Apiarians guide… Bee education and the game of telephone.

BY WILLIAM R. KELSE7. C-‘ 1847 TREATISE ON THE CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT OF BEES.

” No branch, perhaps, of agricultural or rather rural occupation, has been

so neglected in this country as bee culture. Wherever it has been at

tempted with care it has always proved profitable ; but many who engage in

this business, abandon it, — for the reason that the bee is left to be its own pro-

tector against its many enemies, but more particularly against its common

enemy the bee moth.*” — Report of H. L- Ellsworth, Commissioner of Patents— p. 313.

That the above remarks are true no person who of late

years has had any experience in (he management of bees can

deny: and while many and constant experiments have been

made by apiarians to overcome the natural obstacles to their

success, it is somewhat surprising that an efficient and certain

remedy for their difficulties was not sooner discovered and

brought into general use.

Although the number of bee culturists in the United States

at the present time far exceeds that of any former period, and

notwithstanding the number of persons ordinarily considered

as keen observers in all common business affairs whereby

“a penny may be earned or gained,” one cannot be less sur-

prised, nor but regret that more attention has net been paid to

tho economy of bees — the dangers to which they are subject-

ed, and the causes of the apparent anomalies which are so

frequently exhibited in their ordinary management,

Even at the present day when some fifty or sixty volumes

have been written upon the subject of bees, and frequent com-

munications from practical apiarians have been widely dif-

fused bv means of the highly interesting and valuable agri-

cultural journals published in the different parts of the Union,

and a mass of light and instruction has been shed abroad

upon the subject, there are almost as many opinions among

the mass of bee culturists in regard to the best modes of

rearing and managing them, and also as to the sex, offices and

functions of the different members of the respective bee com-

munities as there has bgen authors upon the subject. But in

the main, one writer has generally followed the assertions of a

preceding one, and the mass of true and useful information

that has been published is so mixed up with error, and the

results of pretended observation, as to be of little or no benefit

to the mass of readers, who take assertions for facts without

reflection, — even were it easy to distinguish and sift out that

which is reliable from that which is theory.

As I have neither the time nor the desire to ”play the

Author,” I shall briefly state some few facts in regard to the

subject, trusting that they will be received by apiarians, rather

as memoranda, than as a distinct and orderly Treatise.

though I shall not attempt to confine myself to the theo-

ries or vagaries of any particular author, it, would be ungene-

rous in me to refrain from acknowledging my indebtedness

to the work published in England by Edward Bovan, Esq.,

from which I shall make a few quotation where I deern it

adyjeaioje; not because of the originality or novelty of hi«

ideas, but of the conciseness and perspicuity of the language.

The work referred to, like most others on the subject, although

containing much important matter, is so iumbered up with

the idea?, writings and qimlations of others, and contains so

:xj,?ny opinions of distinguished ‘•’ scientific” men, as to be of

comparatively little use {or practical purposes.

I will simply rem’ark that very little that can be relied

upon in regard to the subject is known from recent reliable ob-

servations. These explanations as published, have principally

been handed down from one writer to another for several ge-

nerations or centuries, with no change except a greater minuteness

in description perhaps, than the preceding one hail

ventured to give, although every writer quotes his previous au-

thor, very little is claimed as the result of his own observation

or even on “good authority.” WILLIAM R. KELSEY.

 

 

 

when I read this it was a light bulb moment…

This has been every thing I have been thinking about lately. I recently was attending school for nursing. It ended abruptly due to the bureaucratic gate keepers utilizing a sudden death method of ridding their programs of “undesirables” as I was not an desirable and I’ll leave you to fill in the playing field leveling group utilizing the alphabet, I suffered the sudden death of my education due to the cancer of APA. For those of you not familiar with APA it is a method of writing which annotates and gives credit to previous authors. When we utilize ideas, theory’s and supposed facts you have to thank the latest person to play the telephone game. We were required to find essays and papers that were no older than 5 years old. What we students were seeing was that some medical fact had been discovered in the early 1970’s then authors had been going back and re quoting and retelling and identifying the last person who played telephone game as well as the original researchers. How many thousands of dollars were being used to retell some fact, by paper writers, so it could be useful today.

We were told that students do not have original ideas, we were only building on original ideas of our betters. So we had to engage in the cancer which is APA and telephone game of medical the ideas and facts.

