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Benefits of a Pollen Feeder

There are many benefits to using a pollen feeder to supply your bees with extra protein and give them a boost during certain times of the year.

What is a pollen feeder?

 A pollen feeder is simply a device used by beekeepers to feed pollen or a pollen substitute to honey bees. The pollen substitute may be fed as a powder, granules or as patties.

The pollen substitute feeder can be bought or made by the beekeeper. Homemade models are easy to make, using simple tools and hardware. In fact, most hobby beekeepers make their own pollen feeders.

Why use a pollen feeder?

A honey bee colony collects pollen because it needs protein to provide nourishment to young baby bees. Baby bees cannot be raised on just honey or nectar. Brood production is accelerated with an adequate supply of pollen.

Many rural and urban agricultural landscapes experience a lack of natural forage during certain times of the year. By providing a bee pollen feeder, you are giving your bees a nutritional boost when they need it most, helping to launch your colonies out of late Winter and into the early Spring growth phase.

Another issue is that in some areas only a single variety of forage may be available to bees. Some nutrients may be lacking or missing. A pollen feeder helps to provide a balanced protein supplement.

A pollen substitute will help to strengthen a weak honeybee colony. Whether you’re about to go into Winter or coming into Spring, the goal should be to maintain a strong colony that will flourish.

Dry pollen feeder vs patties

Two advantages of using a dry pollen feeder is that it takes less time to prepare than patties and you do not need to suit up, open and disturb your hive(s). You simply replenish the pollen substitute as needed.

When are pollen feeders used?

Pollen feeders are typically used in early Spring, at the beginning of the brood rearing season.

During March, April and May, bees will seek out protein sources when it starts to get warm, but when few flowers are available.

By providing an adequate pollen source, you will help to stimulate brood production in your hive(s).

During the dearth in early Fall, such as August and September, some beekeepers will provide pollen substitutes as well.

Where are pollen feeders located?

While you may place the pollen feeder inside or outside the hive, many experienced beekeepers recommend placing the feeder outside and away from the hive.

The location of the pollen feeder should be easily accessible, but covered or protected from the elements of rain and wind.

Make your own pollen substitute feeder

Here is a video describing how to make a pollen feed out of PVC pipe. A materials list is included in the description.

https://youtu.be/ZWVC5Rl4hts

 

 

 

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Honeybee Cell Size

Cell size plays an essential role in beekeeping. In fact, experts link honeybee cell size to their survival and behavior. It’s therefore essential that we understand the role of cell sizes in the future of bees.

Many domestic honeybees nowadays are strains that have been artificially selected and kept in box hives. While feral honeybees are mostly selected populations. As such, they have adapted in occurring cavities and exist in self-sufficient colonies.

Now, researches, as well as beekeepers, need to be aware of these differences to develop effective strategies to combat problems facing the beekeeping industry. That means that research results from domestic honeybees cannot be used on feral strains, vice versa is also true. Researchers should thus do separate studies on these two bee strains. The same applies to comb sizes in beehives.

Now, individuals use combs from foundations containing different cell sizes but in the same hives or apiary, especially if these combs were bought from multiple sources. Experts, however, say that the beekeeping industry for the past 100 years has been affected by the introduction of the Wax foundation. But, also incorrect measuring of cells per square inch as advocated by Baudox also affects this industry.

Baudox, a professor and researcher, did cell studies in different places such as Brussels, Belgium, and Tervueren, and concluded that bees differ in sizes depending on which cells they are reared in. Those reared in small cells are relatively smaller than those reared in large cells. However, hereditary sizes were not demonstrated.

This drew scientists to conclude that larger worker bees come from larger cells. These ones have long tongues with large stomachs. They also have large cells where they store their honey. But, there’s no proof that colonies comprising large-sized bees reproduce greater strains than colonies of small bees.

Now, with this perception, many people quickly rush to keep large domestic bees. However, bees from natural cell sizes of between 4.8mm-4.9mm have numerous natural advantages over those from large cells. Beekeepers can, therefore, benefit from keeping bees in these small cell sizes.

