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What type of hive would be best for Sheer Total and Utter Neglect?  RSS feed

 
steward
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Todd Parr wrote:I just built my first Perone hive for just this purpose. I'm in WI, so I used all 2x8 lumber. We'll see hpw it turns out. Bees arrive the end of April, and after installing them, I shouldn't be touching it for 2 years.



where are your bees coming from, Todd? and how many?
 
pollinator
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That is awesome to hear Todd! I hope it works out for you.

If you should feel the want to share some pics or give updates @ any time in the future... I am sure we would like to see them/hear about it.

Same goes for anyone else out there!


Here is a link to the Perone thread...
http://www.permies.com/t/31714/bees/Perone-Hives

Somehow I suspect that a Warre' dimensioned Perone hive is where I will end up at in the end. It will be a Warre that I cannot open to help. Leaving them to evolve to find their own way to what is right for them. Perhaps capturing the swarms from that hive in a decade will be something the local bee keepers will be salivating at. Who know though @ this point.

Marty
 
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I'll post some pictures if anyone is interested in seeing them. I haven't finished the roof yet. I'm building a Warre-style quilt and roof since the winters are so cold here.

Tel, I got them from a local bee keeper. I'm getting two 3lb packages. I would much prefer to be getting a swarm, but where I am, that is very hit and miss. I'm going to try to catch a swarm or two this year if I can.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I am interested in seeing some pics. Never know if I might be inspired in some way.

A quilt up top does sound like a good idea. In fact... that is one of the only two issues I was having with the Perone in this colder region of the world.

The other issue being that I read that a large bee colony balls up to about 12inches in size during the winter and can only move upwards easily. Side to side is extremly difficult. Making all of that honey out of reach.

Those two reasons are why I am leaning towards a Warre hive that has a deep dish @ the bottom for an ecosystem... and that cannot be opened like a Perone. The hive would be more solid and require less worry on stormy days(I would still worry).

I read that a warmer hive also tends to have less American Foul Brood issues. Is that true folks?

Todd: Are you going to close off the upper entrance during the winter so the inside can hold onto the heat better?

Marty
 
Todd Parr
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Yes, I plan on closing the top entrance in the winter. Truthfully, I'm more concerned about the temp being too high in the summer than I am about it being too cold in the winter.
 
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Definitely Sepp Holzer's Log Hive - it will naturally break down in a beneficial many for bees immunologically as verified by Paul Stamets' work.
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Matt

A W E S O M E

I have been reading up on them a little. Not much yet since I have been busy. Plant to do more. Here is a link on Sepp's hive style.
http://www.permies.com/t/32735/sepp-holzer/Holzer-Style-Log-Bee-Hive

@ Todd
At least in the Perone with the extra space the bees will be able to create an air circulation in there for cooling the hive a drying the honey. That is one aspect I really do like. If the first bunch or two fails during the winter... the ones that come after will have a lot of work completed for them and the hive will be more stronger for it I bet. There is also plenty of room for a larger ecosystem in there.

 
Marty Mitchell
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DOUBLE POST


@ Matt

You have now officially helped me out tremendously. I found a video of Paul Stamets speaking about his discovery in fungi relation with bees. Thanks to this video I am now leaning towards a log hive that has an internal Warre dimension of 12" or greater... with a Warre style quilt on top... and some sort of overhang roof!

I now know what type of wood to use... and what type of fungi to inoculate the inside of the hive with before putting bees inside. The effect of the fungi on Verroa living/dying has not been scientifically proven yet. However, the effect on the bees has been proven! The bees are having their lives lengthened a good amount(strengthening the colony) by having the diseases vectored by verroa nullified to a manageable level. The fungi are also helping the bees break down toxins within the hive.

I would be willing to use boards if made from the correct wood types. Since it will be decaying @ an accelerated rate... I would prefer 4 inch thick wood if possible.

This combined with allowing the bees to be smaller/live drastically longer... would make much stronger colony within the ecosystem that is the hive.

I am now calling Dibbs on an invention I just came up with!!! (unless already invented)
It will be cemented in time within this exact post. lol I give permission for any and all to use and adapt to their needs/wants. Even sell for profit.

1. A deep dish... fungi inoculated... tray (or just the bottom) filled with wood chips placed within the hive. This would work for any style of hive ever. Just make it and get the fungi into the hive.

Here is the video. Fast forward to the 9min & 25sec to get to the bee part of mushroom hat guy(paul). How many awesome permaculture folk are named Paul?


 
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I just thought I would chime in. And though there is some great stuff in this discussion, there are a lot of bad ideas as well. Lets start with the first one.

Why would you ever try to keep honeybees and neglect them? Would you have a child just to neglect it? I understand the reasoning for wanting to help wild honeybee populations, but this mentality does nothing to make things better for honeybees. It just promotes ignorance which is what we need to fight. You are better off just admitting that you want to keep honeybees to benefit yourself, than to lie to yourself about doing it for the common good. Lying to yourself and others is very harmful.

If we(humans) didn't exist, honeybees would carry on fine without us. But in our ignorance, we seem to be wanting to pull them into extinction with ourselves. The problem here is that the honeybees are not going to disappear on their own. And trying to patch up a problem without solving it just makes it worse.

If you don't know what I am talking about, then you need to do a lot more research before you decide that you want to be a beekeeper.

So Marty, it seems that you already have put a lot of thought into this hive design. Are you able to admit that you are doing it for yourself yet? If you cant be there for your livestock, then you should wait until you can be before you get them. You can always put a swarm trap out, but that is done for the explicit intention of acquiring honeybees for one's self. Otherwise it is not the best for the bees.

If one were to provide habitat for honeybees, I would suggest planting forests. Forests designed to grow old in a polyculture with no human maintenance. And spend time thinking about how to best do that. Then you could honestly say "this is the best design for honeybees that you would never need to care for". Otherwise, when you start putting bees in human made spaces, you should start thinking how to provide the best possible life for them. Just having hives does nothing for wild populations. True feral honeybees exist because of habitat, not hollow spaces. There are plenty of hollow spaces in nature.

 
Todd Parr
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Jacob, here is my two cents. I believe "neglect" is the best thing for my bees. I fully intend to harvest some honey from my hives after the first couple years, but leaving them alone and not bothering them is high on my list of priorities. People's reasons for having honeybees are varied. I don't think it's as simple as I'm either doing it for myself and "admitting it" or doing it for myself and lying to myself about it. I think it can be a win/win situation.
 
Marty Mitchell
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jacob wustner wrote:I just thought I would chime in. And though there is some great stuff in this discussion, there are a lot of bad ideas as well. Lets start with the first one.

Why would you ever try to keep honeybees and neglect them? Would you have a child just to neglect it? I understand the reasoning for wanting to help wild honeybee populations, but this mentality does nothing to make things better for honeybees. It just promotes ignorance which is what we need to fight. You are better off just admitting that you want to keep honeybees to benefit yourself, than to lie to yourself about doing it for the common good. Lying to yourself and others is very harmful.

