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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

November...and the bees forage for pollen.









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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is this yellow pollen ? I saw something similar a few weeks ago.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Couldn't find the source, especially the mark on the back of the bees. So I don't really know.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen bees on Daikon with such pollen. It blooms now
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
I have seen bees on Daikon with such pollen. It blooms now


I don't think that explains it around here, unless it grows wild. There isn't really any commercial farming around here, it's suburbs, parks and railway lines.
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madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 882
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivy.
Lots here.

EDIT

Verbena and ivy are covered in bees .. when it's sunny and warm.. No much else here..


Last edited by madasafish on Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ivy pollen is more like orange in Denmark
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree Ivy but there are also members of the cabbage family still flowering by us...the yellow petalled ones such as charlock and mustard which are closely related to OSR/canola. The mustard is mostly by the rivers and streams but the charlock is on the harvested arable fields waiting to be ploughed either still now for Autumn sowing or later for spring sowing.
A
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe a Salvia? That would explain the pollen on the thorax a bit better, and they can flower into November.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anthophora_on_Salvia_1.jpg
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found the source - it was pollen of Lamium album/white dead-nettle.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some winterly greetings from Germany.

Have enough wood for the winter to come.


An Icicle formed on my wax cooking pot.


A lot of roses are in blossom which got shock-frosted last night.


Whereever you look, a lot of ice sculptures.












The Hibiscus was budding already...


As was the Black Elder...


The Lonicera/Winter honeysuckle (bees love them) is blossoming sine a few weeks. Usually it starts in February. Two months earlier this winter.


Eyes of a tree...




Look into my eyes...










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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This night it was -4°C. First snow and frost of the winter. The morning sun already started melting the snow and ice.


The hives that got wrapped and stand in full sun, make use of the sun. You feel the heat with your hands, that is generated by the sun on the black fleece envelope.






Snow is building up on the entrance board. You have to make sure it doesn't completely block the entrance, so bees have access to fresh air.


As long as the snow doesn't completely block the entrance, there is no danger of suffocating.



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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like the bees are brooding already. Hives consumed about 2.5-3.5 kg of their winter stores up to now.


Some black elders are gamely.


Rose buds show a bit of green.


Hazelnut are blossoming.


Daffodils...


snowdrops...


...und crocuses show up.


As do the moles. Mole heaps everywhere.


Digged some earth up today and there where lots and lots of worms. This activity of the worms unusual for this time of year. No wonder the moles are hunting with worms being plentyful.

Bernhard
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last Saturday we got some snow that lasted almost two days.

The sky was grey in grey.


The geese wear their winter-camouflage suit...




Hives in snow.




The topbarhive ducks down in the snow.


A top entrance Very Happy is protected by an overhang of the winter cover.


The lid has to be insulated very thickly, so snow doesn't melt and adds even more insulation to the hive.


In the vertical hives the bees breath through the bottom entrance. The entrance is protected by the winter fleece, too, so bees can breath through a small hole on either side. You see the mouseguard left of the tinplate.


A snow cap for everyone.


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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

















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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice. Still too low of a temperature in Denmark to forage but yesterday my bees were flying. Well Smile out of my 10 colonies 6 are flying 4 are dead. By the poo sign all over the combs, bees and inner walls I suspect Nosema.

Bernhard how is your survival rate so far this year?
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lost 3 hives to varroa and another one is suffering a late queen loss (storm blew over the hive, queen died, I replaced a new one, it is weak but still alive). So out of 137 I lost 4 hives.

These are my first true varroa losses for years. But last year was very special. Some neighbours lost all their hives. I really fought last autumn to keep varroa down. Been a special year.

Made an observation. Bees drift into others hives. Ok. But those hives that were in trouble last autumn (and so did the dead hives) had hives next to them with queen failures this summer. I reckon' if the queen fails, a lot of the hive's bees drift to other hives, with varroa and all. In summer that can cause trouble, if there are extra varroa come in.

Will keep an extra eye on queenlessness hives this summer.
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really fought last autumn to keep varroa down.


What measures did you take? with all hives? most hives? just hives showing symptoms?

How was last year special?
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing B. Those who lost all the hives do they treat? What is your theory behind their huge loss? By the way did anyone around you have deaths due to Nosema? I must ask locals how their bees fared this winter.

One of my oldest queens (4 years old) is still alive and doing well Smile I know she is the one because she is the one I bought from a conventional beek who clips wings. I will be making splits with Queen cells from that hive this year.
It amazing she made it because this hive was heavily hammered by ants throughout last season and she suffered great comb collapse from the move from Sweden to Denmark last year Smile what a survivor!
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just looking at my previous post, Apologies for having only questions !

I remember reading threads last autumn about dealing with varroa so I should look those up again to refresh my memory. Your survival statistics raise fresh thoughts in my mind, with the failing queen and drifting bees making a lot of sense.

In Ireland last year we had an exceptional honey year with a short mild winter, followed by a mild spring, hot summer and good autumn too, our old timers say best in 30 years for bees, I am wondering if your year was so good too and if that is what you mean by special? and did that make it a "good" year for varroa too, (as in high levels of varroa)?

Love your crocus and snowdrop photos, Our crocus have been buzzing in any mild weather but I still haven't seen honeybees on hazel even though I keep looking.

Kim
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B kind wrote:
What measures did you take? with all hives? most hives? just hives showing symptoms?
How was last year special?


Last year was very very special. Firstly it was a very mild winter (last winter 2013/14) with virtually no frost at all and flying bees all winter. Bees consumed very little stores, despite the high acitvity. Although I suspected the bees would brood under those conditions, the bees took a fairly long brood break during winter. (Indicating once again, that bees are influenced by temperature but also by length of daylight.)

Nevertheless, the bee season started almost a full month earlier than usual. Plums were blossoming in February. A long season means a long brooding season means a lot of mite reproduction cycles.

This is why the bee research institutes released a warning as early as June(!), warning for high mite infestations and trouble this summer.

Now, I used powder sugar, to sugar roll about hundred hives to test for varroa in June. Also I opened brood cells, both worker and drones. What I found in June was virtually no mites at all. Very very low numbers. I did my homework back in 2013 and resetted mite levels in autumn the year before, so I wasn't surprised about the low mite infestation.

Anyway. As a precaution I removed all the brood in July at once in all hives. Treated the hives, pooled the brood to let it emerge in a seperate and distant location. Treated the emerged brood first with Api Life Var (thymol) during the emergence and finally with formic acid, just to make sure.

Mite counts were low on the bottom boards. In September I decided to make another sugar roll, since I noticed a sharp rise in mite numbers on the bottom boards of some hives. About 20-30 % of all hives turned out to have had an alarming rate of infestation level. So I used vaporized oxalic acid, five times, a week apart each, to knock down mites. In December I used a final oxalic acid vapor, to lower down mite levels for the next season 2015. (Will be another early and mild season I guess. This year 2015 will be an even more dramatic varroa year I estimate.)

Never in my life I treated as much as I did last autumn. But it was worth it. Yes, I lost three hives to varroa - the damage done on longevity was too much - but it could have been way worse. I reckon at least 30 % of all hives would have died if I hadn't intervene. If not more.

Vaporized (sublimed that is) oxalic acid (OAV) is most gentle to the bees. A friend tried to find a highest permissible limit for treating with OAV and even after treating 25 times with OAV there were no effects on bees to be found. It is highly effecient when the hives are broodless, way above 95 % of all mites. Less though, when brood is present: 20-30 %. But by repeating every 5/7 days for four times, you will significantly trim the mite infestation level. I like OAV as an emergency treatment. It is hard on the beekeeper, though and one should wear good protection.

Interesting enough, I have a couple of no-treatment hives which do well so far, with no losses. But that says not much, since those colonies usually shrink in size significantly towards winter and come out of winter with a really tiny ball of bees.

Che Guebuddha wrote:
Those who lost all the hives do they treat?


Yes, but don't see that as a confirmation of Michael Bush's prayer: Conventional beekeepers that treat, do have the same losses as those who don't treat.

=> That is simply not the case here. In Germany losses average around 15 %, although most of these losses were produced by beginners or by those who do not care much. The more experienced beekeepers do have losses way below 5 %. In fact, most beekeepers would be highly alarmed if losses would be near 5 %. On the other hand, treatment free beekeepers average at about 30-50 % losses throughout the years. So significantly higher. Take the average loss of your location (under treatment) and double the number and you roughly get what you have to expect when going treatment free. Every four to five years you'll see higher losses up to 90-100 %.

Che Guebuddha wrote:
What is your theory behind their huge loss?


I reckon' it was a false impression of mite levels last summer. As was with me, at the first glance the mite infestation seemed to be low and negligible. It turned out that in late August/September there was a return of the mites for whatever reasons. I think, the August was very cold and the broodnest couldn't be kept warm enough, leading to a longer period of capped brood and thus higher reproduction of the mites. Especially when the mites were stimulated by treatments before August (which triggers their emergency plans for higher reproduction.)

Also I noticed quite some queenless hives this summer and those who went queenless, even when fixed with a new queen quickly, had bees drifting to neighbouring hives with mites and all. From my notes I see hives having a higher mite count, when there was a queenless situation in a neighbouring hive.

To sum it up: An extended brooding season, low outside temperatures in May and August, plus an imbalance caused by early treatments lead to an explosion of mites at the end of season.

Che Guebuddha wrote:
By the way did anyone around you have deaths due to Nosema?


No. Nosema is a Spring disease and typically is found in April to May. And it is a so called factor disease. Cool, damp location of the apiary and other factors lead to Nosema outbreaks.

If you find your hives sprinkled with faeces in winter, it most probably was bad winter food. There is a less likely other possibility of disturbation of the winter cluster. (By mice activity in the hive, for example. Makes the bees restless.)

Bernhard
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No. Nosema is a Spring disease and typically is found in April to May. And it is a so called factor disease. Cool, damp location of the apiary and other factors lead to Nosema outbreaks.

If you find your hives sprinkled with faeces in winter, it most probably was bad winter food. There is a less likely other possibility of disturbation of the winter cluster. (By mice activity in the hive, for example. Makes the bees restless.)


No traces of mice presence in those hives which died. We have too many cats around this area and mice simply have tough time (not to forget foxes and birds of pray keeping them low in numbers).

My neighbors told me that they cant remember last time they have seen so much water on the fields around here in the winter. We had much rain and even the snow that fell would quickly melt. Very few days with proper frost contributed to high dampness. So you might be right but still some colonies seem to be coping with this while others aren't. Genetics maybe do play a vital role for Bien. I hope we will start getting some proper Scandinavian winters, freezing temps do lower the humidity/dampness alot.

I didnt take any honey from them last year and I fed extra 8-10kg some of the colonies running low on stores. The only bad thing in that food would be the honey from conventional rape seed.

Most beekeepers talk about losses I noticed. Not many talk about the survival rate. Like; "I have lost 15%" instead of saying "I have 85% survival" Smile This tells me alot about the perspective people have and actions they might take afterwards. Is the glass half full or is it half empty Wink
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bees, my newborn daughter and me enjoying the Spring sun out in the garden:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyA_pjq7-zs
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick Spring check of some nucs. Weight and food, ok. Bees, ok. Has a queen, Ok. (You see them fanning and they roar when queenless.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qrZkquDi6s

You neither need to know nor do more at this time of year in a Warré or Gatineau. Next thing to is to super right before the cherry blossoming. If you nadir a new box, you need to nadir now.

PS: If you open up a hive with black bees, they do not go down in between the combs as the bees in the video. Instead like boiling, they pour out of the hive. Running all over the hive. A very distinct characteristic of the black bee.
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1137
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:
The bees, my newborn daughter and me enjoying the Spring sun out in the garden:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyA_pjq7-zs

Congratulations! A lovely looking daughter! How long before she helps in the apiary? Very Happy
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1551
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
(You see them fanning and they roar when queenless.)


That's interesting. I did see my strongest hive fanning yesterday. Can't wait to open it when hot enough to see if they are queen less. Will report here.

Congrats on your new born Smile and the bees are singing to her the sweet buzzing song
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:
The bees, my newborn daughter and me enjoying the Spring sun out in the garden:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyA_pjq7-zs


Congratulations on your new addition. I wish her and healthy happy life.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many congratulations Bernhard.

I hope she becomes one of the next generation of bee guardians. She will certainly have the best opportunity that anyone could hope for and great to see that her education has already begun, even if she is sleeping through it! Wink
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The bees, my newborn daughter and me enjoying the Spring sun out in the garden:


Congratulations! wonderful news! very best wishes for long healthy happy lives to all of you.
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1063
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations, Bernhard - another beekeeper is born!
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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