A video about queen bees. I’m completely off screens for at least the next 10 days. I’ll add more details when I get back. See ya.
Over 5 million people have now watched my Cutting & Bottling Honey video. Is it the most popular beekeeping video on YouTube that isn’t trying to sell you something? Sure, why not? Let’s go with that. I was tracking it closely today hoping I’d catch it when 4,999,999 turned over to 5,000,000, but I went out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and when I came back, it was over.
Funny, I don’t feel any different.
I wrote what you might call an opinion piece on the importation of honey bees onto the island of Newfoundland. You can find it on my new Opinion page, which may or may not become a permanent feature of this website. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
New beekeepers are usually told to never feed their bees using an open feeder because it can trigger robbing and fighting instincts in the bees, transforming them into bees that are not fun to be around. The bees act like they’re hepped up on caffeine. They behave frantically. As usual, I don’t believe anything until I try it myself and, indeed, through the wonderful world of experiential learning, I discovered that open feeding can have that effect on the bees. But not always.
In my experience, any sugar syrup close to the hive, whether in an open feeder or spilled on the ground, can trigger the robbing instinct, especially if the syrup is spiked with something like anise extract. However, if the open feeder it placed 30 metres or so from the hive (~65 feet), the bees might crowd in on the syrup, but don’t usually start fighting each other to the death to get at the syrup, and when they fly back to their hives, they don’t try robbing the neighbour hive of the all honey.
I prefer this method of feeding at certain times of the year — long before or long past harvesting any honey — because it’s so easy to do. I don’t have to load up each hive with a feeder. I just refill the open feeder once it gets empty. Open feeding usually doesn’t last more than week.
I often make crushed & strained silky liquid honey and let the bees clean up the crushed comb afterwards. Digging through my archives, I found some footage that shows how I do it.
I talk about all kinds of things in this video, most of which would take up too much space to reiterate here. But here’s basic rundown of the whole thing:
August 19th, 2018.
Another quick video from my archives of me moving a hive in the back of a trailer in the rain. I’ll add more details as soon as I have time.
August 16th, 2018.
Here’s a short video slip that show a honey bee that has almost worked itself to death, as honey bees will do.
Most plastic foundation is coated in beeswax to encourage the bees to build comb on it. It’s usually referred to as “wax-dipped” foundation. The really good stuff is double-dipped in wax. But sometimes the wax wears off if the foundation has been stored or banged around for a while. Some foundation, right out of the box, doesn’t have any wax at all. I had to deal with some of that stuff last summer and I was not happy. I would have been better off using foundationless frames. There are plenty of good reasons to use foundationless frames over frames with foundation. (I use a mix of foundation and foundationless frames in my hives.)
Having been stuck with 100 sheets of waxless foundation, and after managing to track down a 10-pound chunk of clean beeswax, I decided to wax the foundation. At first I tried to paint the melted wax on. Then I rubbed hard wax into the foundation. Finally I rubbed soft partially-melted wax into the foundation — the method I liked the most. Painting the foundation with an actual paintbrush may have produced the best results, but overall, I’m pleased with how my methods worked out. I’m sure there are better ways of doing this, but here’s a video of my first crack at it:
This is not a well edited video. I would normally try to cut something like this down to a few minutes instead of nine minutes, but I didn’t have time for that, so it is what it is. I’m also aware that this method of waxing foundation may not be the best method. But sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got.
Here’s a 15-minute update of where I am in my beeyard today, recorded on my cell phone, all the ums and ahs cut out, nothing fancy, mostly me pointing at my hives and talking.
Here’s a short narrated video that explains how I use a swarm box to catch swarms that would normally get away. (A transcript of the narration can found below the video. And that’s the last time I read from a script. It sounds like the stilted narration from an instructional video by Troy McClure)
Some people have noticed that most of my hive boxes are painted black and have asked, “What are you, nuts?”
I would have asked the same thing a few years back. But then I moved to Flatrock, Isle of Newfoundland, where I can see the North Atlantic Ocean from my house, and it’s freezing here.