This is sometning that my good friend and sometimes mentor, Kirk Webster, has … They were the Michael Palmer style boxes (divided bottom 10 frame deep box into 2 4 frame compartments with 2 separate 4 frame boxes on top of that deep box). Buying Bees - French Hill Apiaries Mike Palmer / 802-524-2433 Singing Cedars Apiaries Roland Smith / 802-948-2057 Champlain Valley Bees & Queens K The weak colony got a shot of young bees and the strong colonies got some needed swarm control. Some I have spoken with RAIL against this method.. stating that they tried it, and ended up with a HUGE mess when the paper became saturated.. The only solution seemed to be to remove frames of brood and bees, replace them with comb or foundation, and start more nuclei. Michael Bush has asked that I participate in a discussuin on "Wintering Nucs." In 1982, an apiary management job became available with a New York state orchard located on the west side of Lake Champlain. In the Spring, after the nucleus colonies had been transferred to the production yards, I always had some too weak to be of much use. It was not until years later that I realized the full potential of having nuclei wintering in my apiaries. and begin preps for splitting and re queening. That is where the singles from South Carolina, the nuclei from Florida, and the frames of brood from New York came in. My bees are mild mannered, winter hardy and good producers. Looking back, I now realize the folly of my new path. While working for an angry man is never much fun, I have a thick skin and persisted with my management. I used to buy bees, lots and lots of bees; singles from South Carolina, nuclei from Florida and frames of brood from New York. Winds in excess of 50 mph a time or two with temps nearing - 25, which put wind chills colder than -50.. My bees survived by the grace of god, and simple table sugar. Why not allow good overwintered nuclei to build up, use them as my brood/bee resource for making up the new nucleus colonies and leave the production colonies alone. In fact, they absolutely exploded on the dandelion flow when hived on drawn comb. However, the initial results wintering 5 frame nucs still looked promising so, we prepared 213 - 5 frame nucs for the winter of 2014 trying to make up our previous losses. All the bee work I do now, as the owner/manager of a large business, is centered on the production, wintering, and use of nucleus colonies with locally reared queens. She and I were witnessing the passing of another. Four days later, I repeated the process, harvesting brood from the nuclei next in line. After queen marking is complete, he explains how to safely cage a queen and her attendants. Beekeeping is just like all other agricultural endeavors. She had stood on that spot for hundreds of years, watching the passing of the old ways, one by one. Its the natural way that bees go. All that other stuff is insurance. Days with 90°F temperatures and 90% humidity levels were just too much for these miniature colonies. Michael Palmer is adamant that any given beekeeper with a 2 year old hive can raise better queens then he can purchase. I used to buy queens, lots and lots of queens; queens from Georgia, queens from Texas and queens from California. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Was it the fault of the queen? I know a Beekeeper that lives in Canada, and he winters his hives almost exactly as I do. The method I use may not work for you. Michael Palmers Apiaries My visit in Pictures and Video. After working for the orchard for several years, I was ready to expand my own apiary. I now owned a business of more than 800 colonies, pollinated with 600 colonies, and if everything worked out as I hoped, the possibility of making many tons of honey seemed entirely possible. it will give them the best chance possible. History: Vermont beekeepers meeting 1971; sitting with Charlie Mraz (a great mentor) who said: “Why have a bunch of queens from a far away place when you can raise them yourself?” At which point they eagerly dug into that sugar and began eating it. Not because I am an AWESOME beekeeper. In a worst case scenario, you are using queens from a local supplier that is breeding from established, non-treated, strong stock. We wanted to hear from other beekeepers on overwintering bees. They were fed sugar syrup and then 190 were wrapped in packs of 7-8 nucs in three beeyards. From May 9 until June 19 I harvested 245 combs of brood to set up my 35 cell builders, each receiving seven combs of sealed brood and two of honey. On seeing that first mite, I closed the hive, sat down under an ancient sugar maple, to think about what I had just seen. My budget would allow 10 5-frame nucs. Some years, for whatever reasons, they did not build up properly. I prefer to clean up the mess, rather than let my bees starve. Michael Palmer goes on to say that you should be using your own queens. On a sultry August afternoon when the cat is long and the air is too hot to move, the next brew may seem more important than the next bee. Trying to use what resources they held to benefit my operation, I combined the weakest, allowing them to grow until strong enough, and sacrificed them for making nucs. They were fed sugar syrup and then 190 were wrapped in packs of 7-8 nucs in three beeyards. Weak colonies do not produce. The advantage is, they can STILL be used to make spring syrup if the bees do not consume them all, or perhaps, do not even touch them if you have a mild winter. Or would I do better with two boxes? It takes a struggling colony with an inferior queen and only three or four frames of brood and