Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Message From Our Reliable Honeybee Supplier!



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Now registering for the March, 2015 Beekeeping Class!


Beekeeping Classes with Science-Based Art


Science-Based Art
Instructor: Dawn Cogan 

To register, email Dawn at sciencebasedart@yahoo.com

Cost: $150 per family

Sat. 3/14/15 1-5PM & 3/15/15 2-6PM (4 hrs. each day for a total of 8 hrs.) Monroe Catholic School 

• What is beekeeping? How much honey will I get? How much will this all cost me?
• Equipment necessary to keep bees in Alaska
• Biology and races of honeybees
• Members of the hive and their duties
• Where can I get bee equipment? Should I get new, used or build my own?
• Getting equipment ready for arrival of bees.
• Insulation, feeding bees properly
• What to do when the bees arrive
• Is my queen marked? (queen marking tool)
• Management of honeybee colonies in Alaska, the beekeepers calendar
• Running 2-Queen Hives
• Swarming and how to prevent it
• Honeybee diseases
• Extracting your Alaska honey
• What to do at the end of the season/Wintering Over
• Storing your equipment
• Beeswax candle making

Monday, February 16, 2015

Message from our Honeybee Supplier, Steve Victors

Good Evening Beekeepers,
I have had a number of folks ask lately if it was time to order bees yet.  I have also had a few beekeepers call with worry that they had missed the opportunity to order so this is a status update to let you know where we are in the process.  At this point we have about a third of the bee orders in; so I am sending this out to those who I have not received orders yet. 
There is still plenty of time to get your order in for your bees, and we will likely have a good supply for at least a month.  The sooner that you can get your order in, the better it will be for us in planning the final details of the shipment.  The breeding of our queens takes about a month; so the sooner I can supply close estimates for type and quantity of our queens, the easier it is for our supplier to get us exactly what we need. 
As many of you know, last year we had some challenges to overcome in order to get our bees up to Alaska.  The ground transportation system that we used for a number of years decided to not carry live animals and this necessitated a change of transport systems.  To this end I purchased a truck and trailer and had it specifically set up for transporting bees.  Ventilation systems with electric fans as well as redesigning doors and vents were required to keep the bees at the proper temperature during transport.  Our ground transportation system was an upgrade over the system that we had used in the past by allowing us better control over our bees as well as closer monitoring of the land portion of the journey. 
As many of you also know, I accompanied the bees on each of the shipments last year to make sure that things went well.  The extra work involved was well worth the effort, and the bees showed no signs of stress during the entire journey.  Although there are always things that can go wrong, I feel that we have the best system worked out for moving bees from Northern California to Alaska.  We will be moving our bees in a very similar fashion this year.  We have replaced the trailer used last year in California with a slightly larger one and patterned our ventilation system after the one we used last year.  We will be adding a cooling system to it this spring as a safety factor to be prepared for warm transport temperatures in the event that weather patterns dictate cooling beyond fresh air flow.  The trailer we used last spring in California is now in Alaska and will be used on this end of the journey after receiving the bees here in Anchorage.   Once again I will be accompanying the bees for their overland portion and assuring proper loading configuration for air cargo at the terminal.  We are committed to providing the best and healthiest packages to you that can be done.  
Our bee supplier is the same as it has been for many years, and I continue to be very pleased with the quality and consistency of John’s queens and packages.  Our policy of standing behind the packages and queens that we supply from John remains the same as it has been for many years.  Your package should be healthy, not stressed during transport, and the queen should be fertile and in good health when you get your bees from us. Our website is updated with the latest information on bee supplies as well as package bees and has the ability to order both bees as well as supplies online.  For those who wish to call or if you have questions that I can answer for you feel free to call.
Steve
892-6175 home
315-5256 cellular

Flow™ Honey Frames

http://www.honeyflow.com/ Check this out!! I can't believe it!! Thanks to Ginny Kinney for this link and info!!!
Hi!
Thanks so much for your interest in the Flow hive. We (Cedar, Stu and our whole beekeeping family) are so excited to be letting you and the world know about the invention we have been working on for over a decade. The response has been quite overwhelming, thanks for all the amazing comments. We are working as fast as we can to complete a video that will show you all the details about the technology.
We want to tell you a little more about the Flow frames/hives, how they work, what we think this will mean for beekeeping and where we are at with producing them.

How do the Flow™ frames work?

The Flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with honey and cap the cells as usual. When you turn the tool, a bit like a tap, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels allowing the honey to flow down to a sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive while the bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface.
When the honey has finished draining you turn the tap again which resets the comb into the original position and allows the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it with honey again. The Flow frames are inserted into standard bee supers (boxes) in much the same way as standard frames, however the box itself is modified by cutting two access doorways in one end.
When the frames are inserted, the ends of the frames now form the end of the super. This allows access to the operating slots and honey pipe outlets.
You can see into the hive
Each Flow frame is designed with a unique transparent end allowing you to see into the hive. This means you can watch the bees turning nectar into honey and see when each comb is full and ready. Both children and adults get excited seeing the girls at work in their hive. Importantly you will be able to keep an eye on colony numbers thus giving you early detection of any problems within your hive.
Please note: it’s important to check the hive for disease and look after your colony as per usual.  This does require keeping an eye on your bees and opening the hive and inspecting the brood if there are signs of pests or disease. Beekeepers usually check their brood once or twice a year. If you are new to beekeeping you will need to seek help from experienced beekeepers.
It’s a fantastic learning curve.
The extraction process is not only easier but much faster with a flow hive
The whole harvesting process ranges from 20 minutes to two hours depending on the viscosity of the honey.
Usually the bees don’t even discover you at the back of the hive. If you notice that the bees have discovered the collecting jar or bucket you can always cover the extracting pipes or make a lid with a hole for the pipe/s.
There is no more heavy lifting
The harvesting happens right at the hive without moving the super boxes at all. No more injured backs!
Undisturbed bees makes a happier, healthier hive
Because the hives are not regularly opened and pulled apart to be harvested, the bees are relatively undisturbed and they experience less overall stress. Although this may seem trivial, bee stress is a significant factor contributing to the strength of a bee colony.
Opening a hive also risks potential introduction of pests and disease. It’s nice not to squash bees in the process of honey harvesting.
The risk of stings is lower
Because the bees are going about their normal business while you are harvesting the honey from the back of the hive. We have found that the bees usually don’t even notice that you are there.
We still recommend you use a bee suit or veil if you are inexperienced, don’t know the particular hive or have a grumpy hive. A hive that is usually calm  can be grumpy at times when the nectar flow is very slow.

