Home Queens Honey Production Employment Contact Us Research & Publications Tours Items For Sale Links FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


The answers and information listed here is what we have learned after observing our bees for many years within the environment that we live in with our beekeeping practices.   Everyone knows that genetics, environment and treatment changes animal behaviour in people, pets and livestock.  The same can be said about bees.  

For example, most times we can work our bees without a veil on, but there are a few specific hive locations in our beeyards that no matter how many times we change the genetics of that hive, the hive is still cranky. Most likely the environment is affecting them, whether it is wind or something else.  Likewise, when we use that same gentle genetic stock for cell builder hives they also become nasty because we are going into them several times a week. Those hives are reacting to how we are treating them.  

So, read the information here, read other information elsewhere, but remember to always read your bees and act appropriately.  They have their own personality and may not have read the same information that you have.

For the Public
  1. Do you get stung?
  2. I have a bee problem.  Can you help?
  3. Why is my honey that colour?  Why did it crystalize or go hard?  Has it gone bad when it solidifies?
  4. Can honey go bad?  What can I do with fermented honey?
Beginning beekeeping
  1. I want to start beekeeping.  What do you recommend as a way to get started?
  2. Who from or where should I get bees?
  3. My neighbour has old bee equipment in his barn.  He's willing to give it to me or sell me it for a really good deal.  Should I get it?
Obtaining Bee Stock
  1. What is the difference between nucs and packages?
  2. Do you supply bees?
  3. How can I get your stock if I can't get nucs?
  4. Why didn't you supply queens before the first Monday in July?
Queens
  1. What are the signs of a queenless/not queen right hive? 
  2. How should I introduce a queen?
  3. Do you use cages to introduce a queen?
  4. How and when do you make your splits?
Overwintering hives
  1. How do you overwinter your hives?
  2. Can I overwinter my hive on a screened bottom board?
  3. Do you cover the whole hive with snow?  How do the bees get in and out?
  4. Why did my hive die?
  5. When should I unwrap my hives?
  6. Should I have a top entrance?
Singles vs. Doubles
  1. Is there enough space in a single for a queen to lay eggs?
  2. What is the difference between running a single vs. a double?
Beekeeping Techniques
  1. What is the best method to strip honey from a hive?
  2. How much honey will a hive produce?
  3. How do you get the bees to go through a queen excluder?  I've heard some people call them a honey excluder.
Alternative Beekeeping
  1. What do you know about top bar hives?
  2. What do you think of the flow hive?
  3. Isn't the perfect natural hive for honeybees a hollowed out tree?  If I change the type of hive shape, won't that help the bees?
  4. I want to save the bees.  I can just keep a hive and let them swarm right?
1. Do you get stung?

Yes, we get stung.  We have gotten stung enough times that our bodies don't tend to react much anymore.  It still hurts, but it doesn't keep hurting as long as a paper cut or a muscle cramp.

In a honeybee hive, bees have different jobs.  The guard bees are charged with defending a hive and are interested in threats to the hive.  They are at the entrances of hives protecting them.  Bees that are out, away from the hives, collecting nectar, pollen or water have nothing to protect and are therefore not particularly interested in you except to check out if you are a flower or source of water.  However, if you start swatting at them and trying to kill them and they can smell the fear on you, you quickly become a threat.  If they are going to die, they might as well go out with a bang.  Just as dogs, horses and other animals will react to someone who fears them or starts to hit them, so will bees.  Put your hands in your pockets and walk calmly away or walk into bushy trees/shrubs so that the bee is distracted by other things.  If you do get stung, swelling connected to the sting site is normal.  You should be concerned if swelling happens not connected to the site (so you get stung on the finger and your neck swells rather than your finger, hand and arm), your reaction is unusual like getting hives on your skin or breathing difficulties.

top

2. I have a bee problem.  Can you help?

Is it honeybees?  Take a picture and compare it to Wikipedia.  Honeybees are our only department.

