OK so I need clarification with colony strength

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by barry42001, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Maybe I am totally misunderstanding the concept of colony strength. In the late winter/ early spring, manulipulation for maxium colony strength, to get the largest work force on the scene at a time when the vast bulk of the nectar flows are taking place whether north or south nectar flows take place at roughly the same time of year. Typically by late June the " major " flows are over and the natural population decline is taking place as all the field bees generated in april and may are dying out. Queen is starting to slow down atleast a bit ( figure about 2.5 monthes max egg production ). Also about the time most are harvesting the supers unless there was a need to collect twice. also typically the fall nectar are 1.) usually not as productive as summer flows. 2.) also typically fall honey are considered inferior to summer honey and left for the bees.

    With all that stated, why would one NOT want to run double brood chambers in the south, to maximize bee production, at a time when a huge work force is needed, understand, a large winter cluster is not needed for heat, and unless sufficient reserves are at hand, the colony could starve feeding all those bees, and the winter and early spring brood rearing. But one would also have a ready availble workforce to take advantage of the flowering trees, and asundry plants flowering all winter long ( Florida lol )
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I agree. I recommend a minimum of a deep and a medium, preferably 2 deeps for all permanent hives. It can change for hives used for splits, queen rearing, comb rearing, nuc building, ETC., but for standard, permanent honey making hives, I think one deep is insufficient.
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I am also a believer that truly strong colonies can sucessfully combat most pests and intruders such as wax mothes, ants and perhaphs even SHB certianly yellowjackets would not test a strong colony more then once execpt in cooler weather when bees are less active and YJ's are still busy even at that doubt it survives the intrusion.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    barry writes:
    why would one NOT want to run double brood chambers

    tecumseh:<subject to rambling just a bit.
    I would guess you could look at this question in any number of ways??? which is to say at first glance the question sounds simple enough but really is not so simple.

    the simple answer for me would be... those deeps are heavy (I myself rarely lift my bottom deep <maybe it just me???) and twice the required size for the stated purpose (adding extra brood space to the bottom deep). the top deep will also tend to be where early nectar/feed is stored, so it will get especially heavy.

    or the simple answer yes might be... I want (<my purpose) to produce a bunch of double deep nucs come spring time and double deeps is an excellent size to accomplish this task.

    the more complex question you seem to be addressing revolves around managing bee space over time and how one best does this to maximize some objective function (let say some hypothetical maximum honey crop). certainly adequate brood area is essential but other factors like timing bee population to known honey flows are more critical (a greater constraint) to achieving this specific objective. stimulative feeding (proving adequate nutritional resources) 45 to 60 ahead of the first flow for me is step one. step two is planning early manipulation thru this stimulative feeding period that makes certain that there are no obvious impediments (typically solid frames of pollen or solid frames of capped honey) to brood nest expansion (I try to encourage horizontal expansion before vertical expansion of the brood nest). Ideally I would like for a queen to fully utilize brood space (<likely something of my economist bias showing here) and not have lots of empty gaps and unused frames at the outsides edges. implementing this 'ideally' is tricky in that you need to somewhat gauge a queens egg laying capacity. for many queens (here) a single deep will suffice and some small number really do need story and a half for brood area#. lastly I think there might just be some good reason why 'traditionally' southern beekeepers kept bees in story and a half configuration.

    some stated assumptions like 'strong colonies can successfully combating most pest and intruder' in large undefined brood space (most especially ants and wax moth) might need to be questioned?

    #based on using front entrance restrictions and queen excluder as suggested by Jerry Hayes old article 'is a queen excluder a honey excluder'.

    good question...
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I have posted previously about my preferences about full/ deep supers/ brood chambers. While I do have back issues--like spinal surgery 2 years ago, I am still doing deeps( yeah perhaps a bit stubborn I know ), but I have never not had my queens not use most all but the 2 outside most frames for brood in both chambers. out of 20 frames they used 16. I am a practicioner or rotating the boxes about every 3 weeks I have never subscribed to the concept of queen excluders as honey excluders, though I have not totally discounted whats being said about--I personally never had a issue with foragers crossing into the honey supers, of course I always provide a upper entrance as stated before in different articles, to help in avoiding brood chamber congestion and providing the bees a way around the excluder. ( Tech forgive me I do tend to be a bit verbose lol )
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you are forgiven... do counts some rosary bead today and say "HEY MARY" twice.
     
