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Cold Snap Is Tough On My Bees


LiveOak

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So I have brought them inside the house and have them in my living room.  :wow:  Day before yesterday while out walking the Apiary and checking hives and my feeders I found a small swarm that landed on one of my syrup feeders.  It was only about the size of a soft ball.  I was astonished to see them this time of year and thought to myself they will NOT make through the night if I don't catch them and bring them in.  I almost forgot about them while I was working on picking up honey supers and brood boxes but remembers them about 3 hours after dark and the temps took a huge dive.  I am not sure if these are some of my bees or a feral swarm of bees but I will take any I can get.  I lost 3 hives to the cold this week.  They were pretty weak but I did not think they were that weak as they had a lot of bees inside and had some food store.  The next day the bees just disappeared.  I think they may have absconded into one of the larger hives next to it as they may have realized their queen was not well.  I found one queen and revived her.  She lived for a few days but died.  The nurse I put with her lived.  I think she may have gotten too cold or something was wrong with her. 

 

Well.......I thought to myself when I remembered that I cannot afford to lose a swarm if I can help it so off I went with a nucleus colony hive and my flashlight.  Needless to say, they were NOT happy about me messing with them in the cold and dark but I tried to be a gentle as I could and gently coaxed them into the nucleus colony hive.  Put the top on, strapped it together for my hike of about 300 yards to my insulated shed.  I wrapped the nucleus hive in a Bee Cozy and folded the extra material down and layed a fire extinguisher on top to hold it in place.  They were pretty happy to be in that nucleus box as I could hear them buzzing and humming.  They stayed their in my shed for 2 days until my observation hives came in and I moved them into the observation hive today.  They were pretty docile and only one bee flew out when I picked up their frames and moved them over the observation hive.  Now I can bring them inside the house where they can stay warm and have six frames of drawn out comb with honey, pollen, and sugar syrup stores to feed on.  On warm days I will take them out the EXACTLY the SAME place each time and open up the entrance so they can fly out and forage.  Once it gets dark, I close the entrance and bring them back inside until the next warm day. 

 

I am hoping and have my fingers crossed that I caught the queen when I captured the swarm so she can start laying and build up the observation hive for Spring.  This is my first start on building a nucleus colony and I will be learning how to raise queens and keep about a dozen nucleus colonies on hand for splits and building additional hives.  My goal is to get to 100 hives initially and then build up more from there once I get my honey house built. 

 

My next adventure to keep me warm will be picking up  the 2 pallets of 5 gallon buckets and pallet of lids that I need for containerizing the 3,000 lbs. of Ultra Bee Dry feed pollen substitute so I can store it in my shed and some for the other beekeeping clubs and beekeepers. 

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interesting story about bee keeping, getting a new wild hive.

 

I did not know that you can buy buckets of pollen to feed the bees during winter months.  Do you Just spread the pollen on a flat surface and they come gather it?

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You can do this for say a single hive but the pollen substitute is a bit pricey to feed it this way as dew and any moisture will make it get hard and mildew or mold.  Chicken feeders work for small applications if you place a sheet of card board or something similar on the top.  I use a Mann Lake Dry Bee-Pro® Feeder

 

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page54.html#FD-115

 

They are expensive but worth EVERY penny as they save a lot of money in lost and spoiled dry feed.  I feed my bees Ultra Bee dry feed that I buy in bulk

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page51.html

 

The bees need pollen of some type of suitable substitute to feed their brood and themselves.  They make what is called "Bee Bread" where they mix the pollen with honey and bodily secretions. 

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So I have brought them inside the house and have them in my living room.  :wow:  Day before yesterday while out walking the Apiary and checking hives and my feeders I found a small swarm that landed on one of my syrup feeders.  It was only about the size of a soft ball.  I was astonished to see them this time of year and thought to myself they will NOT make through the night if I don't catch them and bring them in.  I almost forgot about them while I was working on picking up honey supers and brood boxes but remembers them about 3 hours after dark and the temps took a huge dive.  I am not sure if these are some of my bees or a feral swarm of bees but I will take any I can get.  I lost 3 hives to the cold this week.  They were pretty weak but I did not think they were that weak as they had a lot of bees inside and had some food store.  The next day the bees just disappeared.  I think they may have absconded into one of the larger hives next to it as they may have realized their queen was not well.  I found one queen and revived her.  She lived for a few days but died.  The nurse I put with her lived.  I think she may have gotten too cold or something was wrong with her. 