What does the colony look like?  If it looks like a grey paperlike ball, it's not honeybees.  If it looks like a brown ball of bees, a beekeeper could collect the swarm.  If all you see is the hole that the bees are going in and out of the wall you need to know that the colony is not necessarily that close to the entrance.  While I can tear a wall apart looking for bees, it is not my department to rebuild the wall.

Are you within range of our bees?  Send a couple of pictures of the bees and swarm to us so that we know they are honeybees and know what kind of equipment we need to collect them.  Then call us to make sure that the message came through and so that we can discuss a collection plan.

Are you sure that the bees are actually a problem?  If you truly do want to get rid of them.  Spraying them with a little dish soap in water in a handsprayer will kill them.  You cannot seal a colony into a cavity.  They will chew their way out.  However, you can seal a colony out of a cavity.  So, if a colony dies for some reason, for example in the winter, you should seal the cavity so that another colony cannot move in.

top

3. Why is my honey that colour?  Why did it crystalize or go hard?  Has it gone bad when it solidifies?

Every different flower with their different nectars yields different honeys.  The differences will show up in taste, colour and crystallizing properties.  Saskatchewan is an area where most of the honey is relatively white, mild in flavor and crystallizes quickly.  When I worked in the tropics, their honey tended to be dark, strong flavoured and didn’t crystallize quickly.  There are areas that get both types or golden coloured honey which can be a mixture of dark and light honey or another flower all together.  Colour grading tools for honey range all the way from chocolate brown to water white.  There’s that much natural variety in honey.  Often you can identify the flower that the honey comes from because it tastes much like the flower smells. Likewise, honey can range from staying liquid for years to crystallizes rock hard in weeks or days.  Either is still normal or natural. 

With the exception of expensive testing, the only way that you can know whether the honey is honey or adulterated (different types of syrup labeled as honey to get a higher price) is to know the beekeeper or supplier and to know the local characteristics of the honey or to know the local flowers that produce nectar. For example, in our area canola is the dominant flower with alfalfa and sweet clover honey being the next most common.  Canola produces a white honey that crystallizes quickly and has a stronger flavor than say alfalfa or sweet clover honey.  We try to pack sweet clover and alfalfa honey rather than canola honey because it is milder in flavor and tends to be more spreadable even without processing it for creamed honey. So, if I see a jar of liquid honey that is labelled as unprocessed or raw honey, I’m suspicious. Local honey that doesn’t crystallize has either been heated to get rid of the crystals or it isn’t local honey.  Honey from this area will still eventually crystallize even if it was flash heated to get rid of the crystals.  Creamed honey is made by mixing very fine honey crystals into the honey so that the honey crystallizes with fine crystals rather than coarse ones, making it a creamy spreadable texture.  If I was in the tropics, a light coloured honey would raise a red flag for me which would explain why a lot of new immigrants question whether our white honey is just syrup.  Another red flag is when honey is marketed as coming from plants that don’t yield honey like Spruce or Corn.  BeeMaid is a beekeeper cooperative that markets honey for western Canadian beekeepers.  It is the store honey that I recommend because it is beekeepers trying to market their honey rather than a processer trying to obtain the highest profit margin no matter what they are selling.

top

 4. Can honey go bad?  What can I do with fermented honey?

Honey is hydroscopic.  That means it absorbs moisture from the air around it.  If the percentage of moisture in the honey rises above 18% it has the potential to ferment.  You can prevent this by keeping your honey container closed so that it can’t pick up extra moisture from the air and by storing it in a cool dry place.  Honey can last and be good for years and even decades if it remains dry.

