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Author Topic: Feral bees  (Read 2042 times)
Lesli
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« on: February 16, 2005, 06:53:11 AM »

This Sunday, my bee club is meeting. We have a speaker, Tom Seeley, from Cornell Univeristy. He actually did a "census" of feral colonies in Arnot forest before varroa showed up, and again more recently. It should be an interesting talk, and I'll report on his results here.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2005, 08:29:59 AM »

I would like to know how many of those feral collonies were escapies from large cell beekeepers, and how many were not fully regressed. From my understanding bee taken from large cell will build their first natural comb at 5.1 or larger. Then when those newly hatched bee are taken out to start over, they will build smaller, but possible still not all as little as 4.9. They might need another regression period.

It is after they are stablized, totally off chemicals, oils, and such, and fed natural healthy diets, that they then start taking care of the mites themselves.

After the mite infestation, were the survivors all small cells ferals?

You have 100 hives. You wake up one spring morning and they are all dead. The first 20% you check you determine died of mites. Do you then just assume that all of them died because of mites? Or do you look further.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2005, 08:58:28 AM »

I got started with beekeeping as a result of a bee tree. I removed comb from it and compaired it to a frame of drawn comb and there is no difference in cells size. from the color of the comb in the tree we have determined the bees had been there at least two years.
In all the books I have read the authors say that even in our hives the brood cells become smaller as the years go by. Many authors use that as reason to not use the same brood comb to long as the bees get smaller. Now I will admit many of the books I have reaqd this in were either written before the mite problem and also before the belief that small cell bees might bee part of the answer to mite control.
I'll look around my files for the wild comb laying on some drawen comb picture.
 Cheesy  Al
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2005, 11:07:48 AM »

The thing is the bees don't tear out their comb. They just keep reusing it. If you take your bees and shake them into a box for them to build their own comb, it will be smaller than what they are on now. The brood area is usually the smallest, and they have a tendancy to build bigger for honey storage. The queen will lay in the smaller cell if available.

Now after awhile, when the older bees die off, you shake them into another box, and they will build this comb even smaller. Some people claim the smallest they will go is about 4.6 I think it is. They won't go any smaller than that. Then there is the climate in which one lives as to the size of the comb that the bees would consider natural.

It takes a lot of work getting bees down to 4.9, unless you have fully drawn comb for the to start on. Any queen will lay in drawn 4.9 cells. The larger workers have a bit of difficulty drawing out 4.9 foundation. They might get it 5.0 to 5.1.

So if those bees you captured came from a large cell bee keeper they would have built larger comb and then would have kept using it for the most part. Also if the queen runs out of room it the brood nest she will lay in the honey storage area when available and thus maintain a larger bee.
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2005, 11:18:18 AM »

Jerry,

Since you seem to be the expert on comb sizes, maybe you can help with a debate Beemaster and I have had.

Will a queen lay eggs in upside down comb?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2005, 12:40:15 PM »

Are you meaning upside down as in taking a frame with drawn comb and turning it upside down?

I understand that when comb is drawn it has a slight angle going up. As I have no experince in this and haven't observed a queen laying eggs, I am only guessing. I would think if she had any other choice she would lay in other areas before going to the upside down stuff. Now if she had no choice at all, and could not abscound..... That's a good question. Know anyone claiming that they have actually witnessed this?

If not perhaps I will try to find a way to give it a try.

I saw an article about a rotating hive.... now where was that? Can't remember anything being said about the ability of the queen.

Accusing me of being an expert?  rolleyes
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Jay
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2005, 01:22:43 PM »

Queen cells are vertical and she lays in those. I would think the bigger problem with upsidown cells would be getting nectar to stay in them.
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Robo
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2005, 03:56:14 PM »

The context of the discusion was around how to get a queen to move out of a super  from an abandoned hive that has become so cross comb/brace combed up that the frames are not removable without breaking the whole super apart.

My suggestion was to invert the super and place an upright super on top.  The theory being the queen who quickly move up to the new super because she would dislike using the upside down cells for laying.

I not trying to say she couldn't be forced into laying in upside down cells  if that was the only choice,  just that it would not be the preferred choice.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2005, 02:12:45 PM »

>Will a queen lay eggs in upside down comb?
>not trying to say she couldn't be forced into laying in upside down cells if that was the only choice, just that it would not be the preferred choice.

From my experience Robo is right.  She won't want to, but sometimes she will.  Will a queen sting?  I've never been stung by one but have met people who have.  Just because something is unlikely doesn't make it impossible.

I have used the upside down comb method to get them to abandon comb.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.
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Michael Bush
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