With time, I plan on adding more informational videos about queen-rearing, and about beekeeping in general.
BUILDING YOUR OWN BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT
The off-season is a time for beekeepers to catch up on reading, order new supplies, and build equipment for next year. The following are videos about how to make queen rearing and other beekeeping equipment.
- ANTI-ROBBING SCREEN: Towards the end of the season, when there are few or no flowers blooming, some of the stronger beehives will try to rob weaker beehives of honey. If a weaker beehive or nuc is left unprotected, they can be robbed completely of all honey stores. An anti-robbing screen placed in front of the entrance allows honey bees to leave and enter their hive safely, while at the same time confusing potential robbers from other hives. This video shows how to make your own anti-robbing screens in any size from #8 screen, a few wooden blocks and staples.
- HOW TO BUILD A FOUR-WAY QUEEN MATING NUC: Queen breeders need small nucs for mating their newly emerged queens. I prefer to avoid “mini mating nucs” commonly used by many queen breeders for a variety of reasons: 1) I feel that it is difficult to truly assess the brood pattern of a newly mating queen unless she has a full-size comb to lay eggs on; 2) mini mating nucs are an additional piece of equipment used for only a single purpose, I prefer my equipment to have multiple uses; and 3) it can be difficult to establish and keep bees in such a tiny mini-colony. In contrast, a four-way queen mating nuc (also called a “queen castle”) allows you to mate four queens in a single deep box using standard deep frames from your full strength production colonies. . Because the dividers are removable, this may also be used as a side-by-side double 5-frame nuc, for overwintering or simply as a place to keep extra queens in reserve for when needed.
HONEY BEE VIDEOS
Honey bees are some of the most fascinating creatures; though its been 35 years since I acquired my first hives, my curiosity has not waned. The following videos are of various interesting behaviors we have been fortunate to observe in our indoor observation hive and in our other hives:
- WHEN A YELLOW JACKET ENTERS A BEEHIVE: Yellow jacket wasps Vespula sp. are often mistaken for “bees” much to the chagrin of beekeepers everywhere. Most of the time yellow jackets are only a minor annoyance to honey bees; however in some places their population is so high that they can be a major pest. A yellow jacket is physically much stronger, and has a more venomous sting than any single honey bee. Together, however, honey bees can defeat almost any enemy. The entire battle lasted about 30 minutes. When I saw the guard bee, pulling the yellow jacket by the antennae towards the entrance- all I could think of was a bouncer dragging someone out of the door by their hair!!!
- HONEY BEE ALLOGROOMING AND VARROA MITES: As a beekeeper, I am not alone in hating Varroa mites. I have lost far too many hives to this pest over the years. Their name says it all “Varroa destructor.” There are several behaviors that help bees resist Varroa; traits such as VSH and other hygienic behavior depend on how the bees respond to the Varroa in the brood. Other types of behavior relate to how the bees act towards the mites when they are on the bees themselves (when the mites are phoretic). Allogrooming, when one bee grooms another, is one such behavior. There are queen breeders now selecting for bees that “bite the mites.” When combined with VSH, effective mite allagrooming should be a valuable additional tool in our arsenal against Varroa.
Planned future videos
- How to Raise Your Own Queens
- How to Mark a Queen
- How to Introduce a Queen
- How to Overwinter Nucs
- Sampling for Varroa (Mite Roll)
- Monitoring for Nosema
- Assessing for Hygienic Behavior using Liquid Nitrogen Killed Brood
- How to Make a Push-In Queen Introduction Cage
Any suggestions for future videos? Please leave in comment below. Thank you!