Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

August 7, 2019

Getting Ready for Winter

By now you should have gotten your colony(s) ready by making them strong with lots of bees going into winter. The reason for that is so there will be plenty of help when the spring flow starts. There are several ways to do this.

  1. You could put a new young fall queen in the colony so she will lay eggs longer than an older queen. That will make more worker bees going into winter and will be more bees to start to work in the spring.
  2. You can combine two or three weak hives together and make one strong colony. Again giving more bees to one queen for the spring flow.
  3. You can have several nucs doing a good build up and shake the extra bees into a colony to build up the work force.
  4. There is one more way to get your bees ready for winter. This is called balancing. If you have two or more colonies, then you can take frames from a strong hive and put them in weaker hives until all your colonies have more or less the same amount of bees and/or frames of brood.

This is just four ways to build up a colony. You do this with all your weak hives. You will be surprised at the results in the spring. Now you will be ready for the fall honey flow with balanced hives and all the nectar they put up will be for their winter stores.

The fall honey will be different from the spring honey, both in taste and color. If you want to harvest some fall honey, then you can take the honey that is left when spring is sprung, that can be extracted separately and bottled and marked as fall honey.

One more piece of advice. If you use a queen excluder, it would be wise to take it off now so when it gets cold and the bee cluster, they can eat their way up and take the queen with them. Otherwise, the bees could starve if the queen cannot go with them. They will stay with her and not try to go up where the food is.

August 4, 2019

This Is a Good Workshop to Attend

From: Alabama Beekeepers Association <wmilstead.icloud.com@send.mailchimpapp.com>
Reply-To: <wmilstead@icloud.com>

Below are 2 upcoming events
 Alabama Beekeepers Association 2019 Conference
Annual Meeting September 20th and 21st 2019 Location: ClantonConference and Performing Arts Center in Clanton, Alabama.
“Online” Pre-Registration must be received on or before September 12, 2019. Go to http://www.albeeks.com/ . If you prefer NOT to use “online” registration you may print this form and mail it to:
Wynelle Milstead; 1495 Sandcut Rd.; Nauvoo, AL 35578; with a check, but it must be postmarked by September 12, 2019.
During the online registration for the conference you can pay your dues for 2020 online.
If you have any questions regarding registration, contact Wynelle Milstead at wmilstead@me.com or 205-300-0511.
Thank you for pre-registering. Knowing the number of participants for which to plan really helps with name tags, programs,
seating, meals, snacks, etc.
Bonnie has requested that we bring a desert to the meeting. The homemade deserts are so much better than the store bought deserts.

Featured speakers this year will be:
Dr. Jim Tew (Over Winter Biology),
Clarence Collison (Queen Biology & Current Problems),
Debbie Seib from ABF & Seib Honey Farm in Indiana,
Don Downs (Apitherapy Medicine),
Lisa Reynes FL State inspector (Africanized Bees ?)
Arthur English
Donald Short
Mary Cahill

Topics also in the schedule-
Russian Queen Production
Lip Balm
Chemical Use in the Hive
Master Beekeeper Program
Things to make with old brood comb
Backyard Beekeeping
Thermoregulation … Thinking Inside the Box
Diseases & Pests
Varroa Management
Setting up your Honey Show
We are having a contest for assembling frames. They will be
judged on the time to assemble 5 frames and the quality of the
work. Three judges will be looking over the project. There will be a prize for the winner.
We will also have a Honey Contest again this year.
Looking forward to seeing you at the annual meeting.
Hotel information
Holiday Inn Clanton  $119 ****  205-280-1880
Days Inn by Wyndham Clanton AL  $58 ***  205-755-1815
Best Western Inn  $110 ****  205-280-1006
Inn of Clanton  $76 ** N/A
Key West Inn  N/A ****  205-755-8500
Scottish Inn  N/A ****  205-755-4049
Yellow Hammer RV Campgrounds  205-755-2623  N/A ****
Peach Queen Campground  205-688-2573  N/A ****
The North Alabama Beekeepers Symposium at Athens, AL. is
scheduled for Saturday August 17, 2019 at:
Friendship United Methodist Church
16479 Lucas Ferry Rd.
Athens, AL. 35611
We have some new speakers, and some of the seasoned ones,
that will bring presentations about Queens, Drones, Mites, Small Hive Beetles, and everything connected with beekeeping to us
that day.
 Registration starts at 8:00 AM
Classes begin at 8:30 AM
We look forward to having a large group of Beekeepers!!!!
 
