July, 2016 | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Archive for July 2016

Colony Collapse Disorder

Major buzzkill: pesticides diminish bee sperm, adding to

Neonicotinoid pesticides, already blamed for short-circuiting honeybee brains, also diminish their sperm, possibly contributing to the pollinators’ worrying global decline, researchers said Wednesday.

Widespread neonicotinoid use may have “inadvertent contraceptive effects” on the insects which provide fertilisation worth colony collapse disorderbillions of dollars every year, said a study in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In their experiment, researchers divided bees into two groups.

One group was fed pollen containing field-realistic concentrations of two neonicotinoids – thiamethoxam and clothianidin.

The other group was given untainted food.

After 38 days, the male drones – whose key role in life is to mate with the egg-laying queen – had their semen extracted and tested.

The data “clearly showed… reduced sperm viability” – which is the percentage of living versus dead sperm in a sample, said the study.

Honeybee queens mate for just a single short period, but with many males in a sort of bee orgy, before storing the sperm for the rest of their fertile lifetime.

Bees have been hit in Europe, North America and elsewhere by a mysterious phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder”, which has alternatively been blamed on mites, a virus or fungus, pesticides, or a combination.

The new study adds reduced sperm quality to the list of possible causes.

“As the primary egg layer and an important source of colony cohesion, the queen is intimately connected to colony performance,” the paper said.

Previous studies have found neonicotinoids can cause bees to become disorientated to the extent that they cannot find their way back to the hive, and can lower their resistance to disease.

The European Union has placed a moratorium on the sale of neonicotinoids.

Read more…

The Buzz About Colony Collapse Disorder | NRDC

https://www.nrdc.org/…/buzz-about-colony-collaps

Natural Resources Defense Council

Dec 31, 2015 –

The average person sitting down to dinner probably doesn’t realize the important role bees played in preparing that meal. Here’s something thatcolony collapse disorder definition might surprise you: One out of every three mouthfuls of food in the American diet is, in some way, a product of honeybee pollination—from fruit to nuts to coffee beans. And because bees are dying at a rapid rate (42 percent of bee colonies collapsed in the United States alone in 2015), our food supply is at serious risk.

The bee’s plight is widespread: Serious declines have been reported in both managed honeybee colonies and wild populations. Jennifer Sass, an NRDC senior scientist, says there are multiple factors at play. Each on its own is bad enough, but combined they are quickly proving too much to handle.

Pesticides: These chemicals are designed, of course, to kill insects. But some systemic varieties—specifically neonicotinoids—are worse for bees than others.

Read more…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Backyard Beekeeping

If the thought of having fresh honey available for your enjoyment or to give as gifts to your friends and family virtually anytime you wish appeals to you, or if you are just looking for a fun and Backyard beekeepinginteresting hobby, beekeeping might be just the thing.

Even if your space is limited, don’t worry. Bees are very adaptable, so they can be kept in backyards or even city rooftops. Bees do need flowering plants to produce honey, but they often travel several miles to collect nectar and pollen, so it is possible to keep bees virtually anywhere to create a good batch of locally-made honey.

Preventing a Nuisance

A primary concern of many people who keep bees as well as those who live in close proximity to them is the risks they pose. Urban beekeepers should always be vigilant that their hives do not become a nuisance to others, or even appear to pose a problem.

Bee stings are usually the biggest concern from neighbors, but there are ways that a beekeeper can care for their hives that allow neighbors to be safe and comfortable from these concerns.

The Fence

backyard beekeeperA good fence is an excellent preventive measure for backyard beekeepers. If a fence is not an option, shrubbery that is at least 6-feet tall will serve the same purpose.

A fence or good shrubbery forces bees to remain above the heads of others since bees normally travel in straight paths to their hives. A fence or shrubbery also serves as an “out of sight, out of mind” situation for most people as well.

A fence or shrubbery hides most of the evidence that managed bees are in the neighborhood. These barriers also provide wind protection to the hives.

Water

Bees need ready sources of water, especially in early spring and during the heat of summer. Bees can be very all-inclusive when it comes to where they collect water from too. These sources can include pet water bowls, bird baths and swimming pools. To deter bees from getting water from these sources it is a good idea to provide water in close proximity to hives.