 

Well.......I thought to myself when I remembered that I cannot afford to lose a swarm if I can help it so off I went with a nucleus colony hive and my flashlight.  Needless to say, they were NOT happy about me messing with them in the cold and dark but I tried to be a gentle as I could and gently coaxed them into the nucleus colony hive.  Put the top on, strapped it together for my hike of about 300 yards to my insulated shed.  I wrapped the nucleus hive in a Bee Cozy and folded the extra material down and layed a fire extinguisher on top to hold it in place.  They were pretty happy to be in that nucleus box as I could hear them buzzing and humming.  They stayed their in my shed for 2 days until my observation hives came in and I moved them into the observation hive today.  They were pretty docile and only one bee flew out when I picked up their frames and moved them over the observation hive.  Now I can bring them inside the house where they can stay warm and have six frames of drawn out comb with honey, pollen, and sugar syrup stores to feed on.  On warm days I will take them out the EXACTLY the SAME place each time and open up the entrance so they can fly out and forage.  Once it gets dark, I close the entrance and bring them back inside until the next warm day. 

 

I am hoping and have my fingers crossed that I caught the queen when I captured the swarm so she can start laying and build up the observation hive for Spring.  This is my first start on building a nucleus colony and I will be learning how to raise queens and keep about a dozen nucleus colonies on hand for splits and building additional hives.  My goal is to get to 100 hives initially and then build up more from there once I get my honey house built. 

 

My next adventure to keep me warm will be picking up  the 2 pallets of 5 gallon buckets and pallet of lids that I need for containerizing the 3,000 lbs. of Ultra Bee Dry feed pollen substitute so I can store it in my shed and some for the other beekeeping clubs and beekeepers. 

 

The last time I saw my bees flying was about mid-Oct. Started to rain and then the polar vortex came in. If I was you, I would be looking at doing some combining to get the weak hives to make strong ones stronger. At this point, I would also strongly consider accepting the fact you probably won't get any late season swarm to survive. I dunno where your located, but I just don't see it happening. You know, the other thing too, I wonder if it is even a swarm at all, but more than likely an absconding from a hive originally. I'm quit shocked to hear that you even still have good enough weather for them to forage! With the polar vortex and how its dominated the midwest mostly, I started thinking about all the other beeks in the south that have bees that are not used to that kind of temp. change.

 

interesting story about bee keeping, getting a new wild hive.

 

I did not know that you can buy buckets of pollen to feed the bees during winter months.  Do you Just spread the pollen on a flat surface and they come gather it?

 

You do not want to feed the bees pollen or substitute during the winter months as a rule. The beekeeping world and everyone in it have a conglomerate of methods and opinions on how to keep bees. It can be quit overwhelming sometimes as a new keeper.

 

You can do this for say a single hive but the pollen substitute is a bit pricey to feed it this way as dew and any moisture will make it get hard and mildew or mold.  Chicken feeders work for small applications if you place a sheet of card board or something similar on the top.  I use a Mann Lake Dry Bee-Pro® Feeder

 

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page54.html#FD-115

 

They are expensive but worth EVERY penny as they save a lot of money in lost and spoiled dry feed.  I feed my bees Ultra Bee dry feed that I buy in bulk

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page51.html

 

The bees need pollen of some type of suitable substitute to feed their brood and themselves.  They make what is called "Bee Bread" where they mix the pollen with honey and bodily secretions. 

 

Have you tried the global bee patties yet? BTW, are you on beesource?

 

He is probably busy building bee hive boxes and getting his equipment ready for the upcoming season. 

 

:) Have not come to that point yet! Getting some other winter stuff in line first before I go off to the shed and play mad woodworker. Just been busy because of work and not typically around a PC much to post. Mostly lurk here on my phone. But a few threads prompted me to respond to.

 

On the flip side, I feel you on this polar vortex! Where I'm situated, the northern canadian winds blow through here and wanted to dampen the wind on the hive. So I went and bought 4 straw bales and put them on their sides and stacked them. I've got a hive stand I planted into the ground about 2 feet off the ground. Then I put 4x4 over the top to bridge over the hives and then secured tarp over the whole thing and left them some frontal space just in case the weather is semi-favorable for them to cleanse but not die from coming out and can stay under the tarp. Well, when those winds first starting blowing through, it helped me find my weak points! The bales tipped over and pulled on the tarps and cocked 2 of the hives lids off and exposed the inside to the cold! It also knocked one of my nucs over too and was close to completely falling over.

 

They might have gone about 2 hours or so like this before I went out to look! So I got the lids put back on and now the hives all have their own ratchet strap to keep them together! Then I took another heavy duty ratchet strap, like the ones used for semi trucks and ratcheted all 4 hives and bales together! Redid the tarp and still probably going to have to go back out there with barbless fence wire and use it to secure the tarp! I've got baling twine securing the tarp, but the constant wind is causing the twine to break!

 

Needless to say, I've got an inspection camera that I shoved inside one of the hives that had a missing lid and seen that the cluster was still alive! Couldnt get the head into the other 3 hives, so I punched the sides and got buzzes from them! Crisis averted! Whew!

