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  • 06 Sep 2018 8:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The standard mixtures are 1:1 in the spring and 2:1 in the fall (sugar:water).

    Weight or volume? Both a pint of water and a pint of sugar (about 2 and 1/3 cups) weigh about a pound, so it really does not matter how you think about it.  At least until you have mixed the syrup. So if you take 10 pints of water, boil it, and add 10 pounds of sugar you'll get the same thing as if you took 10 pounds of water, boil it, and add 10 pints of sugar.

    The next confusion seems to be on how much it takes to make how much syrup. The volume of 10 pints of water and 10 pints of sugar will make about 15 pints of syrup, not 20. The sugar and the water fit together.  Sugar tends to come in four-pound bags now, and half a gallon of water weighs 4 pounds, life is easy to make 1:1 syrup.  For 2:1, a four-pound bag of sugar is added to a quart of boiling water and stirred until dissolved. 

    Don't confuse the issue of how you measure. Measure before you mix. In other words, you can't fill a container 1/2 of the way with water, and add sugar until it's full and have 1:1 syrup. You'll get more like 2:1 syrup. Likewise, you can't fill it 1/3 of the way with sugar and then add water until it's 2/3 full and have 1:1 syrup. You'll get more like 1:2. You have to measure both separately and then put them together to get an accurate measurement.

    How to make syrup.

    I boil the water and add the sugar and then when it is all dissolved turn off the heat. With 2:1 this can take some time. Either way, boiling the water makes the syrup keep longer by killing all the microorganisms that might be in the sugar or the water. Allow to cool completely before you put on bees.

  • 29 Aug 2018 9:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I killed some bees.  I have done this from time to time by mistake, clumsiness, and inattention, but this time it was deliberate. Moreover, it was an entire colony.  With a state inspector watching.  Was that enough of a hook to keep you reading?  I

    It starting with a phone call that I did not answer (sorry, after nine pm, my phone cuts out anyone but family, do not take it personal) but I did return the call in the morning.  Brain Krause got the original call and all the headache and stings to go with it.  A couple in the Thoroughgood neighborhood who were beekeepers in the past had some stored equipment that a swarm had moved into in the spring.  Very nasty bees.  Neither they, nor their neighbors could use their backyards, people were complaining about being stung.  Brian being the nice guy that he is, went and took a look.  And got stung for his trouble. A lot.  While wearing his protective equipment, he had to walk two blocks in an attempt to un-suit.  He ending up going home in his bee suit.

    He closed them up as best he could and the next morning he and homeowner loaded them up in Brian’s truck.  Stings again. We discussed finding the queen to re-queen and cool down the temperament, but no way he was keeping them at his house and I was not going to try it at mine, I actually like my neighbors. One of the issues facing them and us was there no frames in top (deep) 8-frame box, so they had attached eight nice straight combs to the inner cover just as pretty as you please. 

    I called both the local state inspector, Mohamed Abdalla, and the STATE inspector, Keith TIgnor to consult.  Collectively, we decided the best course of action was to sample the hive for Africanized traits, and destroy them.  We cannot have hot bees like that spreading in our neighborhoods. It would be the end of backyard beekeeping.  Other options would have been attempt to find the queen, remove her, and then re-queen.  It is getting late in the season to make a new queen, and we did not want those genetics at all.  Plus, we would still have the really hot bee issue for a couple of months.  We also did not want the drones out spreading their message of love. Since the bees were attached to the inner cover, this process would have been much more involved. 

    Keith gave us a couple of safe ways to kill them, so Brain covered up the closed up hive (solid bottom board) with an sheet and drove out to a rural out bee yard I use, Mohamed met us there to collect a small sample for testing, then we opened up the hive.  The heat had done the trick, the bees were dead and the comb had collapsed. We were prepared with sprayers of soapy water just in case.   Soapy water clogs up the spiracles, which are the bees breathing tubes.  We did not enjoy this process, as we are all beekeepers, but sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few ( I think I just ripped off a Star Trek line, sorry  Treckies).  Even two days later Brain was still getting stung in his driveway from bees that got left behind.   When we get the test results back, I will update this.

