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

 
steward
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sam na wrote:Bees in a wood do no good.



depends on the wood

sam na wrote: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



depends on the climate and the weather, but pretty accurate around here.
 
pollinator
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sam na wrote: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.




Thanks.

I am totally interested in hearing how the bees do!

Seems like thick has so many advantages that it totally negates the two disadvantages(weight & cost).

My brother is on a cross country road trip right now and is somewhere close to Oregon right about now. He and his wife both are teachers so they get lots of time off every Summer break. I wonder if his new warre' colony is being cared for... or if they are doing a bit of STUN right now. Of course it is the heat of the Summer right now though. I should text and ask...
 
Marty Mitchell
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Brother's Warre' Update:

My Bro said his new Warre' hive had three boxes topped off with honey/babies when he left town and the bees were starting to work their way into the fourth box. So he just added a fifth box before he left town to give them some growing room for a few weeks while he is away.
 
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tel jetson wrote:

depends on the wood



As you say about the other saying, it's probably quite climate specific. In the UK climate I think the feeling is they do better with the hive in the morning sun, with a little shade as they go into the afternoon.

They seem to be bringing lot's of pollen in at the moment, so I think that's a good sign (they were a cast swarm)

 
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The OP mentioned putting the bees up high...

A while ago I watched a Youtube video on a guy out West who builds tree houses. Really big awesome tree houses. I can't remember who he is, but he did have a website and he sells tree house systems through it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because he has some very effective systems for securing platforms to trees that do not come loose. They allow for movement and growth, and is what I hope to use when I make my bee hut in the trees one day
 
tel jetson
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Nick Kitchener wrote:The OP mentioned putting the bees up high...

A while ago I watched a Youtube video on a guy out West who builds tree houses. Really big awesome tree houses. I can't remember who he is, but he did have a website and he sells tree house systems through it.



maybe Pete Nelson.
 
Marty Mitchell
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@ Nick K

Reading that post earlier today got me daydreaming for a few minutes. I had a real nice mental picture of a double decker Langstroth/or Warre' dimensioned hive.

It would be disguised as one of those mega bird houses/hotels and raised 13ft into the air. Complete with a miniature house style roof(with real shingles or sheet metal) and little circles painted on it to imitate bird house openings. Mounted to either...

1. A 4"x6"x15' vinyl wrapped board that is cemented into the ground.
2. Or a 15' galvanized pipe that is cemented 2ft into the ground and rated for a 70 year life expectancy.
3. Or a (my Favorite) 15' log from a Black Locust tree that is buried a 4 or 5 feet into the ground. No mining or chemicals required. Would last at least 50 years as well.

Making it with at least 2" thick boards for insulation from the heat and cold... and added life. Setting it so it would get afternoon/evening shade from the large Oak tree in the yard.

Could even throw up a bat house next to it for added camouflage.



As a side note to everyone. Now that I am almost done planting the trees in the yard and starting to focus on the areas around the trees... my wife is FINALLY thinking she wants to live on a larger piece of land. She now wants something around 3 acres! It would take me decades to fill that up! This yard is so nice now. I don't want to go... but with 3 acres I could do so much more. We are just thinking about it for now though. I could keep bees and just let them swarm. I could have three 1/4 acre ponds... etc, etc. There are some nice lots that size that are a quick bike ride to resturaunts/shopping/and near mass neighborhoods. I could have a great business opportunity with something like that.
 
Nick Kitchener
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tel jetson wrote:

Nick Kitchener wrote:The OP mentioned putting the bees up high...

A while ago I watched a Youtube video on a guy out West who builds tree houses. Really big awesome tree houses. I can't remember who he is, but he did have a website and he sells tree house systems through it.



maybe Pete Nelson.



