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Author Topic: Starting Over Advice Needed  (Read 4659 times)
mellifera
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« on: January 28, 2007, 12:52:06 PM »

Hello All-

We are having a warming period after some very cold (0 degrees Fahrenheit) winter weather and went out to check the hives and there was no activity and no droppings in the snow, from cleansing flights. I will open up further today - but - it looks like both hives are completely dead. (sigh.) I had a v. mite problem this summer and treated in the Fall, but probably too late, so numbers of bees were low going into winter and couldn't keep warm enough.. (a theory - plenty of honey stores - dead bees don't look starved - no tongues out)

So, it looks as if I will be starting over again this spring. I am trying to decide what breed of bees to get. I may try two different varieties and see what works best in my situation. (I have to decide now, as this is the season to order..) Any suggestions? These were originally Russians (three years ago) but requeened themselves - so who knows what they ended up as..

Here are my particulars: short season, cold winters, mite resistance - am in Northern California, so would like to either pick up packages or have them shipped. (I started with one 3 pound package originally)

Buckfast? Hygenic? Old World Carniolian? Italian? Russian source? Nucs vs. Packages??

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!

Mellifera

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 01:29:09 PM »

i am from n ca.  your winters are much like mine, except usually a little dryer.  the thing i had to do, and would not have known without much advice from here and elsewhere, was to have the hive treated and with full stores, by sept.  i took my honey in early sept, and after that, spent the rest of the late summer treating for mites and making sure that the bottom supers were FULL for winter. 

someone else can advise on bee breed, but i'm guessing that whatever breed of bees, the management will be the same.  we just have to get ready for winter a little earlier than many others.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 02:10:59 PM »


Here are my particulars: short season, cold winters, mite resistance - am in Northern California,

Sounds horible place to bees  tongue

Actually all races manage well there. There are different stocks inside the race.
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mellifera
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 07:40:17 PM »

To KathyP,

Thanks for the advice about starting to winterize early. I have concluded that myself, but we had very hot weather right up until end of September and I was treating with Api-var (the thymol treatment), so I couldn't begin until temperatures were below 90 degrees. I think that August/early September would be the ideal time to begin treatment up here, but the weather has to cooperate - next time more diligence. I was trying to leave them alone and not bother them as much this year, but it is a difficult balance - I have to learn to read them a bit better..

I guess that I am wondering if one breed of bee would be better in a cold winter climate than the others. My neighbor has Italians and likes them. (Don't know how they did during the cold snap..)

So, "cold tolerance" and "slow learning beekeeper tolerance". Does anybody breed for that??


Let me know-

Thanks,

Mel.



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Kirk-o
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 09:03:45 PM »

You Know I think the stuff people are putting in there hives to control mites are poison to bees also.You know I got tired of being like a doctor in a emergency room>Spending all my time treating mites worrying about all the poison in the hive and then expecting the bees to be healthy.I stopped purchaseing bees because they died within six months the queens I purchased did the same.I just catch swarms and use small cell
screened bottom boards.You have a great opertunity to start with some bees and use small cell foundation and try a organic approach it couldn't be any less successful.All
my hives are feral no treatments of any kind they will survive and hopefully learn to live with the mites.I have a great time beekeeping now because I don't spend all my time
being a Emergency Medical Technition  to my beehives .I went to Michael Bush"s web site and read everything on it and a feww other web sites like this one and discovered
organic beekeeping and I'm haveing more success than I ever had (by a long ways) when I treated my hives .go read mike bush's web site you we be glad you did I'am
kirk-o
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"It's not about Honey it's not about Money It's about SURVIVAL" Charles Martin Simmon
kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2007, 09:37:26 PM »

if "organic" beekeeping were effective, the commercial beekeepers would be all over it.  why spend the money on mite meds of you don't need to.  i am all for using the most bee and earth friendly methods available, but not treating for a recognized hive killer, is foolish.  a huge amount of time and money are being spent on breeding resistant bees, and finding better ways to treat for mites.  among those methods, 'not treating' is not to be found.

as for breed....many people say the Russians are good for cold areas.  that's what i got last year (my first).  they did very well. they fly at low temps and keep things very clean.  however, they must have requeened because i now have a mix in the hive.  i know i had more than one queen in there at one point.

is there anyone in your area that can give you some ideas?  maybe a local club or bee supply place?

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2007, 10:29:03 PM »

>if "organic" beekeeping were effective, the commercial beekeepers would be all over it.

You would think so.  A few of them are.

>  why spend the money on mite meds of you don't need to.

That's what I keep asking.

