Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

December 19, 2019

Winter Planning

Winter is upon us, and I have been doing some planning for the new year. I am going to be using the plastic Apimaye boxes, so I am going to get rid of all the wooden boxes and old wooden frames that I have still laying around the yard. I will not sell them because I would be going against the teaching of the American Foul Brood (AFB) spores hiding in the wood for up to and around 70 years. I know that I did not have AFB, but no one else knows that to be a fact.

I will be either burning the wood in a pit or taking it to the dump ground. I have a big bunch of plastic frames that I might sell at a reduced price just to get rid of them. I just received some wooden ware from a friend about a month before he passed away. This I will burn because I know for a fact he had at one time AFB and I know that the boxes are contaminated. And one of the supers had my brand on it. Oh well, that is life. I have loaned my wooden equipment out to other beekeepers and newbies. Just be careful when you get it back, that you realize you may have to destroy it to keep from contaminating you own apiary.

If you loan your hive tool, flat iron, or some other metal tool, be sure to sterilize it before using on your own equipment. This will almost assure you that there will be no cross-contamination. Now let me explain to you that AFB is strictly a bee disease. It cannot hurt humans and is therefore safe to consume.

Now is the time to get your equipment ready for Spring. Paint, tighten up your boxes, replace your frames and/or foundation. Now is the time to brand your equipment that is not in use. If you haven’t planned for the new year, then now is the time to write out your plans for the coming year. You need a map to show where you are going with your bees and honey. What are you going to do with the money you bring in? What are your plans for your bees? You cannot go on a trip without planning it. Otherwise you will probably go in circles and get nowhere. You will hear this information over and over again. To go fishing, you need to know where you are going and what your equipment needs to be. You need to know what kind of bait to use and what size of hooks you need for the species you are fishing for. Do you need weights and what size? Do you have extra fishing line in case you break yours? Do you have bobbers in case you plan not to fish on the bottom?

I do hope this gets you to thinking of what you want out of your bees and honey. What ever you decide, you need to plan and write out a list of answers so you have an idea of what you want to accomplish.

Now is the time to check your veil and smoker. Replace as needed. Sharpen your hive tools so you can be ready for the Spring Honey Flow. Be prepared as you won’t have time to get prepared after the flow starts in the spring.

Until the next post; Read-read-read and watch videos. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

December 1, 2019

Guess What??

November 20, 2019

This is the first day of no doctor visits, no rain-wind-clouds, and temperature is 70° F, so I got my veil, smoker, and hive tool and went to the Api hive and actually got into the hive to see what was really in there.

Guess what? I have bees. I am ecstatic. My experiment is still on. I have some survivor bees. They went through the summer dearth and still have honey and pollen and I am not going to do anything else through winter. If they survive then I know that this colony is one to pull queens from and start my next colony from. So far, the Apimaye hive is working much better than the wooden boxes.

I think the next hive(s) will be the 7 frame nucs. I will use them like the 8 frame hives. They will be lighter than the 10 framers. I am not as strong as I used to be. If you have any questions about the Apimaye all plastic hive, you can either make a comment to this post or email me at, or go to

I just received two new medium supers and plastic frames for the 10 frame hive. I now have enough supers to have one to put on while extracting two.

Now is the time I explain why I have only one hive. We experienced beekeepers tell the new beekeepers to buy 2 hives to begin with so you can use one to help the other if something causes one to not do so well. I got one to experiment with because of the expense. I now know that the hives are great and will go ahead with plans to buy more of the kind that will suit my needs. These will be one time buys as they will last for a lifetime if not abused. The only thing I will have to replace is the foundation. By the way, these split frames will take plastic foundation, also.

More pluses for the Apimaye hives, they do not need painting. They have real handles rather than fingertip handles. Side note. The Illinoise or medium honey super do not have the real handles, but they have the fingertip slotted handles. They also latch together which does not need straps, except when transporting them and that is just to keep the hives from shifting on the floor of the truck. I don’t think you need to wrap these hives for the winter as they were designed for the winter. I like the idea of two colors so if you live in a hot zone, then you order the white ones; if you live in a cold or snow zone, then you order the orange & tan ones.

The purpose of the white hives is to keep the colony cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The orange/tan hives keeps the colony warmer in the winter and cooler in the summertime. I know of some api beekeepers that have both colors. They say that the whites are cooler in the summertime and the colored is warmer in the wintertime. This is a personal preference. I personally want the white since I live in a temperate zone being in Pensacola, Florida. I believe that either will do better in all zones better than the wooden hives.

I tried to pick up the rear end of a double deep and couldn’t budge it. I may be weaker than I thought or there is enough honey that the bees may not need help with food this Winter.

That is all that I have for you at this time. Ask questions and receive answers. That is the way you get information from more experienced beekeepers. A new year’s resolution is that I am going to do my best to be more attentive to posting more often.