It was Michael Garnier:

 
Nick Kitchener
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I've been dreaming of something like this built on the subsequent platform:
 
Marty Mitchell
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Just stole this video link from another honeybee permies thread. Just thought it was important because the film maker gave some information stating that there is a certain mite that lives within forest soil that LOVES to eat Verroa mites for dinner. So yes. There are mites that eat on mites.



Here is the thread it came from.
https://permies.com/t/47976/bees/Eco-Floor-bee-hive#383950
 
pollinator
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I've been trying to wait to comment till I've read this whole thread but that Mat Welch Ted talk was kind of terrible so I'm posting now. It sounded like a pitch for him to get funded, quite frankly. He said, "... we need pesticides..." so he lost me right there. He wants to study the bees to find resistant ones, treatments that'll work, yada yada.

It's been said that if we hadn't treated for varroa we'd be over it by now like they are in Africa. Australia has a choice to make when varroa comes there, treat or not. If they treat they are in for a world of pain but the pesticide companies are in for a world of profits.
 
Cj Sloane
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Having read the entire thread, I'm ready to address the OP! I don't think the hive type matters one bit! What matter is how the beek is keeping the bees! My first hive was a Perone with an observation window. I think that's a good hive to neglect if you have the right bees but to get the right bees you are going to have to take a few steps to get there. Sort of like the STUN method of rearing trees involves planting tons of trees to get the genetics your looking for. Phil Rutter planted 5000 trees to get 8 good survivors and went from there!

What I have learned over the past few weeks:
If you want 2 hives you should probably go into the winter with 4 hives.
Go foundationless, let the bees make their own comb.
Over several years of foundationless, they will revert to a small sized bee.
Don't treat your bees.
Breed local survivors.
Let them eat "natural" food.

 
Marty Mitchell
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Those are some good points Cj!

Sorry for the late response. I am deployed to the Artic right now. This is the first time I have been able to check in on a real computer in a long time. lol

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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Just came across a link to an article on how to be a lazy bee keeper. The author states within the first couple of sentences that they now keep about 200 hives and put forth as much effort as they used to in 4 hives. So I will be using my spare time over the next few days to read up on that. You know it!

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm
 
Cj Sloane
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He has many good youtube videos. Here's one on being a lazy beekeeper.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I just realized that Michael Bush is from Virginia like me. In my neck of the woods. Nice....
 
Marty Mitchell
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Just watched the YouTube video of Michael Bush on being a lazy bee keeper. If he really does spend as much time/effort with 200 hives that he started out putting into 4 hives... then he is well within the realm of not doing much work and letting the bees live closer to how they would in nature.

Anyways.... I tried to make a real short list of the topics he talked about in the video. Many things missed for sure but here are several topics he seemed to emphasize a lot on...

Top Entrance - gives list of reasons
Uniform Box/Frame size - Gives list of reasons
Light/Small boxes - Gives list of reasons
Go Treatment Free - List of reasons
Foundationless - Gives list again
Natural Cell Size - List of reasons
Carts to haul hives - List of reasons(if lots of hives)
Stop Wrapping during Winter - list of reasons
Stop Painting - List again
Feed only honey/don't harvest to much - List again
If feeding during Winter then use only DRY sugar - another list for why
Stop wasting time looking for queen - List again
 
Marty Mitchell
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Now I am watching the "4 Simple steps to healthier bees" YouTube video by Michael Bush. I have to break it up into multiple posts since the video is so long. Today is step 1 and maybe step 2 later on if I have time.