If we(humans) didn't exist, honeybees would carry on fine without us. But in our ignorance, we seem to be wanting to pull them into extinction with ourselves. The problem here is that the honeybees are not going to disappear on their own. And trying to patch up a problem without solving it just makes it worse.

If you don't know what I am talking about, then you need to do a lot more research before you decide that you want to be a beekeeper.

So Marty, it seems that you already have put a lot of thought into this hive design. Are you able to admit that you are doing it for yourself yet? If you cant be there for your livestock, then you should wait until you can be before you get them. You can always put a swarm trap out, but that is done for the explicit intention of acquiring honeybees for one's self. Otherwise it is not the best for the bees.

If one were to provide habitat for honeybees, I would suggest planting forests. Forests designed to grow old in a polyculture with no human maintenance. And spend time thinking about how to best do that. Then you could honestly say "this is the best design for honeybees that you would never need to care for". Otherwise, when you start putting bees in human made spaces, you should start thinking how to provide the best possible life for them. Just having hives does nothing for wild populations. True feral honeybees exist because of habitat, not hollow spaces. There are plenty of hollow spaces in nature.



I just don't know where to start so I will likely do a little bouncing around. Please bare with me. I think I will just read your first paragraph... respond... then work my way down. Let me know if I am making any sense.

I don't view honey bees as a "child to neglect" or "livestock". I view them as a super-organism that evolved over billions of years without our help. I feel as though we are literally hurting their championed ability to adapt and evolve with other organisms when we help them. For instance: If we put just enough poison in their hive to kill the Verroa... but not kill the bees. We are propping up weak bees and creating stronger Verroa. In nature if the bees were weak... or the Verroa too strong... the hive would die and the strong Verroa with it. Only the weaker Verroa and stronger bees would survive. So... as Todd just stated... I believe neglect is the best thing for bees. I just want to give them the basics of what they need. Neglect is likely one of them.

I also disagree that creating a thread online on the subject of a STUN hive is not "promoting ignorance that needs to be fought". It is inspiring me... and hopefully others who read along... to delve deep into the understanding of the natural world of the bees. Helping us to understand their basic needs... even if we will never be able to understand it's genius fully. Just the large number of things in this thread so far... busts that "promoting ignorance" myth in my opinion. I could be wrong though. Never will know.

I am not lying to myself or to others about wither I am wanting to keep bees for me or not. I am pretty sure that I remember writing... on several occasions throughout this thread(you say you've allegedly read)... that I want to keep bees for their added pollination... maybe for honey some day... to teach my children... to teach guests... as an emergency scare crow for marauding hungry people who might find their way into my garden(lol)... and YES... to also help the bees. I even mentioned the bees having to earn their keep for their own slice of heaven @ some point. So please let me know which one of those things you want me to admit. I will.

I really don't feel like providing a good habitat for the bees... then leaving them is such a bad thing. To me it's like leaving all of the other bugs, bees, birds etc, etc that will also get left behind while I am away. If they have what they need and live... then they are strong enough to stay. If not... then they were too weak or were missing something and died. Giving space for some other bees that are stronger to stay. I just want to make sure they have what they need. That is what I am doing in this thread. Then they shall be STUNed.

I really don't want to deal with catching a swarm in a trap if I can avoid it. I have been thinking about that subject for some time honestly. I likely will want to lift the hive up in a good spot(probably top of the house or shed or tree)and cross my fingers to wait for something to move in. If nothing does... then I will try to catch a swarm. I did mention setting out a small bait box in the very first post though... that would have been modular in nature... and been able to set down into a hive without opening/disturbance. Now... I am leaning towards just lifting the whole hive after seeing the success that Gias bees had in the earlier post.

If catching a swarm is bad for the bees. Can you please explain to me how? Are you saying that getting one of the produced and artificially inseminated queens with clipped wings is better or something? Just kidding! I am just being dramatic. I understand letting them choose is best.

Since you have allegedly read my posts, you already know that I live on just a .36 acre lot in the middle of the suburbs. I am not going to plant a forest and sit around for 75 years waiting for bees to move in. However, there is a large Oak in the front yard that has potential in about 30 years. lol

As a plus note... there are some extremely large trees in the forests around an between the neighborhoods in my area. So that is a great resource for the bees if they need it during the Summer. There may even be hitchhikers that get a ride into the hive from the bees that venture in there. Including fungi, bacteria, and insects. I may even catch a feral hive from in there. Who knows.

Lastly you said... "when you start putting bees in human made spaces, you should start thinking how to provide the best possible life for them." and "True feral honeybees exist because of habitat, not hollow spaces." I am already "thinking how to provide the best possible life for them". That's what's been happening this entire thread. I have already been trying to create the best possible habitat that I can... both inside and outside of the hive.

Thanks,

Marty



 
jacob wustner
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In order for me to help make my points understood, I am going to pound them in.

Todd,

Harvesting honey, leaving them alone and not bothering them is not neglect to me. I want to be perfectly clear on this. Neglect, to me, is where you don't care to take the time to make sure all is well with your critters. Of course people's reasons for keeping honeybees are varied. But they are all human-centric for the simple fact that there are plenty of feral hives in the wild, all over the world. Keeping bees is a human interaction with nature much like raising cattle.

Does anyone want me to go deeper into this?

Marty, Neglect is a horrible thing to do to something that you bring into existence. It doesn't matter how you describe honeybees to yourself, they are living beings deserving respect and reverence just like anything in life. The whole premise for your hive design was based on the idea that you wouldn't have to do anything and just leave for years, expecting that you are helping honeybees. This need to be addressed. Creating a thread was a means for you to learn more about an idea you have had. Sadly, many others have had the same idea as you and have let innocent honeybees die in the process of learning what not to do. I am here to help you and others avoid creating unnecessary pain and suffering in the world. I have gone through this painful experience of neglecting my honeybees myself. I strongly recommend not going this route, for I believe there is a better, more educated way.

This thread is just scratching the surface of what we do know about honeybees and what we can do to better our relationship with them. Unfortunately, many ideas presented here are not helpful to the honeybees. There is so much information out there, and yes this is a great place for discussion, but we need to do more research before making a bunch of assumptions. Honeybees don't need us to reproduce or evolve. They need us to be educated enough to help direct policy in our society that is beneficial to all life. That is the most important that we can do for the bees.

And to say that bees have to earn their keep for their own slice of heaven is just mean to the bees in my opinion. I think that they work harder than humans ever will and they don't need blessings from any one human for their right to exist.

I don't believe that a hive design could be considered a habitat. It is a man made cage just like a factory farm. Habitat for honeybees is the whole environment. The sky, the earth, the water, the plants, predators, everything. What we are doing as humans is killing that habitat. How many other bees, bugs, birds are we putting in cages and walking away from for four years?

From the description of where you live, it is a poor location for honeybees. That doesn't mean it cant be done or they wont fair well on good years, but on bad years they will die from starvation because of the human interference in their environment. Not to mention all the pollution from humans that they will have to cope with. Places like these are far from adequate to leave honeybees to their own devices in my opinion. If you lived in the wilderness, then I would be ok with it.

