Ken’s Court

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Ken Record

Ken Record along with his son, Gerald, rule over a castle of prolific Queen bees.

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Jerry working the bees with Kenny

Jokingly touted as the “King of Queens” by a fellow club member, Ken Record gave a detailed and informative demonstration on how he produces Queen bees that lay beautifully patterned and full brood frames.

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Jerry with a full frame and both sides too!

Counting days till hatch is precise work. Jerry was quick to point out his father’s miscount as he found one queen on the run across the castle frame. She had hatched that very day.

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Queen Castle frame with one queen bee on the loose

Ken and Jerry work well together and are an invaluable source of honey bee information for our club.

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Lynwood, Chris and Paul
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Ken and Leroy
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Henry and Wally

 

Running with two queens

Former Maine State Bee Inspector, Paul Szott, presented his own twist on an older practice of managing two queen bees in one hive.

I was aware that this can happen, rarely, in nature. Two queens bees existing in a single hive is not the norm, but it can have many
benefits.

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Paul Szott

An ever continuing student of beekeeping, Paul Szott has studied the methods used for managing two queens in a single hive. As with most alterations to the bees normal situation, running a hive with two queens does demand more attention. It does not, however
require the bees to change their behavior, but rather relies on their ancient behavior to react to their altered environment.

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Andrew Szott with his father Paul

Without going into all the details of the methods that Paul explained to his audience,  it can be said that some bees from the same hive are to be separated or excluded  from their queen for some time in order for them to create a new queen. This can be done with stacked boxes or a two tiered method.

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another way to stack hive bodies while running with two queens

Interesting facts worth mentioning are:

• Sister queens seem to accept each others close proximity more readily.

• Two queens in one townhouse style hive produce more brood and therefor more honey.

• Young bees and small clusters starting out do better in warmer hives surrounded by other bees.

• When you want to split the “two queen hive”, you will be splitting a hive that is already established giving it a better chance of success.

In my opinion, if there is one reason you should consider trying the two queen hive, it would be the last fact mentioned. Splitting hives successfully in Maine or any location that has a cold season the bees are coming out of prior to their natural swarming depends on timing. If you split too soon, they are weak, hungry with cool conditions, late pollen and limited food. If you split too late, they are already
swarming.  At that point you should just split using a swarm cell – not a bad choice, but you risk loosing bees.

Any walk away split takes a whole lotta time, making the queen,
getting her mated and laying and waiting for brood to hatch. That is a small hive for a long time waiting for reinforcements. And they may not make a queen or the queen may not make it back to lay.

The two queen hive split is already up and running. They are strong enough to last through a Maine winter.

 

Dealing with mold

The following is offered by George and Harriet Robinson. It is their first hand advice on how to deal with mold on frames.

The honey frames from our dead hives were moldy.

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Harriet wipes the foundation and frames with a solution of water and bleach

Although the bees can clean them up to eat the honey if we give these frames to another hive, Carol Cotrill recommended killing the mold by wiping it with a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach (I used 3 cups of warm water with 1/3 cup bleach).

 

IMG_0810We spaced the frames out into hives with 5 or 6 frames in a box so there would be plenty of air circulation and put them all outside in the air and sun on an above freezing sunny day (Feb 2).

 

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George Robinson

We then moved the boxes back under cover. Hopefully we can split our remaining hives this spring and have lots of honey to put with them. We may use some as spring feed, too.

 

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a dead cluster on the moldy capped honey

We won’t use the moldy frames as winter feed since cleaning off the mold isn’t something we want our winter bees to have to do.

Honey bee club at the Waterford Worlds Fair

The Oxford Hills Honeybee Club participated in the 2015 Waterford Worlds Fair.

Eight club members helped share their knowledge, spread the news of honeybee clubs and sell some delicious honey.

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Carol Cottrill added her personal touch
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Ken Record’s observation hive was a hit
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All the club honey extracted on July 10th sold out fast
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Club President, Kevin Farr, informs the curious.

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Thanks to Carol Cottrill, Ken Record, Paul Szott, Wally Frank, Kevin Farr, Paula and Cristopher Easton and John Sinkler for making this possible. We hope to make this an annual event for our club.

Spinning out honey

We angered the bees who occupy the club hive with a bit of menthol smoke on a warm day. A small amount of honey was removed for extracting.

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A veil was necessary this day as the bees were head hunting
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Kevin, club president, pulls out a frame of honey

 

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best to stand to the side of the active hive
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Members look on as it was difficult to determine a safe distance from the bees this day

 

 

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Wally Frank removes the wax cap pings with a scratcherIMG_0581
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Jim Quinn tries his hand at spinning out the honey

 

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Chris Easton and Paul Szott enjoy the beautiful day