Author Topic: Alaska Bee Keeping  (Read 49737 times)

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Offline gibb

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #420 on: July 01, 2021, 09:02:56 am »
That's pretty interesting about the bumble bees.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #421 on: July 01, 2021, 09:31:43 am »
That's some bright orange pollen, Yukon Jeff.  What are they working for pollen?
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #422 on: July 02, 2021, 12:39:07 am »
I thought it was dandelion pollen but they are bringing in a couple shades of yellow and orange. It could be Icelandic Poppy. Also bringing in white from the Blue Iris and starting to see the Fireweed pollen it looks gray like gunpowder.

And yes Jim they are cooking Bumble bees regular now. Hows your bees fairing this year. 

Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #423 on: July 02, 2021, 12:41:34 am »
I got two Saskatraz queens shipped in today from Iowa.

I made up a double nuc with a ten frame box and a divider board.


Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #424 on: July 03, 2021, 12:43:51 am »
I have a divider board in and a queen excluder on top. I hope that keeps them separated. I have a feeling I might end up with just one queen ,or a lot of drift. We will see.

I think they could be wintered in this set up.





I graduated from a bee jacket to a veil. I was waiting for one that didn't look so dorky. lol

 

Our main flow is fireweed is starting soon. I will shake the queens down and get queen excluders on soon and hope I get some honey.

 



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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #425 on: July 03, 2021, 05:28:07 pm »
Well I have been procrastinating about hooking up my bear fence despite the recent reports of both brown and the black variety of bears have been spotted in the village.
So last night during a storm with heavy rain had my bear guard dogs in their houses, They may have barked but I didn't hear it over the wind and rain. A bear (I suspect brown ) walked through my unelectrified fence and pushed on one of my hives.

Lucky for me the ratchet strap saved the day. Not sure why it didnt work at it harder but was the same thing last year. Had a brown push over my nuc and got stung and left, only to come back and get 10,000 V and then shot at the neighbors.

I have chickens too so might be my turn to have a bear rodeo here at the house.

As you can see the picture above was taken last night, right after I took out one of the queen cages from the nuc. compared to this mornings picture below.





Locked and loaded for tonight.

Offline iddee

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #426 on: July 04, 2021, 07:12:07 am »
Hope you fill your freezer rather than his belly.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #427 on: July 18, 2021, 04:23:08 am »
Thanks . He got a taste of the fence I think, so been a good bear again.

 A few pics.

The double nuc is rocking along nicely. Still has two queens and both laying good. I would like to try winter one of these.

 

Saskatraz queen.





Fireweed flow has started.








Offline Zweefer

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #428 on: July 18, 2021, 08:42:38 am »
Fantastic photos as always! Glad to hear the bear didn’t get the snack he was after


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Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #429 on: July 19, 2021, 10:22:17 am »
Forgive me, this is a little off topic.  Call it Alaska gardening.   :laugh:
This spring I started some kale seeds.  I planted what I needed and gave my neighbor the remaining seedlings.  I saw their kale plants and about fell over!  They look like they were grown in Palmer, AK with 20 hours of sunlight a day!  I definitely need to rethink my gardening practices.   :o
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #430 on: July 20, 2021, 03:40:37 am »
Thanks

I wish we had a better climate for growing here. I am in western Alaska 450 miles NW of Palmer and the infamous Matanuska Valley.

We have longer days than Palmer but the weather is cooler and windy and wet alot. Not many trees grow here.

I have a small raised bed I can grow potatoes and turnips, strawberries, snap pees, radishes, collards and thats about it. No corn or tomatoes or anything like melons. Just too cool and short season.



I have a few that do a little better in the back of my truck.



But look how well the native grasses and fireweed do. This in my back yard. No lawn mowers here anyway. I leave it for the bees. It will be in bloom soon.





Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #431 on: December 25, 2021, 02:36:26 pm »
Season's Greetings fellow Beekeepers.

My beekeeping summer here in western Alaska was a bust. We had cold wet west winds from Siberia all summer long and as expected my bees did poorly. No honey. I had to feed them during the main flow, they were starving.

They never built up more than 6-8 frames of bees, I had two yr old queens not sure if that had anything to do with it.

But non the less I fed them up and prepped them for winter. One was very small cluster, like it swarmed during fall feeding.
Pictures are from late october.





I tried to keep this double nuc separate but before I could get the divider board in , this happened.



I have them insulated and wrapped with the quilt boxes on. I am going into winter with two year old queens, I expect losses this winter. I am considering ordering a package or two if I can figure a way to get them shipped out.

Its 35 degrees F and rain as I type this on Christmas day. We had some - 20 weather last month, but been a warm winter so far.

Hope your bees are all doing good and I will update again as winter progresses.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #432 on: June 22, 2022, 02:16:01 am »
Greeting fellow beekeepers.

Its been awhile so thought I would update this thread.