December 1st.

Happy belated Thanksgiving. The food was excellent. Turkey, Ham, Corn Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Cornbread Stuffing and Gravy. For Dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Bread with Pecans, and Hummingbird Cake. Wish all yawl were here.

I thought I had set this up to post, but evidently I am still learning a new WordPress and a new computer with Windows 10. Bear with me for a few more posts and hopefully I will settle down and give you some good thoughts.

Back to the bees. I bought some Diatomaceous Earth that I will put into the bottom pan to catch/kill Varroa Mites, Small Hive Beetle Larvae, and Wax Moth Larvae. Instead of treating for those pests, I am seeing if the bees will groom and chase the larvae through the bottom screen. I will check on the drop January 1st. I plan to post my findings.

Have a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Bee safe if traveling and watch for the other cars. Talk to you next year.

November 12, 2019

The Apimaye Hive

The plastic Apimaye Beehive is now empty of bees. Let me review the experiment I started in February of this year. I bought the hive back in September of 2018. When I received the hive, I began by putting full sheets of foundation in the brood frames. I had 3 frames to go when I saw I was running out of wax. So the last 3 frames got 1/3rd sheet each.

Come January 28th of ’19, I went north to Flomaton, AL. to pick up a split that was early. The weather was a nice day of 52° F. The wind was out of the North as a nice intermittent slow breeze. I waited until dusk and the temp dropped to about 48° F to be sure most of the bees were back home. Transferred the frames to my Apimaye brood box then dumped all the bees in. By this time there were angry bees flying around and wouldn’t go into the box so I put the nuc box back in place and added a couple of his frames in it and told him that the bees would go there since the box was in their home slot. He could take them back to the mother colony the next day.

I took them home and moved them to the back yard where I had already set a block foundation. I immediately open the slide doors and there were some angry bees but I didn’t get stung because I slid the doors open and did not tarry getting to the door of my home.

Since this was going to be an experiment, I was going to not feed them for the rest of the winter and let them work on the one frame of honey in the box. I live in a suburb, there was plenty of personal flowers in the neighborhood to supplement the honey. You may think I am heartless, but remember this is just a 5 frame nuc in a 10 frame box. Not that many bees to feed.

March 15, 2019 (From my Journal) For the past 7 weeks, it has been overcast with little to no sunshine. It has been windy and overly rainy. [I said I would tell what goes on in my apiary—-Wellllll! Don’t do as I do, do as I say—- I had ordered a package of bees about a month before I was offered this split. The man had some health issues and had to get rid of his bees. I couldn’t refuse him so that is why I had some bees before the package arrived.]

March 16, 2019 Got the bees sooner than was stated and picked up the bees and put them in the trunk of the car.
Got home very late and just left them in the car.

In the next 4 or 5 days, I will install a package of bees and check the apimaye to see how bees or thriving. Well now here is where you should say tsk-tsk-tsk. I didn’t get back to the bees until the 22nd and of course they died. Procrastination will be XXX for bees and intentions. However the nuc was doing fine pulling out the combs and laying eggs and putting in nectar and pollen.

March 18, 2019 Put the other deep on the apimaye colony and pulled one of the brood frame up into the second brood box and the bees started to come up and I guess began to explore the frames.

Since I failed to order the split frames with the api super, I didn’t put it on. I literally left the colony alone. I spent September in Texas and when we got back the bees were very active at the door and I supposed they still had enough fares to continue on. Had a lot of outland things to keep me busy away from home.

October 23. 2019 – Noticed a couple of bees hoovering near the door of the hive not much activity. Suspect either dead or absconded.

Ok, tomorrow I will try to get to the api hive and check. I will send another post and maybe I can get you some pictures. I am still learning how to use the technology that has crossed my desk.

Remember to keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.

November 12, 2019


Well today I had just a small window to work the hive, but to coin a phrase– Don’t do as I do, do as I say–

I went to the hive without a veil, smoker, or a hive tool. Guess what? I found some little bodies walking on the door stoop and going in and out. I saw what appeared was a guard bee, wasp, tiny yellow jacket, maybe tiny bees with bright yellow strips and black stripes alternating. However, these stripes looked very pronounced and sharp. I didn’t have my glasses either so I decided to leave the hive alone and go get my equipment.

By the time I got ready to go back outside, it started to rain. I decided to research the bees on the internet and wait till the rain stopped. After I got onto the web, it had stopped raining and then it was dark. Remember that procrastination I was talking about? Well it bit me again.

Maybe I’ll do a post in the near future and let you know what I found out.


November 10, 2019

Fall Things to Do

Now that Autumn is here, you must do one of two things, either treat for Varroa Mites or not. It is your decision. Now if you decide to not treat, then you must keep the beetle traps in place so the bees, if they get weak from the mites, will have a chance to not be slimed by beetle larvae before the spring nectar flow starts in Feb-Mar.

