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Author Topic: Coastal SC Hive Inspection Observations  (Read 585 times)
RHBee
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« on: February 27, 2014, 06:04:20 PM »

I got an opportunity to open up my hives today and wanted to share with you all what I found. All of my colonies are 8 frame either 3 mediums or 1 medium and 1 deep. All frames are well populated, all have brood in various stages of development, all are bringing in pollen and nectar. Plenty of stores. Low SHB populations. All in all, 13 healthy colonies. No winter losses.
Swarm season is upon me. Some have queen cells, all have drone brood and drones. I really wasn't expecting to find the queen cells and drone density this early. I guess that the ice storms were no deterrent. I had planned to implement swarm control methods but, as I understand it, these are only effective if they are put in place prior the formation of queen cells. So, it looks like swarm traps are going up.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up.
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Ray
Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 06:15:20 PM »

Did you just leave the queen cells?   Smash them?  You don't just let them swarm do you? 
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dprater
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 07:04:17 PM »

Sounds good RHBee. Did you feed for a build up? Or just let them do what bees do.

I'm a little north of you in Lexington and my bee are bring in lots of pollen and I guess nectar too. I have one week hive out 6. I'm going in to some of my hives Saturdayto see how they are building up and if I need to make room in the brood area.

dan
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 07:14:48 PM by dprater » Logged
10framer
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 08:26:03 PM »

ray, i'd split nucs out of the hives with queen cells.  you control the size of the swarm that way.  a deep frame of honey, a deep frame of emerging brood, a deep frame of open brood and an empty comb.  the queen goes with the nuc and i wouldn't shake any extra bees.
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GSF
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 08:36:43 PM »

I just know I'm gonna loose my bees now  Cry

Per chance they are still there Sunday, if I do a split and put the queen in a super with a queen excluder at the top and bottom would that keep them from swarming?

I had planned to do a step down(?) It's where you take the queen, eggs, uncapped larva, frame of pollen, honey and move them.
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Vance G
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 08:54:07 PM »

Gary if you take thatapproach,  fine, just make sure the colony still has a queen cell or some eggs or 2 day old larvae so they can raise a new queen.
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10framer
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 09:56:06 PM »

gary, ray's flows started a few weeks ahead of mine last year and i'm not even seeing clover in town yet.  if things your way are similar to here i don't think we'll see a big flow before the last week of march or early april.  you're probably still ok.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 10:40:08 PM »

Puts Ray about on what I figured or maybe a week earlier. My swarm season is usually last of March or first week of April. Subtract about 9 days for the development of the cell and swarm. I am about 150 miles North of Ray and figure he should be 2-3 weeks ahead of me. The terrain and temps change significantly in that 150 miles.

My hives are nowhere near that strong now but I don't supplement feed I just leave honey. Something I may need to re-evaluate. Maybe supplement with honey. My coming out of winter cluster seem to always be small and usually don't build up as fast as I would like. This hurts in my very short season with no fall flow.
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John 3:16
RHBee
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 03:42:45 AM »

Did you just leave the queen cells?   Smash them?  You don't just let them swarm do you? 

I decided to leave the queen cells. I figure to let the bees sort things out. I'm pretty ill prepared. One thing I'm not gonna do is panic over this. I'm going into my third year, still have a lot to learn. Last year I tried cutting QC's and learned that this does nothing to stop the swarming instinct. At worst you could create a queenless condition, ask me how I know.

Sounds good RHBee. Did you feed for a build up? Or just let them do what bees do.
dan

Dan, I didn't do squat for spring feeding. I made sure that each colony had a full medium of honey going into winter by feeding 2-1 if needed, they did the rest.

I just know I'm gonna loose my bees now  Cry If I do a split and put the queen in a super with a queen excluder at the top and bottom would that keep them from swarming?


Gary, I had so many swarms last year I was about ready to quit. I wintered 6 colonies in 2012 and 13 in 2014. The product of healthy colonies is a strong swarm instinct. My problems stem from a lack of preparation partly from my ignorance and partly from circumstances. Lesson learned, start prepping for next year in August. You never know what's going to happen in December and January.

ray, i'd split nucs out of the hives with queen cells.  you control the size of the swarm that way.  a deep frame of honey, a deep frame of emerging brood, a deep frame of open brood and an empty comb.  the queen goes with the nuc and i wouldn't shake any extra bees.

Rob, I'm just going to take the hit and put out traps. From what I understand, properly mated swarm queens are the best you can get. Looks like my goals have changed. This year concentrate on transitioning all to mediums, building up my 6 new packages, getting drawn comb and maintaining healthy colonies. I doubt there will be  much of a honey crop but who knows.

Puts Ray about on what I figured or maybe a week earlier. My swarm season is usually last of March or first week of April. Subtract about 9 days for the development of the cell and swarm. I am about 150 miles North of Ray and figure he should be 2-3 weeks ahead of me. The terrain and temps change significantly in that 150 miles.

My hives are nowhere near that strong now but I don't supplement feed I just leave honey. Something I may need to re-evaluate. Maybe supplement with honey. My coming out of winter cluster seem to always be small and usually don't build up as fast as I would like. This hurts in my very short season with no fall flow.


Steve, The QC I saw were capped. This means that I'm almost two weeks ahead of last year if my memory serves correctly. I expected to have a little more time but, oh well. I'm not being pessimistic, this means I'm doing something right if my colonies are healthy enough to build up this quick. The only thing that really suffers is honey production and I'm not in this for the money, yet.
I've beaten SHB, wax moths, mites and laying workers now if I can condition myself things will progress better. The season could turn out great. Swarms do draw out wax like crazy.

It's taking a while for me to learn the seasons of the bees. Keeping bees alive and healthy is a matter of applying certain methods that are proven to work. Learning to manage bees feels more like an art and looks like it takes time.
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 05:41:42 AM »

...yeah, I was just carrying on.

I figured Ray was probably ahead of us, maybe because of the coast. I do plan to go in my hive this Sunday, temp is expected to be 74.

Vance, I plan (subject to change) to do that. I read with that procedure the swarm instinct is satisfied with the queen and you can still get a honey crop/new colony with the other. I would like some honey this year but my goal is to build up my apiary.

I've been feeding for a while now and my bees are wall to wall in a two 8f deep with a very lightly drawn out foundation 8f medium. If all else fails I have 5 of 6 vacant foundation bee hives and about 25 empty supers with foundation frames sitting in the yard. I also have 7 swarm traps around the area.

They'll probably end up in the chicken house.

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10framer
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 08:12:19 AM »

ray, with the exception of not having drones i'd say i have much more brood than i had this time last year.  could be because all my queens are a year old where last year i probably had older queens or it could be because we actually had a brood break down here and the mites got set back a little.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 09:07:12 AM »

ray, with the exception of not having drones i'd say i have much more brood than i had this time last year.  could be because all my queens are a year old where last year i probably had older queens

Queens --- I am sure that is one of my major issues. I need to track them better and I have a bad habit of letting a queen limp along. I need to learn to X her and move on.
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John 3:16
RHBee
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 09:30:09 AM »

All I'm really trying to say here is--Here we go. I'm wishing everyone great success in 2014.
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Ray
sc-bee
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 12:16:25 PM »

. I'm wishing everyone great success in 2014.

Back at you man!
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John 3:16
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