Reminder – Saturday Apiary Session tomorrow

Just a reminder that our first weekly apiary session 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. The location is 5357 Bob Lynn rd. Cookeville TN 38501 – I estimate that it 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, but be warned – mine are not the most friendly bees you might ever meet.

If you are a new beekeeper I strongly reccomend that you make time and take the time to attend these sessions – this will be one of your best opportunities to see first hand and hands on everything that you need to know about inspecting and manipulating your own bees.

Tomorrows weather forecast is for it to be around 50 degrees at the time of our apiary session. 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 beginning a 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)

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 – wooded area about 600 ft past Fox Ridge Rd.
Please park on rd.

See you on Saturday!

Posted in Events, temp | Leave a comment

Apiary Session on Saturday

The first weekly apiary session will be on Saturday morning at 9:30 – open to anyone who is interested. The location is 5357 Bob Lynn rd. Cookeville TN 38501 – I estimate that it will only last about 45 – 75 minutes. Please be prompt as we will start on time. You must Bring your own veil and you must wear it – other protective equipment is optional, but be warned – mine are not the most friendly bees you might ever meet.

If you are a new beekeeper I strongly reccomend that you make time and take the time to attend these sessions – this will be one of  your best opportunities to see first hand and hands on everything that you need to know about inspecting and manipulating your own bees.

Some of the actions which will be covered:

  • 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)

  • 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 – wooded area about 600 ft past Fox Ridge Rd.
  • Please park on rd.

 

See you on Saturday!

 

Posted in Events, temp | Leave a comment

Beginning Beekeepers Short Course Tomorrow

The 2015 Beginners Beekeeping short course – The basic skills that a new beekeeper needs during their First season. presented by Cookeville Beekeepers will be presented tomorrow  – Saturday March 7  from 8:30 – 5:00 (lunch from 12-1) at Collegeside Church of Christ 252 East 9th Street Cookeville, TN 38501.

Anyone can attend, and there will not be a fee – however a small donation would be graciously accepted.  You must participate in this course to be eligible for the Cookeville hive grant drawing – 3 beginning beekeepers will be awarded starter kits which include a hive setup, smoker, hive tool, veil, and gloves – everything needed to begin beekeeping.

Directions from I-40

  1. Exit North from I-40 at Cookeville exit 287 onto Jefferson Avenue.
  2. Continue North on Jefferson for 2.7 miles to East 9th street – note that N Jefferson doglegs to the left at the intersection of E. 7th street.
  3. Turn Right on east 9th st.
  4. Collegeside church (large white building) is on the left – go past the church and turn left into the parking lot.
  5. Enter the Church through the covered entrance -
  6. turn left at the main hall and continue in that direction until you hear the commotion in the big room on the right – just across from the kitchen.

Subject matter can be found on our Short Course Page.

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Tonight’s Beekeepers meeting Canceled

Tonights meeting – Thursday March 5 – is cancelled due to weather – HOWEVER we still have to pay our supplier for our package bees!  If you have not already paid for your club bee order in full you have 2 good options:

1) We will still be having the beginners class all day (8:30 – 4:00) on Saturday the 7th at the usual meeting room in Collegeside Church – and you can drop your payment off then.

2) You can also mail in your payment to:

David Fox

3546 Carlisle Rd.

Cookeville, TN

38501

If you are mailing your payment please put it in the mail no later than Monday March 9.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Payment for Package bees must be Made this week

If you have ordered package bees through the club you MUST pay in full for them this week –  at either the Meeting on Thursday night or at the short course on Saturday. Any orders which are not paid in full by then will be made available for adoption by whoever can pay for them – I’m sure you all understand why this must be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March Beekeepers meeting and Beginners Course

Our Regular monthly meeting and annual beginners short course are both coming up this week – the monthly meeting will be on Thursday March 5 – as usual the meeting will be at Collegeside Church beginning at 6:30 – the doors will be open at 6:00.

The 2015 Beginners Beekeeping short course presented by Cookeville Beekeepers will be on Saturday March 7 from 8:30 – 5:00 (go forth for lunch from 12-1) at Collegeside Church of Christ 252 East 9th Street Cookeville, TN 38501.  Detailed directions can be found at the link. You must attend the short course to qualify for the hive grant drawing. No pre registration is required – there will not be a fee, but a small donation would be greatly appreciated.

Need to buy bees?  As far as I know you can still order 3# Italian package bees for early April delivery  from Bruce Wilson 931-260-1030.  And you can still get nucleus hives from:

  •  Jim Murf  615-519-2975 (Wilson Co.) – 5 frame deeps $150 picked up in Lebanon TN
  • Leonard Walker 615-347-1062 (Wilson Co.)  – 5 frame deeps $125 picked up in Lebanon TN

This is the season when more honey bee colonies will starve to death than any other time.  Healthy colonies have brood by now – March – and by early next month will have the most brood of any time of year – all of those baby bees eat a lot of food.  While we will soon be seeing flowers bloom and stores being brought into hives on fair days we will also almost surely experience bad weather for several days at a time.  When the foragers can’t go out because of bad weather the stored groceries are quickly depleted by the growing hive population.  But in particular when the temps dip much below 40 degrees the adult bees will cluster around the brood nest to keep the babies warm – and they will not leave the cluster.  They won’t even go a few inches to get food which is stored within the hive – all too often the result is a previously thriving colony that starves to death with honey only 2-3 inches away from the cluster.  You can prevent this by making sure that the cluster has plenty of food in contact with it, and the easiest way to accomplish that is by feeding dry sugar on top of the top bars – follow the link for more info.

