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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    The three packages I added were italians, been using them for years. Found a local who was advertising in Bee Cuture. Drove over to his operation two weeks ago and picked them up, saved on shipping, man did he have a lot of hives probably over 100 in that location alone. He does the pollenation thing, starting in Florida and working along the gulf coast for almonds.
    Almost ready to super up with the three new hives, boys are they going strong, lots of brood and am still feeding them. The queens look fat and healthy so hoping for a good year. Surprised as to how gentle they are also, have had a couple "hives from hell" in my time so nice bees are a treat. The wife even had her face only a couple of feet from a hive after I opened it up to take pictures and didn't get stung.
    Just started using pine needles for my smoker, if I'm gong to be tearing the hives apart I'll stuff a few small pieces of pine cutoffs in on top to keep the smoker going. Read in Bee Culture that sumac leaves in the smoker will kill mites, haven't tried it yet.
    Hey David, glade to hear you got hooked up with some bees, you are so right, the first package is downright scary, wait till you have to release a queen and see the workers ball up on her or have the queen fly away.
    I only wear my moon suit to do major work on the hives, for regular checking and supering it's the hat with the net, gloves and a light colored T shirt.
    Anybody using the screened bottom boards from Mann Lake? I have and like them so far but they seem to need a weekly cleaning. I'll try to get some pictures of my little bee yard posted for everybody's enjoyment. Finally found some people as crazy as me about bees, cool

  2. #22

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Yup, crazy about bees here. Especially when they are going to give me some honey for my mead craziness.
    I keep seeing posts about these different leaves in the smoker for mites, Varroa or tracheal or both? I don't read any bee publiations although I should, but it seems strange to me that just ths smoke would kill varroa and not the girls.

    Don't use any screened boards, they would almost be impossible to switch out in the fall for winter, been using , miticide I think, something my boss gets for the mites.
    Since you have been out of the loop for a while beeboy I will mention to you about Tylosin a new anitbiotic for the girls for AFB, it goes under the brand name Tylan and is in the new Mann lake catalog. I used some last year and it worked great.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Haven't had any problems with AFB, used to treat with tetracylin in the fall but started working on the theory that moisture along with weak colonies gives AFB a foothold. Control the moisture level in the hive and reduce the chance of AFB.
    Can't see using the screened bottomboards in a large operation, way too much work, but for small scale like my setup they seem to help. I use a piece of sheet metal that I slide in under the screened bottom board and block the opening with a small piece of wood, check the sheet metal for any mites once a week. I treat once a year for varroa mites using Bayer or apistan strips although with the small hive beetle I might need to treat as needed.
    most of the stuff for the smoker is to help control the varroa mites, don't know how effective it is, you need menthol chrystals for the tracheal mites, I got my last batch from Mann Lake. It goes under the inner cover when it gets warm outside. If you are storing supers with drawn out frames watch out for wax moths, get the stuff from Mann Lake to control them. Enough for now, gotta try a lemon mead I've been working on

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    860

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Last night I opened up the hives and let the queens out of the cages. All three were mostly cooperative and the queens seemed to have been accepted. I didn't see any balling of the queens. In one hive, the bees had started drawing comb around the queen cage, and it was a bit of work to get that unstuck.

    I was surpised that each hive had gone through about 2/3 of the quart jar of syrup I had in each. I'll switch to the larger top feeders this weekend.

    I'm using the Dadant plastic & stainless screened bottom board - one thing to note is that you'll have to make your own entrance reducers to fit properly.

    I had a moment of inspiration on working with the smoker. I lit a charcoal briquette with a propane torch and dropped that into the smoker. Then I piled damp pine needles on top of that. It worked great - after 2 tries getting the briquette lighted. I went home last night smelling like a campfire.

    Just after releasing my second queen, I nearly jumped out of my skin to find a man standing next to me in short sleeves peering into my hive. He's a local beekeeper who has hives in the orchard across the street from mine. He was very nice and gave me his phone number and told me to call whenever I needed. He also told me that he'd lost all but 5 of his hives this winter. He has mites too. For that warning I was very thankful.

    I think it took him about 2 seconds to figure out that I was a rank newbee - but he did comment on how nice my suit was.


    You might be a new beekeeper if:
    You find your missing hive tool - in the last hive you worked...

    David
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  5. #25

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Lol David good one with the fine your hive tool in the last colony.

