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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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Oxalic Acid Vaporizers on Sale

Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizers are on sale now. Now $145.00 Save $20.00
These are the best vaporizers on the market today and will last a long time.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bees in the Flood

A commercial beekeeper I know in the south metro had his bee yards is in a low area. With all the rain recently his hives all of a sudden, were going under water. His hives are palletized with four hives to a pallet. All of his hives are two deep hives. The water came up so fast that he could not use his bobcat to get the hives. He feared that the bobcat would get stuck and that would be getting submerged also. So getting the hives came to be the hard way. He had to lift every box off the pallet himself and move them to high ground. Remember they are all heavy with winter stores.
The hives in the foreground the water is up to the pallets. The hives in the distance are under water with only the top box above water. All the bees had moved to the upper box.

Safe and sound in a new location. All of the hives are alive.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Late September work

This is where I am at with my bees. I have pulled all my honey. It is sitting in my honey house with a dehumidifier running. The dehumidifier is keeping the room in the 80's. The plan is to extract all my honey this coming week.
 The dehumidifier should get any of the honey that was a bit high in moisture content, down to Grade A status by the time I extract.
 All of my hives have been treated for mites.
Now I am into mass feeding mode. I did have one yard perform poorly on the honey collection and all of the hives are being fed hard with Pro-Sweet as shown in my previous post video. That yard all of the hives needed to be fed. Each of the hives only had about four frames of honey in the top box. My two rounds of feeding should have given each hive about seventy two pounds of Pro-Sweet. That should be enough to fill approximately eight deep frames. So those hives should be good. My other two yards had good honey crops and most of the hives are very heavy with honey stores. I have one hive in each yard that needs to be fed once.
Any hives that need feeding has to be fed now. The later a hive is fed, the longer brood will be present. The longer brood is present, the more opportunity for mites to reproduce. Feeding a hive in early to mid October will have brood in the colony until late November. Beekeepers want the brood to shut down by late October. This will make Oxalic Acid treatments very effective. If brood is in the hive, the Oxalic Acid treatments lose their effectiveness.
 Also the last tidbit. Never leave a partially filled deep or super on top of a hive that is being overwintered. If bees move up from below, into a full honey box that works great. But with a partially filled box on top, the bees may move up again into that box. Leaving the full box of honey below them. The bees will eat all the honey in that partially filled box. Then when the honey is gone, the bees starve even though there are still many frames of honey in the box below them. In winter, it is very unlikely that the bees will move down to get honey.
So feed, feed feed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Feeding Using A Hive Top Feeder And Pro-Sweet

I was out feeding bees this morning. I have fed once and I am feeding a second round. The feeder I am using is a hive top feeder.
 Hive top feeders work great for fall feeding. In the spring it can be too much syrup for a package of bees, but for fall feeding they work the best.  My hive is a little out of level so I can't feed the full four gallons but two rounds of feeding give me the desired outcome.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Mites 14 days after treatment with MAQS

These are pics taken two weeks after a treatment of Mite Away Quick Strips on two colonies of Julie D's two hives. So the treatment of MAQS strips were on for seven days. That was her first pic two weeks ago. She removed the strips and cleaned off the screen bottom board slide. The new cleaned off slide was left on for two weeks post treatment. The mites you see still dropped off of bees or from the mites that had died in the cells and were removed by the bees. There were dead mites everywhere on her screen bottom board again. Julie started the year with two packages of bees. She did get some honey for her first year.
I think this illustrates the importance of treating for mites. If you think you don't have them and you do, I call that beekeeper denial. Treat your bees NOW. It is starting to get late in the treatment window of time.
Click on the pics for a bigger pic.
Photo by Julie D. You can see the dead maroon colored mites scattered all over the screen bottom board slide. Hive 1

Photo By Julie D. Hive 2

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hive Setup For Winter And Feeding