Catching a swarm isn't bad for the bees, but the trap itself is a poor design for a permanent hive. A hollow log would be way better, but then it would not be a swarm trap.

If you were to provide the best possible habitat for the bees, then you would bulldoze the human settlement in which you reside and let nature take over. And then you could make some log hives. It really is that simple. What has been going on in this tread is just the reinventing of the wheel so to speak. Hive designs that best benefit humans have been fine tuned over thousands of years. This isn't anything new.

To me, people who neglect their livestock are farmers with poor husbandry practices. And the people who neglect their bees, well we(beekeepers) call them honey farmers because they generally are interested in only one thing. This is the mentality where the flow hive has come from.

There are so many examples of people doing really awesome stuff with honeybees, and people doing really horrible things as well. But there is no need to bad mouth others for not seeing a better way. There is a need in my heart to help people see the accidents that are coming down the road before they run into them.

I want to reinforce that just because one thinks they are doing what is best for the bees by neglecting them, doesn't mean that it is always the best option. If you are talking about not treating bees for disease, I wouldn't call it neglect, I would call it treatment free beekeeping. Treating for disease is a tiny fraction of what a commercial beekeeper does, yet people tend to point fingers and demonize commercial beekeepers for doing this.

I would like to think we all make concessions in order to achieve the goals and dreams we are seeking. This could be using computers to share information while their production and use takes a toll on the environment. It could be letting the weak honeybee colonies succumb to disease or starvation in order to successfully breed stronger genetics through human selection. It could be a commercial beekeeper using treatments in order to make a living and survive. But utter neglect is a dangerous path to take if you have not taken the time to think things through. There are so many things that could go wrong and your time would have not been well spent.

Knowing what to do and when, is what makes a beekeeper a good one.

There is no need to be dramatic here. When you live in tune with nature, there is plenty of drama. And human drama becomes quite dull and even annoying.

I hope this clarified my point. If you were to rethink this thread and rename it, I would suggest traditional log hives mimic nature the best and require the least amount of care. Everything else is just more beneficial for humans.

Please don't take my advice as an attack on anyone or anyone's ideas. And please feel free to ask me to clarify my points if you desire, for I know I tend to go over people's heads when it comes to the world of the honeybees.

Jake Wustner
 
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jacob wustner wrote: Why would you ever try to keep honeybees and neglect them? Would you have a child just to neglect it? I understand the reasoning for wanting to help wild honeybee populations, but this mentality does nothing to make things better for honeybees. It just promotes ignorance which is what we need to fight. You are better off just admitting that you want to keep honeybees to benefit yourself, than to lie to yourself about doing it for the common good. Lying to yourself and others is very harmful.

If we(humans) didn't exist, honeybees would carry on fine without us. But in our ignorance, we seem to be wanting to pull them into extinction with ourselves. The problem here is that the honeybees are not going to disappear on their own. And trying to patch up a problem without solving it just makes it worse.



I "neglect" my child frequently. I ignore him when he throws tantrums. I don't react when he bumps his knee and makes a big scene. I don't give him extra chocolate biscuits when he hasn't eaten his dinner. Benign neglect is necessary for a child to grow up independent, well adjusted and emotionally resilient. I do make sure he has a roof over his head, an environment which is safe and regular meals (along with all sorts of other things). We similarly neglect the plants in our garden and (if we had livestock) we would similarly "neglect" them. The point is that by stressing living systems you can see which ones are thriving and have robust genetics and which ones don't.

In the context of agriculture and livestock we tend to selectively breed from those with the traits we want and cull those we don't.

So my question to you Jacob - if instead of using a STUN approach and letting natural pressures do the selection he was actively managing his hives but personally culling colonies (extreme version - gassing them with dry ice, less extreme - pinching the queen and requeening with bees from another colony) with genetic traits he didn't like would that be ok in your book? The ultimate test of bees viability in the real world is if they can survive without human inputs - if they need those crutches then their genetics are not strong enough and over time they should be selected out.



If you don't know what I am talking about, then you need to do a lot more research before you decide that you want to be a beekeeper.



Actually, if you have read this thread you will see that there are a lot of people here who are very knowledgeable about bees, and the issues facing bees at the moment. Many of the issues are to do with beekeeping practices which have opened up bees to a whole host of problems - weakened genetics are a substantial consequence of the actions of past and present beekeepers. Some of the issues are related to wider problems in agriculture (mono-crops, pesticides, migratory beekeeping) but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do what we can to address issues which are within our control. What this comes down to is a disagreement in opinion, not a lack of knowledge. Opinions in this thread are pretty diverse but there is a general consensus that:

  • bees are struggling to fight off varroa and other pests
  • That the genetic traits needed exist in the bee population (hygenic behaviours, local climate adaptations) but have been weakened by generations of beekeeper intervention (imported queens, chemical treatments for mites, feeding etc...)
  • That selecting for these traits is desirable


  • Where there is disagreement is how we can identify and select... the STUN approach is letting nature do that for us, there are other approaches that might get there faster, but the are much more involved (lots of time and expensive laboratory work).



    So Marty, it seems that you already have put a lot of thought into this hive design. Are you able to admit that you are doing it for yourself yet?



    Familiarise yourself with the forum rules - suggestions that anyone else is less than perfect is not tolerated here. These forums stay pleasant because we discuss the ideas and not people. My own take would be that following treatment free and low or no intervention methods promotes the long term health of the bee species, albeit at the expense of the survival of some colonies. I'm prepared to accept those loses with the long term hopes that my bees become better adapted to local conditions over some generations and survival rates improve. Places which have gone over to treatment free methods have reported loss rates as high at 70% for the first few years, but dropping to 20 or 30% after a few years (equivalent to, or better than commercial beekeepers)

    Now a selfish beekeeper to my mind is one who gives his own bees a short term boost through treatments - ensuring their own short term profits and honey harvest at the expense of bees as a species (through weakened genetics, stronger mites).



    If you cant be there for your livestock, then you should wait until you can be before you get them. You can always put a swarm trap out, but that is done for the explicit intention of acquiring honeybees for one's self. Otherwise it is not the best for the bees.


    In my area natural nesting places are pretty slim - in an urban environment sick trees get chopped before they can drop limbs and kill people. However bees quite happily move into unnatural homes and thrive. We have three colonies living in the walls and roof of our house! All bees care about is finding a suitable cavity, they don't care about it's origin.

    Also, urban areas are fantastic for bees - far better than many agricultural/rural areas, where mono-crop planting mean there area simply no flowers at all in whole regions. Urban areas are diverse and florally abundant, and there is some evidence that this results in higher bee survival rates.




    If one were to provide habitat for honeybees, I would suggest planting forests. Forests designed to grow old in a polyculture with no human maintenance. And spend time thinking about how to best do that. Then you could honestly say "this is the best design for honeybees that you would never need to care for". Otherwise, when you start putting bees in human made spaces, you should start thinking how to provide the best possible life for them. Just having hives does nothing for wild populations. True feral honeybees exist because of habitat, not hollow spaces. There are plenty of hollow spaces in nature.