    I have a hive top feeder and don't care for it to much. It is convienient but I lose a lot of bees to it. Some how they get through the screen and drown. Maybe its just my luck, but bee warned.

    Its great you met a locla keeper, you should try and develop a realationship with him, see if you can accompany him out to his colonies. One day with him will teach you more about this hobby then if you read every book on the market!
    Have fun!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Get hooked up with him, it will be worth it for all the information you will learn, he might have some local contacts for equipment or bees. My new hives are sucking up about a gallon of sugar water every four days. Feeding them a 5lbs of sugar per gallon mix using the plastic feeders that replace a frame in the super. My one established hive is starting to bring in a little honey so I'll stop feeding the new ones soon, already have used 40lbs of sugar. Using a charcoal bricket is a great idea, I've been jaming a propane torch into the smoker right before I pull on the veil and gloves, by the time I'm ready the smoker is lit.
    Don't rush the bees, they work at thier own speed, I spend a lot of time watching the girls fly in and out of the hives spotting how many have pollen, you can learn a lot just by sitting still and looking (a chair and a glass of mead next to a hive on a warm afternoon). I once found a 1/2 gallon glass milk jug in a hive, must of been a feeder that was forgotten and ended up being built into the honeycomb. Haven't lost any hive tools in a hive but I did leave one on a bottom board.
    Kace, try floating a couple small pieces of wood in your feeders, it gives something for the bees to climb up on to get out of the syrup, had to do it with the feeders I'm using and it helped a lot.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Good idea beeboy. I haven't been feeding my bees anything yet this year but pollen patties so far. But I did mix up some sugar syrup today and will see if they take to it. Both my colonies made it through the winter with a lot of honey so I am letting them feed on it for now. I am just going to use the entrance feeder for now. Still debating on the hive top feeder but your idea is making me think about putting it on. They really have just started to get into the top chamber and I am desperatley seeking brood and have seen none as of yet so I guess I will have to wait until I reverse my chambers. Thats probably a few weeks away yet. It was 76 yesterrday and 73 today and it will bee 66 tommorow with a steady decline in temps. Thats Michigan for you. The other week it hit almost 70 one day and snowed the next.

    David, beeboy is right about just watching them come in and out of the hive. I did it for a little while today. They are really brining in the pollen now. They were bringing some in last week and I couldn't figure out where they were getting it from but there are some more flowers popping up now and they are coming in pretty heavey with pollen. If you just sit down to the side of the colony the bees won't even care that you are there, so no need to suit up. I watch for what they are bringing in and what is riding on them on the way out, mites. So far they look pretty clean.
    Just sitting next to the colony and watching will really help you get used to being near them. If you get brave you can try taking the outer cover off and take a look in.

    I just added some more pics for you, as you can see I progressively got more comfortable with them. All of these were from my 1st year out. If I think about it I will try and get some more current pics. Really need a cameraman for it other wise your camera gets all gummed up with proplis,wax, and honey. You can also see how close the hive is in my yard, I also live in town.

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/kace069/album?.dir=757d

    You know your a newbee beekeeper when, you have already planned out this honey crop, in gallons of mead!

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Went ahead and supered up the three new hives over the weekend, they already had burr comb all over the inner cover so it was time to give them a little room. My orignal hive seems to be loosing it's queen, lots of spotty drone brood with no worker brood apparent. Swapped a frame of young brood from a new hive into the problem hive last week and am hoping they will draw out a queen cell and requeen themselves. Will be out of town next week so can't order a queen in to requeen the original hive, hope they make it till I get back. Maybe when I get back I should shrink the hive down to one super, add a frame of brood from each of the new hives and then introduce a new queen. Kind of mix the hive up and then requeen. I would rather not loose the hive but extreme measures seemed to be called for. Any ideas would be helpful, haven't had to deal with this problem before and am open to suggestions. Beside that the hives are going strong so am looking forward to a honey flow in a month or so. Got a lemon mead to bottle and a lemon/banana mead started can you tell I love mead and bees and all that goes between.