Step 1: No Treatments

Over 170 different kinds of mites live within bee colonies. Of those only about 3 are a real problem. Only 2 of those three live in North America. (verroa and tracheal)
Over 30 kinds of insects live within the hive ecosystem
Over 8,000 different kinds of microorganisms within ecosystem. Only around 5 or so are bad such as AFB and the like.
-a) Chalk Brood spores displace and prevent EFB.
- b) Bacteria crowd out EFB & AFB. The same way Staff covers our skin to keep mold and such from living on us. Staff does not become a problem until the right conditions exist like a cut.
-c) Stone Brood toxins kill Nosema. One of the bad ones.
- d) Natural flora of the gut form a layer that protects the bees from Pathogens like Nosema/AFB/EFB. Antibiotics DISRUPT the natural flora of the gut. Leaving bees vulnerable.
- e) Yeasts and Bacteria ferment pollen to make it into and edible form for the bees.
-f) When a nurse bee eats the bee bread it introduces the "natural flora of the gut" to the bee bread before it feeds that to the baby bees. Thereby activating their immune system and makes them immune to AFB/etc
Clean Wax
-a) Increases queen fertility and drone fertility. = more resilient hive
- b) Increases worker lifespan possibly. = more resilient hive
Chemicals(even essential oils) interfere with the sense of smell within the hive.
- a) Hives communicate through smell and vibration.
-b) Bees have twice the receptors for smell than fruit flies.
- c) How they communicate that there is a nectar source near by.
-d) How they know when brood needs food.
-e) How they know there is a queen.
--1. So workers don't start laying eggs.
--2. So they know where the queen is and can take care of her needs.
--3. The bees can sense when the queen is failing and have a chance to replace her before it is too late.
End result of No Treatment is stronger bees and weaker disease/pests that can live together in harmony after a few years.


Then he gave a list at the end of that segment stating the "No Treatment Advantages"

1. Don't have to purchase any treatments. $$$ Saved
2. Don't have to spend time driving to yards and putting treatments into the hive.
3. Don't have to spend time driving to yards and pulling treatments out of the hive.
4. You won't be introducing chemicals into the have that are detrimental to human health to the point to where it was outlawed for farmers to use.
5. No upset ecosystem.
6. Can breed for survivor bee genetics.
7. Can breed for mites and diseases that live in balance. Since in nature overly aggressive diseases and mites die too if they kill their host.

 
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I enjoyed that Michael Bush video as well. There are a lot of very sensible things in there.

I've basically gone foundationless this year for the first time and had pretty good success so far. That has the potential to be a big time, effort and money saver - regardless of any benefits for the bees. I'm yet to try extracting a foundationless frame though, so I guess I just take it slow.

Regarding the standardisation of sizes - I'm getting frustrated already that I can't swap my deep brood frames around as easily as I would like. Ultimately I hope to sell nucs which seems to basically require deep frames, so I will be only buying deep equipment from now on. I'm still quite capable of slinging deep boxes around, and you can always take a few frames out to make them lighter!
 
Marty Mitchell
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Michael Cox wrote:I enjoyed that Michael Bush video as well. There are a lot of very sensible things in there.

I've basically gone foundationless this year for the first time and had pretty good success so far. That has the potential to be a big time, effort and money saver - regardless of any benefits for the bees. I'm yet to try extracting a foundationless frame though, so I guess I just take it slow.

Regarding the standardisation of sizes - I'm getting frustrated already that I can't swap my deep brood frames around as easily as I would like. Ultimately I hope to sell nucs which seems to basically require deep frames, so I will be only buying deep equipment from now on. I'm still quite capable of slinging deep boxes around, and you can always take a few frames out to make them lighter!




I am pretty young myself. Throwing around 90lbs is still pretty easy for me... plus I would NOT have 200 hundred hives. Probably would never even have 4 to be honest(unless my addictive personality takes over). I agree that it depends on the person's particular situation.

I believe the moderator of this thread (Tel) has set their hive up to where they can just harvest the entire box at a time. So the bees can draw the comb into circles and it won't matter. The comb just gets scraped into a meat grinder and separated I believe. Maybe that would keep an expensive spinner out of the equation... and introduce a tool into the home that would have more than one use.