 

Although, about a month or so before the weather turned, I put 25lbs of gran sugar on the tops of each hive and they darn near polished it all off! Going to have to take an opportune day when it comes and re-stock them...

 

I've only got the 4 hives, 2 10-frames and 2 5 frame nucs. Figure I better make sure they need to be babied or they may not make it through winter and I wont have anything for next year to use to expand the apiary!

Edited by hex0rz
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The last time I saw my bees flying was about mid-Oct. Started to rain and then the polar vortex came in. If I was you, I would be looking at doing some combining to get the weak hives to make strong ones stronger. At this point, I would also strongly consider accepting the fact you probably won't get any late season swarm to survive. I dunno where your located, but I just don't see it happening. You know, the other thing too, I wonder if it is even a swarm at all, but more than likely an absconding from a hive originally. I'm quit shocked to hear that you even still have good enough weather for them to forage! With the polar vortex and how its dominated the midwest mostly, I started thinking about all the other beeks in the south that have bees that are not used to that kind of temp. change.

 

As a matter of fact there were 3 hives out working and foraging the feeders yesterday.  When the temps are at least 45, sometimes a bit lower, some will come out and forage.

 

 

You do not want to feed the bees pollen or substitute during the winter months as a rule. The beekeeping world and everyone in it have a conglomerate of methods and opinions on how to keep bees. It can be quit overwhelming sometimes as a new keeper. 

 

I feed my bees through Fall, the entire Winter, and into early Spring.  This way they are able to keep their stores closest to the cluster filled.  If the weather turns really cold, the bees will not break cluster to get at the stores if they are more than an inch or so away.  They will just remain in the cluster and starve to death and freeze.  Last Winter I was able to get 16 out of 16 hives through the Winter into the Spring nectar flow.  When the Spring Nectar flow begins in full, the bees will ignore the syrup and pollen feeders. It has been my experience that if you want to loose colonies over the Winter, avoid feeding.  Mind you this works in my area and climate.  In extreme cold climates, the bees will probably never come out to forage over the Winter and must have any stores or feed already inside the hive within their reach.   

 

 

Have you tried the global bee patties yet? BTW, are you on beesource?

 

It has been my experience that if you want to raise small hive beetles, put food patties inside the hive.  They are SHB magnets.  In colder climates, this may not be the case but here in TN it BIG TIME is. 

 

 

:) Have not come to that point yet! Getting some other winter stuff in line first before I go off to the shed and play mad woodworker. Just been busy because of work and not typically around a PC much to post. Mostly lurk here on my phone. But a few threads prompted me to respond to.

 

I need to spend less time on the PC.  I would get more done around the farm.  :ashamed: 

 

On the flip side, I feel you on this polar vortex! Where I'm situated, the northern canadian winds blow through here and wanted to dampen the wind on the hive. So I went and bought 4 straw bales and put them on their sides and stacked them. I've got a hive stand I planted into the ground about 2 feet off the ground. Then I put 4x4 over the top to bridge over the hives and then secured tarp over the whole thing and left them some frontal space just in case the weather is semi-favorable for them to cleanse but not die from coming out and can stay under the tarp. Well, when those winds first starting blowing through, it helped me find my weak points! The bales tipped over and pulled on the tarps and cocked 2 of the hives lids off and exposed the inside to the cold! It also knocked one of my nucs over too and was close to completely falling over.

 

I am trying the NOD Bee Cozy's for the first time.  I will let you know how they work out for me. 

 

They might have gone about 2 hours or so like this before I went out to look! So I got the lids put back on and now the hives all have their own ratchet strap to keep them together! Then I took another heavy duty ratchet strap, like the ones used for semi trucks and ratcheted all 4 hives and bales together! Redid the tarp and still probably going to have to go back out there with barbless fence wire and use it to secure the tarp! I've got baling twine securing the tarp, but the constant wind is causing the twine to break!

 

Have you got some cinder blocks or maybe you can put some T-post or wood post fencing around the hives and then stack your bales against the fence.  Maybe some landscaping timbers over the top with some bales strapped or tied down?

 

Needless to say, I've got an inspection camera that I shoved inside one of the hives that had a missing lid and seen that the cluster was still alive! Couldnt get the head into the other 3 hives, so I punched the sides and got buzzes from them! Crisis averted! Whew!

 

Although, about a month or so before the weather turned, I put 25lbs of gran sugar on the tops of each hive and they darn near polished it all off! Going to have to take an opportune day when it comes and re-stock them...

 

Try mixing in some Ultra Bee dry feed with the granular sugar.  This will allow the bees a better diet with a good level of protein and help them to make bee bread.

 

I've only got the 4 hives, 2 10-frames and 2 5 frame nucs. Figure I better make sure they need to be babied or they may not make it through winter and I wont have anything for next year to use to expand the apiary!

