Sunday, November 19, 2017

I Just Bought A Nuc, Now What?

If your here, your probably about to pickup your very first nuc of honeybees. A nuc is a miniature bee hive usually consisting of 5 deep frames. These 5 frames contain honey, pollen, and brood (Eggs and Larva) of all ages. A healthy nuc will be heavily populated with bees and a laying queen. Some beekeepers will mark the queens ahead of time at the request of the customer. This makes her stand out more during inspections.

The nuc is your responsibility once you leave the bee-yard from purchasing. It's always good to do your research on beekeeping and honeybees weeks before picking up your nuc. If you have concerns or questions ask before leaving with your nuc.
If you have never been around honeybees before, here is a few pointers to get everything setup.

Setting Up Nuc Once They Are At Their New Home
Step 1: Before picking up your nuc, make sure you have a spot prepared for their placement once you return home. Make sure you are happy with the location you will put hive in before installing your nuc. Honeybees memorize their homes location, so if you decide to move it later, you have to move it more than 3 miles so they can not find the old location. Things to keep in mind when picking a place for a bee hive is, sunlight and a windbreak of some sort. In my opinion, bees do best in full to mostly full sun. I like using natural windbreaks when possible such as trees and shrubs. Also keep in mind bees enjoy not being overly bothered, so give them their space if possible.

Rules To Relocate An Active Bee Hive

Step 2: I recommend you have a full sized bee hive ready to transfer the nuc into before you leave to pick it up. You would need the following to setup a 10 frame Langstroth hive.
10 Frame Single Deep Complete Setup (Amazon)
1 Screened Bottom Board (Amazon)
1 Deep Box w/ Plastic Wax Coated Foundation (Amazon)
1 Inner cover, 1 Outer Cover Package kit (Amazon)

As the colony expands you will need an additional deep box with 10 more frames . I like to wait until at least 7 frames are drawn with comb before I add the second deep. I also suggest a feeder of some sort. My favorite feeders are listed below.
Division Board Feeder (Frame feeder)
Top Hive Feeder
Entrance Feeder

Step 3. Transferring the nuc to a deep is simple. After the deep is setup in the location you want it, remove the outer and inner cover. If you have frames inside the deep, remove them all except 2 on one side or the other. Now smoke the entrance of the nuc wait about 20-30 second for the smoke to do it's magic (smoke covers bee pheromones and distorts communication). Then remove the cover of the nuc and you may need to puff the smoker again as you open it.
Being extremely careful, slowly remove one of the outer edge frames and place it in the deep against the 2 new frames. From there complete transferring the frames placing them back in the same order as they come out. Be careful to NOT to smash any bees especially the queen as you remove and replace the frames.
Finish by adding the rest of the new frames and replacing covers. Now enjoy your bees and watch them bring in pollen.

Here is something fun to do. Use this chart and learn the colors of pollen to the plant it comes from.

Keep these rules in mind
- Come prepared to transport your nuc. Make sure you have room in vehicle.
- Always transport your nuc with it running length wise with the vehicle, this keeps the frames from smacking together each time you stop
- Do not leave nuc closed for an extended period of time. Once home, place them where they will be living and remove entrance plug.
- Don't expect to have honey to harvest the first year.
- Bees do not like being bothered on cool, rainy, windy days.
- Ohio requires that you register your colonies and this should be done before June 1st. Go to

Learn More Basic Beekeeping

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies "New Top Hive Feeder"

If you have ever used a top hive bee feeder, you probably already know they have their pro's & con's. Depending on the style of top hive feeder, some have floats that don't fully stop drowning issues and others allow access to syrup through a screened middle middle sections. The problem with feeding through the middle is that when the syrup level drops, it recedes to the lowest side of the hive making it inaccessible for the bees. Then days later the remaining syrup begins to mold leaving the feeder in need of a good cleaning before it can be re-used.