Here’s how:

  • Compact brood chambers – as bees use natural cell size foundation, this makes their breeding chambers more compact. As such, it’ll require few bees to brood the temperatures for breeding. Thus, more bees will concentrate on hygienic duties including cleaning the hive, removing diseased brood like those infected with Varroa mites, etc.
  • Increased colony size – honeybees from natural cell sizes take a short time to hatch, that is, 2 or 3 days. This cell size naturally shortens the time needed to hatch. A short hatching time means more reproduction and more bees.
  • No tracheal mites – these are mites that grow in the trachea of large cell bees of 5.2mm and above. These mites shorten the life span of bees. But as they don’t breed in natural size bees of 4.8-4.9mm cell sizes, these bees tend to have longer life spans.
  • More honey – natural sized bees generally produce more honey than their counterparts. This benefit is extremely important for commercial beekeepers.
  • Easy to increase hygienic behavior – it’s easier and cheaper to provide conditions to increase this behavior with natural sized bees. Excellent hygiene behaviors reduce diseases hence increasing productivity.

Final Thoughts

Cell sizes influence a range of issues such as, bees’ efficiency and productivity, vulnerability to diseases, number of bees that may be reproduced as well as the amount of honey produced. It’s therefore essential that beekeepers understand their role to develop effective strategies.

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Honeybee vs Wasp

 

 

 

Beekeeping Supplies

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How to Make a Bee Bath

Coming up with a garden that will accommodate honeybees in a friendly way requires more than the normal planting of flowers for such gardens.

How to Make a Bee BathDefinitely, you desire attracting those bees with those bloom gorgeous flowers but also as they inhabit there they will need water whether in a bee bath, fountain or a pond.

Bee bath in this case refers to those simple feeders for feeding the bees with water as well as where the pollinating guests can get to get water from. Less all these, the garden will not accommodate as many workers and also you will not huge harvest of the fruits and vegetables.

Among the many ways of maintaining a healthy then productive garden is ensuring that you attract bees in the garden always. You do not require having with you the big boxes so as to invite bees in to the garden but rather you only need to plant plants that attract bees and then make the habitat as attractive such that bees draw themselves into the garden.

 

 

How important is water for bees?

If you have kept bees you already know some of the key reasons as to why water is of importance. Such reasons include:

  • Water is used to dilute the honey as the bees use the water to manage honey consistency while thinning out any crystallized honey
  • Water aids in digestion of bees just like it does to humans.
  • Water maintains coolness in the hive. The bees after adding the water in the hives they use the wings so as to fan the hive hence air-conditioning the habitat.
  • Water is used to feed bee-babies as the royal jelly which the larvae feed on requires a lot of water.

For home gardens, you only need to come up with a shallow bowl on rocks then pour water inside to feed the bees. With this, you areBee Bath aiming at creating a water source for the bees and also a place where they can perch while drinking. For such you will only require

  • Fresh water
  • Stones
  • Plant pot
  • Shallow dish

When selecting the place to position the bee bath ensure to go for a shady and protected place. Use the plant pot as the water dish base.

Avoid plastics and metals for water dishes but rather try ceramic or glass. Add the stones into the water then add water such that it does not fully submerge the stones.

Change the water every day as well as clean the bee bath weekly.

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Wax Moths

Wax Moths: How to Keep Them Out Of Your Beehives

Wax moths can cause a lot of damage but it does not have to pose a challenge if you know how to deal with them, and either control or prevent an attack.

What types of wax moths attack beehives?

Wax moths exist in two species; the Greater wax moth, whose botanical name is Galleria mellonella, and the Lesser wax moth, also known as Achroia grisella.

Though they are active hives’ pests, there are opportunistic and therefore take advantage of poorly maintained hives that are either diseased or those with declining colonies.

An infestation is an indication of an underlying problem with the colony. They prefer eating unprocessed beeswax; larval honeybees’ remains, pollen, honey bee, and cocoon silk.

Characteristics and life cycle of wax moths

The greater wax moth measures 1.5 inches long, while the lesser wax moth 0.5 inches in length. The greater wax moth is mottled grey, but the Lesser wax moth is whitish silver.

Both species prefer to mate at night and lay eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on hive debris and wax, and as they feed on discarded cocoons, they leave a sticky white web challenging to pull apart.

The larvae become cocoons after approximately 19 days, if in warm weather after which the pupae become adult moths after 14 days.