 

Have you thought about combining the nucs with your 10 frame via a Overland Wintering Board?

 

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Overland-Nuc-Wintering-Board/productinfo/612/

 

These are pretty neat in that they help the bee hives to conserve heat among themselves. 

Edited by LiveOak
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What kind of bees do you have? I still have trouble identifying what bees I have. I read alot about mutts and they can practically be anything. So I dunno what I have, but just by the pictures I see on the net, I think I may have 3 russians and 1 italian. The rooshkies have black stripes and the italian is all brown. I really like the look of the italian queen. Some say the solid is a cordovan, but I'm far from knowing all that stuff.

 

Anyways, the russians flew more than the other did. Not sure if my future business name would go well if I used russians, though. Anthony's Russian bees.... Being what my name is and italian bees, I'd like to call it Tony's Italian bees! Just have to actually have italian bees, lol!

 

I've fed my hives to the brim as much as possible. I was open feeding until the robbing just got too far out of hand. I've got pics of that one! So I went to internal feeding and the honey bee healthy helped other hives fight each other. So I really reduced the entrances. Fed alot of 1:1 for a bit at about mid-sept to try and get them to build more comb. Which was a huge gamble as that is not the norm. But fortunately, we had a really warm year and it worked out pretty good. Once it started getting colder, I started them on 2:1 to pack it in. I've got some really nifty buckets from work that are 4 gallons and the lid seals really well. Used a nail and hot poked holes in the lid and did a top feeder like that. Worked really well until the night lows got too cold then had to switch to baggie feeding until they would not take it anymore. Did one more inspection and they really packed them into the comb well!

 

I made my own protein patties and put about 4lbs in the 10 frame hives and 3 lbs in the nucs. I used a medium 5 frame box for each nuc and made candy and poured them into the boxes. Thats alot more sugar candy than I think anyone typically does! Each 10 frame hive got 25lbs of sugar doing a mountain camp method. 1 10 frame hive is 3 mediums tall of comb and the other is 2. The nucs are 2 tall of comb. I'm very interested to see how they fare through winter as I dunno what is really needed for nucs up here and also how they take the protein feed. Its was experimental as well!

 

The bigger problem I may have is how badly the varroa may get to them and the moisture. I'm doing an upper and lower entrance and I can definitely see the vapor and moisture iced up at the top! I'm also doing a not so popular method of treatment for the varroa mite. I'm doing the fogging method with thymol and mineral oil.

 

Up north here, the SHB is not a problem. The wax moth and varroa, yellow jackets, and all the other nuisances that come with keeping bees. But fortunately, not SHB.

 

I've kind of got this hybrid method going on with me as I read how people do things and what I think may work for me and my own thoughts on things. Funny how that works, right? One thing I've come to accept is the idea of wrapping hives. I will never bother to do it as the potential for moisture. Which I'm curious if that is something you may face with those bee cozy's.

 

I've done a good bit of reading on protein patties and as I understand it, if I have the protein mixed in with the sugar during winter, you risk them getting dysentary and big problems from that. Sounds like a good time to do this method is more towards the spring where its warm but nothing is flowing yet. I will be making some bee candy with protein feed and try it out. Just not for the winter stretch.

 

I know there is places like Dadant that sell, "winter patties". But all it is, is a low protein content sugar feed. I rather like the idea of having the patty by itself and if they want it, its there and they don't get deceived thinking its stores when its really protein and they cannot cleanse because of it. Atleast, thats my theory, lol.

 

The long term goal is to get to 500 hives. 450 hives to be trucked around for pollination and honey contracts through a broker and the remaining 50 stay back home to be used in breeding bees. My 2 nucs as of this moment are built with actual 2x's to see if it makes a difference with the cold. Not only that, but how if any better it is for building purposes.

 

My current 10 frame boxes are going to be utilized for either the Michael Palmer double nuc method for overwintering nucs or they will become mating nucs. Until I get my box construction methods perfected, the wood will be used for these 2 things. When I get it to where I want, I'll start off working towards the 450 to be used on 4 way pallets for pollination, etc.

 

...but we both know, unless we have some capital, that is going to be many years down the road! :ahhh::cookoo:

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What kind of bees do you have? I still have trouble identifying what bees I have. I read alot about mutts and they can practically be anything. So I dunno what I have, but just by the pictures I see on the net, I think I may have 3 russians and 1 italian. The rooshkies have black stripes and the italian is all brown. I really like the look of the italian queen. Some say the solid is a cordovan, but I'm far from knowing all that stuff.

 

Mine are mostly Italian Varroa Specific Hygene (VSH) muts that have cross bred over the years.  Last season I ordered 4 packages of Russians that are still in the apiary.  Next season I plan to try some Carnolians.  They are good honey producers and are very gentle.   

