Friday, September 29, 2017

ON THE ROAD by beekeeper Fred

While on the road to pick up a few bags of sugar I took the time to visit with an Amish beekeeper.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I guess all beekeepers confront the same problems.  I stopped mainly to see how this Amish beekeeper controlled mites.  In my imagination I thought the Amish had some special sauce for success.  He indicated most of the Amish beekeepers in this area were following the recommendations of a local commercial beekeeper.  They were treating twice per year.  In the spring they treat with Apiguard and in the fall with Apivar.  So they were alternating chemicals as is currently recommended.  I told him of my use of formic and oxalic acid, but he had not heard previously of them.

It appeared he has just finished his honey harvest.  The supers were all in his front yard and the bees were cleaning out the residual honey.

At his request we started discussing how to "fix" a hopelessly queenless hive.  He was aware of the method of installing a frame of eggs and brood, but he did not indicate he was successful.  I indicated I had tried this several times without success.  The laying workers seem to not initiate queen cells.  I passed on the method where the queenless hive and another strong hive were physically switched in position while the workers were in the field.  I also passed on the method where a major portion of the frames (with bees) from the queenless hive are swapped with frames (with bees) from a strong hive.  In these two method either a new queen is then added or a frame of eggs and brood is added.

So I didn't discover a special sauce, but had a good conversation between two beekeepers.

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