August, 2016 | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Archive for August 2016

Raising Honey Bees

Raising Honey BeesFor more than 5,000 years, beekeepers have managed bees to retrieve their honey. Management of a beehive takes good stewardship and requires time and knowledge of bees. While it is not hard work to care for a hive, you do need to open them and inspect them regularly. Bees need to have a good store of honey and room to expand if their population grows.

Bees need to be left enough honey to feed the hive through the cold seasons when they cannot find flowers to produce their food. After you have ensured the bees have enough for their population, the extra can be used for your family and still have some to sell or barter. This is a great way to boost your family income.

The Honey Bee Hive

To begin beekeeping you need some basic equipment. The hive is your first piece of equipment and you can add to that as you learn more about keeping bees. To assist you in choosing your hive, look at our Glossary of Beekeeping Terms and learn what the basic parts of a beehive are needed. There is also bee terminology listed you should learn to better understand how to be a beekeeper.

Langstroth hive illustratedLooking at the illustrations should show what you need for your hive. Many beekeeper suppliers offer starter packages that include everything you will need to begin your first hive.

Once you have your hive and all the necessary parts, you need to select a location to set it up. The attached illustration shows how you should elevate the hive and not just have it sitting on the ground. Concrete blocks are a good source for elevating hives. There are wooden stands you can purchase which have been made especially for setting hives on. They need to be placed high enough so they are not in the grass.

The attached illustration shows how your basic beehive should be setup. Most beekeeping manuals describe the use of shallow honey supers (check glossary) on top of the deep hive bodies. Some beekeepers use the same size supers as the body. This is something you will learn as you continue with beekeeping as to what works best for you.

Using the same size super as the body allows you to buy or make just one size and the foundations can also be all the same size. If you use the deep supers the weight of them can be a drawback as they can weigh up to 100 pounds when full. The pros to using the deeper supers are they will decrease the amount of handling as compared to the shallow supers.

There is a trick to using only nine frames in the standard ten frame super. When evenly spaced in the super, bees will draw the comb out further. This method puts the capping’s up higher on the edge of the frame and will decrease the amount of time it takes to uncap them. Spacers can be purchased or you can make your own to make sure you get the correct spacing on the frame.

Frames are an essential in the basic equipment you need for your hive. The frame allows you easy and quick access to check on the condition of your bees, and the removal of the honey. The frame needs to be setup with a wired foundation.

These are sheets of beeswax with two important features:

  • They have to contain embedded wires to help support the comb and make sure it doesn’t tear when you take the honey out.
  •  It has to be embossed with the exact shape of the honeycomb that will be taken out of it. This will ensure you get a nice, uniform comb.

The Honey Bees

Once the hive is complete and set in the proper location, you are ready to get your bees. The best place to purchase your first hive of bees is from a commercial supplier.

Installing the Bee Package

keeping beesWhen you get your bees home, you will need to feed them sugar syrup as they will have used up the supply sent with them on
their journey. Giving them nourishment is important and simply done by making a simple syrup with two cups of sugar mixed with one cup of boiling water. Mix the syrup thoroughly and allow to cool.

Once the syrup is cool, use a small paint brush and paint the solution onto the wire sides of the cage. The bees will calm as they eat and will take as much as you put on. Don’t soak them with the syrup, simply brush on a coating and let them finish cleaning it off. It is best to wait until late afternoon or early evening to place the bees into their new hive. If needed, you can store them in a cool, dark place until the time is right.

Before placing the bees in their new hive, you should check that you have:

  • A bottom board on a solid base
  •  A hive body and its cover ready
  •  Have enough frames- five or six with the foundation in the hive body
  •  Have remaining frames available and handy for when needed
  • Have your bee suit or jacket on
  •  Have your gloves ready
  •  Have your smoker (check glossary) handy and ready to use
  •  Have a package of sugar syrup and brush ready

You are now ready to open the bee package and remove the tin feeder can.

When you open the package you will see the Queen suspended inside a small cage at the top of the package. Remove the cage with the Queen inside and any bees that are clinging to it. Close the package so no other bees can get out.

The Queen’s cage should have a small stopper on one end to prevent her from escaping. Beneath that stopper is a plug of sugar which the bees will quickly remove to allow her out. Gently place her cage, with the stopper removed, nearest the center of the hive and allow the bees to work at setting her free.

how to keep beesWith your smoker, give the package a gentle puff of smoke and remove the closure. Shake gently until a bunch of bees go right over the Queen’s cage. The remaining bees should be shaken out and into the space where the frames were taken out of the hive body. The bees will want to find cover in the darkness of the hive and join the rest of the bees.

There are always some bees that stayed behind in the package so set it near the entrance and allow them to find their way inside. Gently put the remaining frames of the foundation into the hive body and place the inner cover on.

You will need a feeder at the entrance or just inside an empty hive body with the same simple solution you fed them when you got them home. Monitoring the bees is important to ensure they are healthy, getting enough food, and starting to work.

It may take about a week before they completely settle down in their new home and during that week the Queen will start laying her eggs. When you see that the bees are going outside the hive and collecting their own pollen, you can stop feeding them. You can now remove the feeder and extra hive body and replace the top cover over the inner cover.

Working with Your Honey Bees

To begin work with your hive use the smoker. Give the hive a few good puffs of smoke directly into the hive entrance. Lift the covers, top and inner, and make sure smoke goes into the super. This will make the bees calmer and allow you to work around them more safely.

The smoke masks alarm pheromones, a chemical released by guard bees or others when you enter their hive. The smoke also Working with Your Honey Beescreates a feeding response in the bees as they think their hive is in danger. They will fill up on honey in anticipation of having to flee the hive. A bee that is full of honey will have a harder time stinging. Do not puff the smoker too much as you do not want a hot smoke or actual flames as this will endanger the bees.

