Early Summer

Early Summer

The Idea Early summer is a season of recovery from winter’s deprivation. Abundant spring resources and climatic warmth have fueled a couple of brood cycles filling colonies with healthy, young bees. Early spring forage begins to disappear with the decline of the dandelion bloom. It may be several more weeks before any clover becomes available. Yet, a healthy colony is at its prime. It is […]

Spring

Spring

The Idea Spring brings a burst of new life, energy and expansion. Like the plants, a colony awakens to partake of new resources and channels it’s activities toward swarming, which is the colony’s way of propagating itself. A natural beekeeper follows this progression: unwraps hives feed hungry hives provides water revitalizes equipment manages comb The Details Unwrapping Beyond food, warmth is almost everything to a […]

Late Summer

Late Summer

The Idea By late summer, most colonies: have produced a honey crop and stored much of their winter reserves bee populations have decreased and a new kind of bee is being reared, the winter bee For a colony to overwinter and prosper next spring, the winter bee must be as healthy and long lived as possible. Now it’s important too: assure proper colony nutrition access […]

Summer

Summer

The Idea It’s summer: the bees focus on storing food for winter it’s time to prepare hives for hot weather colony management is minimal the beekeeper prepares for honey production it’s time to control comb thickness can harvest spring honey The Details The Bees It’s summer: spring nectar and pollen sources are done the weather is settled and it’s hot the clovers begin to yield […]

Natural Limits

Natural Limits

Change The Land Fifty years ago, when I first got the honeybee bug, Wyoming beekeeping was different than it is now. Farms were surrounded by shelter belts of trees. Fields were flood irrigated using leaky earthen ditches. Farms were small and produced a variety of crops that often required more attention than alfalfa. Roadsides weren’t routinely cut or sprayed. Sweet clover was viewed as a […]

Too few mites? I know the feeling.

Too few mites? I know the feeling.

The Doldrums I setup a test yard of conventional hives and starting counting mites in 1996. Natural mite drop was counted daily in a few hives, twice-a-week in half the hives, and once a week in the rest. I’d count them this way about 9 months out of the year. And then I pick a couple of hives and check the mite fall once a […]

Too few mites to study? Naturally!

Too few mites to study? Naturally!

Dr. Wyatt Mangum has been keeping top bar hive bees and writing for the American Bee Journal for years. The June 2010 issue, page 581, is an interesting read. It’s his “Fourth Annual Report on the Coexistence of my North Carolina Bees with Varroa”. From the Article I gathered the following points: untreated top bar hives have survived with varroa for 6 years (through 2008) […]

Riding Her Out

Riding Her Out

Springtime in the Rockies It’s that time of year. And Wyoming is a tough place to be at this time. All those imported trees and flowers are blooming ready for the bees. But this year, like almost every Wyoming year I can remember, it won’t be so. For you see, this time of year, it’s three to four days of snow. Followed by a high […]

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