  7. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    I have 5 hives doubled,2 with medium frames and 3 with deep frames,the 3 with double deep far exceed their medium double deep neighbors,although I don't have an upper entrance on any of them.Is it recommended to provide an upper entrance when running 2 deeps?
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    almost anywhere in the south or if you want to run a queen excluder, upper entrances are beneficial and sometimes critical consideration. at this time of year my small upper entrance (really a notch in the top cover) is closed off by 'the girls'.... so they do seem to know how to close the door if it does not please them.
     
  9. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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    Forgot to mention I ditched the queen excluders,maybe try them again down the road after I learn more how to use them.
     
  10. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    that was my goal....have double deep hives for spring....but my newbieness got in the way...i did learn a bunch but i am having to scale back my goal to 1 full box for each (4 hives after the sucsessful merge)...now my new goal for next year is to NOT get in the colonys way an let them do what bees do....concentrate on getting as many fully built frames as possible...NO FULL PLASTIC FRAMES...my bees hate them...and get my goal of double deeps acomplished next year....i took off my queen excluders....it seemed to me that most of the bees stayed below it even when i put a few full frames above it....i did like having them when i made the merge though....that worked like a charm....i put the little colony on the bottom an let the queenless bees in the bigger colony go down to her....the excluder was the perfect framework to hold the newspaper...it was easy as pie to just lay it down an stack the deeps...then take it out once the meanys calmed down a notch from queenlessness....if i have to merge bees again i'll do it like that....it was simple.
     
  11. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I sorta feel obligated to mention that my overall goals are to keep the colony strength as much as is humanly ( or bee-ly possible ) as this huge workforce will out perform the smaller colonies several times over. so swarm prevention is a major goal hence large brood space, and large storage space, seperated from brood space ( avoiding brood chamber congestion )
     
  12. rast

    rast New Member

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    2KD, well on your way, just keep an eye on them for room to grow after (and during) the maple bloom.
    Barry, I agree.
    The above of course depends on our late winter freezes here.
     
  13. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    Is this actually true? I'm really new to this and have been reading everything I can (and asking a zillion questions), but one of the things that seemed to come back at me over and over (because I live in FL and everyone around me uses one brood box per colony) is that you'll get as much honey from 2 1-brood box sized colonies as you would from 1 2-brood box colony.
     
  14. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    there are those that may dispute that several weaker colonies can gather as much as a very strong colony, but not really, while I can't quantify it specifically, I do know that harvesting 2 deeps per season, isn't even possible from smaller colonies. Further more, smaller brood nests, garuntee nest congestion, and starting to seriously store in the brood nest starting to crowd the queen--next step in that process--swarming--and two small workforces, rather then one moderate workforce. It's a matter of math not magic Assume the queen will for approx 2.5 monthes lay at max productivity ( 1500 ) eggs a day, if she does that two things will happen in the next 21 days, one--thousands of new bees will be hatching every day there after. two, primary nectar flows will be in progress. Without clear direction, bees will start to use brood rearing space to store the vast quanities of pollen and nectar comming into the hive. This will by design start to reduce the space available for the queen to lay those 1500 eggs a day. crowding and congestion, and reduction of space to lay eggs in are major triggers for swarming. again math if the old queen and 50% of the existing workforce leave, it will take them about a week to establish a brood nest, and for the old queen to get back into the egg laying form she stopped about 1 week prior to swarming--will take about a week or alittle less. make it a work week 5 days or 7500 eggs not laid will take 21 days for those to hatch as new bees most nectar sources will be being used to feed the brood, and build or re-build combs initially procucing large quanities of wax is a expensive proposition for bees--consumes alot of honey. will take over 6 weeks for the colony with old queen to come back to strength--about the time the main flows are over---inside the parent colony--virgin queen hatches out ( pray she, and a few of her siblings don't produce afterswarm, which from my perspective are virtually useless due to the inordinate amount of time and resources you will have to give them to have them survive the winter--let alone produce honey.) If the virgin queen does her duty and assinates her siblings, and in about a week takes her mating flights, she will take about 2 weeks before the first egg is laid--3 weeks before the first egg--and 2 weeks prior when the old queen laid her last egg in the colony before departing in the swarm. again 21 days before the first new workers show up--older foragers are constantly dying for both the parent colony, and the swarm colony. So one can see how allowing swarms to happen is not disirable unless you want the bees, and not the honey--or aleast not large quanities of honey-- keeping the workforce intact is the answer.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You can't judge them by the number of boxes, but an eight lb. colony will produce much more honey than 4 two lb. colonies. That has been proven many times.
     
