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beekeeping journal 2012- tips and tricks for this year

Discussion in 'Bees and Beekeeping' started by lorihadams, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. Feb 14, 2012
    lorihadams

    lorihadams Always doing laundry

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    So I figured I would start a new thread for the new year.

    Last year was my first year as a beekeeper and I learned a lot. This has been a particularly mild winter and we are off to a weird start.

    The bees are out flying much more than they would normally be right now so it is important to start feeding them now. The best way to feed them, as I have been told, is to give them fondant or "bee candy". That's right, cake fondant. The reason is that if you were to feed them sugar water now then it would be possible that it could freeze. Fondant is solid and can be made at home easily or purchased at a craft store. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and lay directly on the frames above the cluster. Use a smoker and only do this on a day that is at least 50-55 degrees and little or no wind. Another good idea is to also include a pollen patty for protein. This will also stimulate the queen to lay more and that will give you a jump on spring.

    If you google "bee candy recipes" you should be able to find easy recipes to make the fondant with only a few ingredients.

    I will be keeping up with the journal here over the course of the year....brace yourself...I'm a picture junkie! :D
     
  2. Feb 14, 2012
    CheerioLounge

    CheerioLounge Dessert Dreamer

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    :pop Very interesting!!
     
  3. Feb 14, 2012
    cheepo

    cheepo Lovin' The Homestead

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    very interesting....
    I would so love to get bee's
    and have done a quite a bit of research...
    but bears visited our yard last year...
    so would have to get an electric fence first...
    and this winter was quite cold...
    lots of snow....so I worry for survival...
    maybe by next year will be able to put it all together...

    how successfull was your first year??? :caf
     
  4. Feb 14, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    Yes yes yes, pictures!! I want to have bee some day, so I am looking for all the info I can!
    :caf :pop
     
  5. Feb 14, 2012
    lorihadams

    lorihadams Always doing laundry

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    :lol: You really want to know? Here's the link to last year's journal. It is start to finish of last year's journey. I got started with meetings for the entire year before I even purchased bees and got our first 2 nucs in May of last year. They are both still alive with one having a TON of bees and my weaker hive still hanging in there but with definitely less bees from what I saw last week, even if it was just a brief peek inside to give them something to eat.

    http://www.sufficientself.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=9593
     
  6. Feb 15, 2012
    Boogity

    Boogity Almost Self-Reliant

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    Hi lori. Here is how I do it. Click here for a short video on candy boards.

    And here is my recipe . . .

    Bee Candy

    15-16 lb. of sugar
    ~3 cups water
    1 tbsp. plain white vinegar (optional)
    1 Pollen patty (optional)


    If you choose to use the vinegar (as a mold inhibitor) add it to the water.

    Pour 2 bags of sugar into a very large container and gradually add about half the water, stirring to wet the sugar well. Continue adding sugar and water alternately until all the sugar is wet.

    Put newspaper or waxed paper under your candy board, and fill with wet sugar. If you are using a pollen patty, fill the board half-way, add the patty in the center, and finish with sugar. Screen the sugar off level with the top of the board. Allow to harden overnight.

    Remove inner cover from hive, and replace with candyboard, screen side down. Replace outer cover.
    You can now easily raise the outer cover any time and slip in additional sugar bricks if you need them.
     
  7. Feb 15, 2012
    hqueen13

    hqueen13 <Insert Snazzy Title Here

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    I really hope I can find a bee organization to meet with when we are ready for bees. I can't have them here at all, so I am not worried about it yet. So many things to learn!!
     
  8. Mar 14, 2012
    Icu4dzs

    Icu4dzs Almost Self-Reliant

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    Now that the weather is beginning to change appreciably, I am wondering when I can bring my beehives out of the shed and put them back in their "location"? While I realize the weather is unpredictable, we are getting days that reach the 60's and that means (if I read that right) that the bees will be waking up and need to start the years work.
    Does anyone have any recommendations on this?
    Trim sends
    //BT//
     
  9. Mar 21, 2012
    lorihadams

    lorihadams Always doing laundry

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    Okay....sorry I haven't been updating much but I've been down with my back injury again.

