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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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Honey Crinkle Cookies

This recipe has been a favorite at our extracting demonstrations.
A very tasty honey cookie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making Creamed Honey

This time of year I like to make creamed honey for holiday gifts to my friends and relatives. Creamed honey is a surprise to many people because they have never had it before.
Making creamed honey is very simple. All you need is creamed honey from the grocery store for seed.
This is how I make it. I buy one pound tubs of Sioux Bee Creamed Honey at the grocery store. I am partial to this brand as it seems to produce the best creamed honey. Mix 1 pound of seed for every ten pounds of honey.
Warm up liquid non crystallized honey. If the honey has crystallization in it the result may be grainy tasting honey.
I warm it up to 95 degrees F. Then put it in a bottling pail. Stir in the creamed honey, make sure it gets spread throughout the honey. Try not to stir in air, that produces foam on top. Let cool, the quicker the better. I usually set it outside to cool for a while so the seed doesn't liquefy. After it cools a bit bring it in, keep at room temperature and let it set for a day.
The next day I stir again trying not to incorporate air into the mixture. Let set for the day so the air can rise out.
Bottle the same as honey. Use wide mouth jars a knife is needed to spread the creamed honey. I use glass hex jars.
Let the mixture set in cool temperatures, do not freeze. Honey granulates the best at 57 degrees F. Creamed honey is granulated honey. By adding the proper sized seed the granulation that takes place is controlled to a fine texture.
It will take about 7 - 10 days for the mixture to set up. I try to fill at least one plastic tub of creamed honey. Then I can squeeze the sides to tell when it is set properly. The sides won't give when it is set.
Variations can be made such as adding powdered cinnamon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emergency Feeding

Bees on top in November is bad. This usually means not enough food.

I take one sheet of wax paper and lay it across the top bars of the top box. Put a 1x2 frame ( a sugar shim ) that will fit the box.
Notice the wax paper does not cover all the frames. The bees need access.

I cover the wax paper with granulated sugar. Heaping it up the sides of the wood shim.

The bees will move up and eat the sugar if needed. They will also shred the wax paper. Checking this monthly with a lit smoker, more wax paper and sugar.
Working quickly, this can be done anytime in the winter.
I don't want to bury the bees under wax paper when they start using the sugar. Trimming the wax paper may be required.

Cover the sugar shim with the inner cover and moisture board. The black cardboard cover top entrance hole will have to be readjusted to accommodate the increased height of the sugar shim.

I have a colony that does not have enough food. It has about 6 frames of honey. I know I should let it go but I will try to see if it can make it.
When I opened it I saw the bees under the inner cover. I know the bees should be in the lower box right now. They will move up into the upper box in January. If the bees are in the top box now it usually means they are short on stores and will starve during the winter.
I will put on granulated sugar to give them a chance. Granulated sugar in not a nectar flow to the bees. They will not raise brood while eating it. Sugar water is a nectar flow and produces brood production. I want this in March not November.
The sugar goes on now and I will check it monthly to keep it full. This technique works in late winter for a starving colony.
A beekeeper could do this now on any colony with normal stores. Checking on it in early Feb. It the bees have used it add more. If they never use it, take it off the hive and make sugar water in March.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The weather is changing

The weather is changing and I am going to put in my entrance reducers. The colder weather will bring in the mice looking for a place to keep warm.
I put the entrance reducers in with the widest opening facing up. This will prevent debris that builds up through out the winter from blocking the lower entrance.
I am not covering my hives yet. I usually do this around Thanksgiving or if it is about to snow heavily.