Two excellent methods of providing water to bees are to, first, provide a small water garden in a half-whiskey barrel with floating plants. Bees love this since they prefer well-aged water! And second, from a dripping faucet with the water falling onto a wooden board. The dripping faucet method is a little harder to manage since for best results it must be available at all times when bees are flying so they don’t develop the habit of going elsewhere for water.

Bees tend to prefer water that is not too close to their hive, so you should put a water source at least 20 feet away.

Swarm Control

Another big concern of those of keep bees as well as those who live near them is swarming. In this regard, it is important to know that there is no practical way to prevent bees from swarming.honey bee swarm

On the other hand, bees swarm primarily as a function of reproducing colonies. As a result, at this stage, they are usually very gentle since they eat a lot of honey before they swarm.

The photograph at left shows a swarm as it is scooped up from a neighbor’s yard.

Colonies that are strong, with good queens, are the most likely to swarm. Of course, colonies that are strong is something to be strongly desired. As a result, beekeepers should keep colonies headed by queens that are young–less than one year old–because they will swarm less and also tend to be strong too. This requires requeening every year with young queens if swarming is likely to be a problem.

Swarming bees tend to cluster within 100 feet of their old hive as scout bees search for a new home.

A good way to prevent bees from reclustering in a neighbor’s yard is with a “bait hive,” which is simply an attractive home that is made available for the swarm to discover. A good bait hive can be made from an old hive body or a nuc hive that is at least one cubic foot in volume with an opening about one or two square inches.

The ideal place to put a bait hive is in a shady place that is protected from the wind and from between 10 and 30 feet from the hives. This hive should also be about 10 feet off the ground, such as under the eve of a house or between the branches of a tree.

Bees also prefer to live in a place where bees have lived before, so a bait hive that has an old frame of honeycomb or otherwise has a good bee smell in it will be more attractive to them.

Working the Bees

As they are working inside of the hive, it is possible that an angry bee will find an innocent person backyard bees(other than the beekeeper) to be a good target with a sting. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this from happening.

Environmental conditions are a huge influence on the defensiveness of bees. As a result, a beekeeper who works with the bees when conditions are favorable will be less likely to have problems with angry and aggressive bees.

The best conditions to work with bees under are when:

  • Most field bees are in the field collecting nectar
  • When there is a nectar flow from flowering plants
  • When the colony is not under stress from predators such as wasps
  • When colonies are not in direct sunlight
  • When temperatures are not very hot (95 degrees F or higher)
  • When neighbors are not having a lawn party or mowing their yard

Perhaps the best advice regarding bee sting prevention is Langstroth’s first Bee-keeper’s Axiom: “Bees gorged with honey are not inclined to sting,” which means that bees tend to be gentle when there is nectar flow, when they swarm, and following a light smoking.

It has also been observed that bees who are accustomed to movement around their hive are also less likely to be defensive, so having bushes, trees, a flag, or some other object that moves in a gentle wind are worth using.

Angry bees are sometimes attracted to lights at night. Bees do not normally fly at night, but if a predator or something else has disturbed the hive, a few bees may attempt to sting the neighbor’s porch light. For this reason, it is usually best that a porch light not be within view of the hive.

Another possible problem when bees are in the vicinity is “Yellow rain,” which is harmless bee fecal matter that they rid themselves of to cool off.

Species of Bees

The most common strains of bees are gentle enough to be kept in a city. In areas of the northern US, the Carniolan race is most popular among beekeepers. In the southern US and Mexico, the Italian bee is preferred.

Bees and the Law

Relatively few communities in the US outlaw beekeeping, but it is also worth noting that most do have “nuisance laws” that limit many things that most people would consider objectionable. This includes smelly things, barking dogs, and yes, bees.

Some communities have laws that put restraints on beekeeping such as limits on distances of hives from structures such as homes and the number of hives that are permissible on a property.