I don't use any, and for most of 32 years have not used any.  I did use some for Varroa for three years while figuring out how to keep the alive through that.  Now I'm back to using nothing.  It's much easier.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm



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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
kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 01:14:36 PM »

MB, i understand your position or organic.  you have the experience and knowledge to experiment, and hopefully know if you get into trouble.

when someone is just starting out, and spending a lot of money doing it, they probably don't want to dump all the effort and money down the drain.

your methods work for you.  i think that's great.  i may even try some of them when i have a little more practice.  however, many of your methods are not back by research and the experience of others.

because 'organic' is such a buzz word, and 'non-organic' makes us feel guilty, i fear that some may jump on the all natural band wagon without the experience to make it work. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 01:28:13 PM »


>  why spend the money on mite meds of you don't need to.

That's what I keep asking.

I don't use any, and for most of 32 years have not used any. 


When biggest problem in USA is varroa, how can you deliver that knowledge?

We use in Finland chemicals and we have no mite problem. We have no winter problem either because we prepare hives for winter.

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Finsky
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2007, 01:32:34 PM »

MB, i understand your position or organic. 

Hmmmm. When I have calculated, who else has more all kinds of equipments fo beekeeping like Michael.  grin

Michael is a technician, not a beekeeper.
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Markalbob
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2007, 02:40:17 PM »

FWIW, I'm not sure any part of Cali counts as "extreme" when you see postings by folks from Wyoming and Minnesota and Maine and even Alaska and Finland. 

Perhaps "frugal" bees would help, but I believe almost all the breeds do well in terms of being able to survive cold given adequate food, some just keep smaller nests and need less food through the winter.....


Then again, I'm new--maybe I'm the one missing something.
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2007, 03:35:36 PM »

Here are my particulars: short season, cold winters, mite resistance - am in Northern California, so would like to either pick up packages or have them shipped. (I started with one 3 pound package originally)

Buckfast? Hygenic? Old World Carniolian? Italian? Russian source? Nucs vs. Packages??


I have had Buckfast, Carniolans and several Italian stocks. All they manage well in South Finland. It is same longitude as Anchorage.

Italians are easy to nurse. Carniolan are bad to swarm. FUcfast, what I have had, have tendency to chalk brood.

Italains are many stocks.

I could believe that Californian area is easy place to bees. However it depends what are pastures and where you live. Are there much other beekeepers which use same pastures. 

Natural bees: In almost every country varroa have destoyed honey bees from nature.  Africanized bee is only which may control varroa. Varroa level must be very low if you want to get honey.

Natural beekeeping - ?  - If you like to step 100 years backwards. What is the purpose? - I cannot see it. I want to learn new things. I do not want to learn out of date things.  I am not a museum keeper.
.
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mellifera
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2007, 02:59:43 AM »

Hello All,

Thanks for all of the posts and discussion. I have to say that where I am in California is not like being in Alaska or Montana, it is more like being in the Sierra Nevadas. Similar to Eastern Oregon, Western Nevada.. I am in USDA Zone 6. But this year was colder than the last two winters and I think that the bees suffered because of it. There was plenty of honey and ventilation. The hives were sheltered from most winds and snow didn't cover the entrances. I am one of three year round beekeepers up here and the least experienced. I do have a friend who used to keep bees professionally and she is going to go through the hives with me, so hopefully I'll be able to eliminate some things. She got out of beekeeping in the '80's and did not have to deal with mites, but knows about everything else, so it should be educational. I am also enrolling in another beekeeping class (I think that the one I took in 1998 wore off..) and will have some questions for the instructor.
I am lucky for one thing - at least the bees didn't die out after the packages had sold out..

As for Organic methods VS. traditional treatments: I am interested in a more organic approach and would like to introduce more organic and less toxic methods - and - I think that the way to go is to have healthy, strong stock, that are able to coexist with the mites. But, I think that the wellbeing of the bees is the most important thing. That's why I find the loss of these hives so disappointing.

Mel.
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Finsky
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2007, 03:15:31 AM »

I am interested in a more organic approach and would like to introduce more organic and less toxic methods

Ok no one likes chemicals. But you have kept bees 3 years without chemicals. Have you learned something. You are going to continue same way.

Mites are not problem. I kill my first mite hive 1982.  Just now I have no problem. I have tried to teach Brittish and North American beekeepers to methods how we manage well in Europe.  But I am really frustrated the way how beekeeprs handle new information and new methods. It is not worth of bees' poo.

All kind of humbug interests new beekeepers. What ever stupid tricks some one says, others are ready to try as new method. Beekeeping is really expencive hobby as a target of humbug.  Oh boy. Continue. Life teaches. So it has teached me too.
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imabkpr
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2007, 09:23:17 AM »

MB, i understand your position or organic. 

Hmmmm. When I have calculated, who else has more all kinds of equipments fo beekeeping like Michael.  grin

Michael is a technician, not a beekeeper.

finsky; Shame on you. You talk a lot about and for, research but when research is presented to you, you turn a deaf ear to it. Re; Michael Bush and his small cell honeybee colonies.
M.B. says he has no varroa mite problems since going to small cell or natural comb.

A New Zealand study says "small honeybee cells neither reduce the reproductive success or the amount of cells infested by the varroa destuctor mite".

Is it possible that small cell does not work in New Zealand?
I don't live in New Zealand so if I wanted to get into small cell regression i would certainly listen to what M B has to say. In my opinion this is the best research you can get. Someone already successful at doing the thing that you want to do.

Mr Finsky, you seem to know a lot about beekeeping in the U.S.A.  Where did you have your business here?     Charlie

 

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Finsky
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2007, 10:13:41 AM »


finsky; Shame on you. You talk a lot about and for, research but when research is presented to you, you turn a deaf ear to it.

Hah hah. I need not to shame me.  grin  I have just balls to tell.

Quote
Re; Michael Bush and his small cell honeybee colonies.
M.B. says he has no varroa mite problems since going to small cell or natural comb.

A New Zealand study says "small honeybee cells neither reduce the reproductive success or the amount of cells infested by the varroa destuctor mite".

I have either varroa problems and varroa is problem in Finland at all. It has been here 30 years and we know what to do with it. We need not commit our whole life for to bug named varroa. It is not worth that.



Quote
I don't live in New Zealand so if I wanted to get into small cell regression i would certainly listen to what M B has to say.

Of course you do it. I only tell that probably you will loose you hives.

Professional beekeeper from Cyprus Norton on British forum tells his own story:
"Just a little comment about small cell beekeeping: It doesn't seem to work. I started a trial in the summer of 2000 and lost them all after 3 years. A friend of mine risked even more and lost all his bees (about 150 hives) and his wife as she walked out on him when disaster struck and the cash ran out. Recently he was working in a factory putting electrical goods in boxes. What could he do? He had been a beekeeper all his life and wasn't trained to anything else. 
Be careful about what you read on the Internet and try to distingiush between actual facts and wishful thinking! 
Best regards 
Norton. "

Quote
In my opinion this is the best research you can get.

If you like so. Small cell guys tell stories which are very far from facts. Just dreaming.


Quote
Someone already successful at doing the thing that you want to do.


Most have not been succesfull. They do not bother write their losses and argue with nature way guys.


Quote
Mr Finsky, you seem to know a lot about beekeeping in the U.S.A. 

US is the country which makes most beekeeping researches an deliver them. Then you have hobby level which want to play with 100 years' old fashion. That hobby level has odd habit and odd losses. They just wat to do things wrong and continue their hopeless ancient line.

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imabkpr
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2007, 11:48:46 AM »


Finsky; You didn't yet answer my question. "where was your business in the U.S.A.? Its evident you must have been here to research small cell to make statements like It don't work and that if i get into it i will loose my bees.

Have you tried small cell where you are now?

Have you tried vinegar vapor in your bee hives to kill varroa?
Just a couple of questions.  Charlie
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Finsky
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2007, 12:36:48 PM »


Finsky; You didn't yet answer my question. "where was your business in the U.S.A.? Its evident you must have been here to research small cell to make statements like It don't work and that if i get into it i will loose my bees.

Let's keep it as secret.


Quote
Have you tried small cell where you are now?

I know so much beekeeping that I need not try small cells. It has no value to me.  Why USA universities do not reseach that issue? - I was answered that only africanized bees manage with mite. Africanized bees make 10% smaller combs.  All universities know that and that is why US does not research issue.  Small cell idea is over 10 years old.

Quote
Have you tried vinegar vapor in your bee hives to kill varroa?


Why should I? I have nursed bees 45 years. There is no idea to try every trick what exist in the world.  You know Benchmarking. It means that you accustome with best practices which others have invented and vdeveloped ready to use. Then you take it into your own  use.  Vinegar = acetic acid are not mentioned  in any  succesfull method list. Why I should try it?  Why should I use my money and time to find out such a thing?

I just ask: where are tests and researches how acetic acid works?  It is my job. I may tell to others that there are much more better methods to kill mites.

May I ask how many years you have nursed bees and what is you average yield?

.


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kathyp
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2007, 12:37:22 PM »

Quote
A New Zealand study says "small honeybee cells neither reduce the reproductive success or the amount of cells infested by the varroa destuctor mite".

according to your own quote small cell does not reduce the amount of cells infested by the varroa mite.  i find no good research to support small cell.  all good studies that i have read, say that small cell does not reduce infestation.

the only research i have found that is hopeful, is breeding for resistant bees.  there is some marginal success there.

i think people ought to do what works for them, but new people need to be very careful that they do what is proven to work, before they experiment with non-proven methods.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
KONASDAD
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2007, 02:03:22 PM »

One must ponder why feral bees succumbed to v.mite when they use small or natural cell size? Obviously it is not a preventative. That does not mean it has no value as an IPM however. Finsky is correct. Universities study Honey bees forever and yet no research on small cell of any magnitude. Perhaps they are investigating africanized bees to exclusion of many other research endeavors.
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