turns it into strong colony with a tested queen and eight or nine frames of brood. Pretty simple really take the basic hive body measurements and cut the fronts in half and add more wood lengthwise. Think of it! Drop the bomb and the population explodes. We all lose bees in the winter, and replacing those bees can get expensive. Michael Palmer. When night time temps begin to remain above 50, I start leaving the syrup out, and I remove the last of the sugar from the top of the hives. Unfortunalty it seems he does not have his own website and much of the information he has shared is spread out over the internet. That is the great hope of every farmer everywhere, no matter what they grow or where they farm. With a supply of nucleus colonies on the other side of the apiary, or down the road in an out apiary, I can afford to be ruthless. What didn't get used gets dissolved into syrup, so none of it is wasted. Even a HARSH and LONG winter. One of his main premises is to take one of your poorer producing hives, split it into several nucs and add a good queen to each. Mike Palmer bought his first two packages of bees from FW Jones Company of Quebec in 1974. Things WE do to make US feel better, and give the bees a better chance if things go horribly awry. So I live in MN, am setting up nucs to overwinter, Michael Palmer example, nucs over production colonies. I will treat spring and fall for mites. My bees are stronger going into Winter and stronger coming out of Winter, and for those that do not make it? In a worst case scenario, you are using queens from a local supplier that is breeding from established, non-treated, strong stock. Even without our help, bees across the country manage to survive the cold winter months, which speaks to their incredible planning and resilience. The plan worked so well I decided to see how far I could take it. Contrary to popular belief, the tar paper is NOT for insulation or drafts. Its SOLE purpose, is for solar gain on those moderate days that the bees would JUST not have been capable of breaking cluster. I felt as if I was slowly losing my business. Here in the Bay Area, my bees are already bringing in a TON of pollen, but they also continue to avidly consume the pollen patty I have given them. Michael Palmer is adamant that any given beekeeper with a 2 year old hive can raise better queens then he can purchase. Every four days, starting with the first nucleus, I removed two or three frames of brood from each nucleus until the day’s brood requirement was filled. I had to ask myself why were they weak? A s beekeepers, we tend to underestimate the importance of winter bees. 23 were wintered indoors as a small sample to see if that might work better. However, the initial results wintering 5 frame nucs still looked promising so, we prepared 213 - 5 frame nucs for the winter of 2014 trying to make up our previous losses. I have never lost more than three hives during a winter. They cost $10.50 delivered. The amount of reserves they need is entirely dependent on your location. Of all the challenges faced by bees – and beekeepers – the topic of “overwintering” is one of the most commonly discussed. Because my season is so short, these colonies never really built up in time to be productive. Apr 18, 2019 - Explore Karl Bartholomew's board "Beek - Palmer Hive/Double Hibe", followed by 239 people on Pinterest. Wintering nucleus colonies changed my beekeeping career forever. If you live in an area similar to mine, and your bees are capable of wintering where you live, then USE the method outlined to winter your bees. ~Roy Hendrickson Year One: Three Basic Startup Rules all New Beekeepers Should Heed…. When I took over, the bees were in decent shape but unproductive. I will give them Fumagilin B to help keep Nosema at bay, and I will wrap the hives so they may have a few extra opportunities to MOVE to reserves. Winter mortality skyrocketed; losses of 30 to 50 percent became normal. Michael Palmer: Queen Rearing and Other Advice for New Beekeepers Figure 2.16.1 Michael Palmer, French Hill Apiaries. Then came Acarapis woodii (Tracheal mites). This is why Michael Palmer has multi-storey nucs. There really had to be a better way. Palmer Method • This is not a full description as that is a class in itself. Winter patties? For the benefit of the beginner beekeeper, ... Michael Palmer – Importance of getting local queens (YouTube) Michael Palmer – On Package Bees (YouTube) Michael Bush – Bee Splits (bushfarms.com) Michael Bush – Nucleus Hives (bushfarms.com) For a few years there, in the late 80s, my apiary did me well. #3 Make sure your bees are Mite and disease free. I clean out the deadouts, (Hopefully there are none!) The Sustainable Apiary. He uses fondant patties instead of sugar.. Rather than give a weak colony valuable brood resources only to discover a failing queen later in the Summer, why not just kill that old queen and give the colony an over-wintered nucleus? No waste, no worry. I also have read a bit about double nuc boxes aka Michael Palmer nucs (apologies for posting competitors links here.) Nucleus colonies that had successfully wintered were transferred to the empty equipment and apiaries were filled after the long Winter. And that is the difference. It gives me the confidence I want if I do not get a mild enough day to PEEK into the hives for four months. My intention was to remove enough brood from each to fill my needs, but not enough to significantly weaken the colonies. I know that may sound like a lot of honey, but it is only a 50 pound average. In a normal winter, the bees don't fuss with the paper, and so long as I