It is important that prospective beekeepers learn about any legal restrictions on bees before keeping them. Regardless of the law, good beekeepers keep their bees from becoming a nuisance. Periodically sharing a jar of honey with neighbors is a good idea too.

Farm and Garden Apiaries

Many beekeepers who are unable to keep their hives at home often make arrangements to keep bees on nearby farms and other fields. It is critical that prior to doing this that you get the permission of the landowner. Local beekeeping organizations can be of immense help in determining a good location to raise bees.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Do Honey Bees Eat Fruit?

Yes, honey bees do eat fruit but the answer is so much more complex than that. Honey bees will love ripe fruit the most when they are in nectar dearth.

Honey bees will feast on almost any piece of fruit. They are known to eat: plums, peaches, grapes, apples, figs and pears. The debate among beekeepers is if the bees drill a hole within theDo Honey Bees Eat Fruit? fruit or use a hole created by another insect. The breaks could be caused by wasp, stink bug, beetle, bird or any other insect/animal.

Some of the beekeeping information I have read in articles and forums on Beesource, Gardenweb and other blogs that contained ardent debates on whether honey bees are physically capable of penetrating the skin of fruits. Beekeepers have tested this theory by placing grapes in the beehive. The beekeepers would also cover the grape in honey. After time has passed, the grape would be intact stuck to the wall with no honey.

Orchard keepers say that bees can bite through fruit while bee keepers say they can’t. We also know that bees can bite enemies when they enemy are too small. Bees can penetrate the outside shell of a wax moth larva. If they can bite through larva, why can’t they bite through a tender piece of fruit skin.

Honey bees almost always like their fruit ripe. The fruit is the sweetest when it is slightly overripe. Bees can tell if the fruit is sweet by a fragrance the fruit gives out that bees can sense. This odor allows bees to pinpoint a food source that is nearby.

People often believe that bees only get their food from flowers but that isn’t the case. Bees can also get food from non-flower sources. When bees find a non-flower food source, it can be characterized by a break in the fruit’s skin.

Summer is hot and bees are searching everywhere for food. One day when I was picking peaches, I saw a ton of bees swarming around my trees. The bees must have followed the odor.

Shown here is an image of my bees eating a rotten peach.

I am looking forward to harvesting my honey and tasting the peach flavor it contains.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How Do Honey Bees Make a Hive?

How Do Honeybees Make Hives? Honey Bee Hive Facts & Dangers …

Worker honey bees make hives to store honey and feed themselves throughout winter when they cannot go outdoors to forage for food. Honey bee hives are …

I came across these very active bees while out and about on our property today. Very strange place to build a hive! I’m allergic to bee stings and although I’ve …

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Beekeeping for Beginners

Keeping a beehive takes good management skills. You need to have a working knowledge of how it all works and what you have to do to properly care for your bees. It may be a little harder than raising a goldfish but not quite as hard as raising a dog.

Beekeeping for BeginnersYour hives need to undergo regular inspections during the warmer months. You have to check to see if they have good stores of honey, plenty of room for expanding their population, and are thriving as they should be.

During the winter months you rarely need to interact with your bees. As your colony clusters and is eating through the honey stores, they’ll only emerge once the temperature rises above freezing in order to eliminate. However, your management skills will come into play throughout those warmer months. The way you will manage them depends mostly on the climate in which your hive exists as well as the type of bees and the hive style.

If you live in one of the warm southern states in the U.S. for example, the busy season for the foraging of your bees is going to be longer than in the colder northern states. This is where your working knowledge comes in as you’ll need to become familiar with the beekeeping practices in your particular area of the world. You’ll need to know about local laws and what all is involved in a season of beekeeping there.

Make no mistake about this – YOU WILL GET STUNG! Most honeybees aren’t aggressive. Once they sting you they die. However, there may be times when one winds up making its way into the fold of your clothes and you’re unable to get it out. Things like that DO happen, so get used to the idea.

backyard beekeepingLEARN ABOUT YOUR BEES

If the stings don’t dissuade you and you choose to get started you’ll need to learn all you can about Honey Bees. You can find tons of books on the subject but start by learning about raising bees where you live. The better informed a caretaker is the better care they can give. This is true with pets and children as well. You’ll want to know what their predators are, their life-cycle, seasonal changes, special needs, etc.

