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

 
pollinator
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I have heard that the bees naturally regulate their cell size if allowed to do so. Larger cells when varroa are not around, smaller ones when they are.

I read a really fascinating book on the archaeology of beehives. From the Cave paintings to the Greek pottery top bar hives to the modern Langstroths and top bars. Russian beekeepers would search the forest for bee trees. When they found one, they would mark it with their brand and cut a little door that they could open to harvest honey. And they would set traps for bears to keep them from damaging the tree.

I think this is the book, but I am not sure. I got it from the library. http://www.amazon.com/The-Archaeology-Beekeeping-Eva-Crane/dp/0801416094
 
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Here would be as good as any place to ask about this bee hive, http://www.honeyflow.com/. Any ideas on how/if this will actually work?

Edit, I just saw a post on this forum on the same thing, I will check out that thread.
 
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Dr Tarpy from NC State did a video on diversity that also mentioned that the research on small cell, hygienic behavior, etc is not as conclusive as some would have us believe:
https://vimeo.com/67927457
 
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Just a quickie:

1) Deep Litter Method inside hive. This is making an extra area at the bottom of the box filled with wood chips and such as a habitat for helpful organisms like earwigs, etc. that may help with predating pests. Phil says this has worked well overall, but has been a bit of a challenge to keep the wood damp in the hive. (The idea is to keep the inside of the hive similar to a rotting log environment.



Here's another thread on this topic: http://www.permies.com/t/35494/bees/Beehive-Deep-Litter-Method-thoughts


Emily
 
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I am in NY and I think climate has a a lot to do with what will work for the girls in your area.

I had kept some hives in dappled sun in Summer, full sun in the Winter. They were much more prone to SHB. A hive in full sun, even in the Summer does much better. I screen the top with a gap for ventilation under the hive cover and it protects them from being raided, plus they love to put propolis all over that metal screen. Easy collection in the Fall.

Nature is really out of balance, thanks to us. Bees need monitoring and wise management. If a hive thinks it has too small a space in Spring they will throw a swarm. Sometimes they will throw swarm after swarm until there are so few bees left, there aren't enough to keep the brood warm.

A swarm in the wild (from your hive or from a feral hive) has less than a 1 in 8 chance of survival. They leave with all the honey they can hold and the scout bees lead them to their new home where they have to build comb before the queen can start laying. Granted, being filled with honey is what stimulates the wax glands, but a swarm, even a really early swarm has very little chance of survival. The old hive has to wait 16 days for their new queen to hatch out, a week to get acclimated, then hope the weather is good 'cause she has about a two week window to get mated properly. If she doesn't get eaten on her mating flights, then she starts laying. That hive now has to play catch up because their numbers have been halved and have to try to get enough Winter stores built up to make it through Winter. An un-monitored hive who lost their queen or has a poorly mated queen is doomed. Put out the banner invitation to shb and wax moths.

If the bees think they have enough room by late March, early April 'cause girls are thinking way ahead, (mind you I don't even open the hives until first food is up, dandelions in my neck of the woods) they don't have as much of an inclination to swarm. That is why a big colony, at least 4 mediums full going into Winter, 5 is better, will work out better in the Spring. Swarming does not guarantee survival of the species, not anymore.

If they have decided to swarm, check you hives every two weeks as Q's take 16 days to hatch out and with careful inspection, you will find the Q cells. If I find this I pull the old Q and all the open brood, most of the honey/pollen and put them in a nuc. Make sure you didn't miss a queen cell. Leave sealed brood, a frame of resources and 2 -3 Q cells in the old hive and supers with foundation for them to put their efforts into comb and honey production. They don't have to use their workers to take care of uncapped brood. They think they swarmed. If you want more hives, leave them as is providing enough space for them to feel comfy. If you are looking for heavy honey production, combine most of them later, leaving a nuc on the side in case you need a queen later in the season. Overwinter the nuc and you have a strong colony for the following Spring.

Drawn comb in like money in the bank. It takes 10 pounds of honey to produce 1 pound of comb. If you have drawn comb you have instant nectar storage or ready for eggs. Wax does accumulate pesticides and toxins so I always put the year assembled with foundation on the top of my frames and then rotate them out and replace them after 3 - 5 years depending.

I don't like the Warre because to extract the honey you are destroying comb every year. Just a waste of resources for the bees. They work hard enough.

