Old timer advice gone bad......

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BjornBee, May 17, 2010.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Here are a few things some may of heard over the years, given as "good" advice, but actually are about as bad advice as it comes. I added three to get started, but please add your own.

    1) "Cut out queen cells" to prevent swarming.

    This is one of those things that may be true for some small amount of hives. But the vast majority of hives, it will not work. By cutting out swarm cells, and leaving the old queen, the hive will almost always still swarm. What the beekeeper is left with after the swarm leaves anyways, is a hive with no queen, and eventually a laying worker colony.

    Best approach when you see swarm cells (after hopefully you doing all you can to suppress swarming to begin with)..... remove the old queen and a few frames of brood and bees. The original hive now thinks the old queen swarmed and you may stop further (after)swarms. (You can also make up nucs with the extra swarm cells if you want.) The parent colony still has ALL the field force, and honey production will not be impacted by removing the old queen and a few frames.


    2) You should "treat your bees for AFB just to be safe".

    Never treat for anything prior to actually having a need for it. Resistance is increased, and when you may actually need treatment, it may not be effective.


    3) "Propolis makes for sticky fingers and you should get bees that do not propolize."

    The bee industry for years promoted the idea that bees should be bred for traits of low propolis production. Some suggest that you should use this line or that line of bees, due to low propolis production.

    BUT....propolis is anti-bacterial in nature. It is a sealing agent, bonding agent, and yet also may be a vital part of a healthy hive, helping with some of the many disease factors bees are dealing with. New research (about time) is now taking place. Rough cut lumber used on the inside of the hive body has shown that bees will coat the walls, mimicking the inside of what they do in tree cavities, coating everything smooth with propolis. That smooth planed lumber we use may not be good for bees, at least on the inside of the hive. Propolis should be seen as a good thing and a function of any healthy hive.
     
  2. brendantm130

    brendantm130 New Member

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    Have you been making boxes with rough cut in? I've read this, and was considering it for the next batch of equipment I build.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    4) I am regressing my bees to____(fill in the number).

    Bjorn:
    #2 maybe yes and maybe no. did you give your children some preventative for polio and such (I understand their is a long list of shots now required in a lot of school systems) before they entered school?
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Of course I did. (I think....I'd have to ask the wife as to what really happened ;) ) But lets not forget that many, many, things the medical system has approved over the years, that has come back to harm us later. This is true with womens health in particular, and any other catagory you could think of. Yes, we got the kids the shots. But I am leery just the same when dictated to give my kids anything deemed safe by the same people who have approved some rather frightening things over the years.

    But lets not add pumpkins and watermelons, and just keep it apples and oranges. :thumbsup:

    I think it would be more along the lines of "soccer mom" going in and demanding antibiotics everytime little johnny had an ear-ache or sore throat. The medical system has handed out antibiotics like candy over the years. And we now know that we are dealing with resistance and "super disease's" that may require a whole spectrum of treatment, whereas in the past, a single treatment of one medicine would work.
    Nowadays, doctors are much more leery (and they should be) of handing out antibiotics, everytime someone has a sore throat.

    I am always amazed at the number of beginners who bring up the question of treating for AFB, after being told by a mentor, coach, or the comments are made at a beginners bee course somewhere, that "pretreating" is suggested. And many times, these beginners have new woodenware, new foundation, and new bees. We are not talking polio here with the bees. But a simple cured disease (AFB) that can be dealt with once you get the disease. And it is best not to go out there telling beekeepers they should pretreat their hives for it. Cause we now know, that it makes the treatments useless for when you do need it.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    in response to #4... I would say sometimes yes and sometimes no. a large assumption is that treating with this or that antibiotic is done by the requirement stated on the label (which as far as I can tell it never is). who is to say that resistance to TM is about 1) over administration of the drug or 2) the improper administration of the drug? #2 being almost a certainty.

    for a long time I treated in the early spring for AFB by using TM powder dusting. I never fooled myself into believing that I treated as per label (which from a number of really practical reasons didn't happen). In more recent time I have added a lot of minnesota hygenic stock and discontinued use of TM entirely (if I noticed some uptick in AFB I would have no problem in using TM again).

    I did notice (never got a proper answer to this question) when the CCD thingee first hit the new one item suggested was to discontinued Tylan (the antibiotic that was suppose to replace TM) and to replace it with TM.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    #2... AFB, I agree.