Yes I’m going to pull this back to bee keeping, my “its not fair” rant has an educational purpose…

We in bee keeping tend to do similar problematic re quoting and re teaching of Bee facts and bee science “But in the main, one writer has generally followed the assertions of a preceding one, and the mass of true and useful information that has been published is so mixed up with error, and the results of pretended observation, as to be of little or no benefit to the mass of readers,who take assertions for facts without reflection, — even were it easy to distinguish and sift out that which is reliable from that which is theory. “WILLIAM R. KELSEY.

All Bee keeping is rural.  centralized planning for beekeeping will never work. I believe it is the switched on local beekeepers as a group who will end up solving our latest bee BOOGIEMAN. mites suck… but if you look at the text you will find that the wax moth was their biggest boogyman… and they solved it… but it took entirely too much time to change it. he quotes… “very little that can be reliedupon in regard to the subject is known from recent reliable ob-servations. These explanations as published, have principallybeen handed down from one writer to another for several ge-nerations or centuries, with no change except a greater minutenessin description perhaps, than the preceding one hail ventured to give, although every writer quotes his previous au-thor, very little is claimed as the result of his own observationor even on “good authority.” WILLIAM R. KELSEY.

I would challenge you the local bee keeper to start recording the “days and times” of your apiary. I too am guilty of not permanently recording info from each hive. I write on the lids of my colonies and it rarely gets transcribed in to the spreadsheets of the business… sigh.. get your bee journal going record this stuff… its the only way we’re going to empiricly prove what manipulations and created beekeeping equipment works for you locally. And then for heavens sakes publish it … vanity publishing a book, ebook, on a podcast, or facebook or on a rock like the 10 commandments… just record it..

For the full rant… listen to my podcast here…

https://anchor.fm/dennis-douglas/episodes/Discussion-on-the-forward-of-the-Treatise-on-the-culture-and-management-of-bees-an-ebook-from-1817-e3j18e?fbclid=IwAR0ZZ4nQeqG4MlHuJrJP2u0XZOieFYeL_MY60SN1rcg38K4A1buKif3q2wQ

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Honey for sale…

$10 for 500 ml of strained raw Western Canadian Honey

please contact: fatbeehoneyranch@gmail.com   for delivery in the medicine hat area.

Or see our honey at: Trail-side Gas Station in Walsh, AB or Blondie’s Green House in Dunmore, AB

 

Featured Business

by CraftyPratts

Occasionally we feature some of our prized customers, but this week I’d really like to feature somebody who is getting some business from us and doing a great job. Amanda Pratt is helping repair some of my bee suits. Nobody told me that washing machines eat zippers and we constantly wash our bee suits as we work in them and they get very dirty. When I told Amanda of my plight she said no problem bring them in to me and I’ll put some Velcro on the zipper area. Since I was in the military I do know how to sew as I had to sew on my own patches and rank. I also made a tiny little profit as an entrepreneur sewing on patches and rank for those who I served with. I’m no stranger to a sewing machine either. But there comes a time when you value somebody else doing a job which they are uniquely qualified for and have an Artistic Touch. That’s why I’m glad that Amanda helps me with my bee suits. So we here at Fat Bee Honey Ranch want to thank Amanda for keeping us and the bees separated buy thin strip of Velcro. Thank you Amanda come visit her Etsy shop as she has some other items which she sells

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/CraftyPratts?ref=search_shop_redirect

Browse unique items from CraftyPratts on Etsy, a global marketplace of handmade, vintage and creative goods.

Buds and Blooms: ‘Bee’ kind to our pollinators

Plants with a long flowering season assure the bees of a continuous food supply. Early spring flowers are a relief to bees that have been on a meager ration during winter. Having just one or two plants of a type, however bee-friendly it may be, does not serve the purpose. Instead, plant large patches of the same plant in an area, or have a mixed planting with a few selected bee favorites.

Here is a list of some beautiful flowers that attract bees.

Bee Balm (Monarda) — These aptly named North American natives deserve a place in every bee-friendly garden. They readily grow in most parts of the country and flower profusely through summer.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) — The cheerful Rudbeckia is another North American native popular with bees and other pollinators. These perennials are easy to grow and quickly establish themselves in sunny spots, performing well even in poor soil and dry conditions.

