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

 
pollinator
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In a further analysis of the double log hive owner I spoke of in my last post...

I found out he has an actual dedicated website that is built to document his journey through natural bee keeping.
http://solarbeez.com/

He claims to be a relatively new bee keeper. Just converted to natural bee keeping in 2012. Started off with 3 hives. Now has 8 from catching a few swarms. He now has several Warre hives, the two log hives, a Warre bait hive permanently mounted onto a tree, and a birdhouse on a post that is full of bees. It is my understanding(so far) that he totally and utterly neglects all of the hives except the Warre hives(I think. Still more reading required). He has a new Third Log Hive under carving construction. It will have the three faces of his grandchildren on it. Facing different directions for different seasons. Opening different holes depending on the time of year.

The bird house bees and bait hive bees have survived without being fed or anything. They tend to swarm about 3 times a year each. This past winter is their second winter. No word yet if they have survived. They caught a few of the swarms from them either way... so they have some good genetic stock going on. The bait hive bees did get a warre quilt to help out a little.

Bee-beard and Bee-Atrice have never been smoked, treated, or harvested ever. Not even power sugar(from the post I read. May have changed but doubt it.)

Bee-Beard did die off once. After several swarms the population never rebounded and slowly died out. After the bees were gone he opened Bee-Beard and cut out the comb. Couldn't see any evidence of pest or disease. Suspected bad queen mating. Had planned to scorch the inside of the log anyways just in case. Then Bee-Atrice swarmed a day or two later(In August to his surprise) and that swarm moved in before getting to sterilize. Now the new bees are thriving.

The inside of the log hives have Warre dimensions... and Warre quilts. With large viewing windows. Sounds like we think alike! I want to keep reading up on him.

Anyone else thinking bee Totem pole? lol Mine would look like a log and nothing more. Unless I trained a small flower vine to grow up it. OR inoculated the log with mushroom plugs. Likely would live in the shed though.

Anyway, here are a few pics of his hives.

1-birdhouse-bees-12-31-14.jpg
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Birdhouse
15-green-hive-in-treeh-12-31-14.jpg
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Warre bait hive box permanently in a tree.
Bee-beard.jpg
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Bee-beard
 
Marty Mitchell
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Back home from DC now...
The yard has been seeing 80deg days since I left. What a difference a week of warm temps can make. Everything is coming alive now.

For some reason this year seems to be turning into the year of the Danelion in my neighborhood. lol

Last year... every time I took the little ones for a walk. I would occasionally pick dandelion fluff balls from the edge of other folks yards as we walked. When we got back to our yard we would play and see who was the best@ blowing the seeds off. So my yard went from having none... to this!(Pic. below) Even a ton more dandelions out back.

This part of the front yard is having the hardest recovery and is extremely compacted/baked clay. Nothing the dandelions won't fix. Thanks to Paul's article... my back yard is looking pretty awesome right now compared to last year when I started. In fact... his article is the first link that brought me to permies.com. The white dutch clover is starting to find it's way in now... and the cool season grasses are just starting to recover. Coming from the prior owner cutting the grass as short as possible while feeding the lawn chemicals. The honey, mason, bumble, and a few unknown bees are loving the flowers. Can't wait for the clover to bloom... and wild flowers out back.

Loving the higher quality of life,

Marty
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I haven't read the whole thread so I don't know if anyone has mentioned the flow hive.
I just ordered one. Delivery begins in December

 
Marty Mitchell
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@Tim Sullivan...

Do you happen to live down in the SE United States? I used to know a Tim Sullivan a long time ago.

Yes. There has been mention of the Flow hive once or twice. I even donated enough to the Flow team to get a 3 Frame flow light(back before they broke the 10k dollar range...over 9million now). Was planning on giving it to my brother for Christmas. Knowing what kind of bee keeping he aspires to do now... I am not sure he would want it for Christmas. I may keep them and trim the three frames down to Warre dimensions and make a micro super some day. With just one mini frame in it. Since that would be enough honey for me. I can just cycle them through when it is time to harvest and drain them in the house. Who knows what path I will take with them. They are headed my way though.



