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Author Topic: TF hives often die out in yr 2- how to avoid it ?  (Read 833 times)

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.

Offline 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. 

Ben Framed
   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
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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
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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: