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Author Topic: Natural Beekeeping in the North  (Read 12545 times)
Robo
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2006, 08:59:12 PM »

Quote from: derbeemeister

Well, nobody seems to be interested in this. I didn't come here to talk about Oxalic Acid, which is illegal anyway in USA.

Ya, and why isn't it appoved?  Perhaps because there is no $$$ in it for a big corporation? So powdered sugar treating is "illegal" too with you?  How about feeding sugar?  The fact is most people using OA see it as a safer and better working alternative to the man made "legal" chemicals.
Quote from: derbeemeister

So, mites could develop over time that had the ability to hide in cells whenever they smelled oxalic, and soon they would be the only mites left.

Obviously you don't know much about OA.  It is an organic acid that is naturally occurs in plants.  Where are these mites going to hide to get away if OA is everywhere?
Quote from: derbeemeister

There are serious alternatives to the conventional chemical path on the one hand, and the small cell fringe on the other. The problem is, it is a fairly complicated management technique and no doubt will not interest anyone who wants the quick fix (no such thing anyway)

Small cell fringe?   There are quite a few small cell beekeepers who have been chemical free for years.   With much less effort, equipment, and dying bees than what you are proposing.

There are those who are willing to go the effort to become chem free and those that are not.  Your not going to change their minds.  To be honest,  I don't think you are finding much interest because your method is very labor and equipment intensive.  If you search these forums, you will find a fair share of folks that are interested in small cell,  which is also proven and less intensive.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2006, 09:13:16 PM »

Personally I thought this so far sounded a lot like what the small cellers do only with a lot more work to get there.
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2006, 10:53:15 PM »

Quote from: TREBOR
we know by now that chemicals are trying to be silver bullets there is no silver bullet, just dependence!
 Nature had it right before we came along,..


I can tell you that I have bee in duty in environmental protection 14 years in the city hall of capital city. I am very aware what is happening and what is not.

But I do not accept that ordinary taxpayer or shoe trampler could  save the globe with his abnormal behaviour.

You cannot save the globe with keeping bees. It just does not happen so.  I can only make customer's mouth sweet.

I am not in those groups who think that small is beautiful. It is not. I think that big things are magnificent.

I have specialised now to find out what is wasting in our normal way to organise works.  If you take a book "Toyota Way" you see a glance what it can be.

Just now I start a project. I made a suggestion 10 years ago, when we handled waste recycling program: With organising logistics of waste handling we can save more than using again waste material" It took 10 years to people to find out that they are not able to that.

I have stated my opinion about sustainable environment:

"It is not old buildings or old trees or to fear chemicals which is our sustainable inheritance to younger generation.  The inheritance is how we think, how we learn, how we take care of our common affairs, how we organise things, how we tolerate waste of time, labour, machine work, transports; How we waste good ideas when we do not handle them on work places. ( My bosses did not liked the idea, if I say !)

The sustainable inheritance is how we manage our common affairs. It is not indivudual way. We cannot go back and take into use our old loose habits to pass by when you see problems: jammed traffic, standing machines, open pits in the main street of city;  one worker working, 3 watching and the fifth worker's gloves on ground.

I am just studying how we can use economies of scale in parks and streets maintenance. This my mission: How can we get better every day city environment quality with half price. I have seen any change to save environment by beekeeping.

Economies of scales means: Do not waste skills of people!

If you want to learn how to protect environment, read this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071392319/103-7778422-7182238?v=glance&n=283155

The main principle of Toyota Corporation is: Avoid wasting .

Another splendid  book is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1563271435/qid=1140148120/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7778422-7182238?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2006, 11:21:33 PM »

you missed my point
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2006, 01:20:27 AM »

Quote from: TREBOR
you missed my point


Yes, and I missed mine  too  Tongue

Quote from: Finsky
How we waste good ideas when we do not handle them on .

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derbeemeister
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2006, 07:43:24 AM »

> Ya, and why isn't it appoved? Perhaps because there is no $$$ in it for a big corporation?  

It isn't approved because there is a long tedious process involved and nobody has taken it that far. We now have formic acid and thymol products available, and these were pushed through by small companies, not Bayer.

> So powdered sugar treating is "illegal" too with you?

No. I am taking about the actual approved chemicals vs. the unapproved ones. I am aware of the laws; I don't write them.

