Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

January 8, 2013

Bee Spring

I cannot believe that the old year has passed on and the New Year is already upon us. I really didn’t get done in 2012 what I had hoped to. I got busy and didn’t do the things I told you should be done.  This is where I have to say, “Do as I say and not as I do!!” It is easier to tell someone else what to do than it is to tell self what to do.

By now you and I should have built new boxes and frames, put in foundation, painted the boxes and marked them with our State ID numbers. We should have made new top and bottom boards to replace the rotten ones so they can be ready for the new boxes. The queen excluders should have been cleaned and ready for the new spring bees.

Side note: In case that you haven’t discovered for yourself yet, when it is cold, you can rap the excluder with something kind of solid and that will knock the brittle wax and propolis off the metal bars. Be careful and not bend the metal as  that will allow the queen to pass through to the next level.

If you haven’t ordered your queens yet, you may be out of luck for a while as the  big commercials get the first count. They in all probability ordered theirs in the Fall or early Winter. However, sometimes, there are some that have cancelled their orders and you might be lucky enough to get some of their queens. You just have to check and see.

Here in NW Florida, it is still kinda cold and I really don’t want to disturb the bees just yet, so I will just observe the activity at the front door and see what they do. They did fly yesterday and had a good cleansing flight time. It was about 60 + degrees. Today should be about the same. If the sun comes out, then I will take the opportunity to open the hive and check the bees for food stores. I am also getting my beetle traps ready along with the oil to put them in the hives for the Winter and early Spring.

I am still staying away from soft and hard chemicals as long as I can. I have lost all but two of my colonies to predators. I may still have to use chemicals in order to save my bees, but I am a old die-hard. I haven’t used chemicals in my hives for the last 8 years and I don’t want to go back and start now. But being an old die-hard and being stupid are two different things and I hope I am not stupid. Saving the bees are more important than having lots of pride.

Even if you didn’t get your empty hives painted, you still have time, but more important is you need to get frames  built and foundationed and put in your empty boxes for soon you will need all the empties you can get your hands on as it will be time to start catching swarms and splitting your colonies to keep them from swarming.

If at this time, you have all the colonies you want, then you can build some nucs for sale. That is a lucrative income to help offset some of your other expenses.

Education time. I have purposely let my apiary go down even after all my family illnesses and deaths of family members so I can start over and grow again along with you my readers. We can grow together and enjoy the bees like they were meant to be enjoyed in the beginning. I want to have about 20 to 50 hives and set back and relax, let the bees do the work and I get to reap some of their harvest. I am too old to really work the bees like I used to. When the bees get to be work, then the pleasure will turn sour and you may want to give up. This is retirement time for me. I just want to enjoy life and have time to go to schools, garden clubs, or anywhere people gather and tell them about God’s little pollinators.

What are your goals for your little girls? Do you want to learn about them? or do you just want to watch them work and enjoy a glass of Mint Julep? Would you like to make some money on the side? or would you rather let the bees support you?

These are some questions that you should ask yourself and when you get the answers, then you can plan on how to accomplish what you decide. One of the best ways to do this is to become a member of a local beekeeping association. There you will have the knowledge at your fingertips as you can talk to the experienced and inexperienced and listen to the wisdom and enthusiasm of you membership.

Here I need your help. I sometimes get writers bloc and I take for granted that most of you are kind of experienced beekeepers, but I forget that some of you have never kept bees. You need to make commits and ask questions so I can give decent answers of the nature that you want to know. I sometimes forget some of the basics that you need to understand so you can grow as a beekeeper. So, please help me out and ask questions.

If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to subscribe to some of the magazines like, The American Bee Journal published by Dadant & Sons, and Bee Culture published by A. I. Root. These are two of the oldest Bee magazines in the U. S. and are crammed full of useful and helpful information found anywhere. If you want a good reference book, then The Hive and Honeybee published by Dadant & Sons, and the ABC-XYZ published by A. I. Root. These two books compliment each other. What one doesn’t have the other one does.

There are several hundreds of good bee books to read, but some of the ones to start with should be considered. How to Keep Bees and Sale Honey and A Year in the Life of a Beekeeper by Dr. Keith Delaplane Entomology Dept. University of GA.

Happy New Year Yawl, and happy reading and get ready for Spring.

3 Comment(s)

  1. Bob Cooper | Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Hello Peaches,

    I live over in Baker, Fl (Okaloosa)and want to get started in beekeeping as a hobby. Apprecieate your insight and information on the blog. I made contact with the local association, visited one of the members set-ups, I’m going to an open “hive” in March, and I’ve arranged to pick up the equipment needed. But I fear I didn’t decide to commit soon enough to reserve the bees. Can you recommend sources of nucs for a beginner in the Panhandle area. I’m looking for 2 nucs to start out. Thanks.

  2. ekpeach | Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Bob, We have a beekeeper here in Pensacola named Doc Bullard. You can contact him and he may be able to help you. Doc’s number is: 850-478-7690. Have you tried Millie Bee? Elmore Herman may know someone. His number is: 557-3409.

    Hope this helps. By the way, the North Escambia Bee Association is having a workshop meeting at Northview High School in Bratt, FL March 2. It is the first Saturday which is a week from tomorrow. $30 single and $40 couple at the door. You are welcome to come and join us.

  3. Bob Cooper | Feb 22, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks Peaches, I’ll try to make the March 2 event. I had seen Millie Bee on the web, I’ll also give them as call, thanks. And, I’ll continue to follow the blog…I’m sure I can ask some questions to help you with topics for a beginner like me.

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