 

Anyways, the russians flew more than the other did. Not sure if my future business name would go well if I used russians, though. Anthony's Russian bees.... Being what my name is and italian bees, I'd like to call it Tony's Italian bees! Just have to actually have italian bees, lol!

 

I've fed my hives to the brim as much as possible. I was open feeding until the robbing just got too far out of hand. I've got pics of that one! So I went to internal feeding and the honey bee healthy helped other hives fight each other. So I really reduced the entrances. Fed alot of 1:1 for a bit at about mid-sept to try and get them to build more comb. Which was a huge gamble as that is not the norm. But fortunately, we had a really warm year and it worked out pretty good. Once it started getting colder, I started them on 2:1 to pack it in. I've got some really nifty buckets from work that are 4 gallons and the lid seals really well. Used a nail and hot poked holes in the lid and did a top feeder like that. Worked really well until the night lows got too cold then had to switch to baggie feeding until they would not take it anymore. Did one more inspection and they really packed them into the comb well!

 

It has been my experience that the bees will rob each other no matter how you feed them if a colony is not strong enough to defend itself.  I have tried both internal and external feeding and find that using Mann Lake Dry Bee-Pro® Feeder

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page54.html#FD-115

 

These feeders allow the bees maximum access to the Ultra Bee dry feed I feed them and it keeps the feed dry and powdery the way the bees like it which prevents mold and mildew that will happen if the feed gets damp or wet.  I have been placing boardman feeders with a 5 lb. (half gallon jar) of sugar syrup on each of the 8 entrances to the feeders which makes for one stop shopping for the bees.

 

I recently started using "community feeders" for feeding sugar syrup.

 

http://www.kelleybees.com/Shop/22/Queens-Bees/Feed/4236/Community-Feeders

 

I have found that these work extremely well......even better than the boardman feeders on the Mann Lake feeders.  I tried painting one white and another I painted with boiled linseed oil.  The boiled linseed oil seems to hold up well so far and is MUCH easier to take apart for storage over the white paint which adds a bit more thickness to the parts and makes it a lot more difficult to assemble and disassemble for storage.  Using the half gallon jars, each community feeder will hold 3 gallons of syrup.  When the temps are warmers, my bees can empty both in about 2 days. 

 

Altogether, in warmer weather, they can go through 33 gallons of 2 to 1 sugar syrup treated full strength with Mann Lake Pro Health 

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page43.html

 

and 30 lbs. of Ultra Bee dry feed in about 4 days.  They just don't care much for food patties.  They will mob clean granulated sugar almost as much as they do sugar syrup. 

 

I made my own protein patties and put about 4lbs in the 10 frame hives and 3 lbs in the nucs. I used a medium 5 frame box for each nuc and made candy and poured them into the boxes. Thats alot more sugar candy than I think anyone typically does! Each 10 frame hive got 25lbs of sugar doing a mountain camp method. 1 10 frame hive is 3 mediums tall of comb and the other is 2. The nucs are 2 tall of comb. I'm very interested to see how they fare through winter as I dunno what is really needed for nucs up here and also how they take the protein feed. Its was experimental as well!

 

The bigger problem I may have is how badly the varroa may get to them and the moisture. I'm doing an upper and lower entrance and I can definitely see the vapor and moisture iced up at the top! I'm also doing a not so popular method of treatment for the varroa mite. I'm doing the fogging method with thymol and mineral oil.

 

It is VERY important to leave enough top ventilation to prevent respiration moisture from building up inside the hive inner cover and dripping back down on the cluster.  If this happens, the bees will freeze to death.  An upper entrance is a great solution or tipping up one side of the telescoping cover to allow moisture to escape in another.  An air tight or low ventilation hive is a receipt for dead bees.  I use the exact same method of treating my bees for varroa mites.  It works WELL.  A lot of beekeepers poo poo this method as ineffective but it works very well for me and I REFUSE to put anything inside my hive that I would not feed to my family.  Another method if the fogging is not working a well as you would like is to use and Oxalic Acid Vaporizer.  I have a couple but have not used them yet because the fogging with FGMO and thyme oil has worked well so far.  I recently ordered 10 lbs. of thymol crystals and will be diluting them in the FGMO for future fogging. 

 

Up north here, the SHB is not a problem. The wax moth and varroa, yellow jackets, and all the other nuisances that come with keeping bees. But fortunately, not SHB. 

 

SHB's are a huge problem here especially if a hive gets a little weak.  As long as the hive is very strong and populous, they are not a problem.

 

I've kind of got this hybrid method going on with me as I read how people do things and what I think may work for me and my own thoughts on things. Funny how that works, right? One thing I've come to accept is the idea of wrapping hives. I will never bother to do it as the potential for moisture. Which I'm curious if that is something you may face with those bee cozy's.