BTW - I use all 10 frame mediums. The bees don't know the difference. I can lift a full medium. All the parts are interchangeable - I don't need to go searching for frames to match the super.

Debris and litter in the bottom of a hive is a breeding ground and/or a hiding place. I haven't tried them yet but the screened oil pan bottom boards seem genius. Get the ones that pull out from the back of the hive.

And an opening at the top makes much more sense from the bees perspective. You are carrying a heavy load, do you want to go upstairs or downstairs with it? And if brood is in the bottom . . . In the summer I give them two entrances, better ventilation and access. When it starts getting cold at night they cluster up to stay warm, it's harder to guard two entrances from wax moths. I use a 3/4" hole for their second entrance. A wine cork fits perfectly. Just keep them on the same side of the hive so when you close up the second entrance its easier for the girls to find their way back in. And put it to the side of the hand grips, not above or below to avoid squished bees and stung fingers.

For the bees,

Permie Paradise
 
Lee Gee
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PS - Plant mint around your hives, wax moths don't like mint, but the girls do. Haven't found a natural plant repellent for SHB yet. Anybody know of one? I try to bee Zen about them but I feel protective of "my" girls.
 
Emily Cressey
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Don't know if you guys are into this, but Valerie and Healing Bees.com has found that working with subtle energy, (similar to geopathic stress lines, etc.) can improve colony health.

She discovered/developed this information while working in Energy Healing and also becoming a beekeeper and wanting to avoid medicating her hives.

This is very "Jacqueline-esque" in my opinion...

I have her book and will be testing her recommended set up with my hives this spring and onward. I don't plan to medicate...

From her site:

Prior to 2009 I was a Jungian Psychologist. Post 2009 I became a beekeeper. I assumed beekeeping would be a hobby. Misguided assumption. Beeing thus far, self-misguided, I launched my academic mind into research: How to create an energy field that would sustain healthy hives. When I 'listened' the means to my inquiry were readily available and immediately fulfilling. When I had to know the 'Why' of it, I labored.

As guided, I recorded the bees inside the hives. Now to figure out how to transmit this sound both economically and sustainably, 24/7 to the hives. In this study, I learned that the bees were highly sensitive to their choice of location. I learned that all colony insects prefer to locate their nests/hives in geopathic stress zones. What does this mean?

It means that they thrive in zones that provide them with free 24/7-energy 'plug-ins’. These energy fields entrain the insects to higher frequency levels providing them with natural protection against viruses, predators, parasites and contaminants. Not having to work as hard to maintain hive temperature and being upgraded themselves they would be able to live longer and forage farther.

This led me to the study of quantum physics and ultimately to biogeologists who had been working in the creation of or re-establishment of subtle energy fields. These biogeologists have been my mentors in guiding me in my readings in quantum physics and helping me understand both what I am reading and seeing. They introduced me to the twisted copper cubit rings. I first used the Harmonizer (1 above) to compensate for not placing my hives in geopathic stress zones. Now I use their Star Burst (2 below).
Picture
My original contribution to finding a way to sustain healthy hives was the beehive recordings, HealingBees. I have five recordings: the four seasons and a swarm colony making new combs. The recording is burned to a CD and clipped to the copper Star Burst. This arrangement is then set in close proximity to the hives. These two together create a highly coherent energy field wherein the bees and the plants (my chickens, too) thrive. The copper device creates the field; the HealingBees CD the message.
 
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Just a heads up...

Permaculture Magazine's new issue has an article about tree hives and log hives in the woods. Amazing stuff.
William
 
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I have a 4 box Warre hive that I started 2.5 years ago with two boxes. Last year I got up the nerve to add two more boxes. Its now a 4 box Warre hive that really has not been touched in 2.5 years. The bees are happy. They have swarmed twice that I have seen. I have literally not done a thing with them / too them. Pollination on my property is through the roof. My neighbor has about 3 acres in apple orchard and he had the best crop in 25 years last year. Coincidence? I think not! At this point I am pretty sure If I left them alone for the next 10 years they would be fine. But I would like to Harvest some honey and maybe even do a split to make two colonies. We have so much Apples, clover, and blackberry in my area I could support acres of colonies I am sure.

