Short-Course After-Party

Inspecting a frame

We’re planning on adding a new component to the short-course this year to help enrich the learning experience.  Immediately after the short course is over at 3:00pm, we’ll be heading over to our un-official club apiary (weather permitting) to have a short hands-on apiary session.  The location will be announced at the end of the short course.

A veil is required to attend the apiary session, so be sure to bring one.  While gloves, long sleeves, and long pants are optional, they are also recommended for first-time beekeepers.  If you do not already own a veil, you can order one from here or here or here, but order it asap so it can be here in-time.  If you’re really in a pinch, you can usually find these at your local Walmart.

Cookeville Beekeepers 2017 Short Course

 

Short Course

The Cookeville Beekeepers Association is presenting its annual Beginner Beekeepers short course this year on Saturday March 4th.  The details for the event are below.

Location: Collegeside Church of Christ – 252 E 9th St, Cookeville, TN 38501 in “The Gap”… enter through the East entrance.

Date/Time: Saturday March 4th 2017  8:00am – 3:00pm CST

Cost: This class is free to anyone who is interested – no prerequisites are required other than an interest in beekeeping and the desire to learn.   No registration is required… just show up.  A $10 donation to the club – while not required – would be graciously accepted.

If you want to participate in the TN Beekeepers Association / Cookeville Beekeepers Association free hive grant drawing – to win one of 3 free beginner beekeeping kits – you must attend this class.  There is no need to pre-register – just show up ready to learn.

We’ll also be giving away several other door prizes to participants at the beginner’s short course.

If you want to participate in the hive grant drawing please follow this link to get more information on the requirements.  The drawing will be held at the end of the short course on March 4th, and you must attend in order to enter.  All requirements must be met by that time to participate.

The short course will cover the basic subjects that a beginner needs to begin beekeeping through their entire first season.

Also, we’re planning on adding a new component to the short-course this year.  Immediately after the short course is over at 3:00pm, we’ll be heading over to our un-official club apiary (weather permitting) to have a short hands-on apiary session.  The location will be announced at the end of the short course.  A veil is required to attend the apiary session, so be sure to bring one.  While gloves, long sleeves, and long pants are optional, they are also recommended for first-time beekeepers.  If you do not already own a veil, you can order one from here or here or here, but order it asap so it can be here in-time.  If you’re really in a pinch, you can usually find these at your local Walmart.

Apiary Sessions

Also later in March – weather permitting – we will begin having regular hands on sessions in our new club apiary where beginners (and anyone else) will get regular opportunities to experience beekeeping first hand.  The final schedule for apiary sessions is yet to be announced, but they will probably be weekly on Saturday mornings – depending on the weather of course. All apiary participants will be required to furnish and wear a veil at all times within the apiary area.

While beekeeping is a broad subject with lifetime learning opportunities participating in the Cookeville Beekeepers Association beginners short course and apiary sessions should greatly help to get you successfully started as a beekeeper.

January 2017 Meeting

Monthly Meeting: Our Regular monthly meeting will be on Thursday January 5th – as usual the meeting will be at Collegeside Church beginning at 6:30PM – the doors will be open at 6:00PM, so come early to discuss how your bees are doing, and what’s happening next!

This month we will be playing a very popular game from last year… the “10 Scenarios game”.  It’s a scenario-based question/answer game used to help you learn more about your bees and how to become a better beekeeper.  So put your learning hat on, and come enjoy this fun game with us!  See you on Thursday 🙂

Buying Bees:  This year, the Cookeville Beekeepers Assn. will not be making a club order of bees.  If you’re looking to buy bees for the 2017 beekeeping season, please see our Buying Bees page to get a list of sources for the 2017 year.

Beekeeping tasks this month – January

winter-bees

It’s January – the middle of the winter, is there anything I should 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: January

• Clean, paint and repair equipment.

• Check the apiary for wind and animal damage.

• On a warm, sunny day, check the honey stores and feed, with a candy board, any colonies that have less than 15 pounds (six frames of capped honey in a shallow super or two to three frames in a deep super). Note, this is an emergency feeding to prevent starvation and not recommended for colonies with adequate stores. Do not disturb the cluster of bees. The hive can be lifted from the rear to estimate stores. On a warm, sunny day, the top can be removed to see the adult cluster size.

winter-bees

It’s January – the middle of the winter, is there anything I should 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: January

• Clean, paint and repair equipment.

• Check the apiary for wind and animal damage.