 
Marty Mitchell
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#2 Breeding For Genetics


1. A well fed and bred queen is more important than good genetics. Raising your own queens enables you to focus on quality rather than quantity like the breeders. Raising them during prime nectar flow is the best time.
2. Finding bees that are truly acclimated to your region are bees that will make the right decisions to survive your climate challenges. Different bees make different choices... reacting differently to different challenges.
3. Cull out hot/aggressive bees by replacing their queen with one that is not producing hot tempered young.
4. If producing the queens in mating NUCS... it is imperative that you allow them to develop their reproductive organs for at least 28 days. The first two weeks make the largest difference. When buying from large producers... they typically don't wait long enough... and the hive will suffer for it.
5. Pay attention and select for bees that... as they do in nature... have the innate ability to sense when the queen is failing(remember no chemical treatments for smell)... and are quick enough to react and replace her before she slows to the point that the hive survival rate is effected during Winter.
6. Select for longer lived queen genetics. As it will lead to much less work and higher survival rates.
7. Save money and increase queen quality by raising your own queens instead of buying.
8. Have NUCs with queens at the ready at all times. Increasing your readiness and resiliency.
9. Give away queens to your neighbors. So that you can increase your local genetic qualities into your favor.
10. Having NUCs with queens on hand increases the genetic diversity in North America. Keeping all of the bee keepers from buying sister bees from only a hand full of sources around the country. The watering down of the genetic pool is going to make the bees weaker.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Cj Verde wrote:Having read the entire thread, I'm ready to address the OP!



Wanted to say Thank You for taking the time to read the entire thread! That must have taken some time!

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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4 Simple Steps to Healthier Bees...

Step #3 Natural Food


1. They are not Pets/Livestock. They are FORAGERS by nature. : P
2. Bees raised on pollen substitutes are short lived. The shorter a bee's live... the less excess a hive will have. Since the bees use resources to get raised... then don't produce until they get to the foraging stages of life. They are working their way back to neutral for most of the foraging life. The hive only experiences a surplus during the last week or two. So if a bee's life is shortened from fake pollen/larger cell size/chemicals/etc. Then the hive will suffer in more than one way.
3. SHB love pollen patties. So if you put one into the hive and the bees are ignoring it. The SHB will likely be the only ones benefitting.
4. Fake Food disrupts the PH levels within the hive. Disrupting the entire ecosystem. Syrup = 6.0pH; Honey= 3.2 to 4.5pH Every brood disease out there (plus Nosema)reproduces drastically better @ 6.0pH then at 4.5pH.
5. Syrup pH damages the bacteria flora of the gut. Disrupting the immune system and giving a place for diseases to take hold.
6. Leave honey. Don't feed honey. May induce thievery.
7. Again... the pH will also disrupt the +8,000 microorganisms within the hive.
8. Upsides of Honey vs. Syrup...
a. Less Robbing
b. Less drowning
c. Less work
d. Less time on many levels
e. Less brood diseases
f. Healthier and more balanced ecosystem.
So even though syrup is cheaper than honey in terms of immediate $$$. Leaving honey will actually save you.
 
Marty Mitchell
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4 Simple Steps to Healthier Bees...

Step #4 Natural Comb

Small Cells = Verroa Resistance and Longer bee life.
Large Cells = Bee that is 150% Larger.
Be sure to level hive left to right so that the comb will line up properly with the bottom. Bees build vertically with gravity.
Natural Comb is more fragile than foundation. So wait until the comb is attached @ the bottom before you tilt. Experienced bee keepers will have the hardest time remembering not to tilt the comb. So they will break the most combs before learning.
All purchased foundation is contaminated. If you wish to remain with foundation he recommends saving your own wax and buying the machines to make your own foundations.
Contaminated Wax effects...
a. Fertility of Queens and Drones
b. Bee lifespan
c. Frequency of supercedures/ rate the bees replace the queen/swarm rate
Let them keep Drone Comb. Stop fighting it. If he introduces some blank frames to the center of the hive and the bees start drawing out drone comb. He lets them keep doing it. Then when they are done drawing it out he simply moves the drone comb to the outside of the box. That way the queen will not lay eggs in them without having to search for them. The bees will be happy and not make any more drone comb @ some point. Save your time/energy for other things.
Bees just don't like foundation in his experience. If you put some foundation next to some empty frames. The bees will Always chose the empty frames to build from before working on the foundation.
Once bees turn the comb row direction. They will keep going in that new direction. If you want it to change you need to cut it out and rubber band it back into place facing the right direction. All of the turned comb. must be corrected or the issuer will remain.
How fast can you change to natural comb.? Depends on you. It can be done gradually without stressing the bees too much... or you can go faster with a little more stress. If you go gradually you can just change out the brood come by 20% per year and be done by 5 years. Some do it in 1 year.


