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Author Topic: New Plan  (Read 3776 times)
Bush_84
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« on: March 07, 2013, 12:34:26 PM »

So...since all of my hives died this winter I am looking at a new game plan for this year.  Unfortunately that means buying more packages than I originally intended.  So I have 8 Mann lake italian packages coming in the spring.  I should have enough comb for each to get around an 8 frame deep of comb and some later to help for seed comb.  I run foundationless 8 frame with deeps for brood and mediums for honey.  So here is my rough plan.

1. Hive packages.  Feed syrup and protein patty.
2. When hive expands to fill the lower box (likely around the time of the first orientation flight?) super with another deep box with at least two seed combs.
3. Once top deep is 3/4th full nadir a deep with at least two seed combs.  Super a medium at the same time. 
4. Continue to super as needed (wishful thinking most likely.  Will be happy to get them up to 3 deeps.)
5. Come July purchase a carniolan queen.  Take an Italian queen and put in nuc.  Put carni in original hive. 
6. After a week use a cloake board on carni hive to make queens. 
7. Make more nucs by taking Italians off and introducing queen cell.

Thats just a rough outline of what I am currently thinking.  I just wanted to see if any of the bee whisperers her had any advice on my plan.  Anything that is unrealistic here?  My biggest issue has been my extremely intense June flow.  The raspberries bloom (they grow like weeds here), the bees backfill every cell in the hive, and off goes a swarm.  My one hive that did the best last year followed the above supering then nadiring plan, except I only used two deeps.  Expanding above and below I figure gives them ample room to continue to expand and prevent swarming.  Maybe I'll call it the pyramiding up and down plan.  I would love to see them at least build up to three deeps for the winter. 

My next issue is what to do about the queens/nucs.  My winters here have the capability to stink badly.  I would love to give them every chance in the world to succeed.  To me that spells carniolans.  Mann lake only sells italians.  So I am not sure what I want to do when I rear queens in July (assuming everything is going according to plan at that point).  Do I take a nuc off of each?  Will that be to much for a first year package?  Is it silly for me to consider requeening each package? 

 I would love to be able to protect myself somewhat against major losses with wintering nucs.  I have enough equipment to make two 5 over 5 deeps nucs and two 3 over 3 deep nucs (two deep bodies split in half by a divider).  Should I use that arrangement or keep them in a single box with a lot of dry sugar on top? 

I know it's a lot, but I really want to try to shield myself against total losses again and lost swarms.  I figure maybe somebody call look through this and tell me what would be good and what might be foolish.  I would rather be told ahead of time that something is foolish than do something foolish.  Thanks!
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 01:25:51 PM »

Sounds like you are going to be feeding bees all summer long.   You got something against the Italians?  I would not run 3 deeps. When you get 2 deeps full, then you can split.  And feed.  Try to get 16 full hives to go into the fall.  Then you can see about wintering nucs with what you have left over with bees.  I think this would be a good first year plan on your way to 1000 hives.  Next year you can split and feed your way to 64 or more hives if all you hives winter well. 
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Bush_84
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 04:39:09 PM »

Holy cow I couldn't even imagine that many hives.  I realise I didn't spell out my goals.  I am a backyard beekeeper looking to keep around 10 hives and winter enough nucs to replace losses.  I may winter the nucs in my garage or heat.  Don't think they would survive on their own. 

I guess maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge Italians.  I have never used them, but I always read about how much better carnis winter compared to Italians.  So in my two years as a beekeeper i have kept carnis or carni mutts.  When you get three weeks worth of lows around -30 and highs of 0,you want every advantage you can get.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 04:53:48 PM »

If you winter nucs in your garage, you can't have any windows or light in there.   Also, it needs to be unheated or keep them at 50 or below.  You don't want the flying in there.  You will loose your bees unless you fix it where they have an entrance to the outside.   
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 05:56:56 PM »

Always good to have a plan, and nothing like honeybees to make changes to them as they see fit  grin

Yeah, 3 deeps is a  lot of deeps IMO. I use all mediums myself but even when I used to brood in deeps it was just one Deep, topped w/ mediums and maybe a few shallows.  

