Beekeeping 101 – Week Four

Beekeeping 101 was about products of the hive, fall management, and pests and diseases.

Honey is what most people think of when they think about honey bees. Most people, however, do not know just how much work it takes to get the honey off the hive and into bottles. Honey should be removed from the hives before a mite treatment is put on. Honey is often harvest in July, August, or September. Honey should be harvested on a sunny day when most of the foragers are out. Most beekeepers will suit up completely when harvesting honey because the bees are often more aggressive. A beekeeper can use a fume board and fumigant, leaf blower, or a bee brush to remove bees from honey frames. At most, a colony should be lightly smoked. Heavily smoking the colony could cause the honey to taste or smell like smoke. All the hives’ in the apiary covers should be removed so that the bees focus on protecting their hive and not on robbing out other hives. Only fully to mostly capped honey frames should be harvested. This helps ensure that the honey’s moisture content is as close to 18% as possible. Harvested frames should be placed in an empty super that is on top of a outer cover with an outer cover over it. The two main ways to extract honey is the crush and strain method and the extraction method. The crush and strain method is simply scraping the honey comb off the frame and crushing it over a strainer. The honey goes through the strainer and the beeswax stays above the strainer. This method is cheap, but the drawn out frames are lost. The extraction method is cutting the cappings off the frame with a hot knife or a bread knife before putting the frames in the extractor. Once all the honey is removed from the frames, the frames can be put back on the hives and the bees will clean the frames up. Honey can be bottled as soon as it is extracted. Our blog post Bottling and Labeling Honey explains how we bottled and labeled our honey last year.

Comb honey is honey that is left in the comb. No extractor is needed for comb honey. The bees must build comb honey on foundationless frames. The comb honey is cut out of the frame using a special cutter. Comb honey should be extracted when the cappings are white. Yellow cappings are too hard. There is a high demand for comb honey and it sells quickly as long as a good market can be found.

Beeswax is a versatile product of the hive. Beeswax can be used to make candles, a variety of creams, and lip balms. Beeswax must be cleaned before being used for any product. A solar melter could be used to clean the wax. There are a variety of styles of solar melters. Bethany plans on making one for 4-H and we will blog about it after she has made it. We use a slow cooker with water in it to clean our wax. Here is the link to our blog post about purifying wax. A similar method to the slow cooker method can be used with a pot and a muslin bag.

Propolis can be harvested from a hive using a propolis trap. Propolis traps can be bought from some of the commercial beekeeping companies.

Pollen can also be harvested from a hive using a trap. Pollen traps are pretty easy to find and most commercial beekeeping companies sell them. A beekeeper must be careful not to leave a pollen trap on a hive to long as it can deprive the hive of pollen.

After honey is harvested, a beekeeper will begin fall work. A beekeeper should treat his colonies for varroa mites as soon as the supers are removed from the hive. Treating for varroa mites allows the bees to be as healthy as possible going into winter. Colonies should be treated with antibiotics only if they need it. Antibiotics are used to treat for AFB, EFB, and other bacterial diseases. Hives should be given plenty of time to build up for winter. Hives should weigh at least one hundred and ten pounds going into winter. Entrance reducers and mouse guards should be put on hives when the temperature starts getting cool overnight.

There are many pests and diseases that can be found within a colony. Most pests and diseases are just results of a stressed hive not being able to fight against them. All colonies have varroa mites. Varroa mites must be treated for. Colonies should be treated for varroa mites at least in the fall and in either the winter or the spring. Varroa mites will cause little damage to a hive as long as they are kept at a small number. American Foulbrood (AFB) is the worst disease a hive can get. AFB is so bad because there is no way to treat for it once a colony has it. Antibiotics can be used, but often work more as a preventative for AFB than a treatment. If a colony has AFB, at least the frames and the non-queen bees should be destroyed. European Foulbrood (EFB) is a much less destructive disease. EFB can be treated with antibiotics and nothing has to be destroyed if a colony has EFB. Small hive beetles and wax moths can take over weak hives. They both can also destroy stored wax frames if the frames were not stored properly. Tracheal mites can be a threat to a colony, but are barely talked about due to varroa mites. Tracheal mites weaken the bee they are feeding on. If a colony is heavily infected, a large amount of bees may have a shortened life span. Nosema is often found in stressed colonies. Nosema can be treated for and the colony can easily recover from it. Wasps, ants, and flies may try to rob out a colony. If the colony is strong enough, they can easily fight off these invaders. Mice occasionally find a winter home in hives. A mouse guard will prevent any mice from getting in the hive. Toads and skunks occasionally eat honey bees.