However, if the honey does start to ferment it will have a slightly different flavor than what you might be used to. Eventually, fermenting honey will start to bubble and smell like other fermenting foods. I do all of my baking with honey.  If I do happen to get some that has started to ferment, I use it in bread or other baking.  Obviously, you could also use it to make mead.  Fermented honey isn’t bad, if what you mean by bad is that it will make you sick.  It just doesn’t taste like what honey should taste like.  Honey that has access to moisture and high temperatures will start to ferment and will eventually mold if it is left long enough.  Long before that point, any person can tell that it is not honey.

top

5.  I want to start beekeeping.  What do you recommend as a way to get started?

Start small and get your feet wet first.  Take the Beginner Beekeeping Course and/or go visit a beekeeper who is willing to host you.  See if you REALLY want to do it.  Think about how much money and time you want to invest. Read a lot of local beekeeping information (Beekeeping for Beginners: Photo Guide, Beekeeping for Beginners: Planning Guide) and talk to local beekeepers.  It is not the same keeping bees in Saskatchewan as in the United States or other parts of Canada. For example, some articles I have seen circulated recommend that you not take honey from a hive the first year.  To follow that advice in Saskatchewan would mean that you would potentially kill your hive because it would swarm, perhaps multiple times.   A good rule of thumb is to look to similar climates where you would get gardening advice for Saskatchewan as a source of beekeeping advice.  If you think you still want to become a beekeeper, start with one or two hives.  Two hives gives you the ability to steal from the good one to fix the other if something goes wrong. Buy new standard equipment or make sure the equipment has been used recently and has been inspected by the official bee inspector in your area. Ask to see the certificate of inspection that they are required to get before they sell the equipment.  I've known hobby beekeepers that have bought equipment from a local beekeeper that was retiring or getting out.  Often, they received AFB (American Foul Brood) at no extra cost.  You don't want the experience to end badly before it even starts. Standard equipment is easy to get and resell as opposed to special equipment.  Pay attention to your bees.  Neither your neighbours nor your local beekeepers will appreciate it if your hives start swarming or spreading diseases because you weren't paying attention.  As you learn what to do, grow gradually.  Look at the powerpoint presentation that we did to share our lessons learned. Have fun!  Bees are addicting and fascinating.  Beware that you might get hooked!

top

6.  Who from or where should I get bees?

If you can't source local bees, buy inspected disease free bees and replace the queen with a local queen so that within about 6 weeks you have local bees.

top

7.  My neighbour has old bee equipment in his barn.  He's willing to give it to me or sell me it for a really good deal.  Should I get it?

No.  You are risking getting American Foulbrood (AFB).  In the course of conversations, many people have told me about getting that good deal and then having to burn both that old equipment and their new equipment because it was infected.  Bees also do not like to work old comb.  They will chew it out and replace it with new wax expending more energy than just starting with new equipment.  If you get offered old equipment from a barn, obtain it and burn it so that no one else can access it either.

top

8.  What is the difference between nucs and packages?

A nuc (short for nucleus hive) is a small colony of bees usually on 3 - 6 drawn combs.  The queen is already laying and there is a few combs of brood already.  A nuc is sourced locally as they cannot be mailed.  Ask whether it is a local or foreign queen.  They are typically more expensive than packages because they are already significantly farther advanced than a package and it includes some equipment (some drawn combs).  Make sure they have a valid current inspection certificate so that you are not buying diseases for no extra cost.  All nucs are not created equal - reputation is an important guiding post in the sourcing of nucs.

A package of bees is usually 2-3 lbs of bees with a queen.  When they are received, the bees and queen must be put into equipment to start them.  The population of the colony will continue to drop for weeks because the queen does not start laying immediately and it is only when those new bees hatch that the population starts to grow.  Typically, they arrive earlier in the spring from offshore (New Zealand, Australia or Chile).  They have been inspected before they come into the country.  They must be fed.  My experience with packages is extremely limited, but we did get packages in 2019

top

9. Do you supply bees?

No we do not.

top

10.  How can I get your stock if I can't get nucs?

After many years, we have decided not to sell bees or queens.  Therefore, the only way is getting a queen from someone else who bought our stock before.

