I have been meaning to print some honey labels for some time, and just never got around to it. I finally took the plunge recently and below is the result. There are some honey labeling requirements in Virginia that I was trying to follow. One of the requirements was to have an address on the label, which I am not completely comfortable with. For this I just put my city and state, and that will have to do.Continue reading
Our weather has turned cold this week and the bees are huddled up in their hives. If the temperature tops 40 F (4 C) and the sun is on the entrance then I might see a bee or too checking the outdoors, but otherwise they are quiet. Bees are one of the only insects that do not hibernate through the winter. Somewhere out there, wasp and bumblebee queens are nestled into leaves or a hole in the ground waiting for spring. Not so for honey bees.Continue reading
Last weekend I attended the Virginia State Beekeepers Association Fall Meeting. It was a really interesting conference, with discussions on pheromones, mites on adult bees, integrated pest management, preparing for a honey show, and running a bee festival. Best conference we’ve had in a while here in Virginia, if I may say so, and of course talking with other beekeepers was much of the fun.Continue reading
We are inching towards winter in Virginia. Some nights near freezing, some nights a lot warmer. The bees tend to be active when the temperature gets above 45 F (7.5 C) during the day as long as there is some sun. They seem to hang out on their sunny porch enjoying the rays. A picture is below.Continue reading
Virginia is not so cold that we need to insulate our hives in the winter. I’m sure some folks do, though the temperatures do not get really cold for long stretches typically. A box of honey on top of a regular hive and they are usually good to go. My view is that insulation would probably help, who doesn’t like an extra blanket on those cold winter days? So even though I don’t insulate most of my hives, I do give them an insulated cover.Continue reading
It may be fall, and may be cold (cool?) in Virginia, but the bees forage on. This week I was walking around the yard and found bees visiting the cosmos flowers that have bloomed recently. I planted some last year, and they self seeded to produce the flowers in this post. I was pleased to see a couple bees on them, probably looking for pollen. Cosmos is a good late-blooming flower. It is an annual though as you see here it can self-seed in future years.Continue reading
A picture from a couple weeks ago. When feeding the bees, I use a five gallon container to mix the sugar syrup and dump it into the feeders. I usually have a little residue at the bottom, which I mix with warm water and dump into a bird bath we have on the side of the house.Continue reading
While feeding one of my top bar hives last week, there was some debris in the back of the hive. This was separate from the actual comb and bees, and some small hive beetles had apparently laid some eggs in there. I’m pretty sure the bees would have kept the larva out of the hive and they would likely have died in the eventual cold, but I scooped it out with my hive tool and crushed the little buggers just to be sure.Continue reading
One of my nuc feeders sits on top of the hive with a floating platform for the bees, kind of like this one but smaller. The bees are a little annoyed when I open it up, probably because I am disturbing their home. They are pretty gentle, still, especially for late in the year.
I always take the floater out before so I can clean out any debris or dead bees before adding more syrup, and invariably find a few top bar beetles crawling around the inside.Continue reading
For regular Langstroth hives, as well as other conventional box configurations, bee supply companies are happy to sell you a feeder that fits on top of the hive. I prefer ones that let you add syrup without disturbing the bees, like this one from Mann Lake Bee Supply.
For Top Bar Hives, most supply stores do not see a commercial feeder. So how do you feed the bees in a top bar? One way is to use a plastic waste bucket, cut to fit inside the hive. Fill it with floating material, such as pine needles, and you are set.Continue reading