 

I don't see the Bee Cozy as a problem with respect to moisture.  They are around the vertical part of the hive exterior.  The top of my hive still has either a propolis trap and/or inner cover with the hole in the middle with a 3" ventilating super on top of that.  The telescoping outer cover sits on the 3" ventilating super.  This allow more than enough air to circulate.  I use screened bottom boards that I leave open most of the season and Winter and install plastic (election sign) type closers in really cold or windy Winter weather.  The entrance I have closed off with a restrictor set to the smallest (3/4") opening position.  This prevents cold drafts from chilling the bees but allows ventilation air through the hive. 

 

I've done a good bit of reading on protein patties and as I understand it, if I have the protein mixed in with the sugar during winter, you risk them getting dysentary and big problems from that. Sounds like a good time to do this method is more towards the spring where its warm but nothing is flowing yet. I will be making some bee candy with protein feed and try it out. Just not for the winter stretch.

 

If you are treating your sugar syrup full strength with Mann Lake Pro Health or Honey Bee Healthy, the chances of Nosema are very small.  I think the Nosema may be a product of being cooped up inside the hive for long periods in close proximity to each other in addition to varroa mites and treachial mites that spread virus's and other disease.  Nosema almost always shows up in very early Spring.  I usually pre-emptively treat with Fumagilan-B just before this time to head it off. 

 

I know there is places like Dadant that sell, "winter patties". But all it is, is a low protein content sugar feed. I rather like the idea of having the patty by itself and if they want it, its there and they don't get deceived thinking its stores when its really protein and they cannot cleanse because of it. Atleast, thats my theory, lol.

 

As I said already, I have pretty much abandoned food patties as SHB magnets.  I still have about 150 lbs. of Ultra Bee food patties that I put out for open feeding to get rid of them but I will not be buying any more in the future.  Of all the food patties that I have tried (and that is many) the Mann Lake Ultra Bee food patties are the ONLY food patties that my bees would at least feed on to some degree inside and out of the hive.  If food patties work good for you,  Mann Lake has a big sale on Ultra Bee dry feed and food patties right now.  There prices are such that I don't think that I could make them for that price and the bees seem to LOVE the Ultra Bee dry feed and like the food patties.

 

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-supplies/category/page50.html

 

The long term goal is to get to 500 hives. 450 hives to be trucked around for pollination and honey contracts through a broker and the remaining 50 stay back home to be used in breeding bees. My 2 nucs as of this moment are built with actual 2x's to see if it makes a difference with the cold. Not only that, but how if any better it is for building purposes.

 

Knock on wood.........I currently have 30 hives and have similar goals as you but my area does not pay the rates that the almond growers pay and is not normally worth the effort and hassle of dead bees from being sprayed with pesticides.  I will be aiming more at honey, propolis, and wax production as well as using the bees to continue to improve natural forage for wildlife in my hunt leasing & wildlife enhancement operation. 

 

My current 10 frame boxes are going to be utilized for either the Michael Palmer double nuc method for overwintering nucs or they will become mating nucs. Until I get my box construction methods perfected, the wood will be used for these 2 things. When I get it to where I want, I'll start off working towards the 450 to be used on 4 way pallets for pollination, etc.

 

You might want to check out Fat Bee Man on Youtube.  He has a lot of very interesting and cost effective ways of pursuing commercial beekeeping. 

 

http://www.dixiebeesupply.com/Dixiebeesupply/Don_Kuchenmeister,_The_Fat_Bee_Man.html

 

...but we both know, unless we have some capital, that is going to be many years down the road! :ahhh::cookoo:

 

Ain't that the truth!  :broke:

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IIRC, I thought the italians were the most gentle? I hear the Carniolans are a really good bee for colder climates as they are much more conservative. The russian bee appeals to me though as they seem to have a better mite resistance and are more prone to be acclimated to the colder climates.

 

I tried the open feeding deal, and found that I attracted more than just my bees. But with the internal feed method, yes, I have to open the hive, but I know that the feed is going to the bees in that hive and nothing else, for the most part. Right off the bat, with my limited experience, I'm trying to go in the direction of what it takes to manage hundreds of hives. I imagine that a feeding method that works for hundreds of hives, should work for my measly 4 current hives. That may sound contradictory, as I would not imagine internal feeders is preferred to large operations.

 

I've decided to do the thymol fogging because I find that if it does indeed have efficacy to it, it will be the quickest way to treat hives for the varroa. I do appreciate the idea of the OA vaporizer and had plans of pursuing it, but have not ventured into that yet. Its time consuming to do, but produces great results. I have also thought about trying to incorporate it into the FGMO fogging, but I guess it does not like to dissolve in oil. They make many different products with thymol for bees and have thought about doing some different things, but its alot more intensive than fogging.

