Hapkido Online

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to get bees for a Warré Hive

So you have a nice new Warré Hive and no bees, what to do?  Well the commercial option is to install a bee package.  I do not like packages because I think it's hard on the bees and they seem to have a very low success rate.

A very good option is to capture a swarm.  I caught one this year and it was easy and fun.  If the swarm lands within reach they can be a very good source of bees.  It has several advantages over buying a package.  First of all with a swarm you get a lot more bees than a package.  All of these bees are from the same hive unlike a package.  All of the swarm bees will be keyed in on the queen already so no wait there.  The swarm bees will be from your local area which means they are already acclimatized to your region.  Most packages come from thousands of miles away.  The bees show up tired, thirsty, and confused.  Swarm bees are full of honey and ready to build a new home.

Nucs are a great option for Langstroth hives but are difficult to prepare for a Warré Hive.  The frames in the Nuc are not compatible with the Warré dimensions. 

I recently did a cut out for a neighbor.  I was able to not only capture the bees but I was also able to keep five of their brood combs and hang them from the top bars of my Warré Hive.  This is probably the best possible scenario for the bees.  They get everything they need to really set up shop rapidly in a Warré Hive.  The drawback to cutout's are they are quite involved and would be overwhelming for a beginner.  I was fortunate to be a part of a three man team and we borrowed a bee vacuum.  Luckily neither of the other guys wanted the bees so I managed to put them all in my Warré.

The new bees are rapidly building comb and seem to like their new home.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What can you do about Pesticide?


Corn Planting Drift is Killing Honey Bees. You Can Help. Here's How.

The number of beekills this spring due to poisoning by pesticides has skyrocketed. In Ohio just this spring we have seen more beekills than I can remember total in the past 25 years combined. Reports from many, many states have been coming into this office in the past couple of weeks. At first they seemed isolated and unsupported. Beekeepers are wary of reporting incidents, and seldom sure of how to proceed or what to do.

The incidents this spring are not the symptoms reported commonly as Colony Collapse Disorder, where bees disappear and a beekeeper returns to what had been a strong healthy hive only weeks before and what's left is simply lots of brood, a handful of young bees and a queen...if anybody is home at all.

No, the incidents this spring are different...they harken back to the days of massive beekills, when plants in bloom were sprayed on a routine basis, when beekeepers would find entire apiaries wiped out, with pounds and pounds of dead bees, twisting, writhing and dying in front of their hives. Piles of dead, stinking bees were common then, but with the advent of more restrictive regulations and safer-to-use pesticides, much, but not all, of that death-by-pesticide era has gone away.

Until now. This spring the ugly past has returned. We were warned though. Purdue researchers saw this problem last year and brought it to everybody's attention.

Then they looked deeper and further and saw that it wasn't just a flook, an accident, an anomaly, but rather it has turned into an epidemic. And they brought that to our attention too.

Simply, pesticides, those troublesome neonicotinoids, are applied to corn seeds before they are planted so when the corn begins to grow the pesticide on the seed is absorbed by the new roots and fills the plant with poison for the rest of its life. But the stuff is sticky and doesn't come out of the planters very well so farmers supply a slippery additive in the form of talcum powder to make those seeds, in airblast seed planters, simply fly right out of the drop chute and into the ground. But there's the rub. That airblast planter is blowing all that talcum powder and loose pesticide dust everywhere...up into the air to travel where ever something as light weight as talcum powder can travel...feet and yards and yards certainly, maybe miles...nobody knows.

But birds are dying. Robins and crows. And one observer says that wildlife eating the seeds are dying...three seeds will kill a quail is what I'm hearing, but I don't know for sure. I wouldn't be surprised. But for beekeepers, what's happening is that this poisonous dust is landing on everything downwind...dandelions, flowers, water surfaces, everywhere a honey bee can go, that's where this stuff is landing.

How much of it is going airborne? I don't have a clue, but every seed is coated with it, and you know how big corn seeds are and there are about 30,000 seeds planted in an acre...and there are, this year, 96,000,000 acres of corn planted in the U. S. And what I read is, is that almost all of those seeds are coated with something that protects the plants. Know how big 96,000,000 acres is....?

