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Author Topic: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany  (Read 1813 times)

Offline SiWolKe

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Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« on: January 03, 2019, 06:51:14 am »
I decided to open this thread to talk about our local circumstances.

Hope you are interested and entertained.
 :smile:

Since I was a child climate changed to fewer snowfalls in winter and to cold spells in spring. We have more storms and thunderstorms and floods.
Temperatures are higher than before, in winter the average temperature is 0?C-5?C with some cold spells. The coldest spells are often in late february, this means snow or frost and  -10-15?C for two weeks. Summers are getting more hot, highest temp 2018 was 38?C for many days.

In may 2017 we had a cold spell which damaged all fruit tree blossoms and grape plants, so the farmers had not much of a harvest.
This year we had a great harvest.

We long to have some snow at christmas but it?s rare. We also long to see the sun, but it?s mostly grey, low and high fog for days. That?s because I live at the lake of constance and a small lake besides.
Much humidity.

Right now beekeepers have their first losses. We had much late fall flow which the bees used after feeding was completed, but the honey stores contain water or are not capped, so the hives are very wet inside as I heard.
I have one hive which is wet, some condensation water dripping down the sides and on the boards. Probably they still breed.

I use climate lids for the first time this winter and I wonder if it?s a good or bad idea. It?s always frightening to try something new. I use insulation on ten of my 15 hives first time too and will see if it?s an advantage or if they all starve because they are more active. I plan to do food checks earlier in spring because of this. I did it in march the last years, but they never starved without insulation.

Plus the bees bred until very late last fall which was bad for the mite situation ( I?m not speaking describing my situation, but of all, I?m the only tf around).
Some say there was a broodbrake in august, which might be because we had a drought. But later the bees bred again. My beed made not much of a broodbrake, they had enough stores and pollen was available.
So last week when it got a little frosty they all ran to drip oxalic, hoping for a broodbrake again.
I can?t do this, I?m tf, so I have to pray instead.  :wink:

It may be that I have high losses which have nothing to do with varroa mites. A woodpecker damaged my hives and maybe it et too many bees or disturbed the clusters too much.
We now repaired the damage and placed wire mesh around the hives.

So maybe some susceptibles survive barely and my more resistant are deadouts. 



Offline Acebird

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 10:15:02 am »
It is good that you take notation for the variation of your weather from year to year.  If your loses are because of the weather/climate you can't manipulate it.  But if you can make a correlation between the weather and dead outs you can prepare by increasing your hive numbers to make up for the losses.  I know it is bad to say but it is better then praying.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2019, 03:02:19 pm »
Well, I like to pray and leave the outcome to the powers, mother earth in my case, god is creation and be have to submit. Whatever you want to pray to.

I can?t increase much, Ace, because I have to pay tax if I do, I?m considered a commercial then.
And I don?t want my beeyards to be crowded. I see that few hives are healthier, best is one hive at one place.

I believe I can manipulate and make my hive configuration to be more natural. I think this may buffer climate changes or weather caprioles a little bit.

It would be nice to learn from ferals. The ones i observe nest in old double made stone walls, very cold but very dry, entrance to the north and very small entrance. A lot of space, 5m high, diameter 2m.
We have no hollow trees for the bees to use.

But as a beekeeper I?m not able to make masonry and work such hives.  :wink:

Offline Acebird

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 03:33:03 pm »
Curses, no trees?  That in itself is hard times for the bees.  It would seem like people would have unusual trouble with swarms entering their houses.
edit:
Curiosity ... when do they do the hive counts to classify you as commercial?
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Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 03:41:15 pm »
I don`t think our weather/climate kills colonies. That maybe in rougher places, like THP keeps bees in.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 01:33:27 am »
BFB
I don?t winter my colonies in the Kraichgau like you do, which is much warmer and dryer than my location.
You have no winter to speak of. We have a little more winter and it?s foggy most of the time.
It differs even in my locations. The ones placed in the backcountry have to winter with a season starting two weeks later than those I have placed directly at the lake.

A cold dry winter is much better for the bees than a humid warmer one. They just cluster and wait, use up not much honey. More mites are dying and desease stops.
A very cold winter might be dangerous though.


Brian
when I registered they told me they consider me a "commercial" with 10 hives, which means if I sell honey at the market they check my license.
No problem, I have a license, I sell other home products too, made with fruit from my orchard.

