Friday, August 21, 2015

Science-Based Art Classes Cancelled for 2015-2016

Since I have been hired by IDEA as a full-time contact teacher, I will not be teaching Science-Based Art classes this year. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. I will continue to be an active member of the homeschool community in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Matrimony & Caging Queens

Hi Folks, Since my daughter got married last week I have neglected to blog for several weeks.
I will be caging queens tomorrow (8-6-15) if weather allows. The window for caging queens is now through the middle of Aug. depending on when you want to extract honey. Remember, it takes 21 days for worker brood to hatch out and 24 days for drones so 21-24 days after you cage your queen your hive will have no more eggs, larva or pupa and extraction is much cleaner and easier.  This has been a much better season than 2014 thanks to warmer weather. Most honey is darker this season, which I contribute to a shortage of rain in early to mid-summer. This decreases the amount of nectar flowers can produce (such as fireweed). When I cage my queens, I put a cork back in the queen cage hole and stick a thin piece of duct tape over the cork to discourage any royal Houdini tricks. Then I hang the queen cage in the middle of the hive between two frames ensuring the screen is not facing the foundation. I want to keep my caged queen alive as long as possible so the workers won't try as hard to create another queen. The screen of the queen cage must be facing open space between the frames.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Now Accepting Students for Fall 2015

Science-Based Art is now accepting students for the 2015 -2016 school year! To save your child's space, email Dawn Cogan at sciencebasedart@yahoo.com. Your child's name, grade and class title will be necessary. Space is limited (8 students per class) and available on a first come, first serve basis. Click on class titles above to view syllabus information.

2015 Class Schedule:

Literature-Based Art & Writing (Mon. 10 am-12 pm) 1st -3rd grades
Soar through the Solar System (Mon. 2:30 - 4:30 pm) 3rd - 8th grades

Scientific Method (Tues. 10 am-12 pm)
Beginning/Intermediate Art (Tues. 3-5 pm)

Animal Kingdom (Wed. 10 am-12 pm)  2nd - 4th grades
Creative Essay Writing (Wed 1-3 pm) 4th - 8th grades
Marine Marvels (Wed. 3:30-5:30 pm) 2nd - 4th grades


Animal Kingdom (Thurs. 10 am-12 pm)  2nd - 4th grades
Marine Marvels (Thurs. 1-3 pm) 2nd - 4th grades

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adding Supers!

Hi Folks, I am adding my supers a bit early this season for three reasons:
1) Raspberries and fireweed have bloomed early this year and are prolific.
2) When checking my hives yesterday I discovered multiple honey frames in the top box already.
3) My queens need more space as most frames have eggs, larvae, pupae, or honey in them.


This is promising to be a great honey season despite all the smoke!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Help for the Bees During the Heat

One way to help the bees keep their hives cooler is to place a 10-penny nail diagonally across the two front corners of the hive. I have done several hive checks in the past week and found that people haven't placed an entrance in their inner cover. This causes poor ventilation and doesn't allow the bees to enter and exit the hive from the top, cutting down on productivity.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bee Space!!

This week I found my own hives as well as several others I looked at packed with bees so I added more space by putting a super on. My hunch is that the honey flow will be early this year as some plants are flowering sooner than usual such as the raspberries.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Slow Brood Process During Colder Weather

Several new beekeepers have emailed or called stating they have noticed a decrease of brood activity in their colonies. This is very highly likely because of the cooler weather we've had. Queens slow down in cooler weather. If anyone needs a new queen you can call Monte at  (907)490-3126. I am out of queens for the season. Another option is to go to: http://www.koehnen.com/
You can order a queen and have it express mailed up to Alaska. This company comes highly recommended by Steve Victors. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and blue skies next week.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Summer Camps 2015

Each camp is Monday through Friday. Students need to bring a sack lunch, rain gear and a light summer jacket. Two healthy snacks will be provided each day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).
Cost: $350 - All materials are included!

2nd-4th Grades:
June 1st – 5th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm)
(one space available)
Students will enjoy a full day of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors.

