This past week we used some Quebec Style Bee Escapes to clear the bees out of
some honey supers on a couple of our biggest hives. The bee escapes work well
when the boxes are full. Otherwise , we use the " bump and run " technique to
take out a few frames at a time from each honey super. We follow the 10% rule
when extracting - never more than 10% uncapped cells - that way we keep the
moisture content low to prevent the honey from fermenting.
We noticed the wasps are hanging around the hives these days , good idea to
reduce down the main entrance to prevent robbing. Screened bottoms are still
open so there will be lots of ventilation.
Key to success with extracting is temperature , not speed.
When extracting honey it is important to keep the honey at 93 F so that the
honey will spin out easily. If the honey is too cool , it will be too thick to
spin out. Letting the honey frames sit in a hot car for awhile will warm them up.
When we are finished extracting, we set the extractor outside so the bees can
clean up the extractor for us. It is important not to leave the extractor in
the beeyard, which might trigger a robbing frenzy. We set the extractor a few
hundred meters away from the hives , so that there is a buffer zone.
AUGUST 29 , 2019
When I bought my first hive , so many years ago , the oldtimer told me to take
my honey off before Labour Day. So here we are , the week before Labour Day ,
and I am putting on my bee escapes on a few of my big hives in preparation
for pulling some honey supers. The goldenrod is everywhere and there is a
flow on , so better get busy. I have several big hives with 6 boxes on them ,
too tall to add another super so we'll pull off a box or two of honey , and
add another super.
AUGUST 15 , 2019
We have had some dry weather recently which has slowed down honey production.
Some beekeepers are anxious to take off honey but like all things in life , it
is all about balance. We have to be careful not to take too much honey this
time of year in case there is a dearth. We must leave some honey in the hive
to maintain a healthy colony. Queens will also reduce their egg production if
the amount of nectar coming into the hive declines.
We have been receiving lots of calls recently from beekeepers reporting swarms.
This is not a good time of year to experience an overcrowded swarm. Losing half
the bees , half the honey and a good queen can put the hive at risk of not being
ready for Winter. There is not much time left for a colony to recover before the
weather turns cool and the nectar sources dry up. This emphasizes the importance
of performing weekly hive inspections. Just putting another box on top or cutting
off a queen cell won't prevent a swarm. We have to alleviate the overcrowded
conditions in the brood boxes, that triggered the swarm response in the first place.
It takes 16 days to raise a queen. Noticing a hive preparing to swarm is an
indication that the beekeeper wasn't paying attention two weeks previous.
JULY 20 , 2019
During our weekly inspections we are checking for the usual conditions in the hive,
eggs, larvae, brood to indicate queen activity. Making sure there is room up top
for the bees to store honey and maintaining room in the brood boxes to allow space
for the queen to do her job. We also check the drone frames and remove and freeze
as necessary to kill varroa mites. Non chemical mite control.
JULY 15 , 2019
Performing our weekly inspections , trying to keep ahead of the bees this time of
year. Lots of nectar coming into the hives , the bee populations are strong.
Checking for eggs , larvae and brood. Adding boxes on the hives , following
the 70% rule. Being ever so vigilant that the queen doesn't get honey bound.
During these hot, humid days some hives have some bearding on the front. Very
important this time of year to have screened bottoms and front entrances open.
It is also important to maintain the same number of frames in each box of a
beehive. We use 10 frames in brood and honey , when we look into the top of
the hive we can see through the space between the frames all the way to the
bottom. This provides good air flow and allows the bees easy movement within a hive.
JUNE 22 , 2019
Nice warm sunny day today , although , a little windy. A bit of a challenge to get
the smoke to go where we want it. We blow our smoke downwind and let the wind
help it go where we need it. This Spring our nucs arrived on deep frames and we
only use medium frames in our hives for both honey and brood. We put medium
boxes on our hives awhile ago with the hope the queen would move up. Today we
are installing queen excluders to isolate the queen in the medium box. Once all
the brood has emerged from the lower deep brood box , we will remove it from
the hive and continue on the rest of the season with mediums. This is one of the
only times we use queen excluders in a hive.
JUNE 12 , 2019
Performing hive inspections the past few days has been challenging. Cooler
weather with rain. The dandelions have finished and the lilacs are fading ,
not much nectar coming in lately, although three different kinds of pollen.
