March, 2018 | Buzz Beekeeping Supplies

Archive for March 2018

Varroa Mite Control

Varroa Mite Control – Dealing with Varroa mites at some stage becomes unavoidable if you are considering being a beekeeper or are one already.

Varroa mites also called Varroa destructors owe their origin to the United States where they first showed up in the western honey bees, biological named Apis mellifera, in the late 1980s.

Varroa mites are invasive and relatively harmless since the eastern honey bees, biological named Apis cerana, evolved so Varroa mites can be better handled through improved grooming practices.

The species Varroa mites are parasitic in nature and can easily damage any hive in more than one way.

In the United States, Varroa mites are famous for eradicating many feral bee colonies and have become a big problem form beekeepers who keep hives.

Their working model is very simple. A Varroa mite first latches on to a bee, then feeds on its blood like a parasite and transmits viruses through the blood. When it leaves the bee’s body, it leaves open wounds on the bee and moves to find more bees to feed upon.

Many a time, as a beekeeper you may not be aware whether your hives have a Varroa mite problem or not.

It is safe to say that most hives have at least some Verroa mites living in them. As such they do not cause a threat until their population is below a certain number. This safe population level is called the action or the economic threshold.

One of the ways you can reduce the population of Verroa mites in your hives is through sugar dusting. This process makes the surface dusty temporarily, which makes it difficult for the mites’ feet to move.

In an attempt to clean them of the dust, some mites dislodge themselves and fall loose.

This eventually helps them to fall into a trap that you have set for them to successfully remove them from your hive and never damage it again.

Sugar dusting is a very simple yet effective method. All you need to do is fill a baby powder bottle with powdered sugar and dust both sides of your hive’s frame fully.

Using this method, Verroa mites are not killed fully but when this method is used in combination with others such as drone foundation, it is found to drastically decrease the population of Verroa mites in your hive.

However, prevention is always better than cure. As a beekeeper, your aim should always be to be vigilant and perform regular hive inspections to look for potential Verroa mites’ threats.

  • Has anything changed since the last inspection?
  • Are the bees more active now?
  • Is there still a queen in your hive?
  • How does your hive smell?

Answers to all these questions will prevent your hive from a possible attack from Verroa mites.

Bee researchers have also found out that bees from certain hives are hygienic and better in cleaning dead cells from the hive.

When buying queens for your hive, always look for the hygienic queens that have been selectively bred from good hives to exhibit hygienic behaviors.

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Color of Bee Combs

In natural comb building, bees build for the immediate present, with no evidence of a plan for the needs of the future.

When comb building begins, worker cells are built so long as the queen continues promptly to lay eggs in the new cells.

When first built, combs are light yellow or almost white in color, but after brood is reared in the cells the comb is darkened by the “cocoons” left by the brood.

The color varies with the sources of honey and pollen at the time the comb is being built.

It is also known that waxes vary similarly in certain physical properties.

These so-called cocoons consist of larval skins and excreta, with the possible addition of a portion of the delicate silken cocoon.

These deposits increase with successive rearings of brood until the bases of the cells are appreciably thickened while the outer parts of the side walls remain practically unmodified in size.

If an old comb is soaked in water the layers of deposits may be readily separated.

The combs are also darkened by deposits of propolis on the cappings of honey cells and the tops of combs are often strengthened by deposits of this substance, especially when the combs are attached to rough wood, as in a hollow log.

 

Excerpted and edited from:

Beekeeping; a discussion of the life of the honeybee … 1915. Phillips, Everett Franklin, 1878-1951.

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Health Benefits of Eucalyptus Honey

 

Amid the wide range of honey products, you should try the Eucalyptus honey.

What makes this product stand out apart from the distinctive taste and scent is its host of health benefits.

The Eucalyptus tree is also known as a blue gum tree, stringy bark tree and fever tree bears the botanical name globally.

The Eucalyptus honey has health benefits such as antiseptic, stimulating, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, antispasmodic and as a decongestant.

Apart from being the best natural remedy for respiratory issues, it is also an antiseptic due to its germicidal properties.

The ozone formed after its exposure to the air is the one known as antiseptic. Eucalyptus honey can as well be used to heal burns, ulcers, sores, abrasions, cuts and wounds.

Also ideal for insect bites, and is normally suggested for patients suffering from stiff muscles, aches, tendons, fibrosis, nerve pain, lumbago, sprained ligaments and rheumatism.

It is done by massaging the skin in spherical movement to help ease the muscle joint and pains.

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