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Author Topic: Observations from a new beekeeper  (Read 672 times)
GSF
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« on: June 15, 2013, 06:19:15 AM »

Greetings all, I live in central Alabama and have had a hive one week this afternoon. I have made some observations and have a few questions. I'm concerned about doing too much since this is a new home to them and I don't want to run them off.

1) I have a screen bottom and some bees are always present on the outside, apx 30-50, does that confuse them?
2) I've read about putting a small one inch block under the top to raise it for ventilation. It's in the 90's but the hive only gets 2 to 4 hours of direct early morning sun.
3) I talked with a friend who has kept bees for about 6-8 yrs. He seems to think that the only pest problem we have is SHB. I'm concerned right now about the foul brood diseases, why? heck I don't know
4) I've noticed when I fooled with the hive a couple of bees were on the front entrance with their buts in the air and were fluttering their wings, is this a warning to the hive?
5) I want to examine the hive tomorrow to check for the queen and to see if any egg laying has taken place (tomorrow is 8 days). I have all the equipment and do use a smoker. It seems to me that when the hive is opened the queen is subject to take off, is this a real and common concern?

I'm sure I'll have more questions later, thanks folks. gary
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John Wayne
iddee
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 07:42:47 AM »

1.. Put a cardboard or other cover over the screen for 3days or so, until they orient to the entrance.

2.. Maybe a 3/8 in. block, if needed, but not a 1 in.

3.. The more shade the hive has, the worse the SHB will be. Full sun all day is best to keep them out.

4.. They are fanning to get the smoke out of their home.

5.. The queen won't leave once she has brood.
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Psparr
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »

Take a day off work and read read read. There's answers to all your questions here on the forums.
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blanc
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 08:52:05 AM »

If you saw my hives right now you would think they are about to take off since up to half the hive looks to be hanging out the box. With the higher temps they do what's called bearding in order to lower the temps inside the hive. If you put your face close to the opening you can feel a breeze of circulation and bees sit at the entrance in order to pull the flow of air. Pretty amazing stuff.
Blanc
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GSF
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 07:47:17 PM »

Thanks for the quick feedback. I have kept other critters and know you just can't leave something alone and expect it to make it. That's why I am open to any and all experiences and viewpoints.

Psparr; I've been reading quite a bit out of a book called; "First lessons in Beekeeping" by Keith S. Delaplane. You're right about forums, they hold a lot of information. Right now I have to be careful not to run with some inaccurate stuff. Being a novice I may not know the difference.

Blanc; Thanks for sharing that with me. If I saw that without knowing what it was I would be heartbroken, thinking they were fixing to swarm.

Iddee; I hate to say this, but are you sure about the direct sunlight? It gets extremely hot around here and I was afraid that the heat would kill off a lot of bees or do something to the honey.
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John Wayne
10framer
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2013, 09:03:49 PM »

where in central alabama are you?  i kept bees in the auburn/opelika and surrounding 50 mile radius.
if they have been there 8 days they should stay.  was this a package or a swarm?
bees fan to regulate the temperature, as a warning, and to tell each other where "home" is at different times.  perfectly normal behavior.  by july you'll be seeing what blanc described.
i'm not a fan of screened bottom boards.  we used to put a match stick under one corner of the migratory cover in the heat of summer to help with ventilation, with the small hive beetle problems that just gives them one more point of entry.
if the bees have only been there a little over a week foulbrood shouldn't be an issue yet. 
you do need to be concerned about the bees starving, though.  depending on where you are the main flows are over or close to over.  this late sumac should be the main nectar source. 
read, read, read and ask questions.  this is a tough time of year to start a hive in central alabama. 
also, the varroa mite may be something to be concerned about.  they pretty much wiped me out in the early 2000's.
good luck and enjoy.
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GSF
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2013, 10:00:13 PM »

10framer;

I'm about 35 miles north of Montgomery. I live in the nw corner of Elmore county. I am feeding sugar water with a 1:1 ratio. My neighbor has a decent size cornfield and it's tossling now. Around here is several open fields with no crops. The area (10-15 acres) around my beehive will be rich this fall with a lot of goldenrod, and other fall blooming flowers.