5th - 6th Grades:
June 8th-12th, 2015: Backyard Science (9 am-5pm)
(four spaces available)
Fifth and sixth graders will become expert junior scientists as they use the scientific method to explore and experiment with scientific phenomenon.

7th - 12th Grades:
June 15th – 19th, 2015: Creative Writing Photography (9 am-5pm)
(five spaces available)
Junior High and High School Students will be inspired in creative writing and take photos to create art from their own photographs. This week will be full of creative writing, photography tips, and fine art.

2nd-4th Grades: 
June 22nd –26th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm)
(This camp is now full. Students registered after 11AM on 5/14/15 will be placed on a wait list)
Students will enjoy five full days of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors.

Registration Form

Thursday, May 21, 2015

No More Sugar Water!

I have pulled all of my feeders and replaced them with brood frames. This will give my queens more space for laying eggs. I don't want my bees to be lazy and avoid foraging for nectar. Anyone who feeds their bees sugar water after this point will have honey made from refined sugar rather than local nectars.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

First 30 Days of a Honeybee's Life

This is the first 30 days of a bee's life in a 60 second video! Thanks to Ginny Kinney for this!!

http://twistedsifter.com/videos/first-21-days-of-bees-life-condensed-into-60-seconds/

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Remove Outer Insulation/Queen Checking

My hives no longer look like tinfoil cubes! I have removed the outer insulation and stored it nearby Just in case the weather drops below freezing. I also did a thorough hive check on each colony. Unfortunately, one of my Italian queens was missing half of her middle, right leg. I could tell because I watched her for about five minutes and her gate was uneven as she wobbled across honeycomb. Two other indicators of my "queen problem" were several active queen cells in the larva stage and a brood pattern that wasn't as full as my other colonies. Because I had a Carniolan queen banked in this hive I smashed the Italian queen, after apologizing to her first, and performed a quick release on the Carniolan. This was done by removing the plug on the queen cage and placing it on top of the frames. Within a couple minutes, she crawled out of the cage and down inbetween the frames. If this queen had been new to the colony I would have hung it in the hive for s3-5 days before doing a slow release with a marshmallow. This would help the colony adjust to the pheromones of the new queen. I will check this colony in four to five days to see if any new eggs have been layed and how full the pattern of eggs is. If the new queen performs, within a couple months, this colony will be completely Carniolan.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer Camps 2015

Each camp is Monday through Friday. Students need to bring a sack lunch, rain gear and a light summer jacket.
Cost: $350 - All materials are included!

2nd-4th Grades:
June 1st – 5th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm)
(one space available)
Students will enjoy a full day of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors.

5th - 6th Grades:
June 8th-12th, 2015: Backyard Science (9 am-5pm)
(four more spaces available)
Fifth and sixth graders will become expert junior scientists as they use the scientific method to explore and experiment with scientific phenomenon.

7th - 12th Grades:
June 15th – 19th, 2015: Creative Writing Photography (9 am-5pm)
(five more spaces available)
Junior High and High School Students will be inspired in creative writing and take photos to create art from their own photographs. This week will be full of creative writing, photography tips, and fine art.

2nd-4th Grades: 
June 22nd –26th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm)
(This camp is now full. Students registered after 11AM on 5/14/15 will be placed on a wait list)
Students will enjoy five full days of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors.

Registration Form

Reduce Inner Insulation/Giving More Brood Space

This afternoon I will remove the inner insulation (follower boards) from my hives. I will leave the outer insulation on as temperatures are still a bit low. When I replace the follower boards with frames I spray bare foundation with sugar water to entice my bees to get to work building new honeycomb on them. Here's a couple sites to explore:

http://www.honeybeesuite.com/follower-boards-in-a-langstroth-hive/

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2010/03/what-is-follower-board.html


My entrance will be changed to the middle size (anywhere from one to several inches in width). I check the weather report daily to see if I need to switch back to the smallest entrance in the evening.