  • 23 Apr 2018 6:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It has been too long since I did one of these.  After a promising start to spring in February, things have slowed to a stop.  This past Sunday (4/22) I was able to inspect several of my hives.  I was expecting to find them ready to swarm or past that stage, but was ready to make nucs from all of them just in case.  To my dismay, none of the 8 hives I inspected were even close to ready for a split.  A couple show promise of being ready in a couple of weeks and one that had a sad little fist size cluster of bees back in February is doing great.  On the flip side, another that had a small cluster back then did not survive.  All the survivors have a fair amount of nectar stored, so we may have a good chance ata honey harvest this year.

    I hope you all can attend this months meeting, where C. E. Harris will discuss honey harvesting.  C.E. has been keeping bees longer than many of us have bee alive and is a wealth of knowledge.


  • 21 Feb 2018 6:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It was nice to get back into a beehive again after several months.  I got home about five o’clock and it was calm and 70 degrees out.  I raced into my Jacket and fired up the smoker for a peak into an overwintered Nuc.  This sole survivor of five hives in my backyard looks great!  Three boxes of good-looking bees (2 Med with a Deep on top).  Brood in all three boxes, drones being raised, open nectar, new comb being drawn, everything a happy beekeeper could hope for. 

    So what does all this information mean?  Brood in all three boxes means a rapid expansion of bees is coming.  Open nectar means that the bees are getting new food from somewhere, AKA the flow has started.  New comb being drawn means they are planning for the future, but not seriously thinking about swarming yet (a big YET).   Drones being raised is a sign of a healthy colony, but there were no Drones hatched out yet.  This tells me that there is no way they can swarm for a minimum of two weeks, probably longer.  Why?  Drones need at least two weeks after hatching to become sexually mature.  I added another box and closed them back up with a smile.



  • 23 Jan 2018 5:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you look closely, the trees are getting ready and some of them have budded out.  It is time to get your supers on to stay ahead of the flow.  This will help prevent or delay swarming and increase honey production.  Fuzzy trees lead to full bees!  Pollen is coming in and nectar is not far behind. 

  • 07 Jan 2018 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you wondering what your bees are doing during the extreme cold we are experiencing?  Join the Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Virginia, Monday, January 8th, and find out!  Dr. Wyatt Mangum, bee scientist and author, will share how he uses FLIR imaging in his apiary to determine if a colony is alive, where it is located in the hive, whether they have sufficient food stores, and if they have initiated brood rearing. Learn more about this non-intrusive colony management tool and how you can integrate it into your own operation. Dr. Mangum will have copies of his book, Top Bar Hive Beekeeping: Wisdom & Pleasure Combined, for sale and autograph.

    7:00 PM in the auditorium of Blocker Hall located on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University, 5817 Wesleyan Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 (click here for directions). The public is invited to join them for socializing and the meeting.

  • 04 Dec 2017 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    The most important thing that bees do is pollinate. Pollination is needed for plants to reproduce, and so many plants depend on bees or other insects as pollinators.

    When a bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower of a plant, some pollen from the stamens—the male reproductive organ of the flower—sticks to the hairs of her body. When she visits the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off onto the stigma, or tip of the pistil—the female reproductive organ of the flower. When this happens, fertilization is possible, and a fruit, carrying seeds, can develop.

    How Do Plants Attract Bees?

    Plants rely on bees and other insects to reproduce and so they have adapted, over time, to become more attractive to them. Bees are drawn to plants with open or flat tubular flowers with lots of pollen and nectar. A flower's scent can have particular appeal to bees, and its bright colors may lure the bees in.

  • 06 Nov 2017 11:49 AM | Anonymous


    After her mating flights, the queen will start her long life of egg-laying in earnest. In a typical Langstroth hive, she will start in the lower box, which is on top of the bottom board. Workers will have started constructing comb, either free-standing in foundationless frames or over artificial cells in regular frames. Below we will look in further detail at the ways in which brood is created around the hive.


    The creation and storage of honey is an essential function of the colony. Beyond the obvious nutritional benefits, honey is the essential lifeline that allows the colony, in the form of the winter cluster, to make it through the winter.

    Bees work in extraordinary ways to create the reserve of honey and, as a beekeeper, you will learn over time to assess whether a colony is on track. The lighter-colored capped cell is the sign of stored honey.


    Pollen is also essential to the colony, providing protein and fats. After collection, pollen is mixed with nectar and water, to form "bee bred". This is then stored in comb within the hive. As well as the nutritional value, this also helps with the structural integrity of the comb.

    Pollen is often placed immediately adjacent to the brood nest, since it is used heavily as the source of protein.

