Junuary Beekeeping on the Isle of Newfoundland

June 8th, 2021:

11:00am. It’s already 24°C in the shade and rising fast, supposedly peaking at 28°C this afternoon, feeling like 33°C (or 91°F).

24°C, 11:00am, June 8th, 2021, Flatrock, Newfoundland.

That’s about as hot as it ever gets for my bees, especially in Flatrock which is usually colder than most Newfoundland beeyards I’ve seen. So…
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Making Queens Without Grafting

This is a temporary post.

Here’s a cheap and easy method of making queens that doesn’t require grafting. All you need is a foundationless frame full of open worker brood.

I’ve known about this method for years, but I’ve always found that buying mated queens was less of a headache to meet my unambitious approach to beekeeping. (I can’t afford to be ambitious. That requires money.)

Another cheap and easy method for making queens that I learned from this guy involves crowding a healthy colony into a small hive. The bees get crowded just like they do when they’re compelled to swarm. You just make sure to take all the swarm cells before the bees swarm. Swarm cells often produce the healthiest queens.

I write about it in more detail on this Facebook post.

The Fat Bee Man also provides a method for making your own queen cups from wax, just to show you that grafting isn’t an evil thing.

Unusual Honey

This might not look like much, but it’s delicious. It’s honey that I scraped from a frame about 10 minutes ago. I’m straining it in my kitchen as I write this.

Super sweet citrus-flavours with a slight hit of spice.

I’ve never tasted honey like this before. It definitely has a citrus tang to it, somewhere between lemon and orange, very sweet with a weird spicy aftertaste. My first thought was that I found a single frame of fireweed honey. But this big hit of citrus is unlike any fireweed honey I’ve tasted which had a more subtle fruity flavour and wasn’t overly sweet. The fireweed honey I tasted before was also so translucent that it was nearly the colour of water.
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These Bees Should Be Dead

One of my beehives, back in January 2019, had its top blown off in a windstorm. The top cover — along with the inner cover and hard insulation — might have been removed in other ways, but the point is, the colony of honey bees trying to stay alive inside the hive were completely exposed to the elements for about a week. The elements included high winds, rain, freezing rain, hail and snow. Hence, the title of this post: These Bees Should Be Dead.

Not exactly what you like to find when visiting a beeyard in the winter. (January 2019.)

When I approached the hive, I didn’t expect the bees to be alive. I found dark soggy clumps of dead bees on the back edges of the top bars. Some burr comb over the top bars had lost its colour from being exposed to the elements. The frames were soaking wet with a sheen of mould growing on the surface. Ice clogged up the bottom entrance. So yeah, I expected to find nothing but dead bees inside that hive.

But I didn’t.


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What’s The Ideal Beehive Setup for a Place Like Newfoundland?

I built my first ventilation rim 10 years ago.. The final product looked like this:

My first ventilation rim from 2011.

And I’m still using exactly the same rim today. I’ve never stopped using it. (I have several now.)


Now let’s talk about ventilation and the hive setups I’ve tried in Newfoundland since 2010…
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Penny Moat to Keep Slugs Out of Beehives

I’m using old pennies in an attempt to keep slugs and snails out of my hives, because apparently they don’t like the taste of copper.

I could spend $25 at my local hardware store for 15 feet of something called “Copper Mesh Fence Barrier” (at $1.67 per foot) to keep the slimy guys out of my hives. Or I can use up 24 cents in pennies per hive to do the same thing. Will it work? I don’t know. It seems the snails can still slink right up the sides of the hives, but I’m guessing most of them get in through the bottom entrance. I’ll update this post as soon as I find clear evidence that does or doesn’t work.