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Author Topic: another "why did they die"  (Read 3027 times)
T Beek
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2011, 06:56:52 AM »

Top entrance hysteria, oh my!

 Wink

thomas
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BjornBee
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2011, 07:12:06 AM »

Top entrance hysteria, oh my!

 Wink

thomas

Yeah, it's in the same class as the commercial guys who all tune in to the same grape vine, and if one has come up with a "new homebrew" they must all run out and follow suit. Or perhaps the folks calling up thinking that if they do not get packages or nucs by the middle of April, that they have missed the season.

Well maybe not hysteria...but colorful words never hurt to prop up a conversation.  grin My definition of "love" probably means different than others. I think hype and hysteria is in the same example. What I see as hype and hysteria is not the same for all. Be glad for that.  Wink Unless you really want to be like Mike!  shocked

The "lack" of a top entrance never in my opinion, never caused a colony death yet...if not for circumstances caused by beekeepers in the first place.
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T Beek
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2011, 07:44:38 AM »

BjornBee: I think "improper" use and understanding of top entrances certainly causes many issues for beeks and bees.   I also think the above is such a case (I could also be wrong).  Newbeeks are provided a minimum of pertinant info generally specific to where bees and equipment are purchased (is this on purpose?  I don't know) and then bombarded with conflicting information (most of it useful, but definately conflicting).  The discovery, especially for Northern beeks (my opinion), that all beekeeping is local (now where did I hear that from? Lips Sealed) particularly as it pertains to weather, is huge, was for me anyway, but I started this latest adventure with some fairly bad habits and false asumptions to begin with, learned from a big outfit 30 years ago.

As you well know, top entrances have been around for a very long time and many old (Northern and Southern) 'minimal treatment' beeks swear by them.  That's good enough for me.  I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything (not my style), just passing on tried and true methods that have worked for many, if not all Wink.

thomas
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BjornBee
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2011, 08:16:17 AM »

thomas,
The books and history of beekeeping is littered with the "tried and true" methods.

Replacing swarm queens and breeding for low swarming, which goes against what nature desires for survival.

Breeding for low propolis producing colonies, which is now questionable for hive health.

Using wood in hives, especially 1 inch (or less) wooden telescoping covers that have an r-value of 1, which is drastically different that almost all selected cavities in nature.

These are three "tried and true" beekeeping items, that over time is changing. there are many more.

Back 30 years ago, you could almost do anything to bees, and they would survive. Beekeepers did little more than put supers on, take them off, and treat for AFB. If you lost 10%, that was a bad year.

Unfortunately, things have changes. Many more compounding factors effecting bees health.

And with yearly losses across the country, I think understanding the bees traits and abilities, their preferences to what they want in the wild, can benefit beekeeping.

"tried and true" gave us, and continue to give us, old queens as beekeepers think having 5 year old clipped queens is good, thinking that no propolis in the hive is good, that 1 inch tops are good for hives, and continued chemical contamination of hives is the only solution. Sorry, the bee clubs are full of old-timers still stating "We have been doing the same thing for 40 years!", when asked about natural comb, SBB, treatments, and many equipment options.

Fact is, studies by T. Seeley that date back to the 70's, have shown that bees prefer cavities with lower entrances. Why do you think this is? Bees do in fact benefit from trapped air for brood rearing in the upper chamber. that is what they seek in cavities for feral colonies.

30 years ago, many things did not matter. The bees survived. Today, I want to give them all the advantages that they can be given. And for me, I start by understanding what bees do in nature, like propolis the interior of the hive, replace queens almost every year, mostly live in thicker wooden cavities in oak tress with a greater r-value, and select a lower entrance site.

Now do we manage bees in a very unnatural way with our beekeeping goals of honey production, etc. Sure. Most feral bees never reach 50,000 strong. and nobody is placing supers on top of the hive. So can bees benefit from propping the hive open a bit for the summer? Sure. But is seems that this "tried and true" method of placing a simple stone under the cover, went to a top entrance when a few perhaps "lazy" beekeepers thought taking the stone back out was too much work. Or maybe they wanted to be different and decided to "build a better mouse trap", and the next thing you know, top entrances were being promoted. Bees may need some ventilation in mid-summer, but not all year round by top entrances.

"Tried and true" worked for about anything years ago before all the problems came round. Today, tried and true, has been found to be a detriment to colonies by many things. Many of which are still being touted by old beekeepers who would never consider changing a thing in their hives.
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T Beek
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2011, 08:37:44 AM »

C'mon Mike, I agree with much (most) of what you say and remain an avid supporter of your efforts, but........Why should/would anyone change (modify?) if their methods are still successful, after 50 years or more beekeeping?

And its not just the history books, its this place (and others like it), where it seems many rely entirely on the advise recieved, conflicting or not, because they've been taught to get info here (on the web) rather than seeking it in books.  I guess what I'm trying to say is "its no wonder so many are confused" and no wonder beeks and bees suffer because of it.

Not to change the subject but i'm very interested in your take (and others) on allowing bees to occasionally swarm for a natural varroa control, may need another thread for this though.

thomas
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BjornBee
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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2011, 09:07:34 AM »

C'mon Mike, I agree with much (most) of what you say and remain an avid supporter of your efforts, but........Why should/would anyone change (modify?) if their methods are still successful, after 50 years or more beekeeping?

That is the problem. I've been to three different club meetings. I would question with the losses many are reporting, if "still successful" was a proper viewpoint.  Wink  But no matter the losses, you pencil some in for a 50% package replacement order every year, and watch as they claim they have all the answer, and refuse to consider change from anything they had been doing for the past 30-40 years.  rolleyes

Not to change the subject but I'm very interested in your take (and others) on allowing bees to occasionally swarm for a natural varroa control, may need another thread for this though.
thomas


I can not speak about others, but I have never suggested letting bees swarm. I do however, try to understand the bees natural yearly requeening and the benefits they seek by having successful colonies be headed by first year queens.