@ The experts out there with some Natural Bee Keeping Experience....

I have been having this silent internal battle brewing within me since... well... about the beginning of this thread. I keep going back and forth and am seeking some advice.

I can't decide to go catch a swarm... or to purchase a package/or swarm.

I read that it can take several years worth of queen cycles to get the bees back down to their original smaller size. So I everything in me is saying to get something like what Goldstarhoneybees offers.
Here is their description of themselves...
"Gold Star Honeybees are raised without chemical treatments.
They are raised on small-cell foundation, so they are ideal for starting new top bar hives, but -
These bees are perfectly suitable for starting other hive types as well.
They are "mutt bees" - a very hardy mix of Russian, Italian, and Carniolan genetics.
They are 3-pound packages - with naturally mated, unmarked queens.
They are raised in northern Georgia and the great state of Tennessee.
They are acclimated to four seasons and are winter hardy!"


The common sense side is saying buy the bees and save some headache... the cheap side is saying to try to catch wild and that everything will work out anyways.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

Marty
 
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Did you already work it out? There is a lot to read in this thread!

I think an 18 x 18 box with a a 1"x12" strip of 1/2" hardware cloth at the bottom, with the rest of the bottom closed in, and a 1"x2" entrance facing outward in the lower 1/4 of the box, secured to the SW side of a tree would give you your desired effects, assuming it had bees in it,or you were able to successfully bait a swarm.

This would be enough have a very strong population with good sized swarms, in theory.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I have pretty well narrowed it down to what would be best for me... in my climate and based on what I would want from a hive.

I suspect that the main hurtle to successfully STUN a hive will be the hive owner themselves. With the bees and hive design coming in an extremly close tie for second and third. So three parts I suppose.

I am just pretty much(at this current time) attempting to accumulate as much knowledge and understanding as I can. So as to be able to (hopefully) understand what the bees are needing based on whatever conditions may arise. I plan to just provide what they need. They will have to go get it and use it themselves.

In the end I suppose I feel that anything that closely imulates the types of cavities bees sucessfully populate(for lengths of extended time) in a person's givin climate are what is best.

Still some debating to do. Still have time before I am able to get a chance to start honey bees.

Will likely either be a Warre dimentioned (12" maybe even as large as you suggested of 18") log hive... or thick wooded built hive.

Will likely keep several small mushroom beds hidden in the yard. They can decide which type they want for self medication.
 
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Marty - I would do both!

Buy the package to get the (apparently?) excellent genetics, catch any swarms that come along. You can then make splits or raise queens from the bought package to spread the genetics to you swarm colonies.
 
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Finished my version of the Perone hive today except for a coat of paint on the roof. It's a pretty formidable looking hive, and measures 54.5" from the bottom of the floor to the highest point of the roof. The main hive is to Perone's dimensions. I built the flat roof version found in the plans from the net, added a quilt-type box built from 1x12s for this frigid northern climate, and added a shed-style roof above that. The boxes themselves are built with 2x lumber. Bees should arrive in the next couple of weeks. I'll try to post some pictures when I move it to the permanent location. Once on the stand, it will be approximately 5' 5" tall. It already makes the Warre hive I built look like a toy. Can't wait to see how the new bees do in it.
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Michael C.

I may just end up doing that in the end. Would give me the best of both worlds possibly.

I would just need to figure out how much longer I am going to be here before starting a hive. I have at least 2 more years. Now is not a good time with the projects I am juggling. Making progress though! Either way I will be retire in 5 yrs. Nothing can stop me then.


@ Todd

Sounds like a beast of a hive. I would love to see some pics of it's progress as time goes by. It sounds like it will hold up to a storm(and time) for sure. Thanks for the update!


Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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A story about a totally STUNed Langstroth hive...
http://www.permies.com/t/46239/bees/hive

Fun Facts
Left in the woods for an estimated 10yrs/decade.
Bottom of hive and lower frames were rotted away.
Often saw temps around -28degF in it's Zone 5 climate in Indiana.