@ the end of the video he just answered questions for some time. Here are some of the subjects he discussed...
Q:How do recommend to harvest the honey?
A: There are different ways.
1. Abandonment. You only do this during good nectar flow or it will set of robbing. You just take off the super and set it to the side about an hour before Sunset. The bees will just simply fly back to the hive after the sun goes down. Then you take the empty box to harvest the honey.
2. Brushing or Pounding. He used to brush but finds that pounding works best. Just has something to catch the bees so he can pour them back into the hive.
3. Late harvesting. The bees will be balled up for winter and down deeper into the hive. He can just take the super. Tricky though because you don't want it to be too cold outside to open... or too warm either.
Q: How many frames do you use in a Mating Nuc?
A: 2
Q: How often do you open your hives for inspection?
A: He likes to 1 time in Spring to....
1. Check on the queen to see if she is laying properly. If she is just laying drones he will replace her since she is not bred properly.
2. If the hive looks like it will swarm he will do splits.
Q: How do you use the splits?
A: Late in the year if there is a weak hive he will add one of the splits into it going into Winter so it will be more likely to survive. BE CAREFUL not to make the hive too strong. Or else you will cause it to swarm out of swarming season. Otherwise he will keep the splits to replenish lost hives every Spring. Don't combine hives until after swarm season. He does NOT cull the queen from one of the splits. He lets the bees sort it out on their own. If you make a combine after swarm season... but during/before good nectar flow... the strong hive will make drastically more honey than two weaker hives.



After watching these videos I am thinking that If I keep bees I will likely have one strong hive and try to keep maybe two Nucs/small hives for support. So long as the large hive does not start stealing from the smaller hives.

EDIT:
I saw in one of his videos that he usually tries to stack two 5 frame Nucs for Winter for strength. He has drastically higher survival rates if he does that. Of course it gets to -20 Below Zero where he is keeping his bees. So... he is not from Virginia. He is from Wyoming or something. Was just talking in Virginia.
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
I believe the moderator of this thread (Tel) has set their hive up to where they can just harvest the entire box at a time. So the bees can draw the comb into circles and it won't matter. The comb just gets scraped into a meat grinder and separated I believe. Maybe that would keep an expensive spinner out of the equation... and introduce a tool into the home that would have more than one use.



you're close. I don't use a meat grinder on the comb, I just break or cut it up into pieces that will fit in the sausage press. that press is designed to press grapes and stuff sausages, but it also works very well as a honey press and cheese press and probably a number of other tasks I'm unaware of. pretty handy item. mine is an old enterprise model, but I believe parts (and maybe whole presses) are still made under the name "chop-rite". two additional parts make life much easier when pressing honey: a gasket that prevents leakage upward and a mesh press bag that contains the comb. the press bag is easy to make if you've got a sewing machine, and the gasket is very inexpensive to purchase.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Beehive Stand

Just realized that having a good beehive stand is also going to be an integral part of owning a low maintenance beehive. Here is a video I found of one that will Both last a while.... and keep the ants out of the hive! I would use the galvanized aluminum pipes that are used in chain link fences. They are rated to last 70 years in the ground. The PVC cap used in this video would have a larger hole... thus requiring less grease. I would probably use some sort of grease that is not toxic(maybe Crisco or Vaseline)... or some marine grade grease that is not water soluble.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hE9kr96bI9E


