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 26, 2013

Fall Feeding

Many beekeepers are feeding their bees right now. The race is on to get the feed on right now before it gets cold. The syrup fed in the fall is 2 parts sugar and one part water, or a beekeeper can feed ProSweet.
 The bees have to convert the sugar water to honey and take the moisture out of it. With ProSweet the bees take it down and put it in the cells on the frame and done. ProSweet will not ferment or granulate. Adding ProHeath a feed additive will make the syrup more attractive to the bees and is a health aide for Nosema.
This time of year two feeder pails can fit above the inner cover straddling the oblong hole. Giving the bees as much feed as the bees can take makes the feeding go faster.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Robbing behavior in bees

I have been extracting my honey and should be getting to the end in the near future. I have had the honey in my honey house for a week drying it down before I extracted it. Most of the honey samples beekeepers have bought to me to test for moisture have had low moisture levels. I have seen some higher moisture levels of honey that has come in late. Most of this hasn't had the time to ripen and beekeepers had to take it off to feed or add mite treatments.
 The nectar flow seems to be over. The bees have switched to robbing any open morsel they can find. A fellow beekeeper and myself hauled about thirty supers out of my honey house to load into a truck. Five minutes with the supers not covered in the back of a truck, a cloud of bees developed in short order.
With any movement of honey, the boxes should be covered or moved quickly. The supers we moved were taken to a beeyard and the supers were placed on top of the inner covers. The telescoping covers were then placed on top of the supers. This way works great for the bees to clean all the supers with no robbing.
Wet supers just placed in a beeyard in the open for the bees to clean up leads to robbing behavior. Once the bees are done with the supers they look elsewhere to rob honey. The bees can turn on a healthy hive and overcome the bees and rob out the honey and kill the bees in the process. A whole beeyard can perish with this robbing behavior.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What is happening with the bees

The nectar flow is pretty much over for most beekeepers. Dry weather has really dried up the nectar producing flowers. Pulling supers and extracting honey is what is going on now. Getting mite treatments on should be done at the same time. Supers off - mite treatments on.
 Extracting honey, spin out the capped honey and the uncapped honey separately.
The uncapped could have a high moisture content and it is wise to have their moisture levels checked before the honey gets mixed together. The moisture is checked with a small sample of honey on a refractometer. I have one here in my shop and check moisture levels for free.
 Mite treatments:
Apiguard is Thymol gel. It comes in shallow tins. A 1-1/2" shim is needed to raise the roof so the bees can get at the Thymol Gel. One tin is placed on the top bars of the top box. Two weeks later another tin is put on the top bars. Easy to use. Temperatures have to be above 60 degrees to work properly.
Hopguard made from Hops. Cardboard strips drenched in the miticide liquid. Treatment is two strips per brood box once a week for three weeks. Can be used at any temperature. The boxes have to be lifted off one another to put the strips in.
Miteaway quick strips (formic acid) Two strips per hive for one week. Temperatures need to be 60 - 84 degrees. An organic respirator is required to put the strips on.
Apivar  two strips per box for 6 weeks.
Feeding If a colony is short on stores feeding needs to start right away. A beekeepers can't feed with Apiguard or Miteaway on the hives.
When feeding a mineral oil supplement such as ProHealth should be added to the feed. Some beekeepers have been using this to prevent nosema in their colonies.