April 26, 2020

It takes less than nine days for a colony to produce a capped queen cell, so one inspection per week in the springtime is enough to prevent your bees from swarming. An inspection every two weeks is enough to keep you from knowing they did. 

Consider a colony of 30,000 workers having a queen that lays 1,500 fertilized eggs per day. She stops laying for three days then departs...

March 23, 2020

SWARM PREVENTION (REPRODUCTIVE GUIDANCE)

Like many organisms, a honey bee colony is on a mission to reproduce after emerging from winter, and it does so by dividing. Reproduction is the basis for existence, and such a primal survival instinct is not easy to suppress. The multifaceted nature of the swarm impulse suggests the need for a multifaceted response. Adding a box is n...

November 6, 2019

The contribution from pesticides on colony loss has proven difficult to quantify, because exposure does not typically result in sudden death of an entire colony. It is far more likely to cause sublethal effects on individual bees that may go unnoticed. What can be accurately measured, however, is the concentration of residues found in hive products like wax and pollen. The...

August 13, 2019

As summer starts to wind down, the colony must begin producing bees that have a lifespan of five months, rather than five weeks. Understand the process that results in development of the winter cluster to guide summer management.
 
Successful overwintering is a simple matter of longevity. Interestingly, honey bees do not age chronologically. Their lifespan is highly variabl...

July 3, 2019

From hieroglyphics to higher priests, parliaments and charlatans, the beehive has represented an ideal society, one in which all members work harmoniously together for the greater good of the community. A more careful observation reveals that humanity is not the sole domain for selfish behavior, and the unity that characterizes a honey bee colony is highly vulnerable to the...

February 12, 2019

Soon will come the time to split hives. Beekeepers must decide between allowing the colony to raise a new queen or adding a mated queen from a breeder. In deciding which better serves your purpose, please keep in mind that recreational beekeepers are in a unique position to improve the health and survivability of honey bees. Beekeeping is not our livelihood. Most of us seek...

January 9, 2019

A new era in breeding honey bees began in the 1950’s when artificial insemination became a practical option. Managed crop pollination was in its infancy, and for the next fifty years selection was made on honey production, temperament and disease resistance (Oxley and Oldroyd, 2010). Meanwhile, demand for pollination services grew exponentially and soon became a critical co...

November 5, 2018

                                         

Colony loss is a process rather than an event, and it often goes unnoticed. An empty hive can be the first indication of a problem. Honey bees are masters of adaptation and extremely resilient. They readily adjust to changes in their e...

August 13, 2018

Hygroscopy

Most beekeepers are aware that honey is hygroscopic, which describes a material that absorbs moisture from the surrounding air. More accurately, it exchanges moisture with the surrounding air. Water may be gained or lost, depending primarily on the relative humidity. A hygroscopic material seeks to reach moisture equilibrium with its environment, at which point wa...

December 2, 2017

At issue is heated air that escapes the cluster and rises to the top of the hive. Upon contact with the cold hive ceiling the air cools and releases moisture. Condensed water now threatens to drip back down and chill the bees. Practically without exception, the solution given is to ventilate the upper hive to allow humidity to escape. A very excellent article published in B...

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