Despite the recent wintery weather beekeeping season will be upon us in a matter of days – now is the time to order and assemble equipment before you need it.   Before the season gets rolling you can usually get equipment delivered within just a few days, but the major suppliers always get swamped with orders later and wait times can stretch to weeks.  Don’t wait to order essential equipment!

See you on Thursday!

Posted in Meetings | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Posted in Honey Bee How to, Learn about Bee Keeping, Seasonal | Leave a comment

Package Bees or Nucleus Hive?

a package of bees

a package of bees

This article was previously published in January 2011, but contains seasonally relevant information.

If you are new to beekeeping and have yet to get bees you are probably wondering whether you should get a package of bees or a nucleus hive (nuc) to start with – what is the difference?

A nucleus hive is a complete hive with, comb,  eggs, open brood, capped brood, newly emerged nurse bees, foraging field bees, and a mature queen who is already busy laying eggs.

A “package” contains 2-3 pounds of field bees (shaken from a lot of different production hives) and a very young queen in her own cage, which has probably laid only a few hundred eggs – enough to prove that she can.  No comb,  eggs, brood, none of that. Oh yeah, a package contains a can of syrup to keep the bees fed for a few days.  A package is very like an artificial swarm.

Cost – nucs are about twice as expensive as a package.

Queens – When you get a nuc it comes with a queen which is already a part of the hive, and is already laying eggs.  With a package you have to “install” the queen and there is always a chance that she won’t be accepted by the hive.

Comb – a nuc comes with about 5 frames of drawn comb where a package has none to start with – unless you have some to give it.  This means that a package has no where to put stores, and the queen has no where to lay.  However a package will usually draw a few frames of comb very quickly because they’ve been confined and drinking syrup.

Build up – A nuc is a complete hive and should start building population as soon as you get it.  A package has no brood yet, and the population will actually decline for about 4-6 weeks until the first eggs that are laid emerge as adults.  So a nuc has about that much of a head start on the season when compared to a package.

Honey production – If you have drawn comb to work with and get your bees early enough either a nuc or package has potential to build up and perhaps produce a honey crop.  If you don’t have comb – and as a beginner you probably don’t – then probably neither one (IMO) is going to produce excess honey in the first year – at least not in our area.  With luck either one should be able to do so in its second year.

Either a nuc or package should build up enough during it’s first year to a sufficient size to over winter and get a good start next year.  You might even be able to split during your first season and successfully go into your first winter with twice as many hives – I did.

Posted in Honey Bee How to | 1 Comment

Package Bee demographics

As you are probably aware one of the disadvantages of a package (or swarm) of honey bees as compared to a nuc is that while a nuc should be growing in population from the very first day, a package actually loses population until eggs laid after it is installed begin to emerge.   Here is an estimate of how the population of a package falls and rises after installation day…

  • Day one – package installed in hive.
  • Day 23 or 24 shows lowest bee population.
  • Day 30 shows return to package initial population.
    Growth continues.
  • Day 40 shows twice initial package population.
  • Day 42 marks the point when all bees in hive are truly your bees.
  • Day 50 shows three times initial bee population.
  • Day 59 marks beginning of population stabilization as deaths offset births.

So, as you can see a package takes about a month before its population grows past the initial size – while a nuc grows from day one.

Posted in Learn about Bee Keeping | Leave a comment

Counting Mites

“If you can’t measure it, You can’t manage it…”  Varroa mites are  the scourge of honey bees and beekeepers – success is unlikely without some strategy to manage them.  Unfortunately many beekeepers – especially new ones – come under the impression that they will somehow get a pass or that their bees don’t have mites.

Since they are almost never seen during inspections mites are out of sight and out of mind until a colony mysteriously dies at which point the mishap is often blamed on weather, wax moths or Small Hive Beetles when the truth is often (usually even) that mites brought disease into the colony weeks or months before it died.

If you don’t measure mite loads, you can’t know when you need to take action, or if your treatments were effective.  “I treated and my bees died anyway…”  Did you treat before the hive was so infested that it was too late?  Did your treatment work?  If you don’t do mite counts you simply can not answer these questions.  You are only guessing.

And another video showing and alcohol wash…

The following video shows a brood frame with symptoms of Parasitic Mite Syndrome caused by a severe infestation of Varroa…

Posted in Evergreen, Honey Bee How to | Leave a comment