A beekeeper should assess their colonies health every time they check their colonies. If they see something that does not look right, they should research it, call out a state inspector if need be, and take the proper actions against it. Sometimes there is nothing a beekeeper can do about their bees.

Abigail

Checking Bees and Adding Sugar

In early March on a warm day, we decided to look and see the status of our hives. We wanted to check to see where the cluster was and if they needed more sugar.

Here Abigail opened the Primlox and just peeked inside. She tried to keep the cold out by not popping it completely open. Yes, we had snow in March.

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Abigail is lifting up the winter box to see the cluster. The Primlox cluster is towards the very front. They had plenty of sugar so we did not add more.

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Abigail is now looking at Bethany’s hive. Note the mold on the cover.

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Abigail looking to see the bees and sugar.

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Bethany’s hive needed more sugar so Abigail added newspaper to lay sugar on.

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Now Abigail is adding sugar while being careful not to bury bees.

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In Mom’s hive,Abigail is adding sugar. Abigail is putting water on the newspaper to harden the sugar some when it is lain on top of the newspaper.

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Now Abigail is adding sugar to Mom’s hive to replenish the bees food supply.

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Abigail checking her hive.

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Abigail closed the hives up quickly before the bees froze.

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Hopefully with the added sugar the bees will have food to survive the winter.

Bethany

Beekeeping 101: Week Three

Week three of Beekeeping 101 was partially about genetic traits.

Genetic diversity is an important aspect of having bees. Some genetic traits are gentleness versus excitability, varroa mite resistance, trachael mite resistant, resistance to diseases, population dynamics, wintering ability, proneness to swarming, the ability to ripen honey rapidly, extra white cappings, minimal use of propolis, and color. The easiest way to choose which genetic traits continue is by only splitting the hives with good genetic traits. One cannot, however, control which genetic traits the bees end up having.

Knowing how to work honey bees before getting honey bees will help prevent stings and killing excess bees or even the queen. Some beekeepers wear very little protective clothing. Most beekeepers would suggest that a new beekeeper should wear a suit with gloves and long pants the first few times he goes into a hive. After a few times inspecting, a beekeeper can decide for himself what protective gear he would like to wear. A smoker is handy to calm the bees down. One should use as little smoke as possible. The smoke should be cool, white smoke to prevent hurting the bees. Before opening a hive, one should lightly smoke the entrance. One should never block the entrance when working a hive. Slow, deliberate, confident movements will help keep the bees calm. Frames should be lifted slowly and fluidly so that the bees are not rolled. (Rolling bees is when a frames is pulled out of the hive so fast that the bees roll and die. Rolling the queen is the biggest risk.) Hive inspection should be brief but not hurried. It takes us an hour or two to check all four of our hives. Hives should be inspected every seven to ten days.

A beekeeper is looking for the queen or eggs, larvae, and capped brood when inspecting. A beekeeper is also looking for resources. (How much honey and pollen do the bees have?) A beekeeper is also looking to make sure the bees have plenty of room and that they are not planning on swarming. Swarming is the natural reproduction of a hive. Swarms are not aggressive. Beekeepers do not want their hives to swarm because they want to keep the bees that would swarm. A hive somewhere swarms every day in May. Swarms may be caused by a failing queen, a large colony in a small space, congestion in the brood nest, or lots of young bees. Swarms can be prevented by replacing the queen, by giving the bees plenty of space, and by giving the bees upper entrances. Just in case a hive does swarm, some beekeepers put up swarm traps. Swarms are attracted to the space of the swarm trap. If the beekeeper put old frames and lemongrass oil in their swarm traps, the bees may be more attracted to it.

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This is a swarm trap in a tree.

A queenless colony is a hive where their queen died. The bees will often try to make a queen to replace the old queen. Sometimes the bee’s attempt to replace her fails and a laying worker appears in the hive. A laying worker is a worker bee who has developed the ability to lay eggs. What can a new beekeeper do about laying workers? They can ask for help from an experienced beekeeper. Experienced beekeepers are often more then happy to help new beekeepers. We had laying workers in a hive this year. We will explain what we did with them when we get to that blog post.

