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Author Topic: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?  (Read 823 times)

Offline charentejohn

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TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« on: September 08, 2020, 09:39:42 am »
Thought I would pose this question as mine are started in this year (May from 5 frame Nucs) and are basically Warre format.  My first year keeping bees.

I keep reading about TF hives not making it through winter in their second year.  Set me thinking this may be related to larger hives and honey harvesting as much as TF.  What triggered it was a new keeper posting on FB showing the small amount of honey in the supers since may.  I thought I am sure that these should not have been expected to produce supers of honey in year one. 
This tied in with the number of new keepers failing over their second winter which can be put down to inexperience.  They weren't TF as far as I know but shows a potential problem.

I can see starting with a swarm that has been treated and now is going 'cold turkey' is not the best start.  However putting them in a larger hive and regularly messing with them would not help.  In the second year people will expect a harvest so will mess with them again and may misjudge stores etc.  As a result they just have one too many hills to climb and fail.

Regardless of hive size I would guess that year one TF would be install and leave them alone.  Minimal checks to see they are building up ok then leave them to it.
Spring of year 2 they will hopefully swarm, brood break new drone blood etc, and they can start the year nearly new.  Having been allowed to swarm they may then produce enough to harvest but play that by ear.

A keeper near me has had the same (or similar) set of bees cycling themselves round in his Dadant brood box for over 7 yrs.  He just adds supers as and when and harvests, otherwise he has never removed a frame or messed with the main hive.  So this obviously can work as he gets his bees from swarms, and has been doing this a while.

Just wondered what advice or thoughts such keepers on here had on this.  Basically how to make sure they make it into year 3 and onwards.     

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Offline The15thMember

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2020, 01:03:47 pm »
I'm not a non-intervention beekeeper, but I am an organic/mechanical only treater and I am entering my third winter.  I'm sure there are those hives that suffer from overzealous harvesting in year 2, but I think in a lot of cases, it's simply the fact that the mite load really maxes out then.  If you start off in your first year with a swarm or a package, even a nuc in some cases, the hives just doesn't get large enough to cause the mite/bee ratio to become a real problem.  But if the hive is successfully overwintered and enters year 2 at a decent size, now the mites are off to a good start too.  The mite problem in the second year can also be compounded by the fact that hives sometimes aren't strong enough to swarm their second spring.  I think that the hive's performance with regards to mites in its first year can give new beekeepers a false sense of security, which causes hives to crash in the second year when keepers assume that the situation will be the same as the first year.  In my area with my bees, I must do something about mites, or I'll lose too many hives.  I sincerely doubt that anything but consistent losses and breeding would get me to the point of total non-intervention, and depending on what surrounding beekeepers were doing, maybe not even then.  Just my two cents though.  Just because it would be hard for me, doesn't necessarily mean it'll be as hard for you.   
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2020, 07:14:19 pm »
Good point of not swarming year 2 as not sufficiently strong.  I may have one of each, both doing well but when I got them one had 3 frames covered and starting the others, the other nuc was 5 frames built solid. 
Next year I will nadir another warre box to make 3 in all and remove the dadant to warre adapter.  Basically acting as a 3rd warre box at the moment.  Doing this may make them less likely to swarm so I will check regularly.  I am and will continue to do sticky board counts just to see any trends, next year will be especially important.

So far, despite asian hornet harassment, they are doing well, mite count of 20 or so / day is ok so winter should not be a problem.  Winter should be the usual not too bad affair, no snow and mostly above zero temps.