• On a warm, sunny day, check the honey stores and feed, with a candy board, any colonies that have less than 15 pounds (six frames of capped honey in a shallow super or two to three frames in a deep super). Note, this is an emergency feeding to prevent starvation and not recommended for colonies with adequate stores. Do not disturb the cluster of bees. The hive can be lifted from the rear to estimate stores. On a warm, sunny day, the top can be removed to see the adult cluster size.

Making Lotion Bars

While our honeybees produce many different products for us, one of the most precious is wax.  If you have kept bees for very long, you have probably collected at least some of it.  There are many different possible uses for bees wax, but one very common use is making lotion bars.  Many people suffer from dry skin in the winter and need a moisturizer that is a little more durable and long-lasting than lotion.  Here is a recipe that I have found to be a good balance between hardness (not melting) in the heat of the summer, and softness (you’re not rubbing your skin with a rock) during the colder months.  You’ll need the following:

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Ingredients:

  • 3oz BeesWax
  • 3oz Shea Butter
  • 3oz Coconut Oil
  • 15 drops Vitamin-E Oil (optional)
  • 12-20 drops Lavender Oil (or your favorite essential oil for aroma)

Kitchen Supplies:

  • Wide-mouth Mason Jar or Large Pyrex Measuring Cup
  • Spoon
  • Kitchen Scale (to measure out the ingredients)
  • Silicone Cupcake Pan (needs to be flexible to pop out the lotion bars)
  • Dish Towel or Pot Holders
  • Microwave
  • Some kind of packaging (I use parchment paper & jute twine)

Step 1

Measure out 3oz each of beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil and place them all into your melting container (mason jar or pyrex measuring cup). Melting the components in the microwave.  I’d recommend starting with 2 minutes and check it, then add an additional 30 seconds at a time until everything is completely melted (the wax will melt last).

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Step 2

Once completely melted add in 15 drops of vitamin-E oil (optional), and between 12 and 20 drops of lavender essential oil (depending on how weak or strong you want the aroma to be).  You could also substitute a different essential oil if prefer another aroma.  Stir the hot mixture together thoroughly.

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Step 3

Now carefully pour the mixture into whatever mold you have chosen (the melting container will be very hot… use a towel or pot holder).  I highly recommend some kind of silicone or flexible plastic mold so that you can pop them out once they cool & harden.

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Step 4

Once they cool & harden, you can pop them out and package them.  I use parchment paper squares along with jute twine to keep everything snug.  I also add a logo sticker for branding.  They make great gifts and a good add-on item to your regular honey sales.

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Winter Feeding – BeeCakes

Keeping your bees alive and healthy during the winter is a very important and sometimes challenging task.  One very effective method of feeding is putting sugar directly on the top-bars of the top box of the hive.  When the cluster is in direct contact with sugar (even solid sugar), it is very difficult for them to starve.  Below I have outlined a recipe I have found to be very useful in keeping my bees healthy and happy during the winter.  In order to make Bee Cakes, you will need the following:

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Ingredients:

  • 4lbs sucrose (while table sugar – beet or cane is fine… just needs to be white)
  • 2cups water (tap water is fine)
  • 1tsp white vinegar (acid + heat inverts the sucrose into fructose & glucose)
  • 1+1/4 cups pollen substitute (I use UltraBee from Mann Lake)

Kitchen Supplies:

  • 2x 9in. cake pans (or something similar)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Large stock pot
  • Wooden stirring spoon
  • Candy thermometer
  • Measuring cups & spoons (1C dry, 1/4C dry, 1C wet, 1tsp)

Step 1

First,  you will need to line the 2 cake pans with a single sheet of aluminum foil each.  You’ll be pouring the hot liquid sugar mixture into them, so the aluminum foil needs to be as high-up as possible on the edges of the pan.  You’ll also want to make sure the aluminum foil is as flat & “wrinkle-free” as possible so that the cakes are easier to unwrap when you put them on the hives.

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Step 2

Mix the 4-lbs of sugar, 2-cups of water, and 1-tsp of white vinegar together in the pot, and stir until it makes a thick white liquid.img_2829

Step 3

Put in your candy thermometer & turn on the burner to start heating the sugar mixture.  Stir constantly to keep even heat distribution.  The mixture will eventually start boiling & will expand a lot.  This is why you need a large stock pot… if  you use a small pot it could overflow the top & cause major problems.

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Step 4

You’re looking for the mixture to get up to the “Soft Ball” stage… this is aprox. 238-242 degrees.  Once it reaches this point, most of the water will have boiled off, but you’re looking to get a bit more water out of it (maybe 1-2 more minutes)… just don’t let it get much over 242 degrees.  You’ll know it’s ready because a lot less steam will be coming out.  Then take it over to the sink, pull out the thermometer, and add the pollen substitute.

