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Small-scale and large-scale beekeeping - what's the difference?

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Curly green finger's 

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I heard of a tip from a young Czech beefarmer a few years ago: aim to assess the apiary as a whole, rather than the individual colonies in it.

If queens are of a similar age and colonies balanced for strength early in the season then work in one colony is (reasonably) likely to apply throughout.
To true and also keeping bees of the same sort of genetics would forward this thinking not mixing genetics in the same apiary, keeping them separated if you have different types, I know itld says about letting queens live for longer over a longer period BUT one can be more selective in rearing before this happens to me two years I plenty.
I had two swarms last year and this was my fault.
1. New queens and genetics which at the time I should of acted but it was an equipment sinario other wise I wouldnt of had any.

I don't clip but do mark queen's as early as possible and try and be as proactive as possible.. Giving more space, reversing boxes early and as others have said qxs are not that important early in the season
Swarming season in the grand scheme of things is such a short time compared to the rest of the working season as a bf.
 

Into the lions den 

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Its not a simple formula.

Once you get to the extremes of scale in UK terms you are actually dependant on diversity. If all are the same and all need the same operations done at the same time you just cannot cope...the spread of colony sizes and staggered arrival in swarming phase allows us to cope when otherwise we could not.

Also...in intensive management knowing where the queen is is vital to working at pace. So we are doping the exact opposite of what others are suggesting. Excluders are a critical factor in our being able to get through enough hives in one day...until late June. At that point we take the excluders away and let the queen rip through the hive. Swarm season here normally ends 7th to 15th July...and careful timing of the 'letting them off the lead' tends to give them freedom from congestion until the swarm period has passed. Of course a few go anyway...if they swarm without beekeeper triggered issues like congestion the recipient is welcome to them lol.

Also we love genetic diversity and really dislike narrow breeding...it makes you very vulnerable to things and also tends to end up with low vigour. Jolanta's programme is designed to give us very nice bees but with a genetic richness that does not give rise to issues at F1 F2 F3 stages and so on.
 

Boston Bees 

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Also...in intensive management knowing where the queen is is vital to working at pace. So we are doping the exact opposite of what others are suggesting. Excluders are a critical factor in our being able to get through enough hives in one day...until late June. At that point we take the excluders away and let the queen rip through the hive.
Really interesting, thanks.

What size of box are the queens limited to before the excluders come off? Single Smith brood box?
 

mbc 

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I apply the horticultural 80/20 concept with regards to swarm control, do the obvious work first(80% of it) and choose a point (the last unproductive 20%)to move on the to next task. So anything unlikely to swarm due to its stage in development gets overlooked on that round.
 

elainemary 

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Inspections can be extended to 14 days if the Q is clipped; bait hives are a bonus in case not all were clipped .

Swarm on 8/9, return to hive, wait for virgin on 16; sweaty beekeeper turns up on 14 to find SQCs + bees under the floor with the old Q, or inside waiting for the VQC; do splits etc.

Judging flows determines if a trip is needed: for example, a heatwave will usually switch off a nectar flow, so no trip is needed provided the main swarm period is over. Main work is from early spring to the main flow and I assure you, once that kicks in and the boxes are on, we sleep a little longer (but not much).
Eric, if a clipped mated queen returns to the hive (crawls back), then afterwards a virgin emerges, does the virgin swarm with a cast, or does the mated clipped queen have a second attempt? Always thought the mature queen leaves as priority, but intrigued as to what happens in the case of failure, through being clipped.

Reason for asking is last year I had this scenario: Found 2 unsealed cells (I thought they were supercedure as early in season). Next inspection queen left the hive (saw it happen & they clustered on the leg of the hive). Was in a rush so decided to return the following day. Next day old queen back in hive (had crawled back). Still unsure whether swarm or supercedure (as have heard others say bees can swarm on supercedure, despite what books say). Decided to reduce to one cell and leave them to decide, given queen was clipped, to find out what would happen. Old queen still in hive & for rest of season; they made a supercedure cell later in Aug which emerged & old Q still there early Oct, no signs new mated Q. Maybe will find a new Q in Spring.
 
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ericbeaumont 

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if a clipped mated queen returns to the hive (crawls back), then afterwards a virgin emerges, does the virgin swarm with a cast, or does the mated clipped queen have a second attempt?
You've found one answer:
Old queen still in hive & for rest of season
Bees (being bees) will have a few more up their sleeves.