It is just that I see the, TF fails yr 2, cited lots of places like it is certain.  I am realising with bees there are few definitive answers as so many variables.  That said there must be some things to avoid, as an example leaving them unmolested in one box until yr 3 if TF may be one?
Experienced keepers must have seen this.  Like Scot Mc Pherson said a lot of TF keepers probably fail due to lack of help with the basics (like when not to harvest) from more experienced keepers of all persuations.         
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2020, 09:53:18 am »
This thread is thought provoking because I am TF and about to enter my 2nd winter.
My hives are long lanstroths, foundationless from the beginning. I have not treated, and do not even check mite count. I know that it may seem irresponsible, but I decided at the onset that I would be completely TF or not keep bees at all. Even so, my hives are better off than feral colonies in the wild. I supply room and oil traps for SHB. They certainly are no worse.
I plan on continuing to leave them all the honey they need, and so reduce or eliminate the need for feeding, but i can do that as a hobbyist.
It will be interesting to see what happens this winter.

Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2020, 07:22:46 pm »
Bob, thanks for that on two levels.  One is that it is good to find someone running a year ahead of me and so far so good.  Second is knowing there are others doing this when I am tempted to give in and do something.
There are a couple of new keepers like myself here in france that I am a year ahead of, they will have TF bees next year.  So I am their Canary in the coal mine.
On the mite counting I am doing it for the first year, and maybe second, just so I know what is happening.  The count would have to be someting massive to worry me and counting once you have confidence in your bees seems unnecessary.  The voice of reason on such things is Scot McPherson (also ok facebook)  As he says some people need to count but others don't.

I had a load of bees in a bird roosting box for 7+yrs, which is what got me interested, and they had no problems.  Local mixed stock, what David Heaf calls 'very mongrelly mongrels'. The box they wer in was way too small and made of 14mm (1/2") ply so they can survive most things. Box size is not a direct problem more 'overtaxing' them by messing them about in the early stages ?
One thing we are spared in France is SHB, we just have Varroa and Asian Hornets.  I think Scot mentioned he moved from US west coast to east coast and from SHB to varroa as main problem.

My current mite count is under 20/day so not worrying me.  I did consider a one-off treatment just in case as they are bees previously treated but only when necessary, I really don't want to as they are active and busy. One good thing about sticky boards is I found some things other than varroa.  I found some 1wk+ pupae they had ejected, tubular open floor, so obviously they had a problem with them and sure more went out the entrance.  May or may not be hygenic behaviour but tending that way ?
I use top bars with a 7cm (2.5") foundation strip between two end dowel rods, well I did have.  They took a dislike to it and ripped it all out which is something I applaud :) Was worrying at first to see the huge pile of shredded wax under the hive.   Since the bird box bees made it and likely they came from a local keeper I hope these will with a little help and encouragement.

   
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2020, 11:50:00 pm »
John. Glad to hear the bird box bees are doing well. I am sure they swarm every year, and so have picked up the genetic material of feral bee drones.
I believe my first hive was a swarm from another beekeeper. Since then, the bees have become smaller and darker building their own comb and cell size, and swarming. I am still working on how to keep the brood nest open in my long hives.
I am still learning a lot of the basic concepts of beekeeping, and still have a lot to consider, especially on issues of varying opinion.
Some are adamant about everyone needing to treat for mites. Time will tell if I can succeed TF, but I am committed to this purpose.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2020, 01:03:33 am »
TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?

Treat. lol just kidding. Wishing y'all the best. I understand the romanticism and other views of non treating. As Bob stated, his bees are better off with him than in a feral setting. Lets not forget Cao. Very successful except for SHB this season.
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2020, 05:25:21 am »
It does need nerves of steel Bob   :smile:  A few times I have been weakening and thought just a bit of a treatment won't hurt, then I toughen up and stick with it.  Look at Scot's video as he covers some of the problems.  He is a TF commercial keeper which is unusual.  When I listen to people like Leo Sharaskin it helps with my resolve.  I figure once year two is passed and they start swarming then that is success.  The swarms are of bees that know how to survive and the one's left get a new queen with part of that ability, and on and on.  There will come a time when they fail naturally, queen predated on a mating flight, exceptional cold but that's ok as their work is done and I now have a space for a swarm to occupy.