  9. #29
    The Honey Farmer Gotmead Visitor

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Good day beeboy, Spotty drone brood? Sounds like you have a laying worker and no queen. Giving them a frame of brood could encourage them to produce a new queen, but by the time they draw the queen cell, hatch the queen, she matures enough to fly and mate, 21 to 25 days have gone by. I would order a new queen when I got home, put in two frames of fresh brood and put her between the brood frames. But befor I requeened, I would take all the frames and bees out and shake the bees on the ground about 10 or 15 feet from the colony and get rid of that laying worker. That is far enough away that she will not be able to find her way back. That's my 2 cents.
    Be cool Dennis

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try when I get back. Planning to head down to Key West for a couple of days, hope the problem hive will hang in there. The frame of brood I put in the hive last week has a queen cell forming on it but it will take two or more weeks for a queen to emerge, I'll order one as soon as I get back, rather be safe so I don't loose the hive. Spotted my first small hive beetle yesterday in hive #2, the little sucker was hanging out on the tray under the screened bottom board, made a nice crunching noise under my thumb . Guess I need to start treating for them soon. Man beekeeping is nothing like it was when my dad was beekeeping, back then all you had to worry about was AFB and Chalkbrood, now it's mites and small hive beetles along with everything else. Still love beekeeping it just gets complicated sometimes, don't know how the big operations keep going what with cheep imported honey flooding the market. Still worth it for the great honey.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    I luckily haven't encountered hive beetles before. My boss hasn't ever mentioned them before either. Maybe they aren't as big of a problem in michigan. Anyone got a link to a pic of a hive bettle so I know what I am looking for.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Just got back from Key West, had a great time but couldn't find any local meads, glad I packed a couple bottles for personal consumption. Saw the southern most tip of the US and sipped on a glass of mead while there. If you are ever in that area and enjoy bugs check out the butterfly conservatory only a couple blocks from the southern most tip.
    Looks like my problem hive hung in there, ordered a queen that will be in by the end of the week so will requeen when the girl arrives. I'll try shaking out the bees away from the hive to loose the drone laying workers. Moon Suit Time . The May issue of Bee Culture was waiting for me when I got home. It has a good article about Tylosin residue in honey and how it has been detected in more and more honey samples, up from 5% in '04 to 23% in '05. Seems it is a very stable compound and doesn't break down as rapidly as other AFB medications it also has become the med of choice for AFB. Don't know if I would use it unless there was no other option.
    I wouldn't worry about the small hive beetle too much, it doesn't like cold weather so it is more of a problem here in the south. They look a bit like a black pepper corn cut in half and hide in the drawn out comb or small cracks. Let you all know how the requeen works out.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    the tylosin isn't breaking down? Even with a few weeks betewwen treatment and supering? I was recommended to use tylosin by a commercial buy. My first colony died from AFB, I sent a sample of bees in and I was told by the lab that the AFB I had was immune to terramyicin. So I am at a dilemma. i have revesred one colony and have another one to do. no mites as of yet. Everything looks fine, So I think I will hold off on any kinds of treatments for now.
    I really need to subscribe to bee culture. Is that a monthly publication?
    Hoping to do my first split soon, so if you have any advice beeboy I am all ears.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Never tried to split a hive, when in Pennsylvania I wanted as big a hive as possible going into the winter. I do know that you need a second location to move the split to so the bees don't return to the original hive, beside that it sounds simple enough, just take a couple frames of brood and honey, place them in a new super with the queen and a couple pounds of bees and move them to the new location for three or four weeks.
    The article in Bee Culture about the tylosin said that it is detectable in more honey samples possibly because it is more stable. The article didn't address the possibility that the comercial beekeepers could be overmedicating thier hives and using it more now that it has been approved. A lot of the commercial beekeepers treat if they need to or not which could be why there is an increase in the detectable residue. After all one of the reasons AFB is tetracylin resistant is because the comercial beekeepers have been overmedicating with tetracylin for years. I think that they are doing the same with the tylosin,if a little is good than a lot is better. When you set you hives up only use the tylosin in the brood supers, not the honey supers and it will be ok, it is when you mix up the equipment problems can occur. When I treat for small hive beetles I need to only treat the brood supers, can't have any honey supers on the hive. Before I switched over to shallow supers for honey production I painted the brood super white and the honey supers tan so I wouldn't get them mixed up. Bee Culture is a great monthly publication, well worth it just for all the suppliers listed. AFB tends to attack weaker hives, maybe the hive you lost had some other problem going into the winter and the AFB took advantage of the weakness. I tend to under medicate my hives and have lost some because of it, mainly to the varrona mite. I'm always hoping that my hives will develope some resistance to them but haven't had much luck with it yet. Hope I don't run into any AFB but I'll keep my eyes out for it from now on.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    I am 100% positive that I introduced the AFB to my colony. In my ovezealousness of my new hobby I retrieved some old hives I knew of on some property. They were in horrible shape but I took them home and tried cleaning them up. During the whole cleaning process and melting down wax my bees were all over the old combs. So I am pretty sure that is where they got it.
    So I lost the colony over winter and had to burn the frames, I then boiled the rest of the hive. That is what the MSU guy said I could do. Everything seems ok. Lesson learned.

