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Sustainable Beekeeping

Sustainable Beekeeping

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Sustainable Beekeeping

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  1. Sustainable Beekeeping Presenter: Bill Theiss Tuesday/Thursday 6 - 8 PM (October 1,3,8,10) Gypsy Hill Park

  2. Syllabus • Thursday, October 3 • Setting Up the Apiary • Beekeeping equipment and tools • Hive installation • Acquiring Honeybees • Watering Methods • Honeybee Biology & Behavior • Honeybee life cycle and reproduction • Communication, roles and responsibilities • Anatomy (form vs. function)

  3. VSBA Annual Fall Meeting Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA) Saturday , November 9, 2013 Blue Ridge Community College Pre-registration deadline is Friday, October 25, 2013 http://www.virginiabeekeepers.org

  4. Getting Started - Preparation • Autumn and Winter Tasks • Buy/Build hives, assemble frames • Obtain beekeeping equipment and tools • Setup hives • Place advance order for bees • Install honeybee fresh water source

  5. Beekeeping Equipment • Hive (if Langstroth type – also need frames and foundation) • Hat with Veil • Smoker & smoker fuel • Hive Tool • Half or Full Bee Suit • Frame puller • Gloves, Boots • Spray bottle • Extractor/comb press, capping knife, honey jars and labels • Wax melter • Feeder containers – Mason jars, plastic bags or boardman feeder

  6. Getting Started - Preparation • Autumn and Winter Tasks • Buy/Build hives, assemble frames • Obtain beekeeping equipment and tools • Setup hives • Place advance order for bees • Install honeybee fresh water source

  7. Selecting Hive Location • High ground (where cold air can drain away) • Protected from strong northwesterly winter winds • Sunny location (especially in morning) • Hive entrance facing East or South • Hive entrance at least 2 feet above ground • Hive entrance away from human or animal traffic • Avoid hive placement in extreme microclimates • Hives at least 6 feet apart (to minimize drifting)

  8. Getting Started - Preparation • Autumn and Winter Tasks • Buy/Build hives, assemble frames • Obtain beekeeping equipment and tools • Setup hives • Place advance order for bees • Install honeybee fresh water source

  9. Honeybee Sources • Swarms • Packaged bees • Avoid suppliers in Texas, Florida and southern Georgia • Local beekeepers • Hive extraction from buildings

  10. Swarm Capturing Methods • Simple Method • Pull branch containing swarm closer to ground with rope or pruning pole • Cut branch with shears just above swarm (do not drop) • Put branch with swarm in cardboard box for transport • Transfer branch to top or front of open new hive • Shake and Drop Method • Spread old bed sheet on ground under swarm • Shake limb so bees fall on sheet • Put sheet in cardboard box for transport • Empty or shake sheet near open new hive • Lure Method • Lift old brood frame with honey near swarm • Wait until bees move to frame • Lower frame and collect bees in cardboard box for transport • Transfer frame to new hive

  11. Simple Swarm Capture

  12. Swarm Transfer to Hive Body

  13. Races or Types of Honeybees

  14. Apis “Bee” mellifera – “Honey Bearing”

  15. Apis Mellifera • ~20,000 Apis species worldwide • Dark bees (more black than brown) • Apis mellifera mellifera - German • Apis mellifera macedonica - Russian • Apis mellifera caucasica - Caucasians • Apis mellifera carnica – Carniolans (Yugoslavia) • Light bees (more brown than black) • Apis mellifera ligustica - Italian • Apis mellifera scutellata – South African

  16. Apis mellifera ligustica • Italian Honey Bee • Typically the most common race of honeybee in the USA • Colonies are usually large and winter well • Very good honey producers • Usually gentle and non-aggressive • Swarming instinct is not especially strong • Minimum propolis • Keep a clean hive and are quick to get rid of the wax moth • Queens lay all through the summer, so a large amount of stores are used for brood rearing • Italian bees have a strong tendency to rob • Prone to drifting

  17. Apis mellifera carnica (Carniolans) • Pros • Relatively gentle and non-aggressive • Better at orientation than Italian, less drifting • Less robbing than Italian • Able to overwinter in smaller numbers • Good environmental adaptation • Steep brood production during nectar flow • Low use of propolis • Resistant to brood diseases • Workers live up to 12% longer than other breeds • Cons • Prone to swarming • Does not thrive in hot weather

  18. Apis mellifera macedonica (Russian) • Cons • Swarm prone • Defensive • Pros • Varroa mite resistant • Tracheal mite resistant • Cold tolerant

  19. Apis mellifera caucasica • Cons • High propolis • Less docile • Pros • Varroa mite resistant • Cold tolerant

  20. Race Trait Comparison

  21. Melipona Insularis Smithsonian scientists have recently discovered two new, closely related bee species: one from Coiba Island in Panama and another from northern Colombia. Both descended from of a group of stingless bees that originated in the Amazon and moved into Central America, the ancestors of Mayan honeybees [not true honey bees].