Stonecrop (Sedum) — These succulents with showy heads of tiny flowers are easy-care plants with neat habits. Once established, they thrive without much mollycoddling, making them the ideal choice for dry areas and lazy gardeners.

Goldenrod (Solidago) — It is quite natural for hordes of wild bees to throng to these herbaceous perennials that are native of the American continents. A feast of nectar and pollen await them in the tiny flowers that make up the golden yellow branching spikes.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja) — This flowering bush is a butterfly magnet as the name implies, but bees and other nectar lovers like hummingbirds find the long spikes of tiny, fragrant flowers equally attractive.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) — This perennial is guaranteed to draw bees and butterflies to your garden all through its flowering season extending from midsummer to late fall. The pink-purple flowers are used for preparing cold and flu remedies, so it is an additional reason to plant them in your garden.

Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium) — Although called a weed, the large pink and purple flower heads of the North American perennial is not only attractive to bees but looks spectacular in any garden that can accommodate them.

Lavender (Lavendula) — This aromatic plant of European origin is now popular in temperate regions around the world. Besides attracting bees, the pretty lavender blooms that come out from late spring to summer can perfume the home and garden and flavor your dishes.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) — One of the first flowers to appear in late winter to early spring, the snowdrops do not often wait for the snow to melt away. And the bees that have nearly emptied their winter reserves can hardly wait for their arrival.

Crocus (Crocus) — This is another early flowering bulb that can provide the much needed sustenance to bees. Coming out in jewel-like blues and purples and cheery yellows, these little flowers can have a great impact on the bees as well as the landscape.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) — Whether you plant this onion relative in your flowerbed or vegetable patch, bees would flock to its purple flower heads. This is a great choice for people who are allergic to the aster family of flowers but still want to welcome bees into their garden.

Sunflowers (Helianthus) — Sunflowers with their large central discs provide ample opportunity for bees to forage for nectar and pollen. You can grow native sunflower species almost anywhere in the country as long as they are planted after the last frost.

Roses — Bees are attracted to some roses, but not all. Single-petal roses and old-fashioned fragrant roses with open centres are what you should look for. If you can see the tuft of stamens at the centre of the flower clearly, they are visible to the bees too.

Catmint — Catmint is not just for cats. Bees are just as crazy about these fragrant flowers that cover the plant in summer and fall. The drought tolerant and deer resistant perennial is free-flowering and low-maintenance.

Cranesbills (Geranium) — These hardy geraniums with really long flowering season right from early spring until the frosty days of winter make them a winner in the bee garden.

Salvia (Salvia) — Salvias and bees are made for each other. Their tiny flowers on long spikes carry quite a bit of nectar to attract all the bees in the neighbourhood.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias uberose) — This perennial milkweed with yellow-orange flowers is native to North America and play host to the monarch butterfly larvae. But that doesn’t keep away the bees!

Common Heliotrope (Heliotropium) — This flowering plant with clusters of tiny, deep blue and purple, fragrant blooms held atop deeply veined foliage is a bee favourite. The vanilla scented flowers are a delight in any garden, but the plants are not cold hardy.

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) — Bees love these easy-care annuals that can be used to fill any unattended part of the garden with colour and life. The lacy leaves are just as pretty as the flowers that appear in loose spikes.

Blanket flower (Gaillardia) — These tough, drought-resistant plants with a profusion of daisy-like flowers can provide sustenance for bees in gardens many other flowers shy away from.

Not only these ornamentals but most fruit trees and herbs have flowers irresistible to bees. Keeping your garden free of pesticide and other chemical pollutants would go a long way in providing a safe haven for bees and other pollinators.

Let save the bees and “bee” friendly!

Recipes For Feeding Bees In Spring

Why should you feed? ALL Natural bee keepers who do not pull honey and do not harvest pollen some times have enough stores in the hive to last all spring. However those of us beekeepers who do harvest honey and pollen or live in an area with minimal pollen flow in the fall have the difficulty of not having enough stores In the hive to get the hive through the spring. Many beekeepers can easily tell if their hives have stores of honey. But what is usually missed going into winter and in pre-spring is pollen stores. Without stores of pollen adult bees become weak and there is little to feed the winter brood or available for the spring build up.