It's all of North Dakota and South Dakota, combined. All of that.

But of course all those acres are spread out all over the place. There are few places in this country that are not within drift distance from these airborne poisons. Very, very few. For instance...North Dakota plans on 3.4 million acres of corn this year...that's 5% of the entire state. And recall, North Dakota is the biggest honey producer in the U. S. I'm thinking there's no place to hide in that large, very flat state.

If you experience a beekill in your apiary this spring DO NOT simply shrug your shoulders and feel there's nothing to be done. There is something to be done.

First, take pictures...with today's newspaper showing so you have a date. Get a witness in the photo so you have someone else to verify your incident. Video a person collecting samples and filling to half a plastic bag and sealing the bag.

Freeze the sample as soon as possible. Call you state apiary inspector and report the incident. If your state has a pesticide incident reporting system in place, report it there, too. And tell the feds. There's two places to go. First, do a direct to EPA email. They have a system in place to document these when reported. The email is

beekill@EPA.gov <blockedmailto:beekill@EPA.gov>

Tell them what, where and when you found the incident, attach a couple of photos of the scene, record the number of hives affected, the date the incident occurred and any other pertinent data you can include. Tell them you have taken samples, and that you have reported it to your state authorities. And tell them you want something done!

When you finish that, go to this web site

http://npic.orst.edu/reportprob.html#env <blockedhttp://npic.orst.edu/reportprob.html#env>

the National Pesticide Information Center's page to report a pesticide incident.

And do it again.

And then, one more thing.

Send this information to your local beekeeping group, and to your state beekeeping association and tell them to put it on their web page, to send out emails, to put it in newsletters, to get every beekeeper in this country up to speed on what is killing our honey bees (heck, send it to every beekeeper you know and tell them to do the same thing. Let EVERY BEEKEEPER EVERYWHERE KNOW!).

This is something YOU CAN DO, whether you never, ever have a problem or not.

Help protect honey bees, and beekeepers from this, and any other Pesticide Incident.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another Warré Hive nearly finished:

I still need to finish the roof and quilt.  Many top bars are done.  I am going with the cove molding approach.  I am also going to seed some of the bars with some old honeycomb.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beekeeping with Dad

My Dad retired recently and has always had an interest in carpentry.  A couple of weeks ago he was visiting and was present while I hived a swarm in some extra boxes I had.  I told him all I needed was a top and a base.  We hastily made a temporary top out of a sheet of cardboard and used an old feeder with a prop to make a gap as a temporary base.

When I got home the next day I was happy to see he had bought some lumber and had my tools out and announced he was ready to make a top and a base.  He is a much better carpenter than me and we made the parts quickly and they looked quite professional.

He put on my spare bee suit and we went out and put the new top and base on.  It looked great. 

My landlord announced recently that they didn't want my hive in the yard despite the fact that the house is in the middle of the country and the hive was not bothering a single neighbor.

Fortunately at the last meeting I learned that a kind family nearby understood the value of bees and wanted to sponsor my hives.  Dad and I suited up and moved the hives.  He also helped me gather some honey and process it.

When it came time for them to leave I passed my copy of Beekeeping for Dummies on to Dad.  Mom tells me that he often talks about beekeeping now.  I am betting he has caught the bug!

Monsanto buys Beelogics

Monsanto the most probable suspect in CCD honey bee disappearances recently bought Beelogics a firm trying to determine the cause.


Folks I am normally in favor of entrepreneurship and business success but this is just diabolical! I am not normally in favor of government intervention in business but this is one time when it really is needed.

Write your local, state, and national leaders:


Ask them to put an end to systemic pesticide. Every country that has done this so far i.e. France and Italy have seen a great reduction in Colony Collapse Disorder.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To Bayer

The corn fields are beginning to sprout here. The plants are just a couple inches tall, acres and acres of them. I find myself wondering how many are systemics.

Moved my bees deeper into the forrest in an attempt to insulate them from CCD due to systemic pesticide.

To Bayer:

When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Cree Prophecy