top

11.  Why didn't you supply queens before the first Monday in July?

We control both the maternal and paternal lines of our breeding.  It takes about 35-40 days for drones to get from egg laid until sexually mature.  Each queen should mate with up to 40 drones.  That means that we must flood the area with sexually mature drones during good weather to get properly mated queens.  Then research indicates that a queen should be left to lay for a while before putting her in a cage.  Saskatchewan springs are difficult to predict when they will arrive.  There would be no point in raising queens, if we didn't allow 1 month for drones to mature and another month for queens to get mated and start laying.  It is safe to predict that queens will start laying drones by the end of April, but in this part of Saskatchewan, it would be irresponsible for me to assume they would start laying them before that.  It would be possible, but not probable.  Therefore, we know that we would have well mated queens in July, but it is a gamble with Mother Nature to promise them before that.

top

12. What are the signs of a queenless/not queen right hive?

Beekeeping is an art as much as a science.  The following are signs that a hive is queenless, but depending on the time of year or beekeeper behaviour they could also indicate something else.

top

13. How should I introduce a queen? top

14.  Do you use cages to introduce a queen?

We have used and continue to use depending on the situation:
  • JZ-BZ cages with candy
  • hardware cages with marshmallows
  • push-in cages with brood that allow the queen to keep laying
  • newspaper

top

15.
How and when do you make your splits?

As a cautionary note, we are experienced beekeepers in a relatively isolated area.  We are constantly inspecting for contagious bee diseases and can recognize them at low levels.  We treat our whole operation as a unit and therefore, mix bees and brood often to make queens and new hives.  If you are not able to recognize diseases without help and are not in an isolated area, we do not recommend following this method.  Learn the trade first.

We don't ever make splits. We use the income tax method of making new hives, skim from the strong without weakening them.  Once we have queens, so July or maybe June and into August, we start pulling one or two combs of capped brood from strong hives every few weeks.  It is a method of swarm prevention that never weakens our hives.  Then we use those combs of capped brood to make new nucs or hives.  The number of combs that we use to start a nuc or a hive depends on how late in the season it is.  A hive or nuc started in June or July should both produce honey and be strong enough to rob brood from in a month.  Note: If you have American Foul Brood (AFB) spores in just one hive, this will contaminate the whole operation very quickly.

We also will cannibalize the brood from the weak hives, the "dinks", once we have queens.  Boosting weak hives is a waste of time because a weak hive is usually the sign of a poor queen in our operation.  We will kill those queens and use that brood to start nucs or hives as well.  Note:  Weak hives could also be the sign of AFB, Varroa or another disease.  This too would quickly contaminate the whole operation.


top

16.  How do you overwinter your hives?

Outside in singles, 5 frame nucs and mating nuc hives.  See the following articles for more information:

top

17.  Can I overwinter my hive on a screened bottom board?

We do.  We slide a piece of coraplast in to block the wind from blowing in the screened bottom board.  Our hives are on a 4 foot pallet and wrapped for the winter.  They are also covered with snow as soon as we have enough.  We find that the screened bottom board helps regulate moisture in the hive so that there isn't as much mould in the spring.

top

 18. Do you cover the whole hive with snow?  How do the bees get in and out?

Yes, we cover the whole hive with snow including the entrances as soon as we have enough snow.  We have been doing this since the early 1990’s.  We use a push blade on the tractor and snow shovels.  The bees generate enough heat that they will melt back a little cavity under the snow so that the hives look like they are in a little igloo.  The bees can still fly out into that cavity to both defecate and die.  As we get more snow we will go back out and cover the holes (we call them chimneys) that they melt out from under the snow.  Every year we put up more snow fence attached to our bear fences around the beeyards to catch the snow.