    I would recommend treating for Nosema Cerranae. Unlike N.Apis, it doesn't always leave a visible indication. It can kill and spread without anyone knowing it is there.

    All other maladies, I suggest treating only after symptoms appear.

    Before SHB, afternoon shade was considered best. Now, full sun is needed. Things do change, and old advice may or may not be best today.
     
  7. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    I found that cutting out all the swarm cells was impossiable unless you shake every frame to remove all the bees for a very close look at that frame. What you have then is a bunch of bees milling about with hate and discontent on their minds.
    I found it best to just find the queen and take her and about half the frames provided you don't find cells on that many.

    I agree treat for Nosma Creana in the fall and again in the early spring per the directions on the Fumigilin label. Better to treat for that one than finding a dead out all covered with poop or a very week hive you have to spray every week for 3 weeks.

    A busted myth. You have to move a colony 2 miles at least then bring them back to where you want them. POPPY COCK Close the colony up in the evening then move them either that evening to the new location or the next morning. I use a wad of grass to stuff in the entrance as I remove the closer. They have to push the grass away or crawl over it then they start doing the reorintation filghts even if you only moved the hive 8 feet.

    :D Al
     
  8. Yuleluder

    Yuleluder New Member

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    Bjorn you bring up a good point about cutting out swarm cells. Swarm cells should be seen as something of a memo for beekeepers. The first thing I do when I find swarm cells is I try to get a good idea for the age of the cells. For instance are some of the cells capped, are all the cells capped, are they ripe, have any emerged, do any have sting holes in them, are they being torn down? Once these questions are answered you will have a pretty good idea of where they are in terms of swarming. Uncapped cells are one of the early phases of swarming, and the queen will probably still be around along with eggs. If the cells are all capped you may not find the queen, but you may still find eggs. Once you find ripe cells ie cells where the bees have chewed off the wax on the tip and exposed the cocoon, then you probably will not find any eggs, and if there is larvae it is about to be capped. During this stage it is most critical to protect the remaining queen cells. Destroying them now will probably leave the hive queenless and without the resources to requeen themselves. The beekeeper could make splits, but they must ensure each split and the donor hive have queen cells. Once you start seeing multiple emerged cells with no sting marks then you can pretty much say the hive has already swarmed multiple times. Depending on the amount of ripe cells remaining the hive could swarm a couple of more times. It is best to make splits at this juncture or risk losing more bees to the trees.

    Last night I ran into this very same situation. I wasn't able to check this bee yard since late March. The home owner said a swarm moved into his house again. (Very old house and I have already removed colonies from both sides of the home, I call his house a "honeybee magnet"). I figured one of my hives was swarming, so as I was talking to the property owner he looks up in the tulip poplar next to my hives and says, "hey isn't that a swarm up there, and I say, "sure is". It was about 35 feet up on a small limb. I start inspecting the hives and the big one has over 16 cells, some have already emerged, and others are ready to pop. There are no eggs and only capped and emerging brood. The evidence definitely suggests this hive has already thrown off multiple swarms, and probably will throw more. Therefore I split the hive into four strong nucs, and move on to the next hive. This hive also has about 12 swarm cells which are ripe, but none have emerged. There are no eggs, and a limited amount of older, ready to be capped larvae, and alot of capped and emerging brood. The evidence suggests this hive has probably swarmed once, and is ready to swarm again once a queen emerges. I also split this hive into four strong nucs.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is a beekeeper needs to look through the hive as if they were a homicide detective. Use all the evidence to make a good guess of where the hive is, which will allows the beekeeper to make the correct munipulations.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    nicely stated yuleluder.

    as Iddee stated nosema is somewhat difficult to spot in the southern us of a, but not impossible. the signs are subtle and for here typically seasonal. although fumidil is expensive it may be the best investment you can make in your bees.
     
  10. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Fumidil is expensive but way cheaper than looseing 63% of your colonies and the clean up of th mess.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the first year I spent $300 for fumidil I though for certain I had lost my mind when the two small jars arrived. prior to spring treatment I noticed 6 hives (of about a total of 150) that displayed what I now am pretty sure are the give away signs of nosema here in the south. the hive/cluster didn't look organized, some of the frames looked unkempt and most importantly they didn't take up feed well (essentially always leaving just a bit of syrup in the bottom of the frame feeder and an equal quantity of dead bees). after a half gallon of medicated feed the 6 hives looked much better organized. after the second half gallon of medicated feed the hived looked like every other hive in the yard.