Things took a turn for the worst last winter I didnt put in my mouse screens until late on purpose to let the bees that want to fly out and die a way to get out, but after the first light snow I was horrified to see shrew trails leading into the entrance of all my hives. We had a shrew population explosion. All I could do was put screens on but didn't know if they were still in there or not, and as luck would have it I did trap a couple inside and one was found dead caught between the top bars. But the damage was done, they eat the heads off the bees and stress them all winter and all four hives and two nucs died over winter.

So I picked myself up and dusted off the smoker and ordered two double queen packages and through the generosity of our Alaskan package seller was kind enough to hassle with shipping them to me in the bush.

I made up four nucs April 16th and did a OAV treatment one week after installing them before any brood was capped.

I then I fed them and pattied them ,and took off to the Philippines for a much needed vacation on a tropical island.

I got back and they were all doing great and even was able to steal a few frames of spring honey.

They were booming with brood some had eight frames of brood so I ordered another Saskatraz queen from Iowa and made up a four frame nuc with four frames of capped brood, it should take off right in time for our Fireweed flow that's starting in a couple weeks.

We have been having warm temps of upper 60s and lower 70s so if this keeps up I might get some more honey. We have fires near by and smoke in the air. Hope they dont get any closer.

I had my share of wild critters in my bee yard. I had a wolverine come by and check the hives last winter and am lucky he didnt tear one open to see what's inside.

Recently I had moose get caught up in my single strand electric fence wire and snap off a post. That happened twice now this past month. We have alot of moose here.

The brown bears visit me every year about this time before the berries are ripe so I need to keep a gun handy for when they come around. I have dogs that let me know when they come.

Will update as season progresses here in the North.

A few pics.









 
 
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Offline MudSongs

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #433 on: June 28, 2022, 10:10:31 am »
Shrews are the worst. Nobody told me shrews could be a problem when I got into beekeeping, just mice. Then I lost I think it was 6 out of 8 colonies one winter.  My policy now is, if I see signs of shrews in the winter (hollowed out abdomens inside the hive, wings and legs scattered about), weather be darned, I'm tearing the hives apart and rebuilding them, minus the shrews. Though I haven't had issues with them since I switched to quarter-inch mesh instead the half-inch mesh or the 3/8-inch mouse guards.  I haven't seen it myself, but I've heard from local beekeepers in Newfoundland that shrews can get through their 3/8-inch mouse guards.

My first experience with shrews is well-documented on Honey Bee Suite, which provides some excellent photos of what to look for:

https://www.honeybeesuite.com/blaming-shrew/

I'm glad you were able to replenish your stocks.
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #434 on: July 03, 2022, 03:03:35 am »
Thanks Mudsongs

That link shows what my hives looked like. The shrews even carved tunnels in the sugar bricks.

We didnt have a high popuation the winter before so I kind of forgot about them, but their population exploded over the summer and I didnt notice until I saw the tracks leading unto the entrance.

I am looking at those metal mouse guards with just the holes in them. I think I will order some for this winter.

Well our flow is on now the Fireweed are just starting to bloom. The hives are in decent shape and hopefully strong enough to put up some honey, if our weather cooperates this summer.

 

Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #435 on: July 04, 2022, 12:48:26 am »
A short video of up in my bee yard.


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Offline Jen

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #436 on: July 04, 2022, 02:57:41 pm »
Hi Yukonjeff, love the video of busy happy bees and blooms, and soo jealous of how full your Yukon river is. I live in upper northern California where the drought has our lakes and rivers half of what they should be.

Say, have you used Saskatraz queens throughout your entire beekeeping adventures?
There Is Peace In The Queendom
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #437 on: July 04, 2022, 10:40:51 pm »
Jen

The Yukon River is still high here. They had alot of snow in the interior, so we have high water since the ice break up in May. I will drop again in the fall.

I get my packages from a guy that gets them from Central California, and I have been having good luck with his package Carniolan queens.

I just been experimenting with several different mail order queens, I am on my second try of the Sakatraz. I lost my last years nucs over winter and wanted to try again. I hear they are just a cross between a Russian and Carni, I have been getting them from Laps in Iowa.

The Canadian Beekeeper uses them exclusively so thought I would give them a try

Offline Jen

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #438 on: July 04, 2022, 11:38:09 pm »
Hi Jeff, I have primarily used italians of which I love their disposition and peaceful bees. But 5 years ago a bee club in our area was formed and we could buy hybrids from central california for a good price. After 4 years of hybrids I started longing for italians again. So I found a sweet bee and queen company in northern Calif and just this year I've requeened my hives with an italian/saskatraz cross. So far, I just love them.
There Is Peace In The Queendom
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Offline yukonjeff

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Re: Alaska Bee Keeping
« Reply #439 on: July 06, 2022, 12:51:49 am »
Thats interesting a Italian X Sask Cross. The consensus among Alaskan beekeepers is not to use Italians, reason being they eat too much and brood up at the wrong times in our long winters....so they say. I have never tried them because of the stigma they have.

That Sask/Italian might be fun to try next year.

Do they ship queens ?