> Obviously you don't know much about OA.

That is certainly a sure way to end this conversation -- by insulting me. I am spending my own time on this, and don't intend to respnd to comments like that. I imagine mites can adapt to whatever we throw at them, they have so far. DON'T BE SO SURE!

> Small cell fringe? There are quite a few small cell beekeepers who have been chemical free for years. With much less effort, equipment, and dying bees than what you are proposing.

I don't call replacing all your combs and have them all redrawn much less effort. Some beekeepers have thousands or tens of thousands of supers.

> If you search these forums, you will find a fair share of folks that are interested in small cell, which is also proven and less intensive.

Many people are interested in it; no one has proven anything. Ask Mike Bush. There are no real studies on it; nothing ever published that can prove a direct correlation between using small cells and lower mortality. Remember, it has to work over time, not just the first season. Allowing the bees to swarm reduces mite load the first season, but the mites build up to fatal levels the second, according to a study done in Europe. Furthermore, small cell theory is based on an ERROR. Bees have not been artificially enlarged by foundation. These was easily proved by measuring the bees in frameless hives which existed in many countries in europe and south america.  

> Personally I thought this so far sounded a lot like what the small cellers do only with a lot more work to get there.

I certainly don't know how to respond to that statement. It's not like it at all. The nucleus system takes advantage of the fact that hives can produce a lot more bees in the spring if you make splits in the correct way. These splits can build up and be ready for winter without developing heavy mite loads like normal full strength colonies do, especially during a heavy honey flow. Finally, it proposes overwintering nucs (actually strong singles by this time) in order to have more bees alive in the spring. This allows you to dump out hives that have a high mite load (these are going to die over winter anyway) as well as allows you to withstand higer winter losses, due to not treating for mites with chems.

To everyone who is interested in the Langstroth, Brother Adam, Kirk Webster nucleus system, I will answer questions about it. Please don't burden this discussion with side issues like oxalic and small cells. I have tlaked about small cells until I am blue in the face. If you believe in it, fine, I don't.

Herve
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Herve Abeille
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2006, 08:29:36 AM »

Quote from: derbeemeister

Many people are interested in it; no one has proven anything. Ask Mike Bush. There are no real studies on it; nothing ever published that can prove a direct correlation between using small cells and lower mortality. Remember, it has to work over time, not just the first season. Allowing the bees to swarm reduces mite load the first season, but the mites build up to fatal levels the second, according to a study done in Europe. Furthermore, small cell theory is based on an ERROR. Bees have not been artificially enlarged by foundation. These was easily proved by measuring the bees in frameless hives which existed in many countries in europe and south america.  

I think Michael Bush would disagree with that. Micheal and the Lusby's are just two good examples of small cell success, and both have been doing it "over time" now.

Quote from: derbeemeister

I certainly don't know how to respond to that statement. It's not like it at all. The nucleus system takes advantage of the fact that hives can produce a lot more bees in the spring if you make splits in the correct way. These splits can build up and be ready for winter without developing heavy mite loads like normal full strength colonies do, especially during a heavy honey flow. Finally, it proposes overwintering nucs (actually strong singles by this time) in order to have more bees alive in the spring. This allows you to dump out hives that have a high mite load (these are going to die over winter anyway) as well as allows you to withstand higer winter losses, due to not treating for mites with chems.
 
Again, creating nucs, wintering nucs over double box hives, dumping etc. seems like a lot of extra manipulation and work. Which never gets reduced over time.  Yes, small cell also requires effort to regress, but with 4.9 foundation and the fully drawn 4.9 being worked on,  it will be much easier.  But more importantly, once you are regressed,  the added effort stops.
Quote from: derbeemeister

To everyone who is interested in the Langstroth, Brother Adam, Kirk Webster nucleus system, I will answer questions about it. Please don't burden this discussion with side issues like oxalic and small cells. I have tlaked about small cells until I am blue in the face. If you believe in it, fine, I don't.


I'm not saying it doesn't work, but it sounds like you believe it is the "only" answer.  There are always multiple ways to solve a problem.  I'll go away now as to not contaminate your post anymore with "other" methods.  As you seem to have a set agenda, I would suspect others will move away from this post as well.
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« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2006, 08:44:43 AM »

Papa, whats a shoe trampler ?
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« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2006, 08:55:43 AM »

> I'm not saying it doesn't work, but it sounds like you believe it is the "only" answer.  There are always multiple ways to solve a problem.  I'll go away now as to not contaminate your post anymore with "other" methods.  As you seem to have a set agenda, I would suspect others will move away from this post as well.

