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Author Topic: Nothing is easy.  (Read 3659 times)
Lone
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« on: January 01, 2009, 10:06:47 AM »

Hello, Happy New Year, boys and girls.

I was wondering if you could help me with a couple of new-beekeeper problems.

How long does it take a new queen to become established and build up numbers?  She's been in the hive for 5 weeks and I can't see an increase in bees yet.  When I checked a couple of days ago there was minimal brood scattered round a couple of frames, and a bit of waxmoth due to the low bee population. She wasn't added to an established hive because I couldn't find the old queen.  Also, all the bees look the same as the italians to me, though she's a carniolan.  Should I add another frame of brood from the other hive?


The large hive next door has a lot of bees but still hardly any capped honey, even though spring started 4 months ago.  Does this indicate a paucity of the right kinds of flowers, am I too impatient, or could there be another problem?



Thanks!  Lone
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BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2009, 10:43:55 AM »

Lone,
I would bypass the whole "one frame" at a time thing, and swap locations of the hives. This will boost the weak hive and hopefully put to rest this wax moth problem once and for all. She could be a bad queen as we all get one now and then. But the wax moth situation, may be causing the bees to spend far too much energy and resources in trying to keep up with the damage they are causing. 

Forget the honey crop. It's either going to be there or it's not.

If you put in a new queen, figure a few days for her to get out and start laying, and another 21 days for her eggs to become bees.

The number of bees are going to be influenced by not just time, but the bees ability to feed and care for the brood, how many they can keep warm at night, how many cells are ready for the queen to lay in, and other factors.

To be fair to the new queen, I would boost the numbers up by swapping locations with the other hive and get them over the hump once and for all. This increase in bees will allow them to deal with the wax moths, allow them to raise more brood, and do what they need too. Anything less and it will just continue to fester and drag out.
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Lone
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2009, 09:12:47 PM »

Thanks for your advice, Bjorn.  When you swap the hive positions, do some of the bees swap hives too?  Also, the two hives are on the same stand, so will it make a difference in this case?   If not, I suppose there is the possibility of a 3-way swap as I have 2 hives down the road.  Please can you tell me how it is done, what time of day, and anything else I'll need to know.

Regarding the wax moths, I thought of going in every week or so and squashing the larvae. 

The wet season is in Summer here.  I've never thought about it before, but perhaps most of the blossom comes after the rain, end of Summer or Autumn.  Maybe others in tropical areas know when the best honey flow is.  Anyway, the rains have started so at least things are cooling off.

Lone
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2009, 09:38:10 PM »

Thanks for your advice, Bjorn.  When you swap the hive positions, do some of the bees swap hives too?  Also, the two hives are on the same stand, so will it make a difference in this case?   If not, I suppose there is the possibility of a 3-way swap as I have 2 hives down the road.  Please can you tell me how it is done, what time of day, and anything else I'll need to know.

The bees retirm the the spot they left from, if it's a different hive they still think it's theirs and go right in.  A loaded forager is almost never rejected as the commodity it carries to to important to do without.  All you're doing is temporarily changing the work force so the smaller hive as a larger per capita larbor force than the other hive it swapped places with.  It gives one hive an immediate boost and doesn't affect the other hive that much.  It helps even things out and can prevent the loss of a hive.  Weaker hives are much more suseptable to mites, moths and SHB so the larger work force gives them a fighting chance to correct their own ills.  Think of it like giving your hive a flu shot.

Quote
Regarding the wax moths, I thought of going in every week or so and squashing the larvae. 

That's a lot of work that only stresses the hive further, meaning the more you stress the hive the less likely it is it will recover on its own.  It's better to spray some Bt on the comb and/or replace infected comb with other drawn comb from supers or swap frames and feeze them to kill the wax moth and SHB larva before puttiing them back in the hive.