On a side note if there are any natural / natural minded / waree bee keepers in the Portland, OR area that would be willing to come over and do a few hours of mentoring with me I would be grateful. I am happy to pay / barter as needed. I'll give you an extra copy of Mark Shepard's book that I have! (please help me...)


 
pollinator
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More information than you could possibly want about the whole cell size argument here in this thread
http://www.permies.com/t/43296/bees/Varroa-Destructor-mite-result-plastic

David
 
David Livingston
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Mark
Have you read Warrés book ?
There is a free PDF on this page here
http://www.warre.biobees.com/bfa.htm

David
 
steward
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Mark Lipscomb wrote:
On a side note if there are any natural / natural minded / waree bee keepers in the Portland, OR area that would be willing to come over and do a few hours of mentoring with me I would be grateful. I am happy to pay / barter as needed. I'll give you an extra copy of Mark Shepard's book that I have! (please help me...)



I might be your guy, Mark. I live on the wrong side of the Columbia, but I'm in Portland regularly.
 
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You guys are really throwing in some great pointers, ideas, and experience.

I really need to go through this thread and organize it all into a single post at some point. Something clear and concise. I am betting that a ton of little things will turn into one tough bee colony.

@ Mark L.

That is awesome to hear that you are pretty much half way past the stretch of time I would be potentially ignoring an established hive. Gives me hope.

@ Lee Gee

REALLY liked hearing the mint suggestion. I am interested in more knowledge on this subject. What would be a good "guild" for bees?

@ William J

I really wish I could read that article. I tried to open it at work earlier. I will try again when I get a chance.

@ Tel Jetson

I am not interested in controlling their behavior. I am interested in lowering their workload to the point that the bees have the time to clean house. I now my house only gets cleaned thoroughly when there is enough time to spare.

@ Emily C

I am totally interested in the deep litter method for giving the beneficial insects a hiding space. I would likely keep it screened to keep the bees from falling in. I honestly like the deep litter, or oil, or DE.

Be back for another post. I found something earlier that I wanted to share.
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
@ Emily C

I am totally interested in the deep litter method for giving the beneficial insects a hiding space. I would likely keep it screened to keep the bees from falling in. I honestly like the deep litter, or oil, or DE.



I would recommend against screening any part of a hive. if the bees can't get to it, they can't patrol it and clean out the bits they don't like. that means that if, for example, a varroa mite were to fall off of a bee into the screened off portion, it would be protected from expulsion by the screen. with screened drawers, the solution to this problem is for the beekeeper to take over responsibility for cleaning. not a solution that works well for a hive you are hoping to neglect.

further, the idea with including decomposing material in a hive is that the organisms residing there will add complexity and resilience to the hive ecosystem. if the bees are kept separate from that ecosystem, the benefit is likely to be rather diminished.

I would consider oil traps and diatomaceous earth well within the realm of "treatment" and therefore an obstacle to co-evolution of bees and mites (and other hive pests), but to each their own.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Went down the rabbit hole/link someone posted earlier about the deep litter method. Then went down another link to this thread with TONs of info. about the pseudo scorpion.
Here is a pic of one eating a veroa destructor mite taken off of a bee...
http://www.beenature-project.com/online/templatemedia/all_lang/resources/%24C2%24A9Arena.png

The scorpion is extremely well suited to life in the dark. I am thinking that getting deep litter material may be as easy as scooping some out of the inside of a dead tree/log and loosening chunks of the wood that is filled with cracks. I am beginning to think that no screen would really be needed so as to help out the earwigs. They are known to eat wax moths and live peacefully with bees. Maybe Small Hive Beetles too? Who knows.

Here is the thread about pseudo scorpions. Looks like lots of cracks in the grains of the wood... or lots of screw driver/knife gouges are a plus for these critters.
http://www.beenature-project.com/shop/page/4?sessid=EzaNUdHZDcVB


Also, during lunch today at work I went back to the article about cell size I posted yesterday. This time I noticed a few more details...

When the comb spacing decreases to 32mm or less the temps. of the hive starts to climb.
Bees are much more tolerant of high temps than the Veroa destructor mite. I wonder what temps are ideal
Then actually looked closer at one of the charts about bee cell size in relation to species and comb spacing. Now we can begin to figure out what distance to space the combs for which species of bee we get. Even states what the noted drone cell ratio is for the given species. Here is the pic...
http://www.bioapi.es/fotos/tamanyo_celdas.jpg
 
tel jetson
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I've seen plenty of earwigs in my hives. haven't noticed any book scorpions yet, but I think they're both less common and rather sneakier. for reference, I haven't placed any extra space for litter in any of my hives, but I also don't clean debris off the bottom board, so there certainly is some.
 
