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Perone Hives

 
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some dead bees are perfectly normal. The pool of honey is a little strange, but still nothing I'd worry about.
continue with fingers crossed ...
 
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honey on the floor makes me think robbing.
 
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Last time I saw the bees they had no trouble dealing with yellow jackets.

Now I don't think it was honey but water! I had a brief conversation with Mike Palmer (who bought a puppy from me to guard his 300 hives!) from the video I'll post below, and he thought I was water condensing off the roof. He asked about ventilation & I said the entrance was open and he asked about an upper entrance & I said yes. He suggested foam board or hay above the brood box and I did both. There was water on the fabric I had blocking the bees from the honey supers, it just looked like honey.

There was some interesting frass on the the fabric too. Also a few stink bugs in the frames. I'll post pics shortly.

Here's the lecture from Mike Palmer. I reviewed some of it before he came to pick up his puppy. I was really glad that he thought we needed bees that don't buzz in the winter because I haven't heard a peep out of mine which are locally adapted bees. Doesn't mean there not dead but the silence isn't as bad as I thought.

Keeping Bees in Frozen North America:
 
Cj Sloane
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Here's my first look at the fabric blocking the honey supers since I put the bees in during May:


I don't know what that frass is on the left. On the right, I couldn't understand how honey got there with the fabric blocking access. I touched it and it was frozen water, must be stained a little because it did look like honey.

And here are the frames:


Not much to see. A few dead bees here and there.
 
tel jetson
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what's the temperature? maybe not a great idea to be opening it up.
 
Cj Sloane
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Above freezing - maybe 40F.

If they were still alive then I think it was worth it because there was condensation dripping all the way to the floor. This was about day 3 of the pooling on the floor. Mr Palmer is certainly a more conventional beek, but when I voiced concern about waiting till a warm sunny day he laughed and said he'd never get anything done if he waited for perfect conditions.
 
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I'm with Tel on this one.I would have just blocked off the upper entrance and not opened them up until it was 17c plus . Bees are cold blooded as are all insects but they try to maintain heat in the hive at over 25c hence the cluster . I noticed upon reading stuff by Oscar Perone that he calls the brood box sacred and for the bees only not to be disturbed by the beekeeper . This idea appeals to me greatly . I wonder if having windows etc and looking in the hive disturbs the bees by either letting in light thus making it appear that the hive is open to the out side or by lowering the temperature thus stressing the bees . When it is cold in the hive the bees eat more honey to raise the temperature thus making it more likely that they will run out before the spring . For conventional beekeepers this is less a worry as they just pile on more sugar fondant.
I am still thinking about making a Perone hive but not quite as large as Oscar .Mainly because I dont need so much honey in one go .

David
 
Cj Sloane
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It did get up to 60F (15C) last Monday & I saw no activity. It might not get that warm again for 4 or 5 months.

Since these are local, cold adapted bees, I was more worried about water killing them then the cold. That's been my experience with my animals including my puppies. Those puppies are fine at 8F (-13C) but shiver/whine if it's raining and 40F (5C).

I feel like I didn't really disturb the brood box too much, not like lifting frames out, or anything. I really enjoyed the window! Opening up the shutter to look at them didn't seem to disturb them. The temperature might be lower on the side of the window.

Funny, I watched the video, & I kept thinking it was way too invasive for me! I don't care if they swarm, I can't see wanting to re-queen unless I wound up with aggressive bees (not that I could do that with a Perone anyway) & I don't want to keep switching box positions around. I did like the idea of weighing the hives to see if they had enough honey but don't like the idea of feeding a hive that's too low! A real quandry!!!
 
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Found this thread recently and have been researching Perone hives for a while now. Everything I've read about it is amazing and it's nice to see a hive that is both larger than any other, and so surrounded by what fits for the bees. Right down to those little details like the corners. It's unfortunate that there's so little information on this type of hive. Any chance of an update on how they're doing since it has been 5 months?
 
tel jetson
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of seven started three years ago, only one has survived for the duration. three that were repopulated last year and one that was new last year have survived until now and appear to be doing quite well. three others have been populated twice, and failed twice. one more was populated last year but failed. the colonies that failed last year were all doing fine in late winter, but were done by the middle of Spring.

most were populated with swarms, though two were started from cutouts. neither of the cutouts survived. the swarms came from fairly diverse locations and were a variety of sizes.

two obvious differences between the one that has survived all three years and the rest: it is at a higher elevation than the others and the bees built comb from the floor up. the elevation difference is maybe 500 feet, but the topography is different, too. most of the other hives are in valleys, while this one is on a south slope of the foothills. the first year, that could have meant the difference between warming up substantially in February before a long cold snap in March. the temperatures remained substantially colder up in the hills than in the valleys. building from the bottom up? I don't know if that would really provide any advantage, so it might just be a coincidence, but it was certainly the first time I had seen it.

the colonies established last year that had a previous colony's comb to start with seemed to get going much faster than those starting from scratch. that's not surprising, but it could mean that in some climates, it will be a rare colony that makes it on the first try in these hives.
 
