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Author Topic: Bee Excitement  (Read 2009 times)
Lone
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« on: December 10, 2010, 07:16:09 AM »

G'day.

We extracted 16 litres of honey from my hive here last week.  That is more than I've seen in 4 years.  This early rain has brightened the place up.  It has been just the right amount, too.  There's been flowers on trees the cockies haven't seen out for years, like the beefwood and now the prickly pine. I saw sandalwood out and some kind of gum tree. The broadleaf ironbark has finally earnt its place by the hayshed, and the black ti tree flowered for weeks.  The hive numbers picked up too, and I've seen drones this year for the first time.  So I got to clean the extraction shed at last!

Now if that wasn't exciting enough, the poor struggling hive at the Bee Hospital in town finally superceded and the sides were bursting on it. There were 7 or 8 full frames of brood. That hive had survived with minimal numbers the last couple of years after I requeened it.  I reckon I won't buy another queen unless I am physically forced to, because all the queens I've bought have resulted in weak struggling hives.  I put a honey super on a couple of weeks ago and went to check it today to see if it was ready for extraction yet, and by crikey it was queenless.  The good old bee doctor gave me a frame of brood to try and save its life.  I have been through this sort of caper so many times now I'm wondering if I should try a hobby in inanimate objects.  

Now, wait till you hear about my excitement with chooks....

Lone (I won't say "why me?", I'll just say..."why not me??!")











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Lone
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2010, 07:40:16 AM »

OK Phil, I knew you would ask.  If you don't mind me sticking in a chook aside.  I lost all my poultry to ILT about 3 years ago.  The DPI came and got sick ones and flew them to Brisbane to get tested 2 days before Christmas.  I followed all the recommendations for ILT..kill all the few survivng chooks and spell the yard for over 80 days, spray with lysol, don't introduce new poultry.  We concreted all the coops and I've hardly taken any to a show since in case they pick up ILT there.  I started again and had about 35 chooks.  A little over a week ago, after a rainy period of a few days, they got a disease that is just as devastating and has killed nearly all in one yard and has now spread to the other yard.  The DPI are coming on Sunday to pick some sick ones up for testing.  The symptoms are different to ILT but similar in that they are not sick for long before they die and it spreads just as rapidly.

Lone

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Anybrew
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2010, 07:35:26 PM »

Hi Lone, well done with the honey.  I have had the same problem with disappearing queens.  I did an inspection the other day on two of my hives as I noticed they seemed to be a little quiet.  Guess what no queens, these hives were strong and thriving. 
I have had basically two weeks of solid rain....maybe this has caused some problems.

Cheers
Steve
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Lone
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2010, 10:19:44 PM »

Thanks, Steve. 

I suppose at least I can now say "It's not just me!"   There has been rain around but only short sharp storms and plenty of time for foraging in between.   It's a mystery how the queen could have vanished in that period of time.

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 05:28:13 AM »

Today, I checked my just re queened hives, after 5 days. Yes it was a bit soon.  I found one beautiful queen busy on the comb. Great!
No2. hive well I found her alright still in her cage with heaps of fans looking at her but no one helping her break out of gaol.  They were enjoying the show I think. So I undid the escape hatch for her. Oh well, lets see what happens.

ps
I also caught a stray swarm from the bush yesterday, what a great experience. (My First)

Cheers Steve
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Ken
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 06:45:47 AM »

Sounds like things are happening down under. I am glad that you have enough moisture for a honeyflow this year. I hope your queenless problems are righting themselves.
Sorry to hear about your chooks.  In the doldrums of winter here it is refreshing to see people dealing with swarms and such.
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Burnsy
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 08:30:41 AM »

Dry as it is over here in the west my bees are having a fine time at the moment as well.  My place (urban) is surrounded by properties that have many varieties eastern states eucalypts on them and some of these have all just started flowering, the local marri is about to open and the river red gum and paperbarks just have.  From standing at my hives I can see mature eucalypts in flower in every direction and fully laden bees zig zagging there way between them and the hive.  You can hear and see the workers in the trees in front of my deck when you are sitting there.  Funny watching them in the sun when a gust of wind comes through and sends them all into the air before they head back to the flowers again.  Probem is there is so much variety at the moment my vegie garden is being neglected by them Sad
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Lone
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 06:30:38 PM »

Thanks for the replies.