Can you tell if your hive has a wax moth infestation?

The most defining feature of a wax moth infested hive is the sticky web that is almost impossible to tear down.

The moths leave behind this web until they consume all the wax. Moreover, you can see some larvae crawling around the comb’s surface and faces, which are small black cylinders, on the surface of the bottom board.

To what extent do Wax moths damage a hive?

Wax moths attack hives with weak colonies and cause large-scale damage. They hinder the colony’s ability to store food and raise their brood by destroying the honeycomb. Within a couple of weeks, a hive can be completely devastated and lost.

In a healthy colony, they barely do any harm because bees patrol the hives regularly and remove wax that has wax moth larvae in it thus protecting the hive.

If you notice wax moths, you should know the underlying problem starting with any hindrances to an increase in bee population.

Keeping wax moths away from stored honeycombs

Honeycomb is a valuable resource because honeybees can refill a drawn comb and eliminate the need to build from scratch, which implies that you as the beekeeper and the colony enjoy a larger honey harvest.

It would, therefore, be a shame to improperly store the honeycombs after all the time bees have put in their construction and the money you have invested in your hives.

You can use these two methods to protect your honeycombs from wax moths:

Freezing frames- wax moth larvae will not survive in freezing temperatures; therefore, you should put your frames in a plastic bag. Place the bag in a freezer for two days after which you store them in an airtight storage container.

Ventilation and Light – wax moths love tiny dark places with minimal air circulation. You should, therefore, store your frames in a well-lit area with plenty of ventilation to create an environment unsuitable for the wax moths.

If you have an infestation, placing the frames in direct sunlight will force the larvae to exit the honeycomb.

If you prefer storing your frames in supers, ensure they you place them in an area with sufficient light and lots of space between supers to allow for maximum air circulation when not in use.

Make your wax moth trap

Prevention is always better than cure, they say. You should, therefore, make it your goal to keep moths away from your hive and avoid dealing with an infestation later, by trapping them before they can get to your hive.

What you need:

  • 2-litre plastic bottle
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • One banana peel
  • Drill

Method

Using the drill, make a 1-inch hole on the bottle’s neck, below the slope. Pour the hot water into the bottle; add the sugar and the vinegar.

Mix thoroughly and then add the banana peel to the bottle.

Cap it and wait for several days for it to ferment. Once it does, tie it to a tree close to the hives so that it draws the wax moths away from the gives.

They will enter the bottle through the hole and drown in the liquid thus preventing damage.

Conclusion

Wax moths can cause massive losses for you and your bees, but with the proper storage of honeycombs and maintenance of hives, you can prevent an infestation.

With the above tips to trap moths and store combs, your hives will be safe, and your colonies will remain large enough for you to enjoy a bumper harvest.

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Best Gift for Christmas for Beekeepers

Best Gift for Christmas for Beekeepers – With Christmas season just around the corner, it’s high time to start shopping for gifts! If you have a hard time figuring out what to give a friend of yours who is a beekeeper, then don’t worry! We have here a list of a few of the Best Gift for Christmas for Beekeepers. Most beekeepers seem to be obsessing over things that are bee-related. It can be tricky to look for Best Gift for Christmas for Beekeepers. Here is a list of what you can give, whether a newbie or a professional, to a beekeeper:

 

Best Gift for Christmas for Beekeepers

 

1. Beekeeping Journal

Some beekeepers keep with a notebook or notepad where they write down and track everything. With an ordinary notebook, all the information can get unorganized. This Beekeeping Journal is the perfect solution! Record, Organize and Track Your Beekeeping Activities. This Beekeeping Journal has been written for both the beginning beekeeper and for those who have gone through the training to become Master Beekeepers.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Honey Bee Family Car Stickers

Lookout for your beekeeper friend’s car and check if they already have Honey Bee Stickers on them, if not then it’s time you get one for them! Here is a very cute Honey Bee Family Car Stickers! It’s high Quality 3M Vinyl Stickers – UV and Water Resistant and easy to apply! It has the full family such as the Queen Bee, Drone Bee and 3 Baby Bees

 

3. Beekeeping Gloves

Beekeeping gloves can come in different sizes. You can choose from very long ones to shorter ones. Your beekeeper friend might prefer one over the other. Here are two options you can choose from:

Cow Leather – Extra-long elastic wrist cuffs

Goatskin

Both gloves provide maximum sting protection – NO bees can get in – Easily work with your hives and bees without the fear of getting stung – These sting proof beekeeping gloves are made of cow leather and heavy-duty canvas and are an investment in safety.

