2022 Beekeeping Tips for Customers

  1. Join a local beekeeping club if possible.
  2. Consider a beekeeping course, such as: https://extension.psu.edu/beekeeping-101 or in-person classes: https://www.mannlakeltd.com/beekeeping-education/beekeeping-classes
  3. Read or watch some educational beekeeping videos on YouTube, such as: Michael Palmer, Randy Oliver, Bob Binnie, Ian Steppler, Kamon Reynolds, University of Guelph, and others I probably missed…
  4. If you’re in Pennsylvania and new to beekeeping, you can register your apiary here: https://www.paplants.pa.gov/SecurityLogin.aspx
  5. Have more than one hive if possible (useful for comparison and for transferring resources back and forth). Good hive management can help you create more hives after the first year.
  6. For over-wintered hives, start with an early spring mite treatment, then test for mites throughout season, particularly starting in July before fall. Waiting too long to treat will probably result in a lost hive over the winter. Consider a secondary late fall treatment (late November or December) for an additional treatment. High mite levels can result in a variety of problems/diseases in the fall and winter.
  7. Providing a water source prior to starting a hive is usually the best (so they won’t find your neighbor’s pool). They do seem to like water with minerals or some salinity/chlorine.
  8. Wax moth traps can be hung in spring to catch some of the moths and yellow jacket queens (jug with ac vinegar, banana, sugar, and water), but a strong hive won’t have issues with wax moths.
  9. Ant resistant barriers under the hive will address most ants, but again, a healthy, strong hive won’t have real issues with ants.
  10. For hive beetles, Swiffer pads or a beetle trap helps, but keeping a strong hive without lots of extra space and full sun is very important to reduce small hive beetle problems.
  11. If you have a chance of bears or other predators, start out with fencing (preferably some electric) rather than waiting for a problem to occur.
  12. During times of dearth and early fall, consider adding partial pollen patties to the top of your hive (pieces versus full patties usually help avoid hive beetles). Global patties brand is good.
  13. Leave plenty of resources for winter or feed with 2:1 syrup in early fall. Can consider adding candy board or winter patties late in winter if they are running out of stores.
  14. If you need to feed during spring or early fall, a hive top “bucket feeder” is very effective or a simple “baggie feeder” inside of a top hive 1 ½” shim works well (as do frame feeders with cap and ladder.) For winter, you can make a simple sugar patty or use patties/fondant. Pro-Sweet is a good fall feed to add weight quickly to low weight hives.
  15. Before going into fall, control the mites.
  16. Before going into fall, control the mites.
  17. Before late fall, make sure the hive is packed with food and pollen—at least one full deep of resources, depending on your location.
  18. Too much moisture in the hive can amplify existing problems over the winter. Foam insulation boards on top of the hive (under the lid) is helpful for reducing moisture drips.
  19. After a successful first winter, make plans for re-queening.

Favorite Products:

  1. For a jacket or suit, the 3-layer ventilated suits are more comfortable and fairly bee proof. Ultrabreeze or MannLake vented jackets or suits are good. Add zippy cool or similar lubricant to your zippers for better functionality.
  2. Goatskin gloves are the best among traditional beekeeping gloves. Nitrile gloves also work.
  3. Betterbee.com has some good supplies.
  4. For woodenware (boxes and frames), finding a local supplier is usually the least expensive (Martin’s Bee Supply—outside of Carlisle, PA is a good source).
  5. If you choose to treat Oxalic Acid Vapor for mites and plan to have 10 or more hives, a Provap or similar product is a good long-term investment. The Lorob Bees vaporizer works after you fix the washer on the bottom and shorten the length of the tube.
  6. For extracting, you can find inexpensive extractors for $150-300, or you can often rent one from your local beekeeping club. A heated knife or planner is a good investment for prepping frames.
  7. “Easycheck” is a good mite check container. I usually try for 1% or less (no more than 3 per 300 bees), but 2% or less is also accepted by some beekeepers. Half cup of nurse bees, plus covered in 90% rubbing alcohol, shake gently for 60 seconds.

Sample Mite Treatment Plan (**this is only to give you an idea of the effort that is involved—it all depends on your mite counts and your location**)

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