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Author Topic: quick intro. need info.  (Read 1767 times)
rodr
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« on: September 20, 2006, 12:15:13 PM »

Hello, My name is Rod and I live in Southeast Connecticut.  After building up 5 hives aver a 3 year period, I lost all 5 of my bee hives last winter.  This was very depressing and I very nearly swore off beekeeping.  But then I got some advice from my State Bee Inspector who after looking at them felt that there was a nectar dearth here last September and if the bees were not fed at that time the queen would stop laying too early and there would not be enough bees to carry the hives through the winter.  Then, a few weeks after his inspection visit, a swarm appeared and moved into one of my dead hives.  Well that was it, it's as if they chose me this time.
Now I have 2 hives (very tame bees) and I need to learn how to keep this kind of disaster from happening again.  I had learned that one way to protect from this kind of thing was to locate some hives in differant areas 10-15 miles apart so that they all wouldn't be affected by the same problems.  This stratagy didn't sem to work so my questions are now.
1.  How can a nectar dearth be predicted, indicated?
2.  I have some honey (that is not for human consuption) that I extracted from hive body frames to help solve a honeybound situation and may have some medications in it.  I would like to use this honey to feed back as nectar and keep my queens laying eggs as long as possible.  Is it possible to dilute honey with water for this purpose or do I have to purchase more sugar to make a nectar substitute.
If you have any more ideas how to prevent this kind of disaster I would
certainly be interested.
Also, I now have wax moths.  Is this a problem that requires intervention on my part or is it something that a growing hive will solve on their own?  Will the cold winter temperatures kill the wax moths and worms?  I could then clean up the mess left behind in the early spring, over 50% of my frames are plastic so this should help.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2006, 07:23:54 PM »

>> How can a nectar dearth be predicted, indicated?

A nectar dearth is hard to predict, but can be detected with occasional observation and inspection of the hive.  One indicator is long periods w/o rain.  In such situations flowers will bloom and produce pollen but due to low water availability in the soil there will be little to no nectar produced.

>>I have some honey (that is not for human consuption) that I extracted from hive body frames to help solve a honeybound situation and may have some medications in it. I would like to use this honey to feed back as nectar and keep my queens laying eggs as long as possible. Is it possible to dilute honey with water for this purpose or do I have to purchase more sugar to make a nectar substitute.

Dilute the honey with warm water, mixing well.  Honey diluted by about 50% water can be fed back to the bees the same as sugar syrup.

>>Also, I now have wax moths. Is this a problem that requires intervention on my part or is it something that a growing hive will solve on their own? Will the cold winter temperatures kill the wax moths and worms? I could then clean up the mess left behind in the early spring, over 50% of my frames are plastic so this should help.

Wax moths usually can be cleaned out by a strong hive.  However, once they are pervasive the best solution is to cutout the combs and replace the wax with foundation.  When using plastic frames I would suggest removing the wax, melting it, strain it, and reapply the wax to the sufface of the plastic thereby renewing the frames.
Switch to screened bottom boards if you're not already using them.  The larva of the wax moth (and varroa mites too) when dislodged from the comb will fall through the bottom and out of the hive helping the bees correct the problem.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
TwT
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2006, 06:46:34 AM »

it is always good practice to inspect all hives going into winter especially if you take honey from them because fall flows might not be to good and they may need to be feed to get through winter... winter feeding should be 2-1 (sugar-water) mix...
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rodr
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2006, 10:29:07 AM »

Quote from: TwT
it is always good practice to inspect all hives going into winter especially if you take honey from them because fall flows might not be to good and they may need to be feed to get through winter... winter feeding should be 2-1 (sugar-water) mix...

These hives were all heavy 3 deep hives. They had lots of honey and pollen stored. Starvation was not the case and is easy for me to prevent with 3 deep hive bodies. Young bees especially in the fall season are a precious comodity. How to encourage your queens to lay eggs as late as possible is the question. Is heavy syrup as good as light syrup for simulating a late nectar flow? I understand how a heavy syrup helps to limit excess moisture that may be a problem in cold weather.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2006, 05:47:39 PM »

>>How to encourage your queens to lay eggs as late as possible is the question.

