Sunday, June 17, 2018

Adding Honey Supers & Queen Trouble

Hello Folks,
We are halfway through the 2018 beekeeping season.

Adding Honey Supers
I will be adding medium honey supers over the next two weeks. I no longer use a queen excluder so the bees don't have a barrier to storing nectar in the super comb. At first, the queen may lay some brood in the middle frames however with two brood boxes under the supers, most of the brood is laid in those. June is the month notorious for swarming so I am meticulously checking my hives every 10 days to remove queen cells.

Queen Trouble?
If you lose a queen this late in the season the best thing to do is let the bees create their own queen so don't remove queen cells until you have determined you have a queen. You can physically see the queen or see eggs to determine a queen exists. It's really too late to re-queen and the chances an established colony will accept a new queen is pretty slim. I just did a hive check with Peggy out in North Pole because she was quite sure one of her five colonies was queenless. We checked all the comb for eggs and found no eggs, some larva, lots of pupa, and more than ten queen cells. We determined all five colonies had plenty of drones for successfully fertilizing a new queen. Peggy chose the most mature queen cell in its pupa stage and we destroyed all other competing queen cells. We hope to perform a hive check in ten days to find a new queen, new eggs, and larva. I will give a report after we do the check.

I have tried to re-queen my top bar hive twice this year and the bees would not accept a new queen. I expect this colony to die off within the next couple weeks.

When local beekeepers are out of queens I like to order extras from

Keep Grass and Weeds Short in Front of Hives!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ant Problems?

If you discover ants in your hive or near your hive you can sprinkle cinnamon around the base of the hive. Cinnamon is water soluble so you will have to keep repeating this. Another thing to do is place your hive in the middle of a kiddie pool on foundation bricks. The ants will drown on their journey into your hive. Make sure to put rocks, moss, and twigs into the pool to keep the bees from drowning and keep your eye on the level of water especially after a hard rain. The water level should be kept about a quarter inch or less deep.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Drawing a queen into the 2nd brood box.

A trick for drawing the queen into the 2nd brood box is to:

  • Place the box on the top of the two brood boxes;
  • Pull a couple frames with all stages of brood (eggs, larva, pupa, and adult) from the 1st box, into the center of the 2nd box;
  • Worker bees will work harder to build the nest larger to encompass all brood frames
  • The queen will lay in both boxes;
  • The newborn bees hatching out of the pupa stage will work on the frames around the area they hatched from.
This needs to happen now, before the honeyflow!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Article discussing the beliefs of some people re: the affect GMOs on honeybees.

Entrance Reducers, Brood Boxes, Hive Checks, Swarm Prevention, & Water Source

Entrance reducers can be removed completely now.

I am now exchanging brood boxes to get the queen to start laying in the 2nd box that was added sometime in the past three weeks. So, I am taking the top brood box off, setting it aside and then removing the bottom brood box and setting it aside also. Then, I am putting the box that was on the top of the bottom board and setting the box that was on the bottom on top.

None of my hives have feeders in them except for the top bar hive.

Regular hive checks every ten days keeps honeybees from swarming. I am looking for eggs, larva, pupa, and an increasing population of adults every hive check.

June is the month with the most potential for swarming. Once I determine I have a laying queen, I remove all queen cells and queen cups to prevent swarming.

Excess comb that is built outside of the wooden frames is removed and saved for making cosmetics or candles during the winter months.

Now that most snow has melted, make sure a water source is available nearby. A shallow drinking space is preferred to keep the bees from drowning.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Insulation, Entrance Reducers, Inner Feeders, Health Brood Pattern, and Regular Hive Checks

Hello Folks,
The beekeeping season is well underway with queens laying up to thousands of eggs every day.

Outer insulation has been removed and inner insulation is still in place for about another week or so.

Entrance Reducers:
Right now I'm removing entrance reducers in the morning (40* or warmer) and replacing them on the smallest setting at night (Less than *40).

Inner Feeders:
For hives with drawn-out comb, all feeders will be removed this week and the bees will consume any sugarwater stores in the cells, giving the queen more space to lay eggs.

Healthy Brood Pattern:
All colonies should have eggs and larva and most should have pupa. Here is a photo of a healthy 
brood frame:

Regular Hive Checks:

Every ten days I am performing complete hive checks.

1) Ensure the queen is laying and her pattern is healthy
2) Remove all queen cups and cells
3) Check for any abnormalities or disease
4) Remove any burr comb or comb built outside the boundaries of the frame
5)Check to make sure queens have enough space to increase the population

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bee Space & Chalkbrood

During this week's hive checks, I noticed most of the honeycomb cells were full of brood, pollen, or sugarwater stores. This indicates my colonies need more "bee space".

Bee space can be added in two ways:

1) Add another box to the bottom of the hive, keeping the original brood box on the top of the hive to prevent chalkbrood. Chalkbrood can be resolved when cold and/or wet conditions change back to a proper balance, however, it slows down healthy population growth and colony efficiency.

2)Turning frames with bare foundation towards the brood nest, making sure you don't divide frames with brood on them (brood frames are those with honeycomb cells containing eggs, larva, or pupa).

Read up about chalkbrood here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Removing queen cups and cells, & undesirable queen patterns

As soon as Jack Frost finally leaves town, I will do a complete hive check on all hives. I am looking for three things:
1) Queen evidence: (eggs, larva and pupa). The brood pattern should be full:
Image result for honeybee brood frame images

Full pattern brood frame

Spotty pattern brood frame
Image result for spotty queen brood pattern images

2) If I see the queen and/or evidence she is laying well, I remove any queen cups and cells:

Queen Cups:

Image result for queen cell images     Queen Cell

3) Bee Space:
When there is only one or two frames without stored resources and/or brood, it is time to add a second brood box. I do not add the second box until the weather is above freezing at night. The second box must be added beneath the original brood box to ensure the babies are warm because, as we all know, heat rises!

If you find multiple eggs in honeycomb cells, kill all your bees because one of the workers is laying unfertilized eggs and you will never figure out which worker is laying.

Image result for laying worker brood frame images

Comb with several eggs per cell is very undesirable.