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Discussion Starter #1
The two hives I've got are close together and I can consistently see the differences in their behavior.

The hive on the left is filled with German bees. The hive on the right, Italian. Both are pretty gentle, though the Germans can get a little aggressive when you go getting grabby with their frames. They have definite ideas about the unwritten contract between tenant and landlord.

The one on the left ALWAYS has bees clustered at the front entrance. Sometimes in very large masses. The Italian bees almost never. The only difference I can see in the hives are that the German hive entrance is a little bit bigger (maybe a few millimeters). They don't seem aggressive when they clump up, just strange. They've been doing it since I got them back in May.

Why do they clump up like that?

EDIT: Dang. Couldn't figure out how to post the picture. I'll try again.
EDIT2: Never could figure it out. :)
 

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Bump. I am just a wantabe bee keeper and want to keep up with this thread.

Just have a question here. Why would you have the two different types of bees so close together to start with?????
I thought you should only keep one kind. Seems like you will end up with half breeds and then who knows what later on. :shrug:

Like I said, I am just a wantabeeeee, so I am just asking questions. :help:

Dennis
 

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Crafty, most bees, if not all, are mixed. They are referred to as what they look most like.

Ernie, did you mean Russian, or do you really have the tiny little solid black German bee? I haven't seen any of them since before the mite came here in 1987. If you have the black German, I would sure like to get some of them from you.

The clumping is called bearding. They do it when it is too hot in the hive. You may want to open the entrance if you have a reducer on, or give them a small amount of upper ventilation so they can cool the hive better.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bearding! Ah, that explains it. It seems like on hot, muggy days they do it more so. I'm not clear on what I can do to give them better ventilation. It may be something internal to that hive structure that's causing the heating problem. The other one doesn't seem to have any problem at all.

They are smaller and almost completely black. The beekeeper I bought them from said they were German bees, but I have no way of verifying them. I'd happily part with some to try and increase the population, but I have no idea how to do so. I'm a total rookie at the beekeeping.

My understanding is that the queen is going to mate with whatever drones show up on her mating flight anyway, so having them close together is no issue. Plus, I'm not particularly concerned about the mixing of the bee types ... so long as I don't get any Africanized ones.

In hindsight I probably would have put them in different locations when I set them up, simply due to the fact that I can't work on one hive now without smoking both of them. The alarm goes up in one hive and the other one gets pretty agitated as well. It's not too big of a deal though since I so rarely work them and when I do I usually need to work both of them.

Bees are absolutely fascinating. I picked them up mostly to increase fruit-set in my orchard (I felt it was foolish to rent bees) but then I fell in love with them. Now my goal is to expand out to about 20 hives over the next few years.
 

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for help cooling the hive use a screen bottom board it also helps to lower mite count ,,,,,
a solid bottom board makes for a warmer hive ...
,,, If you want to move them a way from each other ,,, just close the entrance at night and move them ,,,, open the entrance ,,, and then put grass in frount of the entrance .. they wil thake a oreantion and all will be good
the kid
 

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Thanks Iddee. This has certainly been a learning year for me. For years I thought different types of construction was all one really needed. Boy was I wrong.

Can I ask another question. Can you have bee hives and free roaming chickens & turkeys at the same time or is this a situation of you can't have your cake and eat it too, and the poultry will eat your bees??

Maybe I am trying to go in too many directions at once.

Thanks for the help.
Dennis
 

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Ernie,
You can also prop open the top of your hives using a stick in the corners.

We have free ranging poultry and honeybees. The guineas & turkeys prefer to make their nests inside the apiary.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I prop open the top, is rain going to be a problem? I figure maybe just a couple of inches might be ok.

I put these hives out in the middle of a pasture. There's no shade at all past about 6am. Should I provide some? Maybe they aren't getting enough water?
 

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I lay a couple of sticks horizontally across the corners of the top box, under the top cover. Rain doesn't get in. With better ventilation, you may see an increase in honey production! Bonus!

My hives are on the east side of a building and is fenced in with cattle panels to keep them safe from the large livestock.

We float pieces of wood in the livestock tanks to give them access to water easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Might be late for the honey production. I intend to process next week and leave them the rest of the year's run plus the two brood boxes. I figure I'd rather err on the side of caution and give them too much for the winter.
 

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Ernie, I think it would still be a good idea to go ahead and vent the hives. Doing so will help the gals evaporate the moisture from the honey before they cap it. The more capped honey on a frame the better.
 

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how would he go about makeing more of the black bees? if these are a rare form of German bee wouldnt it be worth it to propogate more like them??
 

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The easiest way would be to split the hives in early spring. Two deeps can be easily made into four nucs and become full size hives by the main honeyflow.
 

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Lost in the Wiregrass
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so you would split a hive four ways and they would queen themself? how would you keep other drones from breeding the new queens? or would it matter?
 

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I think we are hijacking the thread. PM me if you want to get into the details and I'll be glad to discuss it .
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hijack away! I'm curious how to split the hives myself. I'm increasing the number of boxes I have next year and besides buying queens and catching swarms I don't know how to increase the bees.
 

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I drilled a 3/4" hole in the front of my second deep (not the bottom one but the next one up). I did this because the book "The Hive and The Honeybee" recommended it.

Apparently in the winter time, moisture accumulation is more of a problem than cold temps. So ventilation is important in winter, too.
 

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We are new bees - just started this past December. Iddee and Alleyooper have been a huge inspiration and help for us.

We have Russian Bees - but my husband says they are naturalized now and are just plain ol' American. At any rate, they like to beard - A LOT! We rarely have a warm day when they aren't collected out front. Some days more than others - especially when it is hot. But they are extremely gentle. They head butt when irritated, but rarely go beyond that even when we have the hive tore down to nothing.

We had one hive that was really bearding BAD. Iddee suggested they were crowded, so we added a super. We now have 4 supers on that hive and the girls finally got busy and don't beard near as much.

From our experience with the Russians, bearding is pretty normal. When it gets excessive, there is some over crowding. But we are new at this and learning. Man, are we ever learning! I'm looking forward to next year so we can start it out by putting to use what we've learned from all our mistakes this year!

Penny
 
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