I was told years ago: don't give bees options, because they'll likely choose an inconvenient one leading to more of your work.
 

Swarm 

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The two can be very similar, depending on circumstances. Four out apiaries, one at home, a full time job and family commitments can mean some very long days indeed. I reduced numbers a few years ago to make life a little less frantic, then I had to quit my job last year and suddenly I had all this time. Still busy dusting off old boxes.
 

elainemary 

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You've found one answer:

Bees (being bees) will have a few more up their sleeves.

I was told years ago: don't give bees options, because they'll likely choose an inconvenient one leading to more of your work.
Yes thought that might have happened but didn't see any loss of bees and turned out a really good honey producer that season. Agree it's a learning, next time I'd take the cell out & make a Nuc, she's a nice queen with good traits. Got her in a nuc at the moment.
 

rolande 

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The two can be very similar, depending on circumstances. Four out apiaries, one at home, a full time job and family commitments can mean some very long days indeed. I reduced numbers a few years ago to make life a little less frantic, then I had to quit my job last year and suddenly I had all this time. Still busy dusting off old boxes.
Yes, working better can be far more productive than working more! Kim Flottum wrote a little article in 'Bee Culture' on the subject several years ago.
 

ericbeaumont 

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80/20 concept with regards to swarm control
The Pareto Principle is new to me but is a jewel of enlightenment.

Found this example: The 80/20 rule can come in handy when...deciding what parts of a system should be made better and The 80/20 rule is a great base point for weeding out unnecessary things and focusing on those of utmost importance.

If only the UK poly hive manufacturers had heard of it...


 

Swn58 

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Yes, working better can be far more productive than working more! Kim Flottum wrote a little article in 'Bee Culture' on the subject several years ago.
Yes....I was told "Work Smart, not Hard" in relation to landscaping and gardening. It meant, learn the best techniques that invariably save time, so you don'r get too knackered! I try to apply this to everything.
 

Into the lions den 

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Really interesting, thanks.

What size of box are the queens limited to before the excluders come off? Single Smith brood box?
We have both Smith and Langstroth units...we run them essentially the same waY.

Saying they are on singles would be technically correct but a simplification at the same time. We split or demaree as required to make sure we do not allow the queen to be congested, making sure she has enough laying room...so yes..she is in a single deep with an excluder...just that it is not always the same deep. May need demareed or split two or three times by the end of June.
 

Niv 

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Yes....I was told "Work Smart, not Hard" in relation to landscaping and gardening. It meant, learn the best techniques that invariably save time, so you don'r get too knackered! I try to apply this to everything.
I have a similar theory for my office based job, I call it 'manage the manager'. If my manager is happy with my output then I am doing enough, everything else I do is to make my work life easier.
 

Swarm 

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In the work place it's been my experience that working 'smart' amounted to people being devious while those of us working 'hard' sorted out the mess.
 

Swn58 

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In the work place it's been my experience that working 'smart' amounted to people being devious while those of us working 'hard' sorted out the mess.
A slight misunderstanding I think? An example: When I first became a gardener, the head-gardener taught me the 'proper' way to weed and dig over a plot of ground. I won't go into details :sleep: but needless to say that being 'smart' about it saves an awful lot of time and backache!
 

ericbeaumont 

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When I first became a gardener, the head-gardener taught me the 'proper' way to weed and dig over a plot of ground. I won't go into details :sleep: but needless to say that being 'smart' about it saves an awful lot of time and backache!
I worked out that no matter that if I'd put in a grand's worth of plants, cleared a skip of rubbish and dug out nine yards of weed, there was one easy job that impressed a client and made them feel it was money well spent: cut the lawn. Once I'd twigged that, I cut the lawn at every opportunity.
 

Curly green finger's 

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I worked out that no matter that if I'd put in a grand's worth of plants, cleared a skip of rubbish and dug out nine yards of weed, there was one easy job that impressed a client and made them feel it was money well spent: cut the lawn. Once I'd twigged that, I cut the lawn at every opportunity.
All this talk of working smarter and better is good ,but some times work has to be slowly done!! to do a perfect job.
Theres no point being a bull in a China shop, you can quite easily end up costing the clients more money.

Or on one occasion costing them an extra £12,000 because the landscape architect ( not me) surveyed the garden wrong.
 

Swn58 

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Or on one occasion costing them an extra £12,000 because the landscape architect ( not me) surveyed the garden wrong.
Yes....my limited experience with them showed me that as well. A garden.....three dimensional.....who'd have thought it!?
 
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