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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Live Bees at Blue Heron and at Jeff's

The bees in the nuc at Blue Heron are ALIVE! I really can't believe it. These are the vandalized bees that are now housed in a nuc and locked with a bicycle lock against further intrusion. I did not believe they would still be OK and we are not out of the winter death possibilities until March. At least for now they are flying.

I couldn't believe it so I took four pictures to prove to myself that they actually are coming and going. You can watch a hive and tell if the bees entering and leaving it live there or are robbers from another hive. The residents enter confidently and in one fell swoop into the entry. Robber bees are unsure and tend to hover around the entrance before going into the hive.

These bees own this hive.

At my old house where Jeff and Valerie now live we have two hives we are concerned about - now three. Colony Square is doing great with bees all at the entrance. Lenox Pointe has bees but also evidence of nosema, possibly, in that there are streaks of bee poop on the hive box at the entry way.

The hive we call "Five" is still alive. It was tiny going into winter and we had talked about putting it into a nuc, but never did. It is housed in two medium boxes. Jeff hasn't seen any bees flying in or out, so we opened the top to take a peek. The rapid feeder was still on the hive and there were bees walking up and down the sides of the cone. We both whooped out loud to see actual bees alive in the hive.

Our fourth hive over there is the swarm we caught in June. Although small, it too is alive and had bees in the feeder cone of the rapid feeder.

Don't be disturbed by the mold in the rapid feeder or the "weeds." The weeds are actually sprigs of thyme and we'll clean out the mold on our next opportunity to open the hive.

Today it was still quite cold and we didn't want to remove the rapid feeder to clean it because it covers the hole in the inner cover and the bees are likely to have propolized any air space to maintain warmth. I'll take warmth over cleanliness if they can make it through the winter.

Jeff and I are following Jennifer Berry and Keith Delaplane's system for powdered sugar treatment for varroa mites.  We are dusting the bees with the Dustructor - which means dusting without opening the hive - four times this month (three days apart) and then will repeat this in March.

Today was my third treatment and I dusted the bees at my house and at the Stonehurst Place Inn.  Jeff will do the bees at my old house tomorrow.  It's out of schedule but I dusted the bees at Blue Heron when I stopped there - they are actually part of Jeff's schedule, due to be dusted tomorrow.
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  1. Because of a comment on an earlier post, Jeff and I decided that we might not be puffing enough powdered sugar, so today he puffed until he saw powdered sugar coming out of the hive - about 12 puffs, he said. And it just took a few minutes.

  2. Anonymous1:49 PM

    Linda, did you know if you add Thymol crystals to sugar syrup it prevents that mould forming. I'm no sure if they're available in the US but it's what we do in the uk. There's a recipe for Thymolated syrup on beekeepingforum.co.uk if you're interested. All the best, Gerry in Scotland

  3. What I do for my hives is shake powdered sugar with a sieve on the top of each super after we take the honey off. Varrora mites are most aggressive in August.

  4. Jennifer Berry's research at UGA shows that powdered sugar is much more effective if done in the winter at the beginning of the brood build up - so ideally you follow her schedule: Do powdered sugar dusting on your hive in January, March, May, July, September, November. On the months when you do this, do four dustings, three days apart. This had the highest level of effectiveness. If you start dusting in July it makes the beekeeper feel like he/she is doing something but has very little effect on the varroa mite population.

    In winter use of the Dustructor allows you to dust the hive without opening the hive, exposing the cluster to the elements.


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