The Grow System
Last fall I used an oxalic acid vaporizer (OAV) on my 2 topbar hives and it appears both have made it through the winter (so far). Other than the OAV i do not treat my hives.
@tomandcara out of 12 hives 10 survived the winter. The two lost ones are definitely my fault as I forgot to add the mice protection and had mice in both hives.
@Jens Great to hear that 10 made it and that you know why the other 2 didn't. Do you do any treatments?
I cut drone brood throughout the year and treat either with formic acid in the autumn if the mite count is high or I use a method called "teilen und behandeln" which may translate to split and treat directly after the last honey flow. You catch the queen and put her in a cage on the same place as the original hive but in a new hive box. The original box with all the brood is put on top of the new hive with a separate bottom board. All bees that fly will get into the new hive with the caged queen. This hive you can treat with spraying oxalic acid after 2 days. The brrod part will raise a new queen and can be treated after 21 days. Keep both hives until autumn. You can them rwcombine both hives and have a very strong hive with a young queen or double your hives by keeping both separate. Additionally I treat in winter with oxalic acid fluid in winter as vaporizer of OA is not allowed in Germany.
Thank you @Jens. I had never heard of "teilen und behandeln" but may try it this year. Do you know why OA vaporization isn't allowed in Germany? Truthfully I am not certain if it is allowed here in the USA, I just read about it and tried it years ago with a prone torch setup. I am much happier using the one I got off ebay that uses a 12 volt battery or battery charger.
@tomandcara the main reason as far as I know is the user protection. And no one has yet taken the time and money to redo the registration.
Makes me laugh. It's not too hard to do it safely and hopefully someone smart enough to keep bees safely would be smart enough to vaporize OA safely. Then again, common sense is frequently not as common as one would hope.
@tomandcara totally agree with you on this. There are tablets available that have the right amount of OA and could be used.
Germany is the only country not allowing this treatment. All countries around us it is legal.
My 4 hives are doing beautiful. Think they are trying to figure out this crazy weather. So many days above 50 they would be out scouting around. Gave me some more treatments to check out. Love having options. May try to expand my apiary this year. Getting ready to put in another pollinator garden for them. Thanks for the info.
@Jens JERNDAL Maybe this year they wll come tp their senses??
@EarlKelly I am happy to hear your 4 hives made it through the winter. How long have you been keeping bees?
I am thinking of starting two hives here in GA this spring. Any tips for overwintering?
@tomandcara got back into them about 5 years ago. Worked slowed down and then I finally retired last year because of health issues. Always loved working with them. Been making swarm traps to set out this spring. Also been mentoring a few people in our master gardener program that were interested . 2 years ago was a bad winter. Lost 50% of my hives, very discouraging. Been slowly rebuilding and helping others. How do you like the top bar hives?
@Melinda my advice to anyone thinking of starting beekeeping is to first take a year to study. Investigate the types of hives, equipment needed costs, etc. Join your local bee club, if it is close enough to get to. Once you have decided the type of beekeeping you want to do, find a mentor who you can shadow and help for a season. Sometimes you will choose the type of bee keeping you want to do by the mentor you can find. i realize this answer is not what you asked for, but it is the advise that I I think will help you. Best wishes. Tom
@EarlKelly I LOVE my topbar hives!! In the 20+ years I have been keeping bees, it is the only type I have ever worked with. I started researching beekeeping in the 90's and decided that topbar keeping fit what I wanted to do. I found a mentor and shadowed him for the end of that season and that winter built my first topbar hive. I have lost count of the number of people I mentored with getting started. Several years ago I stopped mentoring people and started giving the advise I gave @Melinda today. A number of my students switched from topbar to langstroth. Some went to warre and some stayed with topbar. I have done various swarm traps through the years and gotten many swarm calls. I must say beekeeping is a hobby that gives me great joy, even when things go wrong, the total joy outweighs the sorrow and heartbreak
Good to hear. I have been investigating the horizontal hive. I have so much langstroth hive equipment wanted a way to still use it. May set up a couple this spring to see how they do. Sounds like your are doing an excellent job of helping our pollinator friends. How do you extract the honey from your top bar hives?
I either cut comb honey from the bars or crush the comb and strain it. Sometimes I crush the comb that has honey and bee bread and bottle it all together with the wax, honey and pollen. I have read several places beeswax can be potentially a benefit for us if eaten.
