Beekeeping tasks this month – July

Honeybees-27527-1

It’s July, hot hot hot… what should I be doing as a beekeeper this month?

The following list was published by Dr. John A. Skinner (Professor & Apiculture Specialist @ UT) in the Beekeeping in Tennessee publication from UT (PB 1745), and is available at the following URL: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1745.pdf

Seasonal Management: July

• If moving colonies to sourwood areas, have your bees in their new location before the first week of July.

• Extract any unremoved capped honey to have the supers available for the sourwood honey flow.

• Return extracted supers to the colonies just before dark to prevent robbing.

• Fumigate all supers of extracted combs that will be off the colonies for the remainder of the season with para-di-chloro-benzene. Wax moths can begin destroying them in a matter of days, depending on the situation.

• Pack honey in a quality, attractive package – all new, clean glassware or plastic ware and lids.

• Swarms issuing after mid-June will required constant feeding until they are a full-sized hive. They can be combined with weak colonies.

• Check for varroa mites.

• If your honey flow is over by this month, insert entrance reducers to prevent robbing and reduce the hive to the size of overwintering to help the colony manage hive beetles.

• Colonies will readily take feed and convert it to brood after the honey flow is over. Feed colonies where it is desired to build up their population (e.g. new colonies started late).

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No July Meeting – no Apiary Session on 4th of July

I hope everyone is enjoying a great summer, and having good luck with your bees.  This is just a reminder that there will not be a regular club meeting in July, and that there will not be an apiary session next Saturday July 4th either.

However – weather permitting – at the following Saturday (July 11) apiary session we will attempt to split some hives and allow the bees to make new queens.   Splitting is more difficult at this time of year than it is earlier, but some people are always interested in doing it because their new hives have just now built up the resources – and also honey season is over so not much honey potential is lost by splitting this late.   However July 11 is getting  near the latest date for successful productive splitting – so this demonstration should be very timely for anyone who wants to make increase but has put it off.

If you are interested in repeating this process in your home apiary you should go ahead and get together any woodenware that you will need to do it – IE a nucleus hive or hive setup, maybe just a bottom board and top cover depending on what you hope to do.  You may also need additional frames of foundation, feed, feeders, and robber screens.

Is your hive strong enough to split?  If you have a healthy hive which has at least 10 deep frames or 16 medium frames of drawn comb then you can split it into two hives which will be big enough to survive our winters – if you are willing to feed and care for them.  Personally I would much rather go into winter with two small hives than one big one – my experience has been that the small hives over winter just as well as the big ones, and grow so fast in the spring that by honey season they are very productive.

See you on Saturday July 11.

More information on Saturday Apiary session.

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Apiary Session Canceled due to rain

Today’s apiary session – Saturday June 27 is OFF. Sorry for the very late cancellation, but it looked a bit more promising earlier.

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Apiary Session is ON – Saturday June 27

The Saturday apiary session for June 27 is ON at this time, but be sure and check back in the morning in case of cancellation – rain is a possibility.

The time will be tomorrow Saturday morning at 9:30 – These sessions are  open to anyone who is interested – no need to be a club member or have bees.

Please sign up for our email news letter and keep an eye on it or the website concerning these sessions as they are somewhat weather dependant and subject to cancellation.

The location is 5357 Bob Lynn rd. Cookeville TN 38501 – I estimate that they will only last about 45 – 75 minutes. Please be prompt as we will try to start on time. You must bring your own veil and you must wear it – other protective equipment is optional.

If you had planned to attend these sessions but have put it off so far you have missed out on a lot of stuff that happens during the most active part of the beekeeping season up until now, but there are still good topics that will be covered – but nothing lasts forever and soon the beekeeping season will wind down to little more than winter prep.

With only a couple of exceptions we have had a session almost every Saturday since early April when the weather has been at all suitable.   Some of you may be under the impression that you can only work bees in the middle of a sunny day, but actually as long as the temp is not too cold, rainy or windy commercial beekeepers work bees under a wide range of conditions – they have to in order to make a living.  So even though the conditions may not be perfect we are going to proceed as planned whenever possible beginning at 9:30 AM so that everyone can go on to their regularly scheduled Saturday activities.

Some of the actions which will be covered during the season:

Smoker lighting
Inspections
Mite counting
Treating for mites
Feeding
Queen finding
Transferring brood between hives
Splitting hives
Use of the queen excluder
Honey harvesting
Requeening
Swarm prevention

Directions from North Willow and 12th street (TTU Gym and Hooper Eblen Center basketball arena)  to address 5357 Bob Lynn rd. Cookeville TN 38501

From Intersection of N. Willow and 12th street Head North on Willow.
Continue North on Willow approx 3.1 miles
Turn Right on Bob Lynn rd.
Continue on Bob Lynn rd for approx .4 miles.
Apiary is visible from the road on the Right – vacant wooded lot about 600 ft past Fox Ridge Rd.
Please try to park in a manner which will allow as much parking access as possible for everyone.

See you on Saturday!

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No Saturday Apiary Session – June 20

Because of a conflicting obligation I will not be hosting a Saturday Apiary Session this week. I hope everyone will plan to come out next week to continue this series.

Just a reminder – there will not be a July meeting of Cookeville Beekeepers Association.

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Queenless!!

Queenlessness is probably the main cause of hive death during the beekeeping season – but it doesn’t have to be.  A hive can lose its  queen for several reasons – swarming, supersedure, beekeeper error,  etc.  Any time a new queen flies out to mate there is a significant chance that she won’t make it back.

