Honey Bee Swarm Season 2017 April/May

Swarms are exciting! It is the birth of a new colony.

Before leaving the original colony, honey bees gorge on honey for the journey to move to a new home. They are generally not very defensive but can be enticed to sting. Please, do NOT spray with poisons or try to kill. Swarms are only in a temporary resting place until they rest enough to move on to their final destination. This activity is a very common occurrence in April and May. Many people find them in their yards or around their homes. Swarms can be harmed by high winds, hail, and heavy rains as well as cold, freezing weather.
Continue reading

Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association – 2017 Beekeeping Class

Eager Attendees to the January 2015 Beeswax Soap-making Class

Attendees to the January 2015 Beeswax Soap-making Class held in Lawrence, Kansas

Looking for a Beekeeping Class for 2017? 

Our NEKBA Bee Class (both part I & part II combined) is nearly 10 hours of education for new and those looking for a re-fresher in their early years of beginning beekeeping. Several courses will be presented by our keynote speaker, Keith Delaplane, on the 2nd day or part II of the class. Keith’s book, a field guide, and presenter’s notes are included with each family registration. Additional family members or friends are welcome to attend for a nominal registration fee, which also includes the presentation notebook. We are a non-profit organizations. The fees are calculated to cover the costs of rent, books and materials, as well as shared costs for our keynote speaker.

This event is for beginning & 2nd or even 3rd year beekeepers or those looking for a re-fresher. We like to say that you’ll learn more the 2nd time around. The class is held on 2 weekends as there is much to offer and learn. Trying to hit on all topics in 1 day is a lot to try to absorb. We want beekeepers to get the most and learn the best way possible. Continue reading

Understanding the Beekeeping Cycle

It’s important for new beekeepers to understand the beekeeping cycle. This topic came about as I had been perusing a book on cattle and came across a paragraph on the subject of ‘the cattle cycle’. The book is a gift for a family member, who has been raising cattle now for several decades now.

Beekeeping follows the cycles of the season. This is especially important for new beekeepers to learn and understand. The cycles differ from region to region in the country. I will only be talking about how the cycle runs for our region in NE Kansas.

Fall/Winter Activity

September to January can be considered the beginning of the new beekeeping year for the colony. The prosperity of hive depends greatly on the condition of the colony during this time of year. Diminishing colony population, beginning in late summer, along with the reduction of food sources – incoming nectar (carbo-hydrates) & pollen (protein) causes a reduction in brood-rearing. Bees born during this time of year will be the younger, longer-lived bees to carry the colony through to the next year.

I like to call this reduction the ‘period of decline’ in the beekeeping season.

As the temperatures begin to lower, the bees come together and form a cluster. They will break and fly on days of sun and when the temperature climbs to the lower 50’s (F) and  higher.  The more the temps drop, the tighter the cluster will form with the outer layer of bees in the cluster becoming tightly compressed, insulating the bees on the inside of the cluster. Clusters expand and contract with the rise and fall of day and night-time temperatures. In warming periods, when possible, the colony cluster will break and shift positions to maintain contact with combs containing honey and food resources.

Colony strength in winter usually depends on the amount of food stores and the population of younger bees that would have been produced in the fall. An ample supple of pollen & honey for winter with a healthy population of younger bees produced in the fall generally means a higher spring population.

Spring Activity

The “period of growth” for the colony starts in mid-January in our area with the lengthening of the daylight, which I’ve seen by an increase in egg-laying by the queen. The new brood is not significant at first but aids in the beginning of the replacement of bees that have already died during the winter. Older bees will continue to die off but the younger bees from the new brood rearing cycle will begin their replacement.

New sources of food from the Maples, which usually bloom in mid- to late February will kick the colony into higher gear for the stimulation of rearing brood.

 

Updates on this discussion will follow in the near future (posted 1*21*2014)