There have been and still are many beeks swearing by 'single story' hives though, with added honey supers of course.  With all mediums I use 2 for brood, but the concept is the same.   DEEPS ARE HEAVY (even 8 frame)!

I'd add a honey super right away (on top of that 'one' brood deep) as dandelions should blooming when your packages arrive and they will soon ignore nearly everything else you might give them.  

As your using a 'foundationless' system and it sounds like you're low on empty drawn comb frames, stick in some frames with foundation, placed alternately (empty, foundation, empty) to be removed later.  Just mark them ahead of time.

Here's a little trick to keep your honey comb clean with a foundationless system if you're producing cut comb honey  (why else, right?).  As the bees fill the top honey super you gave them when first hiving (their honey), place another empty (your honey) honey super "UNDER" it (above the brood deep), as it will cause fresh 'new' comb to be built very quick and traffic (beefeet prints) over it will be light.  Once full (you gotta look), remove the whole super and put in another empty, in the same place, keeping a "nearly full" super always on top.  You'll harvest clean comb honey from the middle one for the season this way.


I absolutely love the idea of storing NUCs in an unheated, dark garage/shed with that access outside.  Gonna do that myself, yes sir.

Yeah, I'd just build up your packages and split/NUC them.  Buy some queens until you know "what method" ( there's a few) you prefer as a hobby beek to raise your own.  More and more beeks are raising their own queens these days, but the best is when several "likeminded" beekeepers from the same region can get together and share bee genetics by simply sharing queens.   cool  

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.............. JL

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« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 07:37:02 AM by T Beek » Logged

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Bush_84
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 09:42:53 PM »

By using three deeps I will hopefully allow the bees to expand down as they are back filling the brood neat during that intense flow.  The u of m has some crazy system using three ten frame deeps.  I have not attended any of their classes, but it apparently works for them.  After leaving two deeps and a medium, my bees were in the top box by feb.  I would love to be able to checkerboard and enter spring with extra honey above the cluster instead of feeding.

I don't use foundation because I am cheap.  Thus far I have not had troubles getting bees to draw straight combs.  You have to tinker a bit and micromanage a bit, but it can be done without any foundation. 
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Vance G
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 09:52:04 PM »

Buy the U of M book.  The third box promotes a larger cluster eating more food over winter.  You then split one box off, a nuc, render the other queenless right before the flow to maximize honey production and consider it expendible and you let the nuc grow to the point it winters in three deeps and you start over.  That is an on the fly rendition of what I read 18 months ago.  Imperfect I am sure.  Get the pamplet.
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10framer
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 11:24:13 PM »

i cut my teeth on italians and i'm working my way toward mutts now.  i'd look for some local survivor stock to raise my queens from without considering the variety or i'd go into the winter half carniolans half italians then raise queens from the two hives that made it through the winter requiring the least feed and building up the fastest.  then next year pick the two best again and by the third year you should have a consistent "bee" assuming there aren't a lot of other beekeepers near you or a lot of feral bees (that would probably be a good thing).  good luck. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 04:14:20 AM »

Yep, nothing wrong w/ Italians.  Even Finski uses Italians.  My first wife was Italian and well......we won't go there... Wink

I own the books, DVD and practiced U of M methods for a while but we all wind up with a system that best fits us in the end, in fact our local Beek Club is having Gary Reuter of U of M at our meeting tommorrow to discuss queen rearing. 

Few beeks practice this ART the same way as any other.  Similarities yes, the same, rarely.  cool
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Finski
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 05:51:29 AM »

.
You have lost all your colonies and now you have a  plan which does not sound realistic.

A package is like a small swarm. It start in spring and its star is difficult.

Do you know how many frames the package covers?

One langstroth box needs 2 kg bees that they  fill the  box. Are the packages 3 lbs or what?