leave them plenty of stores, they often don't fuss with the sugar either. Michael Palmers Apiaries My visit in Pictures and Video. I check for mites, and treat as necessary. These bees are tested by Vermont’s long months of deep cold, snow and ice. Apparently they have higher humidity than I do, or they do not provide enough ventilation. The original bees will help raise the first generation of brood from the new queen. Michael Palmer goes on to say that you should be using your own queens. This page is a compalation of all of the information from him that I can find. What about Wrap? In 1999, I visited Kirk Webster, another Vermont beekeeper, just before apple bloom. It was as if I had dropped a bomb on each colony and I jokingly referred to them as ‘Bee Bombs’ in an article I wrote for this magazine. So I approached my beekeeping with an eye to the future and the belief that next year will be the year. If they cant winter they have no place in my apiary, or yours either! I had no choice but to buy in replacement bees and pay for them with my pollination check and it went like that for several years. When I finally was able to check on them, I found half the sugar gone, and all the hives alive and well. Expensive in dollars, if we have to go to the package bee and nuc dealers for our new bees, or expensive in bee resources and/or lost honey production if we have to divide our best colonies in the spring. My hives survived, because I was prepared for the WORST case scenario right from the moment I prepped and closed up my hives for winter. What do YOU need to do to help your bees survive the winter? For the first few years I wintered nucleus colonies, I thought of them as stocks for replacing Winter losses and as stocks for making increase. There had not been a honey crop in years and the previous beekeeper, while dealing appropriately with the AFB, nearly bankrupted the apiary, costing $55 a colony for his management when the orchard could rent colonies of bees for $22. Summer trip to Vermont, North America ... Mike Palmer next to his twin Nucleus colonies. This particular Spring was late and it was all I could do to put together 600 good colonies for the orchard and Webster had over-wintered nucs that were so populous they were bearding, two weeks before apple bloom. It was mandatory that I fulfill my pollination contract. The larger cluster created by adding combs of emerging brood not only boosted the colony population in the short term, that increased cluster size lasted through the Winter and come Spring, those colonies were among the strongest in the apiary. Every year it was the same. That really got me thinking. Your First Couple of Years are Full of Learning and Doing. But, did that swarm control come at the cost of a reduced honey crop? Even when inspecting the hive in the middle of a warm day when the foragers are busy bringing in pollen, there are bees all over the pollen patty feeding on it. My spring mite counts were 0 from NYS inspection 3 years in a row and I have no small hive beetles in the spring. I have 450 hives or so over there. Bee Thinking’s Top Bar Nuc. Well, I guess Wedmore had it right. As I said, in the beginning nucleus colonies were future production colonies to be used in my apiary. And the same process benefits the bees when working on a much smaller scale. We saw winds chills approaching 50 below zero F this past winter with multiple feet of snow here in the Adirondacks. The orchard was able to hire a former Vermont bee inspector for a couple years and he did a great job of cleaning up the disease and starting the buildup of colony numbers to near pollination requirements. I am sure they work well. Marking Queens With Mike Palmer. If you live in an area similar to mine, and your bees are capable of wintering where you live, then USE the method outlined to winter your bees. HOWEVER! . These are northern non-migrator bees. In Southern Texas they may not need anything stored away. These cakes will still absorb moisture from the hive, just as the granulated sugar will, but seem to leave less of a mess to deal with in the spring. Over Wintering Nucs- A Better Way by Michael Palmer 03 Tuesday Jul 2018 Posted by sassafrasbeefarm in beekeeping , beekeeping management , management , Winter THIS was the point I began to hear about how many losses nearby beekeepers were experiencing.. By May, I learned that we had an average of 70% losses in this state. Official website of internationally renowned Vermont beekeeper, Michael Palmer. At the time, I thought I had it made. As a commercial honey producer, this was unacceptable. While harvesting brood from strong nucleus colonies slowed swarming, it did not help much with absconding. I believed most likely so and re-queened them later in the season. Oddly, the ‘swarm’ would fly fast away from the area, never clustering temporarily as traditional swarms do. Doing so immediately boosts that weakling early in the season and re-queens it at the same time. I used to buy queens, lots and lots of queens; queens from Georgia, queens from Texas and queens from California. It got COLD by the end of November, and STAYED cold until the middle/end of February. After queen marking is complete, he … In a commercial honey producing operation, the beekeeper must keep colony numbers up and every colony as strong as possible. But why wait? I did not have to buy any more bees and queens. That worked to some extent, but nucleus colonies made up after the beginning of August do not Winter well here in Vermont. My bees are healthier and more productive. 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