CONTROLING BEES IN YOUR
By Gil Pedersen
If you answered yes to one
of these questions, keep reading.
- Do you have more bees
flying in your extracting room than in your yards?
- Do customers stay away
from your honey house because they are afraid of getting stung?
- Do you despair over the
amount of honey the bees in your honey house could produce, but don't?
- Does your extracting
crew secretly wish they could wear veils inside (or maybe they are)?
Controlling the bees in your
honey house is important. It improves your public image, your staff
recruitment and your bottom line. Large number of bees flying around
your honey house gives a negative impression of the industry to the general
public. All the promotion we do will never overcome the sight of dozens
of bees swimming in the honey, a few spots on hands, faces or clothing, or
a sting or two while they visit your honey house. Recruiting staff is
easier if they believe the extracting room is for them and not for storing
all of your bees. Each bee you bring into your honey house reduces honey
production. Reduced honey production reduces your net income.
Therefore, it makes sense to leave your bees out in the yards or take them
back out to the yards.
Here's some quick tips
you can use to control bees in your honey house:
Controlling the bees in your
honey house is easy and you will reap the benefits. Your bees will be
flying in your yards rather than in your honey house. Your customers
will flock to see you extract their honey. The bees will produce honey.
And finally your crew will be having fun and extracting honey rather than
- Leave brood in the
hive. If you are bringing in brood along with your honey the battle
is lost. I strongly recommend excluders, but if you have another method
that works, that's fine. If you do bring some brood in take those combs outside
to the hive described in point # 4.
- Leave the bees in
the yard. Remember bees and brood are more productive in the hive
than in the honey house. Whether you use tip off, repellents,
or blowers, make sure that you aren't bringing in large clusters of bees.
- Design the hot room.
There should be enough windows so you never have to turn on lights except
The windows should be away from doors or traffic areas. Bees are light
positive, and will leave the supers (providing there isn't brood or enough
bees to make a viable cluster) and congregate on the windows.
- Start a hive outside.
At the beginning of each extracting season, we start a hive beside our honey
house from a five frame nuc. When it is overflowing with bees we move
it to a yard and replace it with another. Three or four hives over
the season are started this way.
- Remove bees from the
windows. We mounted two large shelf brackets above the top east
corner of each window (our hot room has two large windows at the south end.
The bees cluster at the top east corner with 70% to 80% on the east window.
This is consistent year after year) where we can set a five frame nuc without
a bottom board. We hang a caged queen between the combs inside the nuc.
The bees go up into the nuc and every few days we take the nucs outside and
empty them into the hive outside.
- Brush bees outside.
Bees that stay clustered in the supers and come into the extracting room are
taken outside and brushed into the hive.
- Have window in extracting
room. It has to be big enough to attract the few bees that do take
wing in the extracting room. These can be removed on a regular basis
to the hive outside.
Published in the S.B.A.
Revised: February 12, 2015.
Copyright © 2002 Pedersen Apiaries. All
Original Design & Graphics by Karen Pedersen
Photographic images are under copyright and used
with permission of John Pedersen