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Author Topic: If Not Packages, What?  (Read 3020 times)

Offline little john

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2016, 06:12:48 AM »
Just realised - this topic is listed under Natural and Organic Beekeeping Methods.

Putting a mix of bees into a box along with a (probably) unrelated queen, and without any combs - how can that possibly qualify as being Natural and/or Organic ? 

That arrangement may loosely resemble a 'swarm' to human beings - but the bees are NOT in swarm mode, and unless they are destined for a beekeeper in possession of pre-drawn combs, those bees will be required to draw comb much earlier than they would do 'naturally' - at a time of the year when temperatures are most likely much lower than during the swarming season.

Just something to think about ...
LJ



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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2016, 09:04:59 AM »
>Putting a mix of bees into a box along with a (probably) unrelated queen, and without any combs - how can that possibly qualify as being Natural and/or Organic ? 

One has to start somewhere...
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Offline little john

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2016, 10:31:11 AM »
I agree - but why not start with a nuc ?  The bees will then be all related (one hopes/assumes), and already living (and then transported) on their own combs ...  Surely that has to be a better way ?
LJ
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Offline KPF

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2016, 12:36:58 PM »
I've been thinking about colony collapse, mainly because my entire apiary (2 hives) collapsed. Just throwing this out there. Now I do not doubt the impact of pesticides on our bees, but is one reason for the spike in colony collapses the combined effect of massive package production combined with a surge in new beekeepers (ie, people like me who don't know what they are doing). I'm trying to piece together various threads of things I've read, and one of them is what seems to be the lower survivability of packages relative to nucs.

Let's say it's 1970 and there is a small pool of relatively experienced beeks who lose 10% of their hives.
Fast forward to 2016 and there is a huge pool of beekeepers, many of them inexperienced. They lose 40% of their hives. (I'm making these numbers up, just to convey the point.)

Is it all pesticides, or diseases, or is it us! Are we losing a greater percentage of  hives because there are more of us doing it, and to support the hoard of beeks, we have created a massive package industry that maybe isn't so great for bee health?

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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2016, 12:56:31 PM »
KPF,
Keep in mind, CCD was first reported by the big commercial beekeepers, not your small beekeepers.
These guys know how to manage bees by the thousands and most have been raising bees all their life.

I personally think CCD is mostly due to genetics, namely African genetics. In Africa when the weather changes, it doesn't get cold it gets very dry and the flowers stop producing. The bees respond by ingesting as much honey as possible and head for greener pastures.
That is what I see here when there is a dearth on.

Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline little john

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2016, 08:02:20 AM »
Well, I will admit that as an outsider I feel like I'm trespassing here ...

But - when seen from the outside, it looks like America has a problem with it's bees - not everywhere in The States, and not every beekeeper there - but if the publicity is a true indication of 'bee health status' - then I'd say you guys have a problem.  And although there are a few prime candidates 'in the frame' as possible causes of CCD and maybe even the more recent outbreak of absconding, these are not known for sure - and thus nothing ought to be ruled out for now as a culprit.

One of the hardest things in life is to question behaviour that has been adopted since childhood without apparent problems.  Two examples of this come to mind: the first is the first-aid treatment for burns.  As a lad I was told to rub butter or lard onto the burn.  These days that's considered crazy (which it is), with the first aid treatment now being to immediately flood the burn area with cold water for as long as possible in order to prevent deeper tissue damage.

The second is brushing one's teeth: as a lad I was taught to brush away from the gums, and I had no reason to doubt that was the right way to brush teeth.  These days the complete reverse is taught, to brush into the gums in order to dislodge any build-up of plaque attempting to form under the gum edge.

So - if I lived in the United States, I'd be keen to re-evaluate any procedure which has been adopted, which does not feature in other countries - and the prime candidates (for me) would be the package industry, and the almond pollination industry, for AFAIK, neither of these are replicated elsewhere.

There maybe one or two other possibilities, but those are where I would start.

LJ
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2016, 10:22:20 AM »
>I agree - but why not start with a nuc ? 

1) availability
2) wrong frame size
3) wrong cell size
4) contaminated comb
5) possibility of disease (particularly AFB)
6) often trucked in from warmer climate (same as the packages)
7) expensive
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
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Offline KPF

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2016, 12:36:26 PM »
Interesting article on the winter collapses this year. The full story is at the link. I've copied the intro below.

https://beeinformed.org/2016/03/08/why-did-my-honey-bees-die/

COMMON CAUSE OF WINTER DEATH IN NORTHERN CLIMATES

By Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University Extension, March 8, 2016
Guest Blog

Beekeepers in northern climates have already lost a lot of colonies this winter.  While official counts won?t be recorded for a few months, some trends are starting to emerge.  One of these trends is a specific type of colony death.  In Michigan, I?ve received so many calls describing the scenario below, that I can describe the deadout before opening the hive, or before the beekeeper describes it over the phone.  While I may impress some with these predictive powers, the frequency of these types of losses indicates a real epidemic that is affecting honey bee colonies in northern states.