4. Beekeeping Suit or Beekeeping Jacket

You may have noticed that the beekeeper you know might need a new beekeeping jacket or a beekeeping suit for the new year ahead, or maybe they wouldn’t mind having an extra! Extra beekeeping suits or beekeeping jackets are super helpful whenever you have family members who would want to check out your bee farm, you can just lend them then these are certainly what you might want to check out:

Beekeeping Suit
Beekeeping Jacket

Both have a Self-Supporting Fencing Veil and is easily to put on and take off.

 

All these are perfect for both beginners and professionals! We hope you find something that you (and your beekeeper) love and will use for years to come.

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New Beekeeper Journal

Beekeeper Journal

Click on Image to Buy

New Beekeeping Journal Helps Beekeepers Keep Track of All Their Beekeeping Activity.

This Beekeeper Journal has been written for both the beginning beekeeper and experienced beekeepers.

With this Beekeeping Journal you will be able to:

  • Become a more organized beekeeper.
  • Record your observations.
  • Keep notes and records of your hive activity.
  • Compile and check off beehive to-do lists.
  • Read through some common questions and answers relating to beekeeping.
  • Learn from your previous experiences.

With abundant lined pages, you will have plenty of space to write down your thoughts about current hive conditions and future plans.

 The author is Jack Corcoran, who has been a beekeeper for years and is President of Buzz Beekeeping Supplies.

This Beekeeping Journal is available on Amazon.com 

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How to Make Honey Butter

The best way to reward yourself for your (and your precious bees) hard work is to put to good use the gorgeous honey they’ve been making all year long.

If you thought butter couldn’t get any better, just wait until you try this recipe. You’ll fall in love! You’ll put it on anything andHow to Make Honey Buttereverything in your pantry.

Personally, I like salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter and add a little bit of sea salt to it, which is key to bringing out the flavors. Taste until its to your liking.

Make sure that the butter is soft, the beat with a mixer for one minute or until light and fluffy.

Then, mix in the honey until combined and transfer it to a jar or container.

This will keep covered in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

When serving, bring it to room temperature so it’s easier to spread. Feel free to drizzle a little extra on top.

The list below is our personal favorite foods to top with this delicious condiment:

  • fresh bread
  • toast
  • biscuits
  • cornbread
  • rolls
  • muffins
  • pancakes
  • French toast
  • waffles
  • sweet potatoes

Try it for yourself, and taste the difference!

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Common Beekeeping Challenges

The bee population is declining, and beekeepers need to conserve the remaining numbers and provide a right environment for repopulation.

However, they cannot do so without facing these common beekeeping challenges for which this article also suggests solutions:

Stings

Bees sense fear and focus their attack on the face, therefore, wear protective gear which comprises a bee suit, bee veil, and canvas gloves.

You should also avoid perfumes since it can attract the bees’ curiosity or irritate them.

Moreover, bees do not like dark clothing so you should wear tan or white clothing when going to visit your hives.

Remember to smoke them so that to make the docile and carry on your work with confidence. However, with time, they will sting you less when you get used to each other.

Insects

Mites weaken and kill hives, while wax moths destroy the brood comb. You should regularly maintain your hive so that you can control them.

Unhealthy Colony

Bees get sick too from a range of problems you may not understand if you are new to the practice but seeking help from experienced beekeepers will solve the problem.

Urban Area Resistance

Not everyone in your neighborhood loves bees, and they may try to scare them away.

Teach the neighbors how to respond to bees for safety purposes, or move to a rural location away from people.

Also, follow the proper regulations if living in a city, which requires a permit for beekeeping.

Lack of Persistence

Every endeavor requires persistence for it to succeed. Keeping bees is no different and even if you fail in the first few attempts, do not give up, maybe the next time you try will be the successful one.

Learn to Catch a Swarm

Bees move in swarms and if you want to split hives that is the best time to catch them since they are usually calm and less likely to sting.

