Sunday, May 28, 2017

Consistent Hive Checks


  • All seven of my colonies are building population as well as honeycomb to make room for storing brood, pollen, and nectar, which will become honey by late July and into September. 
  • I am hoping Jack Frost has left town for good until late October. 
  • Entrances are all set at the medium size until the first week of June, weather permitting. 
  • By then I expect to remove my entrance reducers altogether until fall. 
  • Hive checks will take place every ten days and I am careful to ensure my queens are in the hive by either actually seeing them or seeing all four stages of brood (eggs, larva, pupa, and adult). 
  • After seeing the queen or evidence of the queen, I am removing all queen cups and cells. 
  • I am also removing any wax built outside of the frame area. 
  • Most to all hives in the Fairbanks area should have two brood boxes on the hive by now. 


  • Next weekend I will swap my brood boxes by putting the top box on the bottom board and the bottom box on the top. This entices the bees to build brood into one large nest. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May 14th Complete Hive Checks, Summer Course, and Addressing Ant Problems

Dan and I checked all seven colonies today. We found incredible amounts of pollen stores, sealed sugar water on at least 3-4 frames, and very prolific brood patterns.
  • Complete hive checks are performed every 10 -12 days to discourage bees from swarming.
  • The weather has been such that all inner insulation has been removed. 
  • Hives with ample sugar syrup stores should have inner insulation removed and the feeders replaced with frames because we want the bees to use up the sugar water stores prior to the nectar flow. (Who wants sugar honey when we can get honey from the nectar of plants?) 
  • Now we have 10 frames in each brood box. We did discover small black ants in three of our hives. 
  • To remedy this naturally, I sprinkled cinnamon around the perimeter of the foundation blocks. 
  • All of my hive entrances are at the medium door setting. My lid entrances are on the bottom of the inner lid now that cold nights seem to be behind us. 
  • It is vital for honeybees to have a water source near the hive. While they can fly several miles for water, it is strongly encouraged to provide a water source near hives. Putting twigs and/or rocks into a bucket of water helps the bees leave the bucket with a full load without drowning.
  • Now is a great time to add a second brood box (UNDERNEATH the first brood box).
  • My summer students can shadow me on the following tentative schedule (based on weather - Please RSVP by text 907460-6050 or email at sciencebasedart@yahoo.com. (arrive at my townhouse at 65 Betty Street): 

May 21st - 3:00 PM    May 23rd - 4:00PM
June 2nd - 5:00 PM
June 11th - 3:00 PM
June 21st - 5:00 PM 
June 30th - 5:00 PM
July 9th - 3:00 PM
July 19th - 5:00 PM
Honey Extraction - Friday, August 4th 7-9PM
July 30th - 3:00 PM
August 11th - 5:00 PM
August 20th - 3:00 PM
August 27th - 3:00 PM


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Important Beekeeping Tips to Remember

Pollen and nectar are two different sources of nutrition for honeybees. Even though the bees are now hauling in local pollen, I never remove sugar water until dandelions have appeared in prolific numbers. I have been topping off my sugar water every three days.  Hives with most frames fully drawn out with honeycomb, may need another brood box. I add my second brood box to the bottom of the hive since heat rises and cool falls. I want to keep my baby bees warm and it makes it easier to fill the feeder as well. We are adding second boxes on Sunday 4/30/17. Anyone who wants to observe this can meet at our house at 2:30 PM to shadow Dan. He will complete full hive checks as well. I will be out of state from 4/29/17 through 5/11/17 and will respond to emails every few days. dcogan1@alaska.edu

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nine Successful Hive Checks Today!

Today we found all seven of our queens healthy and laying eggs in full patterns. We also checked a couple hives of one of our students and both were doing fantastic. We topped off sugar water and will continue to fill feeders every 3-4 days until we see abundant dandelions. The bees are beginning to store pollen in the wax cells. This week is a great time to check for evidence of a well-bred queen. At least one frame should have eggs and very young larva. If there is no evidence of a queen and you can't find your queen then you may need to requeen your hive. If so, give me a call at (907)460-6050.

Below are two photos of what I am seeing on my frames at this time. Also, I am posting some photos of possible undesirable colony situations.
















Healthy pattern of eggs (1-2 days old)




Healthy Larva (7-10 days old)
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Spotty (Poor) Queen Pattern















Dead Queen - Laying Worker Eggs (Kill Bees!)