imafan26
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Re: Bees and Honey

Someone asked me to look at their hive. I have only been taking care of bees for a year but I have seen what happens when hives are not well tended. This one has not been opened in maybe a year. What do you think I will find and what do I do if they have built out comb on the lid and outside of the frames?
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Re: Bees and Honey

In my opinion, the main thing is not to kill of hurt the queen. You can take old or undesirable combs out of the hive. If the season is appropriate (lots of plants are flowering right now), you can replace old combs with new.... some sort of artificial impresses for honeycombs (i don't know how to say it exactly in English), it is some kind of prevention from swarming. Don't take away all bees's food and their brood :)

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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

I would simply look at the frames to see if the queen is laying and that there is good brood, and cut out any queen cells (swarm cells). You could then add a queen excluder and honey super to give them a little more room and they may just make some honey.

Here it is customary to keep bees in two deep boxes. What is in the two deeps is for the bees. when they are built up strong, a queen excluder and super are added. What they put in the super is for the beekeeper. The queen excluder is so that the queen will not lay eggs in the honey super.
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Re: Bees and Honey

We've had some frost, it's crunch time and not much flowers left... but I think this is a honeybee?

Image

...I found it floundering in the bottom of my coffee mug in the dregs of coffee that I had with buckwheat honey :roll:

I dumped it out here. I guess she was able to recover and fly off, none-the-worse for the caffein kick because I didn't see her later. :D
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Applestar, yes that looks like a honey bee.

Its been clear and cool here. It has got up into the upper 50s so the bees can come out for a cleansing flight. No flowers in bloom. Many years we have snow by this date, but not any storms this season. Forecast is for another 5 days of sunshine.
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imafan26
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Re: Bees and Honey

We just treated the hives with MAQ's. There are a few frames of honey, but it may not be enough to be worth harvesting yet. The small queen in one of the hives is able to get through the excluder and she likes to brood in the supers. She is a good layer, and she has a strong hive, but it does make it hard to harvest honey. A couple of hives were split and requeened a couple of months ago and are rebuilding.

We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. They would rather build their own comb on the inner cover.

It is warm enough here and we have a diverse planting so their is forage for them all year. The bees like to forage on the basil in the herb garden and can be seen buzzing about most of the day.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

"We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. "

I went to using split bottom frames and then putting in full sheets of reinforced foundation. When the bees are crowded and needing room, you can add a super with these frames in it and the bees usually go right on it and draw it out, almost every cell worker size. Just a few drone cells around the edge. I like these reinforced frames as they hold up well in the extractor and don't sag when used as brood combs.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

"We replaced some of the old frames with new ones, but the bees seem reluctant to build on them. "

I went to using split bottom frames and then putting in full sheets of reinforced foundation. When the bees are crowded and needing room, you can add a super with these frames in it and the bees usually go right on it and draw it out, almost every cell worker size. Just a few drone cells around the edge. I like these reinforced frames as they hold up well in the extractor and don't sag when used as brood combs.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Image

Pic of the new frame with wired foundation.
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Re: Bees and Honey

Image

The Spinner This one holds 18 frames and has an electric motor drive.

I like to use the medium sized frames for honey collection. I can at least lift a box without breaking my back. The full sized frames in a box and all full of honey get to be a challenge to lift a box.

Here we are in January and minus 13 degrees here this morning. Won't be much bee activity going on. I just wonder if they can even survive this cold? I guess we will see in April?
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imafan26
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Re: Bees and Honey

We use foundation frames, the bees just seem to prefer drawing their own comb instead of building on the foundation. It takes them awhile to work on them. We have already had to remove some comb that they built on the inner cover and at a 45 degree angle to the frame. They accept the older frames but we want to replace them since they are over 4 years old.

On the last inspection we found 3 bees with deformed wings. We just completed MAQ treatment so we are hoping these are older bees.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Image

Tho old 4 frame hand crank spinner.
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

"We have already had to remove some comb that they built on the inner cover and at a 45 degree angle to the frame."

Inner cover? Why do you use inner covers? What is the purpose of the inner cover? The only use I ever had for an inner cover is if I was going to put a bee escape in the hole and then use it to remove the bees from the supers.
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Re: Bees and Honey

If you are using Langstroth type bee boxes and frames, there should be about a 3/8 inch space between the top of the frame and the lid of the box. Now if you put an innercover on then there is another space that the inner cover adds and that added to the 3/8 space you already had gives close to 3/4 inch space between the frames and the lid. Yes the bees will build in that 3/4 inch space. To avoid this, just set the innercover aside and use the lid only.
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pomerinke
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Re: Bees and Honey

Has anyone ever seen this? I saw it on tv some time ago and thought it was interesting. I don't know much about bees, so I don't quite understand how it might be different from a regular hive. I'm mostly just curious.
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Re: Bees and Honey

Ummm.... what's a "this" ?
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pomerinke
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Re: Bees and Honey

Sorry, not sure what happened to the link. Here it is:
https://www.honeyflow.com/
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Interesting. I have not seen this hive.
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applestar
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Re: Bees and Honey