Mark Lipscomb
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tel jetson wrote:

Mark Lipscomb wrote:
On a side note if there are any natural / natural minded / waree bee keepers in the Portland, OR area that would be willing to come over and do a few hours of mentoring with me I would be grateful. I am happy to pay / barter as needed. I'll give you an extra copy of Mark Shepard's book that I have! (please help me...)



I might be your guy, Mark. I live on the wrong side of the Columbia, but I'm in Portland regularly.



I see. Playing hard to get. OK. The Mark Shepard Book, one package of Bacon (enough for breakfast with 4 people) and one package of 2 large pork chops (enough for 2 - 3 people for dinner). The pork was born, raised, slaughtered and processed within 15 miles. It was raised and slaughtered on my property.

What now Bee Keeper?




ETA: I am confident we can reach an agreement so on Monday I am going to visit the fine folks at BeeThinking.com in down town Portland and pick up another Warre hive.
 
tel jetson
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Mark Lipscomb wrote:What now Bee Keeper?



looks like my schedule just opened right up.
 
Mark Lipscomb
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tel jetson wrote:

Mark Lipscomb wrote:What now Bee Keeper?



looks like my schedule just opened right up.



Private Message sent.

 
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David Livingston wrote:.
Instead of thinking that the bees and beekeepers have managed to find a solution is it not equally possible the verroa has found a solution so instead of buying hygienic bees could you not be buying " tame " verroa .
Just a thought

David



Not sure what you mean by buying some "tame" varroa but somebody - http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1003035 is already tinkering with "taming" varroa. If one wants to know who is manipulating varroa, Google Beelogics' ownership.
 
Mike Haych
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
My Favorite... Are there any type of lifeforms that could live in soil placed inside the bottom of a hive that would also eat the invasive mites and such that fall down there? Could be fungi or else.



It's probably not a good idea to put something into the hive that isn't there naturally. We introduced varroa to Apis mellifera from Asia where it co-exists with Apis cerana. "Fixing" the problem by introducing another entity into the hive that does not exist there naturally could make the problem worse or maybe better; who knows? To truly fix things in the hive, get as much of what does not exist in the hive naturally out of the hive. In general, we should stop tinkering with things in Nature that we know little or nothing about.
 
David Livingston
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People are buying bees because they are " hygenic " whatever that means . I was suggesting that such bees may not be hygienic but that the verroa that come with them are actually evolving to be not fatal to the bees.
Think about the genetic potential in both the verroa and the bees and it is an obvious possibility .
As for monsanto .... What do you expect ?

David
 
Mike Haych
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David Livingston wrote:For the vampire like parasite ,verroa killing your prey is evolutionary bad move as if you kill your host then there is a good chance you will die.



Absolutely, David but the relationship has to be co-evolutionary . Varroa destructor co-exists with Apis cerana; it was introduced to Apis mellifera with which it does not co-exist. Unless one or both evolve, the vampire will destroy the host and itself. It's a similar situation with emerald ash borer. There is a co-evolutionary relationship between Asian ashes and emerald ash borer but there is no such relationship with North American or European ash trees. In my woods, I have ash. Do I cut them or leave them? By leaving them, I allow the borer to multiply. By cutting them, do I destroy species co-exist with these ash? I don't know. I'm probably going to leave them since the incredibly rapid spread of the borer suggests that it already has the upper hand. Perhaps the species that co-exist with them will be able to evolve and survive. Perhaps Nature can establish a new equilibrium.
 
Mike Haych
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A big consideration in hive design choice is one's back. Look closely at Kenyan/Tanzanian vs Warre vs Langs. Try hefting a box full of honey. Someone once asked Dee Lusby how she hefts supers onto her pickup truck and she answered frame by frame.
 
tel jetson
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Mike Haych wrote:

David Livingston wrote:For the vampire like parasite ,verroa killing your prey is evolutionary bad move as if you kill your host then there is a good chance you will die.



