feral survivor1feral survivor2

This is what WBI is all about! When beekeepers are having such a hard time keeping bees alive INSIDE the box. How does a colony like this survive a winter OUTSIDE?!!  This colony is on the Northside of the building, fully exposed to wind and everything else (including others helping themselves to the colony’s food reserves). Indicators show its been there at least a full year! Feral hives are documented as being smaller than normal hives. There is nothing small about this one, especially not yet into Spring. This wild hive is HUGE! This is the type of Genetically advanced bee the Upper Rogue Pollinator Project is interested in developing to take all us beekeepers back to the ‘Pre-Mite’ era. An era where keeping bees alive was EASY!

If you look closely there is a knot hole, which is the entrance to the sister/mother hive from where the exposed colony originated from.

We are preparing to make a video of the removal of the exposed hive to bring and add it to the Bee Garden at Wild Bee Honey Farm/Oregon Bee Store, where we can observe and graft Queens from it.

‘B’ involved, ‘B’ a WBI member.

Spring has sprung! The Queens are laying heavily now in preparation for it. It’s time for you to ‘B’ prepared also. In the next weeks lots of new baby bees are going to hatch and fill the nest. We need to have our supers ready to add to prevent swarming. Currently the weather has allowed plenty of flying time for the bees to collect what they need for their growth. However weather can change, and prevent the bees from collecting everything they need. We should have pollen patties and sugar at the ready besides verifying we have all our tools and other materials prepared to shorten the time the hive is opened up and minimizing the stress to the bees. ‘B’ aware of the temperature, pick the warm part of the day, always above 55 degrees (65-80 best). The shorter amount of time the hive is opened up the better. Avoid breaking up the cluster to find the Queen. Start from the side and work your way into the side of the cluster until you get to the brood area to inspect the queens laying/brood pattern. This will give you the information you need how the hive is doing, without actually seeing the Queen. There should be bands of pollen stored above the brood in an arc. If not, add your Pollen Pattie. Keep feeding if there isn’t noticeable honey stores. Although there is lots of bloom, nectar flow depends on temperatures and the time available for the bees to collect it. They require a lot of energy this time of year and can starve.

Mites/Disease- Unless your going organic, chemical treatment free, Todd Balsiger has a great article concerning mite treatments in the March section of  ‘this month in the hive’ on the OSBA website. There is a lot of other good information on the site for all. Smell your hive, it should smell sweet. If there is a sour smell, use Fumagil-B, if bad rotty smell include Terramycin (always follow directions). We’ve had better than average weather so most health issues have been reduced due to it. Everyone agrees, keeping your hive healthy with good nutrients is the best defense against all inner hive problems.

If your getting ready to buy nuc’s, checkout the Beekeeping section on WBI’s website for information regarding what you should be considering when buying a nuc.


SURVIVOR — 2 Comments

  1. “We are preparing to make a video of the removal of the exposed hive to bring and add it to the Bee Garden at Wild Bee Honey Farm/Oregon Bee Store, where we can observe and graft Queens from it.”

    Seems a bit ironic that Wild Bee is going to remove a wild colony. Also ironic is the location to which they will be taken…Wild Bee Honey “Farm”. Farming by definition is not wild. I am very very new to this bee “keeping” world and my first thought before really getting anywhere as a keeper is “keeping” is the problem. No wild hives, no natural reproduction, no natural selection. When they manage to survive without our help, as in this case, we can’t seem to just let them bee(sic). We have the hubris to think we know how to help them when it was us who put them into the predicament they are in. Hubris, it wasn’t one of the 7 deadly sins but it should have been.

    • Yes, for the most part you are correct. However there are many aspects concerning this colony. One is the fact its within 40 yards of a child care center, besides near a middle school where kids run around and pose a real threat to the colony. We would have preferred leaving it and continued to observe it in its own natural environment were it not due to the extenuating circumstances. Fortunately the mother colony is next to it, in the wall of the dilapidated building better protected so we can still monitor a natural progression with it. Our family started catching wild hives in the early sixties building up to a commercial affair. Due to the fact that these bees were particularly mean spirited, Wild Bee was a natural selection for our family business name.
      Yes, beekeepers tend to have a great negative influence on the bees when not fulfilling their stewardship role. Beekeeping husbandry is one of mankind’s oldest farming professions, and mankind has profited greatly from that husbandry. Where in principle it would be a preference to allow natural evolution to take its own course, the multitude of serious problems and massive declines our pollinators are suffering from require immediate attention and intervention. Ramesh Sagali, our OSU professor was equally impressed with this feral hive. Due to a local predominance of all different breeds of honeybee’s (we have a significant number of commercial beekeepers in southern oregon) maintaining a genetically superior bee is one of beekeeping science’s hardest tasks. Its for that reason we are bringing the colony to the farm to be able to better monitor/research (bee samples will be taken and sent to Washington State U. for genetic testing) and graft from it.
      Yes, we put them in the predicament. Shouldn’t we do what we can to assist them out of it?

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