For people like myself with two hives there is a risk of losses but we have the time to devote to minimising that risk. I am planning my 'wild' hive in a stand of trees so that any swarms from these, or anywhere, can be put there and left untouched.  If I do have a hive that dies out I would hope a swarm from there (long term plan this) would repopulate it, or one from the hive next to it.

My bird box hive died out due to Asian Hornets as too small to withstand the attack or they may well still be there, new hives are better protected. I was sad when they died as I thought (having no idea about bees) all my bees I have had for so many years are dead.  Then as I learned I realised they would have swarmed at least once a year maybe more as a too small box really.  So the bees at the end were probably 7-10th generation and the original bees and their descendants had swarmed elsewhere long ago.   Some photos in the links.   
The box itself, on a garage wall in full 40c sun sometimes (hence the sunshade) 
Bees in the box on a garage wall, got so rotten I had to repair it, note the shelves meant for birds.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/GmsnGhbwzWiqKfcz8 
What was inside when they died out, warre body next to it (about 1.5x warre box volume  https://photos.app.goo.gl/WKVtpai1btREBAxd8
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2020, 06:52:37 am »
John. I would imagine that your bird box put off several swarms a year. Not just one. It is very small.
So you are keeping warre hives? People seem to like those. My long langs hold 32 deep langstroth frames in a row like a file cabinet. Each one is 4 feet long and equivalent  to 3 deep langstroth boxes. They are working great for me, a hobbyist.
Michel Bush also works to be TF, although he does treat some, I believe. You can find his website at Bushfarms.com. It has a LOT of great info from TF to foundationless frames to feral genetics. He is very practical and keeps about 200 hives.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2020, 08:00:40 am »
CORRECTION.
Michel Bush at bushfarms.com is completely TF. He keeps ahout 200 hives and makes some compelling arguments about treatment free beekeeping on his website.
We are creating our own mite problem by purchasing inbred, inferior queen stock rather than feral, naturally selected bees, that survive and breed/swarm in our own local area. These feral populations are not sickly and inferior to purchased stock. They are often superior to sugar raised, treatment dependent queens bred in very different climates than our own areas. Meanwhile, healthy feral colonies grow and swarm without treatment in the wild, which displays mite resistant qualities.
Mite treatment weakens the colony, often is only partly effective, contaminates the commercial wax pool, and breeds stronger mites.
The best mite control is to let treatment dependent colonies die out in favor of naturally resistant bee genetics. It is a difficult initial cost to pay, but is the best way to overcome the mite problem.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 12:09:10 am by Bob Wilson »

Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2020, 08:24:32 am »
Treatment free has a lot to do with location.  If the bees are subject to a high density of hives that are treated their chances of survival decrease.
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2020, 09:57:42 am »
I am in the countryside so have a mix of hives but all 3km from me (as far as I know).  One lot untreated the others may not be as some are on the edge of a woodland, about 5 hives.  I have seen some people advocating Oxalic, formic and such as organic treatments, which they are.  Problem is they do damage and I am always surprised when people say safe to use may kill weaker queens (whatever that means) but will be ok if used as directed.  What I see there is may kill weaker queens and weaken strong ones.  Formic is a favourite here but needs to be used with care (most warnings cover people not bees) as it too can kill queens.

I think a lot of this is irrelevant if you replace queens with bought in stock each year as people do.  So a damaged queen coming into spring is no problem as the intend to replace her anyway, all current bees will be replaced by her offspring so what happens to the current bees doesen't matter.

