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Author Topic: Controversial comment by Jennifer Berry  (Read 17057 times)
T Beek
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« Reply #60 on: February 20, 2011, 09:21:15 AM »

That's right Robo, and 'none' of us is exempt, none.
 
Not sure what was meant by your ventilation comment though, seems judgemental, but w/out explanation.  

Don't most of us keep bees in some kind of human created box and managed under human standards, first and formost?Huh Except folks like Te-te that is grin

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« Reply #61 on: February 20, 2011, 09:29:26 AM »

...jeez - put ONE garbage bag over a hive to keep the rain out ...  rolleyes ...and you're a pariah among beekeepers forever...
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« Reply #62 on: February 20, 2011, 09:47:39 AM »

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opposite position of the bees when it comes to ventilation

i don't  Wink
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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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« Reply #63 on: February 20, 2011, 10:45:53 AM »

Not sure what was meant by your ventilation comment though, seems judgemental, but w/out explanation.  

My point is if folks are so hung up on letting the bees do what they want since they know better than we, why do a majority of folks force upper ventilation and even screened bottom boards on the bees.  I have never seen a feral colony that didn't attempt to seal off their nest cavity.  I have even had hives completely propolize the screens in a vent box.  Put swarm traps with screened bottoms next to swarm traps with solid bottoms and see which they prefer. 

Now I'm not saying cell size is not important, and that man knows more about it than bees,but I personally don't put it higher on the list than nest heat and scent retention,  which a majority of us obviously do.   Why is that?   We have all heard the mantra "Cold doesn't kill bees, moisture does"  but I have yet to see a feral colony sacrifice heat and scent retention as part of moisture control.  Don't take this personally,  I don't know your thoughts/practices on heat and scent retention. My comments are based on the generally accepted practices expressed in the forum.  Just sayin.....

judgemental?
Quote
Why any beek would knowingly support that part of the "industry??" is beyond me.

Quote
That's right Robo, and 'none' of us is exempt, none.
That's is right. If foundationless works for you, that's great.  But like anything in beekeeping, what works for some doesn't work for others.  As shown in this thread, many beekeepers are successfully keeping bees on large cell without medicating or using pesticides/miticides.
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« Reply #64 on: February 20, 2011, 11:40:48 AM »

...jeez - put ONE garbage bag over a hive to keep the rain out ...  rolleyes ...and you're a pariah among beekeepers forever...

I know of a man who lost one of his best hives because the old lady who owned the property was worried about them over the winter months and wrapped them in a quilt.  Well-meaning, but the quilt got drenched, froze solid, and of course killed the hive.  He was upset, but couldn't bring himself to tell the woman about it.  He didn't want her to feel bad about it.  Lesson learned:  bees surrounded by a frozen block of ice don't stand much of a chance....
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T Beek
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« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2011, 11:43:30 AM »

Robo, So, I guess what you're saying then is that unlike honeybees,  'beeks are as different as people are different', right?? grin grin grin 

I suppose you could've asked "why do we do 'anything' with honeybees?"

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« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2011, 12:39:53 PM »

Robo,
Your point is well taken...but a bit inconsistent.

The most attractive swarm trap (about the volume of a single deep if I remember correctly), is nearly useless for honey production. 
Knowing what the bees choose for a nest is helpful when designing a swarm trap, but nearly irrelevant when actually managing bees for production.

I've certainly used and talked about using screened bottoms and top entrances...but I'm far from convinced that this is "better" or even "helpful".  Our best overwintering colonies seem to have open screen bottoms all winter...but we have also had good luck with other configurations as well.

Natural nests have no frames, no airflow around the outside of the combs, no combs are ever moved or culled...no cells are ever exposed to the outside air and UV from the sun, no queen is ever pinched or "introduced", never split, never had queen cells harvested, etc.

I was once asked (I think on a TBH or Warre forum) if we buy treatment free honey from TBH's or Warre hives....my answer was that we had never been offered treatment free honey from such systems, but would certainly buy it (even by the pail if barrels were not available).  I have a pretty good idea of what bulk honey sells for, and we pay top $$$...yet, still, no one has ever even tried to sell us honey from anything other than a Langstroth hive (and we get samples sent to us from far and wide).  I think that such "more natural" configurations are fine, but I don't know of anyone making a living from them.

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« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2011, 01:21:06 PM »

Dean,

I don't disagree with anything you said.   My point being that we hear a lot of folks using "I'll let the bees do what is natural to them"  when it comes to comb building and are in disbelief why anyone would not choose to do the same.  But, THEY are inconsistent when it comes to other things like ventilation.  I have no problem with people choosing to do whatever fits their management style/purpose.  What does get to me is when they believe their way is the "best" for everyone.

