This week we are taking off the last of the honey and starting to feed our bees.
Because of the shorter days and cooler nights we are using Quebec style bee escapes
to clear the bees from the honey supers. We are now closing off the screened bottom
boards by installing the sliders and reducing the lower entrances. With the cooler
weather approaching we are installing mouse guards on the lower entrances to keep out
the little varmints that are looking for a warm dry place to call home.
September 14 , 2017
After I spin out the honey in my extractor I let the bees clean up the extractor.
I set the extractor on it's side out in the yard at least 100 metres from the
beeyard and let the bees rob out the honey. When they are done I rinse the extractor
with the garden hose. I also set out the empty honey frames so the bees can clean
them up. I always make sure there is a clear flight path between the extractor and
the beeyard and far enough from the shop that we won't be disturbed by the bees
buzzing around. One year I made the mistake of putting the extractor on the far
side of the yard so the bees had to fly over the shop to get back to the beeyard.
On their flight back and forth to the beeyard they decided to hang around the shop
where we were making candles and they could smell the sweet smell of beeswax.
Once the frames are extracted and cleaned up , I freeze the frames for two days
to kill any wax moth eggs that might be in the comb , before I store them for Winter.
Frames should be stored cool and dry , and safe from rodents and insects. Food grade
plastic storage totes with snap lids work well.
September 12 , 2007
We have a stretch of warm weather this week which is a good opportunity for
us to take off the honey. First we need to clear out the bees from the honey
supers. We install bee escapes between the brood boxes and honey supers ,
and wait a couple of days for the bees to clear out. We remove our inner
covers with the upper entrance , so the bees are forced to go down and
out the main entrance and can't come back into the honey supers.
Another way to take off the honey is to use the bump and run technique.
Another way is to remove a honey super from the hive and put the hive back
together , tip the honey super up on it's end and place it on the hive about
4-5 hours before dark. The bees will crawl into the hive overnight , I
then go back and remove the honey super first thing in the morning before
the bees have a chance to go back into the honey super. But most fun of
all is to put the honey super on the ground on it's end and blow the bees
out of the honey super with a gas powered leaf blower.
August 27 , 2017
Beautiful warm day in the beeyard today. Regular hive maintenance today.
Over the past few days we have been pulling frames of honey out of the hives.
Sitting in a plastic tote the honey cools off , to warm the honey so it will
spin out in the extractor , we leave the plastic totes in the car in the sun
for a few hours. Optimum temp. to extract honey is the temp. of a beehive.
August 16 , 2017
Nice warm day in the beeyard today , good day for hive inspections. Doin'
the same ol' thing , checking for honey bound brood boxes and mites on
drone frames. The hives are getting bigger and heavier each visit and
take a little longer to manipulate the boxes. Some hives are five boxes
high. Instead of removing full honey supers , I take a few full frames
out of each honey super to make the job easier.
Last year we changed over to medium brood boxes on most of our hives with
a few hives still have deep brood boxes. Today while inspection a hive with
two deep brood boxes I noticed the queen in the upper medium boxes, so I
isolated her in the upper boxes by using a queen excluder and in a couple
of weeks will remove the deep boxes from the hive.
August 10 , 2017
Nice warm sunny day in the beeyard today. Good day to inspect the beehives ,
and check drone frames for mites before freezing and check brood boxes
for honey bound conditions. The bees are bringing in lots of nectar and
light yellow pollen.
I had a very peculiar situation in one hive today. The hive was quiet and
noticeably less activity than during previous inspection. There was no eggs
or larvae in the hive. In the second brood box I noticed 2 supercedure
queen cells so I figured they had a plan in place and was not going to
disturb them. I put the hive back together and left it. As I was walking
away I looked back and noticed a whole whack of bees under the bottom board.
As it turns out , the queen ended up under the screened bottom and the bees
were building comb in the exact orientation as the frames above the screened
bottom , and the queen was laying eggs like crazy in those cells. So as not
to disturb the brood under the screened bottom , I turned the screened bottom
over and closed off the " large opening " that was now the lower entrance.
In time the queen will move up into the hive and the brood will emerge.
Once those cells are empty , I'll clean off the comb and return the screened
bottom to it's normal upright position.
August 1 , 2017
The varroa mite has co-existed with the honeybee for thousands of years,
and in all that time the female mite knows that the drone brood cycle
is longer than a worker cycle. The female might is able to lay more eggs
in a capped drone cell on drone larvae. By knowing this , we use drone
frames in our beehives as a non-chemical technique to monitor and control
mites. We place a drone frame in every brood box in position 3-4 depending
on the size of the brood nest. On the edge of the brood nest but not in the
middle. When the frame is 80% capped we remove the frame and scratch open
a few cells to monitor for mites , then we place the drone frame in the
freezer for 48 hours to kill any mites that may be hiding in the cells.