Bees can do most of their own work; they generally just require monitoring from time to time. When you check your hive, wear light colored clothing as bright colors appear to agitate bees. When you use your beekeeping clothes, smoker, gloves, and hive tool (check glossary) you should have relatively no problems working around the bees. Working calmly and steadily is also suggested as they will react less to smooth movements than those which are too fast and unsteady.

Remove the covers and using the hive tool lift a few frames out to examine them. Check to see if the comb is fully drawn out and being filled with honey. Check if the combs have been capped off and are ready for you to extract the honey from them. While checking these, look at the bees and make sure they appear healthy and active.

When finished replace the covers. If you have used smoke to settle them, the bees will clear the hive of any remaining smoke after you’ve replaced everything and life for them will settle down and soon be back to normal.

beekeeping equipment suppliesThe Honey

While checking the hive if you have found the supers to be full of capped honeycomb, it is time to remove your honey. Before you take the honey, you must be sure to remove the bees from the super.

To do this you can use a commercial product called, Bee-Go. It is a chemical solution you place on top of the hive in place of the top cover.

You can do this by making a fume board out of an old hive cover and staple a layer of burlap over it. The burlap will act as an absorbent pad to apply the chemical too. The bees do not like the odor given off by Bee-Go and will descend deeper into the hive.

It generally only takes a few minutes for all the bees to move down so you can extract the super to remove the honey.

Another product that works well to move the bees is, Fischer’s Bee-Quick. It works under the same principle as the Bee-Go.

Extracting the Honey

Using a mechanical extractor will make removal of the honey much simpler. If you are not using frames specially designed to take sections of the honeycomb out, then you really need to have access to a centrifugal type extractor. These extractors are not cheap and can be built at home, but you will have better luck with a manufactured model. One idea is to check with other beekeepers inhoney extractor your area to see if they would be willing to pool together on a purchased one.

From the full supers, you need to remove the wax caps on the combs. Each of the cells will be full of honey and the caps need to come off to get the honey out. One method is to have knives submerged in hot water and use them to slice the caps off. When one knife cools and no longer slices the cap evenly, change knives and take a fresh hot one. Place the caps into a pot as a lot of honey will drip off of them which you want to keep. There are specially heated knives you may eventually want to invest in.

Place the frames into the extractor once you have removed all the caps with the top bar facing outward. This is important to make sure you get all of the honey out of the comb. As the honey is extracted from the frame, replace them in the super. The honey will accumulate on the bottom of the extractor and you will need to drain it off. Run the honey through a few layers of cheese cloth to remove any wax, pollen, or bees. You are now ready to pour it into jars of your choice.

Winterizing your Hive

Bees do not hibernate or sleep during the winter months. They will form a cluster and generate heat to survive the cold temperatures. This generation of heat will create moisture or condensation and standing water is not a good scenario for your hive’s survival. In the wild, bee supplysbees maintain a single entrance at the bottom of their hive so they are able to fan fresh air or ventilate the hive. Try to mimic nature by using a thicker wood to act like a hollow log and let the bees seal up the cracks as they would naturally. Try not to open the hive at all during cool or cold weather. In nature, bees also protect themselves against mice or other varmints that look to steal their food during the cold months. Again, you will have to help them guard their entrance by placing barriers up so they cannot be invaded. Winterizing the natural way also means leaving them enough honey to eat during the winter. If unsure as to how much to leave, it is better to wait until spring to harvest to ensure your hive can survive.

Any supers not being used by the bees for the winter need to cleaned, inspected for damage or rot, and stored in 50-gallon sized lawn bags until ready for use next summer.

The information in this article does not cover all the fascinating facts of beekeeping. It is the hope that it will motivate you and get you started on wanting to expand your knowledge and begin your beekeeping.


Langstroth Hive

Langstroth, Top-Bar or Warre?: Choose the Right Hive for You and Your Bees – Mother Earth News

Mother Earth NewsLangstroth, Top-Bar or Warre?: Choose the Right Hive for You and Your BeesMother Earth News

If you’re interested in beekeeping but are debating which type of hive to choose or if you’re already a beekeeper and are Langstroth Hivewondering about different types of hives then read on.  Here I’ll talk briefly about the three different types of hives I use and discuss some basic pros and cons.  Let’s start with the the best known and most popular.

Pros and Cons of the Langstroth Beehive

So, chances are if you’ve ever driven by a house or piece of land and seen beehives, you were looking at a langstroth hive. These are the standard hives used in the United States and most developed countries.  Imagine a wooden rectangle with wood frames that slide in vertically and rest in place on a top lip like a file folder.  Inside the frame is a thin layer of wax foundation printed with a hexagonal pattern that the bees will use to draw out their comb.  There is a removable top cover, a bottom board upon which the hive rests and a narrow entrance or slit between the bottom board and the hive body from which the bees come and go.  To add room for an expanding colony or for honey stores you add a super (basically another hive body, frames and all but shorter in height) directly on top of the hive body, then replace the cover on top of the super.

What is a Langstroth hive and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some progress on my long Langstroth hive. I’ll be screening the bottom and having multiple inner covers…

Some progress on my long Langstroth hive. I’ll be screening the bottom and having multiple inner covers on top of the frames, as well as a hinged lid. I’ll also have a frame holder built on to one side, one that’s big enough to hold a couple of frames at least.

The Secret to the Modern Beehive is a One-Centimeter Air Gap – Smithsonian


Langstroth HivesIn 1851, Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth invented a better beehive and changed beekeeping forever. The Langstroth Hive didn’t spring fully formed from one man’s imagination, but was built on a foundation of methods and designs developed over millenia.