When a strong hive becomes queenless for any reason you have about 4-5 weeks to take action to save the hive, but the sooner you do something the better it will be.  This is one reason that we do inspections.

What to do when you are queenless.

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Beekeeping tasks this month – June

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It’s June, it’s officially the summer season… what should I be doing as a beekeeper this month?

The following list was published by Dr. John A. Skinner (Professor & Apiculture Specialist @ UT) in the Beekeeping in Tennessee publication from UT (PB 1745), and is available at the following URL: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1745.pdf

Seasonal Management: June

• Combine all swarms issuing after June 1 with weak colonies or feed them constantly until they are a full-sized hive.

• Continue to check for swarm cells every 14 days. Raise the super just above the brood chamber and check for swarm cells along the bottom bars of the frames. If developing cells (not empty cups) are present, a swarm is imminent. Either split the hive to artificially swarm it, or watch for an issuing swarm in coming days.

• Continue to add supers as needed until the honey flow ends.

• Remove the capped honey after June 15. Or after Aug. 15 if in sourwood honey producing areas (usually higher elevations).

• Uncapped honey should be checked for moisture content before extracting.

• Prepare and move your bees to the mountains or the second honey flow (sourwood areas) if you want maximum production.

• Extract the honey immediately to prevent destruction by small hive beetles.

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Beekeeping tasks this month – May

Tulip Poplar - one of our main nectar producing plants - just began blooming in our area.

Tulip Poplar – one of our main nectar producing plants – just began blooming in our area.

It’s May, the poplars are popping and the nectar is flowing… what should I be doing as a beekeeper this month?

The following list was published by Dr. John A. Skinner (Professor & Apiculture Specialist @ UT) in the Beekeeping in Tennessee publication from UT (PB 1745), and is available at the following URL: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1745.pdf

Seasonal Management: May

• It is time to add another super when the honey super on a colony is one-half to two-thirds filled (six to seven frames). A few drawn frames can be moved up into an empty foundation super to encourage the bees to move up.

• Supers of cut comb honey foundation should be added on top of the honey super, which is on top of the brood chamber, to reduce the amount of pollen in the cut comb honey.

• Continue to check for swarm cells every seven to 14 days. Raise the super just above the brood chamber and check for swarm cells along the bottom bars of the frames. If developing cells (not empty cups) are present, a swarm is imminent. Either split the hive to artificially swarm it, or watch for an issuing swarm in coming days.

• Keep empty storage space in the supers on all colonies until the honey flow has ended.

• Remove and extract capped supers from your colonies if you need additional supers.

 

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Beekeeping tasks this month – April

027LR Bee Eggs

It’s April, and spring (and brood-rearing) are definitely moving along full-steam-ahead… what should I be doing as a beekeeper this month?

The following list was published by Dr. John A. Skinner (Professor & Apiculture Specialist @ UT) in the Beekeeping in Tennessee publication from UT (PB 1745), and is available at the following URL: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1745.pdf

Seasonal Management: April

• Super colonies for honey production with drawn comb or foundation early in April. Multiple boxes of drawn comb can be used, but only one foundation box at a time is needed.

• Strong colonies will consume large amounts of honey stores in April. If all reserves have been used up, the colonies will starve just prior to the honey flow if prolonged rainy weather sets in. Check stores and feed all colonies that have less than 15 pounds of honey, remove honey supers first. Feeding with honey supers on will contaminate your honey with syrup.

• Check brood chamber for diseases and mites.

• Install package bees in April. Package bees will do well when installed on all new foundation in the hive. When drawn comb and two frames of brood are available, packages get off to a better start.

• Add new foundation for drawing comb in upper hive body during a honey flow.

• Colonies with prolific queens and ample food will be strong in population and may need room. Add a super of drawn comb to relieve crowding.

• By April, you should have developed colony strength to 80,000 worker bees to produce a maximum honey crop.

• Check for the development of the swarming instinct. Raise the super just above the brood chamber and check for swarm cells along the bottom bars of the frames. If developing cells (not empty cups) are present, a swarm is imminent. Either split the hive to artificially swarm it, or watch for an issuing swarm in coming days. Recheck for swarm cells every seven to 14 days.

• April is a good month to divide colonies in advance of swarming instinct.

• Feed package bees 2 gallons of a 1:1 sugar syrup containing Fumidol-B. Package bees often suffer from nosema disease.

• Prepare supers with cut comb foundation just prior to using them.

• Remove entrance reducer from overwintered strong colonies by mid-April.

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Beekeeping tasks this month – March

spring_honeybee

It’s March and spring is here, what should I be doing as a beekeeper this month?

The following list was published by Dr. John A. Skinner (Professor & Apiculture Specialist @ UT) in the Beekeeping in Tennessee publication from UT (PB 1745), and is available at the following URL: https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1745.pdf

Seasonal Management: March

• Check brood chambers. If all of the brood is in the upper part of the brood chamber, reverse the upper and lower brood chamber units. Do not split the brood by reversing when brood is present in both boxes. Reversing the chambers will cause the queen to use both units for egg laying. However, expanding the brood nest too early may cause chilled brood if cold weather reappears.

• Check the brood for diseases and mites each time you open the colony. Check the honey stores. Feed all colonies that have less than 15 pounds of honey stores to prevent starvation. Syrup, not candy boards, should be used at this time.

• Super colonies with drawn comb if available. It’s a little early to super with foundation.

• March is a good time to find queens and mark them with paint and a clipped wing since the population of adult bees will be smaller at this time.

 

 

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