The price was :eek: -- but is really fun-looking for sure. Was looking at various ways they were protecting the honey pouring out of the tubes into the jars from the bees too.
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Re: Bees and Honey

The most interesting thing about it is you simply turn the spout and let the honey flow into your container. I believe I saw it on the show Shark Tank. Having no knowledge beekeeping, I can't say much about the claims they make, but it certainly is intriguing.
I would assume it also reduces space requirements for extracting the honey so if someone say, in my position (an apartment) it would be much easier to keep bees.
Something which didn't come to mind on my initial post: I have read multiple threads of people saying they needed to burn their hives because of diseases that could potentially affect more than a single hive. Considering the price, this would be a yuge financial limitation!
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Re: Bees and Honey

Yeah, it is a flow hive. The rod breaks the comb and the honey oozes out of the hive without having to take out the frames and spin them. There are a couple of things. Some people said that it causes less damage to the comb since it isn't being spun and disturbs the bees less. Our bee mentor doesn't like it and says that it isn't the same. The flow hive honey comb is made of plastic and bees don't like plastic. Natural combs are made of beeswax that comes from the bodies of the bees. Beeswax removes toxins from the honey. The plastic comb can off gass and has been compared to the plastic in a tupperware container.
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Re: Bees and Honey

Just harvested honey on April 29, 2017. We had not harvested honey for over a year, so we had a mix of dark and light honey from the whole year. A lot of bark in the dark honey. All together we harvested 12 cases or 144 11 oz net wet of honey in 9 fluid oz jars. Yeah, the labeling confused us too since both are oz but one is a volume and the other is based on the called weight. We are having a pollinator event at the next garden sale so we will have honey for sale as well as pollinator plants as well as our usual vegetables, fruit trees and landscape plants, classes on bees and other pollinators. A teaching beehive and an observation hive, we will be signing people up to take the pollinator pledge, we will have the plant doctor booth, the rose society will promote growing roses (which bees love) with less toxic chemicals and when to spray to lessen the impact on pollinators including bees. We will also have samples of artificial beehives and if we can get materials we will have some hands on beehive making for carpenter and leaf cutter bees. We have childrens activity to find plants in the garden that bees and butterflies like. We will also have the butterfly lady here to talk to people about plants to attract butterflies to the garden. We will also have some signs and posters on the other beneficial insects and plants that will help attract them to the garden to build the garden patrol and use less pesticides. We are hoping to get someone to do organic pest control and have samples of less toxic products around. We have been planning this for a couple of months now, so I am glad it is almost done.

Today we did a beehive check and there was a film crew from the UH to film us working the hive and they said they would put it up on their site and give a copy to the local tv stations hoping they will run it for some publicity for our event. Normally we get about 100-300 regulars every second Saturday but we are hoping the publicity will be able to double that.

One of the hives looks like it had already swarmed. It has fewer bees and they are not as irritable as they were before when they were getting crowded. We added supers on the brood boxes to give them more room, but we knew this one hive was still probably going to swarm anyway. The weak hive looks better with more bees and now that is has a new cover that isn't leaking it may be able to be more hygenic in cleaning out the chalk brood.

The honey boxes we put out after the harvest are almost full now and they have started to cap them. We will need to put on new supers on 3 out of 4 hives in the next couple of weeks or the boxes will be full. We may have enough to harvest again next month. All we have is new foundation and that will take longer since they have to draw out the comb. I collected some wax from the burr comb today and I have wax left from the last harvest. I have to clean and filter it and use it to coat the plastic foundations on the new supers since the bees have been reluctant to build on the plastic foundations.

Everything looks good. We have a lot of bees, we saw a lot of drones and drone brood as well as a good brood pattern. No beetles running around and the weak hive looks like it is needing another box so it is recovering. If we can get another cover and more supers and we catch a swarm, we will be able to get our other hive up and running again. People have been catching swarms a lot in the last month, so it has been an active swarm season.


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imafan26
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Re: Bees and Honey

Yesterday we harvested honey from 4 supers. One of the hives has already started to cluster and the others were looking honey bound so we harvested the supers off 3 out of 4 hives and put them away for now. The brood boxes still have room to store more honey and brood and fewer boxes will make it easier for the bees to defend when their numbers start to decrease. If we leave the honey, the hive beetles will go after it. One of the hives looked to be honey bound a couple of weeks before with an empty super, but this time it looks like they moved up and are putting honey in the super and the brood honey has been eaten. We did leave the super on that one.
One hive may be in trouble. It looked like it may have requeened but we still don't see any larvae although there are still a lot of bees.
We need to treat the hives with MAQ's since our varoa count was about 10. We don't know if we can get another queen this late in the year. It is getting cooler so hopefully we won't lose any other queens.
In Hawaii, our bees do slow down but they do still forage on good days and there will be something blooming all year. I am going to try to plant out some buckwheat and quinoa and a few more herbs now that it is cooler. That will give the bees more forage and maybe some holy basil since the bees like the basil flowers and they are resistant to downy mildew I have some seedling in the nursery now.
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Re: Bees and Honey

What fun! How much quantity do/did you end up with after filtering and processing? Is it part of your tasks to put them in jars as well?