Friday, May 8, 2015

Time to add more space/Feeding/Ant problems

I am adding a second brood box to all my hives this weekend. I like to add the new box to the bottom since heat rises and I want the brood to stay warm. When it is warm enough the queen will drop down and begin laying in the bottom frames. After she lays in several frames in the bottom box and weather is more consistent, I switch the boxes putting the top box on the bottom and the bottom on the top. This divides the nest a bit which entices the bees to work harder at drawing out comb and getting the brood in both boxes connected into one large nest. Sugar water feeding is still needed until dandelions appear. If you happen to have ant problems get a kiddie pool and set up the hive in the middle of the pool. put water in the pool (not too deep as you don't want to drown your honeybees).

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Weather Looks Great for Honeybees/Pollen/Entrance Reducing

Our bees have more pollen right now than they can possibly gather! I am not feeding pollen patties to my bees at this time. What's most important is giving them sugar water until the nectar arrives. They have to have flowers to forage for nectar. The first sign of this is dandelions. As soon as I see dandelions, I pull my feeders replacing them with frames. Another way we can help our bees at this time is by pulling the entrance reducers during the day and replacing them on the smallest entrance before it gets under 40* in the evening.

Interior Alaska Extended Weather Forecast

http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/fairbanks/ext

Inbreeding Avoidance in Honeybees

How Does a Honey Bee Queen Avoid

Inbreeding in Her Colony?

UPPSALA UNIVERSITY

Matthew Webster and Andreas Wallberg at Uppsala University, have studied
recombination in honeybees.
 Credit: Petra Korall

Recombination, or crossing-over, occurs when sperm and egg cells are formed and segments of each chromosome pair are interchanged. This process plays an crucial role in the maintanance of genetic variation. Matthew Webster and Andreas Wallberg at the Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University, have studied recombination in honey bees. The extreme recombination rates found in this species seem to be crucial for their survival.

Like other social insects, honey bees live in colonies consisting mainly of closely related members of the worker caste. High genetic diversity among the workers is important for the whole colony's survival. There are several theories as to why: for example, a genetically variable workforce may be best equipped to perform the diverse tasks required in the colony, and diverse colonies may also be less susceptible to disease. But how can the queen, the colony's only fertile female, prevent inbreeding and maintain genetic variation?

The queen bee solves the problem in two ways. One is through polyandry. She mates with a score of drones and uses their sperm to fertilize the eggs randomly so that workers often have different fathers. The second is through extremely high rates of recombination.

By sequencing the entire genome of 30 African honey bees, the research team has been able to study recombination at a level of detail not previously possible. The frequency of recombination in the honey bee is higher than measured in any other animal and is more than 20 x higher than in humans.

Recombination affects how efficiently natural selection can promote favorable genetic variants. In line with this, the researchers have found that genes involved in the new adaptations to the environment in honey bees also undergo more recombination. But recombination is not entirely risk free.

"Recombination is not only beneficial for bees. When parts of chromosomes broken and exchanged, errors can sometimes occur during their repair due to a process called "GC-biased gene conversion", says Matthew Webster.

This process leads to gradual fixation of mutations that may be harmful to the honeybee. Although a similar process occurs in humans, it is more than ten times stronger in honeybees. Over time, recombination is expected to lead to a deterioration of the gene pool, a process that seems to have accelerated in bees. The extreme recombination rates - crucial for maintaining genetically diverse honey bee colonies - come with a high price.

"There are no free lunches. Not even for a honey bee", says Matthew Webster.

American Bee Journal Beekeeping Classes Calendar

http://www.americanbeejournal.com/site/epage/79331_828.htm

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Looking for Queen Cells & Removing them.


Below are photos of various queen cells. As long as I find my queen, her pattern is full, 
and/or I find evidence of her laying eggs in the past day or two, I use my hive tool to scrape out the queen cells. This will keep my colony from swarming.




This is what a healthy brood pattern looks like!


 
A healthy brood pattern has queen evidence in nearly every cell. 