Reasons for Use:

Just to clarify a point. Pollen substitute patties or dry mix have NO pollen in them.

Why should you feed? Natural bee keepers who do not pull honey and do not harvest pollen some times have enough stores in the hive to last all spring. However those of us beekeepers who do harvest honey and pollen or live in an area with minimal pollen flow in the fall have the difficulty of not having enough stores In the hive to get the hive through the spring. Many beekeepers can easily tell if their hives have stores of honey. But what is usually missed going into winter and in pre-spring is pollen stores. Without stores of pollen adult bees become weak and there is little to feed the winter brood or available for the spring build up. If bees do not find pollen they become cannibalistic and eat their larva and eggs to survive. This causes a marked decline in population and a slower weaker hive coming in to summer. In our area of the world we have an extremely short beekeeping season. These breeds of bees are use to having 6 months or more of good weather and abundant flowers, thus pollen and necter in the spring, summer, fall. We have 2 and ½ flows in southern Alberta. And we find that more bee hives die out or struggle in the spring due to lack of flow in the spring. The first flowers are the maple tree, willow, and dandylion which usually come out in late May. Bees are out flying mid to late march. 2 and ½ months before pollen and nectar are available.

We must if we want health bees and big populations in the hive feed the hive in the spring. As an added bonus, bees in pollen or protein rich hives live longer, sometimes as much as 15 days longer. This creates a population explosion as there are a larger ratio of gathers and more bees to warm more area of brood. This adds to the overall hive health and the ability to produce and care for more bees both in winter and at spring buildup.

How much pollen or patties do you need? As a rule of thumb, one kilogram of pollen is needed for every one kilogram of bees (9,000 -10,000 bees). Near the same amount is needed in patties. Once you start supplying patties you must continue until natural pollen is available or the hive will decline and/or collapse. Check often for larva. How are patties working for you? Where to place your pollen substitute patties. In mid-February, remove hive cover and smoke the bees down below the top bars. The patty, flattened into a cake about l.5 cm (l/2 inch) thick, should be placed on the top bars directly over the center of the cluster. IT MUST BE PLACED WITHIN INCHES OF THE BROOD TO BE EFFECTIVE. This leaves the upper box available for grease patties and so on. How to use the pollen patty.T he top of the cake must be covered with waxed paper to prevent dehydration and hardening of the patty. The inner cover, when used, should be inverted with rim side down to provide space for the cake. New cakes should be added before the previous cakes are consumed. Feeding patties at seven to ten day intervals is generally satisfactory. Package bees should be fed in the same manner. Note: When natural pollen is available and the weather is suitable for foraging, the colony will not use the pollen substitute or supplement patties. However, in early spring and during any dearth periods, pollen supplements and substitutes will be readily taken up by the bees. Other forms of food. You can also make the supplement food in a thick liquid (like a milk shake thick) and pour into an in-hive division feeder. This allows more food to be available and with less manipulation. It is ideal for hives in more remote areas. There has been discussions on feeding other supplements (vitamins and oils) to bees.

Recipe for carbohydrate supplement food in a thick liquid

Serves: workers and brood
Prep time: 15 minutes
Allergy: none
Dietary: Vegetarian
Meal type: Carbohydrate Supplement Food
Misc: Pre- preparable
Occasion: Spring, Winter

Ingredients

  • Sugar to water (1:1) (spring mix) or your own honey and water (1:1)

  • vitamin C (if not using ascorbic acid)((1 teaspoon for every 6 cups of mixture) (helps stunt fermentation).
  • Honey Bee Healthy–1 tsp.per quart of heavy syrup.
  • Lemongrass Oil,
  • Spearmint Oil
  • Ground up Multivitamins: Sorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, d-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine HCL, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Calcium Lactate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Carbonate

Recently researched items: use at own risk…..

caffine. (1 redbull to 30 gal. Container)

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28349-plants-spike-nectar-with-caffeine-and-give-bees-a-buzz/?fbclid=IwAR0Bhjs2UacIDfzoR6UvldaxeXCxhDHSHDqe7fHMmr8QYb6rlONZIUpGpT0

Directions

  1. Put the the first three ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Take some vitamin C tablets and crush into a powder.
  3. Add one teaspoon of crushed vitamin C for every six cups of mix.
  4. Thoroughly combine the ingredients with an electric drill and paint paddle.