WHERE TO GET BEES

Spring time is the best time to get your bees. From April to late May (in Portland, Oregon for example). Any later, especially in northern climates, you bees won’t have the proper amount of foraging time to build up their food, pollen, and honey stores to the point they will sustain them throughout the winter.

(1). Swarms/Feral Bees

You might consider catching a swarm of feral bees (easier said than done) of locate a local beekeeper to catch them for you. The reason for obtaining feral bees is because they have proven to be a bit more heartier and more likely to survive. They’ve never been exposed to the chemicals and treatments used by many commercial beekeepers.

(2). Packages

beekeepers jacketYou can also buy a package of bees from a bee breeder. Usually the packages are shipped to you from warm climates like Texas or California (usually USPS). A package will usually consist of –

a./ One Queen Bee (which has ‘open mated’ or been ‘artificially inseminated’).

b./ Approximately 10,000 other bees (which come from several different colonies).

c./ A box that contains their food for the trip (sugar water syrup).

d./ A small cage positioned in the center of the box that holds the queen (so the other bees can get used to their new queen’s scent).

(3). Bait and Trap

Bait Hives and Swarm Traps. This might sound a little complicated at first, however, there have been many new beekeepers who set up their lures and in no time at all had a full colony move in all by themselves! The plans for setting these up are really easy to follow. You can find books and instructions for them online.

(4). Nucleus Colonies

If you choose to use a Langstroth hive then nucleus colonies are a fantastic way to get your hive populated. A nucleus is a fully-established colony held in a 5-frame box. They’re already prepared for transfer into you 8 or 10-frame boxes. They usually build up much quicker than the packages do because they’re already equipped with eggs, combs, honey stores, and larvae.

A really great move that will help you out tremendously is to locate some local beekeepers. These kinds of connection hold a wealth of wisdom in the world of bees and can really be a booster for you as you get started. It’s always great to have someone local to ask questions plus you get to meet some really nice people.

WHAT EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED

As a beekeeper you will need the right equipment. Here are some recommended tools to get you started with your new endeavor –

  • Hive Tool
  • Smoker
  • Jacket, Veil, and Gloves
  • Bee Brush

and you’re on your way. Now we’ll explain what this specific equipment does:

Hive Tool – For beekeepers the hive tool will be a very critical piece of equipment. Without one it will be almost impossible for you natural beekeepingto inspect your colonies or put in additional boxes. Bees glue everything within their hive together with propolis (a resin-like substance).

Smoker – Smokers are also a crucial piece of equipment. All beekeepers should have one. A smoker helps to subdue bees by making it hard for them to communicate. The smoke will also cause them to gorge on their honey to prepare for a fire. They can be quite temperamental, so having a smoker to help calm things down when they get agitated is a ‘must-have’.

Jacket, Veil, and Gloves – When you first start out to become a beekeeper, you are not going to be very comfortable without something over your hands and face. All newcomers to the beekeeping world need to be covered and protected. Protection gives you more confidence so you can focus on the work at hand. Nervous beekeepers usually make a mistake and wind up being stung.

Bee Brush – These are really useful pieces of equipment. They’re used for gently removing bees from the comb or any other place you want them removed from. Know ahead of time that the bees will hate your brush and will sting it over and over again. Use it sparingly.

CONCLUSION:

Beekeepers love the time spent with their bees and are a breed all their own. They’re much like gardeners in that each individual has their own unique methods and twists on how they do it. They love to share with others and talk about their bees. You never stop learning about keeping your bees. You should enjoy the time and sharing with others. It’s like joining a brand new club!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to Handle Your Honey Bees

Honey Bees are very familiar to us all. Beekeepers love to see their hives, bustling with activity, surrounded by sweet-smelling flowers.

The bees constantly dart from flower to flower and then back to the beehives.How to Handle Your Honey Bees

Handling bees is not difficult. You just have to understand their habits and take some basic precautions.

Some beekeepers wear full beekeeping suits, while others wear beekeeping jackets. Some beekeepers don’t wear any type of bee protection at all.

