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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Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter is coming

The weather coming next week is about to get our attention. High around 20 and lows hovering around zero. Now is the time to cover the hives and put on the moisture boards, if it hasn't been done yet. The following criteria is a summery of where we should be with the hive.
  • The hive has a young queen that has not been through a winter yet.
  • Hopefully everyone has 9 full frames of honey in their top box for winter stores.
  • A 1 " hole is drilled in the top box for winter exit.
  • Entrance reducer in with wide opening facing up.
  • The hives are protected from north and west, if this is a problem, hay bales can be stacked around 3 sides for a windbreak and a little more insulation.
  • Right now if you opened up the hive and took off the inner cover there should be no bees there. They should be down in the lower box. Maybe you can barely see them way down below the top frames. If bees are clustered under the inner cover there is not enough honey in the hive and they will more than likely not make it through the winter.
There is not much that can be done if the hive doesn't have enough food. If they are close to the proper amount, a candy board or sugar can be added to the top box that may save the day. Feeding syrup is difficult because bees can't get to the syrup, the syrup freezes, or the bees won't drink it because it is cold.
Bees can take on any subzero weather in Jan usually without any difficulties.
The danger period for colony survival is Feb. The queen will start laying by then and several days subzero weather in Feb can kill any colony if they are not on a frame of honey when it hits. The unlucky hive will starve even if honey is a frame away.
A quick peek in the hive before this type of weather hits, a beekeeper can move a frame of honey next to the cluster and possibly prevent the starvation.
For now the bees will be on their own. Hopefully the work we did in the fall will get them to spring and some well deserved pollen patties.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making Creamed Honey

This is the time of year when I make creamed honey for my holiday gifts. I usually give creamed honey to relatives, co workers, and vendors that purchase honey from me during the year. This gift is always well received.
Creamed honey is easy to make but needs up to two weeks to set up so it is best to make it earlier than later.
Double click on the video for full screen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deer Hunting Tree Stands

This is the time of year to pick up a cheap tree stand. Deer hunting is over and the stands are on sale. These work great for swarm hives. Make sure it is big enough for a deep hive body.
Put up the tree stand in May. Take it down in Aug. I use hive staples to attach a bottom board to a deep hive body. Fill the box with frames. They should have foundation. Drawn comb is attractive to swarms but may fall victim to wax moths or hive beetle.
Set the tree stand at 7 - 8 feet above the ground and put the box on it.
Every time you visit the beeyard a quick glance at the entrance will tell you if a swarm has moved in. Swarms can easily be combined with a weak colony or let them build up and add frames of brood to any colony to increase their numbers.
If a swarm is in the box, care is needed to get it down. It may be heavy with honey. Safely take it down. Have some help to hold a ladder.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey bees drinking water

This video is from youtube. I like how you can see the bees drinking with their tongue. Also this is typical how bees find water and drink. The bees find water then tend to congregate in the same area in mass. Also There are two races of bees here. Carniolans and Italians.
A Carniolan flies into camera at :30 and at :46 there is a beach of Carniolans. They have a Grey color to their abdomen instead of Orange like the Italian.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Hours

The bee season has slowed down with the season.
My hours are changing a little. My day job has me working odd hours again and that has me home on Monday afternoons.
Our new hours:
Sat 9 - 2
Mon 2 - 6:30
or by appointment

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pileated Woodpeckers

photos by A J Moses
A fellow beekeeper made a suet feeder to attract Pileated Woodpeckers. He was successful and they came as a pair.