@ Tel

Something like this(but with a gasket on the press)? It looks like it would last a lifetime.... an be handy for many things like you said.
http://www.amazon.com/CHARD-HS-5-Sausage-Stuffer-5-Pound/dp/B00A2YG2WO/ref=pd_sim_sbs_79_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=18DYC97BC1V6TYCTQ5BJ&dpSrc=sims&dpST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
@ Tel

Something like this(but with a gasket on the press)? It looks like it would last a lifetime.... an be handy for many things like you said.
http://www.amazon.com/CHARD-HS-5-Sausage-Stuffer-5-Pound/dp/B00A2YG2WO/ref=pd_sim_sbs_79_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=18DYC97BC1V6TYCTQ5BJ&dpSrc=sims&dpST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_



hmm. something like that might work for pressing honey, but I would be skeptical. the press I've got is very similar to the first press on this page, though that's certainly not the only sausage stuffer that would do the job. I would guess that many of the modern vertical stainless steel sausage stuffers would also work. I like the enterprise because it's versatile.
 
Michael Cox
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This is the press linked from the page that is linked above.

It looks pretty quick and efficient, both for wax and honey processing.
 
Marty Mitchell
pollinator
Posts: 380
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Just wanted to chime in an add that I have now found yet another animal to add to the list of domesticated animals that are mighty enough to go feral.

Gold Fish! They are apparently invading lakes and ponds across the country. Can tolerate water temps just above freezing (obviously since they would be frozen) to temps as high as 90degF. Wide PH ranges too.




I am a few months away now from finding out if I have to transfer next year... or get to reset the clock for four years. I will likely build a hive soon either way. Found an acre of land about 2 miles south of my house that is surrounded by older forest with mostly neighborhoods and fields beyond that. May just snatch it up and do a bit of permaculture business on it. I think about bees every day and can't get them off of my mind... even as I am currently diving into building a small aquaponics system in the back yard. I bought goldfish for it! lol $0.12 each. Should get up to 8"-15" over time.

Marty
 
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Hey Marty,
wondering how your bees are faring after almost a year of "sheer neglect"?
It seems to me any wooden box with a whole in it (bees like to fly out for some reason) would satisfy all your requirements. Great that you are planting copious food sources for them - no flowers, no bees!
 
Marty Mitchell
pollinator
Posts: 380
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Jean-Jacques Maury wrote:Hey Marty,
wondering how your bees are faring after almost a year of "sheer neglect"?
It seems to me any wooden box with a whole in it (bees like to fly out for some reason) would satisfy all your requirements. Great that you are planting copious food sources for them - no flowers, no bees!



I do not currently have honey bees. I started this thread in order to dive into the knowledge of bees that is on this forum... and the internet.

I have a series of hoops/red tape to jump through in order to get them. Getting ready to start jumping. First I have to find out if I am going to have to do a military move this year or not. If I can reset the clock for 4 years I will make my move. Now that it is legal to keep bees in my area I have been seeing hives pop up in yards throughout my... and other neighborhoods.

The green Warre' hive box in a tree that I have posted YouTube links to in prior posts is still alive and kicking! The owner posted up a new video the other day. Currently in it's 3rd Winter. Never gets opened or managed in any way other than stacking insulation around the hive during Winter months. All three of his log hives are also currently still inhabited. The bird house bees that he has neglected is not showing any signs of life. I will try to remember too post a link tomorrow when I am back at home and not on a work computer.

Marty
 
Posts: 19
Location: Providence, United States
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I have a really bad idea. You know the Kiko Goats that were bred in New Zealand to be super hardy meat machines? The method was basically turn a bunch of likely contender goats out on poor pasture with competitive pressure from sheep feeding on the same poor pasture. You either got fat on the scraggly clumps of grass or you died and did not reproduce. The best of these trials were ever further selected for meat goat characteristics. Over time, these Kikos became a super-tough, quick growth meat producer.