Now that the honey flow is over for most of us, it is time to make sure the hive is set for winter. Mite treatments should be ongoing or completed by now.
Honey has to be in the upper boxes. Bees will not move down for honey in the winter. Never leave a partially filled deep box or super on top of hive. If the bees move into this box they may consume the available honey and starve, even though there is honey in the box below.
 The top box on the hive should have 8 full frames of honey and one partially full frame. With the partial frame in the middle.
 The box below should have four frames of honey in it. Position the frames two on each side. There should be honey in the other frames that have brood in the hive.
 If you are in a three deep hive, in a perfect world, two frames of honey on the outside, one on each side.
 If your hive does not have that, you need to feed. Feed NOW.
 The bees should take feed very good right now. As the daily temperatures decrease, the bees may not take the feed down very well. That is why we need to feed hard.
 When we feed, it spurs brood production because it is a nectar flow and the queen will lay. The later you feed, the longer there will be brood in the hive. With brood in the hive, the bees will consume more food feeding and keeping the brood warm. This can effect their winter stores. Also mites will start increasing in the brood.
 Fall feeding is 2 parts sugar to one part water. The bees have to convert it to honey. That does take time. If you put in 24 lbs of sugar water, the bees have to dehumidify the sugar water to convert it to honey. So the net amount of syrup put into the hive will be several pounds lighter because of evaporated water.
 Nature's Nectar carries ProSweet syrup. ProSweet is similar to honey. The bees do not have to convert it to honey. The bees put it into the cells and they are done. If you put in twenty four pounds of ProSweet that is what is put into the hive.
So feed hard. The bees will empty a pail in three days.
This is how to feed hard:
Three feeder pails can be placed directly on the top bars in the fall.
A hive top feeder holds four gallons of syrup. The bees come up through the slots under the screen. Whatever level the syrup is, in the syrup well, the bees can pick up. When the bees are feeding, the entire screen area is solid bees.

Hive top feeder

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What are beekeepers doing at the moment

The honey flow is over for most of us.
Mite treatments need to be put on ASAP. Treating for mites is imperative for hive winter survival.
 This pic is from a local beekeeper that treated for mites a week ago. She started the season with packages in new equipment. She did get a couple supers of honey, so for her first year she was very successful.
 She was concerned about winter survival of her bees so she treated for mites using Mite Away Quick Strips. Looking closely at the pic (double click on the pic for full screen) you can see the little maroon mites all over the sticky board.
Mites are all over the sticky board
If there would have been no treatment, the mites would have increased with time. By early October the mite population would have exploded, the odds of overwintering would have been much lower. Waiting to treat the bees for mites? As time goes on, the mites will cause damage to the bees. The weakened bees are more stressed and winter survival can be threatened.
 A high mite load can cause late fall absconding. You look at your bees in early October and they look fine. Two weeks later you look again and there isn't a bee in the hive. This is a symptom of a high mite load.
 The other symptom of high mite load is the bees make it into February and look great. Then over the month the cluster decreases in size and the bees finally die, usually by late February. The bees are succumbing to a virus brought on by a high mite load.
 Treat your bees. By not treating, you are spreading mites to your neighbors hives. Be a good neighbor.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Test Your Honey

After honey is extracted. The honey should be tested for water content. To be U.S. Grade A honey, the moisture content of the honey needs to be 18.6% water content or less. Honey that is over 18.6% will ferment over time. It is still safe to eat, but as time passes the honey can spoil.
 The water content is measured by an instrument called a refractometer. The refractometer takes a small sample of honey smeared on its lens. Then by looking through the eyepiece, a scale can be read in the instrument. This scale will tell what the moisture level of the honey sample is.
 There are many different refractometers out there. Refractometers are used in many different industries, measuring many types of liquids. Beekeepers use a refractometer that is specifically for honey.
 We at Nature's Nectar LLC will test any honey for free. Bring us a sample. 
Scale inside refractometer. This was reading around 19.3% water content

Refractometer, the plastic cover is lifted and honey is smeared on the purple lens.