Author Topic: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes  (Read 3350 times)

R.R. Book

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Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« on: March 26, 2017, 01:09:33 PM »
Looking for fellow-beekeepers to chat with, but non-beekeepers are welcome too!

Query: How can we make changes to the way we manage bees, with the hopes of bringing colonies through the Tribulation so crops can be pollinated in the Aftertime?

Musings so far:

Strengthening the physical hives by:

*Switching from medium depth to deeps for brood chambers

*Switching from 8-frame to 10 width for stability from jolts and winds

*Switching from 3/4" thick woodenware to 7/8"

*Repositioning hives from an open clearing to up against a fence

*Tethering them to the fence with quick release straps for ease of management

*Allowing bees to glue their quarters together excessively with burr comb

*Moving hives closer to the house so in a pinch they can be dollied into a garage.

Making the apiary more sustainable by:

*Switching from wax & wire foundation to plastic, as commercial wax has to be replaced periodically, is very fragile to work with, and may carry diseases from wherever it came from, and wooden frames for wax foundation can be chewed by mice and wax moths

*Keeping cold-hardy Russians in lieu of breeds susceptible to illness, as well as keeping (by default) the offspring of any hardy ferrals the Russian queens may mate with in flight.  Russians also maintain a ready set of young queens-in-waiting so that they may supersede the reigning queen in an emergency.  They eat less of their stores in winter, and are less likely to lose touch with their food during the cold months.  They are fastidious, constantly grooming themselves and each other to get rid of mites.

*Ceasing to harvest honey twice per season, allowing bees to keep their entire late harvest to themselves

*Planting late blooming flowering essential oil plants, such as Melissa/lemon balm, all around the hives

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 12:18:45 PM »
R.R. Book I really like your idea since, in a high wind, any domestic animals, wild bird cages or bees would indeed need to be moved into a sturdy shelter.

*Moving hives closer to the house so in a pinch they can be dollied into a garage.

An example of a moving transporter for your treasured animals of various types... (Posted in chickens topic.)



ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 04:13:16 PM »
Looking for fellow-beekeepers to chat with, but non-beekeepers are welcome too!

Query: How can we make changes to the way we manage bees, with the hopes of bringing colonies through the Tribulation so crops can be pollinated in the Aftertime?

Musings so far:

Strengthening the physical hives by:

*Switching from medium depth to deeps for brood chambers

*Switching from 8-frame to 10 width for stability from jolts and winds

*Switching from 3/4" thick woodenware to 7/8"

*Repositioning hives from an open clearing to up against a fence

*Tethering them to the fence with quick release straps for ease of management

*Allowing bees to glue their quarters together excessively with burr comb

*Moving hives closer to the house so in a pinch they can be dollied into a garage.

Making the apiary more sustainable by:

*Switching from wax & wire foundation to plastic, as commercial wax has to be replaced periodically, is very fragile to work with, and may carry diseases from wherever it came from, and wooden frames for wax foundation can be chewed by mice and wax moths

*Keeping cold-hardy Russians in lieu of breeds susceptible to illness, as well as keeping (by default) the offspring of any hardy ferrals the Russian queens may mate with in flight.  Russians also maintain a ready set of young queens-in-waiting so that they may supersede the reigning queen in an emergency.  They eat less of their stores in winter, and are less likely to lose touch with their food during the cold months.  They are fastidious, constantly grooming themselves and each other to get rid of mites.

*Ceasing to harvest honey twice per season, allowing bees to keep their entire late harvest to themselves

*Planting late blooming flowering essential oil plants, such as Melissa/lemon balm, all around the hives

Would love to hear your thoughts!
Glad someone is wanting to talk honeybee details.

We haven't had bees for 15 or more years, and hubby became disillusioned when someone who was "helping" him get started, gave him hives that were most likely contaminated with mites, as the bees died quickly and hubby hasn't gotten bees since then.  But we might be ready now.