Quote
The wet season is in Summer here.  I've never thought about it before, but perhaps most of the blossom comes after the rain, end of Summer or Autumn.  Maybe others in tropical areas know when the best honey flow is.  Anyway, the rains have started so at least things are cooling off.

Lone

Most tropical areas I've been in have their rainy season during January and February.  The bees still have time to get out and forage between downpoors and once the rainy season is over a real flow begins.  So I'd want to get the hives in the best shape possible before the rainy season ends.  Except for areas of perpetual snow and ice (north & south poles) the bees always seem to find either nectar or pollen anytime of the year.
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tlynn
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2009, 09:44:48 PM »

I recently had a wax moth infestation in a weak hive and they did quite a number on a few frames before I got them under control.  One week I found some silk webbing across a few cells in a super frame and didn't think much of it.  Two weeks later I found 3 big places on a frame of honey and pollen swimming with maggots.  Talk about disgusting.  I froze that frame immediately and sprayed BT on the rest of the frames in the hive.  Thing is, if the larvae are buried deep in the pollen the BT won't make any difference, and I don't think it will matter much if the wax moths are already proliferating anyway.  BT probably is best to prevent infestation and from what I understand it's used primarily before you store extracted supers to keep them from getting taken out by wax moths and is supposed to be very effective.  I am checking often and think I have them under control.  I could imagine not being aggressive and the wax moths eating out the entire hive in a few weeks.

So take wax moths very seriously.  Somebody on this forum told me, I think Bjornbee, that it's what you don't see that's going to do the damage.  Definitely correct for me.

Tracy
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2009, 09:50:49 PM »

Lone,
If the weak hive and the strong hive are next to each other, then simply remove the strong hive to another location, like across the yard, or another place.

With them being next to each other, some forage bees will seek out the correct pheromones of their own queen if you just swap nearby hives. But by removing the strong hive, IN MID-DAY, then the returning forage bees have no option other than to be simulated into the only hive remaining. This will keep the confusion to a minimum.

I've swapped many hives sitting next to each other and it will work. But the BEST option would be to remove the strong hive altogether. This MUST be done while the forage bees are out of the hives.

Don't worry about the strong hive losing it's forage bees. Bees normally become forage bees by day 12, so within this period of time, all hive activity should resume to normal.
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Lone
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2009, 03:51:43 AM »

Hello,

Thanks for all the advice.

Bjorn, things didn't look promising to move the strong hive at first as we've had 6 inches of rain up to this morning and a rough creek crossing, but it got there safe on the mate's property at midday today. The returning bees took to the weak hive very well and things seem pretty busy there.  It's nearly sunset so I'll have a look soon to see if there are any at the entrance.

Brian, I don't know what BT is or whether it's available in Australia.  I'll have to look into it.  I don't think we have many days during the year that would fall below temperatures that support wax moths.  They come quickly anytime wax isn't guarded.  I think you are probably right about the honey flow in tropical areas.  We don't have regular downpours here, like Darwin, and not so many plants either.  We do have a lot of nice rocks here though  Smiley

Tracy, the wax moth larvae was mainly on the bottom board.  I didn't see it in the brood comb but I might have missed it too.


I'll give you an update when I know if the hive is surviving.

Lone
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Jim 134
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2009, 06:24:30 AM »

Here you go for the USA


http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,13208.0.html
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,14183.0.html
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,8351.0.html


  It seems the cheapest is try to get it through a local distributor.  If that is not possible, then HidHut is the best choice.
 
  You may find a source for Australia. Do a search on (I like Yahoo) Certan,B401 and XenTari 

  Hope this help you.


   BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 09:24:58 AM by Jim 134 » Logged

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Lone
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2009, 11:34:43 PM »

Thanks Jim.  Apparently Bt is a bacterium.  There is not much information under any of those brandnames for Australia.  The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries documentation they sent this year is already 8 years old and only recommends phosphine fumigation for wax moth control.  Probably the best thing is for me to phone them up.