Ceracell Beekeeping Supplies in New Zealand took a good long look into these problems and redesigned the feeder. The new design feature 100% virgin plastic, access to syrup in all 4 corners and the middle, plus it hold 2.5 gallons of syrup. In the winter months, it can be used to feed dry sugar, like the mountain camp method. Just remove the middle and corner covers so the bees can reach the sugar.

I am proud to say that after working with Ceracell and testing out the feeder it is now available in the USA. The current US distributor is working hard to keep the price low but bare in mind that shipping from New Zealand is very expensive.

Purchase Feeder Here:

My Top Feeder video

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Honey Bee Alcohol Mite Wash

Over the years of beekeeping varroa mites have always been a problem. The first few years I did nothing to the colony to help them with their mite population. That resulted in dead colonies over winter. I quickly learned that by treat in August my colonies would have enough time to raise healthy bees for winter. My overwintering success rate jump dramatically but still I did not know what the mite population was. Were my bees infested or did they have any varroa hygiene sensitivity of any king? This year I was convinced by a fellow beekeeper read an article by Randy Oliver of Scientific about mites counts and ways to check them. Not long after reading this article I gave it a try. It was not hard, it only took a few minutes per hive. I learned that some of my colonies manage mites very well with any assistance from me. They averaged 1.6 mites per hundred. My worst out of 20 colonies was 4 per hundred.

To do this test you will need a few items.

1. Rubbing Alcohol
2. 2 Mason Jar (lids will need modified, link here)
3. 1/2 cup measure cup
4. Large bowl or tub (white is best)
5. Water

NOTE: Rubbing alcohol is very flammable so keep it away from your smoker at all times.

Step 1

First go into your colony and find the queen, set her frame to the side for her protection. Then look for a frame of brood in mixed stages (open and close cells). After the frame is found shake it over your large bowl. Then quickly shake the bees into the corner or edge of bowl and scoop up a 1/2 cup and pour them into the mason jar. Place the lid on the jar before any escape. Dump the remaining bees in the bowl back into the hive and close it up.

Step 2
A 1/2 cup of bees is approximately 300 bees, which we now have contained in the mason jar. Now pour rubbing alcohol through the screened lid until the bees are all floating, screw on the top jar and shake, shake, shake. The shaking will dislodge the mites from the bees.

Step 3
Pour the alcohol into the bowl and watch for mites. After the jar has emptied you can better the results of the test by washing the bees a few more times but with water. The bees and mites are dead so alcohol is not needed anymore. I like to wash them 3 additional times to make sure I have all the mites for my mite count.

Step 4

After you get your mite count you need to do some math to figure the mite population. For this example lets say I found 12 mites.

12 Mites divided by 300 bees (what we had in jar)= 0.4 x 100 = 4%   or 4 mites per hundred bees

Remember before doing this test you will need to modify a mason jar lid scroll down about half way and you will find how to modify it.

Or you can purchase a jar with the modified lid

This population chart shows the growth curve of mite over bees in Aug.- Sept.. A colony with this heavy of a mite load would most likely not survive winter without some kind of a treatment.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Honey Bee Healthy Recipe

This is a homemade version of Honey B Healthy which is much cheaper to make than to buy. It is added to the bees feed to encourage feeding. However studies show it can increase robbing because surrounding bees are attracted by the smell. I recommend when using to not have hives open any longer than necessary. 
*  5 cups water
*  2 1/2 pounds of sugar
*  1/8 teaspoon lecithin granules (used as emulsifier)
*  15 drops spearmint oil
*  15 drops lemongrass oil

Bring water to a boil and mix in sugar until dissolved. Once dissolved remove from heat. Then immediately add lecithin and essential oils. Stirring until everything is well mixed. The aroma is very strong and and will attract bees. Use caution to not leave container open around bees. Let cool before use.

After cooling store in a mason jar. To use add 4 teaspoons per gallon of 1:1 sugar syrup. 

I Just Bought A Nuc, Now What?

If your here, your probably about to pickup your very first nuc of honeybees. A nuc is a miniature bee hive usually consisting of 5 dee...

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