Absolutely, David but the relationship has to be co-evolutionary . Varroa destructor co-exists with Apis cerana; it was introduced to Apis mellifera with which it does not co-exist. Unless one or both evolve, the vampire will destroy the host and itself.



turns out that co-evolution takes place fairly rapidly if allowed to. honey bees have fairly long generations, but varroa mites have much faster cycles. if left alone, a colony will generally rogue out the mites that are particularly virulent, because they are the most obvious. what's left are less virulent individuals that present a smaller threat to the colony. and so on until everybody gets along as well as can be expected. or the colony is killed and the mites with it.

this process is, however, easy to interrupt. treating a colony for mites props up weak bees and strong mites that would otherwise both be "naturally selected" (into the great hereafter). placing hives close together can also prevent co-evolution by providing a ready host for mites that kill their host colony. bee drift from one colony to other, nearby colonies is also quite frequent and can prevent, or at least dramatically slow, co-evolution.

there have been a number of studies documenting this co-evolution. additionally, I've seen evidence of it in my own hives. I don't think I've got a single hive that is totally free of varroa, but they seem to handle it just fine, and better as time passes.
 
Mike Haych
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tel jetson wrote:the idea is to recreate more closely a natural situation. in a tree hive, there is, in fact, quite a bit of detritus and decay at the bottom of the hive. this provides a more complex hive community that does, in fact, mimic a natural situation rather better than a fastidiously clean hive.



Yep but it seems to me that it's far more complicated than observing what you see in a tree hive and then "copying" it. The detritus and decay at the bottom of the tree hive is part of that tree hive. It might even be unique to each tree hive. To put detritus and decay into a man-made hive isn't the same thing or maybe it is. That's not as flip-floppy as it sounds. Fukuoka reached a point in his observing of Nature where he concluded that he couldn't figure it out, that he couldn't comprehend what he was observing because it was just too complex. So he decided the best course of action was to intervene as little as possible. If we decide that we want honey, that is our first intervention. If we decide that we want to build a box since that will make honey harvesting easier, that is our second intervention. I try to restrict my intervention of just these two because I don't know why bees do what they do except in the general terms that apply to all life - procreation and eating. I find that the more I try to explain what I see happening with my bees, the more confused I get and my logic collapses. And then I remember Fukuoka and my confusion disappears.

Having said that I do intervene heavily in what I think are very benign ways. From last frost to first frost, there is plenty of forage which we have planted. Most of the plants are local-ish natives but there are also cultivateds like borage and comfrey since the bees flock to them. There's always water available even during drought. We provide that. We had a couple of hives freeze last winter from an abnormally cold winter accompanied by steady north winds. I have built a wind barrier to the north of the hives and planted a dense white-cedar dominated wind break as well. When the natural wind break matures enough, I will remove the constructed wind break.

As I've commented respectfully a number of times in this thread, I think we tinker too much.
 
tel jetson
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Mike Haych wrote:Yep but it seems to me that it's far more complicated than observing what you see in a tree hive and then "copying" it. The detritus and decay at the bottom of the tree hive is part of that tree hive. It might even be unique to each tree hive. To put detritus and decay into a man-made hive isn't the same thing or maybe it is.



you're right, of course: it isn't the same thing. but I believe it's headed in the right direction. that natural ecosystems are more complex than I'm able to understand doesn't keep me from trying to approximate some of their benefits by assembling guilds of plants and fungus, for another example.

there are, whether I want them there or not, many other organisms inside my hives than just the bees. there are obviously harmful examples, like Varroa destructor, that are becoming more benign as time goes on. there are ostensibly harmful examples that may actually have some benefit, like wax moths. there are obviously beneficial organisms, like the yeasts that ferment pollen to make bee bread. there are earwigs. there may be book scorpions hiding in the cracks. there are untold bacteria and fungus and probably quite a few viruses.

just like in other ecosystems I'm responsible for, I am guided by the principle that complexity and diversity create resiliency. in this instance at least, my intuition and scientific inquiry happen to agree.

I clearly only understand a small fraction of the interactions that occur in a hive. what I hear you saying (and I might be very wrong), Mike, is that it would be desirable to reduce the number of interactions. that way, I could understand a larger fraction of what goes on in there. not by increasing my knowledge, but by reducing what there is to know. that's just not my style.

I am fully aware that my intellect is likely far too limited to understand it all. once upon a time, this would have bothered me. but complete knowledge of the hive is not my goal, though I do very much enjoy learning.

for what it's worth, I'm not in the habit of adding organisms to a colony. if other critters show up in a hive on their own, though, I don't consider it my business to discourage them. depending on the species, I might celebrate or lament, but I won't intervene. obvious exceptions: mammals and birds.
 
