Members to Members Q & A

Members Helping Members - Q & A


The suggestions and recommendations found in this section are based upon individual experiences or observations and have not been proven to be true or fslse. Always use caution when working with you bees!



Trouble with ants?

Member, Doug Koch was having issues with ants around his hives.  Doug, using an old salt shaker sprinkled cinnamon* around his hives.  NO MORE ANTS

*Cinnamon (Ants in the hive keeping backyard bees, June 4. 2015)
Ants evidently hate cinnamon. Again, readers suggested sprinkling cinnamon in the lid of the hive box or in a circle around the hive.


Goldfish to the rescue!

Do you use rain barrels to water your garden (your bees drink that water as well)?  If yes, Doug Koch offers this timely suggestion. Mosquito larvae found in your rain barrels can easily be eradicated naturally by placing a few gold fish (yes, gold fiish) in each barrel. Gold fish like cool water so add some shade to the barrel.


Caution if you have a water softener supplying water to the garden.

Member, Jill Peters uses a drip irrigation system for her raised bed gardens, water for her Pearl Guinea Fowl, and water for her 2 hives. She offers a bit of advice if you have a water softener that supplies water to the outdoor faucets. The salt needed for your whole house water softener is bad for your garden plants and pets.  She had her husband, Paul install bypass water lines to supply her outdoor water valves. Each outdoor valve has a gravity filter to filter out sediment and a backflow valve to avoid water from being syphoned back into the whole house system.


Homemade Insecticidal Soap

A better option than the commercial chemical sprays for use around the home, insecticidal soap can handle many pests and problems. It's easy to make, very effective, low cost, and better for the environment.

Mix 2 tablespoons of liquid soap to 1 quart water. Use in a bottle sprayer for spot application where needed. (Do not store unused portions.)

You can also add garlic oil or cayenne pepper to make the spray repel insects, and even deer. Some also add a tablespoon of mineral oil so the solution stays on the plant leaves. (Always test your solution on a few leaves to make sure it does not harm the plant being treated)


How to make FONDANT for BEES!

10 lbs (4.5 kilos) Granulated White Sugar
1 quart (1000 ml) Water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) White Vinegar


Pollen Patties!

Pollen patties attract hive beetles, so ideally you want the bees to consume the patty within 3 days.  Best not to put more than one patty in the hive at one time, unless you have a very strong hive and minimal problems with hive beetles. 


  • 1 cup pollen substitute (I use Bee Pro by Mann Lake, available on Amazon for $19 at tub)
  • 1/2 cup sugar syrup (1:1 or 2:1)
  • 1/4 tsp HoneyBHealthy


Mix all ingredients together. Hands work well. You want the consistency of play-doh.

Pull off a piece no larger than a golf ball.

Place between two sheets of wax paper or parchment and roll them into patties. (about a 1/4-inch thickness is good)

Leave the patty between the wax paper and cut the excess paper around the edges.

Use the edge of a knife to cut rows of small slits across the top and bottom so the bees can have easy access without having to remove the paper. The paper keeps the patty from breaking up and falling between the frames.

Lay directly on top of the frames above the brood and remove the top layer of wax paper.

It's love at first bite!



..Heating up to 37°C (98.6 F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, part of which are antibacterial
..Heating up to 40°C (104 F) destroys invertase, an important enzyme.
..Heating up to 50°C (122 F) for more than 48 hrs. turns the honey into caramel (the most valuable honey sugars become analogous to sugar).
..Heating honey higher than 140 degrees F for more than 2 hours will cause rapid degradation.
..Heating honey higher than 160 for any time period will cause rapid degradation and caramelization. Generally any larger temperature fluctuation (10°C is ideal for preservation of ripe honey) causes decay.
John Skinner, University of Tennessee


Drinking Less?

Q: In the last few weeks it appears that the activity level of my bees around their water source has lessened. I checked my hive for reduced activity but all seems okay. Is this normal, less water consumption?

Doug Koch replied to this question -

A: Most of the water consumption is during hot days to quench their thirst but also as a way of cooling off the hive.  Cooler nights don't make that as necessary.  Also it is best not to clean out the bird bath as they like funky water more than clean fresh water.  This is another way that we have to not think of bees the way we do for humans.


Overwintering -

Journal Time presentation by Doug Koch at Thursday, October 12, 2017 BONS general meeting -