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The Beekeeping Thread

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Here is a no cook "candy for bees" recipe.

Take a bowl of white sugar.  Not brown only white sugar.

Mix with a very small amount of water.  Actually a shockingly small amount.  Mix it up unit it just barely sticks together.  Like a dry sand castle mix.

Push into the board right through the rabbit screen.

Fill it up.  Set it in the garage overnight.  The sugar will dry hard (like a sugar cube).

Flip over and put on top of the hive once the weather gets cold - not just yet or they will start to carry bits of it out of the hive.

Once it is cold and they are in cluster they will not do that.

I have found some hives actually love the sugar and eat it first ahead of their honey stores.  If they do this - they get another one after Christmas. 

Others eat their honey first and this is just insurance - some never touch it.

For those - fine I just take the sugar and make syrup with with for feeding the bees in the spring as needed.

 

They do not need cooked sugar or fondant - although you can use that if you want.  But this works well and is simple and no chance to burn yourself or spill hot sugar water all over or any of 100 other bone head things I have done.  

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So got out to the hives this weekend and was putting on the candy boards.  Pulled all the frame feeders (they stopped taking the sugar syrup as it is too cold).  Found out one of my strongest 3 hives absconded.  Just up and left - no bees in the hive dead or alive.  Lots of honey - so some of those frames got distributed to the other hives to supplement their winter stores.

 

This one has me confused.  Not overrun with pests like wax worm or small hive beetles.  Treated for mites earlier in late summer so they were not overrun with Varroa mites.  Chalking this up to "stuff" happens.  I have 5 full sized hives and 4 nuke sized hives heading into November.  Going to do one more mite treatment come December.

 

 

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50 mins ago, Skeeterbait said:

So got out to the hives this weekend and was putting on the candy boards.  Pulled all the frame feeders (they stopped taking the sugar syrup as it is too cold).  Found out one of my strongest 3 hives absconded.  Just up and left - no bees in the hive dead or alive.  Lots of honey - so some of those frames got distributed to the other hives to supplement their winter stores.

 

This one has me confused.  Not overrun with pests like wax worm or small hive beetles.  Treated for mites earlier in late summer so they were not overrun with Varroa mites.  Chalking this up to "stuff" happens.  I have 5 full sized hives and 4 nuke sized hives heading into November.  Going to do one more mite treatment come December.

 

 

Something similar happened to me a fee months ago. Don't ask me why -- I have no idea. :shrug:

 

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24 mins ago, mybosox3 said:

sounds like Colony Collapse

 

The research I did after mine absconded made me think CCD too. I ignored it after that. 

 

Fortunately, my second hive is still kicking. I'm hoping they make it through the winter, so I can do a split in the spring. We'll see.

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So my goal was to get to about 4 strong colonies and 4 nucs.  The theory being that if I were to loose half (goal is to do much better than that) and all I had were the 4 strong ones I would be down to two hives and would need to do splits to get back up to 4.  If I have 4 strong ones and 4 nucs and I loose half I have 2 strongs and 2 nucs that I can promote to the big boxes and likely have 4 working to make me honey.  I can then raise some more nucs as needed.

 

Well this year I had one hive make a ton of swarm cells - so I made a bunch of nucs from them.  Ended up also catching a swarm.

So I had 3 come through last winter, plus the swarm, plus one nuc that just went gang busters so I promoted it.  Of those one is now gone.  To that I have my group of nucs (plus one I sold earlier in the summer to a coworker that by all reports also went gangbusters.)

 

All in all - the hobby is going well despite some setbacks from time to time.  Here's hoping for a good over winter survival for each of us. 

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Generally good stuff all around. It seems to me like a lot of “stuff” happens in beekeeping. 
 

I’m done feeding for the year. Stores seem good. Mites have been treated. I’m hoping to get all three colonies they winter. 

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Did some more youtubing about late fall absconding.

One theory is that the bees were infected with a virus - likely brought on by Varroa.  Seems there are several bee viruses out there that can be communicated to the hive via Varroa.  Either that or the varroa weakened the bees and they became likely targets for viruses.  Not sure about bee to bee contact for transmission but I do know they can get these directly from the mites.

 

Anyway - an infected bee or one that is about to die will typically leave the colony and fly off to die somewhere else.  They do this all summer as they only last about 6 weeks during peak foraging time.  So the thinking is that all these bees know they are sick and go off to die one at a time and bingo the hive is empty and nobody saw them fly off.  It is not a total hive abscond but a slow trickle over days or a week or more.

 

Bottom line - it is still all the Varroa mites that are the culprits here.  They make the colony vulnerable to stuff like these viruses.   I may up my treatments for these buggers to even earlier in the summer to simply knock them back a bit and then really go after them again in August and then again once they have very little brood in late fall to early winter.

 

Still trying to find the best way to beat those buggers!  Seems those doing research are pretty active looking at these viruses being carried by the mites.

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2 mins ago, Skeeterbait said:

Did some more youtubing about late fall absconding.

One theory is that the bees were infected with a virus - likely brought on by Varroa.  Seems there are several bee viruses out there that can be communicated to the hive via Varroa.  Either that or the varroa weakened the bees and they became likely targets for viruses.  Not sure about bee to bee contact for transmission but I do know they can get these directly from the mites.

 

Anyway - an infected bee or one that is about to die will typically leave the colony and fly off to die somewhere else.  They do this all summer as they only last about 6 weeks during peak foraging time.  So the thinking is that all these bees know they are sick and go off to die one at a time and bingo the hive is empty and nobody saw them fly off.  It is not a total hive abscond but a slow trickle over days or a week or more.

