Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

  • Interesting Swarm Stories-2015!

    Date: 2015.04.09 | Category: General, Guest Post, Tips and Tricks | Response: 0

    This post is a reference to one of our member blogs at rabbiteyefarm.com in West Point.   You may have heard Paul talk about sizing up a good swarm and the difference between what a large swarm and a small swarm look like.  This post appears on member Doug R.’s blog for his Pick & Pay Blueberry Farm called RabbitEye Farm and is quite interesting.  Here is an intro, and you can visit his site by clicking the read more link.  Thanks Doug!

    … is that a 1-Cat or a 2-Cat Swarm?

     

    One Cat Swarm?Swarm season can be an exciting time of year if you are adept at catching bees.  We’ve seen and captured a lot of swarms over the years… some with quite a bit of effort… and some with unsatisfactory results.  So far this year, we have had the easiest time yet.  Here are three different 2015 stories and we are only one week into swarm season!

    Last year, after simultaneously getting konked on the head with a pair of limb clippers while jumping off of a 6 foot stepladder and getting rained on by angry bees, I was determined to find a better way of catching swarms.  With some research I found that bees swarm first and make a game plan second.  Seems a little risky to me, but that’s what they do.  Once they cluster on a branch they send scouts to find a suitable home.  These scouts measure the volume of a potential place and report back to the cluster.  They like the volume to be close to that of a brood chamber, which is the large wooden box at the bottom of a Langstroth hive.  See this post for hive components.  Besides measuring for volume, they tend to like places that are about 6 feet off the ground and at the edge of a wooded area.  Facing a meadow or open area is a nice touch as is an aroma of lemongrass oil.  (I’m not kidding)  They also like the potential nesting place to be dark, so a solid bottom board is a must.  They also prefer to make their honeycomb on a 45 degree angle, so placing an older frame with comb on it in the box on an angle is attractive to them.  I put a reducer at the entrance too, so the bees can be sure they can defend themselves once they move in.

    So, with this new knowledge, I put up a bait hive with the aforementioned parameters this Spring.  Our very first swarm was spotted about 30 feet in the air on a pine branch, so there was no way we could have reached it without a bucket truck.  I watched it all day… READ MORE HERE

  • A recipe for Swarm Lure

    Date: 2015.03.23 | Category: Tips and Tricks | Response: 0

    Swarm LureIts SWARM TIME again.  There are many ways to catch a swarm, but the easiest is to use a bait hive.  Paul, our president attended the recent GBA meeting and asked if he might share this recipe for “swarm lure”.  The recipe was discussed in a session about wax that was given by Linda Tillman.  Here is her response with the recipe and a link to some photos.

    Hi Paul,
    Of course, I’m glad to share.  Here’s a slideshow of how to do it:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/116748370159747164350/albums/5172532229454679521?banner=pwa
    (If you play the slideshow, there are captions under each slide.  **To play the slideshow – go to the link, then click the downward facing arrow in the upper right of that page.  You will see the option for slideshow there.)

    A square inch of beeswax
    melted with 1/4 cup olive oil
    Add 15 – 20 drops of lemongrass oil.

    This solidifies and you can smear it quite easily.  I put it around the hole in the inner cover; on top of some of the frames, just under the entry opening.

    It’s not my recipe – some guy in Italy, I believe, posted it as a comment to one of my posts on my blog.  It’s good for one season.  Next season the lemongrass oil loses its effectiveness and you have to remake it.
    -Linda

  • Gearing Up for the 2015 Season

    Date: 2015.02.10 | Category: Tips and Tricks | Response: 0

    MeetingOur February 9th , 2015 CVBA meeting was well attended.  About seventy members were present.  Paul, our president, demonstrated a few feeding techniques he has developed.  He brought in a modified turkey fryer that is just the right size for his bee yard’s needs.  He also brought in items to show how he mixes and transports his rather large amount of syrup to his bee yard.  Seeing the equipment and hearing his routine made it easy to comprehend what we should be doing in our own bee yards.

    We discussed feeding, which everyone in our area should probably be doing.  Paul talked about when and why his ratio of sugar to water changes.  In the late fall, bees need to put up honey to consume during the winter so if you need to feed, this is when the ratio should be 2 sugar : 1 water in whatever measurement you want to use.  It could be 2 pounds of sugar : 1 pound of water; or it could be 2 cups sugar : 1 cup water.  This ratio changes in the Spring to a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water.  There is less sugar in this mixture because of what the bees are doing with it.  In the fall, they are converting the sugar water to honey to consume later, as opposed to Spring when they are simply consuming the sugar water.

    Jim, our vice-president, demonstrated several key pieces of equipment, which he also brought to show.  He had many tips and some easy uses of everyday items that are quite handy to know.  These are things that he has developed and uses personally.  Many items and tools can be made from modifying something you already own but some are best to get right from the beginning – like a hive tool.  It’s your own preference.  You can use a screwdriver rather than a hive tool to open your hives, but you will damage the wood and soon need to buy new bee boxes.

    Package bees are just about sold out, if you hurry, you can get on the list.  Contact Jim Ellis for this.  There are a few nucs left, contact Jim Hunsinger if you are interested in getting nucs.

    Beekeeping is not learned from books or online… It’s by experience and mentorship.  Joining CVBA and attending the workshops is your first step in learning about honeybees.  Our Spring course will begin February 21st.  CLICK HERE to find out more.

HELP! Swarms & Bee Rescue

Announcements

BECOME A MEMBER!
PRINT out an APPLICATION HERE
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Here is a handy link:
QUICK LINK TO SWARM LURE RECIPE!!!

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MEETING LOCATIONS:
(see below for specifics about our alternating locations)
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LOOKING AHEAD-MEETINGS IN 2017:
July 10 – Ga. Extension Service
August 14 – Oxbow
September 10 – CVBA Picnic at Betty Beegle’s Farm
October 9 – Ga. Extension Service
November 13 – Oxbow
December 11 – CVBA Christmas Social at Ga. Extension Office
All dates except the picnic begin at 6PM and end (hopefully) before 8PM.

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FYI:
All of our meetings are on the second Monday of the month, except, of course, September’s annual picnic. Now you can put us on your calendar early and plan out your entire year of beekeeping meetings. These meetings alternate locations between Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, 3535 South Lumpkin Rd., Columbus, GA and the UGA Cooperative Extension office – 420 10th Street in Columbus, GA. Time is 6:00 PM
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Becoming a member of our Beekeepers Association is easy! CVBA-MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION

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