Beekeeping dates back at least to ancient Egypt, when early apiarists built their hives from straw and clay (if you happen to find a honeypot in a tomb, feel free to stick your hand in it, you rascal, because honey lasts longer than a mummy). In the intervening centuries, various types of artificial hives developed, from straw baskets to wood boxes but they all shared one thing: “fixed combs” that must be physically cut from the hive. These early fixed comb hives made it difficult for beekeepers to inspect their brood for diseases or other problems.

In the 18th century, noted Swiss naturalist François Huber developed a “movable comb” or “movable frame” hive that featured wooded leaves filled with honeycombs that could be flipped like the pages of a book. Despite this innovation, Huber’s hive was not widely adopted and simple box hives remained the popular choice for beekeepers until the 1850s. Enter Lorenzo Langstroth.


Natural Beekeeping

First Ever Natural Beekeeping Convention Makes a Buzz in Pasadena This Weekend – Pasadena Now

Pasadena Now – While bees may be perceived as intimidating sting machines that produce sweet honey, the scientific and beekeeping communities consider them the unsung heroes of the planet. The tiny aerial insects are responsible for pollinating 80% of the world’s plants and without them world would be a much different place.Natural Beekeeping

Pasadena’s flora-and-fauna-rich landscape has cemented itself as a bee friendly environment among local experts and is the perfect home for the Natural Beekeeping Conference that kicks off this weekend, set to feature demonstrations and lectures about all things beekeeping from local and international experts in the field.

“Our conference is geared towards the backyard beekeeper who wants to do things with a more natural twist. We’ve imported the top minds in the natural beekeeping world to come speak,” said conference organizer and Honey Love CEO Chelsea McFarland whose non-profit provides educational outreach and advocacy efforts to protect the health and well-being of honey bees.

Pasadena’s bee friendly status is a rarity when compared to worrisome global phenomenon of bee colonies disappearing called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“If you have an amazing garden and want to make it even better, the natural progression is to keep bees. It’s very important to keep known genetics in your urban yard,” said Keith Roberts, President of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and owner of beekeeping retail store The Valley Hive.

“Pasadena was the area to be this year,” said Roberts who went on to say he extracted thousands of pounds of sage honey in the Pasadena/Altadena area alone.

Many factors play a role in possibilities regarding to the disappearance of bee colonies including parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and the use of pesticides on plants as the number one cause of speculation according to the USDA.

“Pesticides are always a threat regardless of where the hives are,” said Roberts.

These foreign chemicals tend to do more harm than good due the their artificial properties, in which pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $15 billion to the value of U.S. agriculture annually through increased yields and superior-quality harvests, according to the USDA.

natural bee keepingBees colonies are affected less by CCD in urban environments due to the lack of pesticide use that is all too common in large scale agriculture, according to Honey Love.

“We aren’t seeing colony collapse disorder as much in the city,” said McFarland

Aside from the importance of bees in regards to sustaining a substantial part of life on Earth, they have become specimens of interest to scientists and engineers in fascinating ways.

Dr. Michael Dickinson is a scientist whose lab at Caltech focuses on flight control and how animals transform sensory information into a code that controls motor output and behavior. According to Dickinson, the unique anatomy of bees provides a basis for the development of cutting edge aerial technology in the 21st century.

“These animals are exploiting some of the most exotic flight mechanisms that are available to insects,” said Dickinson in an article published by Caltech. “The knowledge garnered from actual insects start to become important engineering principles by which we design these things,” said Dickinson.

Although urban areas like Pasadena are more sustainable place for bees to thrive, they are still in need of habitats that they can call home and is a simple addition anyone can add to their property with just a small amount of tender love and care.

You don’t have to be a skilled beekeeper to contribute to the well being of bees in your neighborhood.

“We encourage people to put out a swarm box which is something bees can move into. It’s a great thing that people can do who live in the city,” said McFarland who also mentioned the importance of providing basics such as adequate water for bees.

To help promote his all-natural approach, 40 year beekeeper Jerry Dunbar participated in the creation of this video series demonstrating his practices and the …

Beek Out This Summer at HoneyLove’s Natural Beekeeping … – Modern Farmer

Husband-and-wife team Rob and Chelsea McFarland are passionate about honeybees and want you to be too. Last year they spearheaded the legalization of urban beekeeping in Los Angeles, published Save the Bees with Natural Backyard Hives, and now have organized a natural beekeeping conference set for August 19 through 21 in Pasadena, California.

“We started the Natural Beekeeping Conference as an alternative to the traditional beekeeping conferences put on for commercial beekeepers,” Chelsea tells Modern Farmer in an email. “There isn’t currently a conference for natural beekeepers—especially not one that addresses backyard beekeeping issues—so we decided to create one.
”The couple launched HoneyLove, an LA-based nonprofit bee conservation organization in 2011, with “a mission to protect the keeping honey beeshoneybees by educating our communities and inspiring new urban beekeepers,” says Chelsea. It has grown to be the largest urban beekeeping group in Southern California.
The conference in August is for natural beekeepers—those who use chemical-free practices—of all stripes, but with a special focus on those who raise bees in an urban environment.
You’ll see several luminaries of the natural beekeeping world at the conference, including Michael Bush, the author of The Practical Beekeeper—Beekeeping Naturally; Dee Lusby, known as the “mother of treatment-free beekeeping;” May R. Berenbaum, professor and department head in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University; and Les Crowder, author of Top-Bar Beekeeping.
Plus, there will be workshops, hands-on demonstrations, the latest in natural beekeeping techniques and findings, exhibitors and sponsors, and even tastings of raw honey from around the world. It’s an opportunity to connect with other “beeks” (bee geeks),
June 15, 2016 webinar on Common Sense Natural Beekeeping with Kim Flottum, author and editor of Bee Culture Magazine.

Backyard Bees

The Colony-Killing Mistake Backyard Beekeepers Are Making – NPR

NPR – The Colony-Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They’re complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.

The Fargo attorney lost hives in his first two years as a novice beekeeper. With nine hives now established near his home and a Backyard Beescouple of University of Minnesota bee classes under his belt, he feels like he’s got the hang of it, although it’s still a challenge.

Every two weeks, he opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees’ blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.

Attorney and hobby beekeeper Jonathan Garaas Dan Gunderson | MPR News

“You can get the book learning. You can see the YouTubes. You can be told by others,” he said, but “you have to have hands-on experience. When you start putting it all together, it now starts making sense.”

Scientists wish every beginner beekeeper was as diligent.

While experts welcome the rising national interest in beekeeping as a hobby, they warn novices may be inadvertently putting their hives — and hives for miles around — in danger because they aren’t keeping the bee mite population in check.

Many hobbyists avoid mite treatments, preferring a natural approach, but that’s often a deadly decision for the bees, said University of Minnesota bee expert Marla Spivak.

…and more »

Hiving my first package of honey bees. This is quite the experience the first time you do it! Season 1: Episode 1.


Backyard beekeeping yields sweet rewards –

HEBRON – His flat hive tool in hand, Keith Crigger slowly and meticulously scraped bee glue, known as propolis, from a new beehive box on Randy Merrell’s farm near Hebron.

Crigger pried open the top box and judiciously lifted and inspected each frame. He was vigilant in returning each one in the same order. Bees are clean and orderly.

raising honey beesAs Crigger worked his way deeper into the boxes, he was optimistic about what he saw.

“See the caps?” his wife Lori Crigger asked standing from a distance. “This hive, which was added in April, is going to produce some honey this year.”

Keith and Lori Crigger are beekeepers that harvest honey from hives on six farms in Boone, Grant, Kenton and Gallatin counties. They sell their Crigger Farm honey products in 45 retail shops across the commonwealth and at local farmers markets.

But the honey business that keeps Keith working full-time in his retirement started as a hobby seven years ago.

Beekeeping is a pastime that more people across Northern Kentucky are adding to their lives. Residents are placing bee boxes in their backyards and joining the increasing number of beekeeper groups, like the Northern Kentucky Beekeepers Association which meets once a month.

Conservationists are delighted.

In the past decade, the honeybee population hit an all-time low. There are many theories about why the number plummeted. The abundant use of pesticides and disease are popular ones.

Honeybee numbers are back on the rise, thanks to those who are putting on their bee suits and building hives.

“I think more people are realizing the importance of bees in the pollination of plants,” said Jerry Brown, Boone County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.


Honey Extractor

Looking at purchasing the best honey extractor?

honey extractorsSince I recently upgraded mine, I thought I’d share some thoughts.


Even though you only use your extractor once a year (for most of us), it’s a large initial investment and you want to make the right decision.

Prices range from under two hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. There are many good honey extractors available for a reasonable cost.

Here are some features to consider when purchasing a honey extractor.

Manual or Electric

All honey extractors work through the use of centrifugal force. There are two types, manual and electric.

Manual Extractors

manual honey extractorMost experienced beekeepers advise new beekeepers to start with a manual honey extractor and then trade up later on. Manual extractors have been around for over one hundred years.

Many new beekeepers start with only one to three hives, so a manual extractor will do just fine.

Years ago, I bought a used 2 frame manual extractor at a yard sale from an Amish gentleman. The extractor used a bicycle chain on the gears.

The biggest difficulty was that the top gear drive had to be removed to place and remove the frames. It made the process very time-consuming.

The biggest challenge with a manual extractor is that your arms will get tired from turning the handle and with most extractors, you will have to spend 10 minutes turning the handle and the turn the frames around for another 10 minutes.

The benefit to using a manual extractor is that you don’t need electricity to operate it. Of course, if you’re outside trying to extract honey, you will attract a lot of bees.

So, my advice to newbie’s is to pick a model where it is easy to turn the crank.

Electric Extractors

electric honey extractor There a quiet a few manufactures of electric honey extractors. Many advertised on the Internet seem to be made in China and appear to be the same model, under different brand names.

Electric extractors cost two to four times as much as a manual one.  A high-quality electric extractor can be a significant expense for a beekeeping hobbyist.

The motors are usually single speed or variable speed options. Motors are rated by watts, usually 110 or 120 watts. Some manufacturers will list the rpm (revolutions per minute) of the motor (such as 1300 rpm).

If you’re going to shell out the bucks for an electric extractor, you should get a variable speed motor. The reason for this is that if the motor spins too fast it could damage the wax combs. A variable speed motor will allow you to adjust the spin speed.

The benefit to an electric extractor is that it is easier to operate than a manual one. You just flip the switch and watch it spin, without any manual labor.

Another benefit is that electric models are much faster than manual models and will save you hours of time and effort.

How Many Frames?

Commercial honey extractors can hold more than one hundred frames. The smallest and most economical honey extractors hold 2 frames.

Most hobby beekeepers find a 2 frame to 6-frame model adequate for their needs. Once you go past the 6-frame extractor size the prices get real expensive.


The drum size and composition is an important consideration when choosing an extractor to buy.

Metal or Plastic Drum?

Hands down, go for metal. If you buy a plastic model, you’ll be upgrading it to metal the next year. My first extractor was made of honey extractorheavy duty plastic and it still warped.