Cj Sloane
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As I suspected, the perone hive did not come thru the winter but it seemed to be failing during the fall. I wonder if the dimensions are too big for this climate.

I have a deposit down on a NUC and I'm debating if I should put it in the perone from last year, hacking out room for the NUC or use the NUC to start a Warre that I built last year and baited to attract a swarm (didn't work).

I was kind of thinking about managing the Warre as tho is were a Perone.
 
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So it looks like winter survival is an issue.

Here in the UK and Europe the trend if towards poly hives; the much greater insulation seems to give bees an edge in these conditions. This seems to be as much to do with humidity and condensation as it is to do with absolute temperature.

I wonder how a poly perone hive would fare?
 
Cj Sloane
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I volunteer you to build it and try it!!!
 
David Livingston
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Firstly I think all beekeeping is local what may work for you might not work for me and vice vera of course , so while perones might work in one area they might not work in others .
Secondly I totally reject the idea that plastic polystyene hives are the way ahead . Polystyrene is an oil product , its difficult to work compared to wood I have doubts about its saftey both in the long term and short . Although a very good insulator its structural strength is limited . I have had reports of woodpeckers getting into poly hives with ease .
Where as I can make and repair a wooden hive a broken poly hive is waste and none biodegradable at that .
Lets look at Oscar Perones ideas rather than the size or material of the box involved if we want to progress . I like his idea of the brood box being inviolate in other words its for the bees only we humans NEVER go there . I have a Dadant with a super I never go into the brood box I just let the bees do their stuff in there . I place a box on the top in the spring and I remove it in the summer . Thats it .

David
 
Michael Cox
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I wasn't especially advocating poly per se, however the enhanced insulation value does seem to be a factor. I'm sure it would be possible to make a more insulating hive - perhaps double walled and the void filled with perlite/sawdust etc...

Old fashioned hives here in the UK had outer weather shields that lifted off.
 
David Livingston
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I hear you micheal how about a WBC hive run Perrone style

David
 
David Livingston
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yesterday I caught my first swarm details here( https://permies.com/t/31583/projects/Permie-Pennies-France) I housed them in my Perrone type hive . Its a 60cm3 box
but there is a problem - whilst the bees are in the hive they dont seem to have found the opening ! its 10 cm from the bottom lots of bees buzzing round the top of the hive but no bees using the entrance this is after one day .
Is this an issue ? Should I do something ? If so what ?

David
 
Michael Cox
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Have they found some other opening to use? I installed a colony in a log hive last year. They started using a small crack rather than the planned entrance, but soon shifted to the larger drilled hole.
 
David Livingston
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yes they found a couple of very small opening each only big enough for one bee just to get though . I blocked them off should I unblock them ?


DAvid
 
tel jetson
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I've never seen that happen before, but my guess is they'll find the entrance if you give them a little time.

how did you hive them?
 
David Livingston
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How did I hive them ? - carefully

They swarmed into a 6m Pear tree about 4 m up about 50m from hive Knocked them into a box . Poured the swarm out of the box into the hive , new hive about 200m away from old . Put top back on hive retreated to the bar . A nervous wreck ,
David
 
David Livingston
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I was so worried about the bees I unblocked the holes They are bout three holes each one bee space not big enough for drones
 
Cj Sloane
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So how about running a conventional Langstroth hive like a Perone? I bought a Langstroth & will put a NUC in it. I'm thinking about buying a 2nd hive putting a 2nd deep on the first and then splitting them assuming they do well.

So my question is, should I have 1 deep and then a honey super or two on top? This would be like a Perone right? Although I guess a Perone has 3 honey supers...

I'm tempted to try a queen excluder on 1 of the hives though I suppose that's not very Perone like.
 
