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Author Topic: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes  (Read 20765 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #105 on: May 03, 2019, 09:41:51 AM »
Those interested in organic beekeeping might want to begin a collection of essential oils. 

One of the most important ones to keep a good supply of is thyme oil, for ridding a colony of mites, or preventing them from ever entering at all.  Here is a recipe:

8 drops thyme oil

16 oz. (one bottle) mineral oil

Shake well.  Squirt a line onto a pad.  Place pad or pads over frames in the hive, but not directly over brood frames.

Mites will become dizzy and fall off, down through the screened floor and onto the ground. 

Here is an inexpensive wooden storage container for keeping essential oil bottles safe from breakage.  Those hoping to keep bees throughout the Tribulation (or GSM, etc.) and well into the Aftertime might consider filling the box full of bottles while they are available and affordable, in case they should become scarce, or as an alternative, growing the herbs at home and learning how to extract their essences in a manner safe for the bees.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 10:02:17 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #106 on: May 03, 2019, 01:00:54 PM »
It warmed up enough by early afternoon here that the bees could be hived, and I was eager to get them "indoors" before a storm hit.  The first task was to move the nuc boxes from the car to the apiary, using a wheel barrow.  They were placed below their respective hives with the nuc doors facing one another so neighbors could get acquainted.  The nuc box corks were then popped open to allow the bees to fly freely, and I left them alone for a while to become acclimated before the big hiving job.



When I returned, the next task was to open the main lid on one nuc box at a time and check on the queens.  The breeder had marked each queen and placed her in a cage on a frame amidst her brood nest.  These were easy to pop open, which I did inside the hives so as not to lose the queens or accidentally step on them.  I tried to photograph them, but they slipped off to hide as soon as they were released.



 I put a few empty frames from storage against the opening of each hive, followed by a couple of non-brood frames from the nuc.  After this came the frame of queen + brood, followed by the remaining two frames from the 5-frame nuc, and then a few more storage frames, giving the brood nest plenty of cushioning and allowing it to be surrounded by honey that will belong to the colony.  Lastly, a queen-excluder board was placed to separate the occupied portion of the hive from storage space, which will keep the fattened queen safely in her nest, but allow smaller worker bees to explore and clean the remainder of each long-hive.  Later on, the excluder board can be removed as the colony expands, but for now, the Russian queens will prefer not to be rushed.

In a horizontal hive, the frames may then be topped off with screened slats, or with solid wooden slats for an even cozier nest.  With our moisture problem last year, I opted for all screens to promote air circulation, and left the bottom doors open, exposing another screened area.



It may be possible to see the white padded strips that were placed to the far left and right of the brood nest in this photo (center of hive), following the organic beekeeping principle of using herbal mite control instead of chemicals.  The bees seemed not to mind the scent of thyme in their abode.



Also placed on top of the screened slats were any bits of beeswax and propolis (glue made by the bees) that I had scraped off of the tops of the frames to prepare a level surface for the screens.



Just before the bees arrived, I had further reduced each hive entrance hole with a metal strap, allowing just enough room for honey bees to enter and exit, but not the giant Asian bees that I had discovered burrowed in the cranberry patch last autumn.  They will not be able to wreak havoc on the honey bees now  :-X
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 05:33:00 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #107 on: May 03, 2019, 01:58:36 PM »
Here's a chart for how queen bees are marked.  As noted, 2019 queens have a green dot, universally, though marking can be declined by the buyer:




R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #108 on: May 16, 2019, 11:02:12 AM »
Over nearly 12 years of beekeeping, in weighing the polar opposite opinions on whether and how to feed honeybees (it does sound a little counter-intuitive), I've heard the whole gamut from "Don't feed them at all because it will discourage foraging and weaken them genetically" and "Don't feed them refined sugar" to "Feed them constantly until they stop taking it" and "Buy pre-made feed with probiotics through mail-order."

Bottom line is that newer colonies, especially package bees that are dumped into a hive as opposed to nucs that come with everything on 4 or 5 frames, probably need a little help getting started.  This help can range from frames of honey saved in the freezer from last year, to unrefined sugar water (1:1 is recommended for new spring or summer colonies; 2:1 in autumn), to pollen patties.

Even if one has no left-over honey frames from last season, one can always freeze the frames of remaining sticky wax and honey substrate that didn't make it into the strainer or centrifuge - the bees will lap this right up in a nectar dearth. 

There may also be left-over wax cappings from the last harvest that you may have formed into patties and frozen, as well.  Unless you're planning to use the wax, the patties could be offered to the bees, who will be able to get every last bit of sweetness out of it that you couldn't get, yourself, and then spit out the wax on the ground. 

Studies have questioned whether feeding bees either dehydrated pollen or a pollen substitute, such as bitter brewer's yeast, in patties is of any usefulness to the bees.  The rationale is that (1) the larvae need it; (2) it's a dry food that won't spoil; and (3) it's a B-vitamin-rich protein food that stimulates egg-laying.  The truth is that the bees really prefer freshly gathered pollen from a wide variety of flowers, kneaded with nectar into loaves of bee bread to feed to the larvae.

Unrefined sugar water can definitely make the difference to a new colony in terms of starvation prevention, in the absence of leftover frames of honey.  A sugar-to-water ratio of 1:1 is recommended for new colonies, especially in inclement weather or blossom dearth, as it could help them through a tough time. 

