I have focused on the management of my bees and have left other activities aside, such as writing on the blog. We will see if there is any change to this now that the bedding down of bees for winter is finished soon.
Many experiences. A lott o think about and analyse.
Some of what has happened since the last post:
Brought home some dead outs to clean in February
Made wax foundation, fixed them in frames in February-March-April
Checked if the bees had food enough in March
Brout home some more dead outs in March
In early April I lectured in Austria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4a1bvrVyHI
Cleansing flight of the bees in April
Supering of the strongest hives at the end of April
More supering in beginning of May, and more, and more supering.
In the last part of May began the queen breeding
Then making splits of the best colonies, which splits raised their own queens
Last of May, the harvest began
June 1, the extracting began (one month earlier than normal due to the hot weather).
In June, extracted boxes were put back on the colonies.
More queen breeding and filling of bees in mini mating nucs, etc.
In late June the first laying new queens
In July, some harvest again
In August all honey boxes above the queenexcluder were harvested. Some apiaries gave at least another half a box of honey in early August. Many colonies had quite some honey in the coming winter room
In mid-August, the completion of winter feed began with some sugar solution.
The amount of remaining honey for winter varies in the colonies, 5 – 25 kg (10-55 lb). All colonies got at least a some sugar solution so they will end up with about 30 kg (65 lb) of food for winter and the brooding in early spring.
Very little of mites this year, will do varroa level tests eventually.
2 thoughts on “Summer has been intensive”
Hello from Baltimore, Maryland!!!!
Good to read from you Erik. I watched your presentation and like the information you presented. Just curious why you are down sizing your apiary? I also see that you are only using mite control in half of your apiary now. I am still maintaining my urban apiary, now 110 colonies, without any chemical controls. I do make splits of colonies in late June and July to induce brood breaks by removing the queen and a few frames of bees. This will induce the colony, which contains the majority of bees from the original colony, to raise multiple queen cells which are again divided into multiple 5 frame units. I have found good success doing this practice, but because my apiary is located inside Baltimore City, I have limited space to store equipment and start new bee yards. My area is able to provide our apiary with good abundant spring nectar flow. Most colonies can provide surpluses provided I get enough boxes of frames out on the strongest colonies. Our state failure rates are still very high at about 55-80% loss rates among Maryland beekeepers. Our apiary winter loss rate is approximately 30-35%, which I consider for a treatment-free apiary very good when considering most beekeepers in my state use chemical mite control and still have high losses.
Here in USA, the beekeeping industry is experiencing very high rates of summer queen (queen events) and colony failures. These queen events, or unexplained loss of queens, are now endemic in American beekeeping. There has been a large increase in the use of acid vapor mite controls in USA. While most of the industry continues to deny that there are problems associated with acid vaporization used on colonies, I am convinced that poor queen rearing practices, poor nectar flows and the use of prolonged artificial diets, the excessive use of acid treatments and other invasive mite controls, the continued translocation of colonies and queens, and the massive amounts of pesticides has exacerbated our problems and spreads even more virulent mites and associated viruses every season to every corner of our country.
I do see signs of viruses in my apiary, but it appears to be decreasing every year. I see some deformed wings and crawling bees outside the colonies but not inside. While I don’t use mite controls, I wonder every season if I should break down and start using something in an attempt to ‘try’ and further clear these problems. At the same time I struggle to allow the bees to find equilibrium with the mites as other colonies around the world have. I am still using 4.9mm small cell foundation for brood nest and foundationless frames for honey production using the unlimited brood nest configuration. This type of thinking and management is not common nor accepted here in American beekeeping. It is a lonely road being treatment-free beekeeper.
Perhaps you could share with me your thoughts on running an apiary with no treatments and how you can come to terms with knowing some of the colonies will die out due to viral infections likely due to mites.
Thanks for your valuable time!!!
Good to hear from you Bill,
It’s difficult downsizing, as making splits is a part of management.:)
Going treatment free is not a lone road in Sweden. The chairman in our association with close to hundred colonies is my neighbor. He has monitored all his colonies and none is above 9 mites on 300 bees, most is around 3, and has not qualified for tretament.He has got breeders from me the latest two years to breed from.
I’m treating less and less, about 10% annual losses, 30-35 kg crop in average including all wintered colonies the previous autumn, the latest three years.
What you say about the cause of the high annual losses you are experiencing on your side I hold for true. The immune system with the bees is destroyed, the balance of all types of creatures in the microflora in and on the bees (like on ourselves), necessary for being alive and thrive for all living beings is out of place and all kind of bacteria, viruses and fungi that previously was benign and necessary develops into pathogens.
Hope the winter will be kind to you and your bees!
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