The best choice is of material is food grade stainless steel. Some are made from 16 or 26-gauge steel and others from “food grade #304 stainless steel” which is a common grade of stainless steel used for food preparation.

Many of the better models have a cone-shaped bottom, to allow better draining of the honey.

Legs or Stand

No matter whether the model has legs or a stand, the height should be tall enough to fit a 5-gallon bucket. This means the honey gate should be at least 15 inches above the ground.

Many models, such as the 2nd one I purchased did not allow a 5-gallon bucket underneath.

Also, models with legs tend not to be as sturdy as those resting on stands. My last model with legs constantly vibrated and tended to move around. We finally had to resort to holding it, to keep it in place.

Hint: put a towel underneath, so it doesn’t scratch the floor in case it vibrates or moves.


There are two types of baskets, tangential or radial. Tangential baskets need to be turned, because they have one side of the comb facing outward. Radial baskets do not need to be turned, because they have the top bar of the frame facing outwards.3 frame honey extractor

Radial baskets typically cost more, and are mostly used by large corporate honey producers.

Tangential baskets are used by most backyard and small hobby beekeepers, since most 2 – 6 frame honey extractors have tangential baskets.

The image on the right shows a 3-frame basket, without the motor.

The baskets should fit the three most common sizes, Shallow, Medium and Deep frames.

The design of the baskets should be such that the frames can easily be removed, without removing the top gears or motor.

honey gateHoney Gate

Also called a honey gate valve, this allows the honey to flow out of the extractor.

They are usually sized from 1.25” to 2” is diameter and are made of either food grade plastic or metal, with plastic being the most common.

A honey gate should have a gasket or O-Ring supplied, to prevent leaking.

The model I received did not include an O-Ring and there was a visible gap between the drum and where the honey gate fit. I had to take a last-minute trip to Home Depot to pick one up.

honey bee extractorsCoupling & Gears

The coupling and gears are critical to the operation of the extractor.

The gears must “couple” correctly to provide a proper spin for your extractor. If the gears are not coupled correctly the shaft will wobble and cause a lot of vibration.

The parts are typically made of steel, aluminum or heavy-duty plastic. Steel gears are best.

As you can see from the image, aluminum gears can crack.

After mine cracked, I had to place a rubber hose clamp on it to hold it together, to finish my honey extracting.


Clear plexiglass lids are a nice option for monitoring your progress. They also keep stray drops of honey from flying out of your extractor. The first time we used an extractor without a lid we were covered in honey, from the waist up.

Assembly and Instructions

Many models require some type of assembly. Typically, this includes the legs, honey gate, top gears or motor and coupling the motor to the cage assembly.

One of the biggest complaints I read about is the lack of instructions. My latest purchase did not include them, but the assembly was easy. This seems to be a problem from most of the units that are Chinese-made.

Another issue includes parts that are covered in oil. They must be cleaned thoroughly before you can assemble your extractor.

honey bee extractorCleaning

The extractor should be easy to dissemble and clean. When you are finished extracting, your bees will do much of your clean-up work. Soap and water should do the rest.

Warranty or Guarantee

When you buy a new extractor you should receive a warranty or guarantee. Some only have a 30-day guarantee while other have a Lifetime Warranty. Obviously, the better manufacturers stand by their equipment and offer better warranties.


Harvesting your honey is one of the most enjoyable parts of beekeeping. Tasting and eating your honey is another part.

A honey extractor is a critical part of your honey extraction process and you want a durable machine to make your experience hassle-free, no matter whether you have one or one hundred hives.

Good luck on choosing the right machine for your needs.


Ten Types of Bees

This is an edited reprint of an article that appeared in the April 27th edition of the 1887 American Bee Journal.

  1. Black or Brown – The ordinary hive-bee or honey-bee, called by the way of distinction, the black or becoming a beekeeperbrown, from being almost one uniform brown-black color, with slight indications of paler bands on the abdomen, and clothed with grayish brown hairs. Until within the last fifteen years, no other bee was known in north or west Europe. This bee, after escaping, has made itself wild in the American and New Zealand woods.
  1. Italian Alp. – The Italian Alp bee, sometimes called Ligurian, is indigenous to the mountainous district that lies in the north of Italy round about the lakes Magiore and Como. It is of a light orange yellow color, with two orange red bands on the abdomen, and is longer and more slender than the black. They are better honey gatherers, more hardy and prolific, and very courageous in defending their own hives, even from the ravages of the Wax Moth.
  1. Cyprian. – The Cyprians are natives of Cyprus and part of Turkey in Asia. They are yellow, quite slender, wasp-like, and smaller than Italians. They always have a yellow shield mark on the back between the wings. They are strong, excellent honey gatherers, winter better than any other race, and are proof against being robbed by other bees. But they are easily excited, and most revengeful stingers.
  1. Syrian. – The Syrian bees are found on that part of Asiatic Turkey, which lies north of Mount Carmel. They are of the same size, qualities, and temper as the Cyprians, from which they differ in showing less yellow, and being on the whole of a grayer color over their whole bodies. They are quite distinct from the next variety.beginning beekeeping
  1. Holy Land. – The Holy Land, or as the natives call them, the Holy Bees, are found in Palestine, south of Mount Carmel. They are marked like the Cyprians, but their hair is so light in color they appear to be beautifully striped. Their size is smaller than Italians, but larger than Cyprians. They are very active and far-flying, most wonderful cell builders, and get honey from red clover; but they are ready to sting, become furious at the least smoke, and run off their combs when one is lifted from the hive.
  1. Tunisian. – Tunis, on the north of Africa, has a peculiar race of bees. They are the same in size as the Cyprian and Syrian, but their color is dark brown—even darker than the common black or brown. They are active workers, keep on the combs when being handled, and bear smoke better than other Eastern races; but they are liable to attack a person coming near them, even though not interfered with.
  1. Carniolan.- The Carniolan bees are natives of Camiola, in South Austria. They are longer and thicker than the black or brown, being the largest domesticated European bee. The color is a rich, dark brown, nearly black, while each ring of the abdomen is clearly marked or whitish-gray hairs, giving it a silvery look. They are equal to Italians in honey gathering, fecundity and hardiness, while they are of a most remarkably gentle disposition, never attacking the manipulator, except when they are treated with improper roughness.
  1. Hungarian. – The bees peculiar to Hungary are the same size of, but far blacker than the common brown. They are very fair honey gatherers, and as gentle as Italians, but their propensity to swarm renders them very uncertain and unprofitable.beekeeping beginners
  1. Egyptian. – The Egyptian bees are like Syrians in size, but quite yellow, like the Italians. They abound, both wild and in domestication, along the valley of the Nile, and while famed for good honey gathering qualities, are without exception the most ferocious bees known outside of India. (Apparently, they were not familiar with Africanized honey bees)
  1. South African. – There is an excellent race of bees, both wild and hived, in the Cape Colony, which it is to be hoped will soon be introduced to our bee-keepers. They are the size and color of Italians, but grayer, while they are more tractable, and at the same time very prolific, and of remarkable working powers; where honey is to be gathered, they keep at it early and late, and often are at work even by moonlight.

