Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

A bee smoker for the third world


2012
11.20

I’ve been working for a while on a design for a smoker that is appropriate for third world beekeeping.  The focus was on steel food cans that are ubiquitous in all countries.  The can comprises the fire chamber.

 Design done

I intend to make a complete video on the construction and manufacturing of this.  In my own way, I want to improve the planet. I think a simply designed smoker will help many low income beekeepers throughout the world.

Design Plans Coming

I can outline how I made this third world bee smoker on another page.

Beekeeping photography


2012
08.30

The coolest beekeeping photos around! Worth a click. or two. or three. or…hell, I lost an hour here.

https://www.facebook.com/beekeeping.photo

Cutting out a Lang to transfer to a Top Bar Hive


2011
04.03

I got a question the other day that is re-occuring and wanted to answer it here.

“I’ve got this cross combed Lang that I want to move to a top bar hive since I have to cut into it anyway” – Anon. fan

 

First, Pick your battles.  Transferring an established lang to a Top Bar Hive is a silly battle 95% of the time.

If your goal is to :

1. De-cross comb it, then take the bottom crossed deep. Put down a cloth on the ground, flip the deep upside down, Push all the frames out in one lump, then easily seperate all the frames and put them back into the deep fixed.
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2. Starting a new TBH, then go thru process 1, but find the queen. Put her in the TBH, Shake in 3 frames of bees. Cut a single comb out with eggs in it (to anchor them from absconding)  attach this to a bar with string.   Finally swap hive places with the lang, so the TBH gets all the field bees.  The lang will recover and re-queen while the new TBH nuc will immediately build out comb and start re-brooding instantly.

Predicting Honeyflows and Swarms with Soil moisture maps


2011
02.14

There are good years, and bad years.  Would it be nice to know how this year will be in advance? Well, it is possible.

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There is a great way to see how good your spring crop could be. Because your spring honeyflows are heavily dependent on water. Sometimes beekeepers forget that even though they see flowers blooming, there may not be nectar in the flower.  If the soil is moist, you should have lots of nectar. By the same note, if you have a great honeyflow, you will have lots of swarms in your area.

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To find out how your Spring is doing, go check out how anomalous your soil moisture is on the map.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Soilmst_Monitoring/US/Soilmst/Soilmst.shtml

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Last year, we had our best year in over a decade, in terms of honey and swarms. That was because we had anomalous wet spring weather. In fact, it was so wet, we had the best morel mushroom season in 20 years!

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Warm Day in Winter Good for De-Cross-combing


2011
01.29

Visited the outyard today to drop off new hive stands and check in on the girls.  70 degrees.   Bees flying strong.

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Opened up 3 Langs and a TBH to check on them. Good reserves. None had sealed brood, so it the queens have stopped laying for that short period in Texas winters.  The donated hive had some bad combs, and plastic foundation. Ugg. I tore out 2 mangled frames, cut out lots of burr comb where he had left out frames, and left the honeycomb out to be robbed out by the bees.

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Overall, winter is the time when hives have the fewest bees. Which makes it a great time to fix cross-comb problems, rotate out bad frames, and other manipulations that are invasive. Just be quite careful to not crush a queen. They can’t raise another until the drones fly.

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Role of Modern Beekeeping


2011
01.19

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Beekeeping isn’t what it use to be.
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Preparing Swarm Traps for Spring


2011
01.18

I ran 10 traps last year and caught 6 swarms. This year I’ve got 30 traps, and will be starting a grand experiment to find optimum locations, as well as making a DVD on swarm trapping.Swarm traps for the spring

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Winter is the most under used season of beekeeping, it is a time for maintenance, ordering equipment, planning marketing, and preparing for the coming year.

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