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

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

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  1. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    So all of the conventional Beeks are taking the top honey supers off and harvesting the frames. The general consensus is that only two brood boxes should be used to winter over a colony. This means that my third super needs to come off. I was prepared to do this to make the moving of them an easier task.
    But first, I went to my friend's house to observe both an Apivar treatment.(More on that later) and to pull her honey and reduce the hive size for winter.
    We had planned on extracting honey from both my hive and her two, but nothing I saw in my top super was capped on both sides. Uncapped honey runs the risk of too much moisture which can spoil the whole extracted batch. So in the end, we only took her frames.
     
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  2. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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  3. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    The Bees got more and more agitated as we inspected. and downright hostile when we started pulling frames. Jim Jill and I all had bees covering our protective gear and yelling at us from all sides to get the hell away from their stores and leave them alone.
    No amount of smoke would deter them. It was tricky, getting the bees off of the frames of honey and even trickier to get inside the house without Bees getting in as well. Jill has a good size property, (a few acres) and the yard was filled with Bees, Masses of them. Not in the Bee yard, It was Jill's yard that was filled with them for the entire time we extracted.
     
  4. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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  5. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    The process took all day and four of us to accomplish.
    Over and over one or more of us had to suit up to do some kind of job outside. for the several hours it took us to extract, filter, bottle and clean up, every flyer in the hive was outside threatening all of us.
    When we returned the wet but empty frames outside of the hives to clean off, the yard began to calm down. It filled up again after we set the cleaned equipment to dry in the sun. All of the equipment needed to be wiped down with phosphoric acid and air dried outside. This required protective gloves to handle it. The stuff was not to be rinsed and the Bees all filled the yard again. They covered all of the equipment and seemed to love it.
    Jim and I suited up to leave. We went out the front door where there were only a few Bees waiting to yell at us all the way to the car.
    "Go Away! " They yelled at us in their Bee-bonic buzz, "Get the fuck outta here!"
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  6. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    So at the moment I am hedging. I have to move my Bees and do not want to stress them any further than that. I will give them a confection sugar shake weekly to knock some of the mites off until I am ready to winter them over.
    Before I put them away for the winter, I will give them an oxalic acid treatment, mixed with sugar water (2:1).
    Except for the treatment free extremists, even the most liberal of Beeks do not seem to object to this treatment.
    But I have to wait for the brood to hatch out.
    My other game plan is freeze a knot of drone brood that I have discovered on a frame. Mites love drones and they would not survive a natural life cycle were they to hatch. Laying some drone brood late in the season is another way Bees contend with mites. If I were to leave it, chances are, the worker Bees would break into the drone comb before development and throw it outside the hive for predators to eat. If I freeze it, it will kill both drone and mite and I can feed it back to the girls. They will enjoy consuming the protein.
     
  7. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    I have been hearing from all the Beeks pulling honey that their Bees are acting this way. This is a different scene than the summer when Beeks pulled honey. The girls must feel very threatened, facing the winter with half or more of their stores gone. This is why I have decided to leave the top super on and not to extract. If the girls object this strongly, I will not dispute their wisdom. Truth is, I have honey from every Beek friend I have and can certainly wait until next spring to see if they have anything left over. With the brood I see laid, I feel confident that they will stay warm with the third chamber. I will also take measures by wrapping it in tar paper and lining the inner cover with some kind of insulation. I am considering straw at the moment.
    I think in the end, moving the colony will be stressful enough without heavy chemical treatments or worrying them about their stores.
    I hope I am making the right decision.
    Heavy is the crown.
     
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  8. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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  9. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    So I have promised to talk about frames. Unfortunately, this thread is always going to be referencing Langstroth Hives because, at the moment, it's all I have and all that my Beek friends have.
    This could change.
    So back to Frames and foundation.


    Many of the women in my age group, who Bee Keep without a second set of hands like I have, use 8 frame medium boxes for their colony to reside in. This makes the full boxes easier to move. I favor shifting the frames one by one to an empty super as explained in an earlier post.

    Some people use empty frames to let the Bees form their own foundation.
    [​IMG]
    (I may try a few frames without foundation in a hive next year).
    The trouble with foundation-free is three-fold:
    With a foundation, the Bees have less comb to build and more time for other tasks.
    Bee's don't always build straight down, especially if the Hive body has been tilted a fraction of an inch forward for drainage. Foundationless runs the risk of solid combs joined throughout the hive body.

    Pure honeycomb without foundation can only be harvested by destroying the comb. Many Beeks like to use built comb over and over for a few years so that the Colony can concentrate on storing honey. Honeycomb is a product of nectar or sugar water. The reason I fed my Bees so long was to help them build comb faster.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  10. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

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    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page22.html
    This is a link to plastic foundation coated in Beeswax. Sometimes a farmer or Beek will repaint the foundation with more wax.
    The biggest reason for a plastic foundation is that you can spin honey out of it and it leaves much of the built comb intact for the Bees to rework..
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
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