  • 09 Oct 2017 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    A lot of honey found in the supermarket is not raw honey but "commercial" regular honey, some of which has been pasteurized (heated at 158°F or 70°Celsius or more, followed by rapid cooling) for easy filtering and bottling so that it looks cleaner and smoother, more appealing on the shelf, and easier to handle and package.

    Pasteurization kills any yeast cell in the honey and prevents fermentation, which is a concern for commercial honey producers because many extract uncapped honey that has a high moisture content. So storing honey with high moisture content over a long period, especially in warm weather, will cause the honey ferment and affects the rawl taste of honey.

    When honey is heated, its delicate aromas, yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system are partially destroyed. Among manufacturers there exists no uniform code of using the term "raw honey". There are no strict legal requirements for claiming and labelling honey as "raw."

    Raw honey is unprocessed, but at times may need to be slightly warmed to retard granulation for a short period of time and allow light straining and packing into containers for sale. Using as little heat as possible is a sign of careful handling by raw honey suppliers.

    Usually raw, unfiltered honey can only be purchased directly from an Apiary. Characterised by fine textured crystals, it looks cloudier and contains particles and flecks made of bee pollen, honeycomb bits, and propolis.

    Raw and unfiltered honey and has a high antioxidant level and will usually granulate and crystallize to a thick consistency after a few months. It is usually preferred as a spread on bread and waffles, or dissolved in hot coffee or tea. However, as most consumers are naturally attracted to buying and eating crystal clear and clean honey, unfiltered honey which looks cloudy and unappealing, is not commercially available on supermarket shelves.

  • 04 Sep 2017 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    Raising bees has been an extremely rewarding experience.

    It is funny and not so funny of the false facts that come out of people's mouths when I have initial conversations with the public as well as potential beekeepers.

    Many of the questions I'm asked are grounded in myths that have existed for generations. Unfortunately, these myths have stopped many individuals from becoming involved in beekeeping. While bees are one of the most beneficial agricultural insects, the following myths make bees one of the most feared and misunderstood insects. Don't let myths stop you from learning about bees.


    Not all bees can sting. For example, male bees cannot sting. The stinger, or sting, is a modified egg-laying device. Therefore, only females have them. However, despite having a stinger, the females of many bee species actually cannot sting. Bees tend to sting to defend their nest, so most bees won't sting unless they are provoked or feel threatened.


    Honey bee workers can sting other insects repeatedly. However, barbs in their stingers get caught in the skin of the animals they sting, especially mammals with thick skin such as humans. Removing the stinger is fatal to the bee, so it dies afterward.


    Although wasps belong to the same order of insects, they are not bees. Bees are vegetarians, collecting pollen and nectar for their young. Wasps are carnivores. Some species can be very aggressive, especially if you disturb their nests. Bees are usually nonaggressive. The exception is Africanized bees, a species not commonly found in the United States.


    Do not try this. Water will not affect a bee nest. Likely, you'll just irritate the bees inside and increase your chance of getting stung.


    Less than 5 percent of bee species make honey. Only honey bees and stingless bees produce enough honey to make it worth harvesting. Bumble bee hives may have a small amount, about one to two teaspoons. Bumble bees are annual, not perennial. They don't need to produce a lot of honey to survive the winter.


    Honey bee, bumble bee and stingless worker bees (females) work very hard. However, many males don't do any work in the nest. Females of the solitary bee species may only work for a couple weeks.


    Solitary bees live only a few weeks, just long enough to mate, build nests and produce offspring. Honey and bumble bee workers and males live about six weeks. The workers spend half their time working on the hive and the other half foraging for pollen and nectar. The queens live longer. Bumble bee queens live up to one year, and honey bee queens can live up to four years.


    A long-believed myth about bees is that they do not sting at night, which in fact is incorrect. Bees will sting at any time for protection.


    Only social bees live in hives. Ten percent of bee species are social, and only a small percentage of them build hives. Most bees are solitary, living in individual nests tunneled in the soil or tree trunks.


    Though bees are pollinators, they will build nests miles away from flowers and other plants they pollinate. Whether or not you have flowers in your yard makes no difference if a bee scout spots a good place to create nest.


    If you seal up the entrance to a bee nest, you risk angering them. They may burrow into unwanted places such as the interior of your house. Bees have been known to tunnel through wood and drywall. Your best bet to is to contact your local bee professionals.

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