September 16, 2014

Preparing for Swarm Season

Front view of a hivebody-style bait hive for catching swarms; the vertical board is for nailing and/or tying to a tree trunk or other structure. The hardware cloth on the front entrance is there to prevent mice from moving in. PHOTO: ANNE FREY

Making Your Own Bait Hives Now that you’re finished with your winter of building and repairing supers, brood boxes and frames, think about the possibility of building bait hives in preparation for the May/ June swarm season. A bait hive is a swarm-catching box. I have captured some nice swarms in boxes set in trees, and it seems easier than answering a swarm call, which may come at an … [Read more...]

Guidance: How to Deal with Bears and Bees

A Bears and bees, illustration by Walter Crane from Baby's Aesop," published in 1887

from information provided by Judy Camuso, Wildlife Biologist, MDIFW Bears are often hungry in the spring (there is less food available and the females are feeding their young), and spring is when we typically get the most “nuisance” bear complaints. Our primary recommendation to people is pretty basic: remove the food source, so… take down bird feeders, feed pets indoors, keep all trash … [Read more...]

Swarm Catching: A Fun [Club] Opportunity?

Carefully trimming the swarm-occupied branch into a box

We're now just a month away from the kickoff of our honey bee swarm season in Maine. With a little preparation, and the right attitude, we can have fun rescuing some of Mother Nature's most healthy, robust colonies. Without our help, they are probably in for a short lifespan as a feral colony in a small tree, your neighbor's attic, or even worse, stuck out in the open come late … [Read more...]

Nuc Transportation & Installation

Cumberland Couunty Beekeepers club hives and nuc

Prior to nuc pickup, the empty hive (i.e. bottom board, hive body, five or six frames of foundation and/or comb, entrance reducer, inner cover, outer cover, empty hive body, sugar syrup, feeder) should be assembled and prepared for installation. The hive should be located at the apiary site in accordance with the MSBA’s “Best Management Practices for Beekeeping” found at mainebeekeepers.org. In … [Read more...]

Queen Introduction

Queen Bee

Reasons to Requeen: Failing queen – poor brood pattern (skips), drone layer, queenless colony,Poor performance/behavior- low production, susceptible to disease and mites, excessive swarming, aggressive behavior, nervous festooning behavior. Stock Improvement- hygienic and mite resistant strains, Making Increase- nucs, splits Ordering Queens: Source- Order from reputable bee … [Read more...]

Medication for Honeybees

Api Life Var

The Maine State Beekeepers Association does not endorse the use of these products. We provide this information as a courtesy. It is good to know that these medications are all approved to use in the State of Maine.  We specifically don’t list Apistan and Checkmite.  Although these two have been approved for use in Maine, Varroa Mites have shown a resistance to these products in this … [Read more...]

Swarming Reviewed

Snelgrove Board (from beebitz.com)

During the last two years, there have been “swarming issues” among many new and seasoned beekeepers. In both 2006 and 2007, beekeepers reported swarms from hives established with packages and nucs during late May-June even though there was room for colony expansion. A number of beekeepers reported that the new hives issued swarms before the bees had moved into the second hive body. In both 2006 … [Read more...]