If I remember well the tax starts when you have 25 colonies. Highest number I had so far was 18, two of them I gave to a co-worker and one I had to brush off because it became queenless and got laying workers, I checked when it was too late and did not want to give them broodframes at that time.

Escaped bee swarms almost always lodge in houses, shacks, barns. Then the owner calls the police and they call a beekeeper. You can registrate as a swarm catcher, then they call you.
Some poison the bees because they can?t identify a honeybee. You would not believe how many people don?t know anything about insects except that they feel molested by them.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 01:58:29 am by SiWolKe »

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 02:48:38 am »
I think the threshold was 30 hives.
but then - up to 60 hives or so - you can opt for "pauschal" taxes (don?t konw the word), so in the end you pay nothing. but you have to be in the Berufsgenossenschaft over 30. no riches there, either.

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2019, 03:05:29 am »
As I also winter bees in the cold and wet blackforest, I guess I can feel with you.
That little bit of winter you get at lake constance is not too bad. the mists are probabyl worse for you than for the bees, as they are in the boxes anyway....
The Kraichgau is a lot dryer than the BF, might be dryer than the Hegau, but compared to the BF, it?s dry.

Is the Foehn of any advantage as the bees will get a chance to go out potty? We don?t have Foehn at my place.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2019, 03:49:07 am »
Thanks for the input and information, BFB.

The cleansing flights are not much a problem here. Yes, the foehn is an advantage if it comes to that.
The bees brake cluster often.

What?s dangerous is the time when they start to breed early. A warm January will enforce that and the bee numbers are not sufficient to warm a big broodnest in february or early march, when a cold spell comes.
If there is no foehn, chasing away the fog, the bees stay in the boxes until 8?C to 10?C. They don?t fly when it?s wet. It?s because they are chilled quickly. Sometimes I see one or two tossing out dead bees when it?s 5?C.

I don?t know exactly why the hives of my collegues are so wet but I suspect it?s because of the open floors.
Often the bees are placed in cold foggy pools and the wetness goes up into the hives. Plus there is no ventilation possible on top of the frames, because plastic foil is used.
The floors are open because they want to enforce a broodbrake. In my eyes an open floor is not a good management in my location, it prevents a good hive climate and it helps nothing with mites.
It?s only good while moving boxes.

Every spring I hear losses from nosema ( it?s not nosema, it?s Ruhr what they see, the brown spots, not the yellow ones of nosema mellifera) and high infestation with chalkbrood, which the bees are genetically susceptible to and cold humid weather will start an outbreak.

My bees have not such problems. I never had water dropping on them. I don?t use a foil or a cover. My feeder, filled with wood shavings is my lid, last winter I had an insulation mat on top of the feeder.
I never had chalkbrood, about nosema cerana I don?t know. Nosema mellifera no.

My problems are the mites and isolation from food stores while the bees sit on the broodnests in late winter, never moving.



Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2019, 05:50:07 am »
Last winter I had a lot of bees dying late in March, when it got really cold for two weeks. Those colonies were only half the size afterwards. But the underlying problem for those bees was not the sudden cold spell, I am sure, but the fact that in my hobbyist setup with five hives I did the "don`t treat until threshold reached"-thing the year before.
The others, well treatet and with a lot of brood at the time of the cold-spell (warmer Kraichgau!), did quite well.

As You describe, I don`t have problems with moisture, neither. I close the bottom with the drawer, all year long. Only for transport I open up. And I don`t use any plastic foils, either. Wouldn`t know the reason for them, to be honest. Apart from being a nuisance when the wind is blowing.

Some Ruhr or nosema I only had once in the black forest with a hive that was an Tannenhonig only. Died on me eventually.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 06:25:24 am »
Yes,
The smaller clusters in a tf setting have more difficulties, for sure they are surrounded by treated colonies and drifting or silent robbing occurs.

Reinvasion is the biggest problem in a resistant bees breeding enterprise.
Therefore I use robber screens on every hive, but I can?t tell my bees not to rob mite infested neighbor hives before those are treated in august.

I don?t want to combine though it has an advantage concerning the survivability.  I?m not able to evaluate a colony then, in spring. They have to survive or not.

Plus, I?m splitting once every season. These colonies are established in summer, but they are no production hives, expanded to be huge.

>>>>in my hobbyist setup with five hives I did the "don`t treat until threshold reached"-thing the year before.<<<<
This confirmes my opinion that in our country most constantly treated bee colonies never have a chance to be without treatments except after some years of propagating stronger stock.
I wonder what your threshold is?