 

Bottom line - it is still all the Varroa mites that are the culprits here.  They make the colony vulnerable to stuff like these viruses.   I may up my treatments for these buggers to even earlier in the summer to simply knock them back a bit and then really go after them again in August and then again once they have very little brood in late fall to early winter.

 

Still trying to find the best way to beat those buggers!  Seems those doing research are pretty active looking at these viruses being carried by the mites.

The beekeeper at the class I took uses vaporized oxalic acid. He does one set of treatments in July, and another in January. The vaporized oxalic acid kills only mites that are on bees -- it doesn't kill mites inside capped brood cells -- so in July, you have to treat every five days, for 25 days total, to make sure you zapped all the mites. This seems like a lot of work, but it's not, because you don't have to open up the hive, and each treatment only takes about 10 minutes (2 minutes of active vapor, and then let it rest for 8 or 10 minutes). The treatment in January, because there's no emerging brood, only needs to be done once. 


When I asked the guy, he told me that he doesn't bother to do a count for mites -- he just treats. I like that, and I like this method. If I can get my second hive through the winter -- and as of now, they're still hanging in there -- I'll swear by it.

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3 mins ago, Belmo said:

The beekeeper at the class I took uses vaporized oxalic acid. He does one set of treatments in July, and another in January. The vaporized oxalic acid kills only mites that are on bees -- it doesn't kill mites inside capped brood cells -- so in July, you have to treat every five days, for 25 days total, to make sure you zapped all the mites. This seems like a lot of work, but it's not, because you don't have to open up the hive, and each treatment only takes about 10 minutes (2 minutes of active vapor, and then let it rest for 8 or 10 minutes). The treatment in January, because there's no emerging brood, only needs to be done once. 


When I asked the guy, he told me that he doesn't bother to do a count for mites -- he just treats. I like that, and I like this method. If I can get my second hive through the winter -- and as of now, they're still hanging in there -- I'll swear by it.

Good luck for round 2 Belmo

 

I wish the bees success

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Yeah - I did the Oxalic acid vapor in the past.  This year did the dribble method.

I did 3 rounds in August and another recently once the cold hit.

I may want to up that to 5 in August or perhaps an early round in July then the protocol that I did.

 

I have heard that the late winter only treatment is not enough (what I used to do) and you need to be way down in mite load before they make winter bees in late Sept and October.  That makes total sense to me.  So that I what I did but somehow still ended up with one hive failure.  And a strong one to boot - which from what i read - is the typical complaint.

 

Hope yours make it through. If you need more bees in the spring we should talk.  If I end up with all these nukes making it through - I may have an SOL discount for you.  I know - don't count your chickens before they hatch but so far so good.

 

Mead post coming.......

 

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Heard this on the news the other day, and thought if you were in the area and looking for bees, you may be able to get in on it when they remove it in the spring and donate the bees:

 

Un-bee-lievable! Long Island couple living with monster hive of 120,000 bees
By Natalie O'NeillNovember 13, 2019 | 4:48pm | 
A massive bee hive was found inside the East Islip home of Nicholas Sarro.


And you thought your roommates were pests.

 

A Long Island couple is living with what may be the state’s biggest indoor honeybee colony ever — a 7.5-foot-tall, 120,000-strong monster hive that can’t be removed for months.

“You can hear them buzzing through the wall,’” said Nicholas Sarro, a 68-year-old retired teacher. “They stay in their part of house and we stay in ours.”


Former NYPD bee keeper Tony Planakis discovered a 7.5-foot-tall hive in an East Islip home.


Sarro and his wife spotted the stingers swarming near the chimney of their two-story colonial home in East Islip and called the NYPD’s former bee expert, Anthony “Tony Bees” Planakis, in September to investigate.

 

Using an infrared gadget to see through a bedroom wall, Planakis captured an image of the jaw-dropping bee-hemoth lodged between the brick chimney and the frame of the house.

“I felt like I hit the mother load,” Planakis said. “It was like the Normandy invasion.”

 

Planakis and Sarro were both stunned. “His eyes nearly popped out of his sockets,” Planakis said.

 

It’s by far the biggest hive Planakis — who has worked with bees for more than four decades — has ever seen, he said. Past reports show a larger one has never been reported at a home in New York.

 

He estimates the sweet discovery had been growing for up to seven years, and that there’s more than 70 pounds of honey inside.

 

But Planakis has no plans to remove the colony until April when flowers bloom and the bees have more incentive to leave and “forage,” he said.

 

He’ll use a grinding wheel, a crow bar and other tools to remove the colony, then donate the insects to beekeepers. All told, the project will likely cost around $1,000, Sarro said.

Sarro’s 1938 abode likely attracted the insects because it’s not insulated, and over the years, the brick chimney pulled away from the mortar — creating a cozy nook for honey making.

“It’s the perfect bee box,” Sarro explained.


He said his winged roommates don’t fly into his home, and can only be seen swarming from outside. They have quieted down in recent weeks because they are hibernating for the winter, he said.

 

“When guests come to stay with us, we say, ‘You’re staying in the bee room, and they don’t mind,” he said. “I told my friends ‘grab your honey jars!”

For now, he has no fear about co-habitating with 120,000 stingers.

 

“I’d be more worried if they were roaches,” he said.

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OK - the thing to do when you finally end up with some honey.

Make Mead.  

So before I hear Dilly Dilly - go shut up.............

 

Here are some photos of the stuff you need.

A one gallon glass jug - called a carboy for some unknown reason.

A siphon pump - nice to have but not required.

Tubing for the siphon pump.  

An air lock.  Goes into the stopper and into the top of the jug

A hydrometer - so you know how potent your brew is.  Again not needed but should have.

Some sanitizer to kill off all the bad bugs and only let the good ones you introduce into the brew live.

 

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