NOTE: The addition of vitamin C is optional, but many beekeepers believe it encourages the bees to consume the pollen substitute it also serves to keep the syrup from fermenting. The mix can be put in an open feeder (such as a bird feeder) in early spring when the bees are flying but the flowers are not yet in bloom.

Dry pollen substitute

https://honeybeesuite.com/recipe-for-dry-pollen-substitute/

Serves: workers and brood
Prep time: 15 minutes
Allergy: none
Dietary: Vegetarian
Meal type: Carbohydrate Supplement Food
Misc: Pre- preparable
Occasion: Spring

Ingredients

  • 3 Parts soy flour (optional)
  • 4 parts of wheat flour,
    1 Part brewer’s yeast or regular yeast
  • 1 Part dry milk (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin C (if not using ascorbic acid)((for every 6 cups of mixture)
  • one table spoon of Salt,
  • Honey Bee Healthy–1 tsp.per quart of heavy syrup.
  • Lemongrass Oil,
  • Spearmint Oil
  • Ground up Multivitamins: Sorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, d-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine HCL, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Calcium Lactate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Carbonate

Note

It is best to measure these ingredients by weight instead of volume. For example, if you use three pounds of soy, use one pound of yeast and one pound of dry milk.

NOTE: The addition of vitamin C is optional, but many beekeepers believe it encourages the bees to consume the pollen substitute. The mix can be put in an open feeder (such as a bird feeder) in early spring when the bees are flying but the flowers are not yet in bloom.

Directions

  1. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Take some vitamin C tablets and crush into a powder. Add one teaspoon of crushed vitamin C for every six cups of mix.
  3. Thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  4. In the winter, the dry mix can sprinkled on the top bars or put in a feeder above the brood box. In the early spring, the mix can be placed in a bird feeder or other covered container near the hive.

Homemade bee pollen substitute Patties

http://www.lincolnlandbeekeepers.com/uploads/1/0/6/4/10649295protein_patty_recipe_v1.2.pdf

https://honeybeesuite.com/recipe-for-dry-pollen-substitute/

Ingredients:

DRY

  • 1.5 cups (8oz.) soy flour or 3 Parts soy flour (optional)
  • 1.5 cups (12oz.) granulated sugar. (Additional sugar not in syrup form to thicken or dry up patty)
  • 5 cup (1oz.) yeast 1.5 cups (12oz.)
  • 4 parts of wheat flour,
    1 Part brewer’s yeast
    or regular yeast
  • 1 Part dry milk (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin C (if not using ascorbic acid)((for every 6 cups of mixture)
  • one table spoon of Salt,
  • 4 cups of 23% protien poultry prestarter crumbles ground up (optional)
  • 2 cups of dry egg (optional)
  • Ground up Multivitamins: Sorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate, d-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamine HCL, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Calcium Lactate, Potassium Sulfate, Magnesium Carbonate

WET

  • Sugar Syrup (1:1) or your honey (1:1) and, or honey b healthy or syrup bee supplement
  • High Oleic Canola Oil , or Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, or Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil –3.0ounces by weight(8 to 10 Tablespoons) maximum
  • Honey Bee Healthy–1 tsp.per quart of heavy syrup.
  • Lemongrass Oil,
  • Spearmint Oil

NOTE: Add honey b healthy or syrup bee suplament, as needed to mix.

NOTE: Oil added to the recipe for two reasons. 1. Oil serves as a humectant (keeps the finished patty from drying out). 2. It adds some “fat”to the mixture which when consumed by the bees is beneficial.

Directions

DRY:

Put the Dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix dry ingredients together.

Take some vitamin C tablets and multivitamin tablets and crush into a powder.

Add one teaspoon of crushed vitamin C for every six cups of mix.

WET:

Prepare the Heavy Sugar Syrup, 2 parts sugar to 1 part water(let cool).

Pour2 lbs. and 6oz.of the syrup into a large quart Mason jar or other suitable container of equal size or larger which can be sealed with a lid.

There should be empty space in the jar to add the following ingredients to the syrup. Add 1 tsp. Honey B Healthy

Add 3.0 oz. canola oil(approx. 7 ½-8 Tablespoons) to mixture.

