The Challenge of Spring Like many animals in the spring the hive wants to make a new hive They make queen cells and prepare for swarming. Allowing them to do this tends to freak out the neighbors!
A more controlled method: A package is an imitation swarm 3 pounds of bees and a caged queen A nucleus colony (“nuc”) is a miniature hive 4 or 5 frames with brood, resources, and a laying queen
Summer Inspections for queen and brood health, pest management, always thinking about winter What am I doing here? How often should I get in? What can go wrong? Am I going to get stung? Am I going to get any honey?
Fall Pulling honey supers Treating for Varroa mites* Preparing for winter *If you learn only one thing from this class, learn about Varroa mites!
For the coming spring Learning... and waiting... Winter When the cycle begins again
Equipment – Necessary and nice [here is where you need to make some choices] Necessary Parts Bottom board ◦ Use a screened one ◦ With an entrance reducer Hive Bodies ◦ 2 Deeps vs. 3 Mediums Honey Supers ◦ medium, or shallow Inner Cover ◦ Two sided, with a dado Telescoping Outer Cover ◦ “English Garden” Style, or galvanized Frames ◦ 8 vs. 10 Foundation ◦ Beeswax vs. Plastic Recommended Parts Hive stand with landing board ◦ with legs, or other support Slatted Bottom Board ◦ Helps with swarm prevention and overwintering Some kind of feeder * We strongly recommend you start with two hives
Tools – Necessary and nice Necessary Tools Smoker ◦ And fuel Hive Tool ◦ Good, better, or best Protective Gear ◦ Veil (with or without jacket) ◦ Gloves ◦ Leg Straps ◦ Or a full suit (not really necessary) Spray bottle (for packages, or swarms) Recommended Tools Smoker box ◦ Ammo box from the Army store Queen Catcher ◦ Metal vs. plastic Bee Brush Reading Glasses Queen marking kit Wintergreen Alcohol (a really good idea)
Sources of Supply Local vs. catalog ◦ The Honey Exchange ◦ Brown’s Bee Farm ◦ Humble Abodes ◦ Bee Pride ◦ Brushy Mountain ◦ Betterbee We’re not fans of all- inclusive “Beginner Kits” ◦ Bees Packages vs Nucleus Buzz Cooper 232-3807 Swan’s 437-2251 Merrimack (978) 667-5380 Bob Egan 474-2945 Check out the Maine State Beekeeper’s website
Join the Club! Register with the state June 1 st ◦ Bookmark Tony Jadczak, save his e-mail Maine State Beekeepers Association ◦ The best $15 you can spend The Bee Line Cumberland County (or York Co.) Beekeepers Association ◦ The best $4 you can spend ◦ Get a mentor
Neighbor Management Like it or not, you will become a Bee Ambassador Camouflage, vs. visibility ◦ Put your name and number on your hives Site selection ◦ Flyway barriers ◦ Water source Read the South Portland Beekeeping Ordinance, even if you don’t live in South Portland