Lone
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Jim 134
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 03:21:41 AM »

  Bt= Bacillus thuringiensis

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_thuringiensis

  http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/wax_moth.html

  http://www.beeworks.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=18

  This may help you 

  BEE HAPPY Jim 134  Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
Lone
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2009, 11:55:35 PM »

Hello Jim,

I made that phone call, and Bt is not approved for use for beekeeping in Australia at this stage.  They do tend to be fairly conservative at times here with use of chemicals, and like to do lots of research.  I'm not sure they are even at the research stage yet, though.  Alternatively, the wax moth strains here may not be responsive to it. At least the Apiarist Officer is now aware that some interest has been expressed.

Lone
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 05:55:51 AM »

Bt is not a chemical.  Just tell them you saw some mosquitoes in your hive.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 07:42:14 AM »

G'Day lone!!!
Spent time last year in Gympie last year and loved it!!! Great folks!

One other thing you may try is to reduce the area the bee's have to work. You did'nt say how large the hive was but if it's a single deep with only 3-4 frames covered in Bee's you might try reduceing space. IE: A Nuc box.
One other fix might be adding a frame or two of brood from another hive. That will increase numbers fast.

Just my humble opinion. Mr Bush is BY FAR more qualified than myself..so follow his suggestions...You also may want to look at his web site..Very good info there....
Mark
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Lone
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2009, 07:12:13 PM »

Hello.

Michael, I try to listen to the DPI  Smiley  A couple of years ago they took my sick chickens 1000km to Brisbane for testing two days before Christmas, without charge.   Anyway, I don't know that Bt is available here at all.  I brought another hive home today and from the outside the status doesn't look good either.  I think the moths are having lots of parties. 


Mark,  I haven't been to Gympie but we have a cattle dog pup from there.  I'm glad you enjoyed it there.  Were you there during the festival?  You are right about the bee space.  They are all in two boxes at the moment even though there's no activity in the top one.  This is for two reasons.  It is very hot here, and we thought it would keep it a bit cooler.  Also, I live with a couple of old bushmen who are set in their ideas and opinions, and can be hard to sway.  I have to take them through it slowly, giving them books to read or following their advice until they are ready to change.  I don't have any nuc boxes and I'm not sure what they look like.  I have looked a bit through Mr Bush's website and it is excellent.  I'll let the bees settle in their new spots for a couple of days then inspect all of them and maybe move brood to this one we brought home.  The numbers have increased around the outside of the one with the new queen.

Thanks for your advice,

Lone



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Lone
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2009, 07:28:54 AM »

Hello, here is an update.  It is a bit devastating, but the local beekeeper helped sort out the hives today after advising me not to open them in the wet.  It has been humid and raining a lot.  One was a dead out, the one with the new queen.  I don't know where she went to.  The wax moth took over so perhaps she abandoned that house for a better one?  I know we made a couple of mistakes we won't make again.  I got hold of some Bt from the nursery.  I think I'll spray all the equipment with it so it's ready to use.

The other hive on that same stand has had some interesting activity.  3 days this week we noticed a mob of bees, like a small swarm, slowly settle into the hive at around 3pm.  This hive I've been very concerned about too, with the small numbers of bees.  It was a captured swarm.  I tried to requeen but had to split it and weaken it further when I couldn't find the queen.  Now the numbers are up.  When we took it apart the beekeeper found an empty queen cell.  Could those little swarms we saw be mating flights from a new queen?  The other theory I have is that the bees from the first hive I mentioned perhaps took over; maybe the queen had died hence the decreasing numbers?  Now the really big mistake I won't make again is that the hive sloped backwards and rain must have blown in.  The back was a mass of fly maggots in brown goop.   Half a bottle of White King later it is vaguely presentable and sloping the right way.   embarassed

Unfortunately one of the hives down the road he also found to be queenless from the noise they made.  I don't know why that happened either.  The numbers were declining over the past 2 weeks. 