It is from the best of these races that the advanced bee-keepers of the world are now endeavoring to concentrate in one strain those characteristics which commend themselves as desirable in the best bred bee. And it may be safely stated that the honeybee of the future will be as superior to the bees known to us twenty years ago.


Urban Beekeeping

Urban Beekeeping

Beekeeping is all the buzz in New York City – Reuters

While in other parts of the world honeybees have been creating a buzz because of their rapid decline, in New York their population has been soaring for the past few years, literally.

The number of urban beekeepers has exponentially grown according to Andrew Coté, President of New York City Beekeepersurban beekeeping Association, with registered beehives growing ten-fold in the past five years.

In Manhattan, many keep their hives on rooftops, including skyscrapers and office buildings which make for “fantastic apiaries”, according to Coté.

“Tending beehives on top of New York City and other urban areas is nothing new. However, there has been something of a renaissance in the past five to eight years and it has gained great popularity,” he told Reuters on Tuesday (July 26).

Coté tends hives on a dozen of skyscrapers throughout Manhattan, including the ones on the 76th floor of the Residence Inn hotel near Central Park, which at 723 feet (220 meters) is the highest apiary measured from the ground in the world according to management.

Since we have put the hives in two and a half years ago, we have done a fair amount of research, and we haven’t been able to find a hive higher than we are at this point,” explained Timothy McGlinchey Area General Manager of Residence Inn Central Park.

The hotel started the “Broadway Bees” project as part of their green initiative as bees are the main pollinators of flowering plants, including many fruits and vegetables.

The rooftop hosts six hives which totals to about 180,000 honey bees, all in robust condition.

Bee populations are in sharp decline around the world, under attack from a poorly understood phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. One reason is believed to be the bees’ exposure to excessive pesticides and chemicals in rural areas and the lack thereof in New York makes the hives healthy, says Coté.

Urban BeeKeeping Tips For Beginners

We have just finished our first honey harvest. In total we got 76 jars with an average weight of 355g. Not bad for a first year that started with a package of bees at …

Top Ten Urban Beekeeping Questions

Our latest Beekeeping Podcast was released last week. Beekeeping…

Top Ten Urban Beekeeping QuestionsOur latest Beekeeping Podcast was released last week. Beekeeping News from New Zealand and around the world. Listeners questions answered and tips shared from Gary and Margaret Beekeepers from New Zealand.This week we are talking about:-* Wild bee loss bad for breed* Ten Questions to ask before starting Urban Beekeeping* Wellingtons Mayor is a Buzzing.Click on the play button on below page:-Or subscribe on itunes, details at the bottom of the above page.

Popularity of urban beekeeping not helping to make up for declining countryside populations, says research…

urban beekeeperThe popularity of urban beekeeping is not helping to make up for declining countryside populations, according to new research.

The report also found that city-dwelling honey bees are three times less likely to survive than their feral cousins. This raises significant questions about the longer-term outlook for bees as intense urbanisation reduces habitat around the world and urban beekeeping helps to plug the gap.

Researchers from North Carolina State University analysed 15 feral colonies living in trees or buildings without human contact and a further 24 managed by beekeepers in urban, suburban and rural areas in and around the city of Raleigh.


Beekeeping Basics

Do you like to drizzle amber honey on your morning toast or in your green tbeginner beekeepingea? Apiculture, or beekeeping may be the perfect hobby for you. Basic beekeeping doesn’t require a lot of money, time or space. It can be done anywhere flowers bloom.

Popular in the 1970s, beekeeping declined due to urbanization, pesticides and parasitic mites caused decreased production and increased costs. According to Troy Fore, Executive Director of the American Beekeeping Federation, there are 100,000 hobby beekeepers in the United States, down from 200,000 in the 1970s.

The popularity of hobby beekeeping is back on the rise. Just a few healthy hives will produce pounds of honey for you to savor, share with your neighbors or sell at the local farm market.

Not only can you enjoy a new hobby, but honey bees foraging in your backyard garden will help pollinate plants to help them reproduce. Backyard beekeeping is vital for to reestablish lost colonies and offset the natural decrease of pollination by wild bees.

