Arlis Swafford – We’ll Miss You..

Our friend and fellow beekeeper Arlis Swafford passed away on May 23, 2017. Arlis was a very active and ardent supporter of beekeepers and beekeeping – participating in and helping to start and lead several associations in middle TN. He will be missed very much.

Arlis arranged for Susan Qualls to send the following out to the Overton County beekeepers email list, but I imagine that it applies to all of his beekeeping friends…

From Arlis

“Thank you  for  allowing me  to  learn  with you  over  the  past 9 years.   I’m at the  end of  my  beekeeping  life so I challenge  you  to  carry  on for the club .  We always need  more good  beekeepers.   My  life  has  been enriched by having  such a wonderful supportive wife and  good beekeeping  friends. If you could think of one good thing that I have done, that will  be  a good  way  to be remembered.  Continue to become better beekeepers and  please continue our community outreach.  Read, read read.

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The Honey flow is ON!

A Black Locust tree in bloom…

Flow is a somewhat confusing term that beekeepers use to indicate that there is enough nectar forage available for bees to not only satisfy their immediate needs but to also store the excess as honey.  Flow, Nectar Flow, Honey Flow – they all mean pretty much the same thing.

Sometimes a flow happens in Early September when Goldenrod blooms, and occasionally there is enough good weather in March for the bees to store some maple honey, but here in Cookeville TN our only reliable honey flow is around May 1st when Tulip Poplar and Black Locust trees bloom.  In many years both of those highly productive blooms happen at the same time – which is unfortunate because the bees just can’t gather all that nectar at once.  Based on my informal survey of trees in my area Black locust is nearly in full bloom right now – April 21, 2017 (suddenly in just the last 2-3 days) but Poplars are not yet in bloom.  This is actually good because with a little luck the main flow will last longer than usual.

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A new Option for treating Varroa Mites

As you know varroa mites cause some of the most difficult challenges for bees and beekeepers.  No matter what methods you choose to deal with mites they all have some kind of drawback and/or limitation.  Some don’t work when it’s too cool others are dangerous to bees if it’s too hot, others aren’t effective if brood is present in the hive – etc.   All of them are extra work and expense.  So anytime a promising new method of treatment becomes available it is worth our time to look into it.

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Varroa Mite Management Options for Honey Bees

This article was originally published in November 2013, but contains seasonally relevant information. In other words - It is time to treat your bees for varroa mites.

"You need to be doing something proactive to deal with mites whether you treat or not." (paraphrased) Kaymon Reynolds - treatment free beekeeper for 10 years.

This post is intended to present the available options for varroa mite management in as factual and unvarnished form as is possible

This article was originally published in November 2013, but contains seasonally relevant information. In other words - It is time to treat your bees for varroa mites.

"You need to be doing something proactive to deal with mites whether you treat or not." (paraphrased) Kaymon Reynolds - treatment free beekeeper for 10 years.

This post is intended to present the available options for varroa mite management in as factual and unvarnished form as is possible

What to do when you are Queenless

You think your hive is queenless - you can't spot the queen, and you don't see any eggs. What now?

First, don't panic. Next, if at all possible give the hive a frame of young open brood or eggs from another hive

You think your hive is queenless - you can't spot the queen, and you don't see any eggs. What now?

First, don't panic. Next, if at all possible give the hive a frame of young open brood or eggs from another hive

How to Make a Simple Robber Screen

As the nectar flows taper off at this time of year robbing sets in.   If you only have one hive and you know that there are no others nearby then you don’t need to worry about robbing – but the rest of us do.  Robbing is especially a problem when you have strong hives near small, weak or queenless hives – such as splits or mating nucs.  Especially if you are feeding those weaker hives.  There are lots of ways to manage robbing, but in my opinion, except for robber screens they all just nibble around the edges of the problem.  Robber screens work when nothing else will.  Even so, robber screens work much better if deployed before robbing sets in, so don’t wait.  BTW, if you want to you can leave robber screens on all year long – they won’t hinder a strong hive from making a honey crop, and they make excellent mouse guards in winter.

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Free Bees!

An easy $100 swarm.

If you are interested in collecting swarms – now is the time.  I just got a call from Midstate pest control -(877) 526-4222 – looking for someone to collect a swarm for a customer of theirs – Midstate does not deal with honey bees apparently.  I personally don’t usually have time to drop everything and go get  swarms at this time of year, but you might.   Midstate said that they get lots of these calls in the spring, and pass them on to anyone who contacts them with an interest in catching swarms.  Other pest control companies probably have the same deal.  

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Splitting Honey Bee Hives for Increase

This article was originally published on Feb 20, 2014 but contains seasonally relevant information.

Like every other living thing our bees have the ability to make more bees. But instead of allowing our colonies to multiply many beekeepers spend hundreds of dollars to buy bees to replace the 1/3 of our colonies which we KNOW from statistics are going to die every year.

This article was originally published on Feb 20, 2014 but contains seasonally relevant information.

Like every other living thing our bees have the ability to make more bees. But instead of allowing our colonies to multiply many beekeepers spend hundreds of dollars to buy bees to replace the 1/3 of our colonies which we KNOW from statistics are going to die every year.

Package Bees or Nucleus Hive?

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?

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?

Honey Bee Nucleus Colonies – Big Solutions in Small Packages

Thanksgiving weekend many of the big beekeeping suppliers will be running the best sales of the entire year - don't wait most of them are ONLY for Thanksgiving weekend.

While you are compiling your shopping list consider ordering some nucleus hive wooden ware - if you wait until you need it next spring it is likely that another year will pass by without making any increase. So Don't wait!

Thanksgiving weekend many of the big beekeeping suppliers will be running the best sales of the entire year - don't wait most of them are ONLY for Thanksgiving weekend.

While you are compiling your shopping list consider ordering some nucleus hive wooden ware - if you wait until you need it next spring it is likely that another year will pass by without making any increase. So Don't wait!