You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘queens’ tag.


Michael Bush, author of The Practical Beekeeper, and strong advocate of non-chemical beekeeping (and someone we have quoted here before), says there is a single solution to almost all queen problems in a hive:

The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush

The Practical Beekeeper by Michael Bush

There are few solutions as universal in their application and their success than adding a frame of open brood and eggs every week for three weeks. It is a virtual panacea for any queen issues. It gives the bees the pheromones to suppress laying workers. It gives them more workers coming in during a period where there is no laying queen. It does not interfere if there is a virgin queen. It gives them the resources to rear a queen. It is virtually foolproof and does not require finding a queen or seeing eggs. If you have any issue with queenrightness, no brood, worried that there is no queen, this is the simple solution that requires no worrying, no waiting, no hoping. You just give them what they need to resolve the situation. If you have any doubts about the queenrightness of a hive, give them some open brood and eggs and sleep well. Repeat once a week for two more weeks if you still aren’t sure. By then things will be fine.

If you are afraid of transferring the queen from the queenright hive, because you are not good at finding queens, then shake or brush all the bees off before you give it to them.

If you are concerned about taking eggs from another new package or small colony, keep in mind that bees have little invested in eggs and the queen can lay far more eggs than a small colony can warm, feed and raise. Taking a frame of eggs from a small struggling new hive and swapping it for an empty comb or any drawn comb will have little impact on the donor colony and may save the recipient if they are indeed queenless. If the recipient didn’t need a queen it will fill in the gap while the new queen gets mated and not interfere with things. (quoted material)

In other words, let the bees take care of it.

Good advice.

 

Key words: Michael Bush, Bushfarms.com, queens, beehives, queen problems with hives, panacea for queen problems, queenrightness, virgin queen, queenless hives

Advertisements

Beekeepers spend a lot of mental and physical energy trying to prevent swarms. A hive that swarms is less productive in making honey than a hive that doesn’t, particularly if the swarm occurs during a honey flow.

But, maybe we should stop, take a moment, and consider the good that a swarm can do.

First, swarming is a natural activity. It’s something that bees do to increase their populations. A bit of common wisdom among beekeepers is that swarms occur because the hive gets crowded, but we’re not really sure that’s the case. Adding more room to a hive may help, but it may not.

So what are the benefits of a swarm?

The obvious one is that if you can catch the swarm, you have another colony of bees, and those bees are inclined to draw comb. Beekeepers have been taking advantage of that for many decades.

But, there is another benefit to a swarm that is rarely mentioned. The hive from which the bees swarmed is left with a new queen. She’s young, and she’s locally mated. That means you won’t have to replace her any time soon. And many people now believe that local queens are more able to survive and fight off pests than imported queens.

So, if your bees are about to swarm, maybe you should sit back and let them do their thing.

Jim Stovall


Dale Hinkle

Dale Hinkle keeps bees in Monroe County but often makes the trek to Blount County where he is a vital part of the Blount County Beekeepers Association. He is the association treasurer, a position that he has held for several years.

Dale is one of the few beekeepers in the area to raise his own queens.

How many hives do you keep?

15

Describe the woodenware you use for your hive bodies and your honey supers (deeps, mediums, shallows, wood, plastic, etc).

Deeps for brood; Illinois for supers.

Do you use screened bottom boards?  Slatted racks?

No

How do you feed your bees? When (please provide months, not just Spring/Fall) do you feed?  What do you feed? What equipment do you use for feeding?  Do you use any supplements?

I feed protein patties at the end of January and use a top hive feeder if it gets wet in February. I feed high fructose corn syrup.

Read the rest of this entry »


Veteran beekeeper Howard Kerr told the Blount County Beekeepers Association that bees are extraordinary animals and worth a lot of study.

Howard Kerr speaking to the BCBA

Howard has devoted nearly 50 years to doing just that. Here are a few of the points he made:

  • While worker bees have barbed stingers, the queen has a smooth stinger. That’s what she uses to fight other queens. Because it’s smooth, she doesn’t lose it when she uses it. Worker bees lose their stingers when they used them and thus can live for only a short time after that.
  • When you buy a three-pound package of bees, you’re getting about 10,000 bees. There are about 3,300 bees to a pound.
  • The only purpose of a drone is to mate with a queen (not necessarily of the same hive). The mating is done in the air, and once the mating is finished, the drone dies.
  • You are what you eat; so are the bees. An egg gets hormone-rich royal jelly for about three days, but then the nurse bees most of the time stop feeding that. If a bee continues to get royal jelly, she could develop into a queen.
  • Bees use landmarks to find their way around, especially when they are returning to the hive.
  • Bees have something called “flower fidelity,” which is what makes them such good pollinators. They will work the same type of flower over and over. Consequently, they are more likely to carry the pollen from one flower to another. Other insects work a variety of flowers at the same time, and they are less likely to be good pollinators.
  • Bees are not smart (“People don’t like it when I say that,” Howard said), but they are “highly programmed.”

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 231 other followers

Join us

If you're interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Chuck Davis
865-566-3690

or

Mark Ford
865-603-2016

Welcome

Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2017

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2017:

January 9 – regular meeting

February 13 – regular meeting

February 18 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

March 11 – New Beekeeper Classes

March 13 – regular meeting

March 18 -Wooden Ware class

April 10 – regular meeting

April 29-
Field Day for new beekeepers

May 8 – regular meeting

June 12 – regular meeting

July 10 – regular meeting

August 14 – regular meeting

October 9 – regular meeting

November 13 – regular meeting

December 11 – Christmas dinner

%d bloggers like this: