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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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mite Away Quick Strips

Next week the temperatures will be perfect to treat colonies with Mite Away Quick Strips for Varroa. This weather doesn't happen very often in August so if you want to treat with Mite Away Quick Strips take advantage of the timing. The MAQS can be put on during a nectar flow with supers on.
It is a seven day treatment.
Here is a link to the United States application page with faq. Read them carefully because putting it on wrong can cause problems in the hive.
I will have them in stock on Saturday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Refractometer - Is the honey Grade A?

To sell honey it has the be Grade A.
Grade A honey is defined as: it has to taste like honey and the moisture has to be
18.6% water content or less.
 To find out the water content of honey it needs to be measured with an instrument called a refractometer. A refractometer takes a small sample of honey covering the lens of the instrument. Light passing through the instruments lens refracts the light and the result is read on a scale the user sees by looking through the eyepiece.
 My preference is a light reading refractometer with a thermometer for temperature compensation. It is accurate and easy to use. All refractometers need to by calibrated when new and periodically after that. Calibration is done with a sample of liquid that has a predetermined set point and adjustments are made to this scale.
 Some refractometers are digital, some are light reading. There are many scales of measurement in different industries. Beekeepers use a refactometer with a honey scale. With any instrument you get what you pay for. Refractometers range in price from $75 - $400.
 Here at Nature's Nectar LLC we check honey samples for free. Please no more than three samples at a time. Always bring a full container for a sample. The sample should be free of wax and we only need a thimble size for the sample.

Refractometer, the plastic cover is raised and honey is put on the purple lens

This is the scale inside the eye piece. This sample is reading 19.5%. There is a thermometer on the bottom of this instrument for temperature compensation. The thermometer read to take off 1% of the scale reading. So this sample of honey is 18.5% moisture content and is Grade A honey.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Extracting Workshop

We held our annual extracting workshop. The rain held off and it made for a successful event.
Large crowd for the workshop

Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko and beekeeper Mike Wybierla explain how to pull honey

Uncapping frames of honey for the extractor

Spinning out the frames in an extractor

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pulled some honey today

I pulled some honey today.
Used fume boards and honey robber. The warm afternoon made the honey robber work great.
I pulled 4 supers off two hives and there wasn't one bee in each of the supers I pulled.
Got a little careless and sprayed some on my glove. I now smell like a 300 herd dairy farm. But any of the fume board fumigants Honey Robber, Honey Bandit and Fishers Bee Quick work very well when it is 85 degrees out. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Goldenrod the last big flow - maybe

Goldenrod is starting to bloom across the metro. This is the last major event of the season. This nectar flow is never reliable but there is pollen available for the bees to add to their larder.
How do you know if there is nectar coming in? Go stand by your beehive and if the air is full of the odor of wet sweat socks it is an indication of fresh goldenrod nectar. Don't let the odor scare you, as the nectar ripens the odor goes away.
 The Goldenrod flow can be heavy. The hives are packed with bees, right now in many locations, the nectar flow has slowed down considerably. The bees are itching to go to work. In a perfect flow it is not unlikely to get two supers of honey.

Bees working the Goldenrod

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Methods of Pulling Honey

These are a couple ways to pull honey off a hive.
The day before you pull your honey go out to the hive and pull off the supers. This breaks open any bridge comb. The bridge comb is attached from box to box. Honey usually starts dripping from the open comb. By re-stacking each box 180 degrees from how they were on the hive. The bees will clean up any dripping honey. So when the supers are pulled the next day there should not be any honey dripping.

Brushing off the bees (double click on the video for full screen)

Using a fume board (double click on the video for full screen)
This video I am using Honey Robber and a fume board. Honey Robber works the best in my opinion with a fume board. I have also used Bee Quick and Honey Bandit. All of these products work well when it is 85 degrees or warmer.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Honey extractor

Nature's Nectar LLC rents 3 frame hand crank extractors for harvesting your honey crop. The extractors need to be reserved. $30.00 a day