How old is your oldest hive of bees?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Buzzen, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Buzzen

    Buzzen Member

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    Posted this on another forum but not many answers.....Just wondering how old your bees are. how many winters have they survived? What would you say the average lifespan of a hive is these days? I know there is more bees that don't survive the winter now than,say 30 years ago. I'm a newb so i have no experience with this and am just curious what you have seen. Who has the oldest bees!
     
  2. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    My oldest is two years old, its the one I started with. I also have one that had reportedly to have been in the wall for two years before I removed as a cut out this past April. Jim
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    My oldest is from a swarm I was given in 2001. It is the one My friend Wayne gave me, therefore I call them Wayne's bees. He kept bees from the 60's and never treated for anything. When the mites came, he lost all but one hive. It survived and he caught swarms from it. This is one of the swarms. None of the hives that came from it has had a problem with mites. Larry Tate, a queen breeder and member of this forum is now raising Wayne's bees queens. They will be sold with the suggestion that they not be treated for mites. Hopefully, they will continue to survive naturally.
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Three years ago on a swarm call, the farmer ask me if i would want two old hives back in his woods, he thought that one still had bees in it. Of course i said yes and we went to look at them, they were in bad shape and both had bees(the bottomboards were rotten and the hives to) and setting on the ground in the leaves and brush. He said five years ago (when he bought the place) two old men came and worked them and have never came back and said i could have them if i wanted them. I said i would be back after dark and get them, i left my name and phone number in case someone would come looking for them (i hope they never do) and i have had them going on four years now and have not treated them with anything or had to feed them. One hive made me 120# of honey and the other made 120# plus a shallow super of comb honey this year. I don't know how long they were in the woods before i got them. They are my twin towers as i call them. Sometimes we get LUCKY. Jack
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I have one hive that I know is at least 6 or 7 years old. Another farmer up the road had to sell out (family matters) and use to keep bees. I bought a shed full of boxes, frames, tops, etc for $5. Got to digging through them and a swarm had taken up in an old deep and shallow. I brought them home and set them out, moved them one time for the telephone man. Never treated, fed or worked them at all. Had to do a cut out on them this spring since the wood was so rotten and a mouse had gotten into the deep (see them in the swarm and trap out section). The only thing holding the whole hive together was propolis. They were happy with there new home and built out a deep and two shallows, threw a swarm, and mad several donations for a split.

    I just let them be, and catch the swarms from it.
     
  6. Buzzen

    Buzzen Member

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    Nice, sounds like some good stock there. I hope the ones I get are that good.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I raise them so fast and furiously I have no idea. actually I have no doubt that I have had bees in the same box for 4 to 5 years but I don't deceive myself into the misbelief that the original queen has never been supersceded. I suspect one aspect of the varroa is that superscedure if much more frequent.

    I think a reasonable expectation (and goal for me) with the varroa is a queen that survives well with minimal intervention out to about year 3. even prior to the varroa I suspect any talk about queens 4 to 5 years old (without some kind of special and constant manipulation) was more brag than fact.
     
  8. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I still got one of the original hives I started with 6 years ago it has never had an cheimical treatments and has very little human intervention other than honey suppers added each year. this year i split it into a 4 way split and left them alone all 4 hives made it so far going to winter them in 5 on 5 nuc configuration
     
  9. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I've had one 2 years, but I have no idea how long they were living in the old boxes behind the abandoned house before I brought them here.
     
  10. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    Our oldest is 3. It was one of the original hives that we started out with. They are wayne's bees and we have never had trouble with them. She is still our best hive.