    Sounds reasonable - I'll just buy up all the land in the local area (3 mile radius ought to do it), plant forests and demolish all those houses along the way. That would give my one hive good forage potential right?

    Actually what you have just suggested is a recipe that no one, ever, will be able to follow. It maybe ideal habitat for bees (although personally I dispute that - bees benefit from a huge diversity of flowers, including grasslands and meadow flowers) but it totally fails to see the value of integrating bees into the world we already have. Why wait to build a perfect but unobtainable situation when we could and probably should be taking action now?

     
    Marty Mitchell
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    Just wanted to let everyone know that there be honey bees flying around in my back yard right now! Good to know since I have not seen many in the past. I bet it will get better when the trees get older.

    Just went out there and my little Santa Rosa Plum tree is in bloom for the first time. It is only about 3ft across and has several honey bees on it right now. The bees are ignoring my small amount of Siberian Squill, July Alberta Peach, and Dandelion blossoms for now. May be the time of day... or lack of those blooms.

    I guess right now is a good time to start naming some of the stuff I have planted out that could help pollinators. (They will all help me too of course.)

    As far as trees/shrubs go I have...
    1. Two types of Asian Pears
    2. One Peach
    3. 4 Plums
    4. 4 Apples
    5 10 Blackberry/Boysen Berry Plants
    6. Two Pink Dogwoods
    7 Seven High Bush Blueberries
    8. 10 Raspberries
    9. One Mimosa
    10. one Limon
    11. One Passion Fruit Vine
    12. Three Figs
    13 Three Grape Vines
    14. Two Sun Choke Patches
    15. Six Patches of Cannas
    16. Two large evergreen bushes that flower(unknown species)
    17. Nine Daylily beds
    18. Eight Liatris blazing star flower beds
    19. Two Salvia beds
    20. Five Shasta daisy beds
    21. 8 large Hosta PLants
    22. 9 Large clumps of ornamental grasses
    23. 3 large strawberry beds
    24. 3 Goji Berry bushes
    25. 4 types of clover now
    26. 2lbs of SE native wild flower seed mix(just threw down)
    27. 1lb of cilantro/coriander seed
    28 Whatever rotates through my veggie garden
    29. 1/4lb of rudebeckia goldstrum seed
    30. 1/4lb of purple cone flower seed
    31. 1/2lb of bachelor button seed
    32. 2 large chive plants
    33. 4 baby garlic chive plants
    34. 2 thyme plants
    35 1 oregano
    36 3 medium rosemary
    37 2 maple trees(1 likely to be cut down to repair fence & other due to disease)
    38 1 large willow oak
    39 Almost all said trees and shrubs will be surrounded with a ring of Bocking 14 comfrey. Many plants growing in 5gal buckets waiting on root division soon.
    40 Front yard still largely empty. Want to add some Hazelnuts... of which are also good pollen source for honey bees.
    41.Oh, and 1 Artichoke plant. With plans to divide.
    42. 4 Pawpaw Trees

    At this point in time most of said trees are very new and small... except for non-productive ones. I plant to keep them in a size range to provide for my needs and no more.

     
    jacob wustner
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    Michael,

    I assume that you don't know much about me, just as I don't know any thing about you except what you have posted here on permies. A little background about me. Born and raised in Missoula, MT to a commercial beekeeper, I grew up in the bees. I studied at Northland College and earned my degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in public policy. After college I became a self made business person by running a couple hundred hives with my brother using organic treatments. A couple of years ago I left that company and started treatment free. I had about a hundred hives, 80 of which had typical commercial queens and 20 that had queens I bought from Bee Weaver. Of all those hives that went through my treatment free trial, only 12 of the Weavers survived. And none of the other ones. This was a huge blow to my confidence as well as my ability to make a living from keeping bees. I understand my circumstances are unique, but I feel that I have learned a lot and have a desire to share my experiences and thoughts about them.

    The point is that by stressing living systems you can see which ones are thriving and have robust genetics and which ones don't.

    In the context of agriculture and livestock we tend to selectively breed from those with the traits we want and cull those we don't.

    So my question to you Jacob - if instead of using a STUN approach and letting natural pressures do the selection he was actively managing his hives but personally culling colonies (extreme version - gassing them with dry ice, less extreme - pinching the queen and requeening with bees from another colony) with genetic traits he didn't like would that be ok in your book? The ultimate test of bees viability in the real world is if they can survive without human inputs - if they need those crutches then their genetics are not strong enough and over time they should be selected out.



    I get this, but what I don't get is how the STUN technique transfers from plants to livestock. Are there examples of livestock breeding where leaving the animals alone for four years was used to select survivor stock? I am sure there maybe, but it seems quite extreme and inefficient to me. For honeybees, I feel that this selective breeding has already been done in nature, and not with the help of humans. And there is no need to try this STUN technique when all you need to do it open mate your queens or catch feral swarms.

    Actually, if you have read this thread you will see that there are a lot of people here who are very knowledgeable about bees, and the issues facing bees at the moment.



    Yep, I read this tread and never said anything about people not being knowledgeable about bees or the issues they are facing. I said there were a lot of bad ideas presented here and that people needed to do more research before they jump to conclusions.


    Opinions in this thread are pretty diverse but there is a general consensus that:

    bees are struggling to fight off varroa and other pests
    That the genetic traits needed exist in the bee population (hygenic behaviours, local climate adaptations) but have been weakened by generations of beekeeper intervention (imported queens, chemical treatments for mites, feeding etc...)
    That selecting for these traits is desirable



    I usually am not concerned with consensus as much as I am concerned about doing what I feel is better for earth.

    I feel that the only bees struggling to fight off varroa are the ones kept commercially by humans, and that there are plenty of honeybees in the wild that have already overcome living with varroa. As far as other "pests", honeybees are only struggling with them when man puts them into his "hives" and neglects to take precautions against these life forms you have described as pests. I have a problem with bears so I use an electric fence, but I don't call them pests. Also I feel that the commercial honeybees don't have the genetics to survive in the wild, but the wild bees definitely do. And selecting for these traits is desirable, but this is done on a yearly basis with open mating or catching feral swarms and not by starting a hive from whatever kind of honeybees and leaving it alone for four years.

    Now a selfish beekeeper to my mind is one who gives his own bees a short term boost through treatments - ensuring their own short term profits and honey harvest at the expense of bees as a species (through weakened genetics, stronger mites).



    If you don't know how to keep bees alive without treatments, then you should definitely treat them(if you have them) until you have learned how. Otherwise you are wasting life and time. IF you start out with open mated queens or feral swarms, then sure forego the treatments to see if they are what you are looking for. But if you buy bees, or collect a swarm from a commercial outfit, then you should consider taking action to bring the bees into the direction you are seeking. I personally am a fan of Dee Lusby and do think that natural cell size has a lot to do with it. This is not to say that you need to believe it, but if you were taking her advice and were trying to regress bees down to a natural size in order to stabilize a hive from a weak genetic background, then that would be a whole lot better than just assuming that neglecting hives is going to naturally select the strongest hives. There are so many other factors determining the survival of a honeybee colony, that if one does completely neglect a hive, they will have no real clue as to why it may have died and will just assume it is one thing when it could be another.