Keeping records is essential to keeping track of what is going on in one’s hives. There are apps that can be used to keep records. There are also record keeping books that the beekeeping companies sell. Some people simply use a notebook and pictures to keep records. We use a record keeping book that we bought from Kelley Beekeeping (Now part of Mann Lake.), a notebook for genetic tracking, and our blog to keep records.

Julia also talked about managing colonies for honey production and pollination.

Honey can be harvested from Non-Langstroth hives, but because Langstroth hives are often the hive style of choice, Julie explained honey production for Langstroth hives.

A hive should be fed sugar syrup and spring patties (protein) in the spring. Bees will choice nectar and pollen over sugar syrup and protein. This stimulates the bees to start rearing more brood which increases the hives population. Because the hive is big and strong, the bees can start storing extra honey quicker. If undrawn supers are placed on the hives, the bees should be feed sugar syrup until the super is drawn out. A beekeeper must be careful not to feed sugar syrup when the bees are filling in the supers. If the beekeeper continues to feed sugar syrup when a super is on, then the “honey” will be sugar syrup. A honey flow is when there is lots of nectar flowers in bloom. When there is a nectar flow on, the bees can fill in a super in just a few days. Bees always make surplus honey. A beekeeper should not feed their bees other people’s honey because it may spread diseases.

Abigail

Why Honey Crystallizes and How to ‘Fix’ It.

Crystallized honey is a common thing because raw honey crystallizes. Most grocery store honey does not crystallize because it is not real honey or because it is not raw honey. Crystallized honey is also really easy to ‘fix’.

This is our crystallized honey. Honey crystallizes because honey contains lots of natural sugar. The overabundance of sugar makes honey unstable especially when it is cold. Thus, it is natural for honey to crystallize since it is an over-saturated sugar solution. When glucose crystallizes, it separates from water and takes the form of tiny crystals. Therefore it crystallizes like seen below.

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This is a picture of honey that is not crystallized.

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Here is how we uncrystallized our honey. We put a heating pad underneath the bottles of honey. Some of the honey is crystallized only on the bottom others are fully crystallized throughout the jars.

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After we put the honey on a heating pad, we covered them with towels and closed the cooler.

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Other methods of uncrystallizing honey is putting it in a warm water bath using either a crockpot or a double boiler that stays under 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you put it over 120 degrees, you loss all the nutritional value of honey.

Bethany

Beekeeping 101: Week Two

Week two of Beekeeping 101 was about equipment and location, location, location.

In the United States, honey bees must be on removable frames. This allows for the frames to be easily checked for diseases. The most common style of hive is the Langstroth style hive. We have Langstroth hives. Top Bar Hives are hives that are shaped like trapezoids and have wood pieces for the bees to build comb off of. The Warre hive is a mixture between the Langstroth hive and the Top Bar Hive. It uses multiple boxes, but uses bars instead of frames. A flow hive is a hive that honey can be extracted directly out of. Observation hives are hives that hold only a few frames and have windows that allow observation. Observation hives are often used as visual aids during presentations. A beekeeper can use any of these hive styles. The most common styles are Langstroth and Top Bar Hives. Googling any of these types of hives will lead to more information on them.

A beekeeper needs a hive tool or five, a smoker, smoker fuel, maybe rubbing alcohol to clean hive tools, and a suit and gloves. All sorts of other gadgets can be bought. We really like our frame perch and our frame grip tool. A beekeeper may choose to buy extraction equipment right away. Sometimes there are ways to rent out extraction equipment.

Another choice a beekeeper must make is what type of feeder the beekeeper will use. A Boardman feeder is an entrance feeder that uses a canning jar to hold feed. These feeders can cause robbing and require lots of refills. A division board feeder is a feeder that replaces one or two frames. These feeders need to be watched carefully when the bees are hungry. We use division board feeders. A top feeder goes on top of the broad box. A top feeder holds a lot of sugar syrup. Plastic bags, pails, and jars can be made into custom feeders.

Three main options for foundation is Duragilt foundation, wired frames, and foundationless. Duragilt foundation is a brand of foundation that is plastic with a beeswax coating. Wired frames have foundation that has wire running through it. Foundationless is either an empty frame or a frame with just a small strip of foundation on it.

An apiary is any number of bee hives or nucs.

A beekeeper should first look into their local bee laws before placing any hives on any location.