Offline Acebird

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 09:47:37 am »
Some poison the bees because they can?t identify a honeybee. You would not believe how many people don?t know anything about insects except that they feel molested by them.
You think that is any different anywhere?  Very common.

Quote
Often the bees are placed in cold foggy pools and the wetness goes up into the hives.
Beekeeper mistake ... in a foggy climate the hives should be placed near the top of a hill not the bottom of a valley.  In a desert place your hives at the bottom of a valley.

Quote
I don?t want to combine though it has an advantage concerning the survivability.
Why fight it if it works?
Brian Cardinal
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Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 10:50:32 am »
Yes,
The smaller clusters in a tf setting have more difficulties, for sure they are surrounded by treated colonies and drifting or silent robbing occurs.

Reinvasion is the biggest problem in a resistant bees breeding enterprise.
Therefore I use robber screens on every hive, but I can?t tell my bees not to rob mite infested neighbor hives before those are treated in august.

I don?t want to combine though it has an advantage concerning the survivability.  I?m not able to evaluate a colony then, in spring. They have to survive or not.

Plus, I?m splitting once every season. These colonies are established in summer, but they are no production hives, expanded to be huge.

>>>>in my hobbyist setup with five hives I did the "don`t treat until threshold reached"-thing the year before.<<<<
This confirmes my opinion that in our country most constantly treated bee colonies never have a chance to be without treatments except after some years of propagating stronger stock.
I wonder what your threshold is?

I use about the numbers halved of Liebig. But in this case I was a bit more daring. Usually I treat when half of the threshold is reached.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 11:58:22 am »
BFB how do you count?
I?m ignorant of the numbers Liebig gives. What are they?

Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2019, 03:33:04 pm »
uff. beat me...

I "count" mites on the drawer underneath the mesh. It`s a bit of an oracle, but for I do - further down - it suffices.

I think it was like 10 in summer - per day.
for autumn it should be 5,
and for winter 1.

If I get single ones around 10 in  summer, I remove all brood from them. Treat that of course (formic)
If more get above around 5, I treat em all and take em out of the flow (forest).
In autumn (I`d say end of September/beginning of October) I treat them all usually. If weather is fair and dry, with formic, else with OAV.
In winter I treat them all. OAV or dribbling OA.
Nucs he takes half the numbers.

So really 5/day in summer is my threshold to stop making honey. All other thresholds I ignore pretty much and treat. This is for full-grown hives.

About the incident I talked about I wanted to try OAV on breeding hives. I got the gadget a bit late it was October, bees untreated till then. Threshold was still allright, although maybe colonies were a bit too small. I milked the mites out successfully with OAV, but winterbees were damaged already, which showed in the cold-spell end of March.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2019, 04:00:49 pm »
Wow.
My threshold is 30 dropping a day in summer but they can take more. So far. Let?s hope they do again. I treated the one dropping 56 average counted 10 days in a row, because I saw crawlers.
But I watch for defect wings when it?s over 30 a day.
The count numbers differ much in my yards, depending on the genetics of each colony. Drop stays the same for months, I started counting in june. But with the treated one it rose.
I think I have some zombies there  :wink:

When I was in bee class the threshold was 15 a day to take immediate action with formic. At 5 no problem, at 10 watch out.
That was 2014.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2019, 04:25:07 pm »
Zombees, I mean.
Here the monitoring tablet from august, you will know which one I treated.
Mite drop is of one day, counted ten days and taken the average.

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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2019, 02:07:34 am »
Our winter is just beginning, typical of the last few years.
Light frost and snowfall at the moment.

The flutter tapes are a measure against the woodpecker that has damaged 5 of my boxes, the holes go through and I mended them with old work gloves, it is an outyard and I had nothing else ready.
The tapes did not work, the woodpecker came back and we had to wrap all the boxes with wire mesh.

I wrapped plant protection fleece around the boxes this winter to keep out the wind and insulate a little bit.

For now they are all alive. This never happened the last winters, my first deadouts were in december. But this does not mean anything since the hardest time now comes.

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Offline blackforest beekeeper

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2019, 02:31:08 am »
I got stuck last night in the snow with my off-roader. not very high up.... we got a lot more snow here, just a couple hours drive away.

Offline SiWolKe

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Re: Climate, weather, flow, bee activity in South Germany
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2019, 02:43:26 am »
Yes, I saw that there are 3m of snow in Austria. People dying in avalanche or branches falling on their heads.