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Step 5

Stir in the pollen substitute making sure that you get most of the lumps out (doesn’t have to be perfect).  Then pour the mixture into your foil-lined cake pans to cool.  Note… once you take the mixture off the heat you’ll need to move pretty quickly.  You have to get the pollen substitute incorporated & the mixture poured before the sugar cools enough that it starts hardening.

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Let the Bee Cakes cool & harden, and then wrap the foil over the top of them & store until you’re ready to put them on the hive.  When you do go to put them on the hive, remove the foil & set the cake on the top bars of the hive.

November 2016 Meeting

honey_jars

Monthly Meeting: Our Regular monthly meeting will be on Thursday November 3rd – as usual the meeting will be at Collegeside Church beginning at 6:30PM – the doors will be open at 6:00PM, so come early to discuss bees and how your bees are doing, and what’s happening next!

This month, we will be discussing a very tasty answer to the question, “What do I do with all of this honey?”  We’ll be discussion the process of making mead… a fermented honey product (commonly referred to as “honey wine”).  It is a very fun and interesting process to observe, and it makes a delicious holiday gift for family & friends.

We will also be electing 2017 club officers, so bring your nominations!  See you on Thursday 🙂

Beekeeping tasks this month – November

autumn-honey-bee-jason-politte

It’s November, the leaves are almost completely gone, and it’s getting cold… 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: November

• Cut tall grass to reduce moisture against hives and reduce wood rot.

• Check all tops to be sure they are waterproof.

• Place a weight on the outer cover to prevent the wind from blowing the top off the hive.

• Feed all colonies that do not have at least 40 pounds of honey stored. (A deep-brood frame holds 6 to 7 pounds of honey; a medium frame holds 4 1?2 pounds; a shallow super frame holds 3 1?2 pounds.)

• Feed 2:1 syrup or prepare a candy board for feeding colonies without enough stored honey for overwinter. Colonies may not take syrup after the first hard frost and tend to not be able to convert syrup to stored honey. Alternatively to a candy board, sugar ‘goop’ may be used. To make sugar goop, a spacer can be placed above the top box. Lay a single layer of newspaper down. Trowl out a mixture of granulated sugar and water. The mixture is made with a very small amount of water so that the sugar granules stick together and do not run.

autumn-honey-bee-jason-politte

It’s November, the leaves are almost completely gone, and it’s getting cold… 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: November

• Cut tall grass to reduce moisture against hives and reduce wood rot.

• Check all tops to be sure they are waterproof.

• Place a weight on the outer cover to prevent the wind from blowing the top off the hive.

• Feed all colonies that do not have at least 40 pounds of honey stored. (A deep-brood frame holds 6 to 7 pounds of honey; a medium frame holds 4 1?2 pounds; a shallow super frame holds 3 1?2 pounds.)

• Feed 2:1 syrup or prepare a candy board for feeding colonies without enough stored honey for overwinter. Colonies may not take syrup after the first hard frost and tend to not be able to convert syrup to stored honey. Alternatively to a candy board, sugar ‘goop’ may be used. To make sugar goop, a spacer can be placed above the top box. Lay a single layer of newspaper down. Trowl out a mixture of granulated sugar and water. The mixture is made with a very small amount of water so that the sugar granules stick together and do not run.

October 2016 Meeting

beeswax-mt

Monthly Meeting: Our Regular monthly meeting will be on Thursday October 6th – as usual the meeting will be at Collegeside Church beginning at 6:30PM – the doors will be open at 6:00PM, so come early to discuss bees and how your bees are doing, and what’s happening next!

This month Matt Phillips & Star Douglas will be presenting on various uses for your extra wax.  Things like lotion bars, lip balm, and candles can be a great use of your leftover wax as well as a good source of some extra income.  We’ll have a live demo – creating some of the wax products, so come on out and join us and learn!

September 2016 Meeting

honey_jars

Monthly Meeting: Our Regular monthly meeting will be on Thursday September 1st – as usual the meeting will be at Collegeside Church beginning at 6:30PM – the doors will be open at 6:00PM, so come early to discuss bees and how your bees are doing, and what’s happening next!

This month we’ve got Arlis Swafford who will be teaching us some tips and tricks on processing, packaging, and showing honey – particularly for competitions and/or fairs.  Arlis has won many blue ribbons over the years, so come on out and join us and learn.