A beekeeper should take into account what is growing nearby when choosing an apiary location. A beekeeper will want to know if there is monoculture or prairie nearby. If a farm is nearby, a beekeeper should think about the pesticides that their bees may be exposed to.

An apiary location should be sunny. The sun encourages the bees to get to work. Damp, humid environments should be avoided because moisture can easily kill a hive. The apiary should be flat and accessible. A beekeeper will often put out a water source for their bees so that the bees do not get their water from a nearby pool. A windbreak is important for the bees in the winter. Sometimes a beekeeper will use a temporary windbreak for just the winter. Bee Hives should not sit directly on the ground to prevent rotting.

Hives should be assembled well in advance before the bees are scheduled to arrive. Wood glue should be used when assembling boxes and frames. Kiddy corner nails are important on frames because they increase the strength of the frames. Used equipment should be checked by the state apiarist to prevent the spread of diseases.

It is important to have goals before getting bees. Goals help when making decisions about splitting, extracting, and treating.

Abigail

Beekeeping 101: Week One

In January and February of this year, Mom, Abigail, Bethany, and Olivia took Julia McGuire’s Beekeeping 101. We really enjoyed the class. It reinforced what we already knew. The first week was on the basics of beekeeping.

The first step to get into beekeeping is to take a class and join a bee club. Most classes happen during the fall and winter. There is a variety of bee clubs. They can be state, state region, county, or city-wide. City ordinances should be checked before one starts beekeeping. Believe it or not, there are quite a few cities that do not allow honey bees.

After taking a bee class and joining a bee club, getting bees is the next step. There are three basic types of honey bee source: local options; local businesses, but non-local bees; and non-local businesses with non-local bees. Local options are local beekeeping businesses that sell overwintered, local queens. Local businesses, but non-local bees are local businesses that sell honey bee that came from a outside source. Non-local businesses with non-local bees are the companies that ship their bees to the customer.

A beekeeper must decide if they want to be a commercial, sideline, or hobbyist beekeeper. A commercial beekeeper is a beekeeper with three hundred or more colonies and often beekeeping is their main source of income. A sideline beekeeper has between twenty-five and three hundred colonies and beekeeping is often an additional source of income. A hobbyist is a beekeeper with fewer than twenty-five hives. Each type of beekeeper will have different amounts and kind of work.

A new beekeeper must decide if they want to get a package or a nuc. A package is two or three pounds of honey bees with a mated queen. Packages are fun because the beekeeper gets to observe the hive grow. Surplus honey is possible, because a package will most likely not be split. Installation of a package varies with weather. Packages are often available in mid to late April. Queen quality varies with packages. Packages are one of the least expensive options to start beekeeping. Package bees are not usually locally adapted stock and have more potential for pests and diseases. A nuc is five frames of brood and resources with a mated queens and enough bees to fill the box. Nucs are easy to install because it is literally moving frames from one box to the other box. Nucs often produce surplus honey. Nucs are often locally adapted stock. Nuc queens are often of a high quality. Nucs cost more than packages. Nucs are usually not available until May through July. Nucs may have come from hives with lots of pests or diseases.

A beekeeper must also decide what breed of honey bees he wants. The four main breeds in Iowa are Italian, Carniolan, Russian, and Mutt. Italians are very productive honey makers, but they take a lot of brood into winter so they require more feeding. Carniolans are reliable producers of honey and they take less brood into winter then Italians. Russians are winter hardy bees, but are sometimes aggressive. Mutts are locally adapted stock. Mutts tend to be winter hardy, but sometimes have bad traits (e.g. aggression, a tendency towards swarming).

In the spring, packages are available and new and veteran beekeepers install them. When installing a package, one should suit up completely despite the calmness of the bees and the early spring temperatures. We explained how to install a package here. In the spring, established hives are getting busy with the first pollen. A beekeeper will perform his spring cleaning and redistributing. Spring cleaning involves switching an established hives brood boxes and cleaning the bottom board. A beekeeper may choose to re-queen a hive in the spring. It is important to have a good water source in early spring. If a beekeeper lives in a residential area, he should remember that there may be antifreeze from winterized swimming pools near his hives.

A hobbyist beekeeper often inspects his hives every seven to ten days. A sideline or commercial beekeeper will check his hives significantly less. Summer inspections are just to make sure there is still a queen and she is laying well and that the bees have plenty of room. A beekeeper may catch some swarms (Swarming is the natural process by which honey bees reproduce.) or do a cutout or two. (A cutout is when a beekeeper removes a feral hive from a building.) A beekeeper should continue to attend bee club meetings throughout the summer. Thinking about winter in August will ensure the beekeeper has plenty of time to get the bees ready.

Honey should be harvested in either late July or early to mid-August. Hives should be treated for varroa mites and any other pests as soon as the supers have bee removed from the hive (September). Winter boxes should be added in October and hives should be wrapped up late November or early December.

Throughout the winter, emergency food should be fed to the bees. We fed the bees sugar. The bees will take bathroom breaks about every month. A beekeeper should make sure their hives are staying dry. Around early April, the bees will start being more active.

Honey bees are insects. They have six legs, two sets of wings, and two antennae. Honey bees go through metamorphosis. Honey bee metamorphosis starts as a egg. A honey bee is an egg for three day. Next, the honey bee becomes a larvae. A bee is a larvae for six days. A bee is capped on day nine. While the bee is capped, it is a pupa. When the bee emerges from its cell, it is an adult. There are three castes of honey bees. The queen lays all the eggs and is the mother to all the bees in the hive. She is selected by the hive when she is an egg. She will mate once with multiple drones. The worker bees do all the work in the hive. They clean the hive, feed the brood, store the honey, make the beeswax, guard the hive, and forage for nectar and pollen. Drones are the only male bees. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. Honey bees eat nectar and pollen. Nectar is a carbohydrate and pollen is a protein.

Honey bees are social insects. They have a hive mentality which means that the bees will do anything for the good of the hive. All the bees in a hive work together to keep the hive alive and to help the next generation live. The hive reproduces by swarming. The brood pattern indicates the status of the queen and the hive. Solid cells in a solid pattern indicates a strong queen and, therefore, a strong hive. Perforated cells in a spotty pattern indicates a weak queen and, therefore, a weak hive.

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This is an example of an excellent brood pattern.

Honey bees (and all native bees) are incredibly important to agriculture. About one in every three bites of food would not exist if honey bees did not exist. The world would be significantly different if there where no honey bees.

Abigail

Fun Fact: Every pound of honey bees is about 4500 bees.

February 2019 DMBB – Thermal Mite Treatment

The Des Moines Backyard Beekeepers (DMBB) February meeting was about thermal mite treatment. Thermal mite treatment is a varroa control method which takes advantage of the honey bee’s high tolerance to heat. It was discovered by beekeepers who observed that feral bee colonies that lived in metal roofed sheds having high daytime temperatures had a higher resistance to varroa mites.

One of the main advantages of thermal mite treatment is that it treats varroa mites on all stages of honey bees. This includes the varroa mites in capped brood. No chemical treatment can make this claim. Thermal mite treatment does not contaminate any wax or honey. The treatment can be used during a honey flow if needed. There is also minimal risk to the operator. The bees cannot be harmed by thermal mite treatment if the process is well controlled. Another big advantage is that thermal mite treatment seems to be effective on Small Hive Beetles as well as varroa mites.

A disadvantage to thermal mite treatment is that the process is slow. The treatment takes several hours per hive to complete. There is also an equipment expense that is much higher than buying a chemical. Because the treatment is powered by electricity it may be difficult in remote locations.

Thermal mite treatment works because when the temperature reaches roughly 102 – 106 degrees Fahrenheit the surviving varra mites lose the ability to reproduce. If the temperature reaches roughly 115 – 118 degrees Fahrenheit the varroa mites die.

The whole hive should be heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough that the heat soaks through the brood comb. This takes about three hours. This ensures that the entire colony is treated. Thermal mite treatment can even be done at night to ensure the whole colony is treated. Hives should be treated more than once a year. The most critical treatment is in August.

Thermal mite treatment systems can be bought but they are around two hundred dollars a piece! They can also be made, but making them takes some skill.

Thermal mite treatment is a very interesting topic and could become a leading way to treat for varroa mites.

Abigail

Adding Sugar in February 2019

The bees had finally eaten a lot of their sugar in February. They ate more in January to February then any of the other months because the bees had to keep the hive warmer due to the brood.

Bethany is deciding if the bees need more sugar.

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They needed more sugar so Abigail put some newspaper down.

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Next, Abigail sprinkled water on the newspaper to keep it down.

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Abigail used a glass jar to pour sugar on the newspaper.