Please mail registrations to:
Lionel Evans
1307 Fern St.
Athens, AL 35613
 
Please enclose a check made out to NABS for $25.00 for each
person over 12 years old.  We will serve Whitt’s BBQ for lunch.
Donuts, fruit, sweet rolls, and drinks will be available as well as
coffee.
The link for the Symposium Page is: http://lcbees.com/symposium.php  
  Copyright © 2019 Alabama Beekeepers Association, All rights
reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Alabama Beekeepers Association1495 Sandcut RdNauvoo, AL 35578-4412
Add us to your address book
August 3, 2019

Mites

Between now and October will be the time to treat for Varroa Mites. Before you treat, checking for mites is a must. If you don’t check, how will you know if you need to or when you treat and check afterword, you will not know if the treatment was needed? You need to put a sticky board in or under the hive during the treatment time. That way you can see if the treatment works.

To have a sticky board, you can purchase it from you bee supplier or you can make the sticky board by procuring a political sign and cutting it to size then smear Vaseline over the sheet. The mites will stick to the board and die and then you can count them. After the treatment repeat the check to find out if the treatment worked.

There are two ways that I would recommend for checking for mites. 1) Use a drop sticky board either on the floor of the solid bottom board to catch the natural drop of mites, or put it below the screen bottom board. 2) Use either alcohol or powdered confectioner sugar. 

To use either of Number two, you need to get a half pint jar (a pint jar will work), put about 2 inches of bees in there. About an inch in a pint jar. That will be just about 100 bees. You want to get the bees that are on the brood area. These are the nurse bees and they usually have the most mites. Next put just enough powder or alcohol to cover the bees. Shake the bees with the powder sugar gently to get them covered completely then using a screen to cover the top of the jar, shake the powdered sugar into a white plate with or without water and you will see the mites that were dislodged. Count them and know the amount of mites. Release the bees and they will find their way home.

The alcohol will kill the bees so you shake the jar vigorously and then  roll the jar and count the mites on the side of the glass.

You must follow the instructions on the treatment package. Either take the honey off the hive and freeze it or put the honey on another hive to keep the honey from being over run with larvae.  I personally do not have a freezer that can be dedicated to the honey operation, so I would either put the super(s) on another colony, or extract the honey and feed it back to the bees when I have ended the medication time and continue on with the bee season.

The reason for extracting the honey is while it is in the super sitting in the extraction building, the eggs that may be in the honey will hatch and the larvae of the Small Hive Beetle will get into the honey and slime the honey to become unusable for either you or the bees. When extracting, you will strain the eggs out and you won’t have any problems arise.

It is recommended that you use MiteAway, Varroa EasyCheck, Apiguard, or Oxalic Acid to name four of the treatments. Use one in the summer and a different one in the winter. That will keep the mites from becoming immune as quickly as if you used only one kind of treatment all the time.

I would suggest that you have a mentor with you the first time so he could coach you. It is easy but sometimes it helps to have someone to talk you through your first time.

After you have treated the time on the label, you can take the honey super out of the freezer and let it thaw to room temp, put it back on the hive and the bees will continue to go about their business. If they need the honey, they will continue on just like it was never taken away.

July 31, 2019

Do You Know??

Do you know that most of the information on bees in the United States is written in the northern part of the country and very little is written in the South. Well this blog is written strictly for the Latitude of Pensacola, Florida, U. S. A., and especially the Northwestern panhandle of Florida.

By now, you should have pulled the last honey of the spring leaving what you think the bees will need until the Fall flow begins in October with the Goldenrod.

Right now we are in a dearth from July to September especially in the country. The housing areas have ornamental flowers that help the bees during this time. For those of you that don’t know what a dearth is, it is where there is no pollen and nectar available. The bees have to rely on the pollen and nectar/honey they have stored for these times.

This is the time that you either leave enough honey for the bees or you have to feed them sugar water. Honey is better for the bees as they make it to fit their nutritional needs. Sugar water is not nutritious for the bees. Has no vitamins or minerals in it.

