I’m not feeding them! Can’t get those boxes off. Maybe by Fall…
I’m not feeding them! Can’t get those boxes off. Maybe by Fall…
Walt Wright was born and raised in Burtonsville, MD, then a barefoot country boy area, and now suburbia of a sprawling Washington, DC. He enlisted in the Air Force to get electronics training, and served as a radar repairman. After service time he joined General Electric in maintaining overseas sites of the Security Service (spell that SPY).
Still with GE, in 1960 he relocated to Huntsville, Ala./Redstone Arsenal to make his contribution on the nation’s quest to put a man on the moon. Development of the propulsive stages of the Saturn V moon rocket was accomplished by NASA on Redstone Arsenal. His responsibility on that program was electronic compatibility of subsystems within stages and compatibility between propulsive stages and the electronics of the instrument ring. No interaction (interference/noise) was permitted between systems on the man-rated launch vehicle.
For the Shuttle program, an added responsibility was systems engineer for on-board Range Safety components. The Air Force has autonomous authority to destroy any launch from the Cape area that poses a threat to populated areas of eastern Florida. Astronauts on board is no exception. If the launch strays from the predicted trajectory, the Air Force can destroy the vehicle by radio command. On-board equipment to implement destruct includes the command receiving and processing electronics and pyrotechnics to disperse propellants.
Walt is aware that the above work history provides very weak credentials to be considered as a honey bee “expert.” He took up beekeeping in his late fifties to supplement retirement income. Confident in his trouble shooting skills, he accepted the challenge “very early” to get to the bottom of the swarming problem. He credits observation skills, sharpened by years of electronics trouble-shooting, for solving the riddle. He was surprised that it was as easy as it was. When his hypothesis was in place in three years, he thought at first it must be in error. Surely, thousands of beekeepers, looking into millions of hives, could not possibly have missed the obvious. His conclusion: beekeepers see, but do not observe, or ask themselves why the bees do what they do.
Honey bees are motivated by survival of the colony. Survival of the existing colony is priority one. In the spring, priority two is the generation of the reproductive swarm. Not even that much is described in the popular literature. Walt concentrated his investigation of swarming in terms of colony activities that support those survival objectives. His findings are a radical departure from literature conventional wisdom. As an example, he claims that all the elements of “congestion”, such as bee crowding and nectar in the brood nest, are deliberate steps to implementing the reproductive swarm process, and not the other way around. The literature has congestion as the “cause” and that’s backwards.
Getting his observations published has been slow moving. Editors of the magazines have an obligation to their subscribers to weed out the chaff from crackpots. Natural skepticism creates mostly rejections of submitted articles. For the year 06 he resorted to writing articles on general beekeeping techniques to build a base of credibility.
He looks forward to presenting his observations through Beesource. It should not be necessary via this medium to appease editors or their advisors. As a start in telling it like it is, he announces point blank: The mystery of reproductive swarming has been solved.
Walter William Wright
August 24, 1932 – February 6, 2016
|*Spring Reversal Not Good Management for All Areas?||American Bee Journal||Jan-96|
|*Spring Management is Mandatory With Tracheal Mites||American Bee Journal||Feb-96|
|*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 1||American Bee Journal||Mar-96|
|*A Different Twist on Swarm Prevention, Part 2||American Bee Journal||Apr-96|
|*Checkerboarding – A Preliminary Update on My Swarm Control Method||American Bee Journal||Jun-96|
|*Checkerboarding Works||American Bee Journal||Jul-96|
|*Swarm Prevention Alternative – Checkerboarding Results and Conclusions||American Bee Journal||Nov-96|
|*Tennessee Early Spring Management||Bee Culture||Dec-96|
|*Playing It Safe||Bee Culture||Feb-97|
|*Swarm Prevention in Tennessee||Bee Culture||Mar-97|
|*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 1||American Bee Journal||Feb-02|