Where to from here?

After many years of prototypes we now have a robust design that we have been testing for the last 3 years with beekeepers here in Australia as well as in America and Canada.
Now we want to share it with you.
The official launch of the Flow hive is on the 23rd of February
We are launching on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter.com.
Through our launch we hope to raise the funds to get this project off the ground and start producing and delivering these hives to you within the next four months.
Apparently, if a lot of people pledge early, then the whole thing snowballs. Conversely, if the pledging goes slowly then the project is less likely to fly. In our case we hope many people who want a Flow super to add to their beehive or who want a whole Flow beehive (the bees have to be obtained locally) will pledge on the 23rd or 24th giving us a chance to reach our target and start production.
The early pledges get an additional ‘early bird’ discount off the already discounted price giving an extra incentive to pledge quickly.
We’ll send you a reminder when the Kickstarter crowd-funding time begins on February 23rd, and we will be putting some more videos on our Facebook page and website soon.
We are also making a FAQ page on our website to answer all the great questions that are flooding in.
All the best!
Stu and Cedar Anderson
Our website is http://www.honeyflow.com/
Our FB page http://www.facebook.com/flowhive

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Where I order my honeybees. . .

I finally found a great source for honeybees! After ordering honeybees from three different suppliers over a five year period, I discovered Steve Victors in Big Lake Alaska! The bees he gets from Sacramento, CA are wonderful. There are only a handful of dead bees when the packages arrive and the time they are actually in the boxes is minimal (no more than two to three days). My first supplier got out of the business due to allergic reactions. My second supplier kept getting bees with mites and my third supplier couldn't get the bees to Fairbanks without a quarter to a third of them dead. I have ordered bees from Steve for four seasons now and am very happy with the quality and health of his colonies. To order from Steve Victors, click on the following link:
https://www.alaskawildflowerhoney.com/stevesbees_home.php

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Now registering for the March, 2015 Beekeeping Class!

Beekeeping Classes with Science-Based Art


Science-Based Art
Instructor: Dawn Cogan 

To register, email Dawn at sciencebasedart@yahoo.com

Cost: $150 per family

Sat. 3/14/15 1-5PM & 3/15/15 2-6PM (4 hrs. each day for a total of 8 hrs.) Monroe Catholic School 

• What is beekeeping? How much honey will I get? How much will this all cost me?
• Equipment necessary to keep bees in Alaska
• Biology and races of honeybees
• Members of the hive and their duties
• Where can I get bee equipment? Should I get new, used or build my own?
• Getting equipment ready for arrival of bees.
• Insulation, feeding bees properly
• What to do when the bees arrive
• Is my queen marked? (queen marking tool)
• Management of honeybee colonies in Alaska, the beekeepers calendar
• Running 2-Queen Hives
• Swarming and how to prevent it
• Honeybee diseases
• Extracting your Alaska honey
• What to do at the end of the season/Wintering Over
• Storing your equipment
• Beeswax candle making

Saturday, September 20, 2014

End of the Season Tips

I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy with student teaching, extracting and bottling honey, not to mention going to the market the past few Saturdays. This was really a terrible year overall. It started out great but when the rain stayed most of the summer, on nice days, our bees foraged for miles to find all the pollen and nectar washed away. Next year has got to be better! For  rookie beekeepers, just count it a building year when your bees were bought to build comb for next years bees.

We got about 17 gallons (204 lbs.) of honey from 7 colonies. I was expecting about 70 gallons (870 lbs.)
If you are not wintering over your bees it is time to shop-vac them!

Killing Bees:
What I do, after all the sticky frames that I've extracted are "cleaned up" by my bees, is put water in my shop vac on a cold morning or evening. The cold keeps the bees from flying away from their cluster so it's easier to suck more of them into the vacuum in a shorter amount of time. If it's warm they will be flying all around and you won't get them all. This Sunday is the day I will do this dreadful deed and it puts a depressing spin on my day. For hives that are not close to power I just bring a small generator. After the bees are dead in the shop-vac, I dump them into my compost. If you don't clean them out of the shop vac the first night just cover the end of the vacuum hose with duct tape to ensure none fly back out.

Storing Your Equipment:
I store my equipment outside on top of a queen excluder to keep the mice from getting into my boxes and eating the comb. I also take the inner lid off the hive to keep other insects out of the hive.
Equipment that is stored inside has the potential to get mildew and mold. You can either clean up your hives now or wait until Jan. when its dark and cold and you need an indoor project. That's what we do. We put on some good tunes, drag the hives into the garage and clean everything up with our hive tools. We never use soap or cleaners of any kind. We just scrape off wax where it shouldn't exist.

Do you have questions? Email me any questions at sciencebasedart@yahoo.com



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Do you need an extractor brought up from the lower 48's???

Steve & Donna Victors are making a trip down to the states to pick up their new trailer. If anyone needs beekeeping supplies, contact them. https://www.alaskawildflowerhoney.com/