Trust me,  I can differentiate the difference between a hobbyist and a commercial beek.   I choose not to medicate any of my colonies.  But I also understand why the big time commercial guys do.   Let's face it.  If all my colonies die, it will impact me, but I still can provide food and support my family.   The commercial guys depend on their bees to provide for their families.  Big difference.  These commercial operations don't want to treat either,  they are just stuck between a rock and a hard place.  It is easy for folks whose family doesn't depended on the survival of the bees to look negatively on the commercial guys who treat, but I'm not one of them.

You posted some very informative information on foundation making from Dee and Kirk Webster in another post.   I would like to hear why they don't go foundationless, if you know? It is not trivial to make ones own foundation,  time wise or the financial investment in equipment, so they must have a good reason.   I think it would be a great addition to this discussion.
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« Reply #68 on: February 20, 2011, 02:04:46 PM »

...jeez - put ONE garbage bag over a hive to keep the rain out ...  rolleyes ...and you're a pariah among beekeepers forever...

I know of a man who lost one of his best hives because the old lady who owned the property was worried about them over the winter months and wrapped them in a quilt.  Well-meaning, but the quilt got drenched, froze solid, and of course killed the hive.  He was upset, but couldn't bring himself to tell the woman about it.  He didn't want her to feel bad about it.  Lesson learned:  bees surrounded by a frozen block of ice don't stand much of a chance....
That had to be hard to take.
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« Reply #69 on: February 20, 2011, 02:08:39 PM »

C'mon Robo, did someone actually say their way was the "best" way for everyone?  Seems like your putting way to much into this man.

Why can't some beeks just accept that foundationless (or natural) works GREAT for some of us who've tried it?  I'm telling you, I (just me now) love letting my bees make their own comb and I aint turning back brothers and sisters grin  Uh-uh, no-way.

Although I might understand 'why' some commercial outfits use certain practices, I'm not gonna start excusing or forgiving them for those techniques that contribute little besides higher profits and more sick bees, sorry but bees aren't cattle and "some" commercial (bee barons) enterprizes are awful to their bees, as are some cattle barons.  

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« Reply #70 on: February 20, 2011, 03:03:58 PM »

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have total opposite position of the bees when it comes to ventilation

I think the shape of the natural hive keeps moisture away from the bees.  This natural shape is not conducive to working with the bees so ventilation in a square box becomes necessary.
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« Reply #71 on: February 20, 2011, 03:20:50 PM »

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have total opposite position of the bees when it comes to ventilation

I think the shape of the natural hive keeps moisture away from the bees.  This natural shape is not conducive to working with the bees so ventilation in a square box becomes necessary.

What is a natural shape of a hive?  Is 2x4 stud wall a natural shape?  How about a dresser drawer or rock foundation? An owl nesting box?  I've seen ferals in many different cavities and they all seem to approach it the same when it comes to ventilation.
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« Reply #72 on: February 20, 2011, 08:21:15 PM »

I for one am quite interested in this turn of the conversation. In searching through old threads the past month or two I have seen robo reference these more closed feral hives repeatedly. It makes perfect sense to me that a creature that utilizes scent and heat the way bees do would attempt to isolate their environment. And it seem to jibe with a number of schools of thought related to the warre sytem.
I also see (as deknow points out) that most/all keepers are trying to push the behavior of the hive outside the norm in order to generate surplus, and clearly many experienced beekeepers are having good success with open SBB and top ventilation. Is this a function of a hive made form thin walls and low thermal mass? Is it an outgrowth of a push to generate profitable surplus? Certainly I can't begin to answer these questions myself (yet). But i would love to hear the input of those with more experience.
I do have to say I hear what robo is saying about contradiction in folks singing the virtues of allowing bees to do what they want...in comb construction, but then forcing /placing the hive into a venting arrangement that is rare if ever in duplicated in nature (open SBB and top entrance together).
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« Reply #73 on: February 20, 2011, 08:41:24 PM »

If I understand all this forcing the bees on all small cell will decrease drone production.  What is the down side of this?

Would you care to cite your source of this misinformation?  The bees decide how many drones to raise, and they will find a way to do it, one way or another.

I have never seen a feral colony that didn't attempt to seal off their nest cavity.

I have.  I've even seen colonies build open air hives that are completely exposed.  I've seen colonies in hollow trees with 6 inch openings.  I've seen bees in hollow trees with the tree split up the side for 6 feet - the bees made it look more like a net of propolis, with it having more holes than propolis filling the crack.  To be honest, most feral hives I've seen did very little to seal off multiple or large entrances.