Until then, make time to clean old hives, replace the broken frames, add foundation, paint hives, clean apiaries, and get equipment in operating condition. Order equipment and supplies from the bee supplier(s) of your choice and build-build-build. You want enough equipment ahead of time so you will not be wanting when swarm time gets here.

Now is the time to make plans for the new year. How many colonies you want to make or the total you want to keep for yourself. Do you want to make nucs and how many to keep and how many to sell to new and old beekeepers. Do you wish to sell packages of bees? How many do you think you can make? How much equipment do you need to order? These are some of the things you need to think about. Then there are the medical needs for your treatments.

I may be repeating myself, however this is what you need to make a habit of each season. Winter – Sugar water, pollen substitute, plain water, what to do if robbing occurs

This will give you something to think about for awhile. Now remember you need to read, watch videos, attend workshops and local meetings, and you really do learn something at each meeting.

Remember, three things you must have when you go to your apiary; Your Veil, Smoker, and Hive Tool. You must keep your veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.

September 6, 2019

Fall Time

After the dearth and the bees are busy getting nectar and pollen for winter stores, now is the time to think about fall requeening. It is generally recommended to requeen either in the Spring, or you can requeen in the Fall, about late September to around the third week in October. Any later would be hard to find a queen unless you ordered from Australia or Hawaii.

There is another way to have queens and that is to raise them yourself. And actually there is two ways to do that. One way is to make a nuc without a queen and have eggs on one frame, another frame with sealed brood, one frame with foundation, and one frame of honey. When the bees find out they don’t have a queen, they will pick out two or three 1-3 day old larvae and start building queen cells to raise new queens. The other way is to raise queens through several methods. There are numerous ways to do this already on the web. Just type ways to make queen honey bees.

I have found that if you don’t want to actively raise queens for your own use and for sales then the nuc way is to go. I used to keep 1 nuc for each five full hives in the apiary. That way I could have extra queen if something happened if one of the hives was hot, I could requeen immediately. (I am assuming that you realize you must first find the hot queen and kill her then wait for 24-48 hours to introduce the new queen.) You also have extra frames of bees of open and capped cells to give to the hive that may be a little weak.

If you have too many nucs, then you can sell them to new beekeepers to get started. That can be a lucrative business. (Extra income.)

More to come, but later. ByBy for now.

September 1, 2019

What Now?

Here it is September, the kids are in school, and the wife & neighbors are working. I’m so lonesome with nothing to do…..Guess What!!! I have great news for you. There is lots of things you can do to while away your time and you won’t have time to be lonesome.

You can repaint you extra boxes. You can even repair some of the boxes that are kinda shakey when you pick them up. You can build some more boxes while the temperature is beginning to cool off during the afternoon and evening. Depending on the type of frames you are using, you could be ordering more frames for replacements, or you could be building some more wooden frames.

Now if you have all your outside work done, you could be researching on the web some of your questions about bees or their pests and diseases. You could also watch videos of different kinds of hives, how to…videos and, of course, you can always read books and magazines about bees.

I would check the hives in the apiaries for weight of hives to determine if they have enough honey to go into the next season. Also on warm days when half of the foragers are gone (forager bees are the ones that sting) to look into the hives to check the health of the colonies.

If at any time I am not making sense to you, make a comment and I will answer in the comments section or will use your question(s) in another blog and give a lengthy answer.

Remember the three rules to take to the apiary each and every time–1) Take your veil and/or bee suit. 2) Take your smoker and fuel. 3) Be sure to take you hive tool. These three things are what you need to open you hive boxes and to protect your body.

I will talk to you later this month.

August 29, 2019

Here is Another Workshop

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Sign up now to take advantage of Early Bird rates good through Sept 10    
Members                   $125 Individual          $210 Couple
Non Members             $140 Individual          $225  Couple
College/HS students    $95
Under 16                     $50   when purchased with adult ticket
Special Hotel Rate    $139 per night
got questions?
Conference    Registration
Hotel  Registration
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© 2016 Floridabeekeepers
      Sign up now to take advantage of Early Bird rates good through Sept 10     Members                   $125 Individual          $210 Couple Non Members             $140 Individual          $225  Couple College/HS students    $95 Under 16                     $50   when purchased with adult ticket   Special Hotel Rate    $139 per night   got questions?     Conference    Registration  
  Hotel  Registration  
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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 <>
Reply-To: <>

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 . 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 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
The link for the Symposium Page is:  
  Copyright © 2019 Alabama Beekeepers Association, All rights

Our mailing address is:
Alabama Beekeepers Association1495 Sandcut RdNauvoo, AL 35578-4412
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