October 22, 2019

Fall Finale

Maine beekeepers are on the “home stretch” for the 2011 season. By mid-October, colonies with queen issues should have been united or culled, had Varroa treatment, and fed sugar syrup when needed. Fortunately, most hives have heavy brood nests and large populations of young, fat, fuzzy bees this fall. Varroa populations are low and symptoms of viral infections are minimal in contrast to this time … [Read more...]

Is Your Honey Bucket Food-safe?

by Randal Carr, Greenville It is a common practice to obtain a honey gate and install it in a 5-gallon plastic bucket for honey storage and bottling. The money savings alone can make the extra effort worth your time. However, not all buckets you find in hardware stores are food-safe. Two of the most important considerations that affect safety are whether the bucket contains recycled … [Read more...]

What to Do with Crystallized Honey in Combs

If you’re like most of us, some of your hives died this winter or spring. Assuming you know what American Foul Brood evidence looks like, and know there is none, you may use the hive’s combs for future bees. Some combs, especially higher in the hive, may still have honey in them. It will be crystallized, which looks like wet white granules in the cells instead of thick clear liquid honey. The … [Read more...]

Why Is It Called a Super?

With all the terms and jargon that go with beekeeping, knowing the underlying meaning of words may help you remember their uses. Beware of the lazy verbal trap of calling every box a super. According to the dictionary, a definition of “super” is: A prefix from Latin, with the basic meaning “above, beyond.” Words formed with super- have the following general senses: “to place or be placed above … [Read more...]

Open-Feeding “Pollen Substitute”

Many years, we have a warm spell after the first frost and the bees can fly, but find nothing in the “field.” In the absence of nectar and pollen, our bees start foraging for alternative sources of carbs and protein. Bees pick up sand, sawdust, birdseed, or maybe even soda in some cans in a recycling bin on a neighbor’s back porch, etc., to bring home to the hive. Pretty soon the neighbor’s back … [Read more...]

Remember That Swarm Trap?

Remember that great contraption you built in the hopes of catching and hiving a swarm? Well, make sure you check it carefully from time to time for inhabitants! Jacky discovered unexpected contents in his mentoree’s swarm trap which had been left out over the winter. Apparently, the beekeeper’s swarm had indeed moved in sometime last season, but its activity was never noticed. Not … [Read more...]

Propolis, Propolis Everywhere

The 2010 honey harvest is complete and many beekeepers report a good summer crop and a disappointing fall harvest. In many areas of the state the honey flow shut off like a spigot during the early part of August due to the drought conditions during the summer. Plants resumed nectar production after some late summer rain, but it was too little, too late. In general the goldenrod honey flow didn’t … [Read more...]