Hive design by purpose

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In order to better explain effective wintering of bees, Lynwood Sweyt presented an example of his latest hive set up.

If experience counts, and it does, Lynwood has the numbers on his side.

It was immediately evident that Mr. Sweyt’s hive was meticulously built. Carefully placed entrance holes drilled and sanded to
specification  were able to accept plugs when not in use. The metal entrance reducer tightly fit beneath the smooth paint job he had
applied to his hive bodies.

Feeding was first addressed as Mr. Sweyt pointed out his enhanced inner cover design that allows large blocks of candied sugar to be placed as well as viewed during consumption. Lynwood believes that  ample amounts of hard candy are your best defense against starvation.

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He also believes that carefully timed and repeated mite treatment  is imperative. He demonstrates how he is able to introduce his
Heilyser vaporizer through a sliding metal gate at the entrance. Here, the oxalic acid will enter and permeate the hive while a foam blocker is held in place to keep any vapors from escaping.

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Notice that his hive is painted a dark green color to absorb the suns warmth. The hive front will remain as shown in the photo while the three remaining sides will be covered for the winter with rigid foam painted black.

Adding food stores

The club hive was checked for food (honey) stored for the upcoming winter months. It was found to have inadequate stores of the honey necessary for winter survival. Being early October, it was not too late to get some syrup (2 parts sugar one part water) fed to the bees. They will pack the empty comb in the upper boxes with this and any other food they can scavenge prior to the real cold that will be
coming in November. The rule is that you should stop feeding bees any liquid food on October 15. Bees may be able to dehydrate liquid sugar after that date, but there is a risk of adding too much humidity to the hive. With the inability for the bees to dehydrate syrup during extreme cold added to the inability to make cleansing flights, the
liquid could cause dysentery and kill the hive.

The hive should be checked again  in November.  A candy board (solid sugar) may be a necessary addition.

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Chris and Gerry open the hive
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two boxes in
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bees on frame
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but no honey
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Situation calls for immediate syrup intervention

GGHC update of volunteerism and donations

The Oxford Hills Honeybee club made a supporting monetary
contribution to the “Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities” 2016 season.

GGHC is a non-profit community based organization dedicated to  growing and distributing fresh, healthy food to the needy in the
surrounding community.

With the help of many volunteers and donations, GGHC  distributes, from it’s South Paris location, approximately 1000 lbs. of fresh
vegetables to 60 families (130 people) each week throughout the
growing season.

Many thanks to Barbara Murphy for bringing to our attention the work being done by this valuable and worthy organization.

For more information, please visit:

www.gardenersgrowinghealthycommunities.org

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Paris Garden
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Harvesting
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Boxed and ready for distribution
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Distribution day at South Paris Church         courtesy GGHC

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.