Presentation on theme: "Beginner Beekeeping – Week 5 Winter into Spring #2."— Presentation transcript:
Beginner Beekeeping – Week 5 Winter into Spring #2
Winter Preparations Finish feeding between mid October (north) and end of October (south) Assess position of food stores and broodnest Add a grease patty to control tracheal mites 2 parts white sugar: 1 part Crisco (hydrogenated vegetable oil), make a hamburger size patty between 2 pieces of wax paper, place between brood chambers Add an upper entrance auger hole I like to use a ¾ bit so I can plug the hole with a piece of ¾ dowel if I need to down the line.
Add an absorbent cover to the top – we like homasote Your inner cover dado should be facing up; Put the homasote board dado down so the grooves line up. This helps ventilate and provides an additional upper bee entrance. Be sure your telescoping cover is pulled fully forward so that upper entrance is functional.
Wrap light colored hives with tar paper 1. Cut a 78 length, then divide it in half along the length to have two 18 tall pieces. Start at one corner. 2. Crease and staple at the corners and along the top and bottom. Use 3/8 staples. 3. Drill a ¾ auger hole in the top front corner; staple around the hole so bees dont get trapped underneath the paper.
What can I do in the winter besides worry? Take a stick and clear out dead bees from the screen Slide in the inspection tray for a few days Look for debris and youll know the horizontal position of the cluster Pale cappings are from honey, brown cappings mean bees are emerging from brood cells Listen with a stethoscope Heft the hive Watch on warm days and look in the snow Make a candy board
Candy Boards Use to feed hives in the cold weather In place of inner cover sugar also acts as an absorbent material Bees will reach candy after eating through their honey supply Once they are feeding on candy, keep giving it to them
Making Candy Refined white sugar and water are all you need Boil one pint water in large, heavy pot Add 5 lbs. sugar
Making Candy (continued) Stir as it heats up and dissolves Do not let it burn!
Soft Ball! Bring to a boil Once it is boiling you can stop stirring Use a candy thermometer and stop when you get to 240 degrees
Cool Allow candy to cool below 212 degrees Otherwise the water within the wood will boil like a volcano Pour into mold, allow to cool and harden Put a piece of tape over each side of an inner cover hole. (I now use masking tape.) Pack the notch with aluminum foil. After you pour the candy, put in a dowel or wooden spoon to make a vent groove.
Worry less – the bees have been coping with winter for millions of years Dont mess with your bees in the winter. Disturbances cause them to break the cluster, consume more of their stores, and need to defecate. Avoid taking off the cover whenever possible and only on warm days if necessary Wait until the silver maples bloom to unwrap and wait until a warm day after St. Patricks Day to inspect your hive. Unless youre sure its dead...
If youre sure a hive is dead, open it up and perform a post mortem: Stunted abdomens, deformed wings, lots of dead bees below but a small cluster dead in the cells, pin holes in brood cell cappings – probably Varroa mites/viruses Queen cells built since your last inspection, lots of drones and drone brood – failed or dead queen Bees headfirst into cells, plenty of honey left on the hive but all a few inches from the remains of the cluster – starvation during a cold snap (this is common in a hard winter in Maine and there is little you can do about it) Significant brown spotting on the front of or inside the hive – nosema or dysentery No honey left in the hive and wax of cells appear to have been ripped open – probably a weak hive robbed out during warm weather Lots of dead bees in front of the hive and evidence of K- shaped wings – tracheal mites Sunken cappings, black scale in bottom of comb, glue or fish odor – American Foulbrood -- HAVE AN EXPERT TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR HIVE
Feeding hives in Spring: Why are we feeding? Before the nectar and pollen flow (or during an early interruption): FOR HIVES LOW ON STORES – April feeding in the evening (warm 1:1 syrup) will not simulate nectar flow and shouldnt accelerate broodrearing If you want/need to stimulate brood development, feed syrup and pollen and dont stop until the nectar flow is rolling – Again, why: If you are hoping to make splits, rear queens, or are skilled at timing population to maximize foragers and honey production (and skilled at swarm prevention), feed If the nectar flow starts, brood production starts, if it is interrupted for more than a few days (one of those wet, wet springs) feed to keep brood viable If brood production dwindles in the spring, it may be nosema Consider feeding medicated syrup, Honey B Healthy, and pollen Consider having dead bees tested by the Beltsville Lab Or consider requeening, the queen may be too damaged to recover Dont just feed because the calendar says feed.
DONT LET YOUR HIVES BE A NUISANCE IN THE SPRING! GET YOUR WATER SOURCE OUT EARLY AND PUT OUT POLLEN SUBSTITUTE ON WARM DAYS WHEN BEES ARE FLYING AND NO FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING Give the bees somewhere to land – rocks, sand, or floating corks or sponges. And a little salt helps. Simple Recipe: 4 : 1 Soybean Flour : Brewers Yeast Deluxe Recipe: 3 c Soybean Flour 1 1/2 c Brewers Yeast 2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tsp Vitamin C Powder 6 Tbsp Dry Milk Powder
Reversing Hives (early May in an average year) Do it if the bottom box is empty of brood – dont split the broodnest Can help encourage brood rearing, but opinions differ The sense of space should delay the swarm urge of the hive If your hive is healthy you NEED to have a plan in place for swarm control. Make a split; make a nuc; but have a plan in place before the dandelions bloom! Plan for swarm control
Recommended Reading List: The Beekeepers Handbook, Diane Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile This should be on every beekeepers bookshelf; its an outstanding resource The Hive and The Honey Bee, Dadant Publishing or The Hive and Honey Bee Revisited, Roger Hoopingarner From the original master text by Reverend Langstroth, thorough and encompassing Fruitless Fall, Rowan Jacobsen At least once a week somebody is going to ask you how are the bees doing? They dont necessarily want to know about your bees but they heard something about CCD. Its good to learn about it. Bee Culture Magazine, Kim Flottum ed. Keep learning throughout the year – it arrives every month The Buzz About Bees, Jürgen Tautz Expensive, but filled with amazing photos and the absolute most up-to-date research on the superorganism of a beehive Honeybee Democracy, Thomas Seeley Proof that a book can be both dull and fascinating. Learning about the whys and hows of swarming will teach you a ton about the hive and a lot about group decision making Hive Management, Richard Bonney and Honeybee Biology and Beekeeping, Dewey Caron The texts used for Intermediate Beekeeping, if you want to start reading ahead Natural Beekeeping, Ross Conrad An excellent text for working toward chemical-free beekeeping The Secret Life of Bees Fiction, but it puts words to the passion and love of beekeeping, and its a fantastic story "The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men" by William Longwood great writing, one man's journey into beekeeping