Marty Mitchell
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You folks sure are making some great conversation. Looking forward to where this thread leads.

I know I will never understand nature fully... even inside a tiny bee hive. I have just always lived by the old saying "variety is the spice of life". It has brought nothing but good to my life. I want to create a close to nature hive that is able to find it's own nature. It's own balance. It's own ecosystem. I want to introduce the right environments and organisms. Letting the system find it's own way.
 
David Livingston
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I am quite happy with the idea of co evolution I just don't see it as a 50 / 50 thing more like a 90/10 split with bees being the 10 . Thus I find claims of bees being hygienic amusing

David
 
Mike Haych
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tel jetson wrote:just like in other ecosystems I'm responsible for, I am guided by the principle that complexity and diversity create resiliency. in this instance at least, my intuition and scientific inquiry happen to agree.



I always get very nervous when my intuition and scientific inquiry happen to agree. I wonder if I'm being reductionist in my thinking. Hehehe. These days science is like government: we have the best that corporate money can buy. LOL

I clearly only understand a small fraction of the interactions that occur in a hive. what I hear you saying (and I might be very wrong), Mike, is that it would be desirable to reduce the number of interactions. that way, I could understand a larger fraction of what goes on in there. not by increasing my knowledge, but by reducing what there is to know. that's just not my style.



No, I'm not saying that we can understand by reducing the interventions. I'm saying that because we can NEVER understand, we should try to keep interventions to a minimum. That way, we have a smaller chance of upsetting the balance.

I'd say that we see things, more or less, the same way.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I was doing some more thinking about bees again yesterday and thought up another question or two to add to the mix.

I remember reading that healthy soil will be teaming with bacteria. A percentage of which produces antibiotics. Growing trees can use the antibiotics in much the same manner as we use them. Reducing the need for much... or even any intervention if set up properly.

Do you guys think that some bacteria in the hive clutter at the base may be the same?

Oh! Also, would the bees use the hive base(or any side nook) as a cleaning station to stop by and get cleaned off by helpers
 
David Livingston
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Nestduftwärmebindung is what you need to look into Marty and the work of Thur looking at hive atmosphere
Bacteria and moulds are very important for the bees to make bee bread from pollen which is why herbicides and fungicides are very bad for bees

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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David Livingston wrote:Nestduftwärmebindung is what you need to look into Marty and the work of Thur looking at hive atmosphere
Bacteria and moulds are very important for the bees to make bee bread from pollen which is why herbicides and fungicides are very bad for bees

David




I read up on that just a little earlier. My mind is interested and wants to know more. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!


Also, happened across a few bee facts earlier that I wanted to share. I haven't a clue if it is accurate or not. Still made me start doing the brain storm again and so I wanted to share. I hope it makes others do some thinking too.


How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey? - Two million.

How many flowers does a honey bee have to visit to gather a load of pollen? - 1500 flowers.

How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey? - Over 55,000 miles

How large an area does a honey bee have to cover to collect a load of pollen? - Approximately 12 square miles.

How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime? -
1/12 teaspoon.

You have to go through approximately one tonne of honey to gather approximately 20 lb. of bees wax. Approximately 9 kg.

honey bees make flakes of wax no larger than a pin head. It takes 500,000 flakes of wax to make one pound of bees wax. Less than 1/2 kg.

How many kilograms of honey do bees have to consume to make one kilogram of bees wax? - Eighteen kilograms of honey, almost 40 lbs. of honey.

What is the US per capita consumption of honey? - 1.1 pound

How many honey bees are there in a hive? - In a strong hive there are 70,000 - 100,000 Bees in a hive.

When do honey bees sleep? - honey bees do not sleep. They take mini cat naps. They work all day long in the field collecting nectar, pollen, water, proplesses, etc. and at night they work in the hives building new combs, repairing old combs, etc.


OK. All of this got me to thinking on a number of subjects. Forgot most of them but here are a few ideas I had.

1. Now I know that I have nowhere near the amount of flowers on my small property that I want for them. I want to make their trips fast and short. I will be planting much more out before I get bees. I feel as though this would be a very major piece for the STUN hive.

2. I know that the verroa destructor mites are fierce and that their populations increase 12 fold every 12 weeks or so during the season when honey bees are making babies... then the population plummets during the off season. I know that they are spreading disease and such as they hop from bee to bee sucking out some blood. However, I feel that by harvesting honey and wax... I would be a bigger issue for the survival of the hive than the mites, the disease, the mice, the moths, and... well... anything else that comes along other than a bear, or a long cold winter with no food or warmth.

3. I have decided that if I harvest honey it will be to save and feed back to them during the winter if needed. Then no more harvesting ever. I would not be angry @ others for keeping all the honey from their hives though. It is delicious and awesome. I would still buy and use honey too myself.

4. I now feel as though not harvesting honey makes me feel good. There will be a wild bee refuge on my property I suppose. lol A place where they can reseed themselves back out into the wild undisturbed. The free pollination would just be a major bonus. A surplus they give for their slice of heaven.

5. Since bees have to consume soooo much honey to make the wax for comb... I am liking the flow hive idea all that much more now. I bet some homestead folks will just put a single flow comb inside their hives and let the bees keep the rest of their honey. Would be much more sustainable by relieving the work load for the bees.
 
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I am surprised no one has mentioned the Perone hive as an option.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcZWV2JtQuQ

Most of the hive belongs to the bees. I think this concept makes a lot of sense.
 
tel jetson
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Marty Mitchell wrote:
3. I have decided that if I harvest honey it will be to save and feed back to them during the winter if needed. Then no more harvesting ever. I would not be angry @ others for keeping all the honey from their hives though. It is delicious and awesome. I would still buy and use honey too myself.



admirable, but perhaps not really the best for the bees in the long term. if they need feeding during winter, they are not adequately adapted to the locale. propping them up by feeding runs the risk of spreading whatever trait led them to be short of honey. and if they're only short of honey because you harvested some to feed them later...

winter feeding is also not easy to do without harming the bees. setting a top feeder up going into fall makes it less likely to chill them should you decide to feed later. but that also adds an un-insulated empty space above the cluster. you could stuff it full of something to insulate until you decide to add honey.

another option is to evaluate their honey stores going into Fall, and feed then if they're short to make up the difference. I don't feed at all anymore, but I would choose that option if I were going to.
 
David Livingston
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You are welcome Marty I just like the opertunity to say Nestduftwärmebindung
German scrabble games must be a hoot !

David
 
Marty Mitchell
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tel jetson wrote:

Marty Mitchell wrote:
3. I have decided that if I harvest honey it will be to save and feed back to them during the winter if needed. Then no more harvesting ever. I would not be angry @ others for keeping all the honey from their hives though. It is delicious and awesome. I would still buy and use honey too myself.



admirable, but perhaps not really the best for the bees in the long term. if they need feeding during winter, they are not adequately adapted to the locale. propping them up by feeding runs the risk of spreading whatever trait led them to be short of honey. and if they're only short of honey because you harvested some to feed them later...

winter feeding is also not easy to do without harming the bees. setting a top feeder up going into fall makes it less likely to chill them should you decide to feed later. but that also adds an un-insulated empty space above the cluster. you could stuff it full of something to insulate until you decide to add honey.

another option is to evaluate their honey stores going into Fall, and feed then if they're short to make up the difference. I don't feed at all anymore, but I would choose that option if I were going to.



That is a good point that I didn't even consider about the extra work and creating a cold place in the hive that can also hurt some of the bees. After hearing your reply I am thinking harvesting some honey to try to feed back to them later may not be the best idea... like you said. Thanks.

Mainely... it would not be in line with the STUN part of a STUN hive. lol

I am willing to set a board on top during the winter months to slow heat loss. Even willing to change the quilt from time to time too. I would be able to do that when making the occational visits onto the property to make sure the renters are taking care of things and doing fruit tree/berry pruning once a year at least.

I am begginning to wonder if I should care about the bees and look at them the same way Sepp H. looks @ the seed he scatters around. If it does not belong there then it will die. Making room for something that does belong there. All I should do is create an environment that supports life. If the hive dies... then I will observe and make any changes if needed. Then capture another wild hive. I do plan to take some local classes from bee keepers around my area. Already made friends with one.

I have been watching a lot of youtube videos on what the inside of a wild beehive looks like inside a tree. Definately lots of hidden spaces for friends and foe.

 
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So, as a beekeeper I get tons of people asking me about keeping bees "to help the bees, not for the honey"... Every time, I tell them not to do this. Here is why:

The crisis we face with the honeybee die-offs is that our industrial agriculture system is dependent on them for production. With commercial beekeepers losing so many hives per year, our food system becomes endangered unless we can find a way to stop the die offs. But there is absolutely no reason why getting one more urban or suburban beekeeper, or one hundred more, or one thousand more, will solve this problem. In fact, it can make it worse in may ways that others here have already alluded too. Unless you are actively working to select genetic populations that are better than the genetics that are already out there and getting those bee lines to the commercial beekeepers, you are not "helping". We here at permies take the different approach and say that we don't necessarily need to save the honeybees (although we can work them in our systems in sustainable ways), which are not naturally part of our systems in North America, but we should instead move away from the industrial agriculture system that is dependent on they honeybee.

But putting out a "STUN" type hives with the explicit hope of having it swarm only does damage. Not only will you probably have marginal-at-best genetics that will not help those of us who are trying to breed better bees, but your swarms will be competing for forage with native pollinators that are already at risk. And the the real disaster for our ecosystem would be to loose those native pollinators.

If you really want to help, plant more forage for pollinators. Early blooming and late blooming nectar plants are the best best. MORE SEED BOMBS PLEASE!!! Again, just having more honey bee hives will not have the effect of "saving the honeybee" nor will it help our industrial agriculture system.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Tom OHern wrote:So, as a beekeeper I get tons of people asking me about keeping bees "to help the bees, not for the honey"... Every time, I tell them not to do this. Here is why:

The crisis we face with the honeybee die-offs is that our industrial agriculture system is dependent on them for production. With commercial beekeepers losing so many hives per year, our food system becomes endangered unless we can find a way to stop the die offs. But there is absolutely no reason why getting one more urban or suburban beekeeper, or one hundred more, or one thousand more, will solve this problem. In fact, it can make it worse in may ways that others here have already alluded too. Unless you are actively working to select genetic populations that are better than the genetics that are already out there and getting those bee lines to the commercial beekeepers, you are not "helping". We here at permies take the different approach and say that we don't necessarily need to save the honeybees (although we can work them in our systems in sustainable ways), which are not naturally part of our systems in North America, but we should instead move away from the industrial agriculture system that is dependent on they honeybee.

But putting out a "STUN" type hives with the explicit hope of having it swarm only does damage. Not only will you probably have marginal-at-best genetics that will not help those of us who are trying to breed better bees, but your swarms will be competing for forage with native pollinators that are already at risk. And the the real disaster for our ecosystem would be to loose those native pollinators.

If you really want to help, plant more forage for pollinators. Early blooming and late blooming nectar plants are the best best. MORE SEED BOMBS PLEASE!!! Again, just having more honey bee hives will not have the effect of "saving the honeybee" nor will it help our industrial agriculture system.



FYI...
1. I am well aware that... A wild hive kept in my back yard is not going to save the world... the honey bee... or industrial agriculture. Every little bit helps. They estimate that at one time there were only about 1200 humans in the world. We almost went extinct.
2. Having a hive will just increase my personal resiliency in the world by increasing production and earning it's right to exist as part of my system. All it takes is 1 square foot of space. How awesome is that?
3. I already know that the honey bee is an "invasive" or "white man's fly" as the Native Americans called them when we brought them from Europe. I honestly would not mind finding a way to import those stingless dwarf honey bees from Asia too.
4. I am aware that honey bees compete with the other 2000 something native bees of North America. I like them being here. I want them to stay/invade more.
5. I have already been busy planting massive bee and butterfly attracting spaces. Also been building nesting areas for wild pollinators of other types. Planning on more... but that is not this subject. Already referenced that in one of the first posts.
6. I believe nature is better than any person at selecting what is best for her. You and everyone else can tell me how wrong I am once every ten posts but it is not going to change my mind. I am sure someone will come up with a new and awesome bee some day. Bet it will be great for human needs too. That is fine and that is not of my concern. Could make a Killer bee comment but that would be rude. lol
7. I am going to try to focus more on future posts as to what would make a good STUN hive. It is what I want to have some day. What I want to learn how to do. Anyone else chiming in to tell me I am dumb and don't know what I am doing isn't going to get a response from me again. It is wasting my time making these long posts. Wasting everyone else's time who has to read it.

I am not offended at all. I know you want what is best for something you care about. Everyone is very passionate for their bees. I can see that and I respect it. I actually love to get to talk to so many knowledgeable people. All of you guys have a lot of honor and pride in your work. That is an awesome thing.

Marty
 
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