Archive for August, 2010

Have you found a Bee Tree?


2010
08.13

One of my readers found a beetree. He had interest in cutting it down to get the bees. This is the nth time I’ve encountered this. It is tempting, and I’ve cut one out myself. But now that I know better, let me pass on some wisdom. This applies if the tree does not have to come down, or the bees don’t have to move.
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“On the beetree, I wouldn’t cut it out. The colony has only a 50/50 chance to live if you cut it out. Plus Small Hive Beetle infests fast and lowers that 50/50 even further.
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Also, It serves 2 purposes for you;
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1. It is breeding survivor stock bees, which are important as the mites are killing off weak strains of bees.
2. It serves as a mother colony throwing off swarms every year.
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I’d build 4 swarms traps and put them on all 4 sides of the bee tree at a distance of 200 yards or so. You WILL catch swarms due to these traps, and some will be from the bee tree.”

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Varroa mite check


2010
08.12

Around August, it is a good idea to do a varroa check in your hive. You can either do a mite drop over an hour, or a drone comb check.

I harvested some honey from my Yellow Top Bar Hive. I got a 4 sq inch section of drone in the honeycomb that I cutout. So while I had it, i opened up 30 cells and found a single mite in every 3rd cell. One cell had 2 mites.

Rent-a-Hive — A Twist Getting Bees back into the Urban Landscape


2010
08.09

I like this post.
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http://laughingsquid.com/get-bees-helps-you-setup-your-own-beehive/
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The simplicity of having a beekeeper charge $590 to a want-to-be-beekeeper urbanite to start beekeeping. The world gets more bees, and a beekeeper gets better pay for his skill set.

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Brilliant, what more can I say?

Cutting Honeycomb Video done


2010
08.08

Old kindergarten friends are the best.  Even better if they served the full 13 years with you through public schools. Especially when they help cut honeycomb.

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He’s a doctor now, but he dropped in for vacation. So I had some honey to harvest, so I dressed him in a painters suit, threw a mosquito veil on him and put him to work robbing the bees with me. Lots of fun, he even got stung. (Whoops!)

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So I’ve been wanting to make a video on how to cut comb, and so we did.

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The basic premise is to have a comb cutter, boiling water and a surface to cut them on. A cookie cooling rack is nice if you like to drain off your comb, but I don’t.
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My Vids on iTunes !


2010
08.05

They are available here -  http://learningbeekeeping.blip.tv/rss/itunes/

I don’t have an ipod that works, so i can’t see if they play well. But it will be nice to have this option.

How to Start Beekeeping in the Fall


2010
08.04

I got asked again today how to start. Here’s a synopis of my response:

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You’ve asked the ground zero question – “How do I get started?”. I get this one alot.

It is late summer. You need to get your ducks in a row for next spring.

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1. Order Bees – they will deliver in April next year. If you wait, they won’t have any next spring when you order. I recommend BWeavers near you.

2. Buy a smoker, bee jacket, gloves. Dadant, Brushy Mountain, or Mann Lake all have them.

3. Get on beesource.com and beemaster.com forums. Very newbie friendly. Look for questions you have, there are already years of answers.

4. Prepare the spot where you will put your bees.  Make it cow proof.

5. This winter Build several Bait hives for your property, you’ll catch many swarms out there, I’m fairly sure.

6. Buy and read “Idiots guide to Beekeeping”. It is actually fairly in depth and detail, way above Idiot level.

Gave Lecture and Built tops and bottom boards


2010
08.02

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I attended the Austin Area Beekeepers meeting yesterday. About 20 showed, but no speaker, so I stepped in and gave a Beekeeping 101 class.

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I spent Sunday morning with a powersaw cutting up old 2×6 into thick bottom boards and really heavy migratory tops.  The tops are a bit heavy but it saves the need to put rocks on top of them. Knocked out 3 BB and 4 Tops.  Cutting holes in the BB is too much trouble to make screened BB.  Most likely these will go on hives I’ll sell later, anyway, so no reason to make the effort. Especially if a buyer wants a solid BB.

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