  16. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    2 deeps is the biggest an best configuration for commercial honey production....its heavy an a little akward if your smaller or older...an that is a drawback....but past that i dont see anything better....its just my personal opinion....Dadent did alot of experimenting and found that one deep super was the best size to fit the shape of the brood mass....enuff room but not too much room....i belive the next deep box he added for stores of honey an to releave overcrowding an in turn swarming. The second deep also gave room for the winter cluster to move up during winter an consume the stores directly above them...they also had plenty of room to restart brood production. Any releaving of hive congestion after that he controlled with supering or splits...from what i gather he wasnt a big fan of swarming for increase...it makes sence the way he did it....and thats the way i want to do it cause most every manipulation techniqe is based on that...good as any i spose an it works for everybody else :/ plus i get to build stuff :)
     
  17. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Florida has something blooming all the time. It is not a good idea to sustain a large colony through the winter and light flows. One deep brood is more than enough down here. Start building colony strength one to two months before the flow you want to catch, e.g. citrus bloom peaks mid-March, starts in February, start building hive strength in January. November December buildup or sustainment wastes resources and encourages swarming. Colonies will cast swarms all year in Florida and you are left with a hive that cannot compete. Bloom index is studied by the University of Florida and posted at http://www.fshs.org/Proceedings/Passwor ... 0(SIMANTON).pdf I run 40 hives with "open brood nests" The strongest in February are single brood supers now. It has been this way since 1969 for me. Believe me, I tried double brood supers but they are just not as good by spring. Spring buildup and almond pollination is why we run mostly Italians too. If you want to run almond pollination the start day moves up, but you should know the target date to succeed.
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Barry writes:
    t's a matter of math not magic Assume the queen will for approx 2.5 monthes lay at max productivity ( 1500 ) eggs a day, if she does that two things will happen in the next 21 days

    tecumseh:
    that was a nice examination of the question Barry. you could have varied the number above and witnessed the variation in the possible outcome. I would guess that almost anywhere a queen with the above maximum egg laying capacity would not give you back much in return. the above is likely not a poor doer but really will not crank out the population to catch much of a nectar flow either.

    I myself would like to have queens that punch out 1800 eggs per day at the peak of the season. It will not happen today or tomorrow but eventually have queens that shut down a day or so after the flow stops <sounds pretty wishful but actually some queen lines have been developed that do just that. At the maximum laying capacity of 2000 eggs per day a hive is a real boomer, at 2200 per day a hive is dead by Christmas <perhaps a clue as to why bigger is not always better.
     
  19. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh New Member

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    AB: I'm unable to get the link you posted to work. (And thank you for your explanation!) Also, what does "open brood nests" and "single (or double) brood supers" mean? (I'm still learning the terminology it seems! ;))

    2Kooldad: I've only visited one commercial honey operation down near me, but they used single deeps. :dontknow: (I'm thinking a road trip to visit others might be worthwhile and fun.)
     
  20. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    well you are the senior beek in this area....i just havent read a florida beekeeping manuels....really its better for me cause thats all i have an all the same manipulation princibles apply if i have one box or two....im just being simple with that statement....i just have one question....''somethings always bloomimg in florida'' you an me live in diffrent worlds from here to tampa....lots of stuff grows there that doesnt grow here....there is a def. Line in the sand between us....i cant view the link you put up so off the top of your head what winter flowers are there for bees to feed on....right now my bees are on goldenrod, what little is left of the spanish needles, groundsel tree, palafoxia and one vine + 2 plants i havent ID yet....there are lots of asters out right now but i havent seen the bees on them yet....this is what grows on my 30 acers and being mostly natural is pretty much whats in the woods around me.....im asking so i know what to look for when i go looking not cause i wanna disagree with you....i spend all day in the woods everyday....i'll problly know what your talking about even if i didnt know bees used it.

    Skyhigh...we are kinda in the same boat cept i started a year ahead of you....you have one up on me...except on here i dont know any bee keepers...been to indian summer down by rast once or twice but that was to get a nuc an some queens...nothing else....Americasbeekeeper, Rast and all the others around are the ones i get my local info from....if they say it can be done here then it can...my internet is limited as well so most of what i do is from books...OLD books...like Dadents book from the 1920s an a bunch of others...they all kept bees up north so thats what i follow till somebody local tells me diffrent....plus its fun to build stuff an if i get to make double the boxes...opps :) there is also a biggg diffrence between your area an mine....ive lived in both....thats why im asking AB whats blooming in winter....we dont have alot of the tropical stuff here that they do 50 miles south of us...im a land surveyor an pasco county is a division line for alot of plants...also for other things...i have 4 good hives an one thats medium...from reading your posts we are alot alike....wanna know do an try everything...then settle into what works.