Characteristics of the common early winter death in northern states:

The colony was big and looked healthy in the fall
A lot of honey is left in the top supers
The cluster is now small, maybe the size of a softball
There are hardly any bees on the bottom board
Near or just below the cluster is a patch of spotty brood ? some fully capped, and some with bees dying on emergence (heads facing out, tongues sticking out).
If you look closely in the cells around the brood, you will see white crystals stuck to the cell walls, looking like someone sprinkled coarse salt in the brood nest.
AND

You don?t have records showing that varroa was under control.
Sound familiar?

We see this classic set of symptoms over and over in the states with a proper winter.   A big colony that seems to just shrink down and disappear.  Many people want to use the term colony collapse for this type of death, and while collapse is a good descriptor of what happens, this is not true colony collapse disorder.   This is death by varroa associated viruses
"Sprinkles are for winners."

Offline Indigo Bee

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2016, 08:56:03 PM »
After reading the article from Maine, do most of you recommend I requeen my Georgia packages or let the bees decide? My 2 packages are only 5 days old. They look strong with lots of bees.  When is the best time to requeen?

Offline Oblio13

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2016, 10:24:05 PM »
Interesting article on the winter collapses this year. The full story is at the link. I've copied the intro below.

https://beeinformed.org/2016/03/08/why-did-my-honey-bees-die/

COMMON CAUSE OF WINTER DEATH IN NORTHERN CLIMATES

By Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University Extension, March 8, 2016
Guest Blog

Beekeepers in northern climates have already lost a lot of colonies this winter.  While official counts won?t be recorded for a few months, some trends are starting to emerge.  One of these trends is a specific type of colony death.  In Michigan, I?ve received so many calls describing the scenario below, that I can describe the deadout before opening the hive, or before the beekeeper describes it over the phone.  While I may impress some with these predictive powers, the frequency of these types of losses indicates a real epidemic that is affecting honey bee colonies in northern states.

Characteristics of the common early winter death in northern states:

The colony was big and looked healthy in the fall
A lot of honey is left in the top supers
The cluster is now small, maybe the size of a softball
There are hardly any bees on the bottom board
Near or just below the cluster is a patch of spotty brood ? some fully capped, and some with bees dying on emergence (heads facing out, tongues sticking out).
If you look closely in the cells around the brood, you will see white crystals stuck to the cell walls, looking like someone sprinkled coarse salt in the brood nest.
AND

You don?t have records showing that varroa was under control.
Sound familiar?

We see this classic set of symptoms over and over in the states with a proper winter.   A big colony that seems to just shrink down and disappear.  Many people want to use the term colony collapse for this type of death, and while collapse is a good descriptor of what happens, this is not true colony collapse disorder.   This is death by varroa associated viruses
Thanks for posting that link.

Offline KeyLargoBees

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2016, 11:16:35 AM »
Indigo Bee if thats the way you want to go....i would find a local supplier of queens and ask questions...specifically how late they typically have queens available. Then a decent time before that day make an assessment of your hives and see if re-queening is warranted. They may take care of it themselves....they may not. That's the part where you as the beekeeper need to decide at what level you interfere with nature. There are no pat answers and nothing is ever certain and as new beekeepers we all make mistakes or wrong choices from time to time. Most of the times the bees correct us and take care of themselves :-)
Jeff Wingate

Changes in Latitudes...Changes in Attitudes....are Florida Keys bees more laid back than the rest of the country...only time will tell!!!
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Offline CrazyTalk

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Re: If Not Packages, What?
« Reply #31 on: June 10, 2016, 11:01:50 PM »
>I agree - but why not start with a nuc ? 

.....
6) often trucked in from warmer climate (same as the packages)
7) expensive

The packages around me this year were $90 (or, a couple places had $90 packages for about a month, others were $110). Nucs were over $200.

Both were coming from Georgia - and I'm pretty sure the nucs were just packages that had been put in a nuc box and given a month to build out (they weren't available until about a month after packages). The nucs also generally required swapping frames - which pee'd me off a bit - its a $200 product and they're concerned with $5 worth of frames?