Sunday, September 27, 2009

...Talked to another beekeeper UP NORT

I met and talked with another beekeeper this past weekend in CABLE, Wisconsin - that's Northwest WI. Just a "dabbler" he called himself...with ONLY 50 HIVES!

He was singing the blues about having to restart EVERY ONE OF HIS 50 HIVES this spring to the tune of about $2,500.00. yes - that's right - he said he lost EVERY BEE IN EVERY BOX?! I asked him WHY????

He said his beeyard was about 25 miles from his home, so he doesn't really check them regularly. I asked him - dead bees IN the box? he said - no...dead bees all over the snow. so that means they tried to get OUT. he suspected, TRACHEAL MITES.

oh yeh... (I thought to myself - I get my head so full of "gotta treat for varroa" this time of year - I forgot about this "little issue" too!)

so - here it is - a "natural treatment" for tracheal mites. If you've got your honey off - GET THESE GREASE PATTIES ON:

Product: Vegetable Shortening (eg. Crisco™)

Ratio: One part vegetable shortening to 2 parts white granulated sugar. Patty size should be about one-half pound (size of a hamburger).

Exposure Time: Continuous (except during nectar flow). Replace as often as needed. Most effective during spring and autumn.

Location within the colony: On broodnest top bars.

Comments and Suggestions:

  1. Vegetable shortening appears to disrupt the life cycle of the tracheal mite, thus suppressing mite populations.
  2. Vegetable shortening patties are considered to be more effective in controlling mites than menthol. However, menthol is still useful.
(I also have a recipe version that shows a "couple of drops" of peppermint essential oil and a bit of ground mineral salt aka: deer block/cow lick block)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Moving Day

I moved the hives this morn to their new BEE HOUSE. The girls were well behaved on this cool morning. These are (2) 3 high hives (3 deeps). HOLY (*&%#^!!!) - the top box was HEAVY! It's full of honey - it's not only liquid gold only because of it's color and value - but it's WEIGHT too! I guess spring will tell if this experiment is going to work - more honey for them left in fall - less sugar-syrup feeding for me in the spring!?

The boxes are FULL of bees - all three levels - looks like the population is strong. I use SCREENED BOTTOM BOARDS with REMOVABLE STICKY BOARDS under....the mite situation was "worse" in one than then other. I scraped and "re-sticky'd" the board with vaseline....and used my new POWDERED SUGAR BLOWER to give them a dusting to encite grooming behavior. They don't particularly LIKE being powdered - (note to beekeeper) - save "powdering" as the LAST thing you do to the hives....

I'll powder again in a week, and again in a week. This will be my new "organic" method of mite control. Try to get rid of as many mites as possible for the winter months.

The beehouse is going to be nice to work in - plenty of room for the beekeeper. A nice height for the bees to coming flying in - fully loaded. So of course - the reason behind this maddness is....I don't have to WRAP HIVES this winter! I'll just slide the side panels on....then - i can still "mess around" with the variable height of the front canvas - until it's time to completely shut them down. there's lots of ventilation and i'm expecting a dusting of snow inside - but it will keep the MAJORITY of winter off of them.

ONE of the beebooks that I'll be enjoying over our vaca....INCREASE ESSENTIALS, by Lawrence John Connor. So far - a peek at the first 3 chapters is EXACTLY the information I'll be looking for this fill up the rest of the spots in the beehouse with MORE HIVES.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is everyone done harvesting?

I'm anxious to hear how everyone's harvest went this year. I took less off the hives - left more for the bees this year (an extra deep or super). The honey seemed not quite as light as last years and seemed to have a bit of an "herb" flavor to it - a faint cross between dill and oregano!

The bee-house project is in place in the backyard - waiting to receive it's side panels. Steel and canvas have been ordered. Once all the "BANGING" and configuring are done, I'll move the two backyard hives onto the platform. (I'll put pictures up when it's done)

While moving, I'll take advantage of the hives being open (oh...they're going to be heavy!) - to treat them with a good dusting of powdered sugar - get them to go into GROOMING MODE one good time before winter, clean the sticky boards.....and take a peek at their winter stores and population.

I know they're not going to like being moved (about 10 feet/each)....after a couple of days of hanging out by the old hive - it seems they figure it out - whether or not they go home to the right hive - i don't know.

i noticed the smell of the hives "changing" this past week. It seems the goldenrod & aster nectar is a bit more bitter/sour...