    Also, urban areas are fantastic for bees - far better than many agricultural/rural areas, where mono-crop planting mean there area simply no flowers at all in whole regions. Urban areas are diverse and florally abundant, and there is some evidence that this results in higher bee survival rates.




    I assume you are from the UK, where maybe urban areas are better than agricultural areas for honeybees. I don't know because I have never been there. This is definitely not the case where I am from. There is so much pollution in the typical urban environment in the US that I recommend that people do not keep bees in the city. And if they do I suggest that they do not consume the honey or anything else from the hive. They could harvest and save it for the bees, but eating it is a health risk. And if it is a health risk for people then it is definitely not better for the bees. Your urban areas may seem diverse and "florally abundant", but the typical urban environment in the US is full of poison and desert monoculture. In Montana, the agricultural landscape is generally pastoral or hay fields unless you get out into the wheat. These places, like North Dakota, are awesome for honeybees and have more diversity and flowers than the urban areas(if they aren't blanketed with herbicides). Of course diverse floral sources are better for the bees, but generally there is far more diversity in the rural areas than the urban ones in the US. There are always exceptions of course.

    Actually what you have just suggested is a recipe that no one, ever, will be able to follow. It maybe ideal habitat for bees (although personally I dispute that - bees benefit from a huge diversity of flowers, including grasslands and meadow flowers) but it totally fails to see the value of integrating bees into the world we already have. Why wait to build a perfect but unobtainable situation when we could and probably should be taking action now?



    I hope to follow this recipe someday, not bulldozing houses but planting food forests like Sepp Holzer. Grasslands do not benefit bees if there are no flowers. I agree that bees do well in all locations, but they seem to prefer trees to inhabit instead of caves or holes in the ground. Plus, if there is water, there will be trees in most environments in the world. So in theory, even in the grasslands, forests will benefit the bees more than no trees. And I am not waiting for a perfect situation because it is alway right here, right now in front of us. I call it permaculture in action. Unobtainable is not a word I would use in describing the planting and growing of food forests or trees in general. No one "should" do anything, but anyone can if they want to.

    I am merely trying to suggest that the STUN technique may be very appropriate for someone to use in selecting plants, but honeybees are far more complicated and complex and deserve better from us.

    I see little value in raising food from honeybees in urban setting because you cannot control where they go. Growing vegetables and fruits may be safer, but there is always a lot of pollution in a city, and the bees will get into it.

    Again I will state my belief that if you want to help honeybees, educate people about policies that are better for them. It seems to me that most people who want to help the honeybees would be better off examining how their lifestyle and resource consumption affects the bees rather than getting bees themselves in hopes that somehow this is going to fix the problem. This is similar to the native plant enthusiasm, which Paul has a great article on. We try to plant gardens with a "natives only" approach, while still supporting the society that destroys the habitat which once supported those plants. I agree with Toby Hemenway when he says people would be much better off helping the native plants by growing their own food as to relieve the pressure of food production from potentially wild lands. This is exactly how I feel about helping honeybees. Growing all of your own food would help honeybees the most, plus it would also give more value to the integration of bees into our worlds. Right now, the bees are doing poorly in places where people have fucked with nature too much. And I would include the modern urban landscape as being a main culprit in the destruction of honeybee habitat. In my opinion of course.

    Jake
     
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    jacob wustner wrote:
    I get this, but what I don't get is how the STUN technique transfers from plants to livestock. Are there examples of livestock breeding where leaving the animals alone for four years was used to select survivor stock? I am sure there maybe, but it seems quite extreme and inefficient to me. For honeybees, I feel that this selective breeding has already been done in nature, and not with the help of humans. And there is no need to try this STUN technique when all you need to do it open mate your queens or catch feral swarms.



    Saw this and had to register in order to respond. Yes, Jacob, there are examples of livestock breeding where breeders leave the animals alone for years on end - I have one. Kiko goats. They were bred from feral goats in New Zealand, crossed with dairy goats, and left alone. Breeders of kikos today still do this. They don't help with births, they don't worm, they don't medicate, nothing. My kiko doe was probably handled twice before I bought her around 8 months of age - once to have her ear tagged, and once to be sold to me. I LOVE her; she is my favorite goat. No, I don't neglect my animals - I'm out there twice a day no matter what, often more often, feeding, watering, cleaning, and I lock all my animals up at night. But I don't use chemical wormers (I use an herbal wormer and have multiple animals that worm each other instead), and I don't vaccinate. I think my kiko doe likely does the best of all my goats. She benefits from the care I do give, but is self-sufficient enough, and has strong enough genetics, to not need to be propped up they way my Nigerian goats do.

    So, back to bees. You really can't classify bees in with other livestock. I mean, yes, they are, in my opinion, and they have a job to do on my farm, just like all my other livestock. But the rest of my livestock are stuck with me. Like I said, I lock all my animals up at night in barns or coops, and I have fences. I've designed my fences that my animals stay within them. I can't do that with my bees. Okay, sure, I could purchase queens with clipped wings, and that might keep them around, but eventually they'll supersede a queen, and then I'd be right back where I am now: if the bees don't like it here, they'll leave. They've done it before, and I'm sure they'll do it again.

    I do have a question: how can you tell a feral swarm from a swarm that comes from a commercial beekeeper, or from a backyard beekeeper like me? I can't. I would LOVE to capture a feral swarm, but I kind of doubt that'd be possible for me. So while I'm not confident enough to completely do the STUN technique with my bees, once I get a few more hives going, I might do the STUN thing with one or two hives, just to see. And like others here, I really feel that is more humane than dumping a bunch of chemicals in my hives.

    Regarding your comments on urban vs rural landscapes for bees, you have a point on the pollution. However, I believe (and I know I've read it multiple places, but don't have any quotes for you) that, at least where I am (Western WA), big farmers out in rural areas dump a LOT more pesticides, etc, on their crops than are used in urban areas. Depending on the urban area, there are probably entire sections of cities that use next to nothing when it comes to chemicals, just because of the culture of the area. I'm in a rural area, but live within a couple hours' drive of Seattle, and could totally see that happening there. Seattle's very yuppy, and being "green" is very hip right now. Plus, I'm pretty sure (again, unfortunately, no quotes for you) that big monoculture farmers are allowed to dump much scarier chemicals, in much higher concentrations, onto their crops, than urban dwellers are allowed to dump on their flower gardens. If all I wanted was bees, I'd move back to suburbia.

    If nothing else, this thread has been a hothouse of excellent ideas worth investigating. Nothing that will change my beekeeping this year, but years down the road - who knows? Thank you to all who have contributed and caused me to waste WAY too many hours online tonight, and stay up WAY too late!
     
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    Well actually STUN has been done with bees. But it is nothing that can be done by the inexperienced.