So in the end I have two reasonable strength hives and still no honey.  That's a bare 50% pass on my end of first year exam. 

Lone

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tlynn
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2009, 09:03:39 AM »

After my first wax moth encounter I learned to get on them fast with all the artillery possible.  I sprayed bt on all the frames (bees weren't too jazzed about that (on a 80 degree (28C) day).  Since it can get cold here in our winter I would imagine it could be a bad thing to get all the bees wet on a cool day.  Probably not at issue for you in northern Australia.  I also shrunk the hive into a 5 frame nuc and rotated infested frames through the freezer and I believe I have licked the wax moths.  If I hadn't noticed them when I did I'm sure they would have destroyed the already weakened hive in short order which was due to a failing queen.  I couldn't believe how quickly they multiplied and how much damage they did in one week.

I also found some parasitic wasps in the hive recently and learned they predate the wax moth.  Very cool!  Maybe you have similar wasp species in AU?  http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,19242.0.html

And yes BT is a bacterium, not a chemical.  In the US it's certified for use on organic fruits and vegetables.  Every time I try to grow tomatoes these caterpillars show up and denude the plants.  I sprayed the BT on my newest ones last month and so far no caterpillars.  I believe they ingest the bacteria which kills them, and it's only harmful to larval stages.
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tlynn
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2009, 11:46:46 AM »

If I hadn't noticed them when I did I'm sure they would have destroyed the already weakened hive in short order which was do to a failing queen.  I couldn't believe how quickly they multiplied and how much damage they did in one week.

More correctly if I hadn't noticed the strange little silk webs in about 4 cells of comb and hadn't taken a photo and posted here, which the skilled eyes of members identified as wax moths, the hive would have been a goner.  Beemaster forum rocks!
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Lone
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2009, 06:21:14 AM »

Thanks, Tlynn,

I don't know if that wax moth predator lives here but from the number of blighters I don't actually think he lives in our street.

I found some bt and sprayed the unused supers. I was going to spray some frames of foundation but I learnt a new thing in the school of life's experiences, that it melts in a short time when laid down.   angry

I also found my first small hive beetle yesterday, identified by kindly forum members also.  I'll take it to the DPI because it is reportable and they can formally test it.  Maybe this has been yet another cause of stress to this hive.  Looking at the pictures in their literature, the mass of maggots we found could well have been SHB, and I'm just glad we zapped them before they potentially beetle-ised.  I panicked, of course, and ordered a SHB trap from a supplier who told me not to panic.  I have another question: will bleach kill SHB and the eggs? 

 jail   <---my SHB

Lone
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BjornBee
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2009, 06:46:42 AM »

Lone,
Wax moth larvae, even if they concentrate on a single frame, will work independently, and make individual tunnels. The SHB larvae work like you said "In mass" and really take out one frame at a time. Even when they are small, you will see a small ball of SHB larvae in unprotected pollen stores and they just grow from there.

The wax moth larvae with be much more spread out and you can see single worms working by themselves in various places.

The  SHB is smaller (up to around 1/2 inch or slightly bigger) more of a yellowish color and more pronounced ridges. The wax moth larvae can grow much larger ( 1 to 1-1/2 inch or more) and are a creamier white.
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Lone
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2009, 08:44:25 AM »

I got the small hive beetle trap yesterday and should have it ready to use in a couple of days.  Do such traps usually solve the SHB problem?  I plan to put one in each hive located here.  I definitely saw some little SHB larvae, with their little red heads.  I think the bee numbers are increasing.  Knowing what the problem is always helps.  This might have been the reason the other hives failed, even though I didn't see a beetle.  At least I have the dubious honor of maybe being the first person in town to have SHB.

It continues to rain daily, washing away the pollen and nectar.  The bloodwood tree blossoms haven't all erupted yet, so I hope it will stop raining when they do.  Or my honey jar might stay empty one more year.

Lone
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