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In a different hive, the bees were busy eating the sugar when we opened the hive.

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In February, all five hives still had bees in them.

Abigail

Honey Bee Hives and Snow

What do honey bees do in the winter? In the winter, all the remaining honey bees cluster up. They form a ball around the queen and brood (once the queen starts laying again after winter solstice). To keep warm, some of the bees “shiver” by vibrating their flight muscles. If the temperature gets warmer, the cluster loosens. If the temperature gets cooler, the cluster tightens. The cluster moves around the hive, eating honey as they go. Once the temperature remains above fifty degrees and their is forage (such as dandelions), the older worker bees begin foraging.

In Iowa, we get a decent amount of snow. The bees do not mind snow as long as it does not get on them.

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In fact, if the snow gets tall enough, the beehive can be insulated by the snow.

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Abigail

The 2019 CIBA January Seminar

Every January, the Central Iowa Beekeepers Association has a seminar. This year the presentations were about creamed honey and swarm trapping.

The first presentation was given by Marlene Boernsen. She showed how to make creamed honey. In order to make creamed honey, one must have a starter. Mrs. Boernsen uses Sue Bees spun honey as her starter. She uses freezed dried fruit to flavor her creamed honeys. She uses one pound of fruit per sixty pounds of honey. One pound of already creamed honey should be used for twelve to thirteen pounds of uncrystallized honey.

Mrs. Boernsen makes three gallon batches at a time. All honey must be warmed so that it has no crystals. The honey’s moisture content should be 18% to 18.5%. Moisture should never be added to the honey. First the uncrystallized honey should be mixed with the starter. If the honey is going to be flavored, the freeze dried fruit should be added to a small container of the honey, mixed well, and then added to the big container of honey. This prevents the freeze dried fruit from clumping. Then the small fruit honey should be added to the bigger container of honey. The honey should not be whipped to prevent air from being added to the honey. After the honey is uniform in color, it should sit overnight in the five gallon bucket. After it has set, all the bubbles on the top of the honey should be removed. The honey should be put into one pound containers (or whatever container it is going to be sold in) no later than a day after it is made. The one pound containers should be put in a fridge that is set to fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. The fridge must be a fridge that can be set to a specific temperature. A lot of beekeepers will use mini-fridges or wine fridges. The honey should be left in the fridge until it is crystallized which takes about six days. Creamed honey should be stored outside of a fridge in a cool dark place.

If one plans on selling creamed honey at fairs or craft shows, the creamed honey must be made in a certified kitchen. If the creamed honey is only going to be sold at farmer’s markets, the creamed honey does not have to be made in a certified kitchen. Creamed honey must be weighed periodically by a certified scale (e.g. postal scale). Mrs. Boernsen suggests marking each container of creamed honey with the day it was made and a batch number. She also suggests giving out lots of free samples.

Here is Mrs. Boernsen mixing up a batch of creamed honey during her presentation.

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Bethany and Abigail helped with the snack table. They made rice crispy treats. Bethany (left) is plating cookies.

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The second presentation was given by Jamie Beyer and it was on swarm trapping. Jamie gave a similar presentation at CIBA’s March 2018 Meeting. We blogged about that presentation here. This article was written by Dr Leo Sharashkin about swarm traps and includes free swarm trap plans. It is an excellent article.

A swarm is when half of the bees in a hive leaves the hive with the old queen and finds a new home. Most healthy hives will want to swarm, because swarming is how bees reproduce (make another colony) and occupy new habitat.

Swarm traps should be put up in areas near beehives. Traps should be put near timber that is, ideally, one hundred feet from your own hives. Nectar source trees are the best trees to put a swarm trap in. There should be a water source nearby. The entrance should point south or east. The box should be a light color. Honey bees like the same characteristics for their home whether they are a swarm or in a typical beehive.

A trap should have one or two old comb frames in it. The rest of the frames should be new frames because swarms build lots of comb when they move into a new home. A couple cotton balls with a few drops of lemongrass oil should be put in a zip lock bag then put in the bottom of the trap. The trap should be rubbed down with propolis and comb. Honey bees like hives that smell like beehives.

Once a beekeeper catches a couple swarms in one tree they tend to use that tree over and over again.

We learned a lot from this seminar. We now have swarm traps out by our house because we hope to catch swarms this summer. Hopefully, the swarms will not be from our hives.

Abigail