We have found that the best overwintered hives are those that get covered with a snow drift.  Snow acts as an insulator, both protecting them from the cold and protecting them from early warming spells.  Early on, we learned that one of the risks of wintering bees in Saskatchewan is an early warm spell followed by a cold snap.  A warm spell can stimulate the bees to start brooding because they think it’s spring.  However, when winter returns, they cannot keep the brood warm and use up their nearby resources trying. They will still have feed in the hive that they could not access because it was too far away from the brood.

Disadvantages: 

In   In the spring, all of the bees that flew out of the hive to die during the winter will be in front of the hive in the little cavity rather than spread out around the surrounding landscape.  That large pile of dead bees can scare even the most experienced beekeeper. 

Most years we also have to clean the snow off of hives in the spring because we collected so much around the hives that it does not melt quickly in the spring.  We use a snowblower and shovels to do this.

top

19. Why did my hive die?

Spring autopsy of dead hives:

Flow Chart

top

20. When should I unwrap my hives?

We don't take the insulation off of our houses in the summer.  The reason that we take the wraps off of the hives for the summer is that they get in our way, not because they harm the bees.  Do not take the wraps off of your hives until the nights have warmed up.  Otherwise, you risk setting the bees back by chilling the brood.  Our rule of thumb is usually around the end of May or when we need to add honey supers, whichever comes first.

top

21. Should I have a top entrance?

Bees store pollen as close to any entrance that they have.  They also tend not to store honey that close to entrances. (Honey is easy to rob and pollen is not.)  If you have a top entrance at the top of your hive (in the honey supers), they will store pollen where the entrance is.  If that is above a queen excluder, that pollen will never get used because the queen will not lay eggs next to that pollen.  Therefore, you will be carrying around pollen as dead weight in your honey supers and the bees will be wasting energy storing pollen that does not get used.  If you have no queen excluder, the queen will move up to lay eggs in your honey supers next to the pollen.  Then you risk taking your queen when you strip honey or you might lose brood while you strip honey.  We do not have a top entrance above a queen excluder.  You can make up your own mind. During the winter, a top entrance is important.

top

22. Is there enough space in a single for a queen to lay eggs?

A standard comb is approximately 78 worker cells wide by 42 worker cells deep on each side of the comb.  In our singles we have 9 combs.

78 cells x 42 cells x 2 sides x 9 combs = 58968 cells

Each new worker occupies a cell 21 days from the day that the egg is laid until the adult hatches.

58968 cells / 21 days = 2808

A queen would need to lay 2808 eggs per day to fill up a 9 frame single with brood.  We now use a 10 frame single.  While she might be able to do that for a very short time, she cannot sustain that.  So, yes there is enough room for a queen to lay eggs.

However, there is never enough room for large patches of drone cell.  Nor during the summer is there room to store excess unused crystallized honey.

top

23. What is the difference between running a single versus a double?

First of all a single is when you only give the queen 1 standard sized brood box to lay in all year round versus a double is having 2 standard sized brood boxes/hive. 

Here is a link to a powerpoint presentation that I did for the Regina Bee Club about the difference or you can read about the small experiment that we did comparing them.

top

24.  What is the best method to strip honey from a hive?

That depends.  We use each of bee escapes, bee blowing, tip off and brushing combs depending on the situation.  We use bee escapes most often, but we use blowing to empty the bee collection boxes from our warm room.  We also sometimes use tip off or brushing to strip honey from our queen mating nucs or cell builder hives.  I'll give you the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can make up your own mind.  (I'm not qualified to evaluate fume boards.  I have only used them once when I was helping another beekeeper.  That particular day, we finally started brushing off each comb because brushing was quicker than the fume board.)