What are some of your thoughts out there???

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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Fungi and Bees


This is not going to be on the level that I want for this subject. However, I am starting to dig deeper and deeper into the books to get a high score and hopefully get promoted @ work. There are usually 150 to 200 ppl who take the test and only about 4 to 10 who get promoted on the May tests. So I am folding and putting up what I have so far on the subject.

Here goes...

From Paul Stamet's Speech...


1. "In nature the three types of trees the bees will scratch/visit scratches on are Willows, Birch, & Firs."

2. The 3 mushroom types showing promise during tests feeding the bees for reducing disease are...
A. Amadou- Didn't get to look up info. on type of wood this eats and other info.
B. Chaga- Lives on Birch and other species. This fungi is ALSO highly medicinal for humans. Thrives in cold habitats.
C. Red Reishi- Also edible by humans. Used as medicine in Asia for centuries. Can get log plugs that will grow on Maple, Oak, Plum, and Sweetgum.
Plugs are here... http://www.fungi.com/


3. The fungi species that Paul witnessed the honey bees "sucking on my mycelium"(lol) for 40 days was...
Garden Giant - The bees had actually cleared a patch in his mulch. Grows well in hardwoods chips and straw. Can be cooked like a steak on the grill among other ways. Can bloom under a canopy of corn or other things.
http://www.fungi.com/product-detail/product/the-garden-giant-mushroom-patch.html


4.Species of fungi that are known to "break down pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides is...
Red Belted Polypore Mushroom - Grows only on Firs.


5. Species of fungi that May have an effect on Verroa & May Not effect the bees is...
Metarhizium Anisopliae - Still being tested at this time.

So that is all the info. I ever managed to gather from the film... and look up online. It is my current recommendation now to Not put the Fungi inside the hives. Instead to just provide it nearby. They will get it if they need it.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Here is a new Excellent YouTube video of the build of a top bar/log beehive!!

Complete with Warre dimensions... a Warre quilt... and the deep litter method we spoke about a while back.

I am totally digging this style! I would leave the bark on since it would both protect the wood... and harbor life. I hand built(with a brother and a few buddies) a small cabin as a child about 17 years ago. With the tin roof protecting it... it is still standing!... with bark still on most of the logs. The logs were mostly tiny tulip popular logs. Highly moist area in the North GA mountains. The bottom logs that are in contact with the soil are the only ones having issues. Would be nice to build a hive and have it still standing 2 decades later.

May even punch in some 5/16th holes here and there for mason bees and 1/4 holes for leaf cutter bees... just under the roof area to keep rain out.

I would likely make a larger roof too...

https://youtu.be/q9TwKFr2jww
 
Mother Tree
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Thanks for sharing that video. I've embedded it below.

 
Marty Mitchell
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Ok. I am back again.

Left for a few weeks to study for promotion @ work... have a yard sale... Re-work the landscaping in my front yard towards edible landscaping(with a permaculture twist fo sho)... and made a few trips to see a finance counsler to build resiliancy into my families future.

Even put in a 3 rain barrel system for the little garden out back. I know it is not as efficient as holding water within the landscape it'self... but haveing a small system like that also gives my family an emergency water source for if the water ever cuts out. Also pays for it'self since my area has been charging me about $250 a month for sewer based on how much water I use through the meter. I may put in another few 3 barrel systems since the grand price was $64. I added it up. Didn't count fuel or time though.

While on leave I heard about some folks just taking a Langstroth sytle hive and converting the Lang to a TBH. Just changed the internals. So I want to do some reading up on that today.



Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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Read up a little on the TBH converted Langstroth. Sounds viable. I would likely have an urge to square off the hive though to keep the temps/and humidity more even throughout the hive.


New YouTube video on the Log Hive from before!!!

