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Topics - Rojodiablo

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All about beekeeping / Nighttime brawl....... up in a tree!!!
« on: September 26, 2020, 12:47:23 AM »
Got a call from a church in Fullerton Ca. the other day; an owl box the had up in a tree got taken over by bees. About 18 feet off the ground, in a big pecan tree. I agreed to come grab the whole box, they said the bees were quiet and docile, but just getting bigger and bigger.

    Set up for an evening removal today, like 5:30/6pm. Got the ladder up, I have a pulley setup from my roofing days that makes the ladder a crane of sorts. I suit up, climb the ladder, get into the tree..... All is good. The girls are milling about, pretty calm. I put the straps on the box, and they start to buzz me, and are irate. I smell vanilla, and it's getting stronger. I smoke 'em a good bit. They don't change their attitude one bit; if anything, they get worse. I start taking hits thru the suit. Ankles get attacked, hammered. I HAVE to lift this box so my son can lower them with the rope&wheel...... This causes great grief, I am totally swarmed. Ugggh. Just get it OVER WITH! I lift, and swing them free of the tree, and warn John of what is coming down to visit him. (DON'T LET THAT ROPE LOOSE AND DROP THOSE BEES, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!)
      He lowers hell down to his level, and on the ground. He's a trooper, he helps set the ladder straight so I don't fall, and I tell him to un-ass the area, and I will work them. Go grab the shop vac, and put water in it......
We beat them up, and bust them down. After about half the hive is vacuumed up, they mellow out. Not to mention, I smoked them out more than Cheech and Chong..... Decided there was no practical reason to save these bees, and I don't have queens to replace the genetics, and I don't really want them around my house. Vacuumed them up, have about 25,30lb of honey and a lot of wax to use.
    Ankles hurt like hell now, throbbing sore. The mean bees, seems their venom is stronger, the stings that got thru the veil into my neck don't feel so good either, but not as bad as my ankles. I showed the church manager a couple pics of our legs, neck, hands..... she was really nice; said "Just send us an invoice; thank you for taking them away." ..........Doing God's work for an evening. ;)

All about beekeeping / A very different question about pulling honey......
« on: September 02, 2020, 08:41:51 PM »
This one will be lengthy....... and wordy. (Sorry)  :P But I think te answers will shed a lot of light on honey pulling for newer beekeepers, so here goes:
I have several hives in my yard that were pretty stacked with honey; large bee populations, and most wound up with 2 honey supers, one wound up with three. I saw fully loaded, capped frames a couple months ago, and since they were working like mad, and so was I, I put an extra box on, and walked away for a while. Subsequent checks saw frames built out and filled, but not as much capped as the first boxes were. The two biggest hives had 3 honey supers, the bottom one 100% capped, the second half capped, the third built out between 10-90%, varying levels of nectar and honey in them.

Some of the capped honey wound up opened up, yet still full. I think when the heat wave hit, they tapped into the food fast, things went dry quick, and the flow stopped cold for like 3 weeks. Let's say these frames were 60-85% capped, and most of them were still 100% capped. I pulled these, and even the uncapped sections are like roofing tar, very dehydrated and thick. Good stuff!

Now, the second box, has been on a good while. 3 months give or take. Almost completely full, and about 20% capped. It's thick, and does not drip if I tip a frame sideways for a couple minutes. If I give them a shake out, I have no drips from nectar, it's dried beyond that.

The upper boxes are nowhere near ready, so I am letting them stay on the hives. So here's my conundrum....

Do I pull the second super, and maybe leave a frame or two in the upper box, then move it down? We do not freeze (Santa Ana California. They will fly 350 days a year here.) But I get the feeling I should pull the queen excluders within a couple weeks, and allow them access to that upper box for lean times and I know come November, December they will slow down a lot, and need to access the reserves for more body heat. Am trying to find a hygrometer on Friday to check moisture content.

So, for guys with more seasons at this, your thoughts? 1. Double box for brood and resources, no excluder, no 3rd box? OR, double brood box, giving them the upper or a mix from the upper and #2 super, and then keep the excluder and a 3rd box on top?
2. To the 3 deep hives, completely remove the 3rd box, give them the upper box for resources and no excluder?

We will get eucalyptus coming in late October, Nov. This is year round growing, so there are always trees and ground flowers blooming, so it's not likely they will outright starve regardless how dumb I am. (But I do give them 1/1 to help build comb when there is no honey supers on.) I know for my San Diego bees, I am in full emergency feed and salvage mode on them, for the next two months. These are a different issue, and not nearly so dire.

Thoughts please, I think a lot of us who are seeing their first big honey pulls are having similar questions about this. Thanks!!! ;D

MY bees down south are struggling from a lack of pollen at the moment pretty bad. Temps were 100+ for the last 3 weeks nonstop, and they do have water available, but there is almost no pollen coming in right now. There is a lot of eucalyptus that is starting to bloom a few miles away and at a higher altitude, where it's say 10 degrees cooler especially at night. That means the eucalyptus in the valley is about three to five weeks away unless we cool down a whole bunch. (October....) So I do feel they need a pollen sub to get them thru. What would you choose?

My friend's family has a few hives, and they had been busy, and not working their hives much, for a considerable time. He said the hives went vicious on him, and his mom, and the bee tender friends who are there (It's like a retreat) are older, and in no way able to deal with the bees....... so come out, and do whatever it takes, whether it's remove them, spank their hiney's, or set fire to them if need be. :P I asked him how long since they had been opened up and checked.......... "Oh, a long time. At least say seven months."

I went in, expecting and prepared for once for a dogfight. They were pretty aggressive, but not insane. I have dealt with quite a few, and am trying to learn the how and why of their aggressiveness at times. And I got it right this time!

Three hives, a single, then a double, then a double. The single wasn't just bearding, it had a good inch and a half of bees all the way around the box. They really needed like 3 boxes. So many bees. I decided to split them, to just take off pressure for the population, and give them new frames to work. Pulled a ton of bees, split up the frames- most the frames were old, and locked together, propylized. Cut stuff up, cleared it out, and reset new frames between old frames. And they settled down, a lot.
Next hive, high numbers, not bad. Just juggled stuff around, and pulled a few frames. Strangely, the entire hive was up top, bottom box was empty comb. No food, no bees, nothing. All ten frames up top loaded.
Last hive...... top box was hell under the lid. They had a separator board under the lid. Glued down, comb under, and op top of the separator. Everything stuck to itself. The entire box, slammed full of bees..... and only 6 frames inside.  :o They built every single inch of the hive shut. Comb on comb, cross comb, burr comb....... a lake of honey falling out of everything. I pried out one big busted section of comb, and the bees got froggy, I took twenty quick hits. So I just scooped the whole box off the top..... 92lb box, and replaced it with a new box with ten frames, and locked them up.
The 3 splits are in my yard, and it looks like they are making it two weeks later.  :D Here's the clogged box, yesterday. They have cleaned it up inside and it's crazy how much they built in there!

I'm thinking it's a good weekend to do my splits, and do a honey pull from most of my hives.  Stupid coronavirus has restaurants closed, etc. so might as well get back into the girls and do some hive work.

As to my splits....... I will be moving some down to a new yard, so there won't be an flying back home. Some of my splits will have a queen, some won't. I will also be sending down a few complete hives to keep the drone numbers intact for the new queens which will be made after the split. Say 4 complete hives, 6 splits. 4 of these will not have a queen, I will keep a few of the original hives at my place to work with and expand.

On the nuc's (5 frame) that will NOT have a queen, should I keep them in lockdown for a couple of days after moving? I have moved whole hives before and just opened them up at night, and all was well. But most my splits I have done, were all in my yard, so I locked them up for a couple days and turned them around so when they did fly, it was new to them and they did not go back to their parent hive. I will have 3 frames brood, and two frames resources, so it won't starve them out for a couple days at all.

