Yesterday was almost 50°F the bees got out for cleansing flights. Today was 55°F and they were out again, after the vortex cold spell (-25°F) for 4 days it was nice to get out to the bee yard to look around. I shoveled the snow off a couple of days ago anticipating the warm up so the lids would be clear. I had a chance to open some of them up to check stores and see how they are doing. So far they are looking great, lost a few with the extreme cold spell but most are looking good and we are excited to get ready for the bee year. I like to get started feeding in March so its not too far off. We have been getting our equipment built and have a lot of boxes and frames ready for the season. Need to start getting sugar ordered, looking for the best prices. We have a lot of pollen substitutes to mix for pollen patties to get early brood rearing stimulated. Looking forward to spring after a beautiful day like today! Hope everybody’s bees are doing great also.
On a cold January day what else to do but check on the bees. It was -5F this morning with a feels like temperature at -22F. So I thought I would listen to the bees and take a couple of pictures. I have been wintering smaller 10 frame singles and 5 frame singles with insulated slip over covers for a couple of years now with great success. This audio is from a 5 frame single deep colony with a slip over insulated cover. The bees are looking great! We are building lots of new equipment, as once spring arrives we will bee very busy taking care of the bees, raising queens, and making nucs. Hope everybody’s bees are doing good!
It has been a very busy year, have not had much time to post this year. With the late spring and switching quickly over to hotter temperatures it was quick spring. Started about a month behind this year but have come through ok. Has been a year to feed most of the time to keep the bees going and they are looking great getting ready for winter. They say bees will only take syrup if there is nothing else they want, well they wanted it all year here. Only went a couple of weeks without feeding, mainly because I was too busy to feed. We have been treating for Varroa Mites and making up colonies from the mating nucs. We stopped selling queens early to use them for expanding our numbers. Have used my Instrumental Insemination equipment every chance I had and have got some good queens to evaluate, get through winter, and use for next year. Hope everybody has had a good year and get them mite counts down and get the bees ready for winter. Finally a little break coming…YES!
This winter has been long, cold, and lots of snow. Our average snowfall is over 200″ a year, well this winter it’s over 250″, and finally starting to go away! Today getting into upper 40’s was a great day to open the colonies for a look to see how they have made it through winter. With only a handful of days this winter for cleansing flights I’m very happy how they are looking with our nightly temperatures still in the teens. We added pollen patties to all colonies to help them start spring buildup. Our losses are around 10%, which is great, I used a lot of insulation with no upper vent making it possible to over winter lots of 10 frame and 5 frame colonies with good success. With lots of strong colonies to fill our nuc orders this year our orders will be healthy and on time as long as mother nature helps a little on queen mating flights in early May. Beekeeping is a very interesting and unpredictable hobby – business but with proper management, mite control, and equipment is also amazing how they can thrive in our adverse weather. Hope everyone is having a great spring and looking forward to more beekeeping and warmer temperatures.
I’m happy to announce that I will be taking a course in Instrumental Insemination and invest in the equipment to further improve my honey bee stock. By controlled breeding through rigorous monitoring to select, improve, and maintain a better breeding program. With focus on honey bees that can manage, tolerate and show resistance to Varroa mites, with hygienic behaviors to control infections and viruses and maintain healthy vigorous colonies. While keeping the required traits of production, gentleness, and overwintering abilities. I am very excited to be furthering my education and experience with these honey bees as I have come to really enjoy this business. This will be a lengthy process that will take a couple years to master at which I will be thinking of future research programs to help develop the results that I intend to accomplish. Thank You…Think Spring!
We all want to know what is going on inside our hives in the winter, and its usually too cold to open them. I have tried it all, from putting your ear to the hive and knocking on it to get the bees to make more noise. A stethoscope works ok but its still tough to hear unless you get it just right. I have a thermal image camera which works well but is tricky to get a good reading depending on where your bees are located, if the cluster is not close to the outside of the box or if your hives are close together you cant get a good image with the camera which can be very deceiving to tell exactly what is going on. They are good to tell the position and if they are still alive, but are quite costly. But I found a app called Fennex (I used a IPhone but there is many other apps also), which is a hearing app, that connects to wireless earphones and uses the microphone on your phone. So once you get it set up and connected you can push your phones microphone to the hive opening and hear very clearly what is going on inside the hives without disturbing the bees. It doesn’t give you a lot of information but you can hear bees buzzing so it gives you what you really want to know. Just wanted to share this as I’m always monitoring my bees to see if there is anything I need to do or improve to give the bees their best chance of getting through our tough winters. Hope you enjoy.
The bees are looking good going into winter, been feeding right along as I’m raising bees and growing my apiary. So I still have a lot of brood and the drones are just getting pushed out. So I still have a late oxalic acid vaporizing treatment for mite control to get done on a good day. I have my mice guards on(I like 4″openings), inner covers flipped(hole taped), rigid insulation over the inner covers(outer cover on top), and providing wind breaks at my windy yards. I don’t do any wrapping but I might try bubble insulation on some of my single deeps and nucs to see if it makes a difference.
Its a lot of work to get the bees ready for winter, but with our hard winters its important to keep good ventilation to keep moisture from forming. With our weather it seems it gets cold, we get 3′ of snow, and then it warms and melts. There is a steady changing of temperatures causing moisture. I have ideas of wintering inside a building using single deep boxes that are packed full of bees and honey, where you can control the temperature fluctuations and humidity. I need more research but I assume that keeping them in total darkness keeps them in there colonies if we get a winter warmup. Hope everyone is getting ready for winter looks like our nice weather is gone for now. Happy Beekeeping!
Feeding and raising bee this fall with all this good weather has really brought on my late splits. I treated for mites in August with the organic acids and finished splitting mid August, I fed them heavy till early September when the fall flow kicked in good. Now have been feeding 2:1 syrup, pollen patties, and open dry pollen since the end of September and recently some open syrup feeding. My colonies have lots of honey, bees, and brood. My nucs 5 over 5 and 10 frame singles have 3+ frames of brood with lots of young fat bees to over winter strong health colonies. I have mouse guards on most colonies(1/4″ hardware cloth) except my nucs that still have lots of drones and starting to flip my inner covers over and adding dry sugar patties over the top bars for extra feed. The open feeding and mouse guards have slowed robbing by giving the bees something to forage on and restricting the entrance size, this has made a big difference since most of the fall flow has been gone in my area for a month. Will soon be adding 1″ tuff R foam insulation tight over inner covers to help prevent condensation on the inner cover. And do one more mite treatment with oxalic acid vaporizer to make sure my counts are super low once the brood levels get lower. Looking to have a great year and hoping winter is mild and goes by fast! Please!
We have over doubled our colonies to support nuc and queen production. We are increasing our queen rearing to 250 mating nucs. We have added Minnesota Hygienic and Michael Palmer queens to our genetic stocks. This year the pickup dates will be weekly instead of one large date to improve our ability to provide quality and timely nucs. Mite counts this year have been very low with New York state inspection have 4 zero Mite counts last spring. There are also no small hive Beatles present in hives. The only treatments used are organic acids for mites. We will also be offering nucs on medium frames and limited number of 3lb packages. We have had great over wintering success and very few losses with our local Northern raised bees and am happy to be offering these nucs to our area with many happy customers. Thank you!