Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

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 of 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 and open and capped frames 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@floridabeekeepers.org
 
 
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@floridabeekeepers.org     Conference    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 <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.