Crystal Bee Supply
18 Lake St. Peabody, Ma.
Joe's Bee Blog
A Beekeepers Life
Winter Weather is Here
December 13, 2016
Late Winter Beekeeping
February 27, 2017
Nectar Flow and Honey Harvest
This seasons nectar flow has been very good. Many beekeepers in Essex County are having their best year for honey production. It seems every visit to the hives leads to more full honey supers. The best hives have produced 6+ honey supers. May wasn't the best months for the nectar flow. The weather wasn't all that great for the bees. But June and July made up for that. It seemed each hive had 2-4 full honey supers by the end of June. extract and put the supers back on top of the hives. July was the surprising month. During my hive inspections, I found many hives with 2 more full honey supers. It didn't seem there was a dearth like in years past. August and early September has less of a nectar flow than earlier in the summer. There was definitely a nectar flow though. We removed all the honey supers to prepare for the winter. Most hives had 1-2 honey supers. Some hive had no honey in supers at all. This year was one of the best our honey harvest ever.
Stolen Bee Hive
I never really thought someone would steal one of my bee hives. But unfortunately it happened. Someone stole my bee hive. I moved a hive to Highland rd. in Hamilton in late July to pollenate the pumpkin and squash field. I removed the honey supers a few weeks ago and started treating it for the varroa mites. When I returned for the second treatment. It was gone. We reported it to the police. We are also offering a $500 reward to information on missing hive. The hive had grayish bottom board, outer cover and brood boxes.
Im not talking about someone stealing my hive this time. This is about the amount of people mentioning about their hives getting robbed. It's about that time of year. Since there is little to no nectar flow now and seeing how bees are creative foragers. Many beekeepers are witnessing their hives getting robbed. Seeing aggressive action, bees walking up faced off the hive, bees flying up & down in front of hive and fighting on bottom board or ground would indicate your hive is getting robbed. Some Beekeepers also see yellow jackets going into your hives for a meal. It happens.
Stopping the robbing is a must. Light your smoker and smoke the front of your hive. Then close the entrance down. Put a robbing screen on or entrance reducer. If you don't have either. Put a block of wood, a handful of hay, or anything. Just reduce the entrance. Also close down the outer cover so bees can't get in thru the inner cover hole. Putting a mouse guard would reduce entrance as well. You could even cover some of the holes in the guard to have less openings.
Robbing is one reason we do not recommend going thru a hive in late September or October in our area.
Wintering Honey Bees
Its about the time of year to prepare your honey bees for the winter. Hopefully your treatments and feedings are well under way or finished. If your mouse guards are not on. Put them on soon.
The record cold blast the we are getting in Massachusetts is going to tough on our bees. With so many frigid days in a row, the bees will be unable to break cluster in order to get to their honey stores. Hopefully the bees will survive this cold spell.
Winter Time Beekeeping
Beekeepers are building equipment, reading beekeeping books and attending bee meetings during the winter months. Hopefully your honey bees survived the winter. If the bees didn't survive the winter. You should have ordered bees by now or order them as soon as possible.
March is the danger month for honey bees in our area. The population is starting to grow and the queen will be laying more eggs now. The bees will start using their food stores more rapidly. Feeding the brood several times a day and maintaining the temperature of the brood chamber will cause food stores to dwindle. So it helps if you had feed your bees in the fall and put an emergency food source in the hive for the bees earlier in the winter. Its 8 days until spring.
Is it spring? The snow is falling today. It looks like winter. But spring hive openings are not that far away. Most beekeepers are preparing for the warmer weather and have ordered a bee package or nuc to replace any hives that didn't survive the winter. I am building and painting hives in preperat