Monday, September 18, 2017


Here's what I've seen recently.

Sam's Club-$10.36 for 25 lb=41.4 cents per lb. (you need to be Sam's club member)
Walmart-$15.51 for 25 lb=61 cents per lb
Amish store south of Montello-$22.00 for 50 lbs=44 cents per lb

Occasionally I see 4 lbs for $1.79 at local grocery but there is a strict limit on amounts you can buy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Beekeepers can harvest a number of things from their hives depending on their motivation. Honey, beeswax, pollen and propolis are the four primary products.  For most beekeepers honey is their primary goal.  However, an easily obtained secondary byproduct of the honey harvest is beeswax.  The process of extracting honey whether by decapping or the crush method yields beeswax.  Beeswax can also be recovered when the beekeepers periodically replaces the foundation in frames.

From Wikipedia:

“Beeswax (cera alba) is a natural wax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. The wax is formed into "scales" by eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments of worker bees, who discard it in or at the hive. The hive workers collect and use it to form cells for honey-storage and larval and pupal protection within the beehive. Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols.”

Beeswax can be obtained by washing the cappings or crushed comb in water to remove any residual honey.  Then the cappings and comb are melted.  This can be done in a solar melter or double boiler.  Beeswax has a melting point lower of roughly 145F.   NOTE: Beeswax is very flammable and should never be melted over an open flame.   After it is melted the wax should be poured through a cloth filter to remove any minor bits of contamination. 

Don’t think you will be getting hundreds of pounds of beeswax from your hives.  Most smalltime beekeepers will be lucky to get one or two pounds of wax per year.  However, you can easily buy clean beeswax from many sources (for example Amazon, Ebay or Walmart) for roughly $8 per pound if candle making or soap making trips your fancy.   Or ask your fellow beekeepers for their wax or cappings.  

The beeswax has a white to pale yellow color.  If you make your wax from cappings only you will get this pale yellow to white wax.  If you are adding old foundation the wax will have darker yellow coloration. 

Most hobbyists use their beeswax to make candles, soap, or lip balm. 

 Solar melter.  You can make one as a winter project or buy one.  Unless you have a lot of cappings using a double boiler may be cost effective. 
White cappings and some dark crushed comb in melter.  Note the crushed comb is darker and will yield darker wax. 
 A small double boiler is used to safely melt the beeswax. 
 A vegetable crusher/strainer and bread loaf pan.  The strainer is lined with cloth to filter the wax. 
Finished product: Blocks of wax after removal from bread pan.  Note variation is color of the blocks.  One pound honey bottle shown to give scale.

These items can usually be picked up at garage sales or flea markets for a few dollars.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Extracting honey in a group setting makes the work go faster.  A few jabs at slowpokes or a jab at the guy in charge of the extractor overflows the honey bucket makes the time zip by.  Today we did about 30 medium supers in about 4 hours including cleanup and training of newbies.  Jon, Al, Derek, Norb, Fred and Jim all have their extracting done for this year.


Can you identify which of these nine (9) insects are bees?    I sure didn't make a passing grade.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


On several of the weaker hives that I have been feeding with sugar syrup I have noticed that robber honey bees are trying to get in to also partake of the bounty.  The Nature's Nectar blog has a good article on how to counter robbing.  Follow the link below.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

FIELD DAY TEST RESULTS submitted by beekeeper Denise

As part of this summer's field day at D's Bees the state bee inspector took bee samples from six of D's hives.  Denise has now recieved the results of the analysis performed by the USDA and presents them here.

"as part of the bee inspection / field day - some of the bees
were sampled (into the alcohol) and sent to the east coast for

The results are back.

555 bees / 3 mites
putting my mite count at .5/100
(varroa mites detected at more than 3-10 mites/100 are
thought to cause damage and colonies exceeding this
threshold should consider treatment)

and viruses all came back negative EXCEPT FOR:
DWV (deformed wing virus)
IAPV (israeli acute paralysis virus)

the DWV quantification was BELOW 30% of the average
the IAPV quantification was 50% the average
AVERAGE MEANING: compared to other samples where the
count was greater than 0.

i don't know about you - but to ME....this means
even though i had a LOW mite count - those little )(*)$*)@# are DIRTY!
concentrated with viruses!!!  i'm wondering about what that
number looks like for people with 10 or more mite count!?!???!?"


1) DWV has ALWAYS been present in bees.  The DWV virus has a number of different subspecies.  Some are benign.  Others are virulent (ie will kill off your bees).  I doubt the USDA went to the expense of identifying the specific subspecies of DWV virus D's bees were infected with.  It has been reported that hives infected with the benign DWV virus are immune to deletirious effects of virulent DWV.  Some scientists are reportedly working on how to infect all hives with the benign form.  However, viruses are known to mutate constantly.

2) According to Denise one of the six samples was Russian, one Carnie, three Italian, one unknown (swarm). But all samples were mixed together into one big sample for the USDA analysis.  

3) Here is a summary of Denise's mite control program.

a) Denise periodically monitors mite fall using sticky boards.  She analyses them comparatively (ie she doesn't count each and every mite).  She then treats hives with "abnormally" high amounts of mites.
b) She does drone cutouts in the spring and summer until the 3rd honey super goes on the hive.  Thereafter she relies on the sticky board counts to determine mite levels.   A drone cutout is the installation of a medium frame in the brood area.  The bees draw out drone comb in the space below the medium frame.  She periodically removes this frame and cuts off the drone comb and discards it.
c)Denise does not mite treatments in the spring of summer unless the sticky board indicates an out of control situation.
d) Denise does a full treatment of formic (MAQS) when supers are removed for the honey harvest. The third week of August for her.   However two of the big italian hives got an early treatment in the summer because they WERE CRAWLING with mites.   (Like pepper sprinkled on the sticky board)    After each hive gets a full maq... I'll switch to weekly oxalic vapor.   The two Biggie's are gonna get another full Maq in 30 days!