PDA

View Full Version : Introducing myself and a few questions!



stormranch
Jun 28th 2009, 10:11 PM
Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and this is my first post.

My name is Mark, and I have a 24 acre ranch outside of Watsonville, CA. I am actually a middle school science teacher, but we also raise goats, sheep, steers, chickens, turkeys, ocassionally pigs, and have a big garden. I like to make wine, and have about 100 or so vines of different types. I also belong to winepress.us forum.
I have been keeping bees for about 5 yrs, mainly by collecting swarms. A couple of years ago all of my 5 or 6 hives died out for unknown reasons. (Sudden hive decline syndrome??) They have pretty good forage in this area, a lot of eucalyptus bloom in the spring; I watched for mites, tried to keep them fed, they were bringing in lots of pollen. The frames were looking good with good quantities of honey, pollen, and brood, and then the worker numbers slowly declined no matter what I did.
Anyway, the last year or two, I got no calls for swarms, even though I made sure that I was still on the call list. This year the girls seem to have made a comeback here, I have collected 4 swarms to date, one quite large.
Have others out there seen a bee resurgence lately? Other questions:
When I went to my supers and frames, the wax moth had gotten in and done varying amounts of damage. I mothballed them when I stored the them, but I didnt recheck them often enough. The plastic bags broke down and the PDB evaporated...grr, nobody but myself to blame though. The question is, is it acceptable practice to put bees into boxes with moth damaged frames, if they are not too far gone? Im thinking that the bees will repair the damage, and at least they wont have to start from scratch.
Those doggone ants! I know that control is a perennial problem, and I have tried a few (up on legs with tanglefoot on them, sprinking cinnamon to break the trail..) I was wondering how important is ant control, and what are your favorite control methods? The sugar water drips on the front porch feeder dont help.
The last swarm that I collected was in two separate clumps, a couple of feet apart. The homeowner said that they were a much bigger clump earlier in the day, so it sounded like some bees had left. I put them in two separate boxes, thinking that they were separate swarms. On the way home, however, the bees in on box found a hole and went out and clustered on the outside of the other box, so Im thinking it was really one swarm. Has anyone else ever encountered this? By the way, the queen was lost at some point because they just hung out aimlessly on the outside of the super after being installed, and eventually died off.
Lastly, what do you do with a hive that is weak, wont take sugar water (it just sits there and attracts yellowjackets, and eventually molds.) I would like to help them but I dont know what to do.
Thank you everyone for any help that you can give.

Mark

Iddee
Jun 29th 2009, 07:46 PM
Welcome, Mark. I'm not that much of a typist to try and answer all at once, but I'll try to cover a few.

Wax moths....Yes, the bees will repair minor damage. If it is bad, remove the worst sections and they will repair the rest and fill in where you tore out large holes. Also do a search on "Certan B-401".

Ants... Do "open feeding", or "community feeding". Set up a feeding station 50 or more feet from the hives. Also, be sure the bees can get into the area between the inner and outer cover. They will keep the ants at bay then.

Weak Hive... If you have a strong hive, you can take a frame of brood and house bees from it and add it to the weak one. It will give them the needed boost to take off. If you know where there is a hive in a tree that you can get to, you can trap enough bees out of it to boost your hive. You can also switch places with a weak and a strong hive during the day. The returning foragers from the strong hive will take up with the weak one and stay.

Charles
Jun 29th 2009, 09:41 PM
Welcome to the forum, if you do removals don;t forget to post your info in the "find a beekeeper" forum so folks will know how to contact you!

rast
Jun 30th 2009, 05:05 PM
I use the BT. It has worked well for me. This place had the best deal I could find on it and shipped it pretty fast. http://www.hidhut.com/catalog/xentari-bt-p-31.html
Mix about 3 teaspoons a gal and spray them good. Do not use any other BT than aizawai.
It does not kill the moths, only the larva when they ingest (eat) the comb that has been treated.
I'm new here also, but Welcome.
Rick

stormranch
Jun 30th 2009, 10:52 PM
Thank you everyone for your welcome to the forum and helpful replies. I will invest in the BT, I was not aware of this preventative measure. Thank you for your tips on ant control. Those of you who do community feeding, do you often see your bees battling others over the feeders? I guess you would get some number of outsiders feeding at your station, but if it wasnt too many it sounds ok. Would you start the feeder out close to your boxes and then slowly move them away?
About swapping frames, I thought that bees from other hives wouldnt get along together. Are there exceptions to this?
What is the reason for making sure that the bees can get to the space inside the inner cover, is it to allow the bees to kick out any ants that are trying to set up shop there?
Sorry if I'm asking a ton of questions. I have tried the search function but am having a bit of trouble finding many results on my queries. Thanks,

Mark

Iddee
Jul 1st 2009, 08:20 AM
>>>>Those of you who do community feeding, do you often see your bees battling others over the feeders?<<<<

NO

>>>>Would you start the feeder out close to your boxes and then slowly move them away?<<<<

NO, They will find it. Too close may cause robbing.

>>>>About swapping frames, I thought that bees from other hives wouldnt get along together. Are there exceptions to this?<<<<

Young house bees do not fight like the older foragers and guards.

>>>>What is the reason for making sure that the bees can get to the space inside the inner cover, is it to allow the bees to kick out any ants that are trying to set up shop there?<<<<

YES

stormranch
Jul 1st 2009, 02:04 PM
Thanks Iddee for the answers. I will try these techniques and let you know how things go.

Happy beekeeping,

Mark