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Author Topic: Is it normal in the south  (Read 460 times)

Offline Acebird

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Is it normal in the south
« on: June 30, 2020, 05:30:09 pm »
I use to be able to walk up to any hive up north and pull the weeds away from the hive without the bees getting excited.  Two or three weeks ago I tried it down here and they came after me.  I tried it again today and they still get excited.  Is this normal?  Last time it happened I opened the hive to see if they were crowded and the bees in the hive seem to be calm.  They weren't crowded.  So far this hive has been slow compared to what I am use to up north.  Are we in a dearth now for southern FL.?
Before I go in I was wondering what to expect for this location.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 05:50:48 pm »
"Is it normal in the south"

It is not normal in my area of the South Ace. At least that is not normal for me.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 01:12:39 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 06:49:09 pm »
Ace,
In the Florida Panhandle we have a dearth from mid June after "popcorn" trees (Chinese Tallow or Sapiferum sebiferum).  It lasts a couple of weeks until the Sabal Palms start.  Our Sabals just started full swing this week (end of June) and it's a heavy flow with white wax being drawn.  It'll be followed by a lighter amount from native sumac, Liriope ("monkey grass"), mexican clover, etc.

So yes, in early summer, there's a couple of crabby weeks where there are a great many bees, not a lot to munch on, and my robbing screens are on.    Most beeks here locally harvest right before this dearth.



Offline Acebird

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 08:30:07 am »
Most beeks here locally harvest right before this dearth.
Doesn't that make the matter worse?  I would think it causes starvation also.
Thanks for your post.  Maybe I should leave the weeds there during this period kinda like natures robber screen.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 10:22:42 am »
Ace,
I just mowed right up against al of the hives in my yard with a riding mower. I do go at a very slow speed. Yesterday I weedwacked in the front, back and between the hives. Not a single bee came to challenge me. We are definitely in a dearth.
I pulled the honey Supers last month. The bees store a lot of honey around the brood, so they still have plenty of food. I do feed them sugar water one a week or so, open feeding. They do not get constant feed to keep them from building up.
You probably have a queen less hive or something is bothering them at night.
Jim Altmiller

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 10:24:36 am »
Ace,
You are south of I-4. You may have had Africanized queens take over your hives.
Jim Altmiller

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 10:48:03 am »
I've noticed also that the bees are a little testy when it's reaaaally hot.  Remember, the heat index today in our area is 110 degrees because of humidity...despite the temp really being "only 92." 

Last July/August I had a shade sail up over the hives, it seemed to cool things down a bit, and provide relief for both bees and beekeeper.  Haven't put it up yet for this year - or put up an alternative - but it's definitely time to do that.


Offline Acebird

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 04:44:18 pm »
Jim I don't think there has been a take over but it is possible the queen mated with africanized drones.  That would explain some calm and some not.
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 06:18:48 pm »
Mr. Ace, you know how to handle bees so in this case, I would say definitely not the beeks fault.  The bees act a lil testy, common with some hives.  I mow up to my bees but I am careful about mower discharge direction.  If memory serves me correctly the hive you speak of was a freebie, swarm moved into stored equipment.  Kinda odd that the bees can be inspected remaining calm but defensive at removing weeds at the entrance?  Maybe pull the weeds like you are inspecting, which is most likely slow.   Bees are so dynamic.

Can?t comment on Florida bloom but in Arkansas, we are in a dearth: in the Ozark Forested mountains that is.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 08:07:46 pm »
So Jim, what you are describing - about managing colony size over the sequence of spring and summer - really is a fine science.  I have yet to figure that out with finesse.

Our season here starts early, and is long. I have picked up a swarm at the end of August.  For best honey production, one would suppose the ideal is the highest number of bees, feeding the least amount brood, during the biggest flow, then a diminishment  afterward so the bees do not need to eat all they produced. 