I can't remember if you said the gardeners who are part of the project get a share of the honey. I would be so proud even if my share was a tiny sample jar. :D

Do you label the jars and sell them for fund/awareness raising?
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Re: Bees and Honey

Yes, I would love to have a couple hives and it would be good for our fruit trees. Not sure it will happen in 2018, though. It would be so amazing to hold in my hands a jar of honey my bees made and I processed.

One year my church in Cincinnati did maple sugaring, tapping the trees in our property. We spent most of a day boiling down the sap over an open fire. We each got a pint jar of the syrup and it was wonderful!
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Re: Bees and Honey

Harvesting consists of using bee gone on the supers to get the bees to go away. They don't like the smell and it is easier than shaking the frames. We pulled 4 supers but some frames were capped but only partially built. Some frames were uncapped and those were put in the reefer afterward along with the supers where they will stay until we need them. The walk in reefer keeps the hives safe from wax moths and ants that would come for the honey in the hives. The honey will harden in the reefer but the bees will warm it up again once we put it back on the hives. If we need to feed the bees sooner we can take some of the frames out to the beeyard.

We uncap with serrated knives. We are thinking of getting uncapping knives. It is on our wish list. The wax is hand pressed in a colandar and whoever wants the wax can take it home.

Three uncapped frames go into the extractor. Our extractor is a bit of a pain to clean since we have to take it apart with a wrench. It can be motorized but ours requires aerobics, it is hand spun.

It took us about 4 1/2 hours from the time we raided the hives to clean up. We had 7 people, usually we have a couple of more then we could have started bottling sooner. Our uncappers were inexperienced, they never did that job before so it took longer to uncap, but everybody has to learn all the jobs.

After spinning it drains into the filters over the buckets.

After filtering it goes into jars. We use 9oz jars. but since honey weighs more than water, the wt is 12oz and it contains 8 fluid oz. (essentially a jelly jar size). This time we got 78 jars.

Honey will change in color and flavor throughout the year and it varies sometimes from year to year depending on what flowers are available.

This honey was sweet. light amber in color, with a hint of bitter aftertaste.

We sell the honey for $10 each and we are hoping to sell most of them in the next couple of months. People should buy them for Christmas presents.

I like real Vermont maple syrup. My friend used to send me some every year when she lived on the mainland. However, I am spoiled now and prefer honey on my hotcakes.

Hawaii is different from the mainland because our bees continue to produce honey throughout the year. We had to take the supers off because they were full but also because while the bees cluster, it is hard for them to protect tall hives. Hive beetles would be attracted to the honey and slime it and we need to treat them for varoa mites and would rather not have supers on the hive.

Where bees cannot forage in winter you have fewer problems with pests but you have to leave at least a super full of honey for them to eat during the winter or feed the bees. We only leave a couple of frames of honey and all we need to do is make sure they don't get honey bound and have room for honey and brood. They will continue to forage on whatever is blooming on good days. They usually will stay in the hives and eat the stores on wet and windy days.

Beekeeping is an expensive hobby, especially to set it up, but to see the bees coming back to the garden again is worth it.
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Re: Bees and Honey

"Beekeeping is an expensive hobby, especially to set it up,"

Yes, getting the tools and initial boxes, frames etc does cost some money, but these things last a long time, so if you look at it over a ten year period, it is not so bad. I confess, I have been keeping bees for over 40 years. It has been good. If you enjoy the things of nature, you could enjoy beekeeping. Your plants will get pollinated, and you will have some sweet honey to enjoy. It is also possible to make a few bucks if you sell a bit of honey. This can also offset the cost of getting set up. I suggest getting three hives for starters. Get a good book on bee keeping and read it. Have fun!
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Re: Bees and Honey

If you are going out to work the bees, Cover up!. Gloves, gauntlets, the whole suit. No use getting stung. I am quite allergic to bee venom. If I get stung I pop a Benadryl pill immediately. Carry the pill in my bee suit. It has been said that if you get stung 70 times in one season you will become immune to the venom. Sorry, not for me to get stung that much!
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Re: Bees and Honey

Image

Guess I ain't smart enough to get a photo to load. Perhaps you can click on the link and get to see it?

——
...There’s a trick to it James, that they don’t make obvious because they WANT you to go see it on their site...
Image
Last edited by applestar on Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Got the image file to display in the post
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Re: Bees and Honey

Thanks APS. The photo is an extraction party. The supers are taken in and the frames are removed one at a time and the cappings are cut off, then the frames are put in the spinners. When you have a full load, run the spinner for a while and watch the honey come pouring out.
Last edited by jal_ut on Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bees and Honey

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Last edited by applestar on Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed it :)
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Wanted to post a picture, but not smart enough?
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jal_ut
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Re: Bees and Honey

Applestar, thanks for the help on the picture. This picture was taken when the new packages of bees were being installed in the hives.
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