Fall, for me, is time for the bees to collect nectar and pollen for the winter. That will help them to survive until Spring. You can check on the bees in the fall and winter when the temperature is above 57° F. Don’t stay in the box too long. You are letting the warm air out.

Remember, there are three items you need to take to the apiary each and every time you go…Your veil, your smoker, and your hive tool. Anything else is your decision, such as extra frames, boxes, pollen substitute, sugar water, or treatment. Plan before you leave the house. Take notes while at the apiary.

As always, have your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.

July 27, 2019

In the Writing Mode Again

Reason for not writing is that I am a Procrastinator. I really have no excuses other than I have been out of the bee business for about six years or so. And on top of that, my computer went down and I had to bury it.

I finally broke down and bought another one and had to wait for my son (my Computer Guru) to come and install the desktop and transfer all my data and stuff to the hard drive. I now have Windows 10 and I have to get acquainted with a new system and new ways of finding what I want to work on.

I found a new type of hive. It is called an Apimaye hive. It is a plastic hive that has a sandwiched Styrofoam like substance, “With the R value 6.93, Apimaye Thermo Bee Hives are more than 6 times more heat insulating than wooden hives.” (Direct quote from the Mesa, AZ warehouse proprietor.) It is supposed to keep the internal temperature warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. I don’t know how long it has been out but at least three to five years here in the US. The Apimaye is manufactured in Turkey.

They have a warehouse in Mesa, AZ. That is where I got my hive from. It has the same dimensions of the Langstroth hives. The wooden frames and boxes will work with the Apimaye hive.

The pros for this hive is it will last indefinitely and will not rot. To clean the boxes, use soap and water. You can sterilize the boxes with chlorine. You do not have to paint the hive as it is made of white or tan plastic. The Boxes will come from together, but it will take a severe crash to do that. And the last thing I can think of at the moment is the bees won’t have to eat as much honey to keep warm in the winter and not have to eat honey to cool the place down in the summer.

The Cons are the weight is a little on the heavy side empty. The price is on the expensive end and to offset this expense, you only have to buy it one time and not have to replace the hive ever unless you run over it with your truck or forklift.

I think that this will be a good hive. As I said, I will be experimenting with this hive, maybe getting another one as I keep telling newbies that they need at least two hives to start with. Reason is that with two hives, you can compare the hives against each other and if one gets weak, you can strengthen it up be taking a frame of capped brood with all the bees clinging to it from the strong hive and put it in the weak hive.

That is all for now. Remember – Keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.

January 26, 2019

Hello!?? Anyone home?

I feel that I have been away from my computer for more than a year and there are no excuses that could explain that. There are no reasonable reasons either. I have been the Procrastinator’s procrastinator of the century. In my absence, I have been researching a Langsford hive made of styrofoam sandwiched between two tough plastic sides. It is called the Apimaye Beehive. It is manufactured in Turkey.

I don’t know how long it has been in the US, but I know more than three years. The main supplier is in Masa, AZ. www.apimaye-usa.com will tell you about the beehive. I think it is the next generation of Langstroth hives. I personally have the white boxes, being as I am in the Northwest tip of Florida where it gets hot in the summer.

The wooden Langs will fit on the Apimayes and you can use them interchangeably. All the frames, wooden and plastic will interchange in either box which is great! I have a lot of wooden and plastic frames that I have used and some that is still in the bundles that have not been put together.

I have one package of bees on order to be delivered about the middle of March to the first of April that will go into a Lang hive. I have a split that was given to me to put in my Apimaye hive. I pick it up Monday evening.

As this is new to this area, there are several beekeepers that are interested in my Api and how the bees will do with it. I will probably have lots of help if I need it, and even if I do not need the help. Haha. I will have it set up in my backyard so, I will have more visitors than I usually have. I guess that I will have to make sure I have plenty of coffee and have a pot on the burner all day. hehe.

Right now, the Red Maple is blooming and I still have some Spanish Nettle blooming, but it is on the way out. I probably will not have to feed the nuc, but I will have some sugar water ready just in case. I’ll need it for the package anyway. So, I guess I will need to go to the store and get 5 or 10 pounds of sugar, so it will be on hand.

I already have my boxes ready for the Spring honey flow. And just in case of swarming, I have some nuc and full wooden boxes ready. For you experienced beekeepers, you should have your boxes cleaned and frames with foundation ready now as when the swarming starts, you will not have time to build up your equipment after you need it.

