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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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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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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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

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?