This section will include noteworthy ideas that make your chances of being a successfull beekeeper in the Northwest possible.
The right cover for your beehive in a northern climates:
How-to Video: http://youtu.be/oU9fZ_P2VrA
Note on the cover vent: After testing the screened vent I found that in many of the deadouts the bees had sealed the screening solid with popolis thus defeating the intended venting effect. This very well could have lead to their death. The top entrance they often begin to use in the spring may be better in the fact that they don’t have to go down to the bottom board where dead bees, slugs and mold is often afoot. At the first sign of spring I replace all my bottoms and hit the wintering ones with the pressure washer to restore them to new. Perhaps a screened insert is the best way to go. Good luck!
This design lends itself to palletizing and stacking. Just be sure to avoid any random nails from the pallets above that may puncture the metal lid.
An improved bottom board for northern climates:
E-mail if you are totally confused.
This bottom board has worked well. When positioning on a stand there is no longer any need to slope forward so water drains away from the entrance.
New Queen Cages for 2013. See Pictures:
Remember what is important in a queen cage. First off each queen needs to be separated by a barrier from all other queens. Also very important is each queen needs a quiet area where her feet are not exposed to overly aggressive nurse bees. In these cages this area is the sides, top and bottom and two horizontal cross support strips in the back of all cages.
Notice the slit in the lid section. This is for easy insertion of the queen cells if you use the plastic queen cell cups with the nubs on the backside.
Package Bee Purchases—————–California or Southern States
You can count on your packages of bees to be carrying a heavy load of mites when they arrive. This is a perfect time to reduce the count in this broodless condition before hiving. What I did was give them a gentle thump to the bottom of the box and dump in enough powdered sugar to coat them. and spread the packages out on an old sheet. After a while I tipped the packages and watched the mites fall through the screening onto the sheet. Multiple treatments didn’t seem to bring out more and effort was made to avoid getting sugar on the queen cage.
A better approach might be to ask the package house to use a couple of Hopguard strips so the mite drop could happen while they were being shipped. I compared my package success to others who didn’t treat and it was like night and day. I got a super of honey where untreated hives produced none and were light going into the fall.
I have discontinued purchasing packaged bees ten years ago because of my concern over diseases they may carry. I picked up some sort of a brood disorder in some of my package shipments one year. The brood looked dry and underfed. Trips to the burning barrel solved this issue. You may not want to go there. California is a big mixing bowl for every disease bees can contract. If you buy Nuc’s you run the risk of getting toxic frames from commercial beekeepers who are rotating out frames as the chemicals levels reach new highs each year. Try and find someone local to buy from.