So perhaps in concept...one would make up splits right before the peak flow as long as a beek has the equipment and market for splits.  I haven't figured out the perfect orchestral tipping point yet.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2020, 08:40:55 pm »
GF,
I control their food intake while we are in a dearth. During the spring, before the flow, I feed to get the bees to build up to be ready for the flow. I stop when the supers go on.
Jim Altmiller

Offline CapnChkn

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 02:09:00 am »
Nope.  I have caught nothing but feral swarms since I got back to keeping the bees, and I've not had a mean hive yet.  I regularly use a grass sickle to trim grass around my hives and with my hand waving all over the place, nobody has decided I should be chased away, or even fly in front of my face.
"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 09:36:29 am »
During the spring, before the flow, I feed to get the bees to build up to be ready for the flow. I stop when the supers go on.
Jim Altmiller
That is typical management for beeks looking for the greatest output even up north.  I have no need for the greatest output so I don't feed.  I also value honey that is not the least bit contaminated with fed sugar.  Feeding negates uncontaminated honey no matter how careful you are.
I have no experience with southern FL.  It is like I am a new beek and a new gardener.  Fruit trees that flower while they are bearing fruit.  They act like a tomato plant.
The message I am getting from everyone is that bees should not be aggressive down here with exceptions... Heat, weather, genetics, prey, dearth, or maybe pests can turn their mood.  Heat, weather, and genetics is much different then up north.
Jim I mow my property with a John Deer tractor with a mowing deck within about 4 ft of the side of the hive.  No problem at all.  There is not enough room to mow in front.  My wife being an antique-er we had three sighs back north that were left.  Just another 20/20 hindsight lesson.  I am sure there are hundreds of sighs down here but covid has curtailed tag sale-ing for us.
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Offline Sundog

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 03:18:38 pm »
I found that mowing and trimming around my hives was best done late in the day, even after sundown.   Never a head-butt or angry bees.  These were local feral bees from swarm traps and cutouts, one from a large open air colony.  I guess when all the foragers come in there?s better things for them to do.

I have gotten bees from the Lakeland area that were so calm you could visit them with no protection.

Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 03:38:00 pm »
I pluck grass, clover etc from in front of the hives whenever needed. I tend to move slowly just out of habit. Can't remember the last time one got me for this.

Years ago my Dad had a couple of hives near the woodline behind his orchard. He was sick for a year and they went one season without visitation. I went to check on them and was stung at ~15 feet out. They had apparently been taken over (through breeding or otherwise) by feral German bees. They were having none of it. This was in 2008 (mid-TN) so Africanized bees are not the only way to get mean bees.


Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2020, 08:59:57 pm »
          So in Australia, a poster here mentioned he painted aluminum telescoping lids with white paint to cut down on heat absorption.
          We've had a heat index of 105-109 this week.  I need to inspect all hives, but can only do one or two before the heat sets in. Well I could get up in the dark at 5:30 but I'm not quite to that point yet (*sigh*).  By 6:30 or 7 am it's already hot because it never drops below 85 at night.  I'm told this year is a record-breaker for heat. 
           My question is, does anyone else have experience with a painted aluminum lid keeping it cooler? (Ahem) because last week I broke off a foundationless comb that wasn't attached at the bottom and I had to do the toothpicks-and-rubberbands fix. 
           Or does painting the tin lid cause an endless cycle of peeling paint, paint flakes all over the apiary ground, and repainting? Thx -

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2020, 09:36:28 pm »
If that is the case you might try a product called Cool Seal. Rolls on with a roller but very thick. Supposedly seals and is also a shield from heat.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online .30WCF

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2020, 11:52:14 pm »
The lids I have came with a white finish.

Painting them, I wouldn?t call it and endless cycle with paint all over the yard. Proper paint wit a scuff job first...

I just put down the foil lined foam insulation to curtail a temporary fix I had to do. I needed to use what I had in hand for a lid, a piece of black slate.
I?m sure you could put a piece of foam inside the rim of the cover and resist some heat, or put it over the cover and weigh it down to reflect the sun and insulate.


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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2020, 01:49:29 am »
> I?m sure you could put a piece of foam inside the rim of the cover and resist some heat, or put it over the cover and weigh it down to reflect the sun and insulate.

I tried that, I found the bees would eventually chew their way through creating a new opening through that insulation board.. Which is fine but not desired by me. But apparently desired by the bees. lol.  My intention was to use it year round like one of our members here from Florida does with success, helping with heat in summer and condensation in winter. Maybe the top vent made by the bees is ok in both circumstances? If they do not like their self made vent they could always propolize it back shut? lol :happy:
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 02:04:13 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online .30WCF

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Re: Is it normal in the south
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2020, 06:42:20 am »
If you wanted to, you could a piece of lauan underlayment board and use construction adhesive to bond the wood to it. Wood side down should keep them from chewing it.


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