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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Post general discussion, questions etc.of old ways of beekeeping from the past. Pictures of equipment or anything related to days of gone by beekeeping. I will try to get some pics of my old smokers posted soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I guess I will start this thread off. I have an old hive that a beekeep had on a guys property that was left behind when the keep died over 15 years ago. The bottom board had rotted to nothing but there was still bees in the box. The land owner swears there have been bees in it since the old fellow died. The hive was right out side his shop. He was telling me the old guy used to treat his hives once a year with sulfer. I havent found much on this in the old books has anyone heard of the purpose of using sulfer in hives.
 

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I can remember the old timers talking about sulfur but can not remember what for.

I found some old home made boxes and frames (for raising queens I will guess) that are at least 80 to 90 years old. I will try to get them out and pics taken.
 

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Beeks in the far north would kill the bees in the fall, take all the honey and buy packages in the spring. Sulfur was burned in the smoker to kill them.
 

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Iddee said:
Beeks in the far north would kill the bees in the fall, take all the honey and buy packages in the spring. Sulfur was burned in the smoker to kill them.
Where were they buying packages from? When did packages start being shipped from down south in the spring?
 

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I can't really tell you when or where, but I've read many things about it years ago. I imagine Tecumseh will be along later and can give you more details.
 

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Killing the bees with sulfur, now I remember. If a hive had AFB you were to kill the hive with sulfur and then burn the whole thing. Killing the bees kept them from escaping and joining up with another hive.
 

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Old Time beekeeping practices weren't all that different from whats practiced today, some more modern approaches have been adapted from the old ways. I have on numerous occasions mentioned about swarm control methods that in fact are mostly effective, if time consuming, and as always depends on what you want to accomplish with your bees. I personally using the older methods, have developed the mind set, that for the most part I can control and have the bees do what they would do naturally, but in a fashion I can work with for my and thier benefits.
Practice# 1 always use double brood chambers, make sure the queen has lots of free egg laying space. even a great queen will be hard prtessed to fill up from wall to wall 2 brood chambers that won't quite happen, and even the maxium egglaying output will be short lived about 2 monthes, then she will taper off and the main nectar flow tapers off.
Practice# 2 Use Queen excluders to keep queen from going up into the honey supers and keep her in the brood chambers where she belongs. if your rotating the brood chamber for the first month or so about 3x in the mid to late spring to encourage the brood nest to be in both brood chambers, she will have enough egg space and not need to go up but she will if she can. Queen excluders have been called honey excluders, not been my experience.
Practice# 3 Always provide upper entrances for the foragers can bypass the brood chambers, and go directly to the honey supers--almost totally eliminates brood nest congestion by and far. Congestion and being honeybound is a principal cause of swarming--not the only thing but eliminate those things and your swarming will be substancially reduced.
I sorta break with old time practices of bouncing the bees from the supers to harvest them--I prefer to use bee escapes and passively harvest--many a time I had to run for my life as the local beek in my field came out with his harvest--and a cloud of bees in hot pursuit.
these items are what I was taught, and am practicing and with a degree of sucess. Beekeeping is like ice cream everybody prefers thier own flavor but tastes all of them we take want information we want, and shelf the rest.
Barry
 

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omie writes:
Where were they buying packages from? When did packages start being shipped from down south in the spring?

tecusmeh:
bees were killed off in the late fall using a number of means including sulphur (when burned this forms hydrogen sulfide which is heavy and highly toxic), cyanide (you tossed the pellets in water and covered the hives with a tarp) and (as we did in western North Dakota) simple removing the lid during the first cold spell to let the hive expire from exposure. frames of nectar were then set aside for the next years packages.

Where and when?...
the bees and brood in the south was peaking just as the folks in the north needed packages so shaking a package relieved the hive (in the south) and was somewhat an intervention in swarm control plus it removed excess bees that would generate no crop (no flow) plus generated a bit of cash early in the season (prior to harvest honey). the where and the when somewhat go together since packages toward the middle US states were needed earlier and in Canada (now illegal as far as I know) much later. southern states that provided the most packages early include California and Florida and the very southern tip of Louisiana* and Texas. followed shortly thereafter by Georgia, Mississippi and the Central area of Texas (approximately where I reside).

the first packages here begin rolling out about April1 and could perhaps be produced a month earlier in Florida and the southern tip of Louisiana. adequate mature drone population likely limits the earliest date as much as any other variable.

