Author Topic: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes  (Read 4027 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 01:42:48 PM »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 01:44:43 PM »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 01:47:37 PM »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 01:51:00 PM »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2017, 02:34:11 PM »
I've been on the phone this past week with bee breeders all over the Eastern half of the country getting their opinions on a few trends in bee keeping.  Just want to mention an exciting new development:

If you've been following honey bee breeding news over the past few years, you may already have heard about the development of Minnesota hygienic bees.  This term refers to a selected genetic trait to improve resistance to mites and the many old and new diseases that they carry.   Hygienic behavior was first modeled by Russian honey bees a couple of decades ago, and breeders found that they could cross-breed Russians with other more commonly available honey bees and then select for the fastidious grooming trait.  But mites began frustrating the hygienic efforts of those bees by jumping back on them as soon as they were knocked off, and worse, began lurking in capped-off larvae cells.

Then in 2015, the Ankle-Biters (not human ankles :)...) were developed at Purdue, which selected for bees that would bite off a mite's appendages ("penis" included - sorry fellows!), leaving it hobbled and bleeding.  But the mites persisted even when missing appendages. 

Finally and most recently, in the quiet backwoods of West Virginia, breeders began selecting for an even more incisive trait (pun intended): the Maulers.  Maulers open their jaws wide enough to chomp into the torso of mites, and lo and behold, beekeepers were finding chewed up mites all over the bottoms of hives, a sign of victory.  Folks thinking of acquiring bees for the first time or improving the genetics of an existing colony might want to consider reaching out to members of the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative via the mountainstatequeens.com website.

Barb or Socrates, please feel free to move this thread to Animal Husbandry if you feel that would fit into the new scheme better - thank you very kindly!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 02:48:51 PM by R.R. Book »

Yowbarb

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2017, 03:39:37 PM »
R.R. Book: Hi gal, was just about to move this to Animal Husbandry, then saw your request.
Done.


 8)

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2017, 05:46:14 PM »
I've been on the phone this past week with bee breeders all over the Eastern half of the country getting their opinions on a few trends in bee keeping.  Just want to mention an exciting new development:

If you've been following honey bee breeding news over the past few years, you may already have heard about the development of Minnesota hygienic bees.  This term refers to a selected genetic trait to improve resistance to mites and the many old and new diseases that they carry.   Hygienic behavior was first modeled by Russian honey bees a couple of decades ago, and breeders found that they could cross-breed Russians with other more commonly available honey bees and then select for the fastidious grooming trait.  But mites began frustrating the hygienic efforts of those bees by jumping back on them as soon as they were knocked off, and worse, began lurking in capped-off larvae cells.

Then in 2015, the Ankle-Biters (not human ankles :)...) were developed at Purdue, which selected for bees that would bite off a mite's appendages ("penis" included - sorry fellows!), leaving it hobbled and bleeding.  But the mites persisted even when missing appendages. 

Finally and most recently, in the quiet backwoods of West Virginia, breeders began selecting for an even more incisive trait (pun intended): the Maulers.  Maulers open their jaws wide enough to chomp into the torso of mites, and lo and behold, beekeepers were finding chewed up mites all over the bottoms of hives, a sign of victory.  Folks thinking of acquiring bees for the first time or improving the genetics of an existing colony might want to consider reaching out to members of the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative via the mountainstatequeens.com website.

Barb or Socrates, please feel free to move this thread to Animal Husbandry if you feel that would fit into the new scheme better - thank you very kindly!
Some amazing progress--thanks for posting!

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2017, 06:00:04 AM »
Hi Ilinda,

Just wanted to follow up and let you know that we've dedicated one of our 3 hives, which is the swarm-catcher, to your suggestion of allowing bees to free-form their own honey comb, rather than being guided by the pre-stamped comb pattern on either wax or plastic foundation.  This third hive now has foundationless frames that are smaller than those in the other two.  Hopefully this smaller size will be an advantage, since freely formed comb in traditional African top-bar hives sometimes becomes so heavily laden that it can break away from the frames. 

So that other readers will know, Ilinda earlier in this thread had advocated allowing bees to revert their cells to a naturally smaller size found in the wild, thus reverting the size of the bees themselves over time and discouraging tracheal mites by virtue of less tracheal diameter for them to occupy.  Cell-size metrics here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm

Another advantage of allowing bees to free-form their comb is that bees sometimes swarm when they've run out of room to keep busy with either brood rearing or honey production, and in theory allowing them to be creative with their own comb formation might help to redirect their energy away from swarming.  The Russian honey bees that we raise are notorious for swarming - a disadvantage in some ways, but an asset if swarms can be coaxed into a new hive.  Though it may sound noble to release bees with extra-healthy genetics into the wild to breed with ferral colonies, swarming bees have a very low chance statistically of surviving their first unhived winter ( http://www.beeculture.com/swarms/ ).
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 07:42:29 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2017, 06:06:56 PM »
Good news to read, and thanks for the links.  Keep us posted.  I've heard it does take a while for the bees to completely revert.  But no doubt it will be worth it in the long run.  After all, how do humans think they can improve on Nature?  I think they started making the "Superbees" back when they devised the Langstroth Hives, and it was presumably for more honey for humans.  My best guess.

Good luck!

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2017, 06:36:04 PM »
Some of the most valuable advice given to me by old-timers who have been keeping bees for decades, in random order:

*When bees act like they're about to swarm, by "bearding up" on the exterior of the hive, they may be running out of space for brood-rearing.  Try separating brood frames with new frames in between to give them some room and a purpose.