 

I did not know it, but they have some stuff called mite-a-thol for tracheal mites. I believe its menthol crystals. I put some in each hive for that for winter as well. I used up about 1 to 1 1/2 bottles of the HBH and while it sure sets them off in a frenzy for it, I do not know how well it worked for anything else. I've got my own EO's now so I'm planning making my own formula.

 

I have thought a bit about the prospect of dead and dying bees from the collateral damage from pollination. The pollination thing may never come to fruition, and I may just stick with the original plan of selling products of the hive and bees, queens, etc. Although, ND clover fields, I may just try that one someday for the sheer amount of honey that can be produced!

 

I have almost watched every single FBM video posted! I did indeed learn alot from his videos, but I've found many corners to cut and micheal bush's approach to things have appealed quite much. As I said, with all the people I've gleaned from, I've definitely got a hybrid approach to things. Just as long as I do it the lazy way. The less I mess around with things and still get the results I need, the better.

 

Also, do you think that the VSH bees you have is in part to success with your thymol fogging? Alot of the beesource people are very paricular to claims being made about any success to a treatment method.

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IIRC, I thought the italians were the most gentle? I hear the Carniolans are a really good bee for colder climates as they are much more conservative. The russian bee appeals to me though as they seem to have a better mite resistance and are more prone to be acclimated to the colder climates.

 

I tried the open feeding deal, and found that I attracted more than just my bees. But with the internal feed method, yes, I have to open the hive, but I know that the feed is going to the bees in that hive and nothing else, for the most part. Right off the bat, with my limited experience, I'm trying to go in the direction of what it takes to manage hundreds of hives. I imagine that a feeding method that works for hundreds of hives, should work for my measly 4 current hives. That may sound contradictory, as I would not imagine internal feeders is preferred to large operations.

 

To a large part I agree but keeping the local feral bees healthy can have indirect positive results in reducing the spread of disease. Once you get more hives, I think you will come to realize how much work it is to do internal feeding with 40 or 50 hives and may take another look at community feeding. 

 

I've decided to do the thymol fogging because I find that if it does indeed have efficacy to it, it will be the quickest way to treat hives for the varroa. I do appreciate the idea of the OA vaporizer and had plans of pursuing it, but have not ventured into that yet. Its time consuming to do, but produces great results. I have also thought about trying to incorporate it into the FGMO fogging, but I guess it does not like to dissolve in oil. They make many different products with thymol for bees and have thought about doing some different things, but its alot more intensive than fogging.

 

I did not know it, but they have some stuff called mite-a-thol for tracheal mites. I believe its menthol crystals. I put some in each hive for that for winter as well. I used up about 1 to 1 1/2 bottles of the HBH and while it sure sets them off in a frenzy for it, I do not know how well it worked for anything else. I've got my own EO's now so I'm planning making my own formula.

 

I use menthol.  You can buy it in the plastic net sacks like onions come in.  It is the same stuff and does the same thing cheaper.  Fogging your bees also treats them for traechail mites as well. 

 

I have thought a bit about the prospect of dead and dying bees from the collateral damage from pollination. The pollination thing may never come to fruition, and I may just stick with the original plan of selling products of the hive and bees, queens, etc. Although, ND clover fields, I may just try that one someday for the sheer amount of honey that can be produced!

 

I have almost watched every single FBM video posted! I did indeed learn alot from his videos, but I've found many corners to cut and micheal bush's approach to things have appealed quite much. As I said, with all the people I've gleaned from, I've definitely got a hybrid approach to things. Just as long as I do it the lazy way. The less I mess around with things and still get the results I need, the better.

 

Also, do you think that the VSH bees you have is in part to success with your thymol fogging? Alot of the beesource people are very paricular to claims being made about any success to a treatment method.

 

No, the VSH trait is something that is bred into the bees with respect to their hygienic traits.  What I have observed is that immeadiately after fogging my bees, they pile up at the entrances.  At first I thought it was due to the fogging irritating them but after spending a great deal of time observing them at several different hives what I found the bee were actually doing was cleaning each other.  I think the FGMO oil micro droplets gets on their body and hairs.  This triggers the bees to groom each other and in the process remove varroa mites.  The FGMO micro droplets in my opinion and understanding obstruct the ability of the varroa mite to respirate as they do this through their exoskeleton. 

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This is what happened last time I tried to community feed:

 

0912141436_zps50dea4c8.jpg

 

I would need some way of ensuring I could feed cleanly. But the problem remains that, by community feeding, you risk the potential for it being a vector of virus and disease. As feral colonies on domestic intermingle. You either disease the ferals or the ferals disease you...

