Author Archives: David LaFerney

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.

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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...
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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.
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A Beginners Guide to Essential BeeKeeping Equipment

When it comes to housing your honey bees there are a bewildering variety of choices to make...
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Emergency Feeding – Don’t let your Bees Starve!

If you have any suspicion whatsoever that your bees might be low on food - or even if they have food but the cluster might not be able to get to it. You can insure that your bees don't starve by "mountain camp" feeding. It is very easy, doesn't require any special equipment, and doesn't require digging around in the hive - you can even do it when it is pretty cold. There is no reason to let your bees starve.
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Beekeeping Phenology – Important blooms in mid TN

When you begin keeping bees you start to notice flowers like never before. Certain blooms are especially significant... Maple - Rapid increase in brood production - Begins in late Feb/early March and lasts several weeks as different varieties bloom at slightly different times. Weather is often fair enough for inspections during the maple bloom, and hive conditions may indicate that it is time to reverse brood chambers.
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Feeding Pollen Substitute in Winter

... beekeepers who need big strong colonies to take to California for almond pollination in February, and commercial bee producers who need to sell bulk bees in late March to demanding customers (and others) have learned that feeding pollen sub can greatly improve their productivity and profitability. How does that apply to the hobby beekeeper in middle TN?...
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Time to feed!

You might find that you need to feed some of your hives to prepare for winter now that our nectar flows are pretty much all over for the year.
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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
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Summer Beekeeping in TN

What you do (or don't do) over the next 3 months will mostly determine if you are still a beekeeper next spring.
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