Advantages
Disadvantages
Bee Escapes
  • can be used with a mechanical lift so that it requires less muscle
  • don't have to break wax and honey between supers, so less messy
  • can be used on a cold day and still works
  • does not promote robbing while stripping so you can strip as many hives as possible
  • no confused bees
  • quick
  • requires a mechanical lift if you are not going to break the supers apart
  • need to be able to get mechanical lift into the spot
  • honey supers will be robbed out if there are any cracks or holes that the bees can get through from the outside to the honey supers
  • requires 2 trips to the yard to put on the escapes and then to pick up the honey
  • will not work if there is brood in the honey supers
Bee Blowing
  • removes all the bees from the combs
  • works when there is brood in the honey supers
  • if stripping close to an electrical outlet, can use an air compressor
  • can strip the honey in one trip providing it isn't robbing season and there aren't too many hives in the yard
  • makes more of a mess because the honey supers must be broken apart separating the honey and wax between the combs
  • requires more muscle to break each super apart
  • loud
  • takes a long time
  • tends to encourage robbing
  • cannot be done in cold weather
Tip off
  • doesn't require any extra equipment
  • quick
  • makes more of a mess because the honey supers must be broken apart separating the honey and wax between the combs
  • requires more muscle to break each super apart
  • requires 2 trips to the yard to pick up the honey
  • cannot be used during robbing season
  • will often result in confused bees congregating on a few stacks that may still have to be blown off
  • will not work if there is brood in the honey supers
Brushing combs
  • can be done with very little extra equipment - only a bee brush
  • works when there is brood in the honey supers
  • can be done during robbing season
  • can strip the honey in one trip providing it isn't robbing season and there aren't too many hives in the yard
  • makes more of a mess because the honey supers and combs must be broken apart separating the honey and wax between the combs
  • requires more muscle to break each super apart
  • takes the longest amount of time
  • tends to encourage robbing
  • cannot be done in cold weather
top

25.  How much honey will a hive produce?

That depends on the location, the climate and the impact of the beekeeper.  In Saskatchewan the average amount of honey produced per hive is 200 pounds or 90 kg.  Obviously, that depends on the climate.  In 2019, it rained on and off during most of the canola blooming season.  We produced about 50% of our average crop.  However, if you look at the experiment on package hives vs. overwintered hives you can also see that it depends on the stock of the bee.  Additionally, the beekeeper can impact that number significantly. I knew a beginner beekeeper that got 200 lbs or 90 kgs out of his hives the first year he got his packages even though he was drawing wax that year too.  I also knew a long-time beekeeper in this area that rarely could produce a honey crop because every year he split his hives so much to make up for winter losses, that his hives were too weak to produce a crop or to the survive the winter and he repeated the same process every year.  So, in our area a hive can produce as little as nothing if the beekeeper is particularly invasive up to 700 lbs or 320 kgs.  Probably, it is safe to assume that your hive will produce near the average of 200lbs or 90 kgs/hive.

top

        26. How do you get the bees to go through a queen excluder?  I’ve heard some people call them honey excluder.

Two experiments we did shed light on that question even though at the time that wasn’t what we were specifically comparing.  Singles vs. doubles and package bees vs. overwintered colonies.The overall conclusion from these two experiments is that the problem does not lie with the queen excluder, but rather the stock and the size of the brood chamber.

top

27.  What do you know about top bar hives?

You have hit on an area of knowledge that I have read about but don't understand.  I don't understand how to get bees for them.  Because they are not standard, you can't get a nuc to transfer into them. Because it takes about 10 lbs of honey to make one pound of wax and packages come in too early in our season to successfully get the bees to draw the wax (which they have to before they can make new bees), I don't know how you get bees for them.  They were designed for Africa where they could easily catch a swarm because of the race of bees. 

I don't understand how you can get the bees to stop making drone comb on a top bar hive.  Every time we stick an empty frame into a hive either by design or accident they draw it to drone comb.  That works great for us because we then use that as a way to catch varroa mites.  We stick an empty frame in.  They draw it to drone. We pull it out before the drones hatch so that we can destroy the mites. Drone cell is a mite producing factory, and I don't want that.  But, I don't understand how you stop it in a top bar hive.  And therefore, I don't understand how to get them to live through the winter with all the mites.