! Nothing could be further from the truth. I am trying to describe a technique that will work in the North, for those who are interested. I have worked with bees in both the south and the north and many things do not translate. I have worked for over a dozen different beekeepers and spoken with hundreds, so there is no one in the world that believes in the mulitplicity of techniques more than I do. My set agenda is to try to describe this method for those who are interested, and to minimize the shouting that tends to occur in an unmoderated discussion. I am only try to stay focused, not to try to stifle dissent. I have nothing to gain here, and I am only here out of a sense of commitment to beekeeping. The problem is, and you are right: this technique requires work. But since the early seventies I have seen may lazy beekeepers come and go. I will grant that Lusbys and others are hard workers, otherwise they would not have survived. When you look closely at what they have done, it may be that the small cell in fact has nothing to do with it. The heavy selection of bees, the making of splits, and the possible evolution of the mites to a balance point (where they don't kill the colony) are all potential factors in the bees' survival.

Herve Abeille
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Herve Abeille
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« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2006, 09:20:23 AM »

Kris writes:
> Actually, the idea of wintering nucs over on top of full hives sounds interesting, but I don't have access to the 1997 American Bee Journal (and I only have a subscription to the "other" magazine). Are Kirk's articles or discussions of his method published anywhere online? I've found very little, and what there is seems conflicting.

You are quite right, not much is available. However, he has told me that starting in April the American Bee Journal is publishing a new series of articles by him. I have the issues from 1997, but I can't put too much up without infringing on copyright. ANyway, there are some key changes since then: mainly, he stopped treating with chems. Back in 97 he was still treating to keep the bees alive. It's hard to watch your bees die!

I will try to summarize agai
Here's what normally happens in the north. I bought 12 hives from a beekeeper who has raised northern bees for years. Got em in spring and had to super up right away. These were boilers, and they made al ot of honey that year (I think it was 2001). We were collecting mites for laboratory studies, so there was NO treatment. After the goldenrod, the supers were taken off. By October, already they were crashing. (Much fewer bees in the hives, bees with shriveled wings, dead brood due to PMS). By November, they were ALL dead. This is the normal course in the north.

Now, a hundred years ago, many beekeepers in the north suffered very sever losses. They tried double walled hives, cellar wintering, etc. This is why the package bee industry was formed and why it has kept going all these years. A six month winter can kill off half or more of your colonies. The difference with varroa is that the bees were dying in the fall! But it amounts to the same thing, dwindling numbers.

Now I have recommended to people who want to keep bees without treating, to just let the bees dies out and replace with packages. The extra honey you get might even pay for the packages. But it isn't sustainable, obviously, and you keep getting bees from the south, which is not what we want. Now, I have nothing against beekeepers in the south, nor the package industry. But the stock selection should take place in the north, where bees are subjected to hard winter.

So here's the deal: you make your own increase in the summer when it is the easiest. If you have good hives, these can give up frames of brood and bees to make the nucs. If you don't want to or can't raise queens, good northern queens can easily be bought IN THE SUMMER. These nucs are allowed to build up until they are strong one story hives packed with honey. They are very unlikely to swarm because: 1) swarm season has passed. 2) hives with queens less than a year old seldom swarm. Still, if you get a heavy flow in September, you may need to put on a super.

The wintering of the nucs doesn't not have to be on top of colonies. In Kirk's article he shows pictures of single story hives stacked in piles and wrapped. There's one picture of forty singles in a big pile, in four layers! This is similar to the bee sheds of Austria. The hives there receive no special wrapping but they are all touching each other, and covered on three sides by the shed. Only the south side is exposed, and that way the sun can warm them during winter, but they are sheltered from wind and shade on the north side.

In the spring you should have enough bees to start the whole process again: building up the colonies to make honey, and make increase, and raise queens from the survivors. By the way, Kirk has strains of Russian bees that are doing well in Vermont. SO it helps to start with stock tha tshows some degree of mite resistance. There are good sources for northern and Russian stock, I am not goin gto name names.

