Current Beekeeping Notes

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July 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationNeed to be checking the hives at least once a week to make sure that the queen has room to lay—may need to rotate frames in the brood box or add new frames. It’s also a time when the Varroa mites will be increasing although it is not a good time to treating during the nectar flow. Pulling and inspecting drone larvae is a good way to check for Varroa mites. Allow for adequate ventilation of the hives. Also watch out for those hive beetles moving in ---- take action to keep them under control. The use of Swiffer no-scent pads laid on the top of the frames in the top boxes can help. There are a lot of folks starting to harvest honey. By placing the cleaned extracted frames back on the hives is a good way to keep the bees stimulated during the latter part of the nectar flow. Sometimes they will immediately start refilling those frames. Some hives may go queen less and it may be necessary to re-queen them. There are ways to do this without too much disruption—such as the use of a 3, 4 or 5 frame Nuc with a new laying queen transitioned into the hive—only takes about 3 or 4 days and the hive is back in operation. Some use direct introduction of queens into a queen less hive. In either case, all queen cells of any kind should be removed if you are re-queening.

If the queen has moved up into the supers and have laid eggs and there’s larvae, move those frames with eggs and larvae to the outside of the super and place frames full of nectar and honey to the center. This will help slow the queen down because normally she will not come back up over the frames of nectar and honey. You can also use queen excluders but you must make sure that the queen is down in the deep hive boxes. Having 5/8” entry holes in the front of each super also helps with bee access and ventilation.

If you are harvesting honey, it is recommended that you use a dehumidifier and fans to help reduce the moisture content of your honey down to around 18% or less before starting extraction. Normally if you can get the humidity in the room down to around 30%, then the honey will be close to the desired moisture contend. This usually takes about 24 to 48 hours. KEEP the dehumidifier running during the bottling? It is also recommended that you only pull frames for harvesting honey that are at least 75% fully capped. It’s still early in the year and there is no reason to get into a hurry to harvest honey. Most years folks don’t start harvesting until after the 4th of July and many wait until later July or even early August. Good Luck- Good Honey Season

After honey harvest is a good time to consider summer splits of healthy hives or making up of summer Nuc’s with new queens for use in re-queening some hives later in August or September.

Varroa Mite sampling and treatment should be considered because the Varroa Mite population is generally on the increase during July through August and the beehive populations generally is decreasing. Refer to the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for information on possible treatments and recommended applications.

February 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers AssociationBeekeeping Notes for February

You should to be thinking and planning ahead out into March and April.” Moisture and extreme swings in the daily temperatures is again a huge issue this February. The bees will be cluster during the very cold days, but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will start laying during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will be flying. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual because the winter bees will start dying off. February is the time for early Varroa mite treatment before there is any significant buildup of brood. Many beekeepers will be using Oxalic Acid either by vaporization or fogging. Treatments should only be applied on warm days when the bees have broken cluster and are flying. Refer to the Honey Bee Health Coalition website for more information. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection boards and scrape them clean before replacing them.

On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to not wind take a look into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. It is NOT recommended to start feeding 1:1 sugar syrup in February because there are still periods of very cold and freezing temperatures. Feed any spring pollen/protein patties can be done after the middle of February if the weather has started to warm toward spring. Adding these patties will stimulate the bees and the queen to lay so be cautious that you don’t apply to early. Some beekeepers do not apply these patties until mid to late March. .

If you have a need to relocate any hives, February is the best time before the weather really warms up too much and the bees begin actively forging for pollen. Recommend relocation when there is going to be a three or four day period of cold weather which will keep the bees cluster within the hive. Be extremely careful not to break up the cluster while moving the hives.

Now is the time to get the beekeeping equipment repaired or built for use in the spring. Old black/dark foundation should be removed and replaced with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.
If you have not yet order packages and Nuc’s and/or queens for spring—it may be too late for delivery in April and early May. But later delivery is not a bad thing though.

Start attending HCBA meetings; attend a HCBA March 30th Bee School and join the KY State Beekeepers Association.

January 2019 Beekeeping Notes

Hardin County Kentucky Beekeepers Association

Beekeeping Notes for January

The bees will mostly cluster up during the very cold days but the bees acclimate very well as long as they are healthy bees. The queens will lay some during warm days above 50 degrees and the bees will fly. Be watchful of Tracheal Mite issues; bees staggering around on the ground outside the hive; the wings appear to be deformed. The old timers used to make up grease patties for Tracheal mite control. A few dead bees outside the hive is not unusual.  On a nice warm day above 50 degrees with little to no wind take a peek into the hive to see if the cluster is about the same size as previously and that there is still adequate stored or supplemental food source available. If the hive has died out, take it down and clean it up for use later. DO NOT feed any pollen/protein patties at this time of year. For screened bottom boards, be sure to remove the debris/inspection board and scrape it clean.

Now is the time to repair or build beekeeping equipment for use in the spring. Remove old black/dark foundation replace with new. It is best to wait until close to the time the new foundation is to be used to place the wax foundation into the frame. The wax foundation can become dried out and cracked and the bees will not work it. This is true for waxing of plastic foundation—wait until closer to the time that you need to put it into use.

Now is the time to order packages and Nuc’s and queens for spring—it may be too late. Most suppliers will have taken most orders by now for delivery in April and early May.