*this was at one time considered to be the very best place in the lower 48 for producing queens due to environmental consideration (temperature and humidity).
 

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SULPHUR:
Someone recently posted this in a gardening forum i read:
I read a 1950's beekeeping book years ago. In it, a picture of a small lid, about the size of a baby jar lid, had elemental sulfur in it--about 2 tsp or a Tbsp of it. The author would put that under the lid, light it, and close the hive, letting the sulfur kill the mites. This was done in the Spring. Too much, and the hive will smell like rotten eggs, and the honey will taste like the smell. Too little and the mites aren't killed.
Tecumseh:
when I asked
When did packages start being shipped from down south in the spring?
i meant 'when' in terms of historically- what years were the start of bringing/shipping/mailing 'packages' from south to north in the Spring? Obviously pony express wouldn't work too well in this case. lol!
 

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when??? I don't really know. Perhaps my old ABC-XYZ has some approximate date.

most of the folks that I knew who killed off their bees in the fall would pick up the packages and drive them back north in a private vehicle. which points to a not so evident advantage in that you could place a great number of packages on a fairly small vehicle.

a bee keeper in Canada recently told me that when they placed the trade blockade along the Canadian border a number of years ago several well known Canadian beekeepers had already killed off their stock and found themselves in the position where their bees couldn't be replaced when spring arrived.
 

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to quote my very dated ABC-XYZ...
It was AI Root who first conceived the possibilities of shipping bees without comb. We find in the original edition of his ABC if Bee Culture published in 1879.

a bit later..
At first Mr Root met with many difficulties..

and a bit later still..
The first to make successful shipments of package bees from the south to North in 1912 was W.D. Achord of Fitzpatrick, Alabama
 

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<<<<I read a 1950's beekeeping book years ago. In it, a picture of a small lid, about the size of a baby jar lid, had elemental sulfur in it--about 2 tsp or a Tbsp of it. The author would put that under the lid, light it, and close the hive, letting the sulfur kill the mites.>>>>

I would be interested in more info on that book. We never had mites in the US until 1987.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I wish ole man mead was still alive. He was the keep that had the hive. Im sure a lot of practical unpublished knowlege went to the grave with him.
 

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Sulfa thiazole was used whenAFB was found before antibiotics like TM were developed. Sulfa drugs preceeded antibiotics. That's my recollection of what I remember being taught. There probably aren't any of us except maybe iddee and tecunseh who actually remember sulfa drugs prescribed by a Doctor and available at the Pharmacy. :) heh,heh.
 

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Powdered sulphur mixed in a jar of petroleum jelly was the salve used in most all households. For kids and animals alike.

PS. From the same jar, at that.
 

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There are still LOTS of sulfa drugs prescribed on a regular basis, they are great broad spectrum antibiotics except when overused.

We used sulphur and vaseline every summer to keep the ticks and fleas off the dogs, and rubbed it on the bottom half of our legs while we were out working the far back part of the land to keep the ticks and snakes away. Nasty, evil, vile, smelly stuff it is!
 

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iddee, I don't mean to be picky, and I am a terrible speller, but I think you mean SULFA, not SULFER. There is a powerful difference. I don't want anyone getting hurt. I imagine they are related terms, in some way, but was it really powdered sulfur? SULFUR?
 

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Looks like f or ph is correct, according to this.

<<<<Sulpher. definition of Sulphur in the Free Online Encyclopedia.
sulfur or sulphur (s?l`f?r), nonmetallic chemical element; symbol S; at. no. 16; at. wt. 32.06; m.p. 112.8&degC; (rhombic), 119.0&degC; (monoclinic), ...
encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Sulpher >>>>

Bur where you got sulfa, I don't know. My dictionary doesn't have it.
 

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i came accorss this that Sulphur dioxide (So2) gas the fumes of burning sulphur will kill the larvea , pupae, and adults of wax moths.
It goes on to describe the use of five or six supers all stacked on top of each other and an eke used for the sulphur.
 
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