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Re: bee questions and some answers

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  • EARMAILS
    Hi Bob and glad you signed on here too. If nothing else we both seem to write long letters. So since no one else had time so far - it s me again, the dreaded
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 31, 1999
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      Hi Bob and glad you signed on here too. If nothing else we both seem to
      write long letters. So since no one else had time so far - it's me again,
      the dreaded Bee Queen of the Nass Valley. I'm in a race now with Mr. Junior
      Black Bear - who will get to the bees first, him or me! Stupid beast was
      back again today but sonny boy found out in time and made enough of a
      racket. Dogs wouldn't say much since it isn't a grizzly, with them they
      kinda get wild. But what's a black bear compared to them - except when he
      puts his dirty little paws into my hives!

      >>>We did finish our sailboat and did sail into the sunset.

      Thank you for expanding more on this topic. While it may have nothing to do
      with bees, it does explain some of who the beekeeper is and why he's doing
      what and when. That too is important.

      >>>This half hive was apparently composed of half-wit bees. We found them
      building their home on a tree limb right out in the open.

      Is that so wrong for them to do so? Your climate is a bit different I bet
      and maybe the bees felt that was just about ok.

      >>>A bad queen lays eggs that will develop into bad queens.

      Is that a truth? I wish a few other people would jump in and say something
      as to how come a hive doesn't develop as good as others do. I'm sure we can
      all read it up somewhere in a book or on some web page but could it be
      discussed a bit what others are thinking on this subject?

      I came into spring with three normal hives and the fourth was one which
      only had a few handfull of bees. The way they were when I moved them out of
      the beehouse after the winter, I decided that no way, that hive had lost
      it, and I was already combining it on top of another hive - when I saw
      almost at the last moment - there was a beautiful queen and she was laying!
      So I worked with that hive a bit and now at summer's end, today I moved
      that particular hive back into the beehouse. It's still going to be my
      smallest hive of the four but it's actually going strong enough. After I
      have moved the other hives and caught the strugglers that didn't make it
      with the move, I add those on to the little hive. The queen has lots of
      room to lay now. I may give them additional honey frames off the other
      three hives, but in general - this was a lost hive in a way in the spring,
      and it did very well.

      >>>So, I will start a nuc from my good colony and as the nuc progresses I
      will add whatever bees and brood I can from the half hive after I remove
      the half-wit queen.

      Sounds fine to me. One good way of doing it I think.

      >>>I said I was terrified of messing with my good hive not from fear of the
      bees but because I did not want to disrupt my one good working hive.

      Oh? OK. Well right or not, I disrupt mine everytime I open them up and look
      at them from every angle I can think of. The only way I know how. I'm
      getting good at guessing where the queen might be and have been finding her
      almost everytime now. So I guess I'm making progress.

      >>>We do nothing to prepare our bees for winter.

      Lucky you. Both my husband and I are already pretty relieved that the two
      hives have been moved back. It seems there is opposition (maybe too strong
      a word) for moving hives back and forth twice a year as we do it but so far
      we are satisfied with that. For us it makes more sense to do it that way,
      however unnecessary or uncommon such a move may be to others.

      >>>As for finding the queen I am remarkably inproficient at so doing. I
      have seen the half-wit queen a few times, but never on a regular basis.

      It took me some years of learning and now I'm better. It takes practice I
      guess. And as I said before, I never find her the way the beebooks describe
      her with a circle of attending bees, not mine, they are loners just as we
      are and do their own thing by themselves.

      >>>I say there are no mites here mostly because the other Bequia beekeepers
      tell me so.

      Thanks for mentioning the sites. Will mark them and go look over the
      winter. I have a tough time understanding anything scientific but will
      muddle my way through. The two hives I now did check and move seem healthy
      and seem to thrive, nothing looked out of the ordinary so I guess at least
      those two seem ok.

      >>>OK, this is a hugely long letter for my first post. It should not happen
      again.

      But I hope it will. And I hope that others also will find time to write
      when possible.

      Regards.

      Ma. / Nass Valley - British Columbia CANADA
    • Farrington/Bequia Canvas
      Hello everybody; ... building their home on a tree limb right out in the open. Is that so wrong for them to do so? Your climate is a bit different I bet and
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 2, 1999
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        Hello everybody;
        Ma, the beekeeping queen from Nass valley, responded to many of my previous questions and posed some new ones of her own:

        >>>This half hive was apparently composed of half-wit bees. We found them
        building their home on a tree limb right out in the open.

        Is that so wrong for them to do so? Your climate is a bit different I bet
        and maybe the bees felt that was just about ok.

        This open hive was a phenomenon in Bequia. Even here in the Tropics bees build in sheltered areas. It rains here, ofetn heavily and these bees, Italians, are programmed to build in shelterd spots. Thoughts from other beekeepers are that the queen was not good To paraphrase, she was, to be kind, weak; to be honest, demented.

        >>>A bad queen lays eggs that will develop into bad queens.

        Is that a truth?

        The eggs are all the original queens output. As I said, I do not understand all the genetics, all the haploid/diploid stuff, but it seems that the queen carries the dominant genes for reproduction. Therefore, her daughters will carry the same traits. Even the new queens, made from the original queens eggs, could have mated with their brothers, the drones. Even if they mated with outside, non-related drones, the dominant characteristics of the old queen will carry on to her progeny. Demented progeny.