If you don't have the time to watch it... this is what I gleaned from the video...
1) A huge swarm voluntarily moved into the hive all on it's own. So I am falling in love with this type of hive.
2) Immediately after that hive was populated by a swarm... ANOTHER HUGE SWARM tried to move in. So I REALLY am liking this hive! LOL
3) The green Warre box mounted in the tree has survived yet another winter all on it's own and has even thrown several swarms. So... that is 2 winters and 3 years without any help or intervention. Seems like a hive CAN be small and still survive under the right conditions. It is in just a single Warre' box too! So that is 12" x 12" by maybe 8" tall. So my original wants sound viable for a few seasons at least.


There is a tree cutting service that has it's home port just outside of my neighborhood. Literally just across the road. They have some acreage behind their building and I saw what looks like a pile of large Poplar logs. I am going to see if I can get a couple and stick them inside my shed until I am ready for bees.


Here is the video. I will make an attempt to embed. If it does not work... then I will edit to just replace with a link.

Marty....


https://youtu.be/b99wKOs_YQ8

And.... this is what goes through my head to make me smile every time I can't get a video to Embed...

https://youtu.be/bUWXjs2jPQI


 
Todd Parr
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I'll add pictures of the build later, but here is the completed hive.

bee_hive.jpg
[Thumbnail for bee_hive.jpg]
 
Marty Mitchell
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That is a nice looking hive for sure! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see some more pics later.
 
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The simple answer would be a single box, about 10x10x30. Put a 1.5 inch hole near one end, and mount it vertical lengthwise with the hole near the bottom, about 10 to 12 feet in the air.

Better would to take a 12 to 14 inch wide log, about 3 feet long, and bore out a 10 inch circle through it. Cover the top with unfinished plywood, and the bottom with a funnel (to let the varro mites fall to the ground) and one or two 1 inch holes on the side near the bottom. Mount that about 12 feet in the air. Mount it sturdy, if it swings at all, the bees will vacate.

The elaborate designs for hives are not really for the bees' benefit, but for the beekeepers'. Making a home for bees is easy. They prefer a wood interior, unfinished, about 1 to 1.5 cubic feet in total volume, with an entrance near the bottom of the volume. 10 inches is roughly ideal for the size of comb they make, but they can deal with both smaller and larger dimensions. Just make a hollow tree, and mount it high, and you will make them happy.
 
Creighton Samuiels
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Marty, I've been trying to catch a feral swarm for years now. Bait boxes, pheramone vials, the whole deal. I never have. Old beekeepers around here told me they used to catch them all the time, but the odds have been low these past few years. If your goal is to help improve the bee population, by providing a home, odds are high you are going to have to buy them also.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Thanks for the input Creighton. I may very well listen to... and follow your suggestion about buying bees. Seems to be less bees out than there were in early Spring. I am betting it is because there is better forage now and whatever hives were venturing as far as my neighborhood... no longer have the need.

Everyone else... After subscribing to the Gold Star honey bees YouTube page... I watched a few more educational videos from them. Here is a fun fact I learned about the Verroa Distructor mites and their relationship with the honey bee. With good bee genetics... you can actually have the mites sort of mummyfied within the cell as the baby bee matures. They say they have about a 80% mummyfication rate with their bees(if I remember correctly). So I am likely to buy some of their bees. Since they are already being succefully raised treatment free... small sized for much longer bee life... mixed genetics... with verroa mite fighting genetics.

I will attempt to find that video again to share.

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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And.... now I have FINALLY figured out how to share a video on this forum. lol

If you skip to 9min and 25 secs... you will get to the Verroa mummification part. They say they have been whitnessing a 80% to 100% success rate! That is huge.


VERROA DEATH before birth video....


 
Marty Mitchell
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Here is another YouTube TED talk about bee life within the hive... and how things work.

Long Story short I will NEVER EVER stop a hive from swarming or assist with breeding a queen with a male.

In my head it is clear as to the reasons why I feel this way.
1. After watching the goldstarhoneybee video in the prior post above (about the Verroa Mites getting mummified within the brood chamber) and the bite marks on the young male honey bee. I know that the males that successfully kill the verroa mite (while in the brood chamber) will inherently be a little healthier/stronger for the mating flight. So they will be more likely to get their genes carried on.
2. Even though the queen will mate with several males during her mating flight... the healthiest(and most disease resistant) males with the best genes/or most fertility will likely be the dominate eggs laid. Further increasing the hive genetic survivability. Either through 1. good disease resistance, 2. verroa mummification characteristics, 3. virulent fertility, and 4. physically strong flight strength.
3. Having a hive swarm every now and again can also cause the reproductive cycle of the verroa to be disrupted a little too as a bonus.


 
Marty Mitchell
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I have some great news folks! (for me)

The city council is looking like it is going to approve residential bee keeping in my area!

There was a dispute on the fencing requirements of the ordinance the voted on back in April and it will require a revote. Looks like there would be several hoops to jump though too. The final draft should be pushed through in June I hope.

Looks like I would be able to keep up to 8 hives on my size of lot. I would not be allowed to keep the bees within 20ft of the neighbor fence line... 40ft of public streets... would need 6ft fencing to get the flight path high(already have that)... would have to get hive inspected and approved(probably Warre)... and would need to have a water source for the bees within 20ft of the hives.

So I would have a great excuse to make a small water feature. If I do a water feature... I would officially have everything I need to get my yard designated as a wildlife habitat. lol
http://www.nwf.org/

Might as well make it a secret plunge pool/natural swimming pool/rain garden/fish pond. I am thinking something 15ft across... with a 10ft deep section that is 10ft across in the middle of that. The outer edge would act as a bio-filter/plant/critter area.

Hmmm... Or I may just be lazy and put in a tiny $35 koi tub from Home Depot. Just making it bee friendly and fill it with channeled rain water. Going to think it out for a while...
 
Marty Mitchell
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What makes a honey comb turn black over time?

Found a YouTube video on the subject. Turns out... some things that are good for the bees.... some that may/or may not be good over time. (up for debate/discussion)

Do you guys think that that if comb were left in the hive for an extreme amount of generations... that the bees would slowly get smaller and smaller until the point that the Verroa would no longer see them as food??... and they would be back to their original/wild size if starting out big... or even smaller if starting out small???

 
Marty Mitchell
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This is an interview of an old beekeeper Pat R did. (He is the one with all of the log hive videos I have posted... and the single green warre' box that is now on it's third year in a tree without help.)

Anyways, this old bee keeper has been keeping for a long time(20 years). Started out doing conventional bee keeping for a long time with chemicals. Migrated to log hives a few years ago. Then shows how he has built his latest hive out of 12"x1" cedar wood. I like the new one. Talk about something that could be built quickly. I bet I could build that in about 15-45mins.

I am willing to do the log though; as I feel that the work will be done up front... with less maintenance down the road long term with a log. His new design could be built from 12"x2" boards though I suppose. That would last a long time if properly protected.



 
Marty Mitchell
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Asked Pat R. on YouTube if the birdhouse bees had survived the Winter.

He said YES. They should be getting ready to swarm soon and he wants to catch them when they do. They have never been treated or fed. Even during this last cold winter. Bees can be tough it appears. I bet they will do great in a larger beehive that is built to make their lives easier.
 
Michael Cox
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My take on a STUN hive...

Basically a log hive with some bees. They had a swarm dumped in there last week and the girls seem happy. They are mostly there for the experimental factor - I just want to see what happens and if they manage to make it. Last year's lot didn't but they were a small swarm and went in pretty late.

We are fairly rural so no harm in them swarming in this area, and if they do I have a chance of catching them and putting them in another hive.
C1JimaMtoHt0JsY52g8ap2vnlgsQQu2utSxeAEWYNDw.jpg
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Marty Mitchell
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I like it Michael!

It would be hard to get more natural looking than that.

Is that pretty much a solid/thick piece of wood on top?

Did you caulk the different layers together?