The Hardworking Honey Bee

Apis mellifera or the honey bee (except for the drones) is the ultimate workaholic. A native of keeping beesEurope, Asia and Africa, the honey bee lives in a complex three-caste society composed of thousands of bees.

Although, by human standards, their lives are fleeting, queens, drones and workers keep their colony from year to year and swarm to create new colonies.

The worker bees nurture their egg-laying queen, keep their hives queen, protect the colony from raiders and fly thousands of miles to gather food.

Unlike the bad-tempered yellow jackets that buzz around your picnic, the honey bee is a vegetarian. They get their protein from pollen and their carbohydrates from nectar. While they perform their work, the workers communicate through the emission of pheromones and by performing dances in specific patterns.

Once the worker bee gathers the provisions, they are handed off to a younger worker to deposit in the hexagonal wax cells of the hive. The bees add enzymes to the nectar and fan the concoction with their wings to evaporate water producing thick, sweet honey.

During the winter, the bees use the food stores to generate heat, contracting their wings to keep the hive at a warm 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

History of Bees and Honey

Cave drawings from Spain created around 6000 BC depict human figures scaling cliffs to get honey from wild hives. Later, ancient Northern Europeans, the Middle East and the Mediterranean realized the bees settled into dark spaces after swarhoney bees beekeepingming. They built hives out of logs, pottery vessels, straw and keps or wicker containers. Unfortunately, the bees had to be killed to extract the honeycomb.

Europeans brought hives to America in 1622. In 1851, pastor Lorenzo Langstroth of Philadelphia created the first wooden hives with moveable frames so colonies could be managed. The hives eventually reached America’s west coast and the rest of the world. Today, the Langstroth hive is the most common used around the world.

Tips for Beekeepers

Before starting your backyard apiary, check if your community prohibits or restricts beekeeping. You may need to file a permit to start your apiary. Next, get a good, easy to follow book about beekeeping basics.

Once you are ready, choose a sunny spot for your hives. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll want some shade. It should also have good air circulation and drainage. You’ll also want to pick a spot where the hives won’t disturb your neighbors. Make sure there is plenty of water nearby.

The workers will need a lot of water to regulate temperature and moisture levels in the hive during summer. You don’t want the bees searching for water in your neighbor’s yard.

honey bees hivesWorker bees zoom up as they exit the hive, so be careful not to place the hive close to where children or pets may play and away from pedestrians and traffic. Face the hive opening away from these places.

Winter is a good time to order your beekeeping paraphernalia and your bees so you can start the hive in the spring.

You can order equipment new or used, but experts recommend first time beekeepers get new equipment which will be less likely to fail and less likely to harbor second-hand disease.

Equipment, including the hive, medication, suit, jacket and gloves will cost about $200-$400.

Bees will cost about $140 for a Nucs, or nucleus colonies or about 11,000 bees. Honey bees come in a variety of types and hybrid strains.

Experts recommend the productive Italian race or the mellow Carniolan bees for beginners.

Beginners may want to start with one hive and add a second the following season. With 2 hives, you can observe the hives and borrow equipment from the stronger hive if necessary.

Keeping a Healthy Hive

Beekeeping chores change throughout the season. Getting the hive going in the spring and settling it down in the autumn are busy times for beekeepers who will have to check the hive frequently during those times.

A beekeeper should check the hive for the health and productivity of the hive. Frames need toBeekeeping Basics be inspected, and the beekeeper should check if the queen is alive and laying eggs: capped brood in a compact pattern and tiny white eggs at the bottom of the cells.

Depending on the time of year, you’ll want to check the colony for food stores, nectar storage space, ventilation, medication, swarm control, a new queen and more.

Your colony will need protection from disease, pesticides, parasites and predators. Varroa mites arrived in the United States from Asia in the 1980s and can destroy a colony in a few seasons.

Foulbrood, a bacterial disease kills larva and pupae. The protozoan disease Nosem targets adult bee intestinal tracts.

Many beekeepers medicate the colony with miticides and antibiotics in the fall and spring. If black bears are an issue, beekeepers will sometimes put hot-wire around the hives. Ants, rodents and raccoons are other predators that beekeepers should be aware of.

Bee Stings

Aside from protecting their hives, Honey bees are relatively harmless. However, a beekeeper working with thousands of bees may get stung. Stings hurt, swell and itch.

A small number of people are highly allergic to bee stings. Experts report that typically, beekeepers build up a tolerance to stings and have little side effects.

Bee sting chances can be reduced. The most important thing is to wear your beekeeping gear including suits, jackets and gloves.

Start the smoker up before anything else and puffs once or twice into the bottom of the hive. Before opening the hive, puff once at the top. Make sure not to over-smoke the hive.

Experienced beekeepers offer other tips including the following: check the hive during pleasant daytime weather when bees are foraging, be calm and gentle, get a good grip on the frames so you don’t drop them and cause vibrations, wear clean, lightweight clothing, and don’t excite the bees by leaving open containers of sugar syrup or honey near the hives.

If you are stung, remove the stinger so it doesn’t squeeze more venom, puff smoke on the site so more bees aren’t attracted to the pheromones, wash and dry the area and apply an ice pack.

Antihistamines can reduce itching and swelling. Keep an EpiPen on hand if guests have allergic reactions.

Harvesting Honey and Types of Honey

No wonder Greeks and Romans loved offerings of honey. Ranging from hold to rich amber to brown, honey is sweet and fragrant. Honey was the first sweetener. It’s pure and natural and fit for human consumption.

