Bee Blog

Winter Time Beekeeping

   This is the time of year that we start preparing for the coming spring. Vin and I have built a bunch of boxes, hundreds of frames and inserted the wired wax foundation into frames.  All the frames we use this year will have wire wax foundation. I prefer it and so do the bees. This months bee talk I will demo a quick and easier way to wire wax a frame. I have also scrapped down and primed old boxes and bottom boards. I will paint them in the spring. I cut down and repaired some boxes that had damage or cracks. So in the spring, we can go around to our apiaries and replace other boxes and bottoms boards that need some fixing or repainting.

  We also cut up and packaged a bunch of fondant into 1 lb patties for the winter and early spring. We went to 3 apiaries  on December 26, It was about 50 degrees and sunny. A perfect day to place a fondant patty or pollen patty on the hive. I will check my hives in February to give addition fondant or pollen patty to the bees that need it. Just remember to be quick when putting fondant on frames and do not pull frames. Close cover as soon as you can. The bees will be happy you did.
 I wanted to mention about Bee Talk night. It is moving to the second Wednesday of the month due to schedule conflict with the beekeeping classes. This coming Wednesday night I will do a quick demo on building and wire waxing frames and a demo on creamed honey.  Q&A session will fill the rest of the evening.

October Beekeeping

Bag of medicated sugar syrup for the bees  By the first week in October your colonies should be just about ready for winter.  That is in the area where I am from. We start getting the bees ready for the winter in August. First, I will weigh all my colonies. I will remove honey supers from light or weak hives. You may have to feed your bees depending on your areas nectar flow and weather. The remainder of the honey supers are harvested around labor day. That give us plenty of time to inspect, medicate and feed colonies before it gets to cold. Try to give a your colonies 2 gallons of medicated syrup. An important item to put on your hive now is a mouse guard. As the night get into the 40s, the bees cluster off the bottom of the hive. That is when the mice come in to make their nest. So put the mouse guard on if you had not place one on the front entrance yet. We have left the medication rims on top of hive and removed our varroa treatments. This is so we can put a bag of medicated sugar syrup in the hive under the inner cover. That is it for now. Giving the bees their final feeding and wrapping the hive is all that is left to do.

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.
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