|*Apply Survival Traits of Honey Bees for Swarm Prevention and Increased Honey Production, Part 2||American Bee Journal||Mar-02|
|*Nectar Management 101||Bee Culture||Feb-02|
|*Is It Congestion?||Bee Culture||Feb-03|
|*Survival Traits of the European Honey Bee||Bee Culture||Mar-03|
|*Seasonal Colony Survival Traits||Bee Culture||Apr-03|
|*Swarm Preperation||Bee Culture||May-03|
|*Colony Spring Operation||Bee Culture||Jun-03|
|*Colony Decision Making – And a Look at Observation Hive *Behavior||Bee Culture||Oct-03|
|*Evils of the Double Deep||Bee Culture||Nov-03|
|*Survival Traits #6 – Operational Effects on Nectar Accumulation||Bee Culture||Apr-04|
|Pollen Box Overwintering||Bee Culture||Sep-04|
|Do You Get Black Locust in the Supers?||Bee Culture||Jan-05|
|Are They Supersedure or Swarm Cells?||Bee Culture||Jul-05|
|Fall Feeding||Bee Culture||Nov-05|
|Nine Frame Brood Chamber? Never!||Bee Culture||Jan-06|
|Drone Management||Bee Culture||Mar-06|
|Deficiencies in Design of the Queen Excluder||Bee Culture||Apr-06|
|Advantages/Disadvantages of Swarm Prevention By Checkerboarding/Nectar Management||Bee Culture||May-06|
|The Reasons Why the Queen Excluder Limits Honey Production||Bee Culture||Jun-06|
|“Attic” Ventilation||Bee Culture||Jul-06|
|Yarn # 1 – Little Momma||Bee Culture||Aug-06|
|*Backfilling – What’s That?||Bee Culture||Sep-06|
|Nest Scouts and the Dance Language||Bee Culture||Nov-06|
|Boardman Feeder/Stimulative Feeding||Bee Culture||Feb-07|
|Splits Are a Sound Investment||Bee Culture||Mar-07|
|*The Capped Honey Reserve||Bee Culture||Apr-07|
|Art of Beekeeping||Bee Culture||Sep-07|
|CCD – Another Opinion||Bee Culture||Sep-08|
|How Many Eggs CAN a Queen Lay?||Bee Culture||Nov-08|
|More on the Pollen Reserve||BeeSource POV||Mar-09|
|Adverse Effects of the “Patty”||Bee Culture||Apr-09|
|Propolis – Another 5 Percenter||Bee Culture||May-09|
|Objections To The Double Deep||Bee Culture||Dec-09|
|Colony Age Effects||Bee Culture||Feb-10|
|Small Hive Beetle – My Perspective||Bee Culture||Jul-10|
|*Prevent Swarming – Before The Bees Even Think About It||Bee Culture||Feb-11|
|*Increased Honey Production of Checkerboarded Colonies||Bee Culture||Apr-11|
|*CB Saves Work, Time, And Expenses||Bee Culture||Jun-11|
|*Nectar Storage Before The Main Flow||BeeSource POV|
|Nectar Management Works! – by Rob Koss||BeeSource POV|
|Management For Honey Production||BeeSource POV|
|Supplement To Management For Honey Production Handout||BeeSource POV|
|Note: Title with an asterisk (*) in front are pertinent to Nectar Management.|
I guess before we plunge into the content it might be best to say exactly what is planned.
The bees must make their own way in some form or the other. A paraphrase from a favorite movie of mine: “They have to pay something, don’t they?” Historically, not so very long ago, the bees paid their owner, if you can say you own bees. Honey bees as livestock could make the farmer a living at one time. Things have not gone well for the bees though and we are faced with difficult times. A sideliner beekeeper with a few dozen hives is faced with having too many expenses without enough income from the effort. And honey alone might be enough to pay the costs associated with maintaining and feeding the bees but is that the sum of the venture?
So the beekeeper, in my estimation, is faced with multiple challenges to both increase marketable products and reduce expenditures. Some ideas which come to mind are specialty products of raw, unfiltered honey, comb honey, wax, propolis, pollination services, queen sales, nucleus hive sales, and pollen. Cost cutting through sustainable methods by rearing queens in house, in house woodenware manufacturing, and making seasonable splits to maintain a steady supply of bees for use in multiple bee yards.
I hope to be able to speak to the many facets of sustainable beekeeping and the seasonal chores associated with maintaining healthy bees. I’d also like to be able to publish a seasonal calendar for use by others as a guide for their own beekeeping tasks.
And finally I’d like to somehow transmit to others the art of beekeeping as I have learned it thus far. It’s one thing to read the books and memorize the tasks, but learning to read and interpret the pulse of the colony by careful observation is more challenging. Utilizing all of the beekeeper’s senses to draw correct conclusions, assess, develop a plan, impliment, and evaluate the process based on observation and intuitive skills.
Lofty goals indeed.