Educational Videos & Links #2

In the comfort of your own home, from couches, recliners, beds and kitchen tables, BONS is inviting you to fire up your computer to view these member suggested videos*.

Temporarily, these videos and article links are replacing our monthly educational meetings that are not happening in person because of the coronavirus. This social distance measure is meant to keep us from physically coming into contact with and spreading the virus to others — thus creating the need for virtual connection. As soon as the, “all clear” goes into effect we will be back, buzzing with good things. Thanks for your patience and we look forward to our regular meetings at Blandy Farm.

* The opinions shared in these videos are not intended as professional advice. Please use your own discretion.

If you have found videos that you like and would like to share, send their links to:Doug Koch

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How To Make Two Kinds of Homemade Feeders: When You Need a Quick and Easy Feeder Solution

Baggie feeder on a hive top

How to make a baggie feeder

  • Fill a good quality quart-, or gallon-sized Zip-lock style freezer bag about three-quarters full of syrup.
  • Seal it carefully.
  • Check the seal for leaks by holding the bag upside down.
  • Install a shim on top of the hive to make enough room for the baggie.
  • Place the baggie on top of the frames.
  • Use a sharp razor blade to make a 3” slit  (for quart-sized bags, a longer slit is used for gallon bags) in the top center of the bag so the bees can access the syrup. The slit should be only on the flat, top surface of the bag, not where it begins to curve downward towards the edge. You can use more than one baggie at a time.
  • Replace the inner cover and hive top.

Don’t worry, the baggie will not collapse and flood the hive. It keeps its shape and the bees will come and drink from the slit.

How to make a mason jar feeder

You will need a spare empty deep box to surround these feeders if you use quart jars.

  1. Take the flat portion of the two-piece lid and use a small finish nail to make 6 to 8 small punctures in it punching from the inside of the lid towards the outside. Make the holes with just the tip of the nail, not driving it through to the shank.
  2. Fill the jar with syrup and install the reassembled lid tightly.
  3. Turn the jar over to test the seal and see how fast the holes weep syrup. After a vacuum has formed, the jars should stop dripping and allow the bees to collect syrup in a controlled way from underneath the upside down jar. Keep the jars upside down after testing the seals to maintain the vacuum.
  4. Set the jar on top of the frames, inside the empty box. You can have more than one jar dispensing syrup at the same time. It is helpful to set them up on short pieces of furring strips to allow the bees to reach the entire lid area.
  5. Replace the inner cover and the hive top.

Punctured FeederJar on stripsFeeder inside the hive

With both of these feeders, it’s important to cover the notch in the rim of the inner cover with bee-proof screening to prevent robbers from entering the hive and having direct access to the syrup.

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How to Find a Queen Bee

By  on January 16, 2019
Visit Beekeeping Like A Girl

Queen Bee photo by Hilary Kearney

Finding the queen bee in your hives can be challenging — even for veteran beekeepers. Some queens are plump and shine like a gold beacon on the frame, while others seem to have camouflage. Not only does your ability to find her depend on her size and color, but her behavior, too. Some queens flaunt themselves in the open, while others scurry to corners and hide. So, how can you hone your ability to find the queen?

Her Appearance
Most beekeepers can identify the queen by sight, but if you’re new, you may have trouble picking her out from the worker bees. The queen bee is larger, but more specifically, she is longer. Her lengthy abdomen extends out beyond the tip of her wings, giving her the appearance of having short wings. Her back, too, is different from that of most workers. She has a shiny, black hairless back, while workers tend to have fuzzy backs. Her legs are long and usually light in color, while worker bees tend to have dark legs.

Don’t Mark Her
Although most say that marking the queen makes her easier to find, I would argue that it handicaps a new beekeeper’s ability to spot the queen. That bright dab of paint on her back becomes a crutch. A new beekeeper may become too reliant on using that to find the queen instead of truly learning the distinguishing features of a queen bee.

Inspection Techniques
When searching for the queen bee during an inspection, there are a couple of things you can do to increase your chances of finding her. First, go easy on the smoke. Too much smoke with drive your queen into hiding. Second, go straight to the brood nest. The queen is most likely to be on a frame with new eggs. Don’t waste time searching frames that are predominantly honey or capped brood.

 Practice
Practice makes perfect, but when you’re a new beekeeper, your opportunities to search for queens are probably limited. You may only have one or two colonies and you don’t want to stress them by opening them too often. At most, you’ll have the chance to hunt your hive for a queen a couple of times a month.

So how can you improve your ability to find the queen without opening the hive? Play QueenSpotting! QueenSpotting is the name my Instagram followers chose for a game I have been playing through my social media accounts for the last several years. I post a photo of a lot of bees and challenge you to find the queen among them. It’s like Where’s Waldo, but bees. Not only is it fun, it’s useful. I often hear from beginning beekeepers who say the game has sharpened their ability to find the queen in real life.

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Fix It: Queenless Hive Full of Drones and Honey

 

By  on November 4, 2014
Visit KBB's Website.

Beekeeper_keeping_bees

Guest post by Melissa Davenport-

Our family began beekeeping April of this year, and we continue to learn about and be amazed by these tiny creatures. But when it comes to beekeeping, some lessons you have to learn the hard way!

We noticed around August that one of our three hives was not as active outside of the hive as the others, but we were amazed by their honey production.

The brood looked a little different than the other hives, kind of sporadic and not as much as the other hives. So, I decided to seek some help from a local beekeeper. We learned that the brood in this less-active hive was all drone, and that we were missing a queen. We had a queenless hive! We don’t know how long we were queenless, but a worker took over and began laying the drone brood.

Here’s what to do if you’re experiencing this same issue: We had to move the hive away from the others, brush every single honeybee off the frames, and move the empty hive back to its original location. The beekeeper told us that we had to make sure the frames were free of all bees because the laying worker would not be able to find her way back to the hive as she had never been outside the hive. This also prevents her from continuing to lay drone brood. After the frames were emptied of bees and the hive was returned, the other bees worked their way back to the empty hive and we were able to requeen. We also took a brood frame from one of the other hives to help keep things going.

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