Field Notes and Hive Inspection

  Not taking notes while inspecting your hives is like going to Yellowstone without bringing a camera.  You might still get what you want out of the experience but you will have no snapshots of things you might otherwise forget.  Organizing your observations into a notebook or spreadsheet during a hive inspection will provide information […]

Almonds, pollination and harvesting

To get almonds you need pollinators. Above is an image of a handful of honey bee colonies out in an orchard during the almond bloom. This pollination starts at the end of January and throughout February depending on weather. There are close to a million honey bee colonies in California during the time of this […]

Differentiated Females

Two weeks ago while inspecting some hives just outside of Willows, CA I shot the video of this queen. She caught my attention because of the distinct striping on her abdomen. Rob Snyder and I were in Willows to inspect and sample hives that were in sunflowers for pollination service. Tomorrow I have a presentation […]

Grafting

Thousands of queens are raised and sold around the country. But how does one get their bees to raise all these extra queens? The secret lies within manipulating the bees own biology (as does most of beekeeping). There are two types of eggs in the colony: unfertilized and fertilized. The unfertilized eggs will become drones […]

Nectar Flow

It’s August in Northern California and the nectar flow from the Yellow Starthistle is on… In fact, some beekeepers have already begun extracting honey. For those beekeepers trying to make pure Starthistle honey it’s important to have their bees in locations where there are few other nectar producing plants. Starthistle nectar and honey have a […]

Bee Squad

When starting out, some hobby beekeepers feel overwhelmed with trying to understand what is going on in the hive and how they can best help their bees. I was really lucky when I learned how to keep bees, because I spent 40 hours per week with people who had spent years researching and keeping bees, […]

Processing Samples for Varroa and Nosema

The video above was taken at the Butte County Cooperative Extension building in Oroville, CA. Rob and I moved to California a little over a month ago to work with 16 northern California honey bee breeders. Since arriving here we have had the chance to do some field work with a few of the beekeepers […]

Modified Hive Tool

Normal Hive tool functions 1. Dislodge Frames 2. Separate Hive Bodies and frames 3. Cut: weeds, vines, plant material, packaging tape, newspaper, pollen patty, taste honey, open treatment packaging, slit zip lock bags (winter feeding). Heat hive tool with smoker to cut out queen cells. 4. Scrape: Top bars, bottom boards, telescoping top covers, inner […]

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