This is an amazing queen pattern, an excellent example of the pupa stage. The huge oval in the middle shows that this queen is doing her job!
There is a "rainbow" of pollen above the pupa pattern and honey in the corners and around the edges of this frame. The honey acts as insulation and protects the unborn bees from other animals.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Check your sugar syrup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Folks, I went out to grab an extra queen for someone and discovered my sugar feeders are completely empty after only three days. I am re-filling my sugar feeders sooner than ever before so that my bees have plenty amino acids, etc. to get them through until local nectar arrives.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Feeding Honeybees in the Spring

I try not to let my sugar H2O run out, especially if I hived my bees on bare foundation. I mix up a fresh batch of sugar water every 4 days and just lift the lid off of each hive to fill the sugar feeder (in the afternoon when temperature = 50* or higher) I will check for queen activity this weekend (4/24/15 - 4/26/15). At that time I will be holding frames up to peer into the back of wax cells to hopefully find eggs that look like small grains of rice or larva. These are both sensitive to sunlight so don't leave them out of the hive for too long. Just take a peek and place them right back inside the hive. Keep feeding sugar water for a several weeks.

Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Beekeeper's Calendar

2015 Beekeeper’s Calendar
For Alaska’s Interior
By Dawn Cogan of Science-Based Art of Alaska, LLC

This is my tentative schedule for beekeeping in Interior Alaska for 2015.  These dates and activities are subject to change depending on the weather and unforeseen circumstances.  Regardless, I will be posting weekly updates on my blog: http://sciencebasedart.blogspot.com/ 

DO NOT USE QUEEN EXCLUDERS WITH SUPERS THAT HAVE BARE FOUNDATION!  
The bees will treat the excluder as a “ceiling” and will rarely if ever draw-out the honeycomb. 
Add queen excluder(s) three weeks prior to extraction so all the brood will hatch out before harvesting and extracting.

April 18th: Honeybees arrive at 605 Betty Street (next to Monroe Catholic School on the gym side of the school).
April 24th - 26th: 1st Queen check (50* or warmer) Looking for eggs & larva (Do not look for queen because it is probably too cold) If you find no eggs, check again in three days. Do not let sugar water run out! Keep filling feeder(s).
May 8th - 10th : Perform a complete hive check. You should see brood in all stages (eggs, larva, and pupa) If you still do not find eggs, either call an experienced beekeeper or if you are absolutely positive there are no eggs or larva present, purchase a new queen and slowly release her (using a marshmallow like the original hiving).  If you find cells with several eggs on the cell wall – dump your colony & kill your bees.  If you find several eggs at the bottom of cells, it is o.k.
May 20th – 23rd: Perform a complete hive check. You should have several frames of brood (eggs, larva & pupa) and few cells should be empty.  If the brood pattern is “spotty”, or you find many empty cells, something is wrong!  You should either re-queen or unite your colony with another colony - (After killing the “spotty” queen).  Your bees are not getting enough food if they have no stored sugar water or no pollen in cells.  One good indication of this is if your bees are running over the frames, “shaking.”  If this is the case, feed them sugar water as well as frames with stored honey.  If you find eggs and emerging adult bees (being born) but no larva, then your hive is suffering from a lack of pollen stores.  In this case, give your bees a pollen patty (room temperature).  We may need to remove sugar feeders.  Make sure to keep any grasses, etc. cut short in front of hive entrance.
June 2nd – 4th: Perform a complete hive check. – Look for sugar water and pollen stores.  Look for all stages of brood.  Remove sugar water feeders as long as local plants are blooming and sugar stores are well-stored! Swarm prevention time!! – If you know your queen is healthy & laying from the evidence of eggs, larva and pupa, kill any “swarm cells/queen cells.”  If your queen is “honeybound” (has very little empty cells to lay in) then you need to reverse your hive bodies and add a super.  Depending on the weather, you may need to turn or take your entrance reducer out completely by now.  Make sure to keep any grasses, etc. cut short in front of hive entrance.