David Livingston
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Here in France we dont have Langstroth we have the Dadants . I run a dadant with a super and a queen excluder plus a Warre style quilt /roof. Thats where the swarm came from . I only open the hive twice a year one to put the super on and once to take it off .

David
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks David! And do you harvest the honey from that super? Is one deep enough honey storage to get them thru the winter?
 
David Livingston
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One dadant box is about the same size as two warré boxes and most people over winter on two warré or a dadant here in France . So yes

David
 
David Livingston
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Day two and I'm not seeing many bees going to and fro I watched for an hour and only saw three at the official entrance

David
 
Michael Cox
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Are they still flying from the other holes though David, or has the colony absconded? Unless you really need them to I'd just leave it be.

It might be as simple as they are using the hole nearest the cluster and that as they build wax and fill the box they will start to use more of the space and find your preferred entrance.
 
David Livingston
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Thanks Micheal
I had come to the same conclusion I will let them be as they seem to know what they are doing more than I do
 
David Livingston
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Well its been a week and they seem quite busy at all holes
They are in a medow full of flowers so I hope that is giving them a good start .

David
 
Michael Cox
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Cool, I imagine that they will close down the extras with propolis once the weather cools off a bit.
 
David Livingston
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I hope so but I will tape them up come september anyway .
I spoke too soon yesterday as the farmer cut the hay field its only a few yards more to the Park where we will not cut until June however

David
 
tel jetson
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dunno if the link will work, but a buddy posted a short video of the Perone I set up at his place: https://www.facebook.com/bryce.phelps/videos/vb.1030868128/10205026393352781/?type=2&theater

of the Perone hives I've started, this one has done the best. in its third year now. this is the one that built from the floor upward.
 
Cj Sloane
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Since it's too cold for the new bees to fly today I decided to harvest the wax from the old hive to see if I could melt it down to coat the frames for the new bees.

I had thought that maybe they starved to death because I didn't feed them. It's possible they couldn't get to the honey but OMG there was TONS of honey! I'm going to get the rest tomorrow and figure out how to crush and strain it and then... what do I do with it?

Check it out:
 
Cj Sloane
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So here are my questions. Given that I'm not sure why the Perone didn't make it:

1. Is it safe to melt down the wax and use it to for the new hive? Either coating plastic frames with it or painting it on empty frames if I try to go foundationless?
2. Is it safe to feed to the new bees?
3. Any tips on crush & strain? I guess I'll just mash it up and put it in a colander and let it drain. Bottle that and then melt the wax?
 
David Livingston
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1 I wouldn't because you dont know why the bees died - you could be passing on an infection. Why do you want to use plastic frames ? Wood would be my choice its natural
2 I would eat it as I am fairly sure I wont catch bee maladies
3 Makes sure you have closed all the doors and windows as the bees might want some of the honey Mash it up and let it drain away .

To recover the wax put the comb in an old stocking . Pan of hot water wax - melts floats water contains honey maybe make mead ? inside stocking good stuff for the compost .
 
Michael Cox
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I did some crush and strain recently while mead making. Pretty easy. Just squish it through your fingers. Coarse strain with a colander, then fine strain through an old pillow case.

Personally I'd have no problems returning wax and honey to them. If there is a disease present, then your bees are likely to be exposed to it at some point anyway from your area.
 
Cj Sloane
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I have a few plastic frames that came with the NUCs. I also have 20+ wooden frames with plastic foundation. Some came with the NUCs and some came in 2 Langstroth hives I bought. I think for the rest of the deeps and honey supers I might try foundationless I need to read up on it a bit more.

I didn't decide to try bees again till the last minute tho I had put a deposit down on a NUC. Hubby convinced me to try again but I decide on Langstroth hives so I could split if things looked good. Seems more resilient.

I do have an empty Warre but I think I need to make an adapter to populate it with a NUC or perhaps try to put a Warre box over or under a Langstroth and split that way.
 
Cj Sloane
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No chance on the bees following me yesterday or today! June 1st and it was 43F/6C + rain! This morning only a little better at 49. Should warm up another 10° later so I'll see what the bees do with the frames I left for them to clean up. Still can't believe they didn't just go into that Perone and steal the honey?

Plus, I'm pretty sure their were some bees trying to rob the new hive because I saw fighting on the landing board. Why wouldn't the robber bees just go for the undefended honey?

So many questions! So much wax and honey to process!
 
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I've used the paint strainer bags from home depot for crush & strain. There is a 1 gal and 5 gal size and they are (I believe) just a nylon mesh.
 
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