For you wannabees or inexperienced beekeepers you will probably not have to worry about swarming this year, but you will next Spring. So you need to get with your mentors and find out when you should start getting your other boxes ready for next Spring. You know that you have to build the boxes and frames (putting them together). I am assuming you have already got your first boxes built and painted with frames and foundations. If not, then you need to do that now before your bees get to you.

Three things you have to have in your apiary. 1) You have to have a Smoker. The smoke helps to calm the bees so you can work them without getting them in a defensive mode. 2) You need a hive tool. Without one you will find getting the boxes and frames loose, almost impossible. And besides that you need to clean the burr comb off the frames and inside of the boxes. The hive tool is great for that. 3) Your veil is
essential if you don’t want to get stung on the face.

As always: Keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.

July 9, 2016

Woops! Where is the Honey?

By now the main honey flow is over in NW Florida. Oh there are still some flowers left, but the main heavy flow is over or at least slowing down. That means that you should have your honey pulled and extracted or at least getting ready to extract.

Reason being, the drought is coming and the bees will start eating the stored honey. I personally leave a full Illinois (medium) honey supper for the bees and keep a close eye on them to make sure they have honey and pollen. This is the second time of the year that the bees can starve. The first time is just before Spring is sprung, right after December. The queen starts to lay lots of eggs getting ready for the Spring honey flow and that is the time the bees use the majority of the honey and pollen.

Now at this time, going into Summer, the bees will use the majority of the honey for energy trying to keep the hive cool. Honey is the carbohydrate that converts into energy for moving the wings to help fan the hive. The pollen is to protein that converts to the fat substances with the amino acids along with the vitamins and minerals the bees need for body building.

Continue watching the bees and keep your veil handy, you smoker lit and your hive tool sharp.

June 9, 2016

Catchup

Now is the time to apologize to my readers for not posting  sooner, but I’m not. I have done that too many times before. My skills at blogging are not the best in the world on the good days. I am in Knoxville, TN getting ready to have a family reunion with my boys and their families. While the girls are gone to get the food supplies, I thought I might get caught up with my thoughts and get some of them down in print.

Spring is just about over in parts of the Southeast USA. It is now time to pull the rest of your honey and extract, use what chemical or natural treatment for the next 46 or so days before the summer and fall blooms arrives. You are checking for  Varroa Mites, you know, those little blood sucking bugs like ticks or vampires. When the mites are above the threshold of say two or three to maybe about 100-150 bees, then you must thin them out by any means (legal of course) that you have at your disposal.

You know that when you kill, trap, or knock off the mites that you can see, there are usually 2 times more mites that you cannot see in the capped brood area. That is why you need to treat for at least 3 times about 7 days apart. That way when the adult bees emerge from their cells, the mites will emerge with them and your treatments can get to them as well.

For those of you that are new to beekeeping, you will notice  that most of the treatments recommended by your mentors or in the directions of the chemical packages will be around 21 days or about 5-6 weeks.  This is because of the life cycles of most things. 7 or so days or multiples of 7 (generally speaking).

Now while you are cooling your heels while waiting for the days to pass so you can treat again, this would be a good time to check your wooden ware for abnormalities and fix them, or you could be putting some more boxes and frames together.

Thinking ahead to the fall time now, would be a great time to get ready for the autum and winter periods by checking your pollen substitute and sugar for sugar water for winter feeding should you have a need to.

If you think I have not given enough information or that I have not explained clear enough, please post a note at the bottom of this or any post and I will endeavor to elaborate to your satisfaction.

As always, keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and you hive tool sharp.

December 18, 2015

Getting Ready for Spring

Howdy all, I have been working with a friend and his wife, getting my back yard ready for the spring roundup. We have made several racks on the fence to put my plastic frames in, to get them off the ground. Once I have time, I will melt some wax and, by using a very short napped roller, start re-waxing the foundation. Then I will get all the boxes cleaned up and put the new waxed frames in the boxes that are ready to go. When all the brood boxes are loaded with frames and foundations, then I will start working on the honey supers. I am quite sure that I will need to get some more supers from the supplier to have several on hand for the next honey season.

I will probably have some newbies come over and have a cleaning and building party. This way they can learn what to do for themselves when the time comes. This is also a great way to have a class on bees and equipment and have a question and answer period.

