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

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Feeding Honey Bees for Beginners

My first year of beekeeping I was surprised to discover how often I had to feed my new pets.  I shouldn’t have been surprised – like all animals honey bees have to eat.

Unfortunately I had done a lot of reading on the Internet and heard that feeding your bees is bad – unnatural, unhealthy, makes them lazy, and swarmy, can cause them to produce brood at the wrong times, etc, etc…  Anyway if you don’t take too much honey from them then they won’t need to be fed.

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