Friday, July 22, 2016

Queen Caging Demonstration this Saturday!

Hi Folks, Tomorrow (7/23/16) at 3pm I will be caging two queens up at plant kingdom.
Please come for a free demo if you wish. Call me on my cell if you have questions about directions.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Honeyflow at Its Peak!

Have you noticed how heavy your frames and boxes are getting? We are at the peak of the honeyflow now. I will start robbing honey from the supers that don't have any brood in them today to get it extracted and to the market. Honey must be capped (sealed with wax) to be the right moisture content. If the honey is harvested before it is sealed by the bees the honey will tend to sugar (become granular) much faster. I plan on caging my queens in the next week or so. If you want to join me for this free demonstration for those who took my class, please email me at and let me know. I will email a confirmation to you with a date, time. I have seen many hives this summer and the best one was the O'Leary family's in Aurora Subdivision. For starting out with bare foundation, I was very impressed with the amount of drawn-out honeycomb, brood production and honey production. Having a Rubbermaid tote to store frames in during the harvest is vital. I put my tote anywhere from 10 to 20 feet from the hive, leaving the lid on. I rob one completely drawn-out and capped honey frame at a time using my bee brush to remove any lingering bees before placing the frame into the tote.

Rubbermaid Tote Image

If you need to rent my extractor please email me. It costs $25 per day and includes 3 decapping forks, 1 hotknife, 1 coldknife, 1 stainless steel double sieve (strainer), 1 - 5 gallon bottling bucket, and a long spatula. If you want to order bottles, now is the time to do so. I order mine from Dadant or Mann Lake Ltd.

Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions:

Harvesting Your Honey - An Important Message from Steve Victors

The summer seems to be going well and we are now at the time to start planing our harvest if you have not already done so.  As many of you know, many beekeepers harvest in early August and I thought that I would send out this message explaining why that is:
The sweet spot for harvest is timing the fluctuations of two changing factors.  The first to consider is the hive population as it relates to the metabolic demand of the hive.  To do this we have to look at the hive as a single organism and examine the factors involved.  Factor one is the population of the adult bees in the hive and factor two is the amount of brood being raised at the moment.  Metabolic demand of the adult bees is dependent upon the temperature of the bees themselves and the warmer they are the more food they will consume.  In addition the more bees that there are the more food that they will consume also.  At the end of July, both the temperature and the population have reached their peak.  The metabolic demand of the adult bees in the hive is highest at the end of July.  This situation lasts until high populations begin to diminish through winter attrition.  Remember that this is TEMPERATURE dependent and as winter sets in, the bees become colder and the metabolic rate slows down.  This can be described graphically as a flattened or truncated bell curve.  (A bell curve with a flattened top.) The flattened top stretches through the month of June, July and August.  

In looking at the other factor (brood,) it is generally an accepted rule that it takes a frame of honey to raise a frame of brood.  Brood raising increases during a nectar flow, and since our flow runs from late June through August, brood raising is heaviest at this time.  With these two factors combined, metabolic demand of the hive is highest during the month of July and into August.  

Let's turn our attention to the nectar flow.  Nectar flow can be described as a bell curve starting in late April and ending in late September.  As many of you know, the bell curve starts at zero and ends in zero.  The peak of this bell curve is in mid-July.  If one simply overlays the bell curve of nectar flow on top of the bell curve of metabolic demand, one can easily see that the portion of the nectar flow curve that stands above the metabolic curve represents our honey crop.  

It is interesting to note that the metabolic demand curve does not move much from year to year.  The nectar flow curve shifts right or left depending on the season and environmental conditions.  It can widen out or it can shrink back down.  

The absolute PERFECT time to harvest is where these two graphs cross each other.  Since the nectar curve shifts right or left, widens or contracts, traditionally this curve crosses between the first and the tenth of August.  You will note in looking at your imagined curve that there is still a nectar flow going on.  After the crossing of these two lines, the metabolic demand is exceeding what the bees are bringing in.  The wise beekeeper in picking their harvest date will focus on the factors that shift the graph right or left.  We are now approaching the three week from August mark.  