For those of us letting nature take it's course, swarm and renew internally this is a different situation.  We have to live with any damage done.
Just took a look at mine and very busy, pollen arriving at 2pm, no idea where from. 
I think they will be fine because the 'hive scent' and all antiseptics etc inside remain as not opened without good reason.  This being the case it is possible the bees can sense problems masked by opening hives and also chemicals dulling senses.
A couple of interesting documents are below, heavy going but basically they believe mite reproduction rates reduce in some hives, just hard to figure how.  Sounds likely a combination of the bees removing infected brood and hive odours suppressing mite pheromones ?  Not a fan of deeply technical documents but.
Not sure about needing specific breeding if it is a pheromone suppressant but https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/11/9/595/htm
Next to last paragraph in the Discussion bit at the end https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223236   
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 10:23:48 pm »
     It's my opinion that location REALLY matters.  I'm treatment free in NW Florida.  Here, hives don't die out, they just swarm out/abscond if you don't watch them.  Or...maybe the queen is not successfully superceded. 
     
     I'm by a brackish-water state park and a military base with many lakes and natural vegetation.  The food chain is active from seeds, berries and bugs to predator species like bears, wild hogs, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, etc.   Not saying nature is in perfect balance, but there are feral honey bee colonies everywhere.  No one is treating them with chemicals. Some colonies will get bigger and bigger if there is enough space.  Feral bees will chew down the black brood comb and put new white wax cells onto it if they run out of space in the cavity.

     Colony removal service is in high demand.  I've seen a couple feral colonies with mites, but most without mites.  In many spaces the cavity is so big that the bees don't seem to take out the "trash." They just let some trash kinda pile up in a drift, or in the insulation.  So when I open up a wall cavity and find hive trash with no apparent dead mites on the floor of the cavity...I assume, no mites, and I see no mites on bees.  When I put them in a hive, no mites in the oil trap.  SHB, yes. SHB will tip the scale here if I don't use mechanical controls in a hive. 

       I agree with Ace that it depends on what's around you.  I have heard from some local beeks that a wave of mites will come through, sort of like migratory insects, and the bees will fight them off and then the mites aren't there anymore.  That's only hearsay of course.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2020, 12:55:38 pm »
I did not find just not treating to be effective.  Here are my four steps:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2020, 11:28:25 pm »
Michael. I am just winding up my second year, and have come to agree with your conclusions.
1. I use only foundationless frames.
2. I am letting them keep all the honey they need instead of feeding them.
3. I am putting in no mite treatment at all.
4. I am reproducing hives from local caught bees which are acclimatized to my area.
I really look forward to seeing how it works over this second winter.

Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2020, 10:12:44 am »
What they said.  :happy:  Mine are the same in general.
Cell size doesen't matter for two reasons, one is they can build their own comb off the top bars.  Second is I did have 5mm cell wax foundation starter strips but they spat them out.
They can keep all the honey so I will not have to worry about feeding.
No treatments and I hope to never open the hives if at all possible.  My part is the fun of checking on them and learning about what I see.
Bees are local from a supplier who has built their apiary from caught swarms.  They can swarm if they like so make their own queens.

Only things I will add are unfortunately the Nucs have frames from (admittedly) lightly treated hives.  So will contain contaminants etc so the sooner they are removed the better.   I think that will have to be next year now bus asap in spring.  They will then be on their own comb.   
I am putting two 'wild' leave alone hives in nearby trees (mine and a neighbour's) to install any swarms into so there will be untouched bees nearby just in case.
If they are really productive I may try the small Warre 'super' idea to take a couple of kg, maybe.  Fitting a super doesen't mean I have to let them fill it, when they have done enough I can just remove it.  I will see how it goues but won't be considered until yr 3.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2020, 06:22:33 pm »
My only caution is an un-managed hive can be more difficult to manage.  Thinking you are going to rob from it should the need arise might be harder then you think.
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2020, 07:06:00 pm »
Acebird, not sure what you mean re robbing.  I assume it is about taking honey from a hive untouched for a couple of years, probably true they won't be happy.
That said I learned my lesson many years ago with my old bird box hive when I thought i would do some work on it when they were asleep, bad idea.  I now know to do it when they are out at work  :embarassed:
My one advantage would be the warre being smaller and a top cloth instead of a cover board is quieter.  Less cracking than loosening a wooden one.
Probably won't bother just a thought that I might consider it.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2020, 08:25:53 am »
I was thinking bees more than honey.  Trying to get a queen out of an unmanaged hive especially one without frames is not easy.
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2020, 04:24:10 pm »
Not a problem as non intervention too.  The bees can re-queen themselves as I am sure they know when it is time, either swarm or supercede, their choice.
I have read about drone laying etc but am convinced that if left alone they will deal with it.  If they do die out due to some miscalculation on their part it will be the natural way as would have happened in the wild.  As they would leave an empty bee smelling hive it should get new tennants soon.
All I would have to do in that case would be to check to see it wasn't a disease, but if I have been paying attention I should have noted that, I hope.
 
