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Author Topic: Struggling to get home.  (Read 1265 times)

Offline kensfarm

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Struggling to get home.
« on: October 16, 2006, 10:43:40 AM »
Wow.. in like a Lion is right..  the cold front brought winds so strong it blew some hay I had cut right off the fields.  I even had to carry some chickens back into the barn because they couldn't walk against the strong winds.  

3 days of below freezing has def. cut the fall flow short.. Sunday morning it was a balmy 27F..  looked like a winter wonderland everything was so white.  

The buckwheat field I had planted was in full bloom.. at least the girls got a chance to work for several weeks.. the cold did it in the first night.  Most of Golden Rod blooms are now turning dark after the freeze.  I see one type of plant(asters?).. that came through the cold no problem.. little white flowers w/ yellow centers.

I went down to hive in the cold mornings to find bee's that made it back to the hive.. but not to the entrance.. just clinging to the top, sides, or around the hive.  When watching in the evenings..  its the re-turning workers struggling..  w/ the wind.. temp. drop..  some seem to just bearly make it.. some landing on the ground..  then re-attempt to make the entrance.  

I found some "animal poop" by the hives that basically was made up of eaten bees..  seems something was going around eating all the stragglers that didn't make it back into the hives.  Since this is my first winter.. is this normal due to the weather conditions?  

Does CheckMite+ have a temp. range requirement?  

Of my 3 hives.. I've been feeding 2 because of stores.. a third was working to fill a Med. Super above the 3 brood chamber Med. Supers.

It has been a fun and interesting first season..  Thankyou!  Ken

Offline Brian D. Bray

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 04:54:45 PM »
If the  "animal poop" is that of a skunk you'll want to change to a top entrance so that the skunk won't eat all the bees in the hive over the next few months.  If you see scratchings on the hive body or entrance board then you have a skunk.  they scratch the hive until bees come out and then kill the bee by rolling it under it's paw and will do that for several hours each night until your bees are gone.  With a top entrance the skunk won't notice the bees coming out of the entrance.  You'll also want to block the lower entrance as well.  With Raccoons, they will tear the hive apart to eat the bees, brood comb and honey so you might want to put a webbed ratchet belt around the hive to keep the pests from destroying the hive.
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Offline Michael Bush

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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2006, 07:50:52 AM »
>I found some "animal poop" by the hives that basically was made up of eaten bees.. seems something was going around eating all the stragglers that didn't make it back into the hives. Since this is my first winter.. is this normal due to the weather conditions?

Skunks can devestate a hive, not to mention make them really cranky.  The easy solution is to go to only a top entrance.  Other solutions involve carpet strips, three asprin in a raw egg or a .22 rifle.  Part of the problem is it's almost never ONE skunk.  It's usually a FAMILY of skunks.
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Offline SteveSC

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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2006, 11:44:56 AM »
I have several dogs that roam the property at night.  They keep everything in it's place..  I'll find several skunks - - racoons - - possums and cats dead in the yard every yr..  

If you can get some territorial dogs and make sure they have their shots, I doubt you'll have any 4 legged predator problems around the bees. My dogs are large but for no other reason than we have coyotes around here - coyotes get mean when cornered.....  Good luck.

Offline kensfarm

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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2006, 11:07:12 AM »
Thanks for the replies...  

I just shot a skunk last week.. my Jack Russell had tracked him under a stack of RR ties.  Trapped/killed 5 racoons last year.. they would come into the barn at night and climb up into the rafters and eventually killed a dozen guinie hens and a dozen chickens..  one was bigger then my dog.. he bearly could fit into the trap!  

No scratch marks or such around the hive entrances..  the outside dogs sound like a good working solution..  but I'm feeding a small army right now..  2 dogs, 5 cats, 13 steers,  35 chickens.  The bee's are least expensive livestock I have.  

I went down early this morning before daylight..  found half a dozen drones in front of one hive that had been booted out..  guess my "bee eater" hadn't stopped by..  I'll keep a close eye out for entrance damage.

Offline SteveSC

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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2006, 12:08:52 PM »
LOL....  Sounds like my place......"feeding an army ".  Let the war begin.

The dogs outside have really done the job for me.  The predators just have to smell the dogs and they're out'a there.  The ones that stand and fight or get run down by the dogs are history.  

Man, we have problems don't we  :D ....

Offline Robo

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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2006, 12:18:26 PM »
Quote from: kensfarm
Trapped/killed 5 racoons last year.. they would come into the barn at night and climb up into the rafters and eventually killed a dozen guinie hens and a dozen chickens..


Wish I had racoon problems...  I had 4 bears get my Guineas this spring.  Two cubs squeezed thru the chicken door and drug the guineas and a 50# bag a feed out to the 2 adults.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline kensfarm

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Struggling to get home.
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2006, 10:54:03 AM »
One old-time farmer told me..  "Animals just do what they do"  

Steve.. if it wasn't for my off-farm job(M-F)..  I'd probably rarely leave the farm..  I'm sure a lot of people would love to have our problems! :D

No Bears yet Robo..  I know they're in Western MD.. and migrating along the mountain ranges.  I miss having the bug patrol..  but the Rooster's love the bugs too..  I'll probably order some eggs to incubate in the near future.  

Here.. you can take a peek at the farm..  I haven't updated it in years.

http://home.earthlink.net/~kensfarm/index.html