To make sure I understand, you also recommend direct sunlight? thanks
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John Wayne
10framer
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 12:12:23 AM »

a lot of people think that direct sunlight helps.  i've only had to deal with hive beetles for since last fall when  got back into beekeeping.  my bees are in direct sunlight for all but the last couple hours of daylight and i might go though all my hives and see a couple of beetles one day and then 4 or 5 in each hive the next.  i've been seeing more lately and i put oil traps in all of them about a week ago and have 2 or 3 beetles in most of them now..
i recommend strong hives.
goldenrod isn't what i consider a major flow.  i don't like to feed if i don't absolutely have to but i think you probably need to help these bees out.
if you're where i think you are you may have sourwood which can be a pretty good flow.  you may get a small kudzu flow too.  google "sumac" if you don't know what it looks like, it was the second best flow we had over that way and it may be on in your area right now.
boxweed and maybe some vetch will produce a little too. 
the good news is the bees will have plenty of good pollen sources up until late september.
a few of the yards were in waverly, alabama and i'm thinking that should be similar to your area.  kind of where the coastal plains meet the foothills?
those yards usually produced a lot of honey but i'm talking about a long time ago when every spare acre wasn't in planted pine.  but, we were pulling the second round of supers by the first week in july and we didn't put any back on after that.

 
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JPinMO
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 01:46:35 AM »

GSF, regarding your issue #3:

After I read my first bee book (Beekeeping for Dummies) and learning that Missouri requires infected hives to be burned, I had the fear of God on me about AFB.  drowning

Our mentor has been keeping for several years, now runs about 80 hives. He belongs to the Bee club in Springfield MO, with a couple hundred members. He has never heard of anyone having AFB.

AFB is very serious; it's also very rare.
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10framer
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 01:58:19 AM »

GSF, regarding your issue #3:

After I read my first bee book (Beekeeping for Dummies) and learning that Missouri requires infected hives to be burned, I had the fear of God on me about AFB.  drowning

Our mentor has been keeping for several years, now runs about 80 hives. He belongs to the Bee club in Springfield MO, with a couple hundred members. He has never heard of anyone having AFB.

AFB is very serious; it's also very rare.

i burned three hies and a nuc about a month ago.  they all started from a couple of nucs i bought that i suspect were from stock that had been treated with antibiotics for years.  i bought 120 hives from a guy in south alabama back in the 80's and by the first fall i had to burn a dozen of them.  it's not that rare or i'm just very unlucky. 
i used to work with the state apiarist and we burned a hives and quarantined yards every year. 
it's serious but if you started a swarm or package on foundation there should be very little to worry about.  if you started them in a bunch of used equipment the risk is slightly higher. 
if you think you have american foulbrood i'll be glad to go through the hive with you and show you how to do the powdered milk test.  if you have it we'll most likely know before we do the test. 
i travel to auburn and montgomery for work all the time and i'm about to start a project in pelham.  i keep a veil in the truck so don't be afraid to ask if you think you need help.
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GSF
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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 06:52:53 AM »

I bought my package from a place over there in Ga. Thanks a million for the offer to help. I'm pretty sure I can detect it if the youtube video using the rope test. Everything I have is brand new, hives, tools, ect.

This is somewhat akin to when I first started with goats several years ago. I started learning about diseases and went through the school of hard knocks. Right now with goats I keep a closed herd (no outsiders). When I first started I was getting goats from everywhere. That brought in a lot of different ailments and after about two years I could almost identify and treat anything that came up.

I'm not familiar with the powdered milk test please explain.

thanks for your comments.
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"Life is hard, It's even harder when you're stupid."

John Wayne
10framer
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 08:14:14 AM »

from memory (so you realy ned to google it to be sure).
4 or 5 ml of skim powdered milk roughly body temperature.
add scale or a dead larvae let it incubate for about 20 minutes.
if it starts turning clear afb is present and active.

if all your stuff is new you don't need to worry about afb for now. 
i had a lot of experience but i wasn't sure about mine because there was no scaling for a while, no smell and less than one out of ten dead larvae roped.  finally it got ahead of the bees in one hive and you could smell it and there was a little scaling.  i think more hygienic bees can mask the symptoms because they clean the mess quickly.  unfortunately that spreads the spores throughout the hive faster too.

what kind of goats do you run?  i'm looking to get started in goats next. 
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