I have made it a rule to feed my helpers and have plenty of choices of water and refreshment drinks from which they can choose. It is important to stay hydrated during the summer months and also to drink plenty of water during the colder months as you can become dehydrated, because you don’t feel thirsty like you will in the summer months.

Now is a good time to go through your safety equipment and replace/repair the bellows on your smoker, check your veil—and if you have a pith hat or plastic hat that is broken or warped consider replacing it. Then there is your hive tool. It needs to be sharpened to be ready for the spring season. Do you need to replace your bee suit or gloves? How about your foot ware? If you live where there are poisonous snakes (hehe as if there is a place where there are no poisonous snakes), you need to think about thick hide, high top boots to wear in the beeyard. Do you have bears in your neighborhood? What are you planning to combat them with?

Don’t forget to read and read some more. Also if you have decided to start a journal, then you need to make a list of the information you want to include so you can make comparisons later in the years to come. Some of the things to consider are the time of day, weather, kind of queen, kind of colony (swarm, split, bought), treatments, feeding, how you do….? (whatever you do to/or with your bees, moving to another location and why), etc. These are just examples to some of the things you should consider. I am not telling you you have to use any of these examples. These are just suggestions to get you to thinking in the right direction of keeping a journal. I also use these for each on my colonies; this way I have a running account of each one so I can watch the trends of each one. Sometimes the same treatment does not do the same good for all the colonies.

That is all for now–I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy and Prosperous New Year

 

 

August 9, 2015

Then There Were None

I am almost ashamed to write this post. As a person who has  obtained the rank of Master Beekeeper, I am not showing much promise in proving it. It really takes more than a piece of paper to make a master of anything without making some effort to “practice what you preach”. A Dr. of Philosophy doesn’t show much intelligence without philosophizing any. A Dr. of Medicine doesn’t elicit much trust if he doesn’t practice. A Master Mathematician doesn’t show much numerical ability without doing some calculations.

By the same token, a Master Beekeeper doesn’t generate much faith in his wisdom if he doesn’t show his ability to run an apiary with measured success if he keeps starving his bees, or letting the pests and parasites to decimate his colonies. I could say, “Do as I say and not as I do”, but that is a cop out of putting the blame onto someone else. I have no one to blame but myself. On second thought, I AM ashamed to write this post.

But the truth of the matter is, I have to do something to motivate me into action. I can tell everyone else how to operate their apiaries and how to manipulate their bees to help them to increase their numbers and health, but I don’t seem to be able to make myself do the same for me. I would make a good boss and maybe a fair teacher, but I am not a very good leader. A good leader will lead by example which I am not doing.

Now that I have no bees, I could use this time to clean up my apiary, equipment, get my boxes repaired or replaced along with the frames and foundations. This would be a good time to have a class on how to do this by having some wannabees and new beekeepers over to get that experience using my equipment. It would help both of us, but I find it hard to ask for help. I have always done things for me by myself. That is a failing on my part.

You wonder what this has to do with beekeeping? Well let me tell you. It is life in general. The ladies where I grew up would have a quilting bee by having a group meet at someone’s house and sew some quilts together to sell or give to the needy or to replace the old worn out bed covers. Then there are the ladies that have canning parties so every one can put up some fresh fruit and vegetables. I was a cowboy in my younger years and come roundup time for branding, moving cattle to another pasture, or getting ready for the market, the different neighboring ranches would send one, two, or more ranch hands to help. It was called being neighborly.

Beekeepers could do that, but being what they are, most beekeepers are solitary beings, unless they are commercials, then they have their employees to do the work. I would like to see the beekeepers be neighborly like that, but they are a afraid that if someone knew where all their locations are, they would soon be missing some hives, or that someone would move in close to their areas and cut down on the forage volume.

I personally have not problem with beekeepers calling me with questions, asking me to come look at their bees, showing them what the heck I was talking about, and explaining by using their bees as examples. But to me, being a self contained unit, asking for help is like admitting that I am not sufficient to complete the task. The mighty ego is the downfall of not just me, but a lot of people, not just beekeepers.

Maybe by the next post, I will have some better news as to my progress on the cleanup and getting ready for the next swarm.

In the mean time, keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool  sharp!