I also try to suppress the swarming urge until it is beneficial to me to have selected queens, and at a time when such things as honey production is not lessened.

Knowing that nature replaces queens in feral colonies every year, just means that I also try to replace all my queens also. I see a huge winter survival rate impact by using first year queens.

Splitting, replacing queens, and taking my honey off is better done right after the main flow in late June. That is a good time to break the mite cycle going into the fall season, I have good queens at that time, and the supers come off for doing splits.

Having four year old queens, or expecting to stop all swarming, are not my goals. Understanding what gives me (and the bees) the best chance of surviving is.

BTW....I also don't think that a beekeeper that does have a hive swarm, that they are lazy as claimed by others.  grin
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T Beek
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2011, 09:35:31 AM »

Well said, thanks again for your insight Mike.

thomas
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rgy
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2011, 11:48:39 AM »

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rgy
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2011, 11:49:45 AM »

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rgy
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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2011, 11:50:27 AM »

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rgy
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2011, 11:51:06 AM »

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rgy
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2011, 11:51:48 AM »

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kathyp
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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2011, 12:17:00 PM »

you got the pics up!!  smiley

T Beek, a distinction needs to be made between upper entrance and ventilation.  lots of people do fine with an upper entrance.  i can even see an advantage in a heavy snow area.  after all, bees in a tree don't have a front porch to catch snow and block things up.  however, ventilation for moisture control defies common sense.  first, most moisture problems come from feeding to late and having uncapped syrup in the hive.  other moisture problems are cause by things like opening the hive continually to "check" and breaking the propolis seal that would keep much weather out.  

the bees work very hard to close everything up for winter, yet we insist on ventilating them.  
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2011, 01:21:11 PM »

It's hard to tell from the pics if all that white milky looky stuff is brood larvae which is a the core of your answer.  The bees broke cluster, went into a brood rearing mode and were then caught out of cluster.  That there is both brood and capped stores left in the hive means starvation wasn't a factor here.

If the top was proped open, as the defication signs on that one corner suggest, after the bees began stirring as the weather warmed, that could be a contributing cause.  Providing ventilation, vent or upper entrance, must be done in the early stages of hive development in order to be successful.  The bee need time to organize the interior of the hive to allow for that vent/entrance.  In other words,especially if, the bees have overwintered with a sealed top and the top is either proped open or a hole is drilled in it for ventilation/entrance sake, then any cold snap could kill off the bees because they aren't aclimated to that vent/entrance.
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rgy
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2011, 01:35:48 PM »

hole was drilled in mid to late fall and top propped at same time so they had both all winter long and were very sucessfull.  When I checked two weeks ago they were doing fine except the poop on the side and around that second hole.  (i'll get a pic of that)  I took the cover off and there were dead bees up on the inner cover and a lot of the poop but not as bad as the pic.  I did get stung and dropped the top back down so maybe that broke the cluster completely:(  Huh  

working from the side with the poop.

frame#    poop side,                                                       other side

1             empty                                                               1/4 honey 1/2 brood
2           1/2 h 1/4 brood not capped                              1/2 h  1/4 brrod
3          1/4 hon 1/8 brood                                             1/8 honey
4     little honey                                                            empty
5    emty     poop on top                                                empty poop; on top
6   emptpy poop on top                                                  little brood little honey
71/2 hon  1/4 brood                                                      1/3 hon  1/4 brood
8  emptpy                                                                1/2 brood   1/4 honey
9  3/4 honey                                                                 full honey
10   full honey                                                              not built out
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rgy
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2011, 01:48:38 PM »

my other hive is out and about today so I took over 3 frames of fall honey and put out for them to rob.  I put it were the dead hive was only about 2 feet away from the other hive.  This should be OK correct??

So from the dead hive I have the list above and 10 built out brood frames from the bottom box that are all empty.
I have 3 five frame nucs comming in April.  Can I put the nuc and 5 of the above honey frames in the bottom brood box or should I put the Nuc and 5 of the empty brood frames in and then when they get that 80% full put some of the above honey frames in the second brood box?  I  guess the question is, "how do I utilize these larger frames, some with honey/dead brood and some empty bottom brood box frames?"
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charlotte
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2011, 04:00:21 PM »

Here's what I would do...

The brood frames from the nuc--put on one end of your box.  Then put a couple of empty brood frames, from your old hive next to that.  Lastly, put a few frames of honey in next to that & up to the opposite side of the box.  Theory here is that the queen will move toward the center of the box to lay, as the original nuc brood frames hatch out--(they are against the side) the bees will then want to fill them with food.  (Probably syrup, as you may have to feed some)  I would give it a couple of weeks, see how things are, then add you other drawn out frames in a new box above your first one. If you still have frames with honey, put those in divided among the two sides. 

Unless it's pretty cold in your area yet (days not above 60), then put your nuc frames with brood in the center.  I would leave a frame of empty on either side so the queen has somewhere to go.  Then put honey frames on either side up to the box walls. 

The main thing is to be sure your queen has some space to lay next to her current brood, and I like to put my honey frames in where the bees would normally want to store the honey--toward the outside.  By using your old frames your bees will build up faster since they will have less to draw out & you will have to feed less since you have frames of honey. 

I would also definately treat your nuc with Fumagilin for Nosema, esp since it looks suspicious that you last hive had it & you are using that equip.  I know there are many people that will disagree with that, but that's what I would do.
Good Luck.


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