Survival vs. Boomers

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Dunkel, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Dunkel

    Dunkel New Member

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    I have always wondered about the specific configurations in which was the minimum vs the ideal amounts to over winter. After about 4 winters I am still wondering. I have had hives to starve out and I have had hives with plenty of honey to be slow to take off in the spring. And I have had some that was quick to take off early almost starve due to weather. I am finding that I am having better luck overwintering average hives with average stores and bee numbers.

    I guess what I am saying is that I am becoming aware of my ignorance of what it takes to maintain hives through year to year. Best I can figure it is like a see-saw. Keeping enough bees to take advantage of whats out there and enough stores to keep that amount of bees going. Too many bees you lose. Too few bees you lose. The biggest variable to me is the queen quality and vigor. Am I on the right track here as to what you all are finding?
     
  2. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I am finding that I am having better luck overwintering average hives with average stores and bee numbers.

    tecumseh:
    of course a large variable is the brooding capacity of the queen. Charlie Marzz (spellin' all wrong but most would recognize his names as being associated with bee sting therapy.... kind of the father of that kind of thing) use to commonly write articles for one of the journals and in one he discussed the merits and hazards involved with choosing queens based up maximum egg laying capacity. his argument went something like this....

    most folks 'think they want a queen' that will pump out 2400 eggs a day at the peak of the season and in fact if the cards fall right these can collect bumper crops but by fall the queen are still pumping out brood and by early winter they are dead by having eaten themselves out of house and home.

    at the other end of things is a queen that has trouble laying 1500 eggs per day (again at the peak of the season). these become pretty recognizable quickly since they never grow much and become classified as 'dinks' or 'duds' and either die out directly or get combined with another hive that may need the equipment.

    in the middle is a queen who goes about her business and lays 2000 eggs per day. rear enough population to collect something of a surplus and throttle back on the brood rearing as fall approaches so the hive has 50 + pounds of stores to make the winter.

    here an idea winter configuration for me is a story and a half. most all at some time in the early winter do get feeder and come spring time (here starting about the second week in January) I do feed when necessary. basically those that go into the winter feeling like a brick get a little feed and those that are light get a splash on a fairly regular bases. most of the data suggest a modest sized hive can overwinter on about 22 kg of honey/feed. it is my understanding this figure does not get you thru spring time brood building and which again will be somewhat to highly dependent on the egg laying capacity of the queen and how fast a hive brood up come spring time.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Very well said tec!! Thanks for sharing your well put wisdom!

    I was going to simply say it was due to the different races of bees.
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, I'm so not ready to think about winter woodware - too hot to work in the garage and get it built! But it is good to just lightly think about it as I choose which queen to swipe eggs from.
     
  5. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    I agree with Tec and G3.

    Winter survival state is a factor in choosing which colony to breed from next season. Not having to feed a colony in winter (frugal bees) is a plus point for the colony.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Barbarian snip..
    Winter survival state is a factor in choosing which colony to breed from next season. Not having to feed a colony in winter (frugal bees) is a plus point for the colony.

    tecumseh:
    this is what some folks might call an approximate vs and ultimate decision which is a large part of one of my presentation I do for folks. I do charge for that odd service so I will not share that secret for nothing. although I suspect most folks here could figure it out for themselves with just a little head scratching.
     
  7. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Who should I send my bill to ? :grin:
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it!