What if you took a bunch of bees and introduced tons of varroa and mites and you kept restarting hives with whatever bees survived?

You would intentionally stress and kill the majority of the bees but the survivors would possibly have adapted through artificial selection into finding ways to survive and reproduce. You're punching each individual bee in the face metaphorically, but it just might produce a hardy strain of bees...or mass bee genocide...

I told you it was a bad idea.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Jeffrey Dustin wrote:I have a really bad idea. You know the Kiko Goats that were bred in New Zealand to be super hardy meat machines? The method was basically turn a bunch of likely contender goats out on poor pasture with competitive pressure from sheep feeding on the same poor pasture. You either got fat on the scraggly clumps of grass or you died and did not reproduce. The best of these trials were ever further selected for meat goat characteristics. Over time, these Kikos became a super-tough, quick growth meat producer.

What if you took a bunch of bees and introduced tons of varroa and mites and you kept restarting hives with whatever bees survived?

You would intentionally stress and kill the majority of the bees but the survivors would possibly have adapted through artificial selection into finding ways to survive and reproduce. You're punching each individual bee in the face metaphorically, but it just might produce a hardy strain of bees...or mass bee genocide...

I told you it was a bad idea.




I am personally not down for something like that. The bees will be "getting punched in the face" enough as it is these days.... from so many different angles.

If you simply go treatment free it is said that a lot of folks have a lot of hives die off in their first few years. Since bees make soooo many drones that visit other hives to spread That colonies (strong/weak)genes... and every time a hive swarms it is pretty much genetically adapting it'self to your particular environment. I have a feeling that only the strongest/healthiest drones from the strongest/healthiest hives will be the ones able to catch and mate with the queen during her mating flight.

So simply letting a hive make drones, letting a queen mate on her own, and letting a hive swarm are the best things you can do for both your hive... and the bees in your area.

That being said... I stilllllll do not have any bees yet! So embarrassing. lol I just got a 1 year extension for staying in the area. I will have to reset for 4 somewhere before I try to get bees. On a plus side I have seen several new hives in the neighborhood since they made in legal! So the Dandelion flowers in my yard are now covered with many different types and sizes of honey bees.

Perhaps a better way to describe a STUN hive is just to call it what it is (I heard someone else say this next part). It is NOT keeping bees. It is simply Providing Bee Habitat! Just like building a bird house, bat box, a brush pile, or pile of stones. So simple and genius at the same time.


Marty
 
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Location: Providence, RI, USA
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I should probably read this entire thread before putting in my own two cents but it’s a crazy day here so I’m just going to jump right in.

My own hives are hand-made top-bar hives. Managing them is easier than managing langstroth hives but not entirely painless. That said, if I just didn’t care, it would be a little easier. Here is what I would do:

1. Make sure your house does not look like a good place for a swarm to build a nest and close off any holes so that it does not become infested. If this happens, it can be serious for both you and the bees. If your plan is to create a large feral bee population in your neighborhood, your house could become a hive.
2. Construct a bunch of closed boxes in the shape of top-bar hives but only about 2' long and without removable bars. Instead of removable bars, just give each box a removable flat top with some downward-facing strips from which the bees could build comb. Between swarms, you could optionally remove the top, scrape out the comb and disinfect the box (to cut down on disease and wax moths infestation). These boxes would be secured to trees and look like oversized bird houses, so as not to alarm the neighbors.
3. Advertise yourself as a bee swarm catcher. It isn’t hard to do. You will need to install a lot of free swarms to build up a somewhat self-sustaining population of bees in your area.
4. Check the dead boxes every spring (depending on your climate) to clean out the dead bees and old wax and disinfect them before replacing. Many swarms will die or swarm again, and without this step your hives will become disgusting disease-boxes very quickly. Optionally, you could simply remove dead boxes, burn them (with the understanding that burning wax is dangerous and wasteful) and install new ones.
5. After doing this for a few years, bringing in new swarms when old ones die off, you may see some sort of stabilization of the bee population in your neighborhood. With any luck, you can then scale back your own project.