Shake to mix. Shake the syrup container periodically to keep the canola oil and syrup from separating.

MIX:

Then add dry mix slowly to syrup/honey until mixture is like stiff bread dough.

Make sure there is no dry powder left in the bowl. Cover pot and let the mixture sit overnight (or 8 to 12 hours).

The next day, the mixture should be the consistency of play dough. Form dough into balls weighing 2.75-3 oz. each to make patties to fit under the inner cover. Flatten a ball of the mixture between two sheets of wax paper to a diameter of about 4 ½ inches.

Patty should be thin enough to fit under a queen excluder or between the inner cover and the top bar of the frames in the hive. Make a larger ball if you are going to place it on the candy board before you fill it with the cooked candy board mixture (see the candy board recipe on the Lincoln Land web site)Trim the excess wax paper from edges. Place finished patties in zip loc bags and refrigerate until use. You can also put them in a deep freezer and they should keep until you need them.

Truisms

fatbeehoneyOk, so I think we start out this year with a few truisms…

Ask 10 bee keepers how to do some thing and you will get 15 answers…

Why is this true? I think it’s true because a good beekeeper knows a few ways of doing the same activity. Beekeepers approach beekeeping with a philosophy. As you are picking out your mentors or the people who you are going to be taking most of your advice from and who you’re going to be learning your craft from , I would suggest you ask their philosophy. A good beekeeper is able to function under several different philosophies. Sometimes what really happens on the ground does not reflect your philosophy. Sometimes the bees don’t cooperate. Sometimes new beekeepers don’t take the advice of their mentors and want to try something new. It’s up to the mentor to be able to adjust his advice to help the new bee keeper understand the principle and take care of their bees in the new way or new philosophy. There are some things that are just wrong… flow Hive for example…. ha ha….

 

Truism number 2

If a little of something is good then a lot is better….. that’s why most of us get into beekeeping ….we get one or two hives and realize that if one is good 15 are better.

This truism will get you in trouble ,if a little bit of pollen substitute is good then a lot will probably kill the hive. If a little ventilation is good then a screen board bottom is better. If bee space the size of one bee is good then a foot of bee space is better. If one box is good then 15 High bodies are better. See where I’m going with this? It’s a truism that’s good and correct sometimes but then most times it’s not. Your job as a beekeeper is to sort out when good is good enough and better just causes trouble. Good luck my fellow Beek’s.

 

 

Truism #3
I can build a new and better mouse trap… I mean bee hive…..and the bees will live happier, more productive and more better.(as my daughter would say)

why is this true? Every beekeeper I know who has a spark of invention in them believes that they can build a better mousetrap. It’s how we understand bees. I for example have made three or four hives of my own design or copying a design and making it into something completely different. Let me tell you about my mistakes. I like to lead with my mistakes as it shows that I’m trying to be honest and upfront with you all. I thought that if I gave the bees a little more space at the bottom of their hive it would save them from all sorts of disasters and allow them two grow and work as they naturally would within the confines of the The hives bee space Bee schmace….. well I did save one Hive from drownding …. the high filled up with about a foot of water but it didn’t kill the hive. I rescued them. Every time I went to go pick up a frame a foot of wax and honey would just drop off into the bottom. Squishing bees and sometimes squishing a queen bee. Not good. I learned about bee space and how important it is to keep bee space. I never would have really understood that unless I created a hive and tested out my theory and let the bees teach me how stupid I was. I do have some nice Innovative designs and it keeps me occupied and happy but I can tell you there is nothing new Under the Sun.

“Good design is CRAP” – contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity

 

 

Truism #4

Brother Adam is the greatest beekeeper in the world. He has been called the “Pope of Beekeepers” in an outstanding documentary produced by York Films: The Monk and the Honey Bee.

Why this is true…. I would have to say that this is one of those kind of truisms. And it reflects the saying there is nothing new Under the Sun. Brother Adam did a lot of things while he was bee keeping that we forgot about and have recently just remembered. One of the most notable is nucleus hives. Brother Adam understood that in order to increase the number of hives a beekeeper has one must run nucleus hives as a tool of increase. The other thing that he knew was that you do not dispose of a failing Queen. You retire her it her own little retirement home called a retirement nuke. That way should you need a queen when you lose a queen you can go to retirement nuke and bring back an aging Queen. The queen also can produce more bees for your colonies even if it is at a smaller rate or amount. We have forgotten these truths and we have tried to manipulate the be using different philosophies but what is old is now new. In Canada we are finding that the only way that we are going to overcome colony collapse and all the other bills that are facing our bees is to utilize the tool of nukes. Thank you brother Adam.

 

 

Truism #5

Mark Twain is credited with saying that “the coldest winter he ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco.”

Is it true? Our great province of Alberta can have snow in July. This is not good for beekeeping because you lose colonies you lose flowers you lose honey. You lose you lose you lose. I believe a beekeeper is a gambler at heart. We all take risks every time we do anything , any manipulation in the hive. Anytime we split a hot anytime we requeen and retire a Queen. Any time we feed or don’t feed. Anytime we place a new bunch of hives on a new property. We could lose or we could win big. So the coldest winter you’ve ever experienced may be in July but I’m here to tell you there are more July’s that are warm and hot the whole July and the middle of a flow like you can’t believe.

 

 

Truism #6

Good queens are, of course, a sine qua nan,

Sine qua non definition, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; something essential:

Is this true? Not necessarily ….. in the world bee keeping right now there is a trend to go towards a purebred bee. The hopes are that if you have a purebred bee you are going back to that which was before and maybe the bees will turn out better or they will have a better chance against the mites and the small Hive beetles and the trachea mites and the funguses and the bacteria. Some beekeepers believe that they can maintain a purebred bee in a sea of mutt bees.
I heard a sales pitch yesterday that a certain Bee company was doing genetic tests to assure you that you’re bee is genetically pure and mite resistant. This same company would sell you an artificially inseminated bee. Bees don’t play the same games that we do. Queen bees have unnatural drive to go get mated. Even though they have been artificially inseminated a lot of queen bees will go out and remate. Sometimes the workers will decide your artificially inseminated Queen sucks, ball her up, and raise a queen from her progenity. This new Queen will be mated with the mutts around the hive. A lot of people consider the queen bee to have the same traits and rules as a queen of a country would have period expecting her to be the top of the pyramid. My Philosophy is that the queen bee is no more important than the worker bees than the drones than the brood…. and an insect that cost 2 to $300 which has been artificially inseminated in my view and expecially at my level of bee keeping are not worth it. I think it’s better to have a mutt who is more genetically diverse with strong pheromones and lays good eggs and is on its way to being more Mite resistant or bacterial resistant..etc. I feel that Queens serve at The Leasure of her workers. They know when she doesn’t smell right. they know when she’s not laying correctly and should be replaced. In My Philosophy you trust the bees to do what’s best for the bees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Bee Hive Optimal Winter Conditions

Winter for the honey bee hive becomes the ultimate test against the other seasons’ activities coupled with health. As beekeepers approach the winter we take our losses and combine weak hives, insulate hives,add sugar, requeen, restack and rob the wealthy and give to the poor. And pray these little bugs make ot through our nasty cold winters.tmp_31125-20161019_1253381895697546

 

 

 

Key elements necessary to support a healthy colony (climate regions coldest month 20 ° F) include:

The wintering unit must have a good productive queen
Worker population that covers 10 – 15 frames
Minimum of 80 pounds honey
Preferable 80 – 100 pounds honey
Approximately 500 square inches of pollen
Disease free
Adequate protection
Supplemental protection in the form of a commercial wintering carton or tar paper with moisture releaser over the inner cover
Shelter from the prevailing winds, with good air drainage and maximum exposure to sunshine
Bottom and upper entrances, lower entrance reduced (1/4 x 2 inches), upper entrance an auger hole (1 inch), located just below the handhold of the uppermost hive body
Hive stand to provide a dead air space under the hive

In climatic regions where temperature of the coldest month is between 25 – 45 ° F, supplemental protection is not necessary.

Key to winter survival becomes:

Good productive queen
Reserve pollen
Disease free conditions
Shelter from prevailing winds
Air drainage
Upper entrance
Reduced lower entrance

The Winter Cluster

Lest we forget the habitat of the feral honey bee colony, which resides in the hollow of trees, a simple picture provides sufficient imagery.
Feral Tree Hive

Honey bees maintain a cluster throughout the year. During the active season the cluster is loose that parallels the brood nest.

