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Bee Blog

Getting Bees Set For Winter

   It is just about October. All the honey supers are off the hives and extracted.  I have put mouse guards on every hive. All hives have been treated for the varroa mite and nosima. We are still feeding our bees 2 to 1 sugar syrup. The top of the hive has the medication/feeder rims on. This is so we can put the medicated syrup on top of the bees in a gallon freezer bag. Since it is inside the hive and right on top of bee. It is an easy access for the bees to get the syrup. We will check the feeder bags in a week and put another bag of syrup on top of the bees. Most of our hives are in three deep boxes. We find the bees other winter must better with the third box. We will wrap the hives, put moisture boards on top, put a piece of fondant and pollen patty in the hive for the bees before November. It is the same process every year. Hopefully we will have a milder winter than last year. A side note for newer beekeepers. You should never pull your frames out now to inspect. Especially splitting boxes and removing frames from bottom box. You will just be harming your bees.  It is too late to inspect your frames. The only way to help your bees was to inspect them a month ago. Then start the winterizing process. 

Feding the bee medicated syrup on top of frames inside the hive. Feeder rim adds space needed to fit feed bag.Bee Talk reminder. The first Thursday of the month is this Thursday. For anyone who wants to attend Bee Talk please call  978 535 1622 to reserve a space.  See you there.

Bee Talk

   The bee talk night is normally on the first Thursday of the month. A bunch of beekeepers talk bees. But seeing how it is July 3. We will be holding it on the second Thursday this month, July 10. This months Bee talk will cover extracting and processing honey. A few people were asking. By the way, we will be harvesting our light honey this week.  There will also be a Q&A session. So bring questions.  It is an open invitation. But please call ahead. There is limited space. See you there.

Swarm Season

  It is swarm season once again. I have caught three swarms in the last week. The first swarm was on a fence. So we had to use a special bee vacuum to capture the whole swarm. The second swarm was only seven feet up in a tree. This was easily captured by using a ladder and swarm bucket. The third swarm was the easiest. Yesterday I was going to an apiary to clean up extra boxes while I was checking hives.  I noticed a swarm had landed in an empty hive sometime over the past week.  So I removed the mouse guard and inspected it. I found the bees working on 12 frames and brood on 5 frames. I found the queen and plenty of brood or all stages. Two of the frames had capped brood. I figure the swarm landed here about 10 days ago. I closed it up and continued inspecting hives. I capture swarms all the time. These are the best. I recommend putting swarm traps in apiaries. I used old bee boxes and frames. Some people buy special swarm traps. It doesn't matter what you use. It is all luck when the swarm lands in it. But it is great when it happens.

Bee Packages, Checking Queen and Brood

     Yesterday Vin went into 2 new hives that we had used wire wax foundation in. The bee packages were installed 3 weeks ago. I had removed the queen cages 2 weeks ago. It was the first real inspection for these hives. He had opened the hives carefully and removed a frame away from the bees to make an opening to slide frames into. We found the bees had drawn out comb on 5 frames. The first frame with bees had open and capped nectar and pollen. The next 2 frames had nectar in top corners, some pollen and brood of all ages. There was capped worker brood. The queens laying pattern looked good. But we found several queen cells in one hive and a supercedure cell in the other hive. So those package bees want to replace the queens. There was a good brood pattern in each hive. I do not know why. But the bees do. The bad weather could have had a negative affect on the bees. I will closely monitor the hives let the bees bring out their own queens.

Bee Packages, Queens and New Beekeepers

   Another year of beekeepers installing their bees. For some it was the first time to install a package of bees. For other beekeepers it seems to be a yearly task. This year was not without a few problems. We had 16 dead queens out of 1000 packages. That is not bad. Each one of the beekeepers got a replacement queen  immediately. We did have two new beekeepers who pulled the cork and open released the queen and she flew away. That costs them $30 dollars for a new queen. I do not think they were listening at bee school when the instructor said " pull the cork on the side with the sugar candy. Do not pull the other cork."  Another beekeeper took the correct cork out. But decided to push the sugar candy in because she read it in a book and they damaged the queen. That book costs he them$30. They should have bought another book. The final problem was when another new beekeeper called me and they said the package did not come with a queen cage in it. I assured them all packages come with a queen. I said the queen cage was inside the package. They went back and looked in the package. There it was. The queen cage was covered in bees. They did install the package and everything in fine now.
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