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Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2020, 11:21:09 pm »
I despise the whole idea of treating, but alas, the 2 year die-off has happened like clock-work. I saw one mite on a package I installed in April-May and thought, "Oh, if you see one, there are thousands". I then drunk the koolaid and slapped in some apivar strips. I had a few hives set up for honey and ended up not being able (mentally) to fully insure that 1 part per trillion trillion hadn't made it from one of the other hives.

Mr. Bush, I have read your stuff before but hadn't given serious consideration to natural cells. There's a feral tree 1/8 mile from my house that has fed on anything I've left out for 4 years (or 2 death cycles for me). Going to give this more weight. Much of your other suggestions I already do (I leave them heavy with honey). I've also split and split and split this year to take 4x what I want for spring into winter. Getting old and expensive. Thanks to all of you.

Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2020, 06:38:44 am »
Jojo, take a look at Scot McPherson's stuff, link in a previous post, as I have found him informative and direct.
His claim to fame for me is that he has been TF commerical keeping for 35yrs.  I only have a couple of hives so the , split to replace losses till they toughen up. idea won't work for me as not enough hives.  Worth looking at hs FB page and youtube videos.
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Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2020, 02:49:47 pm »
Will do. Thanks

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2020, 06:44:30 pm »
Don't forget Cao, he has been keeping bees for (I think he said 6 years) TF and successful. Perhaps he will chime in with advise.
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 cao

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2020, 10:53:56 pm »
I believe the second year die off is not just a TF problem.  When you start out with a nuc or package, the first year is spent growing enough to make it through winter.  So if you are successful the first year, then the second year the hive comes out of winter booming and wanting to swarm.  That produces problems for the beekeeper.  How many questions are asked on this forum about how to deal with a hive that wants to swarm?  Unless you happen to get all things right managing your second year hive, it is trying to overcome something that you have done or not done.  So IMO a lot of second year hives go into winter in worse shape than the first year, leading to the losses.  After all that you can add the stress of SHBs and mites and moths and birds and other insects and other creatures that feed on bees.  It doesn't surprise me that there are a lot of 2nd year losses. 

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   Just FYI, I started it 2013.  7 years going on 8 with no treatments for mites.


Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2020, 08:35:22 am »
I believe the second year die off is not just a TF problem.
I couldn't agree more.  Until I hear someone like Michael Bush claim that a second year die off is attributed to treatment free I don't buy it.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2020, 01:25:22 am »
> Ben Framed
   Just FYI, I started it 2013.  7 years going on 8 with no treatments for mites.

Sorry Cao, I was thinking of you and your success. I might have read the 6 years a year ago. lol
:smile:

 
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 Michael Bush

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2020, 04:39:03 pm »
In my observation survival of bees is directly related to the skill of the beekeeper.  This means however you start out, treating or not treating, you are likely to lose your bees.  The next year may be better or not because, as someone pointed out, the problems of a second year colony are different and you're still not an experienced beekeeper yet.  As you get to be a better beekeeper you have better "luck" with survival...  A lot of this is because beekeeping is a constant stream of judgment calls and your judgement gets better the more you have experience and learn from your experience.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2020, 10:55:52 pm »
When do most average beeks learn enough to be reasonably successful each year? My single hive came through last winter. My present three hives all SEEM to be doing well right now.
In what year do most beeks become successful at overwintering?

Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2020, 09:35:24 am »
It is a bell shaped curve Bob.  I would say most beekeepers can be sustainable after three years.  That doesn't mean you can't get nearly wiped out in the 5th year.  But 5 years in you can usually recover pretty quickly.
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Offline charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2020, 07:11:06 pm »
Another first year keeper like myself was asking for info and I made the following recommendation.
When looking for advice always bear in mind the size and type of operation people are running.  So in the case of beekeeping skills and experience this would have more impact for those with a large number of hives.  For example recovering from losses by splits etc.  Larger operations that harvest honey also need to manage hives more.

For myself, and the other person, it is just a matter of two hives and those not used for honey production.  Maybe later but not the main purpose.
So that is a differet situation as losses are more damaging, but then again a split from someone else is often available so same in the end.
My hives will swarm and live as natural a life as I can provide in a warre box.  In that sense they are wild bees so live or die by that life.  They can swarm, supercede etc as they would in the wild so I would hope they would have a good chance of survival. 

I am always aware of the situation of those responding when looking for information as there are so many variations of keeping.  Not a problem just something to consider.  With only two hives I could lose 50% at any time, and obviously will as that is just how it works.  My hope is that if I try to keep them both in good condition that when that does happen the other will just spread out into the empty hive, or others will.       
 
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2020, 08:05:15 pm »
I despise the whole idea of treating, but alas, the 2 year die-off has happened like clock-work. I saw one mite on a package I installed in April-May and thought, "Oh, if you see one, there are thousands". I then drunk the koolaid and slapped in some apivar strips. I had a few hives set up for honey and ended up not being able (mentally) to fully insure that 1 part per trillion trillion hadn't made it from one of the other hives.
.

I am sorry that you lost your bees. I hope you do not give up and come back strong.
According to Dr Samuel Ramsey, the Scientist who discovered that varroa feed on fatty tissue membrane instead of bee blood, which was once accepted. If you see a varroa mite ON a bee, that is representation of only five percent of mites which are in that hive.  So yes hypothetically speaking, your assumption of volume of mites,  based on Dr Ramsey?s findings may not be that far off?
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 10:53:44 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 charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2020, 05:54:27 am »
My average mite count on a sticky board is 20-30/day as we go into autumn.  The arrived in May after being treated by the supplier and had a count of 5/day the last one in september showed 16 and 25/day for the two hives.  There will always be varroa present and I am now ok with the current numbers, not excessive.
I read that the majority of varroa are on the nurse bees, which makes sense, so most should drop onto the sticky board from there.

I am basing my optimism on the idea that when they arrived they had been treated so must have had the same mite count as they do now prior to that ?
So if they made it once they should make it again.  They are active and still bringing in pollen so I take that as a sign of wellbeing.
I know sticky boards are not especially accurate but do show trends.  I will keep doing them on the basis that all is well now and if they hold steady they must be coping with it.

Temperatures dropping now and 10c this morning, should improve a little next week.  They are in adapter boxes (5 frame nuc size) with 18mm (3/4") pine walls in a sheltered corner.  As they are under cover and won't get wet I may add a couple of layers of cardboard just to be sure.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2020, 09:25:29 am »
Pre fall the queen lays up a storm to prepare the hive for wintering over.  The population of mites explode because of this massive build up.  Then the queen shuts down and the bees have little to do but groom when flows end.  You can see a very high number of mite fall during this period.  What matters most is if the new bees are healthy which is why I would never take honey or pollen during the expansion period.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2020, 10:02:50 am »
Quoting AR Beekeeper. (added below), Who quoted the Scientist from Germany who advocates the brood break method, (Ralph Blucher) your hive may be in very serious trouble?  You are experiencing a drop of 20-30 mites per day. That?s not even taking into account the numbers which may be under your capped brood. According to the AR report. 1 to 2 percent varroa are lost per day when NO brood is present. Considering  this, Excluding your brood, 30 per day drop, which may represent only one to two percent of your mite problem. AGAIN IF THE REPORTS ARE ACCURATE FROM GERMANY.