In spring it takes 4 weeks that first bees start to emerge. It takes 5-6 weeks that the box is full of brood and bees. Now you give a second  box  and it takes time that colony fills the two box.
When the hive has 10-15 frames brood and two boxes, it takes again 6 weeks that brood will be foragers. Now it is ready to forage honey yield.

3 months has gone. 

huge raspberry flow  bring difficulties to small hives because they are filled in few  days. So they swarm. What are you going to do with swarms.  Do you know how to prevent swarming? Carniolans are quite bad in that job.


A huge plan, but  you should  learn to look the speed  how colonies build up and you do enlargements according their natural build up.

And nucs too from small hives?

Your plan is difficult even to experienced beekeeper. Beekeepers have seldom realistic view how slow is the build up of small colonies. Feed feed feed and things go worse. The small hive need  room for laying  and it has no meaning how fast  they draw combs. Feeding fills valuable cells. And then swarming.

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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 06:49:26 AM »

By using three deeps I will hopefully allow the bees to expand down as they are back filling the brood neat during that intense flow.  The u of m has some crazy system using three ten frame deeps.  I have not attended any of their classes, but it apparently works for them.  After leaving two deeps and a medium, my bees were in the top box by feb.  I would love to be able to checkerboard and enter spring with extra honey above the cluster instead of feeding.

I don't use foundation because I am cheap.  Thus far I have not had troubles getting bees to draw straight combs.  You have to tinker a bit and micromanage a bit, but it can be done without any foundation.  

A foundationless system without using some form of 'straightening guide, be it drawn comb frames or 'temporary' foundation frames (foundation 'is' relatively cheap, especially if it can be used over and over) will eventually cause more grief than expected (ask me?).

Early Spring (1st inspection) is the perfect time to just 'remove' the bottom super in any 2-3 story hive as it will likely be empty of bees because as mentioned, most will be concentrated at the top.   Clean up time  Wink

By 'forcing' bees to back fill into brood comb you're also encouraging their natural instinkt to reproduce/swarm

To inhibit swarming learn and practice KYBO (Keeping Your Broodnests Open) known by several names, including checkerboarding.
 
EXCELLENT ADVISE (and great questions to consider) FROM FINSKI!!!!!
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 07:43:14 AM by T Beek » Logged

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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 07:14:36 AM »

+1 Finski
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Bush_84
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 10:02:15 AM »

If taking nucs off of a first year colony is to stressing then I will avoid it and try it next year.  I was thinking that if I took one brood comb off of each hive (remember i am starting 4 packages) and made a few nucs it wouldn't be that stressing for the hive.  I could probably make two strong nucs this way.  But if that is to much to ask from these hives then I will not do it.  Maybe I will have to just see how they do.

As far as swarm prevention, honestly thus far these raspberries have thwarted my efforts.  I suspect that once I get to my goal colony count and start getting some stored drawn comb, swarming will be less likely.  Until then I am not sure what is best.  The colony that didn't swarm and that has done the best was the colony that I supered and nadired.  The way I understand it was that opening the brood nest is different than checkerboarding.  Checkeboarding is done in the spring.  You alternate your honey combs with empty combs.  It gives bees the impression that their colony is not fully prepped to swarm.  Opening the brood nest is placing empty combs or undrawn frames into the brood nest.  This reduces congestion and keeps nurse bees busy.

At this point checkerboarding doesn't seem feasible as my bees have thus far always started the spring in the top box.  So nothing to checkerboard.  Opening the brood nest is a good option.  I maybe have to do it very intensely during the flow.  I have done it in the past, but maybe not to the degree I need to.  The question is what do you do with the full frames?  It may be a good idea to nadir those. 
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 10:15:23 AM »

.
When I started beekeeping, I bought swarms. I noticed that 8 lbs bees is the best start. That amount of bees occupy 2  boxes Langstroth and draw the foudations.

After 4 weeks I could see that hive had one box brood, one box honey and the amount of bees had dropped to half. In that stage hive cannot forage any more or enlarge brooding.