It seems unlikely that you will ever build up the bee population to the point that it is entirely self-sustaining. And I would be very surprised if you could actually attract swarms to your bee houses until the population is built up around you. Instead you will mostly be rescuing the bees that have swarmed from other hapless beekeepers. But the more healthy bee forage you provide in your yard, the better your chances.

Good luck!
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I have good news to report. My 3 hives made it thru the some what mild Vermont winter! I started with a nuc, and split 2x. The weather was pretty darn good, too.

I suspect the number one factor was not the type of hive but management style. It wasn't total Sheer Utter Neglect, but pretty close!

The number one thing that probably got them thru the winter was splitting, which allows the bees to get ahead of the varroa. A Walk Away Split is pretty darn simple. Start with 1 hive that has at least 2 boxes, split and then walk away! Works like 80% of the time.

So here' my list for success, in order of importance (IMO):

Make splits which help the bees get ahead of varroa
Breeding local Survivors
Natural Food
Natural Comb
No treatments
Top entrances
Only feed granulated sugar in winter, if needed
 
Marty Mitchell
pollinator
Posts: 380
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Here is a video of a couple of Langstroth Hives getting opened for the first time in over a Decade/10+ years! This is in the Not-So-Warm area of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. AKA frost zone 4b I believe!

One hive was calm enough to not even need a suit. The other was very hot.

 
Posts: 11
Location: uk
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Hi

just found your post

my hive is a honey bee beehive for bees and not honey (well not really)

it is designed to have one or two visits a year, or never..

have a look and please leave feed back as to what you think>

Kev H

http://ecape1820.tripod.com/alternativebeehive/
 
kevin hancock
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gardener
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In the middle of the wilderness with Sasquatch. Sourwood honey country! Have too many personal hives & apiaries already, or nearly so. Loosely part of a superqueen genetic breeding program for the county too. Always a dozen or more nucs staged in our pasture as a satellite location. Many bees at my disposal & plenty of remote mountain acreage to work with. Surrounded by zillions more wild acres. The local experts spread varroa resistant genetics into the county apiaries last year. I've been keeping bees long enough (5th year) to try something I read in an 1880 homesteading/farming encyclopedia. (it mentioned Langstroth hives might become popular). Going to install swarms &/or splits into hollow logs & never intervene. Trying to help them spread & populate the region with wild disease & mite resistant bees. Same for Seminole pumpkins. 'Cuz I can & feel compelled. Wish me luck. Not a lot of info available about dumping bees into a log. I figure it's slightly better than just letting them swarm & find their own homes. Which is exactly what we're going to do with some of the maintained hives. Will try to post a few pix & updates here. Not quite time for action yet but spring is almost here. Have several logs picked out. Peace.

I have 2 hand made hives of unpainted hemlock. Year 3 now. Looks like they will outlast latex painted pine hives about tenfold. haha roughly equivalent to an old log's life expectancy.

Try buckwheat for utter neglect. Grows fast & easy & has long season. Self seeding. Good soil builder. Bees love it. Wildlife loves it. Humans love it. Easy to see why it was once so popular. Makes a dark nutty flavored honey. Will overpower fainter flavors like peach so beware of that.


 
Marty Mitchell
pollinator
Posts: 380
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
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Awesome looking hive Kevin. I look forward to updates on it! Just saw your reply. I never got the email notification.

Mike Barkley... It sounds like you are up to some interesting things! I look forward to your updates as well!

Feel free to post anything you want onto this thread. Breath some life back into it.
 
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