Did you build in bars across the top at all?

Thanks,

Marty
 
Michael Cox
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There is a thread around somewhere from last year when I built it. It was one long piece about 5ft originally. I cut slices of around 18 inches that stack on top of each other, then used a chainsaw to hollow them out. There is definitely a knack to doing that quickly and cleanly!

To top and bottom sections are solid, the middle two are hollow, with some crude bars set across the top. I have a vague thought that I could one day lift the top section off and harvest some honey, but I'm more likely to just let them be.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Michael,

I hope you don't mind. I searched through your profile to find the thread you were talking about.

Michail Cox's Log Hive
http://www.permies.com/t/34865/bees/log-hive
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Cheers Marty,

Incidentally, I saw your comment about not interfering with bees swarming. What is your take on doing a taranov swarm? Essentially manipulating a hive that is going to swarm in the near future to do it on your terms.

Similar I guess to constructing a package except that the bees you end up with are those you would get in a natural swarm (young comb builders/nurse bees plus the old queen).

Mike
 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike,

I honestly do not know anything about doing a taranov swarm. I suppose I will need to do some reading up on something like that. Does the queen still get to do her own mating flight with multiple males on their own terms?

I will have a chance to look it up in a few days.


Marty

EDIT: I would also LOVE any updates with your hive as it travels on it's journey through time! If you want too anyways. lol
 
Michael Cox
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Yes, the queen open mates as normal. The only difference really is the beekeeper controls the timing and the swarm is not lost.

I'll be updating the original log hive thread at some point.

Mike
 
Marty Mitchell
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I will def. read up on that then. I have also subscribed to your thread!

Sounds like even though it would require work(aka not STUN) it would be totally worth it if you desired more bees of a particular genetic stock. So it would save money or make you money if you wanted to sell them.

It would possibly be a good thing for someone like me who is surrounded by homes with folks who will spray the swarm if it lands in their tree. Even if I did not want any more bees.... I could just give them to the local network of keepers... or take them to one of the large patches of forest near by.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike,

Also wondering if it is the old queen who is captured and removed... or the new one?

Reason being is that I think(over time) the hive is able to better adapt to it's current location/and region each and every time it swarms in nature. Since the old queen leaves and the new one is mated with the strongest/healthiest males from the region.

Marty
 
Michael Cox
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Here it is in practice.

The old queen ends up in the artificial swarm cluster, with the youngest bees - as she would in a true swarm. The foraging bees raise a new queen from established queen cells.

 
Marty Mitchell
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Mike,

That seems like an interesting way to get a swarm. I will need to think about it for a while but can see the appeal. It seems close to natural.

Does anyone else out there have other types of swarm catching that are natural like this?

I would personally feel more comfortable sweeping off the bees instead of shaking. I would still way more appreciate a natural swarm though too. Letting the bees decide who goes and who stays.... and not having to tear the hive apart(stress for the bees and I am lazy. lol)


Bird House Bees are still alive!

They have survived their first Winter on Pat R's YouTube Page...
 
Michael Cox
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I prefer the shake to brushing. As gentle as you try to be some of the bees inevitably get rolled by the brush. I've never known a sharp shake harm a bee yet.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Michael Cox wrote:I prefer the shake to brushing. As gentle as you try to be some of the bees inevitably get rolled by the brush. I've never known a sharp shake harm a bee yet.




Noted. I have no experience yet with handling bees. I can't seem to get bees off of my mind. Even walking out of my way @ Home Depot to take a look @ what types of wood they carry. lol
 
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Interesting thread.

I've just started a Warre hive and put some bees in in.

I made it really thick for insulation. I'm interested in trying the leafmulch floor idea as habitat for the book scorpions.

There is a couple of sayings I have heard recently

Bees in a wood do no good.


A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly
 
So I left, I came home, and I ate some pie. And then I read this tiny ad:
please help me create BB wiki pages, and other PEP pages
https://permies.com/t/98467/create-BB-wiki-pages-PEP
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