 

Not to mention, it was demoralizing seeing that many dead bees in my buckets! I've seen others use 55 gal drums, but I dunno how they do it. If I could think of a way of introducing small amounts available at a time with a large resevoir to tap from, it could be a better way.

 

What I meant was, does the fact that your bees come from a VSH strain affect the results of your thymol fogging? Have you done a "controlled" experiment to verify the treatment?

 

Are you doing a thymol fogging treatment only when they fly, or are you doing it during winter months too? Last time I treated, they came running out of the hive and some died because it got too cold before they could get back in the hive and cluster. If not, do you do the OAV treatment during winter?

 

Here is how I have my hives in winter setup:

 

1115141543_zpsca36782e.jpg

 

1115141543a_zps581df631.jpg

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No!!!!!!!  Don't feed them like that. You will drown 1,000's of them.  I was using boardman feeder but am transitioning over to these:

 

http://www.kelleybees.com/Shop/22/Queens-Bees/Feed/4236/Community-Feeders

 

The price sucks but you can order one and use it as a pattern to make your own with improvements. 

 

With respect to VSH bees, I don't think this influences much if anything with fogging.  My bees, many of which are almost 8 years old and the queens have been superseded MANY MANY times as they have adapted to my area.  I don't requeen.  I let the bees do what nature bred them to do.   

 

Your area's climate is obviously MUCH colder in Winter than mine as I am maybe 30 miles from the Alabama border.  I suspect you will need to choose warm (comparatively speaking) days to fog your bees.  A cold day for my area is the 20's and the temps are usually much warmer than that. 

 

Watch Don's video and get a feel for how fogging works and the times or year it can be doneL

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-crv868VZHU

 

So far, the fogging seems to have worked well enough that I have not felt the need to try OAV. 

 

I like how your bees are sheltered for the Winter.  I am sure your bees benefit greatly from that and appreciate it. 

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No!!!!!!!  Don't feed them like that. You will drown 1,000's of them.  I was using boardman feeder but am transitioning over to these:

 

http://www.kelleybees.com/Shop/22/Queens-Bees/Feed/4236/Community-Feeders

 

The price sucks but you can order one and use it as a pattern to make your own with improvements. 

 

With respect to VSH bees, I don't think this influences much if anything with fogging.  My bees, many of which are almost 8 years old and the queens have been superseded MANY MANY times as they have adapted to my area.  I don't requeen.  I let the bees do what nature bred them to do.   

 

Your area's climate is obviously MUCH colder in Winter than mine as I am maybe 30 miles from the Alabama border.  I suspect you will need to choose warm (comparatively speaking) days to fog your bees.  A cold day for my area is the 20's and the temps are usually much warmer than that. 

 

Watch Don's video and get a feel for how fogging works and the times or year it can be doneL

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-crv868VZHU

 

So far, the fogging seems to have worked well enough that I have not felt the need to try OAV. 

 

I like how your bees are sheltered for the Winter.  I am sure your bees benefit greatly from that and appreciate it. 

 

The buckets was an example of using what Michael Bush had on his site for the feed method. I think what happened was that as the bees flocked to it, the increasing weight of the bees caused the float to sink more and more and drowning more bees as they landed on it. The other thing I noticed about this was that even if a bee did not drown, the ones hanging out on the bricks, sand area, etc., they looked to be grooming themselves alot. Understandably, as they just got done gorging themselves on syrup. But then, the odd thing was, they never flew off. But they were just fine. Which makes me wonder if they were too fat to fly?

 

I've seen that type of feed station before. I may entertain that method with the buckets I get from work. They are blue 4 gal size, with one heck of a sealing lid! I poked holes in the lid with a small nail and they suck out the syrup that way.

 

I've been brainstorming about a different method, I'm going to look into it more to see if I can make it work. It would be a very effective bulk open feeding method that should cause virtually no drowning! Wouldn't that be something!

 

As this great experiment continues, I may have to consider a couple different alternatives to treating them due to the temperatures. I'm just trying to adopt something efficient and effective to doing things in respect to a large commercial apiary environment. If I do not perfect my methods now, what the heck 'am I going to do when I have 500 hives?!

 

I used my inspection camera on the hives last night. Was starting to notice an increase of dead bees at the bottom entrance. Its on the small setting so only a few get thrown out at a time. The dead bees looked to be very young and not like some old summer bee. Which concerns me. I inserted the probe into them and found that before I could even get remotely close to the cluster, the guard bees were attacking the probe. Although, I did notice that there is a layer of dead bees covering the bottom board. I hope this is just attrition and not some massive die off from mites or moisture, etc. I have proper ventilation it seems as there is no build up of moisture/mold that I can see.

 

I wonder if I could fog the bees and close the entrances off so they cannot escape into the cold and die? Then again, I would assume that if they broke cluster, they could die as well... hmm.

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