I'm personally uncomfortable with inverted-jar boardman feeding through a broad opening into the hive , as it allows insects and rodents access to the hive interior.  Instead, a feed jar with holes in the lid can be inverted over a bowl full of pebbles inside of the hive to prevent drowned bees.  This would be set on the screen floor of a long hive, or in a "super" (extra box) placed over a stacked-box Langstroth hive, under the lid.  Because liquid feed ferments in warm weather, the jar, bowl and pebbles will need to be rinsed and replaced every few days at most, until supplemental feeding is no longer taken by the bees, unless adding a little apple cider vinegar or ascorbic acid to the mix to prevent fermentation.

Some advocate allowing liquid feed to dribble directly over the brood chamber, but this creates a mess and attracts pests below, as well as potentially drowning the queen.  I find a little spritz with it in a squirt bottle, however, over the uppermost bees in the brood chamber to be less of an issue; the top bees can eat it as well as sharing it with those below via their regurgitation method from clean GI tracts with natural probiotics from feeding on foraged nectar when available.  Spritzing the bees also calms and distracts them pleasantly while you do virtually any chores in the hive necessary without suiting up, except opening up the brood chamber - for this I advocate a suit and veil, unless very experienced with your bees.

Sugar water is not used in winter or within several weeks of a honey harvest.

In addition to liquid feed, grease patties can be a good medium for essential oils that the bees will be ingesting in the organic method of medicating the colony.  They can be made with vegetable shortening, unrefined cane or date sugar, essential oils (thyme, wintergreen, etc.) and mineral salt mixed up with a little flour (I like coconut flour) into a cookie dough consistency.  This is rolled or pressed flat between sheets of waxed paper and frozen til firm, and then cut into patties as needed.  The rule of thumb is not to leave uneaten patties on the colony more than several days, as a small hive beetle (SHB) infestation could happen (non-life-threatening, but a nuisance). 

Below is a (blurry) close-up of my bees flying back to the hive with their own home-made bee bread.  Each returning bee is carrying two yellow loaves at a time (the ones without loaves are guard bees).  In addition, each one is bringing nectar back home, stored in her GI tract, and loose pollen all over her body.  I stood for a good long while watching them, and counted a pair of bee bread loaves entering the hive about every 5 seconds on a sunny day.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 02:33:39 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #109 on: June 01, 2019, 06:13:17 PM »
Just now seeing some of all the stuff I missed in May, including this heartwarming story of you and your bee-chorus, singing to each other on the way to their new home.  Well wishes to your new beefriends.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #110 on: June 02, 2019, 06:29:32 AM »
Thank you Ilinda!  It's so good to have you back  :)

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #111 on: June 02, 2019, 02:35:20 PM »
Here's a chart for how queen bees are marked.  As noted, 2019 queens have a green dot, universally, though marking can be declined by the buyer:




How long will that color-coded dot last?  Is it something nontoxic?

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #112 on: June 03, 2019, 04:07:13 AM »
It's food grade paint, and may or may not last the life of the queen.

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #113 on: June 03, 2019, 08:02:37 PM »
When we finally get bees again, your postings will be a help for sure.  I do subscribe to The Small Beekeepers Journal, but we need all the help we can get.  Well, actually the bees need all the help they can get!

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #114 on: June 04, 2019, 05:24:57 AM »
Hope you do get bees again Ilinda!  It's not too late yet for this year to receive later colonies from some breeders.  :)

ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #115 on: June 04, 2019, 10:08:23 AM »
Because of trying to raise new baby guinea keats, and deal with garden and goats, I/we may just install hives and hope to attract a swarm.  There would be some work involved--more than waiting for bees to take up residence in the hives, but that's the general plan.  It seems the editor of M.E.N. recently talked about capturing a swarm or two.

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #116 on: June 04, 2019, 10:30:04 AM »
Well, I've never successfully attracted a swarm, per se, but I believe some of our own bees that have swarmed in previous years are occupying a dead tree about 10 paces from our apiary, as they still come to visit from time to time.  Their slightly darker coloring would suggest Russian lineage, but likely local feral strains too...


One benefit of Russian bees not mentioned in this table is the constant presence of queen cells in their hives, meaning less likelihood of losing the entire colony if something should happen to their mother queen.  Russian bees feed several princesses at a time with royal jelly, which triggers an epigenetic switch within those selected females, causing them to differentiate in development from their other sisters.  This could be especially advantageous in troubled times in which transportation and supply chains are disrupted, as one is less dependent upon emergency shipment of a replacement queen from a breeder if one's own apiary is small.

More:
https://backyardbeekeeping.iamcountryside.com/beekeeping-101/honey-bee-types-buckfast-italian-carniolan-caucasian-russian/
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 12:02:14 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #117 on: July 22, 2019, 06:54:58 AM »
I found some heftier boardman entrance feeders made by a craftsman in the North Carolina Appalachians, and am relaxing my rule against opening up the boardman entrances to the hives, having stapled windowscreen over them and then cut a hole in each screen to fit the board feeders tightly.  This way, the giant yellow hornet bees won't be able to attack inside.

Rather than completely cutting away a section of the fence for the access points, I cut little "hatches" that can be folded up for changing feed bottles, and back down for extra support.

I want to remain in close regular touch with these colonies, and have noted that they are sucking down the supplemental feed as fast as I replace it right now, which is about every other day.


These jars remain free of black mold growth in the summer warmth due to addition of a little cider vinegar and sea salt to the feed, buffered with a pinch of baking soda.


R.R. Book

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #118 on: July 22, 2019, 07:14:35 AM »
A morning visit to the bee yard to check on the water level in their birdbath:


ilinda

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Re: Beekeeping in the Tribulation and Aftertimes
« Reply #119 on: July 22, 2019, 11:55:09 AM »
Keep those pics coming, plus tips such as the ACV added to the liquid feed to prevent mold.

 

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