh   rolleyes  huh  rolleyes  huh

As I sit here in my long underwear looking out the front window at 2.5' plus of snow on the ground and more coming in today and a more on the way after today, I find when I look at the Weather forecast that we are in a Heat wave here for the next few days so it makes me feel better, makes me want to remove my long Johns, break out the lawn chairs and pop a cool one out on the patio while watching the snow plows merrily doing their thing filling in the end of my driveway (again).

Have a look at the forecast here for today and then compare to Brendhans, almost makes me want to move to Florida.
http://www.meteo.gc.ca/city/pages/on-118_metric_e.html

Is it fair for one Beekeeper to say that it is wrong in the way a fellow allows his hives to look as then some new beekeeper may take this as gospel. Here is where I feel that a suggestion or reason would be more in order than a flat statement of it is wrong.

Quote;
I see too much of wrong stuff going on and if nobody chimes in and/or criticise - the newbies surely think that that is the cool way to go - and copy it in their own practice.
 
One mans way of taking care of his hives is not always the way I might do mine, but, I read his way and then analyze the information and if it tickles my fancy I may try some of his methods. As I see it, nothing is scribed in stone due to our many different climates and locations and different types of Hive configurations. I tend to go along with Brendhans method of hive maintenance versus Trots pristine way of cleaning frame tops as I have not found a way of giving instructions to my Bee's in the way I want the hive to look. I use a standard configuration hive and find that I scrape the eccess from the frame tops when I inspect, mainly because it got broken when I removed the inside cover or when I am removing frames. Each to his own, so lets just read what the other fellow or lady is practising and maybe draw from them something that might be useful in our set ups.

Jack
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2007, 12:02:25 PM »

.
Why I don't like burr. If I let super back on the tower, hundred of bees are squeezed between burred frames, between every box. That is why burr must be cleaned. 

And if burr is there, it is difficult to put frames back in it's site. I would like to pass this but........

But it is normal when boxes are full of honey, then bees try to fill all gaps.

.
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2007, 01:07:15 PM »

What one would like for others to do, one should first do it one self!  
Bragging about drinking your margarita's at 70 F and "tropics?"  Your perception of tropics is about as good as my understanding of your advertised practices...

I happen to know quite a bit about "Bees for Humanity" which operates in the poor of poorest Africa.
I took my breaths in "tropical jungles," where countless others left their breath for good!  
For a lot of them, if they would "do by the book" as required, perhaps to them too could, after all those years some flunky suggest, when and how to take their breath?!  Now that I would like to see and gladly embrace.

But, telling you about the facts of life and a code of ethics on which much of life in certain situations depends is a waste of MY breath .  
I doubt that you will ever venture any further than the safe and easy reach for your margarita and your lounge-chair

Oh yes, it is easy to notice your "more than enough ego !" But, self respect is earned and judged by others - not by one' self. . . .

And years ago, when teaching the poor in a far corner of the world how to switch to more advanced keeping of bees, one coworker turned to me and said: "It's quite refreshing how eagerly and without words this poor creatures gobble up the knowledge?  It would be God-sent if we could achieve something similar back home."

How true. . . How true. . . .
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2007, 01:17:26 PM »

.
Why I don't like burr. If I let super back on the tower, hundred of bees are squeezed between burred frames, between every box. That is why burr must be cleaned. 

And if burr is there, it is difficult to put frames back in it's site. I would like to pass this but........

But it is normal when boxes are full of honey, then bees try to fill all gaps.

.
In that aspect you are right. You do need to trim down the burr comb so the frames lay evenly. And I do that. But I also know the bees will build it right back up it also the comb to look though  and inspect. I don't freak out when I see burr comb I use it to my advantage.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2007, 01:31:49 PM »

And I do that. But I also know the bees will build it right back up it also the comb to look though  and inspect.

So they do.  Some hives are worse than others. In our new plastic hives the gap between frames is as narrow as possible.  But they clue it however.

Some have used vaselin when they have thought that plastic boxes are clued together. But tehy are not. They are frames. Only way is often loose frame by frame that I get box away.
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2007, 02:43:21 PM »

And I do that. But I also know the bees will build it right back up it also the comb to look though  and inspect.

So they do.  Some hives are worse than others. In our new plastic hives the gap between frames is as narrow as possible.  But they clue it however.

Some have used vaselin when they have thought that plastic boxes are clued together. But tehy are not. They are frames. Only way is often loose frame by frame that I get box away.

They put vasoline in hives? No thanks, I will deal with my burr comb. Vasoline is a petrolum jelly. I can't see how bees would like that at all. Could you explain further?

I run nine frames so the gap is a little wider than most. here is where I am different than Michael. He will squeeze as many frames as he can into a brood box so the gap is narrow also.
I run nine across the board. The bees may do little build up on the frames but not much and queen cells tend to not get caught between two frames as much. So I can pull out a frame and not break open a queen cell.

It also makes it easier to put the frames back in.

The honey frames with nine frames do also get a bit of a buildup. But it is much easier to uncap them.

Temps in Florida 81F/27C highs 71F/22C lows it will be like this all week.
Temps in Ottawa 30F/-1C highs 6F/-14C lows of temprature ranges in the week.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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The status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it. Dr. Horrible
annette
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2007, 03:06:33 PM »

It is amazing how actual experience goes against all the books I read. Lots of good information here and I have a different opinion now about the burr comb.
Thanks
Annette

I am quoting myself, because I want it understood that I am being "OPEN" about the burr comb. Understanding that there are other ways to look at the burr comb and that it may or may not be useful at times. I haven't said anything about what I would or would not do with it in the future. All the opinions here are good and necessary for a new beekeeper like me to learn. I like hearing different sides of the coin. Then I can make my own decisions based on what all the experienced beekeepers have done over the years.

I am finding that I have to trust my intuition most of all after all is said and done.  I thank you all for being so helpful and sharing your knowledge.

It warmed up at the bee hives today to around 60 and the bees are flying out like rockets, must have found something interesting. I have my hives up on this amazing knoll which has it's own weather pattern. Although the weather in our town says something like 50's, it is much warmer up on this knoll and the bees are having a ball now, doing orientation flights and stumbling over each other to get out of the hive. They look happy and healthy.

Take care
Annette
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2007, 03:14:43 PM »

Annette-
Bees dont read, too busy working to death.

As for your burr comb being carried back to the hive, probably a bird who wanted some drone larvae and dropped it on top. The bees wouldn't be able to carry such a load.
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"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".
Finsky
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2007, 01:29:07 AM »


I started a new thread
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annette
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2007, 02:29:01 AM »

Annette-
Bees dont read, too busy working to death.

As for your burr comb being carried back to the hive, probably a bird who wanted some drone larvae and dropped it on top. The bees wouldn't be able to carry such a load.

OK thank you
Annette
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pdmattox
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2007, 08:10:36 PM »

nice looking hives Brendhan. the northerners are jealous. evil
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