Now is the time to decide how to manage your queens if you haven't already done so.  There are many styles of queen management.  I prefer to have no brood in my extracting room.  My queen management style is to put the queen in the bottom box of the hive with an excluder over the top of this box so that in three weekstime there is no brood above the excluder.  I do this because I want young brood hatching out in preparation for winter.  For those that are not planning on wintering, placing the queen in a cage can eliminate ALL brood in the hive in three weeks time.  

I do not advocate removing or killing the queen.  Loss of pheromones results in lower productivity of the hive and emergency queen cells that make end of season management more difficult.  This will also reduce your honey crop.  

For those beekeepers in the Anchorage and Valley areas, you should know that our extracting services will be operational, and we will be accepting your boxes from the end of July to the first of September.  After the first of September, we generally break down our equipment for the end of the season.  We have commercial grade uncapping machines, several large extractors and a fairly efficient filtering system.  We run the honey in individual batches, and the honey return to the customer is the same honey that arrives in their boxes.  If you choose to use our services, it will be necessary for you to manage your queens so that there is no brood present.  Our uncapping machine does not differentiate between a frame of brood and a frame of honey.  The frames are loaded into our uncapper one at a time by hand, and we are able to pull frames aside that have brood on them.  These frames must be uncapped by hand, and extra charges will be incurred.  If you wish to provide your own buckets, that is something we can accommodate.  A full schedule of charges and requirements are listed on our website on the Services page.  
We hope that this letter finds you well and that your harvests are abundant,
Steve and Donna

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Used Honey Extractor for Sale!

Kim Griffith has a used 3 frame manual extractor for sale. She bought it just a couple years ago from Steve Victors. She is asking $250.00. (907)385-8612

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Time to start using my smoker!

I did a hive check later in the evening tonight with my friend, Catherine. We both got stung. This is why I try to complete hive checks at mid-day on sunny days. Now that my colony populations have at least tripled, I will start using my smoker. I got stung five times tonight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June - The Swarming Month & Time to Remove the Entrance Reducer

I added honey supers to my hives this week!

June is considered the swarming month so I am persistent at staying on top of removing queen cells provided my original queen is still in the hive and I see eggs, larva, and pupa. I have been on many hive consultations and found this to be true again this year. One person had a swarm and actually caught 6-8 queens and caged them. We killed all but one to release the next day so she could do her mating flights. Hopefully she was bred well and is now laying hundreds of eggs everyday.

I have removed my entrance reducers and won't use them again until fall. Thankfully, we were blessed with rain before the fireweed started to bloom. Last year we had beautiful fireweed flowers however they didn't have enough rain early in the season so didn't produce an abundance of nectar beyond the food they needed for themselves. This year promises to be a bumper crop of honey at this rate.

As a reminder: If you took my class this year you have a $20 discount on a hive consultation. The price for the first consultation for those who took my class is $40.00. The price for subsequent consultations is $60.00 Please email me if you need to make an appointment. I am out of spare queens now so if anyone has an extra queen please let me know as I do get calls from time to time with requests for a new queen. It is getting a bit late in the year for ordering new queens. If you need a new queen:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Another Organic Remedy for Ants in Your Honeybee's Pants

I just heard that cinnamon is a deterrent to ants. Just get a container from Sam's Club and sprinkle it on the ground, around the base of the hive. I wouldn't get any on the entrance to the hive. This rain is great for helping flowers produce excess nectar! Perfect timing for raspberries and fireweed!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Keep Performing Hive Checks!

I continue to perform complete hive checks every 12 days. My sugar feeders have all been removed from the hives and frames have replaced them as well as inside insulation frames. I have removed all outside insulation as well. Keeping water nearby is paramount throughout the entire season. I think I will add honey supers a couple weeks early this year with the early blooming pattern we are seeing with local flowers. I will let you know when that is and estimate two weeks from today. I am down to two back-up queens so if anyone has an extra queen the want to get rid of please let me know so that if someone calls I can refer them to you. The going rate for queens is $30.00 at this time. If you discover problems with ants you could get a kiddie pool and create a mote around your hive by setting it up on foundation blocks in the middle of the kiddie pool. The ants will drown before they reach the bee hive.