The bees have a built in weather station.  As far as I know attempts to prolong the activity of the queen are futile.  Under normal conditions the queen slows or stops laying brood almost entirely by Oct 1 in the northern hemisphere.  If things went well during the summer their should be an ample amount of bees to winter over.  If you are using 3 deeps I would question if that is wise.  The excess room will cause the bees to consume stores faster as well as cause them to die of from cold quicker.  I haven't found anywhere in the world where more than 2 full deeps are necessary for wintering over including Alaska and Finland.  The difference between 2 and 3 deeps is trying to eat a house verses trying to heat a castle.
 
>>Is heavy syrup as good as light syrup for simulating a late nectar flow?

It is better for late feeding because with the lower moisture content the bees can process it faster--with less effort--important when time is of the essence.  The only thing that can stimulate a late honey flow is nature.
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TwT
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 06:14:28 PM »

well in the spring most feed 1-1 just to start brood production, was all your hives full last fall?  you could have had queen failure's but it is unlikely to have all 5 hives have queen failures the same winter (but not impossible)... its hard to give a answer without knowing when you checked the hives that spring and if the hives could have died during winter  because of queen failures and then was robbed before you check them. with hives were that size and if they were full they would live anywhere like Brian said, even the hungriest Italians couldn't eat that much IMHO.....
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THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

Never be afraid to try something new.
Amateurs built the ark,
Professionals built the Titanic
rodr
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2006, 11:33:36 PM »

Quote from: Brian D. Bray
If you are using 3 deeps I would question if that is wise.  The excess room will cause the bees to consume stores faster as well as cause them to die of from cold quicker.  I haven't found anywhere in the world where more than 2 full deeps are necessary for wintering over including Alaska and Finland.

Wouldn't the same cold conditions result from screened bottom boards?
I have been told, from the beekeepers that are using screened bottom boards in the winter, that the bees do not heat the hive, just the cluster.  From this I have learned that the wooden hive body just keeps the rain and snow off.  If it is a little larger than necessary the queen can have more room away from the cool air from the entrance to lay eggs first thing in the spring, there is more room for extra winter stores should they be needed, and more room for all the bees in late spring to help prevent overcrowding and extra swarms.  My worry with the screened bottom board is mostly about ants and yellow jackets entering the hive.
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rodr
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2006, 11:50:50 PM »

Quote from: TwT
well in the spring most feed 1-1 just to start brood production, was all your hives full last fall?  

One was a little weak last fall, I felt that I may loose it, but they all had lots of honey.  All but one hive was found dead early in spring while snow was still on the ground, I didn't get out to the weakest hive until later.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2006, 10:43:04 AM »

If you always keep a nuc going on the side, they are easy to weigh.  Just lift the hive.  If the hive keeps building they are probably doing fine.  If they are fighting off robbers there's probably a dearth. If the hive is light there's probably a dearth.  Look in the hives and see if there's nectar in the combs.  If not, there's probably a dearth.  When the hives are more interested in each other than going into the field, there's a dearth.
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Michael Bush
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rodr
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2006, 05:03:02 PM »

I forgot another advantage of the extra large nesting area.  My queens don't lay eggs in my honey supers anymore.  I don't need queen excluders either.
I'm not sure what you mean Michael about keeping an extra nuc.  The peace of mind would be worthwile though.  Can you keep robbing sealed broood from a nuc to keep it small?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2006, 05:36:58 PM »

>I'm not sure what you mean Michael about keeping an extra nuc. The peace of mind would be worthwile though. Can you keep robbing sealed broood from a nuc to keep it small?

I mean from spring until fall, anyway, it's nice to have a nuc with a queen in it.  It gives you a spare queen and some spare "parts".  Yes you can steal brood from the nuc to keep it small.
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Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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