Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last month in the e-flier from Brushy Mountain bee was this article.

Certainly, there are areas that are doing better, but for the most part it’s the same story. The reason I mention this is not to express my disappointment in the honey crop, but rather to warn of insufficient reserves in the hives. Right now I am feeding because they don't have, nor can they make, enough honey to sustain the colony, let alone get it through winter. Nutrition is one of the most under-recognized factors in colony health. Be sure your bees are not hungry bees.

  1. At this time of year, when you begin feeding the bees, the syrup should be the heavy 2:1 mix – two parts sugar to one part water. (Editor’s note: This mix is difficult to mix and will require heating. Use a large Dutch oven or similar stainless steel pot. All of the sugar and water can be put into the pot at the same time and then heated, stirring frequently, until the mixture is clear, indicating that all the sugar has dissolved. You will have virtually identical results if your measurements are based on weight or volume. In other words: Five pounds sugar and two and one-half pounds of water for a total weight of seven and one-half pounds. Two and one-half pounds of water is 5 cups.) Eight cups of sugar four cups of water.)
Because of the rain during the nectar flow for the 3 year in a row not much extra honey was to be had. The two years prior we had sever drought. Too much rain during the flow is like a drought in reverse. Nectar is washed out of the flower or highly diluted.

Feeding can be tricky. I have tried the boardman feeder that comes with the beginners kit. The problem with these is if it during a dearth, when you would feed, it invites robbing. The frame feeder is better since it is in the hive and doesn't invite robbing and it holds more syrup, but LOTS of bees drown in these and you must go into the hive to fill and check.

By far the best option that I have found is by bee works. It holds 2 quarts and if used on a inner cover with out other holes you don't even have to suit up to fill it. I found that if you use a inner cover with other holes that don't have hardware cloth that they will push up the lid and then you have dead bees. Today I switched the inner cover with one that is screened except for a bar that runs across the middles with a bee escape hole. Perfect! Ventilation without having to suit up to fill or dead bees.sres have bargains on su

Demeter and the fume board.

Last week I treated Demeter for mites and put the fume board on upside down! I realized it after looking at John's blog w/ pictures of his treatment. I will do another count and see where we are w/ the mite numbers. Maybe it was enough to knock them down anyways.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

rising mite count on Demeter

Demeter is hitting the UGA suggest threshold of 60 mites in 24hours. Last year I did a formic acid treatment by Robert Noles. I'm going to first try the thyme oil on the paper towel treatment, but if that doesn't do the trick then I will perform the formic acid treatment again.

I will put in a sticky board on the CSX/DHS hive tomorrow and see how they are doing.

From the artical Results of Research: Using Essential Oils for Honey Bee Mite Control
We have found that colonies, heavily infested with varroa mites in August, September and October, probably can not be saved.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Packed smoker

Today was a very defeating day with the hot hive, but on the upside I think I have my smoker down. I use burlap bag scrapes as my fuel. It lights easily and give a nice cool smoke. Usually it runs out of smoke when I really need it so today I tried the stuffing technique I saw at UGA's young harris. Bill Ownes really packed and squeezed the bellows. His fuel of choice is pines straw and I bet that he put in a couple of pounds of needles in his industrial size smoker. He said that it would last all day and could sit used for several hours and not go out. I was doubtful. Today I light the first piece stuck it in the smoker, kind of pushing it towards the bellows to let the air flow and its was flaming. In goes the second piece followed by the same process of pumping air through. I usually stop here. It mostly fills my smoker and seems like another piece would snuff it out. Not wanting to run out during my work on the hot hive I put it in anyways and hope for the best. I didn't last long with the hot bees, but my smoker last hours and was hardly ever used.