Herve Abeille

PS. Despite what my detractors say, I am not pushing an agenda. I am trying to promote what I think is a sustainable method that closely follows the work of my heroes: A. I. Root, L. L. Langstroth, Brother Adam, and others too numerous to mention.
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Herve Abeille
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« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2006, 10:58:21 AM »

Herve,

I came to the same conclusion.  This winter has been easy in MA so far it looks like I will have 100% come through fine.  I know a couple of my hives are "boilers", and can easily give up frames to make NUCs.  I over wintered one small coloney in a single deep with a shallow super, they are doing as well as the double deeps.  If a pkg. was $30.00 it might not be worth the trouble, but I get the feeling pkg.'s are going to be higher than last year.  For the price of 1pkg. I can buy 5 queens.

Chad
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« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2006, 11:27:03 AM »

Keep local bees only (or mostly)

Let the weak ones die off and expand from the survivors.

Building up strong hives... (SCers do it with unlimited brood nest)

The only thing you left out is letting the bees build on their own with no foundation, (Since you don't think they would build to the very small side) ((and probably won't that far north))

I didn't notice where you might replace any/all contaminated comb.

But, and I don't know why, splitting and making nucs to me is just the same as splitting and making another colony of bees. SO if you have 20 hives and 20 nucs (stacked/unstacked/whatever) and you lose 5 hives and 2 nucs you lost 7 colonies over winter. This is where you confuse me. Saying you have more bees come spring when you might have lost a few colonies.
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« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2006, 12:13:26 PM »

> Keep local bees only (or mostly)

* NO. Northern bees. Southern local bees are apt to be part or all African

> Let the weak ones die off and expand from the survivors.

* RIGHT

> Building up strong hives... (SCers do it with unlimited brood nest)

* Unlimited brood nest is nothing new. They sure didn't invent it!

>  But, and I don't know why, splitting and making nucs to me is just the same as splitting and making another colony of bees. SO if you have 20 hives and 20 nucs (stacked/unstacked/whatever) and you lose 5 hives and 2 nucs you lost 7 colonies over winter. This is where you confuse me. Saying you have more bees come spring when you might have lost a few colonies.

* from my original post:

"If a yard of 25 double stories goes into winter with two nucs on top of each, that makes 75 colonies total. worse case scenario (50% loss of full sized colonies and 25% loss of nucs) there are still 50 colonies left alive in spring. The nucs all have young, proven queens and by equalizing the brood the entire yard can be rebuilt to honey-producing strength and still yield 25 nucs for use elsewhere."

* You have to increase to a number greater than your normal number of hives.
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« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2006, 12:34:03 PM »

Quote from: derbeemeister
> Keep local bees only (or mostly)

* NO. Northern bees. Southern local bees are apt to be part or all African



I wasn't meaning for the northern folks to import from the south. By saying "keep local bees" I meant local to your area whereever that might bee.

BUT...

 now that you brought it up, I have to wonder what is wrong with a little AHB in the mix if they are not aggresive? As I have mentioned, if all these bees I have gotten from the wild have AHB in them, and they aren't mean, what is the problem?
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« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2006, 12:40:08 PM »

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"If a yard of 25 double stories goes into winter with two nucs on top of each, that makes 75 colonies total. worse case scenario (50% loss of full sized colonies and 25% loss of nucs) there are still 50 colonies left alive in spring. The nucs all have young, proven queens and by equalizing the brood the entire yard can be rebuilt to honey-producing strength and still yield 25 nucs for use elsewhere."

* You have to increase to a number greater than your normal number of hives.


OK. So from what I said that you said and what I understand that the small cellers say and what you say, if there were small cellers that did this nuc stacking/hording/expanding, which I believe there are some that do, and if you alowed your bees to build from scratrch and don't treat for anything, what is the difference? I sure don't see it.
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« Reply #35 on: February 17, 2006, 01:04:41 PM »

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>  what is the difference? I sure don't see it

The difference is: all standard equipment. No small cells. But do you see? If keeping the bees alive has mainly to do with selection & making nucs in both cases, then that knocks out the cell size as an important factor.
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« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2006, 01:35:30 PM »

Quote from: derbeemeister

If keeping the bees alive has mainly to do with selection & making nucs in both cases, then that knocks out the cell size as an important factor.


