Cookeville Beekeepers 2017 Short Course

Short Course

The Cookeville Beekeepers Association is presenting its annual Beginner Beekeepers short course this year on Saturday March 4th.  The details for the event are below.

Location: Collegeside Church of Christ – 252 E 9th St, Cookeville, TN 38501 in “The Gap”… enter through the East entrance.

Date/Time: Saturday March 4th 2017  8:00am – 3:00pm CST

Cost: This class is free to anyone who is interested – no prerequisites are required other than an interest in beekeeping and the desire to learn.   No registration is required… just show up.  A $10 donation to the club – while not required – would be graciously accepted.

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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

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.

TN Beekeeping Annual Calendar

Annual Schedule for beekeepers – Of course all dates are approximate, and dependant on weather…

January

The Bees will be clustered during cold weather, but it is common for there to be several days  when the weather is warm enough for the bees to fly and cleanse – although little if any forage is available most years.

A small amt of brood production re-starts around mid January.

If hives are  light – or if it is your regular practice – Dry sugar, sugar candy, or pollen sub can be fed on top bars in almost any decent weather.

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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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Swarm Management for new Beekeepers

New Beekeepers who are successfully over wintering hives for the first time are likely to see their overwintered colonies build up strongly on the early spring nectar flows.

Unfortunately strong overwintered colonies have a natural tendency to reproduce by swarming.

A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the primeswarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen.
Swarming (honey bee) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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How to Tell if a Hive has Already Swarmed

Honey bee colony populations can increase so rapidly just before swarming that it may not be apparent that a hive has swarmed just by population or entrance activity – although usually both are reduced somewhat. Upon inspection of such a hive you will usually find queen cells along the bottoms of combs (swarm cells) – probably opened where the queen(s) have emerged. There will not usually be a lot of brood in the hive right at the time of swarming because the queen typically runs out – or nearly out – of room to lay eggs in during the run up to swarming. You may find several recently emerged brood cells – which may be filled with nectar. But the main sign of a hive which has recently swarmed are opened swarm cells.

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Really Simple Queen Introduction

Queen introduction is fraught with anxiety – A good queen honey bee is pretty expensive as bugs go and of course you don’t want to take any chances with it. I think I’ve tried most of the common tips – push in cages, making the hive queenless for some period of time, etc. But here is the thing – what really works best for me is a standard candy release. Whether you are making a split, fixing a queenless hive, replacing an old queen or drone layer, installing a package, or dealing with a laying worker hive – this simple method works the same for all. It’s almost fool proof if you follow the simple rules.

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Bee Keeping Basics – Inspections

Inspections

During the bee keeping season (March to November) you need to do weekly inspections.  The purpose of inspecting your hives is to keep them healthy and strong by heading off problems as early as possible before they become a big deal. And especially to avoid colony failures – dead outs.

Upon examination of a hive which has failed you might find that it is infested with hive beetle or wax moth larva, or that it is completely devoid of food stores.  This might lead you to believe that those were the cause of the failure, but chances are that they were just the last of an unfortunate series of events which started much earlier –  Which usually went undetected because the hive was not inspected regularly enough.

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Three Kinds of Brood Comb

There are three kinds of brood comb – one for each caste of honey bee…

Worker comb – Obviously is the comb that worker bees are raised in.  Most of the comb in the brood nest will be worker comb.

Drone Comb – Drone comb is noticeably larger than worker brood – and really does look like corn pops cereal.  The left side of this frame (below) is capped drone brood and the right side is capped worker brood.  This is not an unusually large amount of drone brood and does not indicate a failing or drone laying queen – quite the contrary, a drone brood pattern like this is typical of a healthy hive.  Both kinds of brood comb will be used for honey storage when the hive needs it – and in fact there is nothing wrong with using drone comb in honey supers.

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