Treated my two hives with Oxalic acid on January 10th- 55 degrees day. It was so warm early that my main hive was overcrowded by March. I did a split on April 2 and added a queen cell from a local breeder. Doing well as of April 27th Captured 2 swarms on: April 1st, 2016-viable and doing well as of April 27th, 2016 April 10th, 2016-added mature swarm cells on April 20th from main hive to this queenless swarm. Still active but watching for signs that the cell formed a viable queen and she mated. I have not checked since we have had cold rain for the last 3 days with plunging nighttime temperatures. Feeding syrup
RESPONSE – Mid April for queen mating is iffy some years. With queen cell requeening we should have positive signs (eggs at least) within two weeks, three at most. If beyond that then it might be best to combine (if there are enough bees to make it worthwhile). Thanks for sharing – hope that requeening event went well like the earlier one.
I would like an “I failed to keep track” option for number of queens and splits made!
RESPONSE – Yes I know this to be the case. We encourage good notes/records in our Master Beekeeper program and we all need to record. Our survey does suffer when we fail to have the notes to include what we did and when we did it. I encourage your keeping of hive records
Q-Tried to do this survey online and failed. Section4: the format did not allow to enter the necessary information and, short of making numbers up, the survey doesn’t let you continue to the next page. Very frustrating.
Section 3b: These numbers are a guess and can be misleading. All we know is that after combining, requeening with nucs, and equalizing colonies in Jan 2015 from what had been 64 overwintered “units”, we ended up with 55 queenright colonies (pollinating units for CA almonds).
Section 4 Origination: Because we sold the majority of our 2013 overwintered and 2014 split hives, these numbers are a guess (the rations not the total). It’s too time intensive to figure out form the records which of the surviving colonies originated in 2013 or as in 2014 as a split.
Section 7.1 Sorry but for me this survey looses in credibility when it uses “minimal hive inspection”, “Apiary colony configuration” and “Apiary site selection” are listed as options for mite control practices. If some people feel that way, why not let them write it in under “other”?
A-Response to Semi-Commercial Beekeeper
I appreciate your attempting to do an electronic survey on 2014-2015 bee losses. I am sorry you had such difficulties with the electronic site and had to send a paper copy. Your effort was commendable.
The survey is meant for backyarders – those with one to a couple of apiary sites – so it is not easy for operations such as —— to fit answers into the offerings (either of the electronic or paper versions).
You indicted on Section 2 – the section used to compute losses – that this was a difficult question to answer – but what you sent is exactly what we were looking for. You indicated of 64 fall colonies 55 were counted in the spring after all the management. Those with 1000’s of colonies have the same issue and round numbers to send back a survey – I realize they are only “estimating” overwintering losses – and likewise their numbers of summer losses. Our national BIP survey and this one Ramesh and I are doing for PNW is, in reality, a “snapshot” – we recognize and understand that it is not always possible to provide “real” numbers. This data is still very useful…..right now it is the “best” we can hope for with a survey instrument – we are also doing counting and surveying with “real” numbers – for example what Dan & Ellen are doing with the Tech Transfer sampling + our Tier 4 numbers (People need to pay for this survey assistance). Ramesh and students have other studies, some in conjunction with cooperators and others using OSU colonies, that are “real” numbers.
Under comment section you said the questions should be rephrased so it might be” easier/possible” to respond. In particular, you commented that survey “loses credibility when items like minimal hive inspections, apiary colony configuration and apiary site selection are listed as options for mite control practices“and you suggested that persons who feel that way should write have to include them under “other” In fact, that is the option for the paper survey sent to commercial and semi-commercial (your colony numbers would have us classify you as semi-commercial). As indicated, the electronic survey (and the paper copy you submitted) was never intended for commercial or semi-commercial beekeepers.
As for our checklist of items under sanitation – it makes sense to collect data to show what Oregon/Washington backyarders are NOT doing for proper sanitation or what COULD be done and then we see if it will make a difference – they do apparently make a difference for smaller colony numbers and may especially be effective under light mite population pressure (depending upon what we term “effective” or “success”. If basic sanitation means 10% fewer losses (about the same as some studies have shown for use of a screen bottom board for example) that could Be EFFECTVE or SUCCESSFUL by someone’s standards. Science does show that colonies in the sun (apiary site selection) have “reduced mite populations” and there is some evidence that if efforts are made to reduce drifting from one colony to the next, the mite populations of some colonies are within limits that suggest the colonies are holding their own when mite population pressures are lower – so is that “effective” or Success”?
The “kicker” is that viruses change the whole situation since it is mites + viruses that kill colonies so quickly. Also one colony generating mites in an apiary (I label them “mite bombs” in my talks) do share their mites with others in same apiary as they get weaker and under more stress. So does good sanitation make any sense? Well I don’t know – but I thought the survey could help provide some real answers – sorry you feel that by including such survey questions that the entire survey losses credibility.
Our survey – is designed to get some basic information. I am able (with 250 backyard respondents this spring) to run correlations between loss and these various options. If apiary site selection is ineffective the data should help to define this (correlation is not causation). I do appreciate your effort to be included.
Q – So hard to track what a “colony” is as I split and reunite several colonies per year, or unite overwintered colonies or divisions with swarms, etc.
A – Thank you for doing a survey. YES it is hard to track one colony as we do many manipulations – sometimes they do not fit into neat checked boxes. I am seeking in the survey how many boxes did you have going into winter (OCT) and how many boxes did you have this spring before dividing, adding swarms etc. It is a snapshot in time.
Sorry the survey did not really help you define what is going on into the easy to check boxes. We seek to make the survey more effective each year. Appreciate your comments.