The colonies are slowly building up. We are pulling drone frames, checking
for mites and freezing for two days. During each hive inspection we are
looking for eggs , larvae and brood in the hives as well as , making sure
there are no frames of honey crowding the queen. Any frames of honey in
the brood boxes get moved up into the honey supers. We are adding boxes
to hives when the lower boxes are 70% full.
May 25 , 2019
This is always an exciting time , many suppliers have nucs in stock and all
the Newbees are starting their new adventure. Lots of natural forage available
right now. Installing a nuc is a simple yet critical process, care has to be
taken not to damage the queen while moving the frames from the nuc box to the
hive body. Once the nuc is installed and the extra frames placed on both sides
to fill in the box the adventure begins. We follow the 70% rule - add the next
box when the previous box is 70% full. We follow this technique with brood and
honey. Always a good idea to check your hive about 3 days after installing the
nuc, to make sure the queen is healthy and laying eggs. Feeding is beneficial
if starting out with empty frames. The 1:1 syrup will help the bees build comb
on the empty frames and stimulate the queen to lay eggs.
May 22 , 2019
Warm and sunny in the beeyard today. Lots of nectar and pollen coming into
the hives today. Dandelions are everywhere , and there are lots of flowering
bushes and trees. Screened bottoms and main entrances are wide open.
There are lots of drones in the hives available for mating with queens,
which makles it a good time to perform splits the natural way.
EQUALIZATION OF BEE COLONIES
Over the past few weeks we have received several questions regarding how to
deal with weak hives alongside strong hives. The simplest technique to equalize
the population in beehives is to switch the location of the weak hive with a
strong hive. Wait until mid-afternoon when most of the foragers have gone out
to work and physically switch the beehives. When the foragers return home, the
weak hive will now be in the location of the strong hive and, the foragers will
boost the population of the weaker hive. With the increase in population , the
queen should increase her egg laying since there will be more food coming in to
the hive. This technique is simple yet effective with very low risk.
No manipulation of frames, so no chance of damaging or misplacing queens.
May 11 , 2019
Not the best day to be in the beeyard today , but it is important to keep
an eye on the bees this time of year. Every overwintered colony wants to
swarm in the Spring ( reproductive swarm ). Very important to monitor the
bee colonies, looking for queen cells. Once we see a queen cell that is
capped, we perform our split and move over the capped queen cell into the
split. We wait until the queen cell is capped for two reasons. Firstly, it
gives a reference of the time frame - queen cell capped on day 7 or 8.
Secondly , it is safer to move the queen cell once it is capped.
We let the bees tell us when they are ready , the colony won't make a
queen cell until the conditions are favourable for success. ie: the weather
has been right so that there is lots of natural forage available and the
population in the hive is big enough to be able to survive after the split.
I am not a big fan of buying queens , I prefer to propogate the good genetics
of a proven queen. We encourage beekeepers to use the resources they already
have. Hobbyist beekeepers aren't so concerned with honey production , so no
hurry to replace queens , let nature do its work under a watchful eye.
May 5 , 2019
Beautiful day in the beeyard today. Filled feeders and checked the hive for
eggs , larvae and brood. Colonies are building up nicely with lots of bright
yellow and pale yellow pollen coming in. Beehives are resource dependent -
the more food is coming into the hive - the more the queen lays her eggs.
We simulate a nectar flow to stimulate the queen. Feeding with 1:1 sugar.
Still cool at night so screened bottoms could still be closed up.
April 7 , 2019
Today was a nice warm sunny day to be in the beeyard. Today we performed
our Spring hive inspection. We cleaned out all the old , dead bees - scraped
old burr comb off the top of frames and inside inner cover. We reversed the
boxes and put on the entrance feeders. The bees are bringing in white pollen.
There is a lot of fresh eggs , larvae and brood in the hive.
March 7, 2019
It has been a hard cold Winter, and with warmer weather on the horizon
we have an opportunity to go out to the beeyard. Make sure that both
entrances are clear and the hive has good air flow. We use hive top
feeders in our hives so we will check the syrup levels. The queens have
been laying since the beginning of February so we should see an increase
in the population which puts more demands on food reserves. This is a
critical time of year , as the hive builds up there is a long stretch
before the first Spring nectar. If the hive is running out of Winter
stores , feeding becomes essential.
For more info please
Prices effective January 1 , 2019
Subject to change without Notice.
Ontario Bee Supplies
2149 Quin Mo Lac Rd.
Tweed , ON.
K0K - 3J0