After 48 hours we put the frames back in the hive and let the bees clean
up the frames and re-fill them. We leave our drone frames in our hives
all year long. In the Fall , the bees will fill up the drone frames full
of honey for Winter stores. We are not able to open the hives until Spring ,
so by leaving the drone frames in the hives over Winter they are already
in the hives when the queen begins to lay eggs in late Winter and early
Spring. We check the drone frames during our first Spring hive
inspections and monitor and freeze as necessary.
July 28 , 2017
Nice warm sunny day in the beeyard today. Lots of very light clear
honey in the hives. Added some more honey supers on the strong
colonies today. Queens are laying lots of eggs. Checked to make sure
frames in position 1,2,9,10 in the brood boxes aren't full of honey.
BEEYARD ETIQUETTE AND HYGIENE - BIOSECURITY
To minimize the spread of pests and disease it is always a good idea
to wash protective clothing including gloves and tools , before
visiting someone's beeyard. But most important , ask first and plan
the visit. Not everyone is open to the idea of drop in visits.
July 15 , 2017
An absolutely picture perfect day for inspecting the beehives .
With the heat and moisture there is a honey flow on , so we
added honey supers to the strong hives. With the quantity of
nectar coming into the hives the queens have increased their
egg production , so we added extra brood boxes to the splits.
There were a few beekeepers coming in to the shop this week
expressing concerns about bearding on their hives. Bearding will
occur on the front of a beehive if the hive is hot and/or crowded.
It is important to make sure there is lots of ventilation in the
hive and that the brood boxes aren't honey bound. At this stage
of the summer the sliders should be removed from the screened
bottoms and there should be enough bees in the hive to be able
to defend a fully opened lower entrance. During our weekly
inspections we should be checking the outside frames in the
brood boxes to make sure they aren't full of honey. The bees
will store honey where there are open cells , so if we don't
put a honey super at the proper time (70% rule), they will store
the honey in the brood boxes. If the queen becomes honey bound
this will trigger the swarm response and they will build a queen
cell on the bottom of a frame. To alleviate the congestion we
replace the frames of honey with empty frames and put them in a
super that we add to the hive. We remove any swarm cells after
we have checked to make sure we still have a queen in the hive.
PATIENT NOT COMPLACENT.
In two cases the beekeepers were checking their hives on a weekly
basis but hadn't noticed a lot of progress week to week so they
left the hives for 3 weeks and discovered bearding and swarm cells.
A weekly inspection only takes a few minutes - we only check a
few frames to verify queen activity by the presence of eggs,
larvae and brood. A quick look at the outside frames of a brood
box to verify if the queen is honey bound or not. And we check
how many frames are full of bees or honey, using the 70% rule, to
determine if we require another box or not. A quick in and out
does not put a lot of stress on a beehive, but what it does is
give the beekeeper peace of mind knowing the status of the hive.
A lot can happen in a short time in a beehive and if we monitor
frequently we can catch problems , good or bad , before they
get out of control.
July 5 , 2017
Finally some good weather to open the hives and check the splits
I made a few weeks ago. Because of the poor weather some of the
virgin queens weren't able to go out to fly and mate. Those hives
I put back together using the newspaper combine technique. The
newspaper provides a delayed introduction so the bees get used
to each other before full integration.
After all that rain , there is a lot of moisture in the ground
and now with the heat, the flowering plants will now draw that moisture
up into the flowers providing lots of nectar. We put honey supers on
those hives that are ready. We use the 70% rule to determine when
to add additional boxes , no matter whether brood or honey. We check
our brood boxes to make sure the outer frames aren't full of honey.
When we find that the outer frames are full of honey , we move these
frames up into the honey supers and replace them with empty frames.
This will alleviate any congestion in the brood nest , providing the
queen with lots of room to lay her eggs and keep her from becoming
honey bound and keep her happy so she stays at home. We use all medium
boxes on our hives so that the frames are all the same size and can
be moved within the hive.
June 16 , 2017
Just a quick note about queens: we have received several
calls this week from desperate beekeepers looking for queens.
Seems as though they haven't been checking their hives on a
weekly basis and now discover that there is no queen in the
hive and haven't had a queen for a long time. So now there
is no brood in the hive , which means there is no nurse bees.
Introducing a mated queen into a hive with no brood or nurse
bees has a very low success rate. Without nurse bees there
are no bees to take care of the eggs that the new queen will
lay. If a beekeeper finds himself with a queenless hive with
no brood , it is recommended to transfer a frame of brood with
nurse bees from another hive before introducing a mated queen.
June 11 , 2017
A nice warm day in the beeyard today although a little windy.
Smoker not too effective with the wind gusts dispersing the smoke.
Today we checked several hives that were in the process of re-queening
on their own after we split some hives. We saw eggs and larvae which
were indicators that the virgin queens were able to mate successfully.
Natural brood break by splitting and letting them make their own queens
is another non chemical method way to deal with mites. Mites will die
off when there isn't any brood in the hive while re-queening.