*Remember: Queen cells are usually on the sides and bottom of frames – take your time, move slowly as you check for queen cells.  Sometimes it’s easy to miss them!  If you miss one, your hive is in danger of swarming!! Keep removing queen cells every 10-12 days.  Demaree handout is a good tool at this time. 

June 14th – 16th: Perform a regular hive check.  Make sure to keep any grasses, etc. cut short in front of hive entrance.
June 26th – June 28th: Perform a regular hive check.   Keep entrance free of weeds and grass!
July 8th – 10th: Perform a regular hive check.  Add supers Keep entrance free of weeds and grass!
July 20th – 22nd: Perform a regular hive check.   You could add your excluder now if you plan on harvesting and extracting honey on or after August 15th. Keep entrance free of weeds and grass!
August 1st - August 3rd: Perform a regular hive check. Keep entrance free of weeds and grass! Add supers Keep entrance free of weeds and grass! Cage queens on hive(s) not being wintered-over! Make sure the cork is well secured and hang the queen between two frames.  (Make sure queen can be fed through the screen of the little queen box).  
August 13th - August 15th: Perform regular hive check. Keep entrance free of weeds and grass!
August 23rd  – September 1st: Extract honey and give “sticky” frames back to bees. 
September – To the end: Give bees sugar water so they will draw out any bare foundation frames.
September (a few days to 1 week after giving bees sticky frames):  In early morning or later afternoon (cool temps 35*-40*), Shop-vacuum bees and dump in compost.

Finally- Store your equipment by putting your queen excluder on top of your bottom board to discourage mice from entering and eating any left-over honey, pollen stores, or destroying next season’s wax!!  Cover up any holes in the hive with fine, mesh screen (staple).  Leave your hive outside on foundation bricks or some sort of elevated surface to discourage spring water damage.  Ratchet-strap hive together from top to bottom.  

HONEYBEES 2015

A new beekeeping season is upon us. Those of us who have ordered bees from Steve Victors of Alaska Wildflower Honey are scheduled to pick up our bees tomorrow, Saturday, April 18th around 5P.M. at 605 Betty Street.

Things I do before the bees arrive tomorrow:

Store my equipment indoors
Prepare sugar water (1:1 ratio)
Prepare hive location
Have a chemical-free spray bottle filled with sugar water ready
Have a pollen patty ready

I will have free mini-marshmallows available.
Pollen patties will also be available for sale tomorrow.

The 2015 Beekeepers calendar  will be posted this evening.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

About Our Instructors:





Kaylee graduated from homeschool with 23 UAF credits in 2013. She is currently attending Bryan College in Dayton, TN to obtain her Bachelor’s in English with a certification in Elementary Education. She loves working with children and wants to share her gifts in music, writing, photography and art with her students.








Dawn Cogan founded Science-Based Art in 2010. She is graduating from UAF on May 10, 2015 with certification in elementary education. As an experienced homeschooler, Dawn has developed a passion for teaching life sciences across disciplines and through hands-on activities. 



Each camp is Monday through Friday. Students need to bring a sack lunch, rain gear and a light summer jacket.
Cost: $350 - All materials are included!

2nd-4th Grades:
June 1st – 5th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm) 
Students will enjoy a full day of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors. 

5th - 6th Grades:
June 8th-12th, 2015: Backyard Science (9 am-5pm) 
Fifth and sixth graders will become expert junior scientists as they use the scientific method to explore and experiment with scientific phenomenon. 

7th - 12th Grades:
June 15th – 19th, 2015: Creative Writing Photography (9 am-5pm) 
Junior High and High School Students will be inspired in creative writing and take photos to create art from their own photographs. This week will be full of creative writing, photography tips, and fine art. 

2nd-4th Grades:
June 22nd –26th, 2015: Botany, Bugs, and Birds (9 am-5pm) 

Students will enjoy five full days of music, literature-based art, and explorations through math and science. Curiosity will abound as we bring the classroom into the outdoors. 
     
To register, go to: 
Registration Form


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