My Bee Year 2011...Glad it's over!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by arkiebee, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Don't know about you guys, but this has been the worst bee year ever for me. :( Came through the winter great - but the cold, wet spring hit and it went downhill from there. It was followed with a very, hot and dry summer and fall. I am down to 7 hives from 10 - I had wax moths, and now this last hive to nosema. The state bee inspector called all us bee keepers in this area (we have a new inspector) and I told him that I thought I had a nosema problem with one hive, and he had time on his hands, so he paid me a visit today. I was glad to see him! He got into the hive, and it was already too late to medicate. My other hives are active, but he recommended I give all of them a dose of meds. He couldn't look in all the hives today, but saw in one that I had a lot of honey, and we put a top feeder on it (I'll have to do the rest tomorrow) and he suggested that since I had a lot of honey they may not eat the sugar water with the meds in it, so he suggested I spray them a little with the sugar water and when they groom each other they will get some medication that way. Have any of you done this? We are up for a warm day tomorrow - so that is what I'll be doing. I am glad I didn't take any honey this year - so at least they should have enough stores for winter.
    So I just hope that 2012 is a better year. It seems to have been a crummy year for a lot of people and not just bee keepers! :beg:
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    heck....I'm just glad after this year to be alive! :thumbsup:
     

  3. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Hey - I was just thinking :confused: Do you guys think it would be better if I did the Fumagillan through boardman feeders (since I have to do all hives anyway) that way I can readily SEE how much they are taking instead of using the top feeders since I have to lift the lid to see how much they are using. We are to have some nice temps the next week and tomorrow in the 60s???(Where is winter)...anyway that 2:1 syrup won't freeze anyway will it?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It won't freeze, but the colder it is, the less of it the bees will take. I would stick with the top feeder to help keep it warm.
     
  5. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Yeah, when it is cold enuf that they won't go down to the Boardman they often will go up to the top feeder. I wouldn't think you'd have any trouble from the bees lifting the lid for a peek.

    I haven't sprayed sugar water and fumagillan, but know one guy who has. I doubt that it gives enuf of a treatment to be effective.

    I know guys who buy protien patty sub that have the maker include fumagillan in the mixture. Their bees have lots of spores at times. As do mine. But I don't put much credence in sampling and spore counting. Too much variation. Even just from AM to PM on the same day. Nosema has me stumped.
     
  6. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    There are two good articles in the January ABJ on Nosema. One is by Randy Oliver regarding sampling. He has moved away from spore counts as well, for the same reasons sqkcrk states - he now measures the percentage of infected bees.

    The other details another poor year by a beekeeper - dwindling hives, hives that won't take syrup, etc. He reported that he did spray his bees with medicated syrup on the theory that they would have to clean themselves up and therefore, consume the medication.

    In the article, he reports that the strategy (spraying) was successful and turned his hives around.

    I had a very bad (and late) spring last year - almost exactly as the ABJ article describes. I will likely be treating for Nosema this spring - either by feeding or spraying, however I can get the bees to take the meds.

    Mike
     
  7. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I gotta renew my subscription to ABJ.
     
  8. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    I did spray yesterday, but not too much. It was warm but really windy and the bees were not happy that I opened up their hive. I thought I would take out the frames and spray..uh...no...they were so stuck together and with the wind I just sprayed down in between a bit - not too much - and sprayed the bees on top bars - which were bunches. I had a LOT of bees in my hives and still had honey left. That was the bee inspectors take was that if you sprayed them, when they cleaned each other they would injest the medication - some anyway.

    I did notice something strange - the swarm I caught in October (end of the month) was a huge swarm. I put it in a box, checked on it and everything was ok. I put a super of honey on top because I knew they had no time to build up honey. When I opened up that hive yesterday - not a bee hardly in the super of honey, but I just had a handful of bees left in that hive. They were really active - not acting sick - and I had no dead bees on the screen bottom board or outside the hive - Could this hive have swarmed again???If so, they are probably hunkering down in some dead tree - Maybe - survive the winter, but I doubt it???

    Our bee inspector said that this was a very strange year for the bees this year. Swarming in the fall, etc. Hopefully 2012 will be more of a "normal" :confused: is that a word? year?
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Maybe it's just me, but I'd think spraying bees and frames with any kind of liquid in January would not be a good idea. How cold are the nights where you are right now?
    I also tend to think that 'a little bit' of medication is worse than no medication at all. For example, one might not want to give just a half dose of antibiotics or pesticides because that's what encourages resistant strains to develop. Maybe Fumigillan is different?
    Just my two cents.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    and he suggested that since I had a lot of honey they may not eat the sugar water with the meds in it

    tecumseh:
    I would suggest to ya' arkie that feeding any hive where you suspect nosema is a problem with any mass feeding device (top feeder or frame feeders) is a huge mistake. typically this results in a lot of drown bees and little syrup is picked up to any kind of advantage. <this is somewhat to highly encourage by also reading Randy Oliver's articles in the ABJ.

    a baggie feeder or a boardman type feeder (positioned above the cluster) is what I would recommend. spraying with just a bit fumidil syrup when the temperature is above 55 wouldn't hurt either.
     
