My Presentation. `

A DIFFERENT WAY OF DOING THINGS


DISCLAIMER

What I am about to present here does not reflect the recommended practices of the BASF, the State of Florida's Plant Division or the State Beekeepers Association. The views, practices and opinions are mine alone and should be taken with a grain of salt as I am not always 100% correct.

SUBSTITUTE FOR BEE QUICK

Go to a drug store and buy a one ounce bottle of Tea Tree Oil and a one liter bottle of rubbing alcohol. Go to a grocery store and buy a small bottle of pure Almond Extract. NOT THE SYNTHETIC. Go to a Dollar Store and buy a cheap pump spray bottle.
Mix the three ingredients in the bottle and use as needed.

SUBSTITUTE FOR HBH

Take 5 lbs of sugar
10 cups of warm water
15 drops of Spearmint Oil
15 drops of Wintergreen Oil
1 pinch of Lecithin Granules

Lemon grass Oil can be used instead of the Wintergreen oil
This has a very strong order and should not be mixed in utensils that are used in food preparation. Do not mix in the kitchen.

SUGAR WATERSPRAY VERSUS SMOKE

Common knowledge says that you should smoke the bees to calm them down.
If someone ripped the roof off of your house, stuck a huge pipe in the hole and filled the house with smoke, stole all your food and smashed your brothers and sisters, would you be calm?
Do bee fly in the rain?
A light misting from a $17. one gallon pump sprayer from a hardware store will keep them on the comb.

SPEARMINT OIL AND SHB

I have read in several places that people have used spearmint oil to control Varroa Mites and I decided to see what hapened when SHB came in contact with it.
I put 6 beetles in a sandwich bag and put one drop of Spearmint Oil in the bag. Two of the beetles crawled through the oil and died on contact. The other four died within two minutes from the fumes.
I put 30 drops of Spearmint Oil in a liter of mineral oil and put that in my insect fogger. I let the fogger heat up until the smoke is pouring out and then spray the screened bottom of my hives about once a month. Does it eliminate the SHB completly? NO. But it does keep the numbers down so the bees can keep them under control. Be very careful not to spray hot oil into the hive. Keep the fogger at least 2 feet away from the box.

SMALL HIVE BEETLE TRAP

bettle board startbeetle board paperbettle board bottom board donebettle board screenbettle board finished

I lost a lot of bees to SHB's and grew tired of it. So I studied all the traps I could find and what were the drawbacks of each. Then I stumbled across an article in Bee Culture that talked about using transparent covers on the top of the hive to drive the beetles down into the bottom of the box. I now build a solid bottom board that has a 3/8" x 3/4" rip all the way around it. (pic 1) Inside the fence I place a heavy piece of paper that just fits inside the fence. (pic2)It is painted black and is held down with spray adhesive. After the paint is dry I coat the paper with the sticky glue that is used on" Tomcat Sticky Boards". (Bulk Glue on Amazon.com). (pic 3)I then build a 3/4" x 3/4" frame the same size as the bottom board and staple an 1/8" across it. (pic 4) The glue board is placed on the hive stand with the glue side up. The screen board is placed on the glue board, screen side down (pic 5) and the hive boxes go on top of the screen. I don't use bottom entrances so everything is solid at the bottom. Instead of of an inner cover and a metal top cover I use a single sheet of 1/4" Plexiglas. The light drives the beetles down to the bottom and through the screen into the glue. The screen keeps the bees out of the glue. I am also seeing mites and a few wax moths show up in the glue.

VACUUM BOXES

vacuum box

Most bee vacuums are to small, have to much suction, have a hard landing space and use corrugated hoses. All of which kill bees.
I build vacuum boxes that are the same size as regular Lang. style boxes but they are 11-1/2" deep. The inside has a cloth strip stapled to it so the bees have something soft to land on and cling to. The suction hose is 1" ID smooth plastic tubing. The air holes are designed to let the bees drop out of the air flow gently instead of banging into a wooden wall. There are no frames inside the vacuum box. A standard deep can be set on top of the vacuum box and sealed with duct tape. The comb is cut out of the hive and put into frames that are put into the top box. When all the comb is transfered the top is sealed and the remaining bees are vacuumed into the box. The vacuum box has a one way valve over the hole where the air exits, so that the forraging bees can enter the box as they return to the hive but they cannot get out.

SKEPT / HIVE KNIVES

These are long shanked knives are used to cut frames loose from the box when the bees have glued them in. Those people that do cut outs will find them useful in cutting comb out of difficult places. One is used to cut comb off of the underside of a ceiling and the other is used to cut comb off of a vertical wall. The blade is the width of a piece of brood comb.
I made to first ones out of paint rollers but the metal is to soft and they bent when I put to much pressure on them. I now make them out of 1/4" steel rod. I also built comb removal tool for use in hard to reach cutouts. I take a 36" long steel rod and bend it into a U shape. The short part of the bend will just fit over a piece of brood comb and is sharpened to cut the comb off the wall. With the long handle I can reach 5' into a cavity and cut the comb off with ease.