    I'm doing the split to avoid buying bees. I have 2 colonies now and equipment to put up 2 more this year. I want to split my really strong colony and only buy 1 nuc. Then my weaker one in my backyard that I can watch closely will be my wax machine. I will have a lot of brrod cahmber to be drawn out and I only have one super drawn out so lots of wax production this year. but I am learning bettter on how to manage the bees instead of standby helplessly.lol

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    That sounds like a real good plan, don't see any reason why it shouldn't work. Getting all the wax drawn out will take some time but is worth it in the long run. I went thru that three years ago when I switched over to shallow supers for honey. Spent half the summer swapping out supers as the wax got drawn out, didn't get much honey that year but was ready for the next year.
    Back about ten years ago I had to burn two hives that had AFB, wasn't fun at all. Think I got a bad batch of bees and didn't know enough to treat them. Oh well live and learn.

  17. #37
    The Honey Farmer Gotmead Visitor

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Hi guys, Mind if I put my 2 cents in? I worked for some Queen breeders in N. Cal for a few seasons and they had problems with mites and AFB big time. The reasons were: They medicated for AFB every year twice a year. Most of the time they didn't even have active AFB, it was lying dormant waiting for the conditions to be right. When it was right, the AFB had built up an immunity to the Terry. The lesson was, only medicate WHEN YOU HAVE IT. As for mites, they under medicated because of the cost. Four strips per colony at $2.00 a strip, that's $8.00 a colony twice a year and if you're like the Park family with about 22,000 colonies that's a lota bucks. Lesson on that was pay the money and medicate properly. Those are two lessons that I live by today.

    Bee cool, Dennis

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    You got that right, only medicate when needed, I rotate between apistan strips and the bayer strips for mites, use a different type each time. Now with small hive beetles being present most of the year in Florida I need to rethink using the bayer strips which kill both the mites and beetles. There are a couple types of beetle trap that don't use any chemicals, time to start looking into them. All overmedicating does is help the problem build up a resistance to it, same with underdoing it. I'm totally with Honey Farmer on this one, if it doesn't need it don't do it, if it does then do it according to the instructions.

  19. #39
    The Honey Farmer Gotmead Visitor

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    Hi beeboy, yeah, it sure helps to follow directions. All of the big outfits try to cut corners and all it does is create problems for everybody. One of the biggest problems we have is the migratory bee keeper. Every Febuary beekeepers from all across the country head out to Cal. for the almond pollination. You can't blame them, it's good money. But you have all those bees from all the different states mingling. They spread mites, foul brood, small hive beetles, fire ants and who knows what kind of weeds. My beef is that they bring that crap back to there home states and we smaller guys have to deal with it. I don't think I have to worry about small hive beetle here in Co. but the Africanized bees are on there way. I used to worked my bees without a veil, no smoker and in a tank top. Not anymore. Now it's a pollinators jacket and a smoker just in case. Oh well, I still love this hobby and it will take more than the above mentioned to run me off.

    Have a good day, Dennis

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Port Orange, Florida, USA
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Beekeeping - New and exciting additions

    I'm a little nervous about the package bees I used to set up my hives with. They came from a outfit that does the migratory pollenation and winters here in Florida. Not sure what has been used on them or when so I'm being carefull and monitoring them close for a couple months. We already have the africanized honey bee over on the gulf coast, need to watch out for any hive that goes agressive, it's the first sign of africanized honey bees. If the hive is requeened fast enough they say it will calm down. I've been wearing a hat and veil since catching the swarm from hell up in Pennsylvania, got nailed under my left eye and looked like I went a few rounds with Mike Tyson, even had to call in sick the next day. I don't mind a couple stings but this one made me look like Mr. Potato Head for a day . Like you said still love this hobby and plan to be doing it for a long time.
    My new Queen didn't show up today, hope it is ok and not sitting in the sun somewhere getting baked. Can't worry about things I can't control, they said it would be here by the end of the week and that's tomorrow. Time for a glass of lemon mead and dreaming about bees. Life is good

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