  22. Obtaining Honey Bees • Choose nearby suppliers when possible • Shorter shipping distance or customer pickup option • Bees obtained from a similar climate and geographic area • Local Queen and Nuc suppliers: • Sherri Hinkle, Fulks Run, VA • Hunter Apiaries, Pulaski, VA • Robert Wellemeyer, Castleton, VA • Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers Club • Meets @7pm on every third Thursday of the month at the Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center, Mary Switzer building, in Fishersville • McCormick Farm Hives • Club Members

  23. How to Install Packaged Bees • Remove syrup can & spray worker bees with 1:1 sugar syrup • Retrieve Benton cage and remove cork from candy end • Suspend cage candy end up using a piece of wire and a nail • Dump in worker bees and leave opened package near hive • In three or four days, inspect for queen release and if so, remove cage. • If not released, widen candy hole or try introducing queen manually

  24. Getting Started - Preparation • Autumn and Winter Tasks • Buy/Build hives, assemble frames • Obtain beekeeping equipment and tools • Setup hives • Place advance order for bees • Install honeybee fresh water source

  25. Bees Need Clean Water Bees carry water back to the hive to support brood, the queen, and worker (nurse) bees in the hive which are not old enough yet to fly. Water, like nectar, is transported in the honey stomach. Collecting water is dangerous business.

  26. Bee Drink Ideas • Chicken water bottles • Place clean gravel in pan to prevent drowning • Requires periodic filling and cleaning

  27. Bee Drink Ideas • Custom water drips • Supplied from household pressurized water lines using flower bed drip systems • Recommend using soft water to prevent salt buildup • Little or no maintenance • Always available to bees • No drowning possible • One system can provide water for entire apiary

  28. Bee Drink Ideas

  29. Getting Started - Preparation • Autumn and Winter Tasks • Buy/Build hives, assemble frames • Obtain beekeeping equipment and tools • Setup hives • Place advance order for bees • Install honeybee fresh water source 

  30. Honey Bee Biology • Worker • Sterile female (Diploid – 32 chromosomes) • Queen • Mature female (Diploid) only fertile bee in hive • Drone - fatherless • Male (haploid – 16 chromosomes) [Parthenogenesis]

  31. Honey Bee Biology

  32. Honey Bee Life Cycle

  33. Week Old Nymphs

  34. Worker Roles vs. Age • Day 1 – 3 : Cell cleaning and brood incubation • Day 4 – 6 : Feeding older larvae (honey + pollen) • Day 7 – 12 : Feeding young larvae (brood food) • Day 13 – 18 : Processing nectar into honey (water evaporation), wax making, pollen packing • Day 19 – 21 : Guarding hive entrance and orientation flights • Day 21 – 6th week : Foraging for nectar, pollen, water & propolis Duties as required: Hive ventilation, humidity and temperature control

  35. Drone Roles vs. Age • Day 1 : Eats first honey and pollen meal • > Day 2 : Fed by workers and no longer will eat unaided • < Day 12 : Confined to hive except for cleansing and orientation flights • Day 12 – 14 : Sexually mature • Drones have no stinger • Drones have no hive duties other than to mate • Drones will sometimes imitate guard bees (to increase self esteem) • Drones die upon mating • Drones are killed by workers in autumn to conserve honey and pollen stores

  36. Drone Emergence

  37. Drones at Summers End

  38. Queen Roles vs. Age • Day 1 : Upon hatching, first queen to emerge finds and kills other sealed and unsealed queens • Day 3 – 5: Orientation flights • Day 7 – 21 : Mating flights • Begins laying 2 – 4 days after mating • Produces pheromones to alert workers of her presence • Can live up to 5 years (usually only 3 years) • Able to lay 2000 eggs/day (during peak nectar flow) • Stores sperm from all mating flights in spermetheca (sperm sack) • Killed by workers when can no longer lay fertile eggs • Can decide whether to lay fertilized or un-fertilized eggs • Fed, groomed, and protected by worker attendants

  39. Queen Reproductive Tract • Sperm is stored in the spermatheca in a “first in/last out” sequence. • Since a queen mates with many drones, the traits of her offspring may not appear consistent over time due to the way sperm is stored.

  40. Young Queens Fighting • Upon hatching, young queens seek out each other and fight to the death. • The queen stinger is not barbed.

  41. Mating • Queens mate in flight about 30 feet above the ground. • Mating flights occur more often in the afternoon than in the morning. • Queens mate with up to a dozen drones, storing the sperm in her spermatheca. • Sperm collected during these few matings lasts her entire lifetime. • Drones die soon after mating.

  42. Transporting Nectar & Pollen • Honey stomach • Pollen baskets

  43. Transporting Nectar & Pollen 70x Special hairs on the hind legs hold pollen during flight and are the supporting structures of their pollen baskets.

  44. Form vs. Function • Worker Bee Stinger (modified ovipositor)

  45. Honey Bee Communication • Sight (5 eyes) • Antennae • Detect Pheromones/Odor, Touch, Sound, Taste • Dancing