Lesson learned:  bees surrounded by a frozen block of ice don't stand much of a chance....

I think it depends on how long the bees are encapsulated.  I had a couple of single deep hives this year have their entrances get drifted over, and then we had a couple nasty ice storms.  These hives did not have an upper entrance - no inner cover, and the styrofoam lid was sealed securely.  These hives had no ventilation, and both of them survived just fine.  I mentioned this to a retired commercial beekeeper from Canada, and he said he always worried about hives that were encapsulated in ice, but he didn't know of ever losing any from it.

Natural nests have no frames, no airflow around the outside of the combs, no combs are ever moved or culled

Natural configurations usually have combs oriented at an angle (often close to 45 degrees) to the entrance too.  I don't know that I have ever seen a natural colony whose combs were aligned straight on with the entrance, like a Lang, where a straight wind could blow right between combs either.
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« Reply #74 on: February 20, 2011, 08:55:34 PM »

Just out of curiousity,how many of the open air feral  hives survived the winter in the north?  I have never seen one here in PA.
And on the reduction of drones,if a colony needs drones they will build drone comb between boxes and between frames or anywhere they can build comb if  needed.
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« Reply #75 on: February 20, 2011, 08:58:54 PM »

only hive i have seen/removed that wasn't sealed well was one in a tree from last year.  picked up a nice swarm, but left the hive.  the tree did have a big split, but the hive itself was well above the split and protected.  

my thought on the ventilation thing is that folks in a wet area (like mine) lost hives over the years, opened them up and saw a wet and yucky clump, and drew the conclusion that the bees got wet and died.  in fact, the bees died and then got wet....   grin  that's my opinion and i'm stickin to it!

no doubt that water dripping on the cluster in winter would be a bad thing, but even in the wettest of weather, the bees will manage the moisture if the cluster is of adequate size and the hive is warm enough.  heat also may play a part in disease control.  read a report a few years ago about the importance of high temps in hive to combat chalkbrood.  at that time i was having quite a problem with it.  over the summer i did not open the tops on the hive no matter how hot it got.  next year, no chalkbrood after a couple of years of fighting it.  can i prove it was the heat?  no, but i learned that the bees can manage the heat with no help also  Wink
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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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« Reply #76 on: February 20, 2011, 09:43:22 PM »

Just out of curiousity,how many of the open air feral  hives survived the winter in the north?

There was a small swarm start to make an open air colony in a tree in my yard before I started beekeeping.  (They really helped to build my interest.)  It took 2 strong thunderstorms to wipe them out.  The first storm weakened them quite a bit, and the followup storm knocked down 2 or 3 combs.

A guy in the beeclub found an open air colony while deer hunting the end of Nov/beginning of Dec.  It was about the size of a basketball, and appeared to be a late season swarm.  It was alive at that point, but had died by New Year's.  He cut it out of the bush and brought it to a beekeeping class we just had.

I have seen a hive in a hollow log that was on its side.  It had a 2 foot hollow.  The bees made no effort to seal that off, and they overwintered.  That is the closest to an open air hive that I have seen overwinter around here, but they did have overhead protection.
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« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2011, 12:19:09 AM »

This smallish external colony survived one of our coldest winters on record, even one night where it got down to 21F and froze everything in site.

I first observed it in January of 2010, let them over winter and removed them in March. The hive actually grew in size, how is a mystery to me.

http://picasaweb.google.com/112138792165178452970/March122010#5447932307370005122

About six years ago I removed a very large external colony that was attached to the underside of a porch but very close to an entrance that had been there three years.

Some of you may remember this one, it had eight inches of lawnmower handle imbedded in it.

https://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus/BeePics03#4949323001457672210

https://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus/BeePics03#4949323058831753234


...JP

Here's another good pic of that lawnmower hive: https://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus/BeePics03#4949325919030804498
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 12:32:39 AM by JP » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: February 21, 2011, 11:08:50 AM »

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Would you care to cite your source of this misinformation?

Maybe I misunderstood this quote.

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COMB
Page 74
The size of the cells in which workers are reared never varies; the saying may substantially be said of the drone - cells, which are much larger; those in which honey is stored very greatly in-depth, while in diameter they are of all sizes, from that of worker to that of drone cells. As 5 worker, or 4 drone cells, will measure about one linear inch, a square inch of comb will contain on each side, 25 worker, were 16 drone cells.
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« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2011, 12:51:54 PM »

...I don't really see how that quote relates to what you said.

The last passage of the Root quote that I posted, however, seems to say that larger cells will tend to encourage too many drones, but using a uniform foundation that is "large worker" size (an not quite "drone" size), eliminates this problem.

deknow
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