Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

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!

July 1, 2015

Frames, Frames, My Kingdom for Frames

Have you ever needed something and you had to stop doing whatever you were doing and either build, repair, clean, or even go to town to purchase it? That is my situation at this time. I have to clean some boxes and build new frames for them.

From the time I last wrote to now, I have lost my two new colonies. I will be honest. I neglected the bees and they got an abundance of Small Hive Beetles along with Varroa Mites. I have also neglected to clean the boxes and now I will see a bunch of beetle larvae unless they have gone to ground to pupate.

I am going to build approximately 25 frames and get them wired, then put wax foundation in them. That will give me two 10 frame boxes and one 5 frame nuc. Then I can either add a nuc to the remaining colony that is living in a 2 story  nuc box to a 10 frame brood box, or I can put another nuc on top and let them just keep on keeping on. During this time, I will need to start feeding them as we are going into a dearth.

Now would be a good time to make some more frames and clean some more boxes checking them first to keep the good boxes and get rid of the bad ones. There are two times that you will be slow and that is in the Winter and again in the Fall.

This is all that I am going to bore you with this time. Remember to keep your Veil close, your smoker handy, and your hive tool sharp.

May 4, 2015

Training Time, But No Students

Kinda spooky, now that good teaching opportunities are occurring everywhere, but without new beekeepers to learn, these are lost lessons. Right now, I am preparing my clothes and equipment to load up with my wife’s and leave in the morning to Orlando, FL to watch our youngest son graduate with his Doctorate in nursing. Then we will be off to Indianapolis, IN to watch our Number One grandson graduate High School. A flying trip (in the car) to Knoxville, TN to witness our Number Two grandson graduate from High School. After which we, my wife and I, will take a leisurely trip back to Pensacola, All this in the next three weeks.

In the meantime, I will not be able to show how to put frames and foundation together and make some supers to add to my hives. As of right now, some of the beekeepers on different forums are saying that their honeyflow is over and the bees are eating all the honey at a rapid pace and they are having to feed sugar water. I live in a housing area and the bees are still bringing in pollen and nectar. I am having to make more room for them to store their food. However, since I am a procrastinator, I have waited too long and now I will not be here to finish my work. Now the bees will maybe swarm and then I won’t have to add a supper. Oh well! That is my fault and no one else’s. Maybe someone will get the swarms and increase his apiary.

This is one of those times that you should “do as I say and not as I do”.

Until Next time, keep your veil close,  your smoker lit, and you hive tool sharp.

April 27, 2015

Back to My Apiary and Other Things

I have been going over in my head as to what to do with my colonies now that I have three of them. Do I leave them in my backyard,  or do I try to split and move some to the out apiaries. By the way, I don’t even know if I have any apiaries left. I need to touch base with the land owners and see if anyone has moved into my spots. That is something that needs to be taken care of sooner than later. You need to keep in touch with your contacts or you just might lose what you thought you had.

I was going to split my three colonies, but I really don’t have the bees or brood enough yet. I want each to split on their own without help from their neighbors. I will wait another two weeks to split. I need to get this done before the spring flow is over. I want them to be able to make wax to insure they have plenty of comb for storage.

I plan this way to split just before I start my may graduation run. I have a son that is getting his doctorate  degree in nursing in Orlando, FL. Then I drive to Indianapolis, IN. for my number one grandson’s high school graduation. Grandson number two will graduate from high school near Knoxville, TN. That means the middle two and a half weeks of May is taken up and I will be missing some of the beekeeping association meetings I regularly attend. You might say this will be a working vacation. hehe….

I am in hopes that when I get back, my bees will have gotten strong and I will be able to say with surety that they will be survivors and I will be able to loan some of the bees to a observation hive.  I have found that using an observation hive, will open lots of opportunities for bee talks to all areas of people. Show and tell always gets the attention of the young and old alike. I have also gotten some Newbie beekeepers interested in coming to the meetings and making our associations grow.

I am sure that by now that some of you readers out there have heard about two new types of bee hives. One is the Bee Barrel. This is a interesting article and the link I gave, is to the video. To download and read is easier for me as I need to see it in print to understand some of the concepts. I haven’t had the information as to how to extract the honey yet. Something about not having a patent on the extractor or the process to extract yet. I’ll keep you posted as the new information becomes available.

The second type of bee hive is the Flow Hive. There are several videos on the flow hive. there are several pros and cons about this type of hive. All discussions for both sides are valid and very thought provoking. I think that you, the readers, should research for yourselves and make your own decision.

I will leave you here as I am about 2 weeks late with the posting of this page.

March 20, 2015

Life Cycle Of The Varroa Mite

There are at least 30 different classes of mites that have been found living in a honeybee hive and at least three of those are considered vampire-like parasites. They live off the haemolymph which is the life blood of the honeybee.

One is the Trachea Mite that lives in the breathing tubes of the bee. These are not as much a problem as the other mites so we are not discussing them at this time.

Two are the of the more serious variety, V. jacobsoni and V. destructor until recently, were thought to be the same, but now DNA tests have separated them into two species. The most destructive is V. destructor, however, the life cycle is basically the same.

It starts with the adult female mite taking up residence in a beehive by riding in on the back of a bee that has robbed another hive and brought home, or the mite has ridden the robbing bee to the house that is being robbed and jumping onto a house bee there. Either way is the way the mites move from hive to hive and infesting the whole apiary.

Once in the hive the mite will jump into the cell and hide under the larva and hide until the  larva turns into a pupa and the nurse bees puts a cap on the cell. That is when the mite will lay 3 to 5 eggs with the first egg being a male. The brother in this case will mate with his sisters then die. The female mites will latch onto the pupa and emerge with the full grown worker bee then start the cycle over again.

At this time, I should point out that the mites prefers the drone cells as they are larger and easier to move around in and also the drones have a longer pupation period than the worker bees by 2 – 4 days. This gives the mites that much longer to develop.

This is the reason that we have to treat for the mites several times at a treatment time to be sure to get the majority of the mites. The treatment for mites is a contact type of chemical and the mites that are exposed are the only ones to receive the chemical. The mites in the enclosed cells are protected until the caps are removed and the bees emerge from the cells.

The treatments and types of chemicals will be another post. But in the meantime, keep you veil handy, your smoker lit, and your hive tool sharp.