Category Archives: Beginning Beekeeping

A beekeeper asks: New hive, when to install a second box and honey super? Do I keep feeding? Medications?

I installed my package last week. I have just one deep hive with a top feeder. When do I put on more hive sections and supers? Do I keep feeding? Do I need to medicate?

Let them draw out about 7-8 frames in the first deep brood box, then add the 2nd brood box. After they draw out 7-8 frames in the second brood box you can add a honey super.

See my earlier posts on medicating & feeding. I do recommend the feeding of ½ gallon to 1 gallon of sugar syrup containing the antibiotic fumagillin. I recommend no other medications at this time. I’ll discuss other disease and pest issues in future posts.

Keep feeding as long as they will take syrup while drawing out the brood frames. However, I’m finding they are not taking syrup as readily as in past years due to the VERY strong nectar flow we are having.

But once you add a honey super you must stop feeding sugar syrup. You only want pure nectar in the honey super frames; sugar syrup does not become honey.

An early spring hive inspection. Here are my observations.

Though it is still the end of February, what with temperatures above 60°F and the sunny weather we have been experiencing this week here in Central Kentucky , I decided it was time to open my hives, remove frames, and actually see what was going on inside. What did I want to see on the frames and what were my concerns? I was looking for brood, food and bees.

First, I checked for brood, both larvae (uncapped brood) and pupae (capped brood). Due to the time of year, the nice weather, and the pollen I’ve been seeing  carried into the hive, I expected my colonies to be rearing brood. I was correct in this, and saw at least 2-3 frames of brood in all the hives (with one exception). This tells me that the spring buildup (increased population) is starting in my hives and progressing normally.

I was also concerned about food stores, both honey and pollen. This time of year I would like to see at least Continue reading

Beekeeping education

The need for continued beekeeping education cannot be over stressed. I always tell those interested in beekeeping that taking care of honey bees is an entirely different type of animal husbandry. If we really think about it -really think about it – keeping an insect as a domesticated animal – though they are not actually domesticated – is downright strange.

Other livestock, such as horses, cows, goats, and pigs, are mammals. With mammals, we can look for some of the same symptoms that we look for in ourselves or our children when ill. For example, I have an old dog who is always underfoot in our house. Even though she can’t speak to tell me when something is wrong, her behavior communicates a great deal. Does she have a good appetite, or is she suddenly leaving food in her bowl? Is she active (at least as active as a 17 year old dog can be), or does she seem uninterested when I say the magic word? (The magic word is outside.) My wife thinks it’s gross, but I note her bowel movements. Do the feces look normal? These symptomatic behaviors strike a familiar chord. Continue reading