April 29, 2011
I finally got the second round done, medication with Apivar Oxytet and soy patties. With this round I have pulled out another 5% of the hives due to dwindling and queenlessness. Very frustrating, but necessary to pull them out so I dont waste any more time on them. I like to spend my productive time on the strong viable hives, and by doing that, I will have a better chance in making things work out. Though, my softer side has allowed about 3% of that cull to remain in nuc boxes, to see if they battle back. But the chances are slim, it looks like mite and or DWV is taking these hives down and becasue of my late mite treatment, their chance of survival looks grim. I imagine most beekeepers do this, and I imagine most beekeepers dont speek of it!
So my losses so far hold just under 30%, with most all my viable hives looking great. My next step is to fill in the dead outs so that I am not constantly reminded of my wintering losses, and get on with my work!
We got more rain, so, the yards remain wet. Most too wet to set bees out to. So I will find the dry ones and send bees to them, and try to spread my hives out a bit. The trees are blooming now, and after this cool weather passes, I want to make the best of everything out there. Having all my hives within 4 miles makes competition for those resources.
After that I will make a third round before my split round. This round is a hive prep and assessment round to try to make my splitting work easier. Ill clean the frames a bit and shift some strength around a bit. I might even try a method of boosting hives I just read in the MB Beekeeper. I have some hives that are sitting on a frame of two of brood, and would like to boost them a bit. The queen is good and I want to make a good viable hive, so the technique is to set it over a strong populated hives over a queen excluder, and let the two hives merge after being misted in scented surip. It will make a two queen hive arrangement, allowing the smaller hive to build quicker and slowing the booming hive down to prevent swarming. Im going to try it out and see what happens.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 04:36 PM | Permalink
April 25, 2011
Finally getting to my mite treatment round. I am using Apivar again. I had the notion to use some alternative treatments this spring, but the weather ended that thought. Finally the nice weather has come, and the bees are making the best of it.
I have gone through 14 bags of Ultra bee, Bee Pro and Soyflour! Crazy. The bees prefer the Ultra bee by far, but it is the most expensive. In a yard of 200, they will take a bag in a day. We have not had many days of good foraging weather in April so far, so feeding has been limited. But with this nice weather, I think I better buy more feed! The trees seem to be way behind due to the weather also, so I am thinking two more weeks of supplemental feeding will be needed.
I am also open feeding all the yards. I have gone through 1000 liters of surip so far. I dilute the surip in water to about 50% to slow the bees consumption down. Otherwise they will bung the nest and I don’t want to do that. My goal is to stimulate feeding by mimicking nature, providing nectar like sugar surip and protein flour is the closest I can get to what a flour provides. Its working, the nests are brooding nicely. Any hive low on feed stores I feed with a hive top feeder straight surip to bulk them up.
Again I have to mention, 2 boxes of bees in most of my hives. Id say 75% of the survivor hives wintered in 2 boxes. My single hives are progressing also, but they didnt manage the last week of cold as well. They will be sitting on 2 brood frames right now, where as the doubles will average 3-4. I am learning alot about managing singles. I notice differences between managing singles to doubles. One good example is a honey bound nest. Rairly do I see a double honey bound nest, but its common in my single hives. I think Ill will have to ensure there is adequate space for the bees in the fall to help prevent this from happening. I think a hive will manage it better in a double hive arrangement just becasue they are allowed more space to freely store resources, and usually they will leave the chamber below with less honey, but more pollen.
After treatment, I will be moving the hives to their summer yards once again. Most yards are accessible now. Robbing hasnt been an issue yet, but soon enough, they will start pickin on the weak!
Posted by Ian Steppler at 11:11 AM | Permalink
April 21, 2011
I see my brother has loaded the pictures! I have been taking a bunch more, and videos! Right now Ill just load them to the page to view, but I will organize things when I get a chance to make viewing easier.
Lots has happened since my last post. I have been busy. The weather has not cooperated in the least, except for the short few days I set the bees out, April 7th and 8th. Thanks to a drop of 25 cm of snow, my yards were full once again which left me no place to set bees out. Thankfully I have three yards on the escarpment, sitting on sand that were accessable and had less snow than all the rest of the yards. Without those yards, I don’t know were I would of placed my bees out. The hills were cold becasue of the foot of snow, and the flats were soggy wet becasue of the inch of rain.
Anyway, I got the bees out, and boy, I think I found out why my shed was humming all winter. Big hives! 2 boxes of bees! They hit the soy flour and Ultra Bee flour within hours of first flight. It was a beautiful sight, and again, that smell of first flight bee poop filled the air. I couldn’t walk through the yard for all the spatter!
After going through the yards, I assessed my first round loss at 25%. My trouble came with the hives I had assessed in the winter shed, but worst than I had anticipated. Looks like 250 hive grouping showed high losses and dwindling. BUT the rest of my hives held with little loss at all and all strong, so Ill take my losses and learn form my mistakes.
I bought 90 packages from BeeMaid and hived them Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather was great to hive packages, coldish and no bee drift. I usually leave the queen in its cage for a day to help anker the bees to the hive, and released her today. I found very uniform content hives. I am very pleased with how they look right now.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 04:04 PM | Permalink
April 02, 2011
My wife has told me I tend to be irritated this time of year. I guess I get impatient waiting on the weather to improve to set my hives out. I havent taken any out yet.
I have found that alot of beekeepers manage this time of year differently. Some wait for a great couple of days, and a decent warming long range forecast to set the hives out in. Some dont wait, and take them out on the first nice day in March, and wrap them up to protect them from possible cold weather. Others wait until well into April to ensure all cold weather has passed and when access to the yards have dried up. None of it is wrong, just different. It tells me that my little fuss over a weeks delay on moving the hives out really means nothing in the long run.
Looking towards middle of the week to move them out. Forecasting 5-10’s !
Posted by Ian Steppler at 07:52 PM | Permalink
April 01, 2011
Tomorrow looks like a good day to set bees out. The temp is going to reach 8 degrees. BUT followed with a few days of cold and wet. I m going to go look at my yards to see if they are clear enough to put bees in before I make my move. Nice weather is going to persist Wednesday and Thursday. I might just use tomorrow to help melt the snow in my yards and make my move on Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night. Might put some hives out tonight anyway just to relieve the shed for tomorrow.
Im not ready to move yet anyway. The skid steer ready, but have not finished maintenance on my Ezyloader.
I have to plan on moving the hives out over a few nights. Cant do everything in one night like I use to.
Posted by Ian Steppler at 12:56 PM | Permalink