Website recently moved and may be a little “off” for a few days…

Because of ongoing issues with the previous web host I have moved the site to a new company.   I think that pretty much all of the basic functionality is intact but it will probably look and feel a little bit different and it will no doubt take me a while to iron out all (or most) of the kinks.  Sorry about that.

Saturday Apiary Session is ON – May 19, 2018

Open apiary session 2018 #3 is ON for this Saturday, May 19 2018 – 9:00 – 10:15 AM.  Please be prompt.  Anyone who is interested – and has at least a veil – is invited to attend. We are right in the middle of the honey production season, and we will be inspecting at least one honey production hive.  I also have several nucleus hives – at various stages of development – that I have recently split out, which should be interesting.

Weather – Instead of trying to predict the weather I will be at the apiary at 9:00 AM on Saturday rain or shine, and we will decide on the spot to proceed or not.  The forecast does look favorable though.

In the past I have done as many as 5-6 of these sessions during the Spring beekeeping season, but alas my available time has changed, and while I hope to do at least 3-4, I can’t make any promises.  The point is that if you want to participate at all you should not put it off.  Seriously.  There may or may not be any more of these sessions.

Our Saturday apiary sessions are open to anyone who is interested – there is no need to be a club member or even to have bees – even the bee curious are welcome.  You do need to bring a veil, and you will be required to wear it.  I HIGHLY recommend that you also wear long pants, and long sleeves, and gloves if you have them. My bees are not the kind that you work in a tee shirt and shorts – in fact some of them are a little on the mean side.  No need to be frightened, just dress accordingly.

You should sign up for our email newsletter and keep an eye on it or the website concerning future sessions.

Directions from North Willow and 12th street (TTU Gym and Hooper Eblen Center basketball arena)  to apiary address 5357 Bob Lynn rd. Cookeville TN 38501

From Intersection of N. Willow and 12th street Head North on Willow.
Continue North on Willow approx 3.1 miles
Turn Right on Bob Lynn rd.
Continue on Bob Lynn rd for approx .4 miles.
Apiary is visible from the road on the Right – vacant wooded lot about 600 ft past Fox Ridge Rd.
Please try to park in a manner which will allow as much parking access as possible for everyone.

See you on Saturday!

Be Careful with your Queen Excluder

Almost every beginning beekeeper has a queen excluder that came with a kit – and almost everyone is anxious to deploy it so that they can get a super or two of nice pristine honey without any brood to worry about. To everything there is a season, and your first year with bees is not the time to use your excluder – at least not like that.

Every year I get a question or run across someone who is wondering why their bees won’t go through their queen excluder – to get to the super of bare foundation sitting on top. Well the short answer is that they probably never will.

Almost every beginning beekeeper has a queen excluder that came with a kit – and almost everyone is anxious to deploy it so that they can get a super or two of nice pristine honey without any brood to worry about.  To everything there is a season, and your first year with bees is not the time to use your excluder – at least not like that.

Every year I get a question or run across someone who is wondering why their bees won’t go through their queen excluder – to get to the super of bare foundation sitting on top.   Well the short answer is that they probably never will.   Bees don’t really like to go through a queen excluder anyway, but if there isn’t anything above it that they want (bare foundation) then they almost surely won’t – unless the hive is absolutely cram packed with bees, in which case they are more likely to swarm than to go through an excluder to get to foundation.

As a general rule don’t use a queen excluder until after you have enough comb drawn out to fill your brood boxes and at least 1 honey super.  Then you can put the excluder between the brood chamber and the honey supers – with drawn comb in them – and the bees are much more likely to co-operate.   Although even then they make the hive more likely to swarm.

If you do want to use them so that you don’t have brood in your honey supers you can wait until most of the honey flow is over to add the excluder – say around May 20 or so, after the poplar and locust bloom are about over. Then any brood above it will emerge and the comb will get back filled with honey. As long as you get the queen below it that is.

If you use a queen excluder during the honey flow it will be more work to keep your bees from swarming. But it will also make it so that you have fewer boxes to inspect for queen cells.

It seems that a lot of hobby bee keepers don’t use them anymore – but commercial honey producers mostly do – I think.  If you use an excluder it won’t really make your bees produce less honey – not so you would notice anyway – but they may store more of it below the excluder therefore you won’t have to feed them as much.

As long as they are not out of room below they will be very reluctant to go through an excluder – which is kind of alright, because they will get the brood boxes fully stocked with honey before they go up into the supers.   Which is actually a good thing about the old tried and true method of using deep brood and shallow honey supers with an excluder always between them – if there is any honey in the supers that is yours, all honey below the excluder stays with the hive. It made it an easy call for new bee keepers and also results in pretty white honey combs that don’t have brood cocoons in them – for what that’s worth.

Queen excluders are just a tool, and like any tool can be useful if used correctly, but can be counterproductive if misused.   Because of this many people call them honey excluders, but research indicates that is not really the case.