Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Article
We have some new members since last spring and we have some novices that tend to forget. In my effort to UPGRADE all beekeepers to be BETTER, and attempting to prevent some disappointment and discouragement, I thought it might be a fine idea to repeat two of the items that appeared in last year's March edition of the PINK PAGES.
Getting foundation built into DRAWN COMB and SWARM PREVENTION are surely two functions that need much explanation as well as much understanding.
I want to strongly impress on every reader that what I have written in the PINK PAGES are NOT ideas that I have developed myself, but generally are the programs that have been investigated and worked out for many recent years by bee scientists, bee researchers, and professional apiculturists. Examination of any book recently written by any number of famous beekeepers, such as Roger Morse, Mark Winston, Diana Sammataro, Dewey Caron, or both Norm Gary and John Ambrose chapters in the 1992 edition of "The Hive and Honey Bee" will demonstrate that my PINK PAGES are just my style of writing about these things with which all of these famous apian researchers agree. The definitive difference is that my PINK PAGES are related to the events in Montgomery County and the surrounding area of central Maryland.
I also want to mention that our year 2000 Short Course is almost complete, and we have had 14 very interested and hard studying adult "students" instructed by Master Beekeepers Ernie Miner, Barry Thompson, David Bernard, Nancy and Bill Troup, Bill Miller, myself, and Chief Bee Inspector Bart Smith. When you are taught by 7 Master Beekeepers + Bart, you should learn a great deal. Although not all are from Montgomery County, I have asked them to join MCBA and attend our monthly meetings.
I will not be able to attend the outside work session scheduled for Saturday, April 8th, as I have been asked to repeat as the speaker for the spring meeting of the Illinois Beekeepers in Peoria, Illinois. Since no one in their right mind can say they like my stroke disabled voice (I HATE IT), I am taking my Bee Partner, Ann Harman, with me so she can share in the program. It would not be a surprise if they asked her to come back in 2001, because she is a fine speaker and a lot better looking than me.
I have asked Bill Miller to "run" the April 12th meeting and to use the help and knowledge of our other Master Beekeepers on the broad subject of "Honey Production in central Maryland". As I have said before, come to the meetings and let us help you, or YOU help us!
When a nectar flow comes about, bees give up all thoughts of swarming and concentrate on nectar collecting. If the beekeeper has not provided enough Super space, the bees try to make storage space by building burr comb in every nook and crany, and finally stop the queen from laying eggs by fiUing empty brood cells with nectar, and they build queen cells arid all the rest of the program mentioned above anch swarm because the beekeeper was too lazy or not smart enough to provide adequate super space at the right time, WHICH WAS AT LEAST 7-10 DAYS BEFORE THE SWARM.
Some Leaders will surely say: "George is crazy, out of his mind about swarming and swarm control". If that is so, then most commercial migratory beekeepers who have 5000 colonies or 25,000 colonies moving bees all over the U. S., and the pollinators who move 1000 colonies to New Jersey one week, move them two weeks later to New York, three weeks later move them up to Maine and then back to Florida to make a crop of orange blossom honey must all be CRAZY too. BeeKEEPING is their total income and they can't make mistakes by allowing swarming. Some of them even requeen a colony twice each year to make sure that the queen is very young to she can lay lots of eggs and produce lots of queen pheromone to retard swarming. Almost all of them buy queens from a highly skilled queen breeder and requeen in the fall so they don't "mess up" the spring honey flow or pollination contract. If you attend the meetings of the American Beekeeping Federation, you can talk to these people yourself like I do and find out how knowledgeable they are!
This is already March, so you can't do anything until next year, but you can sure plan for this years after this one. Here are the things you shoul do:
1.) Prevent brood congestion by reversing the brood chambers as needed during February,March and April. You should either use 2 deep hive bodies or 3 medium Illinois hive bodies for your brood chamber space.
2.)Supers are no good in your garage or in your basement. Bees may need additional space in the BROOD chamber, so put at leats one super in place in early April so that the bees can more nectar or honey up to that super out of the brood chamber if they need space.Put 5 Illinois supers of drawn comb on each colony about April 15th. Do not use foundation.
3.) Plan on requeening every year and see my PINK PAGES about Almost 100% Foolproof Requeening in September and contact your queen supplier and order by July.
4.) Read, read, read; but especially read Diana Sammantaro's 1998 3rd Edition, The Beekeeper's Handbook; primarily aimed at beginners and intermediate. beekeepers. It is maybe the BEST book for beginner's ever written. You are silly if you do not have a DESK COPY of The Hive and Honey Bee Revised 1 992 Edition, for your advanced studies with 1300 pages written by 34 of the greatest beekeepers and bee scientists in the US. Many call it the beekeepers' Bible. I think Dr.Norm Gary's Chapter 8 about BEE BEHAVIOR is one of the world's greatest writings and Chanter 9 about Pheromones is the target for 2 1 st century understanding more about bees. PLEASE NOTE MY FOIIOWLNG THOuGHS: The mites were. not found in the USA until 1984 and 1987; the Africanized bees did not enter the USA until October 1990, and the tremendous importance of pheromones was just broached in recent years. Hence; BOOKS WRITTEN BEFORE ABOUT 1982 ARE NOT OF MUCH VALUE TO YOU BECAUSE THEY DON'T DEAL WITH THE PROBLEMS OF MITES, AFRICANIZED BEES, AND PHEROMENES. Therefore; in spite of the fame of some particular book, don't read about how to improve the speed and endurance of a Nash Rambler automobile or correct the steering problems of Ralph Nader's Chevrolet Corvair; when you might be driving a fuel injected Ford Mustang or a Cadillac Northstar in 1999. Buy a book that is written by a bee researcher, professional apiculturist; or bee scientist that features the necessary new management techniques needed in 2000 beekeeping.
Some Swarming Truths and Falsities