My thought is to make the splits today (Friday) and move them this afternoon to the new location this evening, and leave them locked up to settle into the new box. Then, take down the full hives I am moving Sunday super early and open everybody up right before sunrise. The total will be about a dozen hives and nuc's combined.

How would you play this out Dirt Rooster? Thanks in advance!

All about beekeeping / Anyone losing bees to pesticides this year?
« on: June 08, 2020, 09:44:03 PM »
Last year, I had 4 great hives go down in flames, right around this time, due to pesticide spraying. So far, this year we are good. My three best hives are looking at about 150,200lb of honey, it's getting filled and capped very fast now. And I am getting nervous about the spraying.......

Here's to hoping the mosquitoes don't rile up somebody and have them nuke their fountains and here's to hoping the ash flies stay off the citrus, people love to spray malathion and such for them....... when the limes are flowering and bees are all over it.

Anything goes / Why do we keep bees in the first place???
« on: May 14, 2020, 08:36:05 PM »
It's all about saving the bees. Without them, we would have all kinds of issues that would change nature and agriculture drastically.

This short clip explains it all, why we keep bees.....

It plays out lust like posted; I have a family of bees, a split, and a swarm, so three of them total. They are good sized bees; I do have a couple hives of tiny bees, but these girls are the normal size, and big drones. And the queens are all good sized.
And they seem to all have the habit of wanting to build high. I give them two boxes for brood, no sweat; they lay all over them two boxes......
I drop in an excluder, and a 3rd box. New frames. They build them out in two weeks..... and I go to check, and EERY one of them builds brood up above the excluder. Excluders are Dadant, so it's not like I used junk. Wire type, not the stamped metal frame type.

I don't mind, but they are screwing up my honey stacking, because the queen will have them empty a full frame so she can use it to lay in.
I'm thinking to try keeping her up top, and letting them try to fill the bottom boxes with honey instead. (I know she can get thru, it's like a game to them evidently. It's funny that all three have the same trait.

Cut it out / Powerhouse swarm today...... on VIDEO!!!!
« on: April 19, 2020, 07:50:34 PM »
I been grabbing them all over the place as of late. This was a really big swarm for us, usually they run 2,3lb of bees on average. Like 9lb of bees on this one, Just weighed the box against the same size box and frames. Very docile (Thank goodness) The neighbor lady took one hit, but everyone was watching, sans suits from between 10-20ft away. Swarm captured today, April 19, 2020. Huntington Beach, California.
Hope this uploads:

I split hives last year and the year before. I had decent success, but some just would not get fired up and grow, hardly at all.
I wondered, with decent, but light feeding, how would the hives do splits on their own, and how many swarms would I get? I decided to let the girls do the work themselves. I fed them over winter, a 1.5/1, or a 2/1 sugar mix. For every gallon of this, I add in one tablespoon of pollen. The hives grew a little even thru winter; my biggest hive was a 2 brood box setup with a honey super on top. The other two hives were single ten frame deep boxes, between 6/9 frames used.
Come mid February, I had the big hive blowing up with population explosion. I looked in, saw queen cells, and decided I could not wait, and split them one time, removed the queen and made a 5 frame nuc. I did not kill the queen cells I saw (2) and knew in a short period they would requeen.
Oh Lord, did they............
My big hive swarmed. And swarmed. And swarmed. The smallest hive population went way up; they swarmed. And swarmed. The split I made swarmed. And yeah, it kept going like that. I started with three, split to make a 4th. From those 4 have been no less than 14 swarms.  :o  I condensed a few that had dud queens in them, and have done 3 cutouts. I now sit at 11 hives. I am wondering, how many swarms from a single box hive is about normal? And, I'm no rocket-surgeon, but it seems to me that the pollen added to the syrup FAR exceeded the growth and strength of the bees compared to the normal sugar syrup.
But how many swarms would you expect to see from 3 hives, and for how long? Thanks, Paul.

My first swarm of the season, has an awesome looking queen; plump and long, active and good colors. It's been almost three full weeks........ No brood. No eggs visible. They are drawing comb, storing resources like mad, everything looks 100% except the lack of eggs.
how common is this, from what you have seen? I had 4 swarms last year, and 100% laying queens with them. I have plenty of drones in the 5 hives, so that wasn't a problem.

