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bees

Started by billy rubin, April 17, 2020, 08:09:43 PM

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billy rubin

just got off the telephone with the local guy who's receiving a truckload of package bees tomorrow. they're on.

i've got four three-pound packages coming up from georgia. dunno who from. most of the breeders i know are from the west. i'll have to see.

anyway it's an adventure for the kids. we lost our bee outfit some 15 years ago, so they don't remember sitting in the car seat at midnight moving bees in and out of the orchards in a two-ton flatbed.

i'll see if i can delegate one of them to take some photographs.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Tank

Loving this. Looking forward to the pictures.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Asmodean

My neighbor keeps bees. They are actually quite nice in that they leave me well enough alone. Have not been stung or even mildly annoyed by them yet.

Can you like... Breed them for manners, like they did wolves back in the loincloth age?
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

billy rubin

Quote from: Asmodean on April 17, 2020, 08:17:13 PM
Can you like... Breed them for manners, like they did wolves back in the loincloth age?

lol

i live way, way out in the country. unless i hear the mail carrier up the road, i'm often still in the loincloth age. or worse.

but yes. you are absolutely correct.

i used to breed bees commercially for sale. my eyes aren't good enough for grafting larvae anymore, but i have kids. most small beekeeping operatins have the 12-year-olds do all the grafting.

behaviour is heritable in bees, in several aspects.

you can breed them to be nice, in that they won't go apeshit on you when you open a hive. i used to pollinate seed crops in areas where the teenagers would mess with my hives, run them over with the pickups, do gang initiations inthe bee yards, and so on. if i had a mean hive, i would mark it. the next time i needed some beehives in a high-risk location-- rigfles, autos, pesticides, spit, whatever-- then that is the location that would get the hives i was prepared to lose.

you can also breed them for disease resistance. i had problems with some strains with chalkbrood, which is a fungius. had miscellaneous virus problems from time to time. you can breed them to be hygenic, which means that they will clean out diseased or parastized larvae before they infect the rest of the colony. and of course, you can breed them for honey production, wax production, proplis gathering, or anything else you need.

mostly what i did was start with good quality working queens from suppliers i liked. i'd buy two or three hundred queens in the spring, then evaluate them over the year in working colonies for heterozygosity, disease resistance, pollen and honey gathering, and general fecundity. i'd pick the best ten or so and then use those to graft larvae from the following year to generate queens for sale. at the same time i'd make sure i had drone colonies in abundance to supply the other half of the gametes so that the half-sister clans would have maximum heterozygosity.

homozygote honey bees hold recessive lethals. heterozygoites do okay. generarally speaking.

by themselves, inbred bees tend to get meaner and meaner. if you've ever been stung by a bee, imagine what its like to stand there in a bee suit before the sun comes up and have literally hundreds of angry bees attacking your veill so deep that you cannot see to walk. thjose bees are mean, and are the ones that get marked for replacement. ive had to work through that without a bee suit on occasion, nd its not fun.

but good quality bees a re a joy. the angels of agriculture. if you have never owned bees and then get some, you will always wonder why you didn't do it sooner. a beehive takes maybe six hours of work a year. here in ohio one hive can generate well over 100 pounds of honey per year, ten  pounds or so f beeswax, and maybe a pound of propolis. as much natural pollen as you want to gather.

and endless time for meditation.


more people have been to berlin than i have

billy rubin

so my day began at 0415, when my dispatcher woke me up.

kevin, you coming in today?

no. im off today. i need to pick up bees up north.

hmmmm. nobody took you off the schedule. why am i not surprised . . .

so i went back to sleep until 0800--way late in the day for me -- and then packed up all the kids currently at home and drove 100 miles north, to where they had unloaded the bees the night before.

usually you shake bees on thursday, put em in the cooler until friday sometime, and then drive up to deliver on the weekend. this way they don't stay in the packages longer than a day or two. even 2500 miles from california to wisconsin is a 26 hour drive, straight through. thius time its only like 600 miles, but they were still probably shaken on thursday. no reason to go crazy. it doesn't pay.

so we got to the place,  and i gave the camera to a teenager and said

take pictures of everything.

(later, i asked, did you take lots of pictures?

no, there really wasn't anything to take a picture of.

