Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.
Some of you might have noticed my new designation as "Hive Beetle".
What IS that anyway?
Scale wise, a hive beetle would be equivalent in size as a house cat is to humans. They aren't much more than a little pest that the Bees tolerate.
Hive beetles make a home in a hive and feed off the honey stores.
If you see a hive beetle you can just crush it. I don't because the Bees don't really need me to.
Instead, a worker will build a jail around the pest and feed it until it has lived out a natural lifespan.
The jail is to keep the beetle from propagating throughout the rest of the hive.
Even then, a bee will only do this if there is a threat of being over-run with them.
So what is the Beetle good for?
I have no idea.
But the girls tolerate them so there could be a reason.
Australian native Neon Cuckoo Bee
My package of Russian girls have arrived. Installing later today. I will keep you posted
An open letter to Dr. Jon about Bees:
Dear Dr. Jon
I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. My life has been very complicated.
Jim just got out of the hospital and it's been very trying.
I will fill you in on his condition in another letter because of another subject that needs to be addressed.
The reason I have taken so long to respond was because I didn't know how to react to your assertion that I knew better than to feed my Bees sugar.
Because I don't know that at all.
I hope you will continue to listen to my conclusions on the subject.
The are certainly parts of the world, even on our own vast continent, that you can forgo feeding bees. But I do not advise it in New England. The weather is too unpredictable to depend on a steady and lengthy nectar flow. And Bees need sugar syrup or nectar to build comb before the queen can begin laying or the foragers to start storing. New England seasons are just too short to make the prospect of a successful hive unless the Bees are fed regardless of nectar flow.
*Fun fact, Honey bees are not native to the US
You might be thinking "Why not honey then?"
I can offer at least 4 reasons why this is so unworkable:
1. There is no way to tell if there is American foulbrood spore in honey unless it is from a year ago and you know the hive it was extracted from.
2. At 8 bucks a lb, my girls needed at least a quart or more a day when they were building comb
3. Honey is not for summer, it is a winter hibernating food. While it is true that Bees will eat honey in a nectar derth, there is simply not enough water in honey to hydrate. You can't water down honey, it will make mead and the alcohol content will kill the colony. Bees fed on honey in the late spring will be more aggressive. The nuc I am to set on your property is Russian and the girls are already a little bitey.
4. The closest thing to nectar chemically is 1 to 1 cane sugar and water. Organic can not be used because there is too much brown solid and will give the girls diarrhea. I would never use anything but cane and to date, this particular crop does fine without GMO interference.
At my last location, I used the syrup to get comb built in two deep boxes. I did not feed once enough comb was built. But the moment the flow came in, the ladies would not touch the feeder anyway.
But lucky me, I seem to have had the only nectar flow in all of Connecticut last year. Lots of bees starved out. If I didn't have such a flow, would I have let my bees starve?
I am sorry but I just would not.
I am still on the fence about treatment free Beekeeping. I have purchased a Russian overwintered treatment free nuc for your property and will keep the treatments away from them, but I would still need to do a sugar roll to test for mites. The only other way to test is to kill about 30 in alcohol. (I won't do that either)
I'm sure you are aware of our financial condition, and I am afraid that I can't afford a couple hundred bucks on livestock only to let them starve out from lack of food stores.
If it will give you more confidence in my philosophy, I can assure you that my original instructor, Ross Conrad, (author of 'Natural Beekeeping') insists upon feeding even though he eschews treatment. He is a Vermont Master Beekeeper and imparted this to me at a weekend workshop on organic practices for keeping bees.
I have only met two people that thought feeding honey in lieu of nectar to bees, a good idea. One was my friend Andy, that got all his info off of youtube. The other who agreed was the man that sold honey to him to feed all 12 of his hives.
Most of Andy's hives didn't make it thru the summer due to a derth, and I am sure he wasn't feeding the bees what they needed. Without the right conditions, a queen will not lay. Summer bees live for about 3 weeks so this is a death sentence to the colony. *the rest of Andy's bees starved out in winter.
If my Bees don't have two deep of honey for winter (110 lbs) I would feed feed feed. Last year the flow was so heavy I had to put on a honey super.
I still have the nuc coming and the equipment to house it. But if I can't work my bees the way I see fit, I will need to place them elsewhere.
I hope you understand. Let me know what you think. You have until Mother's day to get back to me. After that, I will need to place them somewhere. Don't worry, I have a line for my hives now, but I really wanted you to have the first crack
Wow JJ. I was completely misinformed. I truly appreciate the education. Like I've always believed, you're an amazing beekeeper.
I have one thing I can offer in addition to what I could in the past: CyberScan.
It's not well known, but is amazing. I can probably treat your whole brood with one bee, or even just a fresh wing. People I can scan with their handprint but also their hair, or any other sample. It has use for animals and humans. I'd do it as a free service to the bees.
If you have time to talk tomorrow, I do.
Sent from my iPhone
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