OK, after reading Jacqueling Freeman's book, Song of Increase, and subscribing to "The Small Beekeeper's Journal" of Apple River, IL, published by Terrance Ingraham (sp), I'm of the opinion that we did many things initially that did not help the bees.

One thing that helps bees is to actually let them build the foundation themselves with the wax they make on their own.  The wax that people buy has been recycled many times and would contain traces of who knows what.  Plus, the pre-formed honeycomb shape that can be bought and which bees will use to build their comb has cells that are larger than feral bees make.  One thing some of these natural beekeepers are saying is that the larger cell makes for a slightly larger bee.  Then with a larger honeybee, the trachea is larger and can more easily hold mites.  In feral bees, the smaller trachea is less able to harbor the number or size of mite infestation seen in so many larger bees.

I remember a month or two in reading through some of Ingraham's Journal's that he mentioned how years ago he didn't buy wax for decades because the wax was made by the bees, and was relatively pure, before Roundup and before neonicotinoids, and the slew of other toxins were everywhere; that wax could be recycled and recycled.

One thing Ingraham emphasizes is that it is best to find honeybees that do not start raising brood in the late fall for winter, as they often (especially in colder climates) don't have enough honey for keeping themselves going, and raising brood at the same time.  He has said more than once that it's a genetic trait--the tendency to start raising brood late in the year.  I will look to see the varieties/y that he said do not start raising brood again later.  Maybe in FL it would work.

Harvesting little or no honey, especially in the first year is an EXCELLENT idea!  Hubby never even wanted the honey, just the pollination.

And yes, by all means, planting as many bee-attracting plants as possible.  One thing I recall from Freeman's book is that she said don't just plant a tiny stand of one thing, or many tiny stands of many different plants attractive to bees, because the bees you see harvesting/visiting a given type of flower will visit ONLY that type of flower.  In other words, it is really worth their while to come to your lemon basil patch if it's going to keep them busy for hours.  If it's 2 plants, it might not be worth their investment.  Watch the honeybees on dandelion and you'll see them go from one dandelion to another, to another, etc., but will never see that same bee suddenly go over to the henbit that is inches away.  When they gather nectar, they know exactly what they want.

And strengthening the hives is something every single beekeeper should be pondering.  I will find the email regarding bees in a hurricane, which my beekeeper friend sent me that was one of the most amazing stories.  But after reading Freeman's book and her experience of how the honeybees began communicating to her after several years, I'm sure the email is true.  It is an incredible chronology observed by a FL beekeeper about honeybees plus other insects who would have perished had it not been for the honeybees.  I'll find it and post it here.

In the meantime, I'll get out some of Ingraham's writings to see which types of bees he says are more likely to survive cold winters due to their genetic tendency to make only early brood.

Thanks for starting this.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 10:44:46 AM »
Love the photo Barb!

Ilinda, We've made a ton of mistakes in the past, too, keeping our bees.  Everything from not securing the mouse guards snugly enough in winter or not checking on them, to over-harvesting, to accidentally squishing a replacement queen, to over-insulating and allowing moisture build-up in winter.  With our winters being so unpredictable any more, it's difficult to know which side to err upon, either too much or not enough insulation vs. ventilation.  But honey bees are somewhat mysterious to us still.  Even though we have all the mathematics of it down to a science such as "Bee Space" - known to the finest decimal point - (http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm), I think making mistakes is the best, albeit most expensive, way to learn. 

"Ouch" to having received contaminated woodenware.  Am just beginning to study foundationless frame, but am nervous about trying it due to the possibility of diagonal cross-comb.  I saw a demonstration in which an enthusiastic practitioner of this method sliced apart the comb, and wouldn't mind if it were comb in the super, but what if it were brood chamber comb?  In the long run though, you're probably right that it would be the most sustainable method. 