How do you get the combs out to inspect them?  I've never seen a hive yet that doesn't build bridge comb.  How do you cut the bridge comb and get the comb out without tearing it to pieces.  It's hard enough when the combs have a wooden frame holding the wax together.

I don't understand how you stop the wax from bending over, particularly on a warm day and falling off the frame when you inspect the combs.  I've had that happen when I've been dealing with swarms and I don't know how to stop it then and I don't know how you would stop it in a top bar hive.

How do you separate the honey from the brood without injuring the queen or disturbing the hive?  Again this is based on me not have been able to figure that out in swarms either.

How do you get them big enough to deal with the amount of honey that a Saskatchewan hive produces?

Why can't I just replace the foundation in my frames regularly to ensure that I don't have residues in the wax?

I've heard that bees ideal home is in a hollowed out tree.  Perhaps it is because honeybees are not native to Saskatchewan that I don't believe it.  Bees will swarm into any shaped cavity that they can find including an old car body, the wall or ceiling of a shed or house, or an attic.  They don't care if it has rounded edges.  I have never seen bees in a hollowed out tree, probably because there aren't very many large trees around.  Therefore, I follow the actions of the bees in believing that any old shape will do, as long as there is enough space and standard Langstroph hives sure do make it easier for me to strip honey than any other designed hive that I've seen.  I just don't understand the benefit of a top bar hive. 

So, I'm sorry that I have more questions and no answers, but I truly don't understand top bar hives.  I know that they were designed for Africa, a very different climate where the people were poor.  They were cheap and would allow them to keep bees with little investment.  But that is the only thing that I understand about top bar hives.

top

28.  What do you think of flow hives?


Flow hives were designed in Australia, a very different climate.  Given that a Saskatchewan hive can fill a flow hive in 24 hours with nectar, I'm not sure how you could use it in Saskatchewan without either removing nectar rather than honey or making your bees swarm.


There is a good article in the Regina Bee Club Newsletter that evaluates it.


top

     29. Isn’t the perfect natural hive for honeybees a hollowed out tree?  If I change the type of hive shape, won’t that help the bees?

Honey bees are not native to North American.  They arrived with the settlers and so no honeybee colony in North America is natural.  As a beekeeper in Saskatchewan, I’ve never seen a honey bee colony in a hollowed out tree.  I assume that is because Saskatchewan does not have big enough hollowed out trees.  When they swarm, they instead pick weird shaped cavities in walls or roofs or even cavities in vehicles.  If the bees don’t seem that concerned with picking a cavity the shape of a hollowed out tree, I’m not going to be concerned with making my hives that shape.  By using the standard Langstroth hives, I’m able to easily inspect and monitor my hives without disturbing them by breaking up their wax and honey.  Langstroth developed a cavity shape that would work for both the bees and the beekeepers by reading the bees and acting accordingly.  I now have bigger problems to solve that to try and resolve a problem that has already been solved.

top

30. 
I want to save the bees.  I can just keep a hive and let them swarm right?

Hives only successfully requeen themselves about 50% of the time.  If that weren't the case, bees would have taken over the world long ago.  If you just let your hives swarm, you are just as likely to kill them as they are to survive because of that 50% chance.  The stronger a hive is, the more bees there are pollenating.  A strong hive is achieved by properly managing your hive.  That requires time and work.  Finally, we did not get Varroa for decades because we were isolated from other beekeepers.  Even though we are close to Alberta, there were no beekeepers in between the border and our bees so Varroa did not cross that border to us.  Now, that is no longer the case.  There are so many beekeepers that you cannot keep your bees isolated.  The beekeeper who does not manage their bees, but instead just lets them swarm, spreading their diseases with them is not a friend of either the bees or the beekeepers.


top

Pedersen Apiaries Logo
Revised: January 26, 2020
Copyright 2002 Pedersen Apiaries. All rights reserved.
Original Design & Graphics by Karen Pedersen
Photographic images are under copyright and used with permission of John Pedersen or Karen Pedersen