Monday, June 30, 2014

Adding Supers, Drowning Ants, and Swarm Report

So anytime in the next week would be a great time to add supers. The sooner, probably the better. Some people use a queen excluder on top of the brood boxes (between the brood and super boxes) to keep the queen from laying eggs in the honey supers. This is the second season I won't be using the queen excluder because I believe it really slows the bees down when the honey is "flowing" because they have to struggle to get through the excluder if they enter their hive through the bottom entrance. Besides, if we are caging the queen(s) 21-25 days before harvesting, all the eggs, larva will have become pupa and all the pupa will have "hatched -out." AH - HA!!

If you see ants inside your hive you can get a kiddie swim pool, set bricks or dunnage inside the pool to set your hive up on and fill the pool with water - be sure to have rocks, moss or wood for the bees to land on so they don't drown right along with the honeybees.

I'm still getting phone calls from folks who have lost colonies to swarming so keep doing hive checks every 10-12 days and don't miss any queen cells!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I have had several calls and emails regarding the aggressiveness of our bees this year. I'm not sure why they are so much more aggressive. Perhaps they did not like the heavy rain we just recently had. What I am doing is smoking my bees several to five min. before I open the hive. Another trick I use is to spray them with sugar water or sprinkle a little powdered sugar on them. These are all good ways to distract them from your presence during hive checks. Wearing a bee suit is mandatory for our family!!

I have also had numerous people call asking for help because their bees swarmed. Dan and I coached Cameron on catching his swarm and he called back to say "It worked" so that's a story that ends well but most swarms are not caught and the colony that is left doesn't usually have enough time to build populations up for a maximum honey harvest.   I am completely out of queens and it will cost a pretty penny to get one this time of year. Probably around $50 because we live in Alaska where the weather is very unpredictable and the shipping is terrible. Continuing regular hive checks every 10 - 12 days and giving the bees plenty of "bee space" is the method we use to prevent swarms.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Swarm Season and Bee Space

Swarm season is upon us and I'm finding several swarm cells in each hive every 10-12 days when I complete my regular hive checks. As long as I'm seeing all four stages of the life cycle I go ahead and scrape off the queen cells. If I find I have a queen missing I will allow a queen cell to hatch out. Regular hive checks are vital to prevent swarming!

If you don't have both brood boxes on your hives, you're behind schedule. Make sure your bees have plenty of space in the way of empty cells for the queen to lay in. If your frames are full of honey, pollen and brood then give them another box to ensure the queens have room for new eggs. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014-2015 Science-Based Art Classes

Primary Science Explorers  10AM-12:00PM
Soar Through the Solar System 3:30-5:30PM

Human Body 3:30- 5:30PM

Primary Science Explorers  10AM - 12PM
Soar Through the Solar System 3:30-5:30PM

Human Body 3-5PM

Illustration and Graphic Design 11AM - 2PM

To view class syllabus and schedule, click on the buttons above.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Honeybee Update!

My husband, Dan, and I made our final beehive move at midnight last night. We moved one Carniolan colony in a Langstroth hive to another location in downtown Fairbanks and another Carniolan colony out to our homestead. I know the bees will be happy to have less winds and a little warmer weather to forage in. Since the weather forecast is for unseasonably cool weather, I will put a small square of pollen patty on top of the frames of each colony to ensure brood is able to continue to be laid and fed. This will allow population building to continue right up until the honey flow. Note that the greater the population of honeybees during the honeyflow (sometime between the end of June to the middle of August), the more jars of honey we will store on our shelves for winter! All of our hives have two brood boxes at this time and I will watch closely for queen cells, removing them if queen evidence is strong. I do still have two back-up Carniolan queens if anyone needs a new queen. I will probably swap locations of my brood boxes again (bottom on top & top on bottom) after this cold snap. Reducing entrances can continue to be helpful for cold nights. Everyone I talk to says this has been their best start to the beekeeping season and I concur!! Beekeeping Blessings!!