  11. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    It was a strange/poor year here as well. Right off the bat, I lost 5 of the 8 nucs I made up last spring within a month - all with new queens. I suspect nosema.

    Then we had a blizzard on May 2.

    We had so much water (from snow melt) that farmers didn't get fields planted until late June (if at all).

    And finally, we usually see bunches of swarms up here (from the commercial hives mostly). I heard of only one swarm all year - and that was in the fall.

    My bees made about 60lbs of surplus honey, but I left it all with them. If they make it through the winter, I am hoping for a better 2012 as well.
     
  12. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    What I ended up doing was put on my top feeders and just put about 1/2 gallon in them. I had enough top feeders for all (and in peeking down inside, I still had a lot of honey) except one which I put 2 boardman feeders on and even though that hive had a LOT of honey, they took all that syrup in their hive in one day. I will check Saturday, and if it is gone, I'll take them off. I have all my entrances closed down pretty small too.

    I keep hearing that bees won't take syrup if they have honey, but mine sure did. Today it was in the 60s here again and before daylight, I put out a gallon of syrup (with Fumagilan) and fed it away from the hives and the bees took it all in one day. This afternoon, I put out another gallon for them tomorrow. I think our bee tree is taking a lot of it because when I walked out to check on them, I noticed several "buzzing" that direction.

    One of the hives I checked on Saturday was the swarm hive I caught in October. It was a huge swarm and I caught it the last of October. When I peeked in on them in November they were still there so I put a super of honey on top because I knew they wouldn't have any way to get honey that late in the year. When I looked at that swarm hive Saturday, there was just a handful of bees left, but I had NO dead bees outside or on the screen-bottom boards? They must have swarmed again??? So now I have this handful of bees in a hive body with a super full of honey on top. So should I just leave the honey there and put it on my other hives this spring when they need it because I know this little dab of bees will probably die out anyway?? :confused: All my other hives have a super full of honey on them now. All I can say that if they did swarm there is a bunch of bees shivering their little bootys off to stay warm when they could have had a nice home ...and a furnished one too!... Some children just don't appreciate what we do for them! :lol:
     
  13. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If there is only a handful of bees then you should be able to find the queen in them if there is a queen. If there is no queen and really just a handful of bees and no brood, I sure wouldn't leave a whole super on them because those bees will not live more than a few more weeks without a queen anyway, and first thing in the Spring that entire super of honey is likely to get robbed out before you know it and you'll lose it all. It's also a little problematic in the cold weather to try to combine a handful of bees into a strange hive and save them.
    I would just maybe give them a full frame of honey next to the tiny cluster but take the super of honey back (they cannot eat it all, and they cannot defend it and you'll lose it to robbing in the Spring).

    One other thing you should keep in mind for next year is that if you open feed with medication, you are also dosing all the bees within 2-4 miles in all directions, even if they are healthy bees and don't need any medications. I personally feel we should never put out medication or treatments with open feeding. Someone down the road you don't know might have a hive in their backyard and they sure wouldn't want antibiotics or even sugar syrup in their honey. It's sort of like dumping penicillin into the public water system because your kids are sick. Would you want someone else's fumigillan and/or sugar syrup in your own honey that your family is eating? Even if you weren't harvesting any honey at the time, would you want your bees drinking up someone else's medications and treatments and bringing them back to your hives, unknown to you? With all the new backyard hobby beekeepers these days, it's almost impossible to be aware of every single hive within 3 or 4 miles all around you. That's why I'm a believer in keeping medications strictly confined to the particular hive or hives they are intended to treat. :)
     
  14. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Omi wrote: "One other thing you should keep in mind for next year is that if you open feed with medication, you are also dosing all the bees within 2-4 miles in all directions, even if they are healthy bees and don't need any medications. I personally feel we should never put out medication or treatments with open feeding. Someone down the road you don't know might have a hive in their backyard and they sure wouldn't want antibiotics or even sugar syrup in their honey. It's sort of like dumping penicillin into the public water system because your kids are sick. Would you want someone else's fumigillan and/or sugar syrup in your own honey that your family is eating? Even if you weren't harvesting any honey at the time, would you want your bees drinking up someone else's medications and treatments and bringing them back to your hives, unknown to you? With all the new backyard hobby beekeepers these days, it's almost impossible to be aware of every single hive within 3 or 4 miles all around you. That's why I'm a believer in keeping medications strictly confined to the particular hive or hives they are intended to treat."

    That is not a problem where I live.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I do well understand where Omie is coming from here.

    actually what it suggest is why (imho) some of this country (or individual in parts of this country) is not getting along so well with the rest of the country. that is, we (speaking in the plural and in some ideal state) would like to rely on individual initiative and provide as much individual choice as possible... but what happens when the cost of this choice is tossed unto the community or society at large? so when someone else's bees get tainted with some product placed out by some other bee keeper will the 'other bee keeper' also get the tab for remedying (on a large scope or scale remedy may not even be possible or affordable) this problem? <pesticides, fugicides, and herbicides also fall under this grouping of 'other beekeepers' unintentionally tossing a cost off to society in general.

    secondly an on a much more pragmatic level applying any medication in this manner is highly ineffective (and more than likely total ineffective). beyond the degradation of the meds themselves how could anyone hope that they got 'just the proper amount' of medication into any hive?