It sounds like that swarm was some bee excitement for sure.  I think that catching bees is about the most fun you can have.  Can you tell us the story, Steve?
I've lost more hives than had success here, so I'm reluctant to do a couple of tree cutouts I know about.  There is such a difference between my beekeeping and that of my aussie 'cousins', with too many swarm call outs to know what to do with, and booming hives with so much liquid gold they can't sell it all.  In July I had reached the bottom of my honey tub when there were 4 minimally full frames to extract.  So I've always had just enough honey and I've never lost all my hives at once.
 Most of the year I think the bees live off dirt and rocks here. The bloodwood generally comes out in January, the most common tree here.  Other years there have only been the odd blossom erupt, so it will be interesting to see if the rain has helped. We've planted a lot to help them out, but it's going to take the gum trees a long time to flower. I'll check for a new queen after a month, about the 10th of January.
It rained nearly all year, Ken, and the wet season started about 4 months earlier than other years I've been here.  The DPI took a couple of sick chooks to test, so I'll let you know the results when I hear them.  Commercial chicken farmers do not like the idea of chicken hobbyists, and it is nearly impossible here to vaccinate poultry.  Most of mine have died or show symptoms, so I might be left with just a pair.

Lone
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Anybrew
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 09:50:16 PM »

OK Lone, I will tell you and all the story, so grab a XXXX or what ever your poison is even tea I don't mind.

After two miserable weeks of beautiful rain approximately 9 inch's in all, which resulted in a fair amount of flooding in Central Western New South Wales.
We finally had a fine day, the temp got to about 29 degrees and  humid as you could imagine after all the rain felt like 80%.
But after so many wet days the kids and I all had smiles on our dials and we all got to play outside.
I played in the yard trying to get it in order and desperately trying to earn a beer.

At about 2pm, Harris my number 2 son (10 old and my apprentice Beek) decided to walk up the back of my block to check the Hives.  
All was going well and it was great to see the girls flying in and out and we were having a great time watching all the pollen laden Bee,s coming into land.
We moved from hive to hive talking to each other and generally just having a great time.  
As we were moving to the next hive I heard the Buzz of many bee's and it was getting louder.  I then looked skyward and the sky was full of bees.  I cautioned Harris to get behind the trees and we both made a tactical withdrawal.   Then it struck me its a swarm and I got both excited and scared all in one.  We then watched as the swarm settled on a Pine tree about five foot off the ground on a branch about 10 cm thick.
Right , we got our gear together including a spare hive and of course the camera.  I gave the swarm about 20 minutes to just settle for no reason other than I thought it was a good idea.

I also got a large pair of pruning shears and off we went with all our gear in a wheelbarrow.  I slowly trimmed away any small branch's that might get in the way of the main branch basically I gave the tree a hair cut.  At this stage we had a nice branch isolated from the rest covered in what I would say as a medium swarm.  I then showed Harris were to cut the branch with the shears and I took hold of the branch and he snapped it off with ease.  I slowly and very nervously carried the liquid like swarm over to the prepared hive and with one large shake they were in the hive and Harris placed the lid on and we danced and cheered.

End of Part One............No beer yet

Cheers Steve

« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 03:57:41 AM by Richmond » Logged
Burnsy
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 10:55:24 PM »

Pretty cool collecting swarms isn't it.  My very first bee experience (excepting watching my grandfather when I was three) was collecting a swarm.  All I owned bee wise was a half suit, so with that and a box I went for it.  My topbar hive was not even completed and ready for it so I had to rush home and make a quick few finalising to it before pouring them in.   I can't wait to find some more, a swarm hanging within easy reach is better than a free lunch cheesy.
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Geoff
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 01:14:51 AM »

Great to hear you still about Lone and that the year has been good for your bees. Thought you may have taken off with the queens to the southern states.
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Anybrew
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 03:54:00 AM »

Part two..........
Well after 10 minutes the swarm left the hive and settled in the next pine tree along.
So, after a little thought I went to the shed and came back with a queen excluder and place this on the risers of course.
Harris and I were determined to secure our new family of bee's.
Well we repeated the same trim and cut process to the now matching pine trees and shook the the swarm as before and in they went and the lid was secured.
Stuff me, the bee's then flew straight out.  I explained to Harris about the queen excluder and he wasn't sure it would work.  After about ten minutes sure enough his faith was restored in me as the bee's went back to their trapped queen.  