Then  new bees start to emerge. Old home bees become foragers. The queen may add laying.
After 5-6 weeks I may add a third box.

However I saw that in this system  2lbs bees is able to get 20 lbs honey to be extracted. Quite much went to comb building.

If I did one box hive, it has great difficulties to get laying room when bees stored honey into brood combs.

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T Beek
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 10:24:13 AM »

You can make up NUCs w/ a first year package but they need to be strong colonies with bees to spare.  You also need to know 'why' you are doing so (raising and banking queens, expanding the yard with more colonies?)  Taking one brood frame from 4 colonies is a good idea but not until you know the strength of each colony.  Also, 4 frames of brood to start a NUC is optimal for ONE NUC IMO, not 4 NUC's.  You also need to add some pollen and honey to each.

Diligent observation is needed during a heavy flow, such as raspberries.  Its an excellent "opportunity" to "find" several queen cells that you can remove, frame and all (don't take them all though or you could end up queenless), placing it in a NUC along with some frames of brood and nurse bees, increasing chances of acceptance and survival.  You've also inhibited swarming at the same time.

I know, sometimes 'individual' beek terms can be confusing, add to that the different methods each beek has for attaining virtually the same goals can make it even more so.  I've mixed checkerboarding and KYBO as terms meant to describe opening the broodnest for a while.  Sorry if I've added to the confusion.
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2013, 11:36:26 AM »

.
You can make, ....but you must know first the basics of ordinary bee nursing.
Then you should have in autumn so big hives that they are easy to over winter.

If you have 4 boxes bees in summer, they need only one  box in winter.

You may split the hive ad then you have 2 nucs which are difficult to over winter.

To raise own queens and loose  lots of bees and time with those small colonies, it is not  beginners' job.  you steel bees from big hives and give them to small hives, that put into danger most of you hives.   - if you do not know what to.

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Bush_84
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« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2013, 11:56:25 AM »

Typo in previous post.  Starting 8 packages not 4.  Sorry. 
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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2013, 01:25:40 PM »

Typo in previous post.  Starting 8 packages not 4.  Sorry. 
ftp://

i propose that make 2 double size hives  4 normal size..

So you will see the  build up difference of bigger colonies.

Use foundations. No idea to use foundationless frames.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2013, 02:02:58 PM »

Typo in previous post.  Starting 8 packages not 4.  Sorry. 
ftp://

i propose that make 2 double size hives  4 normal size..

So you will see the  build up difference of bigger colonies.

Use foundations. No idea to use foundationless frames.
.

That's a thought, although I don't know if I could get myself to do it. 

I definitely agree that I need to just make sure that my packages have built up enough.  If I get a couple of hives that have built up enough by July I may consider making a nuc.  That of course depends on how well they have all done.  I better avoid queen rearing until I get overwintered colonies.  If I want my nucs and parent hives to build up enough before winter I will be better off buying in queens.  So I better just buy in queens. 

Again just looking to have a plan.  I understand that things may not go well enough to do all of this.  I would rather plan for something that never happens than not look far enough ahead and have to think of something last minute if I have 8 huge colonies.  I have seen Michael palmers video on wintering nucs.  I am entering my third spring beekeeping and I am already sick of buying bees.  My ultimate goal is a sustainable apiary and overwintering nucs seems to me like the way to do that. 
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BlueBee
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2013, 02:23:16 PM »

If you’ve got drawn comb (from the deadouts), I would definitely not combine packages.  I would go for 8 new hives.  With comb, and a prolific queen, those should build up fine by fall.  Hoping to make nucs might be too ambitious.  I would wing it and see how they do.  Sometimes you get a very prolific hive(s).  You might have some that can spare brood by late July or early August.  That late in the season you really can’t expect to get your own queen mated and laying until September and that’s just too late to make many winter bees.  So if you do have a prolific hive or two and you want to split, I would plan to buy mated queens and at least give them a month head start for winter.  A little genetic variety can be a good thing too.

I would not winter in 3 deeps, that just sounds crazy to me.   
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