    One of the best known examples of something similar to STUN is the "Bond Method" (Live or let die), by John Kefuss. A Method to select for bees that can survive chemical free bee keeping.
    To avoid the massive losses he experienced (and which have been experienced everywhere in the world, where something similar has been done) he later proposed the "Soft Bond Method"

    Even under best conditions, you have to face the fact, that you will experience huge losses. I quote Kefuss: “I would have been happy with 10% survival.”

    -- Ludger
     
    pollinator
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    In the wild bees here in europe on average face 50% losses so I think having a technique that produces over 75% losses I would suggest seems to indecate a flaw.
     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Hello David,

    thats the first time I hear about this number of 50% - do you have a source on which you base this seemingly wild claim?
    According to gene typing of collected drones from drone aggregration places in europe, the density of wild bees is very low, close to zero. Almost to a level, that we have to think about them as beeing extinct, so please give me your source, I'd be very happy to learn about wild honey bees in europe.

    Ludger

     
    David Livingston
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    It was from a discussion I had on Biobees with some folks a few years ago .
    The argument went something like this , since there are areas where bees are found in the wild both in the UK and in other parts of the world in a stable population yet the wild hives produce more than one swarm a year on average yet the population is constant it must mean that in a normal thriving community that the majority of these swarms die other wise after a hundred years we would be up to our necks in the little darlings There was more stuff about this and some referances but basically the suggestion was if you count prime swarms and those left behind and ignore casts normally only 50% survive in a normal population .

    David
     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Hi David,

    that would give us an upper bound, a maximum number of hives that can survive without drowning in "little darlings". The actual number of surviving swarms is probably even lower, since a real healthy colony can produce way more than one or two swarms, and a really healthy queen can live for more than one year.

    The claim, that there are stable populations of wild bees in the UK (sadly) is most probably wrong. According to Catherine Thomson, there are only three locations in the UK, where it is likey that feral honey bees could survive till today. (Bee Craft Article from 2010). Theese are Ennerdale Forest, Tywi Forest and Wark Forest near Kielder. Only in Wark forest, she actually could find bees. All other known unmanaged bee hives (a whopping 20 in the UK) seemed to be escaped swarms from beekeepers in the area, where different swarms repeatedly inhabitet the same location. (No surprise in our tidy environment, where good locations for bees are rare)

    I'd be glad to hear from france, if the situation is better there. In germany it certainly is not.

    --- Ludger
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    Wow. There are some great conversations going on here. Even got a new member to the forum.


    Welcom Ashely!!!

    I am thinking that now is a good time to mention that the person who coined the term "Sheer Total and Utter Neglect" said in a video with Jeoff Lawton I recently watched... "Strategic Total and Utter Neglect" is more like it. So that has been in my mind the whole time. I plan on having a large observation window and access points. Mainly to watch, learn, and guide the bees to indipendance.

    The bees having to "earn their slice of heaven" was taken out of context. I am just glad to have them around. Just like every other creature.

    Still planning on doing the STUN hive some day.

    I am not trying to re-envent the wheel. Just trying to figure out "What type of hive would be best for Sheer Total and Utter Neglect". What what would that hive need.
     
    Michael Cox
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    Jacob - so you experimented with treatment free and had heavy losses? That is typical of what I have read of people transitioning to treatment free, but you also started from commercially reared stock, which have the most weakened genetics of all. Letting your weaker hives die strengthens the remaining gene pool and, had you increased from your overwintered hives by making lots of splits, your colonies would have been stronger again the following year and the year after. The ultimate test for the viability of a bee colony is whether it can over winter successfully without intervention. Those who can remain in the apiary, those who cannot are culled by nature.

    You ask whether any other livestock are treated this way and I can think of a few examples where natural selection pressures are a primary driving force, albeit with additional selection from people for other traits:

    Cattle in Australia - when they were first introduced to Australia from Europe survival rates were dismal as they were not adapted to the climate or conditions at all. Over generations the less well adapted animals died and the overall herds bred for adaptation to climate. On top of that the stockmen annually choose which specimens to cull from the herd, but this is essentially an annual event given the difficulty of rounding them up. Stockmen cannot afford to nurse weak animals through unfavourable conditions, and for the most part they are totally unaware of the health of individual animals on their land. How could they be given the vast areas of land in question?

    Joel Salatin's pastured rabbits - when he first started he had massive loss rates until he bred rabbits that coped with his stock raising system. They were put under artificial pressures and forced to adapt or die. Now he has healthy rabbit flocks that thrive on pasture and don't need medication.

    We don't see this typically happening because for any established system you look at the selection has already taken place, usually over many hundreds of years, so we see a "finished product", not the high loss rates through natural selection and human culling that got us there. The issues with commercial bees comes about because we have deliberately removed the natural pressures from our colonies, while also mangling their genelines through misguided breeding programs that have focused on productivity, rather than bee vitality.

    If you were to start from stock that was more feral - swarms from feral survivor colonies for example - you would probably have better starting genetics and a lower loss rate.


    (I started composing this but ran out of time!)
     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Hi Marty,

    the question about the hive type suitable for something is actually depending on what you want to achieve. If you are going for STUN (with total), there is no need to observe the hive, or have the ability to analyse what is going on in it. The moment you go for strategic or minimal invasive, or some other not so absolute non interference, the hive becomes a tool for the beekeeper to achieve some goal. E.g. chemical free bee keeping. Both the bees and the beekeepers needs should thus be reflected.

    A hive for STUN (with total) will provide no honey harvest (but pollination), and will look much like thomas seeleys swarm boxes. It will have a volume of 40-50l, all natural comb, no means to open it for the bee keeper, neither frames nor movable top bars. The entrance will be small and at the bottom of the hive. Good insulation and good ventilation will help the bees. The wachs moth will deal with old comb and if the bee density is high enough in your area, swarms from your neighbours will populate this box every one or two years. You will put it at least 5m high up into a tree and there is only one every 150m. This hive type would be probably illegal in many regions.

    If you are going for something more productive (in terms of honey), the answer is much more complex, will probably also include natural comb, probably a brood chamber of 40-50l volume. It probably will be splitted like a perone hive, into a bees part and a beekeepers part. But you will want at least movable Top-Bars to inspect the hive and help the bees if needed. The beekeepers part, might actually contain traditional frames, to make honey harvest less destructive for the bees and less stressfull for beekeeper and bees.

    But hive design is influenced by what you want to achieve, thus the discussion, if a STUN approach is possible at all, and if it is desirable.

    What do you want?
    Ludger
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    @ Ludger

    You have made some very valid points. For the time being... I have no intention to get honey from the bees. I really just want them for the pollination... and to have a hive as low maintenance as possible... with the hopes of no maintenance @ some point.

    I suppose I do have an option to create a totally new hive to harvest honey from some day. That would enable me to have more freedom in the final type of STUN hive.

    I do know that in order for the hive to be legal in the U.S. the bars have to be removable and the hive inspectable. I am pretty sure I will have to register the hive as well as having it inspected. So I have been letting that though sitting in the back of my head steer and guide me.