*The most hive-body frames (not counting honey supers that are put on and taken back off) that a colony can cover in a year are about two dozen.  That comes to 3  8-frame boxes.  Then their numbers decline in winter and expand again in spring.

*Never seal up a hive too tightly even in Northern winters; Create ventilation by shimming up the inner cover 1/8" on a vertical hive.  Some even use a flannel blanket inside the inner cover to absorb excess moisture.  Cold doesn't kill bees in winter; Moisture does.

*A new queen is only as valuable as the sperm that she was inseminated with.

*Attract one of your own departing swarms to a new hive by simply moving a frame of brood out of the old hive.  Bees will never abandon their brood.

*The old mason jar hive feeders attract robbers and should be discontinued.

*Robbing should be prevented all year long, not just in autumn, by reducing the hive entrance down so small that bees can only enter and exit one at a time, thus requiring everyone crossing the threshold to face the guard bees and be identified. 

*Emergency feed should be kept inside the hive at all times in case a nectar dearth happens (common in mid-summer and late autumn).  It should only be given in small amounts at a time to discourage Small Hive Beetle.  Homemade feed patties are easy to make, with such wholesome bee-nutrition ingredients as brewer's yeast, raw sugar or a little of your own (but not someone else's) honey, a little organic flour, etc. (lots of recipes for this).

*A drop of natural wintergreen oil in their feed patties all year 'round, and not just in autumn, can prevent or lessen disease. (May be unnecessary for Mite Mauler bees and Russians).

*Use a labyrinth/escape board instead of smoke or a bee brush to encourage bees to abandon honey that you want to harvest.  Simply place a box on the board, put honey frames covered with bees in the box, and cover it up.  No need to use any offensive fume boards either.  Bees escaping the maze cannot return to the box, and in about 48 hours, you have the honey all to yourself with perhaps a bewildered couple of bees left in the box that need to be helped out.  The colony remains calm and so do you, and no bees have been angered by the brush (a really stupid piece of equipment that comes with every new hive kit). ::)

*Playtex gloves or the generic equivalent are ideal to handle bees with, offering manual dexterity and a barrier that guard bees can't penetrate with their stingers if a larger size is used.

*Bees are most defensive during the spring pollen flow, which stimulates massive brood rearing to rebuild their numbers after the winter.  They like a little space during this time, without humans interfering.  Once the spring pollen flow (hardwood blossoms, etc.) slows down, they will be calmer.

*Bees appreciate access to fresh water at all times, but especially in summer.  A birdbath with a few rocks for them to climb on is much appreciated and may save your neighbor's pond from being sucked dry.  ;D

*The average lifespan of bees not queened epigenetically with royal jelly is about 60 days.  A queen can live a few years.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 07:22:44 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2017, 02:42:20 PM »
Adding a photo of Great Lakes horizontal hives in place, tethered with rubber straps to fence for stability.  Son smeared Vicks on lower legs to discourage ants and beetles.  Very chilly day is keeping bees home.

Also adding photo of old vertical hive with foundationless frames suggested by Ilinda.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2017, 07:30:42 AM »
The guard bees work as a team, and will mark anyone or anything they feel is a threat to the colony with a pheromone that is akin to a big fat bullseye.  This means that if a beekeeper does anything very disruptive and does not launder the bee suit before wearing it again, next time he works the bees he will be wearing an invisible chemical sign that essentially says "Please chase me." :-X
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 08:31:20 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2017, 07:49:41 AM »
Bee patties inside the hives ensure that bees don't starve in a nectar dearth, common in early spring, mid-summer, and late autumn.  These inexpensive provisions also allow them to store up honey for winter use, rather than eating it all now. 

My favorite bee patty ingredients include leftover wax cappings, which contain a little of their own honey and gathered pollen; brewer's yeast flakes for vitamins, and a drop of wintergreen oil, but the recipe variations are endless.  Only small strips should be offered at a time, in order to discourage small hive beetles (SHB).  I have seen a colony completely consume a serving of these within 3 days, but it may only be necessary to offer them every couple of weeks when needed. 

Some beekeepers are moving away from using the inverted mason jar feeders with sugar syrup, which drown bees and encourage robbing, as they are inserted into an opening into the hive and then drip, inviting trouble.

When thinking of storage food for the aftertime, a little something to help carry the bees through the rough transition should be thought of too, as they may need to remain sequestered indoors just as much as we may.  Here is a commercial bee patty mix that would store well:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B8L5TZG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00B8L5TZG&linkCode=as2&tag=honbeesui-20&linkId=BZNRPPL3QETM6GWA
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 09:22:06 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2017, 08:00:44 AM »
In this summer heat, even the smallest critters appreciate cool water.  Bees will scoop it up and bring it back to the colony.  Small stones placed in the water will turn a birdbath into a waterside resort.  Bees may be observed sunning themselves on the rocks and play-fighting (brief contact with no serious consequences), as well as dog-paddling in the water and even doing the backstroke! :)

A small shallow dish of water with rocks in it can also be kept inside the hive, in case of inclement weather.  They prefer the outdoor birdbath, which provides a social setting as well as a practical one.  The moss growing at the bottom of this one re-creates the feel of water in the wild.  Water for this birdbath is pumped by hand from a cast-iron well pump a few feet away, which spills into yet another shallow basin with stones. 
« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 09:31:39 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2017, 05:06:44 PM »
RR, this is an amazing treasure trove of bee information, and when it's bee-time here again, I'll be returning here over and over.  Thanks for all this!