Friday, May 9, 2008

Raspberry Patch Outyard

I really nice older gentleman, Mr. Dolan, recently gave me some used woodenware. I went an collected about four truckloads of hive bodies, supers, and other miscellaneous equipment from his outbuilding there at his home. The price of the woodenware was easily paid, as he wanted as few colonies placed onto a couple of acres of raspberries for pollination. Seeing how I was going to be raising some queens this year, I jumped at the chance to put a few undesirable colonies in the raspberries before any drones hatched. I sent samples of bees to the Beltsville Bee Lab last year and had one colony come back positive for tracheal mites. Though I decided to feed this colony some grease patties through the winter I still wanted it out of my main yard before drones started hatching. I also have a hot colony which needed moving too.

In the picture above you can see the colonies after being placed into the raspberry patch. The picture below shows me adding frames of foundation to the mean colony. I made a split out of this colony before moving. I thoroughly went through the two hive bodies as I made a split from it. I had confined the queen to lower deep with a queen excluder nine days before making the split. I moved all the open brood above the queen excluder at this time. Nine days later after locating the queen in the lower deep I isolated the frame she was on and shook five frames of bees into the upper deep which was now on its own bottom board. I took the queenright half to the raspberry patch and left the queenless half, which contained all capped brood and no larvae or eggs, for raising some queens. As an extra precaution, I also scraped the cappings off of all the drone brood I could find in the queenless half, or I should say cell builder now because that is what it has become.

Pictured below are the two colonies sitting on a pallet at the raspberry patch. The one on the left was the one with the hot bees and on the right is the one which was fed grease patties to help combat tracheal mites.

Since I really weakened the strength of the hot colony I found it necessary to give it two inverted half gallon jars over the inner lid to help them replenish their numbers and to aid in drawing out the upper deep of foundation.

Pictured below is a top view down into the colony which had the tracheal mites. Though it did have the tracheal mites, I believe that by feeding it grease patties with essential oils through the winter really helped the colony. You can see in the picture that the population is quite sufficient for pollinating the raspberries. If I would have removed the the top deep you could really see a lot of bees int the gap between the two hive bodies.

This colony was definitely strong enough to add a shallow super for some honey production so I took one with me to add the the colony when I moved them there.

This colony also got a few inverted jars of syrup over the inner lid as well to help them draw out the super and for feeding larvae. Pictured below is both colonies as I left them at the beginning of April.

The colony which had the tracheal mites had the feeders removed after they emptied them. It did not draw much comb in the supers when they fed from the feeders but I am positive the extra syrup helped to dramatically increase the population. I checked the colonies two days ago and the mean colony has nearly drawn out the upper deep and is not taking any more syrup due to the heavy locust flow I am experiencing here this year. The other colony which had the tracheal mites now has a fourth super on it. Though they had the tracheal mites I believe they may have mostly been eradicated due to the fact I made sure it had grease patties on it all winter. Having an outyard to set some colonies which have undesirable traits when you plan on raising queens is a great benefit. Though I may have helped the colony rid itself of the tracheal mites they are still susceptible, or not resistant. After the raspberry bloom dries up these colonies will be split down and will be given some of the hygienic feral queens which I have been raising. I am also thankful to Mr.Dolan as he is allowing to keep some colonies there as an outyard after the raspberries are done and over with and has told me I can keep all I want to there. I'm sure that eventually I will end up with close to twenty colonies here in the raspberry patch probably before August.

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