    I do plan on attempting to grow some new root stock trees and do a lot of practice grafting. I have the intention to talk as many neighbors as possible into letting me plant in their yards@ almost no cost to me since I have the free rootstock all over my yard. All in an attempt to build both community and environment. I believe humans have large potential for creation. The grafting knife is a weapon of mass creation.
     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Hi Marty,

    if it is pollination you are after - why focus on 'honey' bees? Are the systems you are designing really dependent on the pollination services from the honey bee? What about building habitat for other pollinators? Pollination from honey bees is only needed, if you have a lot of crop flowering very early in the year. A cherry or an apple orchard might be such a case. The honey bee as a pollinator has the one big benefit over other pollinators, that they winter in huge numbers and thus can provide massive pollination services very early in the year. Bumble bees on the other hand winter as Queen only. They take some time to develop their numbers, but bee by bee they have the better pollination ratio.

    In a STUN hive scenario, as discussed, you very often will loose this essential quality of the honey bees. There are no huge numbers of bees very early in the year, if they don't make it through the winter. Instead you will have to wait for the first swarms in may. Depending on your orchard, thats a little late in the year.

    I compare keeping bees without a honey harvest, to keeping chicken without eating them. If you ignore one of the main aspects of a design element, you probably are running into trouble.

    Ludger
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    Hello again Ludger,

    I have been planting for a little while as a way to attract and help give all insects a bit of a safe haven... as well as several personal reasons like increasing property value, increase/inspire/and get my kids involved with nature, and food indipendance/security for my family.

    I recently became "self aware" of the condition of our food here in the U.S. when my daughter contracted an auto-immune/auto-inflamitory disease and I began reading up on ways to help her. That is a quick summery of only one of the guidposts that lead me to eventually find permaculture. Another one was investing honestly. Through my investment eye... permaculture made really great sense.

    I do already currently have several small habitats around the property for several solitary bee species... amphibians... reptiles... butterflies... and birds. Honey bees were the last thing on my list. I am currently just studying up before I make that leap.

    My main solitary bee houses are for mason and leafcutter bees.

    Over the Next few posts I plan to give an update on my brother's progress on his Warre Hive... and lookup the best wood types for the three main fungi from before. Then make a list for everyone.


    Marty

     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Hi Marty,

    habitat - congratulations, important steps done!

    Warre Hive - might be a good way to learn about bee keeping. If you have some experience with this, you have a better starting point to reduce the amount of work that needs to go into bee keeping, to keep them thriving. With bees it takes a true master to do (almost) nothing.

    Wood types - appreciated!

    Ludger
     
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    My first thought, when I read the OP, was "the best kind of ("stun") hive - an empty one...

    I've kept bees for the better part of 4 decades. I have done so with minimal treatment. I've had a "survivors rule" mentality.

    There is much good discussion here.

    A couple things to consider:

    Commercial bee producers may have faults in the grand scheme but many of them have sacrificed hundreds and thousands of hives, year after year, to improve the genetics of "survivability". There are ongoing "survivor" programs that have been underway for years. Were I to consider a "STUN" hive, this is the stock I would seek - this "survivor stock". The more local, the better.

    A swarm may or may not have originated from a "true" feral colony. How many generations removed from "commercial" a "feral" hive is would be difficult to determine. I suspect most swarms are from some beekeeper's stock, and who knows if those were treated or treatment free. A few swarms may be from "feral" colonies - likely a small percentage. A swarm is certainly no guarantee that the bees have "survival" tendencies - they may just be a sick swarm from a sick or dying colony.

    Wild colonies may also just be one year removed - having survived a single season - and not necessarily containing much more "survivor" DNA. It is quite likely that the longer colonies remain feral, the fewer they are in number. Finding one is like finding a gold mine, these days.

    If you are familiar with some long established feral colony ( and can be reasonably certain that they aren't just dying out & being replaced every year) these would also be good stock to try to obtain.




     
    Michael Cox
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    We have a long standing colony in our roof that swarms every year - often multiple times. I took a swarm from them last year but the queen failed her mating flight due to bad weather so they didn't make it. I'm hopeful for another swarm from them this year. I would consider these bees survivor bees, as opposed to the swarm that I caught last year from a known commercial apiary.

    Anyway, back to the topic in hand;

    If a STUN hive is really just providing a suitable cavity for the bees then totally ignoring them, I would say you can't do much better than a Holzer style log hive. Nice thick walls for insulation, as close as possible to natural tree cavity. If you had a few of these around and introduced swarms to them you could be pretty confident of having bees in each one around 50% of the time just by them being attractive to recolonising from feral swarms.

    In practice, I think a STUN hive that at least allowed for the option of some intervention/inspection would be ideal. You may still go treatment free, but it would be nice to have the option of a honey harvest, or to make a split from them if you really like their genetics. IN which case... why not go for a conventional Langstroth or similar and just leave well alone? Put on enough boxes that they have the option to expand to a good size, introduce a swarm and let them sort it out for themselves.
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    You folks are throwing down some awesome information! I wish I had the time to look it up. I will though... when I get a chance. I want to post up as much info. and links as possible.

    I like the Sepp Hive for it's naturalness. I like the Warre' hive for it's ease of build/future maintenance. It may be a good idea to get a Warre' and use it to build up the genetics... then take some splits to Hozler hives hidden in the surrounding area(woods). I will decide the type @ the last minute though.

    My brother just got his bees from a place online that is treatment free... bee mutts... that are naturally bred... and raised in natural comb. If I buy some bees it will likely be from them or someone like them. I have noticed that there are some honey bees in the yard that are a good bit smaller than others. Do drones visit flowers too... or do they just eat honey? A little curiouse so I can figure out if the little ones are wild... or the big ones are drones.

    Thanks Again,

    Marty
     
    Ludger Merkens
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    Michael Cox wrote:IN which case... why not go for a conventional Langstroth or similar and just leave well alone? Put on enough boxes that they have the option to expand to a good size, introduce a swarm and let them sort it out for themselves.



    Michael has a point here. It probably matters more, how you manage the hives, than the actual geometry of the hive. One argument more to start with the warré hive, your brother already has, observe and learn from the bees. The warré as well as the langstroth hives, have the big advantage, that you can adjust their size, according to your bees demands. All beekeeping is local...

    --- Ludger
     
    Michael Cox
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    And in our case poly hives seem to have slightly better winter survival rates (seems to be to do with condensation levels rather than direct temperature, as our winters tend to be wet rather than icy cold. I'm running poly langstroths for the group I'll be running at school, and going treatment free. But because it is a teaching group we will be managing/opening them, so not quite STUN.
     