Well, we were both hot and I was especially dry so we went to the house and I blew the froth off a coldie and Harris had a soothing bottle of squash.
One swarm to us!


Cheers Steve/Harris
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Lone
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2011, 11:37:48 PM »

Hello,

My computer had a virus since I was here last.

Thanks for the story, Steve!

The DPI report came back ILT again.  So the remaining ones are locked up and that's it for me and chooks, at least till I can get easy access to vaccines.

Lone
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kathyp
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 12:12:34 AM »

you guys keep us going over the winter!   Wink  love the swarm story.  good outcome and the fact that your son was involved was great!

lone, i was wondering where you'd got to.  i don't buy queens anymore except in moments of extreme weakness.  i find the ones that i get from my own hives are far better.  just depends on the local resources.  fortunately, my virgins have many local choices. 
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.....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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Lone
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2011, 02:28:09 AM »

Good to see you too, Kathy.
How about if I tell you it's been about 40 C the last couple of days, will that warm you up?  Smiley

Sure, Kathy, I don't think I'll be buying queens unless I'm forced to.  If the bees chase me round the shed again I guess we'll just need a bigger shed.  The longtime beek who was here today said he used to requeen regularly, but reckons they've been no good since they've all been using AI.  The other beek I know only requeened half the hives this year due to excessive queen failures.  If my queenless hive in town isn't able to produce another I'll add it to my long list of failures!

Lone
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Mardak
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2011, 07:22:10 AM »

I like doing the splits when I have a nice queen. The chances increase dramatically of another generation of nice queen. I look for temper, egg laying, quietness and the general mood of the hive prior to organising the split. Love the feeling that comes with seeing another hive establish itself over some months.
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Lone
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2011, 10:58:58 PM »

On to the continuing saga...

It has been over a month since I left the bees to produce a queen, and I eagerly approached the hive yesterday.  There are good numbers of bees, and ones with a bit of personality too (i.e attack your hive tool, and bare skin...).  I thought I had seen every disaster you can can with a hive, and lo and behold, there was brood above the queen excluder, as well as older brood beneath it.  As I was told, "There are many more problems you can pull out of your sleeves", and "This will be character-building"...

This is starting to sound like The Neverending Story..

Lone

P.S.  Mardak, I've never had enough surviving hives to risk splitting the only decent one that finally produced good honey this year.  But it originally came from a split, and it's a good little hive.
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Mardak
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2011, 02:15:38 AM »

had a couple of hives a few years ago that had two queens, one below and one above. Just added a couple of supers to both brood boxes and let them go at it. Didn't seem much of an issue for the honey flows.
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Lone
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2011, 07:46:47 PM »

It looks like I have not provided an update for a while.  The beek where the hive is shook the bees from the top super to the bottom one to reinstate the queen to her proper place.  When next I checked there were no eggs or brood.  So again I added a frame of eggs.  But after a couple of months I found brood above the excluder again.  It looks like she got sulky for a couple of months at being on the bottom, and finally found her way back up.  So  I decided to give her both supers to lay in, put the excluder above this and a honey super on top.  Last week I checked and there is very little activity in the top super.  But both brood supers are full of capped brood.  In fact, there was only a handful of larvae on one frame and no eggs anywhere.  It is only the wall frames are empty.  I am wondering if this means it is honey bound, because there are a few cells and patches between the brood which are filled with honey.  Or will she just wait till the capped brood hatches to lay again?  Should I take any action or leave this strange hive alone?

Lone
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