A newcomer to beekeeping might be interested in learning about the African top-bar hives for more information on what Ilinda is talking about re: foundationless frames, both of which are somewhat rare in the American beekeeping world, but maybe shouldn't be.  There's a new horizontal Langstroth hive that was developed in the Great Lakes area that I'm thinking about trying, that allows beekeepers to spread their Langstroth frames sideways instead of vertically.  It completely eliminates some problems common to traditional vertical Langstroth hives such as need to reverse box order seasonally, danger from high winds, back strain, etc. 

Thank you so much for the reading suggestions, and I can't wait to learn more about the bees that made it through a hurricane!

« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 11:06:51 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 11:29:02 AM »
Am including an attachment to a honey bee breed comparison table on my desktop.


ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 05:12:11 PM »
Love the photo Barb!

Ilinda, We've made a ton of mistakes in the past, too, keeping our bees.  Everything from not securing the mouse guards snugly enough in winter or not checking on them, to over-harvesting, to accidentally squishing a replacement queen, to over-insulating and allowing moisture build-up in winter.  With our winters being so unpredictable any more, it's difficult to know which side to err upon, either too much or not enough insulation vs. ventilation.  But honey bees are somewhat mysterious to us still.  Even though we have all the mathematics of it down to a science such as "Bee Space" - known to the finest decimal point - (http://www.bushfarms.com/beesframewidth.htm), I think making mistakes is the best, albeit most expensive, way to learn. 

"Ouch" to having received contaminated woodenware.  Am just beginning to study foundationless frame, but am nervous about trying it due to the possibility of diagonal cross-comb.  I saw a demonstration in which an enthusiastic practitioner of this method sliced apart the comb, and wouldn't mind if it were comb in the super, but what if it were brood chamber comb?  In the long run though, you're probably right that it would be the most sustainable method. 

A newcomer to beekeeping might be interested in learning about the African top-bar hives for more information on what Ilinda is talking about re: foundationless frames, both of which are somewhat rare in the American beekeeping world, but maybe shouldn't be.  There's a new horizontal Langstroth hive that was developed in the Great Lakes area that I'm thinking about trying, that allows beekeepers to spread their Langstroth frames sideways instead of vertically.  It completely eliminates some problems common to traditional vertical Langstroth hives such as need to reverse box order seasonally, danger from high winds, back strain, etc. 

Thank you so much for the reading suggestions, and I can't wait to learn more about the bees that made it through a hurricane!
Here is what was posted on Organicbeekeepers@yahoogroups.com around Oct. 10, 2016, and re-sent to me from a member of that list.
 
We have survived and our bees have performed better than one of us in the wind.

Observations and Actions:



1. Days before the storm the bees seem to want us away from the hives. A northeastern storm rained and blew for two days before Hurricane Matthew arrived which did not help their attitude but the bees were flying during this time. The day before Matthew was due we strapped each hive together with its concrete blocks used under the bottom board in the pouring rain.


2. The evening before the hurricane we observed bees allowing hornets into their hive.


3. The day after the hurricane all guests (hornets, bumble bees, wasps) were escorted out of the hives. Guests insisting to return into the hive were killed.


4. During the breaks in the rain and in lesser winds, bees left the hives for short flights. We presume for sanitary reasons. Spouse observed short flights in high winds as well - looping, tumbling into the hive. 


5. During the hurricane guard bees posted themselves at the entrances we presume to block the wind.
6 The morning following the storm, a little orientation then pollen arrived quickly to the hives. The attitude of the bees returned to normal as well.


7. The weather has changed to the cooler fall temperature and Matthew has taken the moisture in the air with him so the hives are in a rush to gather all resources quickly.


8. Short stemmed flowers and native plants survived Matthew without effort.


9. The single supers we had set up for swarms we carried out of the apiary intact. As suspected they had become homes for carpenter ants. We cleaned them of ants and reset them up as traps for homeless bees.


10. If I understand our weather correctly as storms approach the Barometric pressure drops, the lower the drop the stronger the storm.