Being around other beekeepers will help the bees to find a home thus increase your number of hives quickly.

Honey Collecting

Honey is healthy, but bees do not let you have it without putting up a fight. You must, therefore, learn how to collect it without upsetting the bees and have the energy to carry the honey boxes since depending on your hives; the honey collected can be in large volumes.

Beekeeping Equipment

Know how to use the equipment. As with every trade, beekeeping comes with its own set of tools; therefore, you should learn how to properly use the equipment which includes a smoker, hive tool and a bee brush among others.

Bee-Friendly Flowers

Bees make their honey from nectar, which they can only obtain from flowers.

You should, therefore, create a friendly environment for them by planting pollen-rich flowers and avoid using pesticides to have safe honey in the end.

Many people are embracing bee farming, and if one follows the above tips to overcome the setbacks, then bees will begin to increase their numbers, which will also be for our benefit.

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Apiary Starter Kit

Apiary Starter KitThere’s a fascination worth pursuing when it comes to bees.

They are an amazing, yet small, and very hardworking insect.

Are you dreaming of beekeeping?

There are beekeeping specific tools and equipment that will be necessary as you begin this journey.

Consider an apiary starter kit as you begin this captivating hobby.

A place where bees or a colony of bees is kept is called an apiary.

An apiary starter kit is a wise purchase as you begin with beekeeping.

Many times the starter kit will be cheaper, but the components may not be of the highest quality.

Components to Consider for Beekeeping

  1. Hive System

This usually consists of hive boxes called supers or deeps.

There are various depths depending if they are for the workers or the queen bee.

Within this box there are hive frames, with 10 frames being standard. These hive frames will fill with honey.

If weight is a concern, you may use small or medium supers, which will weigh less than deep supers when filled with honey.

  1. Personal Protective Equipment

Keeping a calm demeanor while around the bees is just as important as utilizing protective equipment.

It’s important to have leather beekeeping gloves. These will allow you to work with the bees, and if they attempt to sting you, the leather’s thickness will protect you from it. Ventilated gloves are recommended for warmer climates.

Another great choice for protection is the beekeeping jacket. This jacket has cuffed sleeves to keep bees out, is comfortable and allows movement. It should also have an attached hooded, veil to protect the face from the bees.

Many beekeepers prefer a full beekeeping suit, which covers you from head to ankle.

Things to consider when buying a beekeeping suit:Beekeeping Suit

  • Make sure the zippers are high quality – A broken zipper can result in getting stung.
  • Pockets – Deep pockets are preferred, so everything doesn’t fall out when you bend over to work you hive.
  • Veil – The veil should stay in place. You should not have to wear a hat to secure the veil.
  • Neck collar – A collar inside the veil will prevent bee stings on you neck.

Protective clothing is important for your own safety and enjoyment and should not be overlooked.

  1. Hive Tool

A must have tool for the beekeeper is a lifter and scraper tool This tool makes lifting out the frames and scraping the beeswax easier. They are a sturdy tool that resembles the letter j, and have a sharpened edge.

  1. Bee Hive Smoker

Smokers are often used to calm the bees while working in the hive. Bees use pheromones to communicate. When they are alarmed they send hormones out to communicate with the others and soon the entire hive is angry and on alert.

With the use of a smoker, it masks the pheromones. The bees stay calm and you are able to go about your work in the hive.

It is often best to spend a little more and buy a decent hive smoker, as the cheap ones tend to warp from the heat.

  1. Bees

Apiary KitA beehive wouldn’t be very useful without the bees. These can be purchased several ways.

One option is as packaged bees. They are mailed as worker bees with one queen. They are sold by the pound and are shipped in a small wood box.

A second option is to purchase a nuc bee colony. This is a nucleus colony from a nearby beekeeper. It consists of four or five frames with broods and bees and an actively laying queen.

All that is needed is to place the whole frames into your hive and you will have a head start to your new colony. This nuc colony usually adapts very well.

These five components will aid you on your journey into beekeeping. Once established, there are other items to consider.

Items such as a reference book, spacing tool, bee brush and a queen-excluder are all useful, but not necessary to get started.

An apiary starter kit that includes the above items will have you beekeeping in just a short time.

 

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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.

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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.

Beekeeping Bundle Giveaway!

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