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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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Entrance Reducers

With the cooler weather here it is a good idea to put in the entrance reducers. The cooler weather will have the bees clustering in the hive. In a three deep hive the bees will be mostly in the middle box. So not many bees in the bottom box.
 Mice are looking for a place to stay for the winter. Entrance reducers will keep them out of the hive.
Entrance reducers should be placed at the larger opening.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Working the bees yesterday

It was a nice day yesterday. The bees were very friendly and not crabby at all.
 Most of my colonies had very strong populations of bees. Several colonies were a little lite on food. I fed most of the colonies some ProSweet using hive top feeders. All of the feed had ProHealth mixed into the syrup, this can help keep down the Nosema spores in the bees gut. Nosema  are spores that can build up in the gut of the bee. High spore levels can bring out diarrhea in the colony and can lead to colony death usually in late winter. So keeping the spores at a lower level is a priority.
  Hive top feeders hold about 4 gallons of syrup. 4 gallons of ProSweet, that is about 46 lbs of food or about 5 deep frames worth of honey.  I wanted to make sure that the colonies are heavy with winter stores going into fall.
 The up coming winter is supposed to have below average temperatures with average snowfall. Having heavy colonies going into the winter and strong populations is the key for wintering success.
 The colonies have been treated for mites using Hopguard II.

Friday, September 26, 2014


The weather will be perfect for feeding for the next week. Beekeepers need to take advantage of this summer like weather for the bees to easily put down syrup into the hive. As it cools down the bees become more reluctant to take down the syrup.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's Happening On The Bee Front

Beekeepers have been treating for mites and feeding their bees right now. Getting enough food in the hive is working so far with the nice weather we have been experiencing. The bees have been sucking down the feed. Putting multiple feeder pails on the hive at once helps get the feed in faster.
 Robbing has been an issue for some beekeepers. Putting in entrance reducers at the large opening and plugging all the holes has been keeping robbers out of the colonies.
 Mite treatments have benefited with the warm weather. Mite away kwik strips and Hopguard II strips have been the choice of many beekeepers now in late summer.
Still to early to put on winter covers look for around anytime after Nov 1st. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Right now what should a typical hive look like.

Now is crunch time for beehives.
The honey supers should be off and if mite treatments need to be put on, should go on now.
A hive going into winter needs to have minimum 8 frames of bees. This means if you looked at your hive on a cooler day like the cool days coming up later in the week, you should have bees covering the both sides of 8 deep frames. The queen in the hive should have never gone through a winter. An old queen can fail during the winter and cause the colony to perish.
 There should be enough honey for winter stores. The right amount is 8 full frames of honey and one partially full in the top box. The box underneath the top box, should have 4 full frames of honey in the box. Preferably two frames on either side of the box. 
 This is the minimum size of a hive going into winter.
If you don't have that much honey, feeding now is the plan.
 I talked to a lady today that said she had a lot of bees but very little honey. I gave here this advice. The odds of getting 100 lbs in the hive at this stage of the season is very unlikely. The best thing to do on any marginal colonies is to depopulate them and start new packages in the fall. The expense to try to save something that is marginal doesn't make economic sense. She could try to feed them and spend $80.00 on feed. If they die anyway and eat up most of the feed, she would have been money ahead buying a package in the spring. Hindsight here is if she would have realized a month ago that her hives were light on honey she would have had time to get that amount in them.
Take your loss in the fall. Make a plan for spring now on what hives that will need to be replaced.

Bees changing their job

This is a link to the NY times about research done and tracking foraging workers.
Sent to me by B. Page