(read, i was too embarrassed . . . ))

anyway, we drove up to this little skinnyl piece of property off a paved road, cool, and under a lot of trees. there were people in orange vests directing traffic, for crying out loud, and a line of cars onto the lane going into a U and leading out past the road. it was a zoo, full of morons who parked in the way and where i couldn't get my absudly overlarge 3/4ton pickup around them

]i didn't want a six pack  truck, but my wife told me

you want the kids to race morotcycles 1100 miles awy? you ll buy a truck with a back seat.

so i did. i hate arguing with her, especially when shes right.

so anyway, we drove into the beekeeper traffic jam.



the last time i picked up package bees i 500 miles in the little one ton and loaded up 200 two-pounders. some US$8000, it was. this time i only wanted four, although they were hellishly expensive, like $115 each. a zoo, it was.



but the pattern was easy, drive to the head of the U, get out, walk inside the honey house and give the two little old ladies my name, and they would give me a receipt i would trade for my four packages on the road leading out past the [pile of packages under the tarp. there was a an ancient woodman 30-frame extractor in there that i would have liked to buy, if it was for sale. my equipment right now is pretty bigger, and while it extracts a lot of honey at a time, it isn't flexible for small operations. i sold all my little stuff when i left california, and i wish i hadn't. any way, ill call the guy up later on.

so we managed to make the U- turn in the six pack three quarter ton, and scooted up to the pallets with all the bees. they'd showed up the night before from georgia in a horse trailer, and then had set all night under a tarp. two guys were taking receipts and handing out packages.







we got our four an d i took thenm to the truvck, stuck them in the back seat between a couple of my non-photographers for the ride home.



when we got them back, i took them into the kithen sink and gave them all a drink, pouring the water through the screemns. they had gotten thirsty in the truck and were getting agitated, but a good long drink calmed them all down.





then down into the cellar and turned out the lights, and they;ll sit there until this evening. i haven't so much as picked out any boxes to put em in. got to mix up some syrup as well, so ill have to dig out a barrel.

but that part is easy.

so i'll see whether i can get my camera-shy teenagers to take more pictures this evening when we dump the packages. after that it will be up to the bees themselves. its cool--there was snow this morning, and no flowers to speak of for pollen.

dunno how it will go/.

im off to the warehouse  now to dig out some nuc boxes to put em in this evening when it gets cool and darker.



more people have been to berlin than i have

billy rubin

heavens i'm as bad about bees as i am about motorcycles.

talk talk talk.

lol


more people have been to berlin than i have

Dark Lightning

We'll have to start calling you Candy Man.  :P I saw that movie a long long time ago.

billy rubin

candyman?

i didn't know that there was anythiung by that title except the old sci fi novel by vincent king.

which was a story i have never forgotten



more people have been to berlin than i have

Dark Lightning


billy rubin

dumped em

a bir early in the evening but i hav eto go to bed.





not too many stings, but a few



ill leave themn this wy with the lids off until after dark, and then the kids can put the lids on when the bees have sucked down inside



and there we are. half an hours work



nice bees, too



drone




i mixed up  about three hundred pounds of feed while i was waiting for the evening, so i'll see about filling up some cans for them tomorrow.

in the meantime, we're back in the saddle again.

after about 15 years.


more people have been to berlin than i have

Magdalena

This is a cool topic.
Thank you for posting those pictures, billy rubin.
:popcorn:

"I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe." ~Recusant

Dark Lightning

Last time I got stung by a bee I was 16. My hand swelled up like an over-inflated latex glove, and I couldn't even flex it. Bees are incredibly important to agriculture, but I have to stay away from them.

Tank

That was absolutely fascinating BR!

Thank you for making the effort and sharing :)
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

billy rubin

more to come. theres always something to do. got to feed them and then leave em be until they releaze the queen. shes locked into a cage in there now. usually couple three days or so.


more people have been to berlin than i have

billy rubin

check ed that theyd released the queens. in a package the queens come in a little cage, a block of wood with a screen over it. theres a hole filled with sugar candy that the bees slowly eat their way through. when theyre done, voila, the queen is loose. three of the cafges were empty



on of them still had the queen in there, but the bees were treating her correctly so i popped of the screen and just dropped her in.

i've got two-liter soda bottles on them now with sugar syrup, so they can sit in there stress-free while they all ddcide what to do .

supposed to rain tomorrow so i wanted to open them up and check today. bees can be touchy with new queens, and theres no sense in making it worse.



more people have been to berlin than i have