Friday, November 14, 2014

More Beekeeping Lessons

Before when there were beehives on the farm, I "had" bees rather than myself being a beekeeper. Back then there were no hive problems to deal with, so hives were not managed other than adding supers for honey collection and harvesting said honey. Nowadays that no longer works. People who don't actively tend their hives now will simply lose them. So I'm now learning to be a beekeeper. 

Some more gems that I'm learning.....
....don't over use the smoker
....move slowly and don't be in a hurry
....take care not to deliberately squash workers
....when removing brood frames, protect them from the wind. Hang them in a box and put some protection over them. Chilled brood can die. 
....even if you're opening and working the hive for some other reasons, do a checklist while the hive is open. Visually scan for capped honey, pollen, and brood. Check for uncapped the queen still actively laying? What's the drone cell situation? Any queen cells? Remove them. Any hive beetle or varroa mite? Any moth, ant, yellowjacket, mice, etc evidence? Any other abnormalities? 
....remove and kill the old queen at least 24 hours before introducing the replacement queen. 2-3 days is fine. 
....set up the hive in such a way to prevent rain water from flooding the oil tray. 

Some that I consider "pearls"....
....requeen with Italians. They are less aggressive and far easier for a beginner to work with. queens from a producer with a known reputation for gentle genetics
....have the queen marked. Marked queens are so much easier for beginners to find. 

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