Planning for year two

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Treatment free or Organic? About the end of the month when we go into a broodless period I hit them with an Oxalic acid dribble. It is a treatment but organic. It may be a nice stepping stone for getting started without having to purchase bees every year.
Drawn comb is a critical resource for increasing hives or splitting, it is a factor is assumed by many experienced bee keepers that is the key for expansion. Even a small hive (2 frames of bees and a new queen) will build rapidly if they have it. Feed them sugar water and protein and start them in a nuc box (or in a swarm trap like Bob mentioned).

Hard to 'hold the line' and not treat, there is always that little voice that says just the once won't hurt.  I really struggle(d) with this as I was planning to do a treatment if I thought it was needed. Luckily my counts are around 20/day on a sticky board (30 at worst once) so I am sticking with no treatments, if they were much higher not sure what I would have done.  I was figuring one treatment to 'wean them off such things' then TF.
I had considerd powdered sugar dusting (misting in my case) but that would mean opening the hives and I would prefer not to.

So far so good for me but this is the end of my first year, bees arrived (5 frame nucs) in May and very active so I am hopeful.
I did a post on this where I considerd where my bees came from as they were local from people who treat with an oxalic/formic mix dribble, but only if needed.  They were done before I recieved them.
The upside is they are this year's queens so have only ever been treated once prior to May.  I figured these are as TF as I can get, for example the other half of the splits these came from had queens treated for a year previously.  I am pleased I found these and maybe you can find similar, worth asking a local supplier when and why they treat.  If they do the same and you can get similar queens with only one treatment done directly to them it is a start.
Other than buying actual TF bees this is as near as I can get.       

Bob Wilson:
Too true,  15Member.
One swarm I caught was of larger yellow bees. I am pretty sure it was from another apiary. Another swarm was little black bees, a feral swarm I believe. I gave that one away before I knew the value of it. I wished I had kept it.
Even so. I plan on catching several more this coming spring, if I can.

Mine came from people who collect swarms so originally whatever is about, but then split later so drifting away from their roots, till now.
I have one of each, one lot brown(ish) and the other much darker tending to black.  They behave differently which is fascinating.
The brown ones are always more active and guards in summer were few.  The darker ones were busy in summer but are less active now, about 50% of the other hive's activity.  Probably they way they are set up to respond although weather is good now they are still being cautious.
As an example orientation flights this morning, brown about 40, black about 15.  They do all things in that ratio. 

My bee cut back greatly from summer activity.  They cut back so much I thought they were gone.  So I got out the mower and sure enough they are still there!


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