May 28 , 2017
Full class today , good weather , bees were calm and gentle so all
the students had a good experience in the beeyard. Each student
has their own hive to perform a hive inspection. " Hands on "
is the best teacher.
May 27 , 2017
Another busy nuc pick up day today. Good weather to install bees in a hive.
May 22 , 2017
Today was the first bee class of the season. With poor weather in
the forecast we weren't sure if we could get out into the beeyard.
To our surprise it cleared up in the afternoon and the bees were
calm and gentle.
May 20 , 2017
Today is the first nuc pick up day of the season - we prepare
our nucs in vented wooden nucs boxes with screwed down lids -
no chance of any escapees on the trip home. Installing a nuc into
a hive body is a simple process - transfer frames into an empty
hive body into the middle of the hive in the same order that the
frames were in the nuc box. Fill in the empty space with frames ,
close up the hive and reduce the entrance so the bees can guard the
entrance. Check back in a couple of days to make sure the queen
survived the transport and transfer.
May 17 , 2017
Lots of dandelions out right now and the bees are bringing in
lots of bright yellow pollen and nectar.
May 10 , 2017
Checked our splits today to make sure the queens were accepted
into the hives and they have started to lay eggs. Usually takes
a few days for the queens to get going...
May 6 , 2017
Queens arrived this week , so we did our splits on Thursday.
Today we will introduce the new queens into the splits. We
like to leave the splits queenless for 48 hours so that the
pheromones from the original queen have dissipated and the
bees will accept the new queen.
APRIL 27 , 2017
Warm sunny day in the beeyard today , first opportunity to open
the beehives today. We removed hive top feeders , scraped burr comb,
reversed brood boxes , and installed entrance feeders. Typically,
through the Winter , the bees work their way up through the hive as
they consume their Winter stores. Once Spring arrives and the queen
begins her egg production , the colony is in the upper box near the
hive top feeder. Queens generally like to move up while they lay
their brood nest , so we reverse the boxes so she has lots of room.
Today , with the warm weather , we begin feeding the organic feed
supplement with THYMOL in the syrup with entrance feeders. The
lower entrance remains reduced and protected from critters. There
are a lot of drones in the hives and lots of pollen being gathered.
APRIL 21 , 2017
Cool and damp the past few days , today we refilled the hive top
feeders with 1:1 syrup. Hive wraps are still on.
APRIL 13 , 2017
Beautiful warm Spring day in the beeyard today - the bees are very
active. We are noticing light yellow pollen being gathered today. We
are cleaning out the old mouldy syrup from the hive top feeders and
replacing with fresh 1:1 syrup. The 1:1 syrup simulates a nectar flow
and stimulates the queen to increase egg production. Hives with active
queens should see an increase in bee population , while overwintered
queenless colonies should see a decline in bee population as the
Winter bees die off and the hives become empty.
APRIL 5 , 2017
Another warm day today , the bees are a buzzin' . We filled the hive
top feeders. The hives are active and the colonies are building in
numbers as the queens are laying eggs. We should be into our third
brood cycle by now.
MARCH 27 , 2017
Today is mild and what looks like the beginning of a nice warm spell.
We checked and filled our hive top feeders with 1:1 syrup today. The
nights are still cold so we will leave our winter wraps on the hives.
MARCH 19 , 2017
Warm sunny day in the beeyard today , we cleaned out some
old mouldy syrup and filled up the hive top feeders with fresh
syrup - 1:1 mix . This warm weather has the bees flying and
they are now just starting to bring in light beige almost white
pollen - maybe pussy willows are open somewhere in the
neighbourhood. Still cold at night so we will leave the winter
wraps on for another couple of weeks .
MARCH 7 , 2017
Today we filled up our hive top feeders , this mild weather has
the bees buzzin' and they are hungry. This is a critical time of
year , the colony is growing and there won't be flowers for months.
FEBRUARY 18 , 2017
Today we went out to the beeyard to check the hive top feeders and
switch over to syrup. In past years we have noticed the bees start
taking feed at the beginning of February , which is an indication that
the queens are starting to lay eggs and the colony is starting to build
up. Most hives were taking the dry sugar we had in the feeders and some
were almost empty.
JANUARY 14 , 2017
Today we checked our hive top feeders for sugar levels and
peeked down the feeder hole for activity. The warm weather
we have experience recently has us concerned about increased
bee activity causing the bees to eat more food. The other
concern with these fluctuations in temperature is moisture build
up. We keep our upper entrance open and facing down to vent any
moisture that might build up in the hive. While checking the hive
we like to take a long thin stick and clear away any dead bees
from the bottom board. If we see a lot of dead bees this might
indicate a dead out , a few dead bees will be normal as the Winter
bees begin to slowly die off, no dead bees is a good sign that
the bees are clustered and healthy.
For more info please
Prices effective March 1 , 2017
Subject to change without Notice.
Ontario Bee Supplies
2149 Quin Mo Lac Rd.
Tweed , ON.
K0K - 3J0