 

Winter Cluster

This formation plays a role in regulating the temperature and humidity in the brood area. Phillips and Demuth (1914) reported the temperature within the cluster during winter was approximately 57 ° F. It is at this temperature the colonies cluster becomes well defined. As temperature drops, the honey bees in the central core of the cluster generate heat, while those on the surface serve as insulators. As the temperature continues to drop the cluster becomes more compact. The insulating shell of the cluster varies in thickness from 1 to 3 inches. Since honey bees use their honey reserves most efficiently at 45 ° F (Betts, 1943), they do not consume as much of their stores at lower temperatures (Gilbert, 1932).
Winter Cluster

Hive Insulation

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s protection was afforded by moving the hives in cellars and trenches or heavily insulating hives outdoors. Recommendations to use heavy insulation were based on the theory that conservation of heat would reduce cluster activity which in turn would conserve bee energy alleviating the need for great stores.

Corkins (1930) presented data from which he concluded that there was no foundation to the theory that subzero temperatures induced honey bees to expend great quantities of energy. He found that a colony consumed more honey when the outside temperature was 28 ° F and above, than it did when the average outdoor temperature was 15 ° F and below.

An upper entrance became an accepted feature once it was demonstrated that little if any heat was lost through the opening (Anderson, 1943). The upper entrance does serve as an emergency exit when the lower entrance becomes blocked. Studies have indicated that wintering colonies with three brood chambers increased the winter survival.

Interiors of hives that use some form of packing or wrapping tend to cool off more slowly with declining temperatures than interiors of unprotected hives. Conversely, when external temperatures increase these same hives warm up more slowly. (Farrar, 1952).

Properly prepared colonies that have an upper entrance to ensure ventilation (Anderson, 1943) and a moisture-releaser (insulate board) over the inner cover to allow moisture to be absorbed and released (Edmunds, 1961; Sugden et. al., 1988) preclude the accumulation and subsequent freezing of the hives reserves (Geiger, 1967)
Hive Moisture

Langstroth’s recommendation for an “upward ventilation” has been readopted with the common use of a notched inner cover or auger-hole upper entrance. Communication between combs by cutting holes through providing access from frame to frame.

In some locations in the United States moisture can kill honey bee colonies over the winter months. This moisture is caused by the condensation of the water vapor as it rises from the cluster and cools at the interface between the warmer and colder air. This interface is usually at the inner cover in most hives. Bees can be killed by moisture if it builds on the inner cover and rains down onto the bees when clustered. The bees can tolerate the cold but not when they are wet. Many beekeepers will place an empty hive body above the inner cover for added protection against the cold. Some beekeepers will place different substrates within the space above the inner cover to soak up the humidity(Bee Informed, 2012). The use of a Vivaldi Board (four seasons) which is placed between the hive cover and super box provides insulating space, coupled with cross-ventilation encouraging the hives heat to rise into the box. An alternate would be a Quilt Box. Along with the heat comes water vapor to be absorbed into the material placed in the Vivaldi Board. A burlap sack seems to be suited, but wood chips and other absorbing materials may also be used.
Vivaldi Board

Wintering Synopsis
“The problem of management is not how or where, but what kind of colonies are wintered” (Farrar, 1963).

At the close of brood rearing in early fall, a colony should consist of approximately 30,000 physiologically young bees. Consumption of 10 to15 pounds of honey is consumed (Holte, 1970) while 3,000 to 5,000 individual bees are lost before egg laying resumes once again (Farrar, 1963).

In the late winter, initiation of brood rearing commences once again, which in turn increases food consumption (Holte, 1970) and mortality of adult bees (winter bees) (Farrar, 1963). Having a “disease free” hive with ample food reserves facilitates the transition from the “winter bee population” replacing those that die. The goal of the colony is to bring the population back to 30,000 before the first spring flowers bloom. As the colony replaces the “winter bees” and increases the overall size back to its pre-fall census of 30,000 there should also be as many eggs, larvae, or pupae to advance the overall population to 45,000 to 60,000 within two months. All this is in preparation of the three to four-week nectar flow designed to return the colonies reserves back to the pre-fall levels in anticipation of the ensuing winter.20160606_172549