Are Bees Deaf?

One of the main precautions when approaching the hive is quietness. For many years, people thought bees were deaf, but that has turned out not to be the case. A study found out that bees use special organs in the antennae to hear. They also are sensitive to vibrations.

One should approach the hive without a lot of noise. Be careful not to jar the hives or smash your equipment (such as a hive smoker, hive frame holder and hive tool) on the top of the hive.

Some beekeepers even treat their bees as pets. Now, they won’t come when you call, but the bees will get used to your presence. If you are kind to them, they will treat you as such.

When Bees Sting

In fact, bees seldom sting except in self-defense, or in defense of their hive. If you see a honey bee on a flower hard at work, it will almost never fly and attack you. Bees do not think about stinging, unless they are bothered or touched.

Now some bees are easily provoked, but sometime people are the same way. When they start to get aggressive, it is most often due how you handle them.

Generally speaking, the temper of our bees depends on how we manage them. Treat them with kindness and you will be rewarded likewise.

As the saying goes “Do onto your bees as you would have them do onto you”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Honey Bee Trivia

Honey Bees not only play an important role in agriculture, but there are many facts about them that you may not know. A further look into this interesting insect reveals not only its uniqueness, but its usefulness as well.

  • Able to fly at around 15 mph with 11, 400 wing strokes per minute, honey bees travel 55,000 miles to bring us one pound of honey. In order to produce this one pound, a bee will have to visit two million flowers.
  • The honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers are called foragers and normally visit 50 – 100 flowers on one flight. Thisbeekeeper keeps a bee very busy during its approximately 40 days of life.
  • These foragers are very efficient, able to carry 80% of their weight in pollen or nectar. Making up 80% of all pollinators, the honey bee must gather ten pounds of nectar to make one pound of honey. And, even though it is a small insect, honey bee pollination has an agricultural value of 15 billion dollars a year in the United States alone.
  • Honey bees have a unique social system in that there is only one queen per colony. If another queen attempts to arise, they will fight to the death. She mates with nearly 20 drones (the male honey bee with no stinger) only once in her life. She then lays between 1,000 – 3,000 eggs per day. It’s easy to see where the phrase, “busy as a bee” got its start!
  • Within the hive, an anti-bacterial substance called Propolis, made from sticky plant and tree resin, is used as a glue to help maintain the structure of the hive. In order to find the nectar and water they need, honey bees use several dances to communicate the location of such items. One well-known dance is called the waggle dance.
  • Beeswax, popular in many commercial and homemade products such as lip balms and candles, is produced from the wax glands in honey bees. It is a very hard wax and doesn’t melt until it reaches a temperature of 148 degrees.
  • Honey bees are fascinating little creatures that are highly efficient, energetic and very important to our agriculture. Taking the time to learn various facts and trivia about them not only increases our knowledge of honey bees, but our appreciation of them as well.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Bee Keeping

The best beginners beekeeper program out there, Just Click Here. http://tinyurl.com/qee7ro9 Beekeeping for Beginners and beekeeping basics. I am pretty …

Beekeeping grows among hobbyists – Times-Citizen Communications

Times-Citizen CommunicationsBeekeeping grows among hobbyistsTimes-Citizen CommunicationsWhen some people hear the hum of bees around them, their palms get sweaty and panic sets in. Dr. Shane Krukow heard the sound of hundreds of thousands of bees and thought it was amazing. Being the nature lover that he is, he decided to become a …

A few basics with beekeeping workshop – Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

A few basics with beekeeping workshopPauls Valley Daily Democrat“Depending on a person’s interest level, beekeeping doesn’t require a large investment for someone to harvest a small amount of honey,” said Charlie Canny, Noble Foundation director of facilities, beekeeper and Central Oklahoma Beekeepers Association …

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Basic Beekeeping Video

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Types Of Honeybees In North America

There are several popular races of honey bees in North America that are raised for the purpose of making honey. Some of these races are a lot more gentle than others. Obviously these “gentle bees” would be ideal for beekeepers.

