To Bee Or Not To Bee (a Bee-odyssey)

Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    Do you think you can wash this poison out of your food?
    With what?
    The water was sprayed too.
     
  2. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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  3. Lazy jj

    Lazy jj Gatecrasher

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  4. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    My varroa resistant Russian Bees have a heavy mite load.
    I study with both Treatment -free groups and more conventional ones.
    Both sides are hollering at me at the top of their lungs to follow their advice and they are both very passionate about it.

    One of my favorite Bee friends assures me that if I don't start treating my colony it is akin to animal abuse.
    Would I let my children walk around with head lice to make them learn to contend and live with them?
    Is this a fair comparison?
    Trouble is, my friend that treats conventionally, has two hives, one should be stronger and the other is very weak and she has replaced the queen 3 times this year.
    My Russian girls come from a treatment free hive. But They likely did not have a heavy mite load the first year they wintered over (as a package) and swarming is one of the ways that Bees contend with mites. Beeks will do something like this artificially called a "split". The Bees leave the hive with most of the mites in the capped brood, and build a clean home, with only the mites on their backs.


    The treatment free group assures me that my hive untreated has a 50/50 chance of surviving the winter.
    I don't like those odds.
    My conventional Beek friend has laid enough chemicals on me to napalm a small village.

    When she handed me the pack of poison, I was leaning towards treating maybe a little. I could feel the itchiness of having mites crawl all over my body.
    Then my friend warned me to make sure I was wearing a mask and gloves before I opened the package.
    My lungs are certainly bigger than a honey Bee.
    Don't THEY need a mask too?
    This morning I watched this little infomercial:


    * I think 50% predictions are hedging bullshit. You can just as easily say "I can't predict." But the 50% thing makes people look like they called it either way.
     
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  5. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    The other complication is that I must move my Bees. My sister is tired of the expense incurred by my mother's empty house, just so I can have a hive.
    Truth is, I do have a place for them at my home and it's inconvenient to have the colony 33 miles from my house. Some days my anxiety runs very high until I see them, and as I drive away, a question about what I have seen may weigh on me heavily, until I can get back there.
    Some weeks I fed the girls every day. Other times I had to keep checking to see if they were getting nectar building stores,pollen, superseding etc.
    All these anxieties come from two places.
    1. If I could observe my girls daily, I would begin to understand their behavior and needs better.
    2. The whole shebang, colony, and hives and equipment, were a gift directly from the Universe. I don't want to fuck this up.
     
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  6. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    It is very uncomfortable to stop relying on the opinion of others to decide for me. The decision and consequences are both my responsibility alone.
    I don't know everything yet.
     
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  7. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    So I have put the question out to the Devic realms. I will shelve it for the moment and talk a little about honey extraction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  8. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    I shared the expense to rent a Honey extractor from one of my Beek clubs. I must admit, I was disappointed when I beheld the contraption. For one thing, it was bigger than we needed (most of the honey was smeared in the side of the 40-gallon barrel) . And it was a hand crank. (Our Beek club president says: crank until your kid's arms fall off.)

    Even worse is the hot "Uncapping knife" to open the cells of honey for spinning.

    And the clean up...
     
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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  9. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    Some time ago, I was leaving town and discovered that my girls had already assembled their winter stores of honey, a month early.
    Because the second deep was full of honey and I was leaving town, I threw a medium super on the mess and swapped a full honeycomb out for an empty one. If the queen can't move around enough she might swarm, indeed, when I did an inspection that day, I found the beginnings of a swarm cell being built.
    I made these changes without thinking because I needed the girls to stay occupied while I was away. I knew the queen would probably lay brood in the top chamber. But I have been told that she would only do this one time and then they would fill the super with honey.
    Also, it was time to stop feeding my Bees.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  10. jjl

    jjl resident Hive Beetle

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    The first small batch of brood hatched out only to be replaced with a mass of brood in the top and middle super. Both top boxes were filled with honey and brood and pollen. The bottom box has a little brood and honey stores but is mostly pollen stores of every imaginable color.
    I know, I should take pictures, but I challenge any first-year beek to have the presence of mind to photograph anything when he or she is in the bottom brood box.
     
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