2022 Sep 1 – Removing Formic

Last weekend I removed the Formic Pro I had placed on the hives on August 13. Formic acid is a naturally occurring chemical, most notably found in ants and some stingless bees. It is also present in honey bee colonies so bees have a natural resistance. It is not absorbed by wax and dissipates from the hive, so it can be used while the bees are also collecting honey.

What you see here is the strips after two weeks. Most of the acid is gone and what’s left is a bit like cardboard. I scraped them out with a hive tool and put them in the trash. The bees were surprisingly gentle, which made it a pleasant morning.

May you prosper and find honey.

2022 Aug 26 – Block Island Bumbles

We made a visit to Block Island, Rhode Island in July, and I’ve been meaning to post these pictures. My grandfather kept honey bees on Block Island while I was growing up. He won the RI State Fair a few times (at least he said he did), so his honey was one of the best. Block Island is about 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, so there is hardly any insect migration from the mainland, and about a third of island is conserved so there are great floral resources for bees.

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2022 Aug 20 – EAS Photos

Here finally are some photos from EAS 2022 in Ithaca, NY. This shows (in order): the painted hives auction, fireworks at Kutik’s Everything Bees, the start of Mike Palmer’s talk, honey show (three photos, including the amazing wax sculpture that won best in show), an English Garden Hive (or WBC hive) at auction, My Tom Seeley autograph, pictures from the Cornell Botanical Garden tour (two photos), and pictures from the Cornell Beekeeping collection (two photos).

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2022 Aug 10 – Mites!

I had a great time at the EAS conference last week – I will try to post some pictures. In the meantime, I did a mite check in two of my hives this morning. We have a cooler weekend coming up where it will be possible to treat with Formic Pro, so I wanted to get a reading on my larger hives. I use a powdered sugar roll that has repeated done as well or better than an alcohol wash, so I am pretty confident in my results.

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2022 May 30 – Marking Queens

I went through some nucs yesterday and marked some queens (three total!). The year 2022 uses yellow for queens, following the mnemonic “Will You Raise Good Bees” for White, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue. So 2022 is a “2” year so we use the second color: yellow (also for “7” years). I’ve gotten much better at finding her highness through the years. Sometimes I still just cannot see her, but often I can now.

I use the tube shown in the below photo. Once inside, you can push her to the top with a soft plunger and press her lightly against the mesh (which she cannot fit through). A slight dab on the back with a yellow marker and you are done.

A marked queen walking into the hive. The next time I look it should be easier to catch a glance of here. You can I got a little yellow on her wing, which is not the best though should be okay.

May you prosper and find honey.