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Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:10 Nov 2020, 10:31
by Patrick
NigelP wrote:If there is brood your brood nest will be at 32-35C, so a simple cordless thermometer will tell you what is likely to be going on or not as the case may be. IIRC there is usually a sharp increase in hive temperature shortly after the winter solstice to 32/35 when brood rearing starts in earnest.
I remember Jazz was talking about designing something of the sort. I know the typically quoted temperature of an active brood nest but not the temperature of a broodless cluster. Presumably under 32 degrees. Usually in the summer period if there is no brood present the bees seem looser and aimless on the comb anyway. Out of interest, do you check for brood before treating? I never have, perhaps if it continues to be as madly warm as at present in December, I will take a frame out when I go in.

I usually treat with oxalic between Christmas and New Year as it is around the shortest day and I am available to do it.

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:10 Nov 2020, 12:53
by mikemadf
An IR thermometer aimed at the Crown Board will tell you whether there is brood or not..

I did that in my early years: then decided it was a waste of time and vaped 3rd week December every year.

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:10 Nov 2020, 13:16
by Chrisbarlow
mikemadf wrote:
10 Nov 2020, 12:53
An IR thermometer aimed at the Crown Board will tell you whether there is brood or not..

I did that in my early years: then decided it was a waste of time and vaped 3rd week December every year.
That's interesting... Can you remember the temps given with your readings for brood and brood less

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:22 Nov 2020, 13:46
by mikemadf
IIRC 31c approx for with brood.. But that is on top of brood nest - sides are far less.

For broodless - varies with ambient temp. But usually 15-20C

(I have insulated wooden hives plus poly hives)

No doubt tho when with brood..(at least a reasonable amount)

So pretty easy to tell difference.)

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:23 Nov 2020, 10:09
by AdamD
With good insulation on the crown board, it's easy to feel hive warmth if the insulation is lifted off as the crown board can be quite warm. Without any insulation the crown board becomes cool so you would hardly be able to tell whether a colony was brooding or not. (Demonstrates the heat-loss if no insulation is used).

I did buy a small battery powered bluetooth thermometer that I wanted to put in a hive near the house, the idea was that I could pop the thermometer in the hive between two brood combs and check the temperature from my laptop. However the instructions were in Chinese which was not a good start and once I started to work out how it worked, I would have had to use my iPhone and put a Chinese app on it (not too comfortable with that) and collect the temperature data from a Chinese server, so I gave up.

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:13 Dec 2020, 13:09
by Little John
MickBBKA wrote:
29 Oct 2020, 01:08
This year I have several stupidly large colonies going into winter, double brood and 4 supers crammed with bees. I know they are going to be in trouble come February no matter how much they have stored. What I need is advice on going forward is what to do next year as its too late now. Should I split them and unite parts to other colonies ? I was thinking of transferring a super of bees at a time. What do you folk think ??
Around 1875, Elisha Gallup and D.L.Adair collaborated to create a 4ft Horizontal Hive which was both non-swarming and produced enormous amounts of honey. It's performance was so extraordinary that A.I.Root, who had initially dismissed these claims as being fanciful, upon testing it for himself immediately decided to market it as the Standard hive for the US (and eventually the world) to replace the Langstroth hive. (In typical Root fashion he was far more concerned with profit rather than a hive being 'fit for purpose' and so made the hive length 30 inches instead of 48 - this being one reason why it failed to live up to expectations)

However, Doolittle made and tested two 4ft Gallup-Adair long hives, and the one which he ran for extraction returned over a quarter of a ton of surplus honey - but he wasn't at all impressed by this. The main reason he gave was that after the main flow, all 32 frames in that hive contained brood (which was exactly what he didn't want), and that the hive produced 'only' 166 lbs more honey than existing hives of his own design.

Doolittle's system of beekeeping management was predicated upon over-wintering a relatively small colony (on just 6 frames): large enough to survive (obviously), but no larger than necessary. He then enlarged this colony in the early Spring by a gradual step-wise process of brood-nest spreading, to ensure that there were an abundance of foragers available for work immediately prior to the main flow - at which time he reduced the brood-nest size in order to ensure that excess foragers were not created after the main flow was over, as these bees would then have been idle mouths to feed, and thus consumers rather than producers.

So - it sounds as if you need to generate some means of regulating your brood nest size. One obvious method would be to make-up several nucs for this purpose earlier in the season, and then swell their numbers from your uber-large hives prior to the onset of winter. Or - regulate brood-nest size during the season by use of a QX.

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:18 Dec 2020, 00:46
by MickBBKA
Hi John,
Very interesting reading your comments, I have never come across this info before and deff requires some further reading. Thank you.

Cheers, Mick.

Re: Large colonies

PostPosted:18 Dec 2020, 15:23
by mikemadf
I used a similar system this year with feeder nucs supplying brood to my main hives.

Worked quire well - despite poor weather after 1st week June.