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    And the fact still remains that solitary bees and bumble bees are by far better pollinators for permaculture farms with a polyculture setup. Honeybees are decent pollinators, but are really only useful if you want the honey. If you aren't looking for honey production, there are zero reasons to choose honeybees over solitary bees or bumble bees.
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    +1 Tom O

    While we are currently on the subject of how awesome solitary bees are... I want to mention that if you donate $25 to the BeeWithMe indiegogo campaign... you will get 25 solitary bees to release into the wild/yard. Here is a link. I am thinking about going back to donate some more money to get the free bees/ hopefully get a dedicated website to network beekeepers across this nation. It can bring some of the change we need.

    http://igg.me/at/crownbees/x


    On the subject of my Brother's New Warre'

    Here is a pick of him installing his bees about 6 days ago. Followed by a video of his bees. He does have a Master's(working on doctorate) in science. Currently a teacher @ a high school. I am betting he will be teaching many with what he learns. I just began talking to him about solitary bees a few days ago. He asked for some pics of my setup... then said he wants to do some reading up on them. I bet he ends up keeping them as well. I will likely never have to harvest honey from bees because he would likely be giving me honey @ some point. He said on day 5 that two full rows of comb have already been drawn out in the top box. He already refers to the bees as "my babies". lol

    The hive is currently sitting on the South side of his back fence and is facing East... out over his garden space. To the North of the fence are some Leyland Cypress trees that are quickly coming up to block that NW winter wind... as well as most bad weather all year long. His hive will get a little shade during the late day only. He may add a little protection if needed. His main yard is actually North of the Fence. His garden is divided/hidden from the main yard. Even has a small fish pond going already for some year-round water access. Lots of floating vegetation.

    http://youtu.be/dJyG9yAsQCY



    Brandon-Warre-Install-March-2015.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Brandon-Warre-Install-March-2015.jpg]
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    Double post. lol

    Just wanted to add that Pigs and Horses will also go feral in a heartbeat.

    There are wild horses from out West... to here... on the outer banks of the East coast.

    Wild hogs are an issue in the SE of the U.S. all the way to at least Texas.

    I have read articles on where Cattle ranchers simply quit helping their calves out during birth. Then a few years into it(after losses) they now almost never have issues anymore. Saving tons of time and worry and loss long term.


    Here is a domesticated hog(I assume) that got loose. I just did a quick "Hogzilla" search. There are tons of pics.
    Hogzilla.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Hogzilla.jpg]
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    After careful thought and much deliberation... I am now considering doing something special with a STUN hive if I ever manage to get the bees stabilized without intervention for at least 3 years(probably more). Who knows how long it will take to get there.

    If I can get a colony to stabilize and litterally be in the full fledged STUN category. I am thinking that I should build a small box to super the hive with to obtain a small yeild from the bees(aside from the pollination). I plan to have a Warre syle quilt on the main roof of the hive(no matter the style of hive I end up going with). However, Instead of having to peel off the entire quilt box to put a super on top... I plan to make a small removable box section within the quilt area that is fastened down with spring clips. Then when I want to place a super on top of the hive... I can just unclip the small box section and remove the pre-cut section of the liner. Then slip in the super and fasten it down with the same spring clips as before. The super it'self will have a quilt section built into it's top as well. Just remember I can do this if the hive ends up inside my shed. There would be no roof.

    I would make the super about the same dimensions as a Nuc hive. Making for more honey than I would ever use... but incredibly easy to carry and harvest.

    Or... I am also thinking that 3 FLOW hive frames would fit inside something like that pretty well. I could just harvest the honey inside my shed without ever having to deal with opening the beehive. I could just leave the super in there permanently. Of course waiting until the hive is in STUN mode before introducing the super in Spring some day.

    Marty
     
    Tom OHern
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    Marty Mitchell wrote:After careful thought and much deliberation... I am now considering doing something special with a STUN hive if I ever manage to get the bees stabilized without intervention for at least 3 years(probably more). Who knows how long it will take to get there.



    You should also consider that about every 3 to 7 years, the queen will either die or the hive will superseded her, which can result in a dramatically different hive. Depending on the queen and the drones she mates with, that once stable and productive hive could now be very unstable and unproductive. They could be also be dramatically more aggressive. Or it could become so weak that it dies out that following winter. Thinking that a hive is stable becasue it has lasted X amount of time is not the correct way to think about this. Every organism, even super organism such as hives, have their lifespan.

    I can just unclip the small box section and remove the pre-cut section of the liner. Then slip in the super and fasten it down with the same spring clips as before. The super it'self will have a quilt section built into it's top as well. Just remember I can do this if the hive ends up inside my shed. There would be no roof.



    They will glue that down just like everything else in the hive. Unless you have a material to make the hive out of that propolis and wax cannot adhere to, then there will be no slipping anything in or out. It will require cutting and prying to remove it.
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    I was honestly hoping to get to slap down a huge April Fools. lol

    I knew I should have drawn a picture of a hive sitting on top of a house with plastic tubes coming down out of it to a pile of pancakes. I figured that the mention of the FLOW hive would have someone venting for sure. lol I am about to head to bed. Didn't want to leave my joke open for then night.


    @ Tom

    Does the queen really get superseded only every once-in-a-while? I was under the impression that every time the hive swarms... the old queen leaves. Then letting the hive swarm twice a year(if they wish) would cause the genetics to be 1/3 of what they were @ the beginning of the year. A failed mating flight would be horrific... but the hive could replace her when they get a chance.

    I don't personally care if they get aggressive. They know what is best for themselves. I am sure they will phase in and out over time. So long as there is no evidence of AFB in there... I will let them set their own issues out if they can. If they die out and there is no foul brood. Another colony will move in eventually. If they swarm 2 times a year and live for 3 years. One of the original swarms may still be out there somewhere... getting ready to make a swarm of their own... possibly coming back to me. Who knows.

    @ Everyone

    I just wanted to let you know that I have been spending what very little free time I have had the last week to make out a list and collect what little data I can for wood types in relation to fungi. Also getting a list of what benefits each type of fungi has. I plan to type it up some day when I get a chance. I have some leave coming up soon. Going to the Cherry Blossom Festival up in DC.

    Marty
     
    Marty Mitchell
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    OK. I just finally got my internet working on the laptop in the Hotel room.


    Just want to say that I left my collection of fungi/bee stuff(just a page. lol) back @ home. I will have to wait a bit to get anywhere on that subject.


    However, I have found several interesting videos!

    I found a channel on YouTube of a guy who does natural beekeeping. He has an old Warre... and.... TWO log hives! His log hives are absolutely works of art. He seems to be having great luck with his log hives. You will have to watch a ton of videos on his channel to learn everything. Here are my two favorites (about the logs)so far...

    "Bee-Beard" getting a swarm voluntarily moving in from "Bee-Atrice"... A surprisingly large swarm it was too...
    http://youtu.be/uzV_oI17QAQ

    33 days after the MEGA swarm from "Bee-Atrice"... she is looking like she is going strong again even though it is late in the summer.
    http://youtu.be/6j9q4UFCVm4


    Finally, here a video on what it was that inspired Louie Schwartzberg and Paul Stamets into making the new Fantastic Fungi film. Hint... it's bees.
    https://youtu.be/ZnatUaV00cI
     
    Listen. That's my theme music. That's how I know I'm a super hero. That, and this tiny ad told me:
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