SMALL VACUUM

This hand held vacuum has a piece of 1" PVC pipe stuck in the business end. It works well at sucking up individual bees when they are someplace that they are not welcome. If you are selling honey at a Farmers Market and the bees come around, you can suck them up before they bother the customers. It does not hurt the bees.

SWARM TRAPS

swarm trap

I use 5 gallon paint buckets for swarm traps. The outside is painted to make them blend into the background because people steal them.
The inside is sprayed with glue and sawdust sprinkled on the glue, The bottom is cut out and screened and the entrance hole is at the top. Five short starter stripes are attached to the under side of the lid. The bees can be left inside until they have drawn comb and then they can be transfered into a box.

TOP ENTRANCES

When the Rev. Langstroth built his first boxes there was no such thing as air conditioning so every house had a porch on it, lot of windows and doors and an attic. So thats how he built his bee houses.
Bees don't like porches, windows or big doors. given the chance they will crawl through a small hole at the top of the hive and ignore the bottom entrance.
A small entrance hole is easier to defend and takes less guard bees. It is also easier for me to cover with a queen excluder and/or a robbing screen. A queen excluder over the entrance prevents absconding and thats important in African Hybred Bee country.

ANTI-ROBBING SCREENS

Robbing Screens

The picture above shows a pair of robbing screens for a typical Lang. hive box. The screen sets on the landing board and the blocks hold it in position. The bees in the box soon learn how to get in and out without a problem. Robber bees will approach the hive from the front and fly back and forth across the entrance until they see an opportunity to get past the guard bees. With the screen in place they cannot fly directly into the entrance and they are not smart enough to fly up and over the screen. So robbing does not happen.

BEE CAGE / LABORATORY

transfer room

About all feral hive have some African in them where I live so I have to wear a suit whenever I work the bees. The hood make it difficult to see and being farsighted does not help me spot a queen. I have lost several queens because I cannot see them very well. So I built an 8ft square framework and covered it with insect screening from a plant nursery. I can take a box of bees in there and work them at my leisure. If they decide to abscond, there is only one place to go and that is the starter frames attached to the ceiling.

post bear

What the bear left me. The electric fence was about a week from being done.

METAL TOP COVERS

Metal top covers are expensive and difficult to correctly (unless you have sheet metal brake.)
I make a waterproof cover out of the plastic stuff they make shower pans out of. It is easy to work as it cuts with a knife, will stick to wood with contact adhesive and will last forever.

DEEP BROOD BOXES
LONG OPEN FRAMES

I have found from doing cutouts that feral hives tend to be bigger than what will fit in a standard Lang. brood box. Even if you put the honey in a different box you still have to cut brood comb to get it to fit in a frame. and you end up throwing some of the smaller pieces away.
The practice of having two or even three brood boxes with gaps between them is not natural to the bees. All the feral colonies I have seen have a central cluster of brood, surrounded by a ring of pollen which is surrounded by a ring of honey. The excess honey is always kept in comb that is below or behind the central nest.
I am now experimenting with keeping a colony in a double deep box that has frames that have no bottom bar. The top bar is made from a 3/8" x 3/4" x 19" wooden strip that has two 5/16" dia holes drilled in it where the end frames would normally be. I cut two strips of wood 1/4" x 1/4" by 19' and force the square end into the round hole with a drop of glue. I cut a 1/8" slot in the bottom of the top bar and glue in popsickle sticks or starter strips of foundation. I'll try a couple of hives like this for the next year and see what happens.

TRAP OUTS

Trap Out 1trap out 2trap out 3
trap out 4trap out 34trap out 6

I do a fair amout of trap outs and did not have much luck with them when I followed some of the books and online video's. So I now drill a 1-1/4" hole into the hive and stick a plastic hose into it. On a masonry wall I drill a 3/4" hole with a masonry bit and put a board over that with a 1-1/4 hole in the board. I attach it with TapCons. I put a 3" deck screw in the board along side the plastic tube and zip tie them together so the tube does not fall out. The tube gets stuck into a Lang. box that has a one way valve just inside the box. It is a small plastic funnel that is stapled to the box wall. The other end of the box has a 1-1/4" hole cut in it so the bees can come and go as they please. I put a piece of queen excluder over the entrance to keep the queen in the box. I stick a couple of frames in the box to give the bees something to work on while they are waiting for the queen to come out. I use a bucket of premixed concrete patch to seal up the old hive entrances and around the boardI put on the wall. iIf you wish to guarantee that bees will never move back into the old cavity, stick a couple of old fashioned mothballs in the cavity before you seal it up and walk away.

DEALING WITH AFRICANS

When you have to deal with difficult bees and a suit is called for, soak your suit in the kitchen sink in warm water and lots of Dawn Dish Soap. Do not rinse, hang it up and let it drip dry. The smell of the soap will help keep the bees away. Do not wear leather gloves. The bees will sting the leather and the phermones will attract more bees, etc. Use the heavy plastic gloves from a garden store. The bees don't sting them. Carry a pump up pressurized half gallon sprayer full of water and Dawn dishwashing soap. Spray the mist straight up in the air and let it fall on your head, this will help keep the bees off your veil. If you wish to keep bees from using or even resuing a cavity, spray the inside heavily with soap. Spraying the bees with soap directly will kill them.

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