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Do bees really need so much interference from us?


#1

I’ve kept bees for around 4 or 5 years now, and like most beeks was told to join a local club which I did, got myself a mentor to teach me hands on stuff, and did weekly checks on my bees, looking for swarm cells, splitting hives and doing artificial swarms as we are told and taught that to have any chance of getting honey, we need to look after our bees.
Anyway this year got of to a bad start via a marriage break up, and two hives in my woodland were left to fend for themselves, although they were fed over winter, that’s all I did for them, at the start of may I added a ross round super to each hive, feeling I should do something rather than nothing, no weekly checks have been done and swarm control has been left to nature, now I was under the impression that for bees to fill ross rounds, they needed to be a good strong hive, maybe even on double brood boxes, I had tried them the year before on a very strong hive at my previous address and had no luck what-so-ever.
so what’s the difference between then and now, as the two hives that have been left to nature on one brood box each, have filled a super of ross rounds each within around 10 weeks.
the flow frames and flow hive received a lot of bad post’s here in the UK from beeks saying it promoted beekeeping without checking the hive, and that honey on tap would stop regular inspections,
would/does not interfering with the bees actually cause them harm, or do they know better than us and just get on with it ?
of course I’ll be removing these ross rounds in the next few days, and once the bad weather and autumn hits here, then the girls will be getting fed


#2

I seem to remember you said somewhere that you had quite a few winter losses, maybe on another forum?
If these are your survivors then maybe there is some varroa tolerance/resistance there?
I guess if you leave bees to their own devices they will either survive or not, produce some honey or not. I know that those colonies of mine in the past that had swarmed had less varroa due to the brood break but also produced less honey. The difference might be astounding, maybe 2 supers worth.
Last year in the UK the weather was poor and yields were well down. This year, though June and July were a washout, is significantly better and there has been a late flow.
It could be a number of things.

Pity you don’t have a colony you DID interfere with to compare.

I’m not sure it really was for that reason. Most dissent has been from ill informed reluctant to change traditionalists; poly hives and Beehauses having been left behind in favour of the Australian invention and there were those who thought it might attract beginners without a clue and without help.


#3

To get bees to work any kind of cassette like Ross Rounds or basswood sections etc. you need to crowd the bees. The normal method is a cut-down split.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown

The term “cut-down” refers to the fact that you take away half of the brood area, and all of the supers and then put on your comb honey supers. All the returning foragers are crowded up into the supers.


#4

that’s an interesting read, something I’ve not read before, all I did was add ross round supers though, no more, maybe the brood nest was small coming out of winter, but it was not crowded that’s for sure, in both cases a standard national brood box and commercial brood box, who know’s why they did so well, we will see if they continue into next year and repeat the process,


#5

Hi Stephen how are your bees doing? Been waiting to see/hear…


#6

here’s the ross rounds I removed

and also last weeks fogging for varroa