    We are trying to make a split from our remaining hive. My strong hive died from starvation because I didn't know that I should have been feeding them through the warmer weather. So I am going to use the drawn comb from my old hive to try to make a new hive from the remaining hive. Got that? :D

    We added an empty hive body to the top of the old hive in the hopes that the queen will go up and lay brood in the empty. When she has filled it with brood we will pull it off and let them make their own queen. Fingers crossed it will work. It is more complicated than I have time to get into now but I'll fill in the blanks later when I'm not in so much pain.

    ICU....definitely get the hives into their location and if they are in the upper deep rotate the hive bodies so the queen will move up and not swarm. They should be fine if there is stuff starting to bloom. You may want to give them one feeding of 1:1 sugar syrup to get them going but then you can stop feeding any established hives. Just watch them and add honey supers in about a month or so...sooner if they are really going to town laying and storing honey and pollen.

    My neighbor has already put his excluder and super on his hive. I won't be getting any honey this year since I'm planning on making the split.
     
  10. Mar 31, 2012
    lorihadams

    lorihadams Always doing laundry

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    So, I got an email from Doug yesterday and he got bit with the flu bug this past week so it looks like we are gonna shoot for Wednesday. I'll see if I can snap some pics while we make the split cause I know that will be helpful. He said he made 63 splits from his hives last weekend!!!

    I also want to share that if you have bees or are interested in learning more about beekeeping PLEASE sign up for Brushy Mountain Bee Farm's newsletter. It's free and they also offer webinars that are free but you do have to preregister for them. This month's newsletter talks about colony collapse, pollination of non-organic versus organic fields, feeder types, pesticide use and how it affects honeybees, and some beginner tips. I HIGHLY recommend checking out their website and the webinars and I do you products from them as well as Dadant. They almost always offer free shipping during the month of December so that is when I order all my products for the next year. I have been very satisfied with all their stuff so check out the website at www.BrushyMountainBeeFarm.com !!!

    Now, I also took a peek at the third hive body...remember that I was adding a third hive body to see if the queen would start moving up and laying brood for the new hive....well, there was nothing but honey in it. They haven't capped any yet but they are definitely getting busy storing honey in there. Doug said that he saw that a lot with his splits this spring as well and had to go in the bottom two hive bodies to pull brood frames from there and add them to the honey frames in the third hive body for the new split.

    Here is another concern of ours for this year of weird weather on the east coast...we pretty much didn't have a winter. Temps were very mild and the bees were very active. The pollen is already out and the nectar flow is on extra early this year. The problem with that is that if it is one early then it will probably end early as well. What does that mean for us here on the southern east coast? It means that if you are taking honey this year you will probably have to pull it early. Usually we harvest honey around the first week of July. That gives us plenty of time to get honey stores built up and still leaves time for the bees to make more before the weather turns cold for winter. With everything coming in early this year we will probably have to pull honey in June and feed the hives some throughout the rest of the summer, especially if it turns dry.

    What else does that mean? Well, here in our neck of the woods varroa mites can be a problem going into winter and we usually keep tabs on numbers by inserting a cardboard grid under the screened bottom board if you use one, and I recommend that you do. Insert the board for a 24 hour period and then remove carefully. Count the number of dead varroa mites (they look like seed ticks). If you have a high concentration like over 50 total in a 24 hour period then you should treat the hive. There are lots of options for treating for varroa mites. I didn't see an infestation last summer so I didn't treat my hives. There are all sorts of ways to treat and some people treat every fall (like August-September here) whether they see mites or not. I don't. That is a personal decision that only you can make. The problem with an early nectar flow is that everything will be pushed back, including treating for varroa mites. I have generally heard that if you treat for varroa do it after you pull off honey supers for consumption. There are treatments that can be used during honey flow but some will taint the honey or at the very least make it taste off so do it after you pull your honey off, unless you have a heavy infestation and it is an emergency.

    With the weird weather this year beekeepers are going to have to be very aware of what their hives are doing and I recommend a weekly inspection to stay on top of things this year. You don't want to get caught with a hive that starves like I did when you could simply have just started feeding it early and eliminated that problem altogether. If you are doing splits you are going to have to feed the new hives just like you would a package or nuc so be prepared to do that if you are making splits or if you capture a swarm. We are also seeing swarming much earlier this year as well so keep an eye out for those swarm cells on the frames. If you haven't started inspecting your hives then you need to start cause everything is gonna be off this year, especially here in the southeast.
     

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