I know I really don't explain in detail what is on my mind, or going through it, and I guess I think some people understand with out me going into detail and/or furnishing pictures. I never said the small cellers had to make up these nucs to keep the bees alive. I mearly was pointing out that some have indeed made up nucs and kept them alive over winter by placing them atop other hives. I believe this was in order to expand the next comeing season and not to catch back up due to winter losses, for they don't fear winter losses with the small cell.

I am sorry. I know you wish to keep this free of talk about SC. But you really come down hard on the SC thing, then you come along with this idea that sounds to me so much like small cell. And so far you haven't said this was sustainable without the buildup of nucs where SCers claim to sustain with out the extra nucs. So to me you are proving that the SC way is better. What if we dropped the term Small Cell and instead used the term natural sized cell. Would that work better for you? I am not talking about SC foundation. I am talking about letting the bees build from scratch. Then it would be a more natural system... which you call this  "Natural Beekeeping in the North"
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« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2006, 01:43:32 PM »

In our country nucs and new hives are at spring so expencive that it takes one summer's yield to pay it. So to kill hives at fall is not possible.

To feed 20 sugar to hive is worth 20$. With it it goes to next summer. Queens value is 30$. Nucs are not able to forage June's yield.
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« Reply #38 on: February 17, 2006, 02:13:18 PM »

Hi all
Producing nucs is a basic part of beekeeping and is certainly very good practice. I would suggest in all areas of the world beekeepers would benefit from doing this, particularly those areas with introduced pests and harsh winters. Some worry that producing nucs might reduce the honey crop but nucs can be used to actually increase the crop from large production colonies. (I do accept Finskys point that his seasons are very short. In the south of England our main swarming season is May to June)
I can produce small nucs in the middle of April with imported queens but have to wait until the middle of May for my first batch to start laying. Nucs produced from production hives can be placed beside the parent colonies or moved to other sites and sited beside other colonies, our main flow starts towards the end of June.
Sometimes in order just to keep these hives in single boxes or for the production of section honey these nucs can be moved and the flying bees used to reinforce the production hives. So, far from reducing your crop, you can actually put back far more bees than you removed in the first place and right when the main flow starts.
We have about 60 nucs on site in the summer for beginners to play with during the lessons we run. About this number is over wintered and all are five frame colonies. We do also try to over winter any spare mini mating nucs with about 75% success.
The best bit of advice to any considering these small hives and getting them through the winter is to treat early for Varroa as many treat too late. I treat in the middle of August as this allows for a few cycles of healthy brood before the queen shuts down. This is essential for all colonies!!!!!!!!!!!.
Obviously plenty of food but fed slowly in the Autunm to keep the queen laying but trying not to jam the brood nest until late on.
Ensure all hives are weather proof, these small colonies are very succeptible to damp. I would even suggest going as far as purchasing a small shed from a hardware store and fitting 2 shelves each side top and bottom to house these small hives.
These sheds greatly reduce your winter losses and are worth every penny.  Our small colonies in these sheds rarely suffer any losses during the winter unless they are queen related.
I am thinking next year of incorporating some of Finsky's heaters in a hollow shelf with a few holes that correspond with ventilated floors on the nucs to get them off to a flying start.
All of the above is very basic yet there are many who lose colonies in the winter needlessly. In the UK a nuc from our main manufacturer costs £136.00. If that is not incentive enough for a bit of better management I don't know what is.

Regards Ian
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« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2006, 02:46:27 PM »

Quote from: ian michael davison

I can produce small nucs in the middle of April with imported queens but have to wait until the middle of May for my first batch to start laying. n


Yes, I have done this for 3 years. Queens come from Italy in the middle of May.  80% of them bees start to renew them.

I can do nucs with imported queens but those small nucs have great difficulties with chalkbrood.  When I have got bee brood from south I may see easily that my beeyeards sensitivines to chalkbrood and nosema has encreased. Mite is not problem, as I mentioned.

But I have got good genes too. My yieds have jumped. I must decrease disease sensity by selection.

Varroa is not only motive to do some renovations.

To get better spring development I have decided to select queens from colonies which are eager to forage pollen. Radiated pollen is here 12$ per kilo. (=2 lbs.). Frames full of natural pollen are valuable at spring before willows start to bloom.

When we have bad weathers later at spring bees consume their pollen stores during bad week.
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