        It took me a while to come to grips with this, the emotional part of it I mean. OK, so the bees are not like a pet dog - you cannot walk them and groom them. Nevertheless, you have an attachment for the hard-working girls. This demeted hive was my first hive and I really wanted it to work. It won't. So I will move on the others.

        Good luck with your bears - I thought we had problems with the odd mouse or two.

        Bob in Bequia.
      • enna end
        Your story sounds so exciting. I am new to beekeeping. I got my first hive this spring and am about to rob the honey. Plan this Monday. I am working as a
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 4, 1999
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          Your story sounds so exciting. I am new to beekeeping. I got my first
          hive this spring and am about to rob the honey. Plan this Monday. I am
          working as a nurse this weekend but am off Mon & Tues. Wish me luck.
          Enjoy hearing your adventures. Will write soon.
          --- Farrington/Bequia Canvas <beqcan@...> wrote:
          > Hello all;
          > I am new to this list and looking forward to reading
          > and learning from the posts. I am a new beekeeper
          > to boot. Ma, from Nass Valley has addressed many of
          > my questions very thoroughly. Thank you. In
          > answering these questions she has also told you all
          > a bit about myself. We did finish our sailboat and
          > did sail into the sunset. We lived and sailed our
          > boat hither and thon for ten years. Never made it
          > around the world, but we had no intention of doing
          > so. Several Atlantic crossings to visit the magic
          > Portuguese islands - The Azores and Madeira. Some
          > time in Europe, along the Algarve, in Seville for a
          > couple of months and a four month trip through the
          > French canals as well as time throughout the
          > Caribbean and the Bahamas.
          > We are settled now in Bequia with a home - sold the
          > boat - two dogs, a hive and a half of bees, fruit
          > trees - mango, lime, orange, grapefruit and so
          > forth.
          > The half hive of bees will be rectified soon. Ma,
          > when I first was in contact with you I failed to
          > mention , because I didn't know it was important,
          > that this half hive was apparently composed of
          > half-wit bees. We found them building their home on
          > a tree limb right out in the open. We wondered
          > about this at the time but ignored it. This bunch
          > of bees have failed to thrive. It has been
          > suggested that the queen was/is no good. I have
          > seen them supersede but so what? A bad queen lays
          > eggs that will develop into bad queens. I don't
          > really understand all the diploid/haploid stuff, but
          > whatever I have done to this hive has failed to
          > improve its performance. They just cannot seem to
          > get it right.
          > So, I will start a nuc from my good colony and as
          > the nuc progresses I will add whatever bees and
          > brood I can from the half hive after I remove the
          > half-wit queen.
          > I said I was terrified of messing with my good hive
          > not from fear of the bees but because I did not want
          > to disrupt my one good working hive. I respect the
          > little ladies but I'm bigger and stronger than they
          > are so I do not fear them. Besides, I have some EPI
          > kits handy...
          > We do nothing to prepare our bees for winter. There
          > are only two season here - wet season/dry season;
          > tourist season/slow season; fly season/mosquito
          > season; hurricane season/winter. There always seems
          > to be something for the bees to forage on. Mine are
          > still bringing back pollen and I see some stored in
          > the hives.
          > As for finding the queen I am remarkably
          > inproficient at so doing. I have seen the half-wit
          > queen a few times, but never on a regular basis.
          > I say there are no mites here mostly because the
          > other Bequia beekeepers tell me so. However, I have
          > not seen any deformed bees, dying bees at the ground
          > or entrance, everything seems normal. Lots of
          > coming and going and so on. I did see a large red
          > spot/thing on the thorax of one bee one time. I
          > believe that could have been a bee louse, but I'm
          > not really sure.
          > Mite control - I have searched the web and gleaned
          > information from others posts and I can direct you
          > to some web sites.
          > http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/varroa2htm#Essential is
          > a good discussion of essential oils to combat the
          > dreaded mite. Near the end there is a section
          > titled, Comments on Natural Resistance to
          > Varroatosis. The first paragraph of this section
          > refers to some bees being naturally resistant to
          > mites. The authors speculate that it is due to the
          > bees foraging amongst plants that produce the
          > essential oils which have been proven to control
          > mite populations. So, I will plant lots of mint,
          > which is useful for we humans as well, and hope for
          > the best.
          > However, another sensible solution to mite control
          > is the judicious use of Food Grade Mineral Oil.
          > http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/mineral_oil.htm
          > is a good discussion by Dr. Pedro P. Rodriguez. His
          > theories and experiments are sensible and workable.
          > He advocates, among other things, a thin bead of
          > FGMO on the top bars. This is easy to do. We are
          > mite free and I would like to keep my hives that
          > way. So, I am altering the good Doctors strategy
          > just a bit. I reason that if I can keep the mites
          > away from the ladies in the first place I won't have
          > to deal with a hive full of them later. I will
          > smear a very light film of FGMO on my landing
          > boards. This will be easy to clean, easy to
          > re-apply, easy to monitor and do the same job, I
          > hope.
          > OK, this is a hugely long letter for my first
          > post... Now you all know all about me and the girls
          > I live with. I apologise if I got too verbose - it
          > should not happen again.
          > Regards, Bob in Bequia
          >

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