@tomandcara being old school just seemed like I would make my bees do a lot of work making new comb all the time. A couple of people in our beekeeper association have a few top bar hives. Will pay them a visit and check them out. Thanks for the info.
@EarlKelly yes the bees have to build new comb, but I get more than enough honey to make me happy and honey is just a side benefit of having the bees.
@tomandcara how do you extract the honey from your top bar hives? The only way I can see is to crush it and let gravity do its work. Since were are in corona prison haven’t been able to talk with anyone in person. Haven’t really wanted to bother anyone with a phone call just yet. Kicking the idea around since I have lost a lot of strength on my right side. Stay safe and thanks.
Good morning Earl,
Rather than crush it, I use a long knife to cut it while in a 5 gallon bucket and then strain it with gravity. I think the cutting allows a better recovery of the honey than crushing, but I can't say I have done a comparison to substantiate my opinion. I found this great knife at the second hand store for $1.99
What happened that you caused you to loose strength in your right side? I had a stroke caused by a clot from a heart problem 16+ years ago. I have been able to regain the use of my right arm, my speech and facial symmetry through time and effort. One of the many things I love about my topbar hives is that I don't have a lot of heavy lifting.
@tomandcara when I went in for the routine angiogram that was suppose to be an in and out procedure. I suffered a bleed in the back of my head at the top of the brain stem. They wanted to see to what extent the damage was. I was awake for the whole procedure to keep them informed of events. As soon as they injected the dye everything went south. Informed them that my body was going numb. With in a few minutes I was continually vomiting. They wrapped the procedure and got me in the recovery room. Brought in my wife, think they were afraid this was it. My wife was talking to me but at that point didn’t care was so sick. She looked over at the monitor and my blood pressure was at 289/176. Then my body temp started dropping like a rock. They were quit concerned that my normal heart rate was next and breathing. Guess where the bleed is at that is mission control for the body. Spent 4 days in intensive care and two weeks home to recover somewhat.
I was an industrial electrician. But my balance sucks and can no longer be on stepladders. Suffer from extreme headaches and joint pain now. Gained most of the feeling back on the left side, which is good being a lefty. Right side still a lot of numbness. Not much feeling my hand, now drop things continually. Takes me a lot longer to do stuff. On all kinds of medicine now. Was on nothing before this. Finished up the last radiation treatment that they can safely do to see if it will stop the slow bleed. But hey I still on this side of the sod and continue to grow as much of my own food. Take as much natural stuff as I can. Doctor said I came about as close as you can to having a stroke. Glad you are doing good. Know what a slow battle it is.
Well that is the most I have talked about me forever. Usually quiet person. Thanks for the info on the top bar hive. Stay well and safe.
@EarlKelly Oh My Goodness. What a story!! What a nightmare!! I am sorry to hear what you have gone through, but glad you are here to tell about it. Blessings to you and your recovery. If you have other questions about topbar hives, I will do my best to answer them.
OOPS!!! Hit post comment twice. Too bad there isn't a way to delete a posting. At least I can edit it so it isn't just a blank post.
@tomandcara how are your bees doing with the crazy weather? Anywhere near Denver? We get some really nice days and my bees are everywhere, then the cold weather returns and they are hiding in the hives again. Hope to get a few more swarm traps this year. Always exciting to go check them out. Do you put any out?
@EarlKelly Bees are doing well. Worked both hives yesterday. Acceptable brood and no swarm cells. Happy with where we are . Decided to do Spring Oxalic Acid Vaporization this year every 6th day for 4 times. Took this picture of the training flights today. I live in Aurora which is on the east side of Denver. I have 2 swarm traps out and will see what happens with them.
They look great. When warm weather returns and my bees are out working, will post some pictures. Thanks.
We had record cold last week. Back in pleasant spring now
My bees did well over the winter but we weren't so cold here in South Carolina.
Hi @mcarryon. My 2 hives did overwinter, but like I have heard from many other beekeepers in the area, they are not exactly flourishing. Got 2 swarms and they are doing very well.
Some much good info here.
This is our first winter with our bees. We are late to winterize. All sorts of rooky mistakes. However we hope they make it and we shall be better keepers.
I just built and wrapped the gives today.
What y'all do for winterizing? Vivaldi boards? Straw on top?
Thank you much