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Introducing myself and a few questions!

1420 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  stormranch
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 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.

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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.
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.
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