This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

What Lurks In The Dark Near The Beeyard?

This is a image that I can't figure out. It is around 2 am. May be a raccoon or fox, possibly a young bear. The ear outline is not a deer.

The course fur is a puzzle. The shot was to close to the camera.

A Nice Big Buck

What is this? The camera is about 3 feet off the ground. I am thinking grey squirrel.
I bought a trail scouting camera to see what is hanging out near the beeyard. I am looking for skunks, possums, and bears.
It has taken a few good photo's. It has left me in a quandary of what some of the pic's were.
I have attached a few. The camera is a Infra Red that emits no flash.
Day pictures in color, night in black and white. Some get overexposed.
The one of an animal up close, white out just the outline. It is not a deer. Is it a dog? The fur outline says possible bear.
The tail shot of some animal leaves questions of what the heck is that? May be a squirrel.
This can be a good tool to know if the hives are being harassed and what is doing it, when we are not there.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wintering: Survival of the Most Prepared

Winter is coming. It is time to get the hives ready.
What we need in a properly prepared hive:
  • A strong population, 10 frames of adhering bees ( bees on both sides ).
  • A young queen that has not been through a winter.
  • 90 - 100 lbs of honey. The top box 8 full frames of honey, one partially filled frame in center of box. It would be nice to have a couple of frames in the box the bee are in. That would be in the middle box in a three high colony or the bottom box in a two high colony.
  • Feed early if the hive doesn't have this amount of honey. The bees take it fast in Sept. they can drain a gallon feeder pail in two or three days. Use 2 : 1 sugar syrup or High Fructose Corn Syrup in the fall.
  • Give the colony two gallons of syrup treated with fumigilan.
  • Make sure colony is as mite free as possible. Treat if needed.
  • A top entrance needs to be kept open all winter.
  • The entrance reducer should be when temperatures start getting in the lower 40's.
  • A moisture release board that lays on top of the inner cover.
  • Cover the hive with a winter cover.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

ApiGuard, or your bees mite die

ApiGuard gel pack on top bars

1-1/2" Shim raises the roof so the bees can get to the gel.

All holes are corked, shim is under inner cover, we need to put on the telescoping cover.
When I pulled my honey on Monday, I put on some ApiGuard.
ApiGuard is a Thymol gel. Easy and safe to use.
Close all cork holes, leave the main entrance open. Put a 1-1/2" Shim on top of the hive to raise the inner cover and Telescoping cover, to make room for the gel pack. One gel pack on the top hive body for two weeks, then a second gel pack for two weeks.
The warmer it is the better it works.
ApiGuard is used only in the fall.
The manufacturers literature says it is for treating Varroa mites, and has an effect on Tracheal mites and Chalkbrood.

Pulled my honey

Spraying Honey Robber

Fume board on

Super full of bees
Super empty
Screen to prevent robbing
I pulled my honey on Labor day. It was hot. 88 degrees.
When I remove the supers I use Honey Robber and a solar fume board. The warmer it is the better it works. Being it was hot the Honey Robber worked great.
I spray a thin spray of the juice in a double X pattern on the board. Put the fume board on top of the hive. I smoke the hive entrance only. This is so the bees in the supers aren't engorging on honey and don't want to leave .
I was using 3 boards and I could hardly keep up.
The boards were clearing two or three supers at a time. I finished in record time.
I put a screen on top of the supers to discourage robbing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Lip Balm

This is the lip balm recipe I use.
When ever melting beeswax, caution should be used for possible fire and burn hazards.
Chapped - Lip Balm
1 - tablespoon shredded beeswax
1 - tablespoon petroleum jelly
1 - teaspoon honey
1 - tablespoon solid lanolin
3 - 4 drops essential oil
Melt the wax, lanolin, and petroleum jelly in a microwave. Watch this closely. When it is liquid it is ready. Don't overheat.
Add the honey and essential oil.
Essential oil of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen or Camphor slightly numb painful lips.
Pour it into containers when it cools slightly but, while still liquid.
Use a plastic pipette to fill lip balm tubes. Don't use a glass eye dropper. The glass cools the solution causing it to clog the eye dropper.

Extracting Demo

My extracting demo was on Aug.19. it was a rainy day. 40 people were in attendance.
Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko was demonstrating how to remove honey from the hive, fall medications and wintering techniques.
I was demonstrating uncapping, extracting, filtering and bottling honey.
Wendy and my daughter had many honey food products, cookies, caramels, popcorn, and lemonade.
She also had candle making and lip balm information.
Everyone was able to use all the uncapping and extracting tools.
The beekeepers also bottled a jar of honey to take home for their labor.