And, another question: I have a hive making queen cells, a pretty big hive. The queen is done, there is no queen currently. My second swarm came from this hive, it was a very large hive. 3 swarms from it. All the queens swarmed and locked up on the trees; how often do they do a mating flight and not return to the existing hive? I have not had this issue before, and was wondering. No issues with mites, beetles or moths, a strong hive, very healthy, bees live a long time.

Thanks! Paul.

I know its easier and preferable to make a split and move said split to another neighborhood......... But good Lord, I am busy with work.
I have a solid hive, they are pumping right now, and I will need to do a split in the last week of Feb or first week of March to prevent multiple swarms. Two deep boxes of brood, added an excluder and a third box, and they are working all ten frames at once in the new box. (Wish my other two hives were half this hot...... ::) )

So it would be much easier to manage these girls if I can keep the split here, I just won't be able to check on them for weeks, a month at a time if I put them in one of the other yards I will be using. In the beginning, I want to watch them more closely than that to look for trouble.

Any tips on this, to do a split and then park them literally within thirty feet of their former house??

All about beekeeping / A new queen is on the way.
« on: December 15, 2019, 08:21:40 AM »
My monsters are doing pretty well, seems the big hive had stored plenty of resources, and still continue to do so. Flying daily and are returning with a fair amount of pollen, I am supposing some of the big trees are doing an offseason bloom. We have many types of eucalyptus and some get started right when you'd think they would be shutting down.
My oldest hive, with the least productive queen, had a new quen cell in it this week. It's not off the bottom, they built the cell in the middle of the frame. I did not see the queen, and she has always been the easy one to spot. I'm thinking she may have died off and this is her one replacement- I hope it takes!
So I am wondering, is it common for bees in winter to go after this, make a new queen ASAP, or do they more often just die off if they lose a queen? Granted, my bees are not hibernating, and so I know this makes a huge difference compared to say bees in Montana. And, the mating flight; would a queen in a hibernating hive wait till spring to do a mating flight, and just stay idle for what could be 3 full months or more?
My big hive has a decent amount of drones in there, so I am guessing they are gearing up for a split in the spring. The other 2 small hives have maybe a handful of drones and not really any more than that. So I am pretty certain that if this queen hatches ok, she will not have a problem being mated.

All about beekeeping / Direct feed bee pollen mix. Any thoughts??
« on: October 28, 2019, 01:09:13 AM »
Okay, follow me here. In lieu of say pollen paddies, you wanted to get a boost for the bugs and promote some brood growth, but I'm in a warmer, temperate climate; not big freeze, no snow, maybe 10/15 days a year that bees will just stay indoors total. But we still have down times for pollen and nectar flows.

So I am thinking, to make some thick syrup, ala 3:1 kind of soup, with a huge dose of bee pollen mixed in. Now, I know that direct pollen feeding has a possibility of transferring illness from hive to hive, region to region. The difference here is I would be mixing pollen in and then simmering down from a 2:1, so it would be all but pasteurized. (The pollen is free, and I have a few pounds of it. Cost not an issue for this experiment.) I am thinking the positives are high, and the negatives are pretty low.
Anyone tried something similar, any success or failure? Any thoughts?

I've been anecdotally told a few days, a week, and two weeks. I'm very familiar with freezing fish for killing off nematodes (Worms) And 3 days hard frozen does the trick. Can't imagine a moth larvae is tougher.....

Found my biggest issue is now moth warfare. Some beetles, not unbearable. But damn, one or two moths and the larvae start plowing a trench.
I want to reuse the frames, some honey in them, but LOTS of pollen, which will not be affected by freezing. The hives can use it; there is some real growth in a couple of them, and yet another is struggling...... same old story. Get one good, another goes to hell on you.

Any other suggestions on this; I'm open to learn some different ideas and ways of dealing with these problems. Thanks! Paul.

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