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Author Topic: Natural Beekeeping in the North  (Read 12616 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2006, 06:54:10 PM »

>I think Michael Bush would disagree with that.

And I have.  Many times.  But that's not what he started this thread to discuss.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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Kris^
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« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2006, 09:43:03 AM »

Maybe I'm starting to get a handle on this discussion.  (I'm just a 3rd year, after all).  But I have more questions.  

From what I'm reading, it seems that a northern beekeeper can make several 5 frame nucs in the summer using new summer raised queens.  These nucs are allowed to build up through the rest of the summer and fall.  If properly fed and protected, they can be overwintered.  After they build up in the spring, these nucs can be used to start full colonies.  Is this right?

I've read, too, that these summer nucs can be protected through the winter by either placing them on top of a two box colony or placing them tightly together in a small shed.  If they are stacked on a colony, are they separated from the main colony by some sort of double-screen divider, or just set on top with their own bottom boards?  If put in a shed, what happens when they fly during warm spells if closed in on all four sides?  Or would a three sided stucture open on the south side be better?

Can these 5 frame nucs be made from a 10 frame box fitted with a thin (removeable) divider?  I build my own boxes and can adjust the width slightly to accomodate the divider.  Or I could build wider boxes divided into any number of five frame sections to more-or-less permanently establish a protected "overwintering nuc" area in my beeyard.  Would there be advantages or disadvantages to this idea?

On a separate but related line of thought.  I like the idea of raising queens from strong and clean local stock, and I had planned to try raising some queens this year using the Miller method.  When I pull the queen cells from the finishing colony, can the five frame nucs be used as mating nucs for the new queens, and just let each queen establish her new colony right there?  Or are smaller mating nucs still preferred?  I'd still want to raise some extra queens for fall requeening of my established hives.  I thought I could use regular boxes divided into four 2-frame sections for this.

I'm sure most of you can see where my thoughts are taking me.  Can anyone see better ways of doing this?  

-- Kris
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Finsky
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« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2006, 12:41:04 PM »

Quote from: Kris^

From what I'm reading, it seems that a northern beekeeper can make several 5 frame nucs in the summer using new summer raised queens.  These nucs are allowed to build up through the rest of the summer and fall.  If properly fed and protected, they can be overwintered.  After they build up in the spring, these nucs can be used to start full colonies.  Is this right?


From 60 latitude to north that is Correct. No problems.
 You can raise 5 frame colony to fill  langstroth box or raise as 5 frame colony and overwinter them.


 
Quote
summer nucs can be protected through the winter by either placing them on top of a two box colony
Can these 5 frame nucs be made from a 10 frame box fitted with a thin (removeable) divider?  



That works well.


Quote
 When I pull the queen cells from the finishing colony, can the five frame nucs be used as mating nucs for the new queens, and just let each queen establish her new colony right there?  I thought I could use regular boxes divided into four 2-frame sections for this.



Works well

 
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Can anyone see better ways of doing this?  


There are better ways. One is raise that 5 frame hive and then you take brood frames from bigger hive and strengten small hive to normal.

There are many alternatives to get 5 frame hive over winter, but to get it to normal foraging colony is hard work. It is easier to raise whole box colonies.

It depends what you want. Here 5 frame colony ower winter means exta queen. If you want here honey from hive, colony should be one box at spring.

NORTH is relative view.
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derbeemeister
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« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2006, 03:09:51 PM »

Quote from: Kris^
Maybe I'm starting to get a handle on this discussion.  (I'm just a 3rd year, after all).  But I have more questions.  

From what you wrote, I believe you "get it".

> After they build up in the spring, these nucs can be used to start full colonies.  Is this right?

Yes, but they can also be used to salvage colonies that are about to croak, or you can take the queen for requeening a good hive with a poor queen. Brother Adam would use all queens in his overwintered nucs for requeening the overwintered colonies, and then requeen the nucs with new cells.

> If they are stacked on a colony, are they separated from the main colony by some sort of double-screen divider, or just set on top with their own bottom boards?  

Set over the inner cover of the hive below, with no opening. The inner cover can be notched to make a small entrance, or you can drill an auger hole in the upper box.

>  Or would a three sided stucture open on the south side be better?

That's right, sorry if that was unclear

> Can these 5 frame nucs be made from a 10 frame box fitted with a thin (removeable) divider?  

Actually, like Finsky says, a full sized box is probably more practical. A five framer can get very crowded in a short time. But if you want to put two on top, a divided hive works.

> can the five frame nucs be used as mating nucs for the new queens, and just let each queen establish her new colony right there?  

that's right

> I'm sure most of you can see where my thoughts are taking me.  Can anyone see better ways of doing this?  

I think you can learn to graft (transfer). There's nothing really wrong with Miller's way, but if you are young and have good eyes, grafting is not that hard. You have to learn how to pick up the larvae without hurting them, and how to get the right size (they're not much bigger than bee eggs). They are very small, and some sort of spotlight helps a lot. I am almost 60 and must use heavy magnification. Or buy queens from somebody in your area. The main thing is having lots of new hives coming along, since the older colonies seem to be more susceptible to varroa.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this discussion continue in a civil manner. Be on the lookout for Kirk Webster's articles in the American Bee Journal this spring. You can direct questions or comments to me at
 
abeilleherve@gmail.com
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Herve Abeille
Michael Bush
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« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2006, 04:22:57 PM »

Herve, when are you going to present the scientific proof that this method works?  Wink  I look forward to it.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
ian michael davison
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« Reply #45 on: February 19, 2006, 05:28:32 AM »

Hi all
Kris: Yes I think you get it!!!!!!!!!! cheesy
I think most the points you mention where covered by Finsky and as he says 10 frame colonies do come through a little better than the 5 frame. But both tend to build up in my area as well or sometimes quicker than normal colonies.
You can easily help these smaller (5 frame) hives in the previous Autumn by adding some drawn frames after the honey has been extracted from them. I tend to put 1 frame in the centre of the nest to encourage the queen to lay it up and the rest to the sides. Only add the frame to the centre if you have plenty of bees because you are splitting the brood but the queen normaly starts to lay this up in a day or two.
If a slow steady feed is given in the early Autumn these young queens continue laying far longer than their older counter parts and this provides plenty of young bees for the winter and following spring.
All the nucs you mention above can be used for the raising of queens and the use of 10 frame hive bodies with a divider is very good as you can remove 1 queen for use elsewhere and easily unite the colonies for wintering if you wish. Or should you decide to try and get both through they benefit from some shared heat. The mini nucs you mention are widely used for queen rearing but it's a question of scale and whether they suit your set up.
The only other suggestions I would make are to try some of the poly hives, colonies really benefit from the extra warmth. Keep a small block of candy on these small hives from the middle of the winter as this takes the pressure off their stores. I also treat in the autumn and winter for Varroa with tried and tested methods.If you give some of these methods a go you will soon come up with methods of your own that suit your area, bees and your own style. When your fellow beekeepers are sitting around moaning about the price of bees or the winter losses you can sit back with a smug look on your face and even offer to sell them a couple. AT AN EXTORTIONATE PRICE OF COURSE. evil

Derbeemiester: I don't get the American bee journal so if you could please keep adding a few articles it would be most welcome.


Regards Ian
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derbeemeister
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« Reply #46 on: February 19, 2006, 12:12:39 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush
Herve, when are you going to present the scientific proof that this method works?  Wink  I look forward to it.


The method is based on 150 years of beekeeping practices worldwide, and can be fully documented. But what exactly would you like to see proved?

Herve
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Herve Abeille
Michael Bush
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« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2006, 05:19:24 PM »

That it will deal with Varroa, of course.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Kris^
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« Reply #48 on: February 19, 2006, 06:22:29 PM »

On these deep box divided 5-frame nucs: do the entrances need to be on opposite sides of the hive?  Or can they both be in front, one to the far left and one to the far right?  I've read that if making a four chambered box of 2-frame nucs (for mating), the entrances should be one to a side.

-- Kris
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derbeemeister
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« Reply #49 on: February 19, 2006, 06:42:27 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush

That it will deal with Varroa, of course.

OK. If we allow the susceptible hives to die, along with their varroa, that's working, right? Then the survivors will be either somewhat resistant, or just plain lucky. That's natural selection. We all believe in evolution here, right? I refuse to debate evolution.

So, assuming some hives will make it through, you will propagate these hives and rebuild your apiary. This is similar to what Canadian beekeepers have practiced for decades, only instead of starting up every spring with packages, you try to overwinter these nucs.

The real crux is: are the nucs less susceptible to varroa crash? Many people say they are. It appears that varroa is the worst in very large colonies, especially in northern regions, especially where there is a late flow.

I don't know if anyone has systematically studied this question. I have wanted to do a study on it myself for many years. Maybe I should get a grant. I will look into it and tell you what I find out.

H.
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Herve Abeille
Michael Bush
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« Reply #50 on: February 19, 2006, 07:43:09 PM »

>OK. If we allow the susceptible hives to die, along with their varroa, that's working, right? Then the survivors will be either somewhat resistant, or just plain lucky. That's natural selection. We all believe in evolution here, right? I refuse to debate evolution.

And I let them draw their own comb and survive or not and they most all survive.  Maybe they evolved to make the right size cells?  I also refuse to debate evolution, for totally different reasons.  Smiley

You said:>Varroa does not build up to critical levels in the nucs.

The point is you are claiming that making nucs reduces the Varroa.  I have no problem with that.  But when I've claimed that natural cell size reduces Varroa and you demand scientific proof.  I think you should live up to your own standards and provide studies or proof or stop making claims -OR- stop making such an issue when others share what they have observed when they have no "scientific proof". Smiley
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Finsky
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« Reply #51 on: February 19, 2006, 10:28:46 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush

You said:>Varroa does not build up to critical levels in the nucs.

The point is you are claiming that making nucs reduces the Varroa.  I have no problem with that.


I remember time when I had not varroa 20 years ago. It was quite easy to get over winter the hive where was two  5+5 frame nucs in one box and medium wall.  When varroa come it was not possible any more to get over winter small colonies. Especially nosema made bad results. Chalk brood came up too.

With terrarium heater I may over winter now  even 2 frame nucs but naturally it is wise to overwinter normal box full of bees.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #52 on: February 20, 2006, 04:51:55 AM »

Hi all
My interests in this do not revolve around the Varroa control aspects but simply good beekeeping practice. The production of additional hives/stock is an essential part of keeping bees or any livestock
The correct management of these colonies leeds to a better understand of the bees and will better your honey prduction in seasons to come. cheesy

Regards Ian
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Finsky
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« Reply #53 on: February 20, 2006, 05:21:51 AM »

Natural versus engineering

I thinks that habit "to think naturally" means often "no use to bother". It is in Higher's hands.  

Usually, when I have got bad yield I have explain to myself that is weather, which spoiled the it.  But when I have I have put hives in different places I have noticed that it was me who put hives in bad pastures. Same weather but very diffrent yields.

40 years I have nursed bees and just now I  started to examine what really happens in sprin in the colony. How I tear out all advances from spring build up? I have noticed a lot what I can do and which order the development of colony.  In natural way it same as before. No need to know. Experiments with terrarium heaters have gived to me very good answers.

I you have not arrangements where to compare results, it is difficult to get answers. I am not going to regres my mind to any ism. It is not for me.  But I am not eager either to try all tricks what beekeeprs offer. Most of them do not bring honey. It is just threrapy for beekeeper.
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derbeemeister
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« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2006, 12:42:46 PM »

"These small colonies I shall call nuclei, and the system of forming stocks from them, my nucleus system; and before I describe this system more particularly, I shall show other ways in which the nuclei can be formed. If the Apiarian has sealed queens on hand, they ought, by all means, to be given to the nuclei, in order to save all the time possible. I come now to the very turning point of the whole nucleus system.  By careful management, brood enough may be taken from a single hive, to build up a large number of nuclei. If the attempt at very rapid multiplication is made only by those who are favorably situated, and who have skill in the management of bees, a very large gain may be made in the number of stocks, and they may all be strong and flourishing. " -- Langstroth on the hive and the honey-bee: a bee keeper's manual. (1853)

"It is possible to remove combs of brood and bees from strong colonies without impairing their strength. There is a period of about 3 months in which  nuclei can grow to colony strength. If these divisions are made sufficiently early in the year, they will make full colonies by late fall." -- G. H. Cale in "The Hive and the Honey Bee" (Dadant & Sons, 1949)

"Indeed, it is not necessary to do anything more than to let a nucleus stand without any help in a fair season, if it can stand long enough. My assistant is inclined to be quite optimistic in some things, and one August she expressed her belief that a nucleus of two frames with a laying queen would be able without any assistance, if started on that date, Aug. 6, to build up into a colony strong enough to winter. I said that would be asking too much, and we would put the matter to the test. So two frames of brood with adhering bees were put in a hive on a new stand, and two days later a laying queen was given. The two frames of brood were rather better than the average, for I wanted her to see that even with an extra chance it was too late in the season for any such growth. I don't know whether she watched that colony on the sly or not, but I did. Looking at it every few days, I could see no gainÑif anything it grew weaker. Then I thought I could see a little gain, and in twelve days from the time it was started the two frames of brood had increased to two and a half. Five days later there were three brood, and from that on it walked right along to a fair colony, although it had to be fed up for winter. But I would not want to count on starting for a full colony so late as that in all seasons, especially if the frames of brood were not the very best." -- C. C. MILLER in Fifty Years (Root Company, 1911)

"The wintering of a large reserve of young queens [in nucs] might at first sight seem an extravagant use of equipment, bees, and honey, and unwarranted upkeep and outlay. This is, however, not the case, for the nuclei are almost self-supporting and permit us to subect these queens to a preliminary test before they are transferred to honey producing colonies in the spring." -- Brother Adam in "Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey" (Northern Bee Books, 1975)

"The location of the queen and bee industry has changed over the years since the 1860's. Pioneers of the bee industry were located mainly in the northeastern United States. Nuclei with queens have been offered for sale since at least the 1870's. By the 1880's, queen producers were located across the country, even in the very cold winter areas. Dating from the 1870's, a few southern queen producers sold queens in early spring, but the shift of the larger part of the bee industry to mild winter areas did not start before the 1910's. By the 1930's, the bee industry was located mostly in the south and in California where it is today." -- Kenneth Tucker in "Beekeeping in the United States" (USDA, 1980)
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Herve Abeille
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