But that is not the only factor to take into consideration when deciding on which bees to have for beekeeping. Some bees are more likely to swarm than others. All bees will swarm if crowded; but some races are much worse than others. Finally, as with everything, cost is another factor. Some bees are more expensive than others. It would make sense for beginning beekeepers to start out with gentle and inexpensive bees.

This beekeeping information on the types of honey bees will help you decide which type is right for you.

Italian Honey Bees

Italian bees have become the most popular bee in the United States; in large part thanks to their gentle behavior. They are also Italian Honey Beepopular and the most distributed due to their ability to survive in most climates. These bees survive winter will and breed in the spring. They are bred down south. You can find them in the north as well; however they will not be available for purchase until late spring or summer.

Italian bees are most often recommended to beginners because of how common they are and how easily they are found in packages. Their biggest weakness is their tendency to rob and drift. More food is consumed by bees that are located in hard winters/colder climates because they need to compensate for the heat loss by eating more food. Otherwise they do survive well in the winter. They produce a minimum amount of propolis, which makes it easier for them to keep the hive clean and easy to work with.

Worker bees are a light color and the queen is a darker color; thus making her easy to locate. These bees are yellow in coloring with bands on the abdomen. There are weaknesses in any honeybee species so despite their moderate tendency to swarm and strong tendency to rob, they are a good beginner bee. That is probably why they are the most common of honeybees.

Caucasian Honey Bees

Caucasian Honey BeeNext are Caucasian honeybees. They are a silver/grey to brown in color. They are gentler than the Italian bees and are not prone to robbing as the Italians are. They are slower to start in the spring but otherwise are just as productive as the Italian bees. They do produce an excessive amount of propolis that if not collected can make the hive very sticky to work with.

Caucasian honeybees have a moderate tendency to swarm and have a large and strong population. They survive winter well and forage earlier on cooler days. They are also slow to start up in spring. They are not prone to rob. Finally, they have a longer tongue than almost all other honeybees which means they can take advantage of nectar that most bees cannot.

Carniolan Honey Bees

Next are Carniolan honeybees, which are a subspecies of the Western honeybee. They originate in Slovenia (which is located in carniolan honey beethe southern part of the Austrian Alps). They can also be found in parts of Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia. They are a darker brown to black in color. They are the second most popular bees after the Italians. Their ability to defend themselves against insects and pests as well as their extreme gentleness towards beekeepers make them a great choice overall. Not to mention that they are resistant to some parasites and diseases.

They are the best wintering bee as the queen stops all brood production in the fall. They build up very rapidly in the spring; otherwise it depends on the flow of nectar and pollen. They tend to swarm when there is no space. They are not likely to rob; but if pollen is scarce brood rearing is greatly decreased.

Rrussian honey bee ussian Honey Bees

The Russian honeybee came from the Primorsky region. They have evolved traits of being resistant to mites since living where it is home to the Varroa and Trachael mites. These bees resemble the Carniolan bees in color. These bees winter well in extremely cold temperatures and small clusters. Brood rearing is highly dependent on forage availability. They tend to swarm. Further they are expensive.

Buckfast Honey BeesBuckfast Honey Bee

Lastly we have the buckfast honey bees. Buckfast honey bees were developed by Brother Adams in the 20th century; actually they are a mixed race of bees. They have become very popular with beekeepers due to their extreme gentleness. Beyond that they build a strong population in the spring and manage winter well. They adapt well to areas with cold damp winters and have a low tendency to swarm. They are excellent honey producers even though they are inclined to rob. Finally they are resistant to tracheal mites.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

This jacket was recommended to me by a bee exterminator for handling bee and wasp issues as they arose. I have not needed to use the jacket in battle yet but did try it on to make sure it fit and did not leave any areas exposed. I was pleasantly surprised by how well made it felt. Lots of pockets too.

Gallery
keeping honey bees beekeeping supplies equipment
Customer Feedback

Very nice gloves.

Suit fits wonderfully. Delivery was prompt. Will buy from this vendor again.

Item received promptly and just as described. Very happy with purchase. Good quality. Fits nicely and material is good fabric.