Since ancient times, honey has been valued as successful folk medicine with its wound healing qualities and its antioxidant quality. Last year Americans consumed over 381 pounds of honey.

Beekeepers can harvest honey in several forms including comb, which requires special equipment, such as a Honey Extractor.

After the first season, if the climate is good, a hive can produce 45 to 100 lbs of honey a year. Harvesting equipment includes a uncapping knife to open the combs, anextractor to spin the honey out and a strainer to filter out wax bits and other debris. A 5 gallon bucket with a spigot helps when bottling strained honey.

Honey from varied nectar sources has different tastes, colors and aromas. Honey bees like lavender, fireweed and buckwheat. Beekeepers place their hives in the track of these flowers and extract honey soon after they bloom. When bees gather their nectar from a variety of plants, the harvest is called wildflower honey.

Other benefits of beekeeping

Beeswax that forms in the honey making process is often used to create long burning, dripless, honey scented candles. For every 100 lbs of harvested honey, 2 lbs of beeswax is made.

Propolis is a sticky, plant-derived substance bees use for hive improvements. Proplis has antimicrobial qualities. The Chinese have used it in medicine for centuries.

Beekeepers can make money renting out bees to pollinate crops. About 90 crops in this country depend on bees for pollination. These include apples, blueberries, alfalfa, cucumbers and cotton. Increased production due to honey bee pollination is estimated at $14 billion a year.

If you’re looking at Honey beekeeping as a hobby, don’t be discouraged. Talk to local beekeepers who will be happy to give you advice. All you need is the proper equipment including suits, jackets and gloves and the beekeeping basics to develop a successful apiary that produces delicious honey.


Top Bar Hive

Top Bar Hive

Installing Bees in a Top-Bar Hive – Mother Earth News

Mother Earth NewsInstalling Bees in a Top-Bar Hive Mother Earth News

Top-bar hives are becoming increasingly popular with beekeepers as they help encourage bees to colonize in a more natural way than Langstroth beehives. The horizontal top-bar hives have bars across the tops for the bees to build their comb off of and more accurately mimic the tree hollows and nooks that bees would inhabit in the wild.

If you have decided to go with a top-bar beehive, you may be eagerly awaiting your first colony of spring bees. Installing them in the top bar frame is a little different than the process with an upright hive, and has some unique requirements.

While it may seem unlikely, bees are commonly purchased from apiaries and then sent to you through the US Mail. Your post office will give you an urgent call upon the arrival of the hive, and you can go pick up a wire-covered box filled with honeybees. Bees are sold by the pound, and a new colony is usually a three pound package.

There are many different kinds of bees, and you should research your area and the bees most hardy to your weather conditions before making your purchase. Once you’ve determined the breed of bees you want, you’ll either get a hive with a marked or unmarked queen.

When you pick up your colony at the Post Office, or at a local beekeeper’s, the queen will be in a small cell separated from the rest of the hive by a cork.

Occasionally, apiaries will block the queen’s cell only with a sugary substance that the worker bees can chew through, but usually you will have to remove a cork between the queen and her bees.

The queen is not immediately released into the colony, but should spend her first few days in the compartment while they adjust to her scent.

These are the basics everyone should know when thinking about Top Bar Beekeeping. It covers the basic ideas developed by Wyatt A. Magnum PhD. Wyatt is …

Keep a top bar hive for fun! Join us here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms as EAS certified master beekeeper takes you through …

In this video Jen Rasmussen of Paradise Nectar Apiaries demonstrates how to split a top bar hive and remove cross comb sections. For more information visit …


Raising Queen Honey Bees

Careful management promotes healthy honeybees – Western Farm Press

Ray Olivarez says his bee business is not typical. He owns and operates Olivarez Honeybees near the Glenn County, Calif. community of Orland.

Though he pretty much does it all – rearing queen honeybees for commercial sale, selling package bees to other beekeepers and leasing bees for pollination – his success is seen in his sustainability.

With annual losses in the range of 10 percent, versus the 30-50 percent reportedly common throughout the rest of the bee industry, he’s got a point.


Don has yet another way to make queens. The method could not be easier. Thanks for watching another Long Lane Honey Bee Farms video and today we’ll follow a frame of grafts for new queens.

Local Beekeeper is as Busy as His Bees

You could say that Marty Hanks is as busy as a bee.

Hanks owns and runs, “Just Bee Apiary,” a chemical-free business that focuses on raising and managing colonies of honey bees. The 30 hives on his Chapel Hill farm account for half of his inventory, while the other 30 hives are spread across rooftops and Raising Queen Honey Beesbalconies in Pittsboro, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

“We who live in a house or have land are all beekeepers by default because we have resources they can choose,” Hanks said.

The bee population has been declining over the past 40 years, with the most drastic decreases happening since 2000. According to Bee Informed, the leading bee research group in America, U.S beekeepers lost 44 percent of their total colonies between April of 2015 and March of 2016. Hanks attributes the loss of bees to several factors, including a loss of habitat and food resources. But the most deadly threat to the bees he said, can be found in your garage.

“Homeowners are buying products, the DOT is spraying and the power companies are spraying. So suddenly we’re looking at this widespread use of products.”

Those products include harmful pesticides that start a chain reaction for the bees, Hanks says, forcing them to travel farther for their food, and return with less.


1. Ventilated Suit – 

(NEW)  Ventilated Jacket –

2. Beekeeper YKK Suit Combo –

3. Beekeeper Journal –

4. YKK Suit –

5. Beekeeper Jacket –

6. Beekeeping Gloves:

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          – Cow Leather Beekeeping Gloves –

7. Queen Marking Kit  –

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         –Queen Marking Cage –

🐝 Good Luck and Happy Beekeeping!


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