A quick internet search revealed some interesting reading on bee behavior and Barometric pressure drops. Comments always welcome.

Wrinn2
In Northeast Florida where the electricity was restored yesterday afternoon but the bees don't need artificial means.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
(End of email posted from Organicbeekeepers@yahoogroups.com)

A quick read of your bushfarms.com link shows incredible knowledge and attention to detail.  Wonderful that it's out there, so that when we are ready for sure, there will be help.  At this point, we're more like beginners again.  You are light years ahead of us, and at this point if we can just get some hives and hope to catch a feral swarm, we'll be delighted.  For now.

A friend from whom I buy eggs is raising bees the "natural" way and he said it takes several years to transform the bees to smaller ones who make smaller cells.  Also a few years ago I remember his talking about how he had to keep re-arranging stuff in the hives because the bees weren't building neat straight comb like their human"owners" want! 

Last but not least, here is the direct quote from Terrence Ingram's December, 2016 Small Beekeeper's Journal article titled, "Thoughts For the New Year":
"Sometimes when a beekeeper feeds a hive in the fall, it stimulates the queen to start laying eggs, and the honey is used for raising new brood, instead of being saved for winter.  This is especially true if the queen is an Italian queen.  Most Carniolan queens do not do this.  They quit laying by the end of September and don't start up until late March.

In other articles he emphasizes that that trait of Italian, Carniolan, etc., queens is genetic.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 06:23:06 PM »
What a precious accounting, especially the part about allowing other species of bees and hornets into the hive.  I have found hornets to be very intelligent and gentle creatures that only come close and hover out of curiosity about what I am doing.  Even if they land on me it only seems to be out of curiosity. 

Part of the beauty of your storm account was how quickly things returned to normal afterward.  Quite an observation that humans are so affected by power outages, while the wildlife take no notice of them.

Thank you so much for posting this Ilinda!

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2017, 04:04:41 PM »

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2017, 05:16:15 PM »
ilinda, awesome post!  :)
That really is wonderful how the bees allowed some other species to enter the hives as the hurricane approached!
- bt

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2017, 05:16:41 PM »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2017, 04:05:08 PM »
What a precious accounting, especially the part about allowing other species of bees and hornets into the hive.  I have found hornets to be very intelligent and gentle creatures that only come close and hover out of curiosity about what I am doing.  Even if they land on me it only seems to be out of curiosity. 

Part of the beauty of your storm account was how quickly things returned to normal afterward.  Quite an observation that humans are so affected by power outages, while the wildlife take no notice of them.

Thank you so much for posting this Ilinda!
Yes, the entire chronology is an amazing tale and it has really made me more aware of the AWARENESS of the honeybee.  In Jacqueline Freeman's book, she tells us that her bees have communicated to her that they are here to help humans evolve a bit.  I don't recall her exact words, but that's the nutshell of it.  It is obvious from the FL beekeeper's account that they are truly a highly evolved species.

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 06:51:56 PM »
That is beautiful...

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 05:25:14 PM »
The honeybees have made a liar out of me.  :-D)))
The other day, probably here, I said when honeybees go out to gather nectar, they are plant specific, i.e., when you see a bee on a dandelion, that bee will go to dandelion after dandelion, and eventually when their pollen sacs are full enough they return to the hive.  Same with seeing a honeybee on henbit, etc.

Well today I was in my garden and noticed a honeybee on a strawberry plant.  After being there a while, it went over to a henbit and gathered there a while.  I was in shock!  I've never seen that behavior, so it must exist.  Even, IIRC, Jacqueline Freeman in her Song of Increase, talked about how the bees go out for specific things and don't mix and match while they are out.

Maybe what I saw was a bee with a different purpose, i.e., she was just getting a sample of everything out there to take back for "show and tell".  If any bee people know about this, I'd love to hear. 

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 11:34:44 PM »
That is really interesting!
:)

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 07:43:35 AM »
Have seen all different charts of bee flowers; will post in series :)