If that 30 drop is one to two percent, your outer brood mite count will be roughly anywhere from
2,940 - 2,970 mites. Again not counting what is in and beneath your open and capped brood.

Concerning a 25 day brood break quoting ARBeekeeper
According to Ralph Blucher, their studies in Germany show that the varroa on adult bees are lost at a rate of 1 to 2% per day. .

My average mite count on a sticky board is 20-30/day as we go into autumn.  The arrived in May after being treated by the supplier and had a count of 5/day the last one in september showed 16 and 25/day for the two hives.  There will always be varroa present and I am now ok with the current numbers, not excessive.
I read that the majority of varroa are on the nurse bees, which makes sense, so most should drop onto the sticky board from there.

I am basing my optimism on the idea that when they arrived they had been treated so must have had the same mite count as they do now prior to that ?
So if they made it once they should make it again.  They are active and still bringing in pollen so I take that as a sign of wellbeing.
I know sticky boards are not especially accurate but do show trends.  I will keep doing them on the basis that all is well now and if they hold steady they must be coping with it.

Temperatures dropping now and 10c this morning, should improve a little next week.  They are in adapter boxes (5 frame nuc size) with 18mm (3/4") pine walls in a sheltered corner.  As they are under cover and won't get wet I may add a couple of layers of cardboard just to be sure.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 11:01:40 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 charentejohn

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2020, 07:07:52 pm »
Varroa counting is a tricky thing, probably why people avoid it ?
Good that you pointed out that the german reports may not be entirely accurate.  I struggle to get the 10 on a sticky board = X in the hive bit, even the death roll methods or dragging out drones (you can guess I am not a fan) are just a random sample.
I know some people say they have no varroa but that sounds unlikely, they probably have very few though.  Basically the bees will have to come to terms with the varroa problem, and I am sure they will, as it is not going away.  As an example if my hive contains 20k bees and 3k mites on them + a load in the brood then either that is a lethal dose or they will shrug it off. 

I have gone through the OMG anything could be happening to them all is lost phase of this process and am coming out the other side.  I will stick with monitoring varroa drop as I would like to know and it doesen't interfere with them.  Other than that I am trying to leave them to it.
These came to me as a treated nuc with just a few varroa, that said on the german count 3 on arrival = 300 on the bees and away we go, so would be the same if they swarmed.  If they ended up in a tree they would face the same problems. 
It is hard to let go of the urge to do something though.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2020, 07:38:04 pm »
>In what year do most beeks become successful at overwintering?

I've met people who have only had bees two or three years who know more than people who had kept bees 50 years.  It's not just the years, but the effort put into observation and experimentation.  Paying attention to how your decisions affect the bees.  But certainly most people get better as they go.  Some a lot faster than others.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2020, 12:33:19 am »
All good advice. I agree that the 2-year mark isn't entirely a mite issue. And Phillip, I have no intention of quitting. I'm coming up on my fifth winter back into bees and this summer has been the most fun I've had doing anything in years! :)

Started raising my own queens this year and that made expansion much easier. And to Mr Bush's last comment, I have learned many painful and expensive lessons in life. Those are the ones that eventually changed my behaviors. Dad used to quote Benjamin Franklin as saying, "Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool can learn in no other." He would usually conclude by placing himself in that group, and I have fit that description many times.

side note: A lady texted from 4-5 hours away this morning wanting a nuc. I was able to tell her of someone much closer than myself. I told her their are many opinions and sometimes you will see the YouTube guys take a jab at one another. But with that said, except for some churches and maybe a few recovery type groups, I have never seen a community of people so willing to help each other.

Thanks to all of you!  :grin: