Common Sense Beekeeping Class
This beekeeping class is an in-depth discussion on the fundamental practices of beekeeping, the natural behavioral habits of honeybees, and the methods needed from a beekeeper to help the honeybees and the beekeeper become a successful partnership.
- Date: September 30, 2017
- Time: 10:00 a – 12:00 p
- Cost: $20.00
- Basic Equipment
- Locating Bee Yards
- Calendar Year Description of Maintenance and Responsibilities
- This class includes a guided tour with Kerry Owen of South Carolina’s largest beekeeping agritourism business.
Kerry Owen recently appeared on Scene on 7 to talk about Bee Well Honey. Click Here to Watch.
There are numerous factors that go into the decision when to harvest honey from hives. Be patient. The bees need appropriate time to collect nectar and process it into honey. Rush the process and harvest before it is fully ripened by the bees and you may end up with fermented honey. Not the end of the world since it is still edible and makes great mead, but if high quality honey that stores well or is for sale is your goal, low moisture is what you want.
A good rule of thumb is to not extract unless at least 75% of the cells in the honey combs are capped. By extracting one uncapped honey frame for every three capped frames of honey, the overall moisture content will tend to be below the level where fermentation will occur.
Honey Bee Forage Map
For more information about the ideal time to harvest honey in various parts of the U.S., check out NASA’s Honey Bee Forage Map by clicking here.
Bee Well Honey Farm Presents SC Beekeepers Association Summer Conference 2017
Please make plans to join us for the annual summer conference of the South Carolina Beekeepers Association to be held at The Florence Civic Center July 19-21, 2017.More Information/Conference Registration More Information/Vendor Registration
Mr. Hackenberg has been featured in two documentaries about Colony Collapse Disorder, Vanishing of the Bees and Colony: the Endangered World of Bees and has represented the beekeeping industry in front of congress on issues concerning pesticides.
Mr. Hackenberg received the Presidents award from the American Beekeeping Federation in 2008 for bringing the plight of the honey bee to light in the world.
Mr. Hackenberg will share with us what he has seen in bees from the commercial standpoint and how we can as Backyard/Sideliners apply some of the lessons he has learned along the way.
Jennifer for the past 17 years, Jennifer Berry has been the Apicultural Research Professional and Lab Manager for the University of Georgia Honey Bee Program. Her research objectives have focused on improving honey bee health, the sub-lethal effects of pesticides on beneficial insects and IPM techniques for varroa and small hive beetle control.
More recently, Jennifer has undertaken several ambitious campaigns to educate people from all walks of life. She’s volunteered in Central and South America to teach women and young teens the art of beekeeping in order to enhance their ability for better employment and hopefully improve their quality of life. Jennifer has also been instrumental in launching the Georgia Beekeeping Prison Program by certifying inmates through the University of Georgia Master Beekeeper Program. In little over a year, 5 prisons have been added to the fold and are now teaching beekeeping behind bars. Three classes have already been certified, with many more to come. Plus, the prison program is striving to become as self-sustaining as possible, with each prison responsible for supplying something to the mix: queens, bees and/or woodenware. And finally she has been dutifully educating the public about the importance of pollinators and other beneficial insects and how to encourage their populations.
Jennifer is a regular columnist for Bee Culture magazine and occasionally for other publications across the pond. She travels extensively to speak to local, state, national and international students, groups and beekeeping associations. On weekends and evenings, Jennifer operates Honey Pond Farm, a honey bee venture which strives on rearing healthy bees and selecting queens for varroa tolerance, brood production, gentleness, and longevity. Several times a year she sells nucleus colonies and teaches how to rear superior queens at her farm in Georgia.
Dr. Sharashkin is founder of HorizontalHive.com and editor of Keeping Bees With a Smile, a comprehensive resource on keeping bees naturally in horizontal hives. He is contributor to American Bee Journal, The Beekeepers Quarterly (UK), and Acres USA, and speaks internationally on sustainable beekeeping, organic growing, and Earth-friendly living. He holds a PhD in Forestry from the University of Missouri and a Master’s in Natural Resources from Indiana University. Author of world-renowned research in sustainable agriculture, he lives with his wife and four children on a forest homestead in the Ozarks in southern Missouri where they raise bees in a variety of low-maintenance, easy-to-build horizontal hives.
Dr. Tsuruda has been the SC Apiculture Specialist since 2014. Her studies in honey bees began in California, where she worked on foraging behavior and genetics. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University and studied behavioral resistance to Varroa mites and genomic imprinting. Jennifer maintains Clemson University’s hives for Extension and Research and serves the professional community as past president of the American Association of Professional Apiculturists, former chair of the STEP committee of the Entomological Society of America, and vice chair of the Heartland Apicultural Society.
We love this time of year. The trees are green, flowers are beginning to bloom and the weather is warm. Ah, the lazy days of summer.
Summer is perfect for honey bees…. right? So, what is summer nectar dearth?
What is Summer Nectar Dearth?
Honey bee colonies store nectar and pollen to use in times of dearth. To a honey bee, a dearth is a shortage of nectar-producing flowers. The most obvious nectar dearth occurs during the winter, but many places also experience a summer nectar dearth, a hot and dry period between spring flowers and autumn flowers.
This time of shortage may escape a new beekeeper’s notice because, after all, it is summer and the world is green. Sometimes flowers are clearly visible and it’s easy to assume that if flowers are present, the bees are happy. But not all flowers produce nectar accessible to honey bees. And among those that do, the amount of nectar can be reduced by low rainfall, excessive heat, or other less-than-ideal growing conditions.
The summer nectar dearth can be devastating to a honey bee colony. At times, it can destroy a colony faster than a cold winter. Whereas a bee colony has time to prepare for winter by increasing storage and decreasing population, a summer dearth hits when populations are very high. Large numbers of bees—especially active bees—require a lot of food. A large colony can wipe out its warehouse very quickly, and if the beekeeper has already harvested, the problem is worse.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and a severe summer nectar dearth can cause many types of unwanted behavior. Simply put, idle bees get into trouble.
What Should a Beekeeper Do?
Once you recognize a dearth, you may want to take actions to minimize the damage a dearth can cause. Listed below are some considerations for colony management.
- Feeding syrup during a summer dearth is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, if your colony is low on stores, feeding may keep them from starving. On the other hand, the presence of feed can quickly alert robbers to a feast. If you decide to feed, resist using an entrance feeder because the odor will bring robbers right to the front door. Instead, use an internal or enclosed hive-top feeder and avoid drips and spills.
- If you have a strong nectar flow in autumn, feeding bees during the summer dearth has advantages. Normally, the hive population drops during a dearth because when nectar stops coming in, the queen restricts her egg laying. A good supply of syrup keeps the colony population higher, and a bigger colony going into autumn will be better able to harvest the late nectar flows.
- If you decide to feed colonies during a dearth, do not use essential oils or Honey-B-Healthy. At this time of year, these products can entice bees from miles around. Don’t worry, your bees will have no trouble finding the syrup in their hive.
- Reduce entrances. Robbing is always a possibility even if you are not feeding. Reduce your entrances and, for small or weak colonies, consider using a robbing screen.
- Close upper entrances. It is harder for your bees to defend two or more entrances. If you are using upper entrances, close them off during the dearth. If you need upper ventilation use a screened inner cover or an eke (two- or three-inch super) with screened ventilation ports.
- Do not put community feeders or wet frames near your apiary. Either one can start a frenzy that invites robbers to your area. If you want your wet frames cleaned by your bees, put the frames in a super inside the hive.
- If possible, schedule hive manipulations for late in the day. Bees go home at night, so opening hives late in the day allows time for the odors to dissipate before morning. It also gives nighttime scavengers an opportunity to clean up any drips and spills.
Bee Well Honey Farm recently appeared on Field Trip Zoom to discuss “How to Become a Beekeeper”. Field Trip Zoom provides live and interactive educational experiences between educational content providers and K-12 educators, students and homeschoolers.
This presentation is aimed at ages 5-6.
The weather is getting warmer and days are staying lighter a little longer. So, spring can’t be that far away.
To help you care for your bees this spring, we’ve compiled a few tips designed to get your colonies ready for a successful season.
Make Room for the Queen
Make sure that the queen has enough space to lay. Sometimes colonies can be full of over wintered stores. If the queen is unable to lay the colony won’t expand at this crucial time. Also this limits their space making them more likely to swarm at a later stage.
Bees Need Ample Stores
If the bees have utilized all their stores all it takes is a few wet/cold days for bees not to progress or the possible loss of a colony. Normal practice is to feed 1:1 sugar/water mix. Syrup can also be fed at this time to accelerate colony expansion.
Check for Brood and Eggs
If you don’t have a queen you don’t have a colony. An increasing problem we see is queens not surviving the winter or not mating correctly. Check to see if brood is present and in particular look for eggs and if you cannot see them, young larvae are easier to find.
Check the Brood Pattern
How does your brood pattern look? Compare the colony to your other colonies. If there is a smaller amount of brood or a high ratio of drone cells you may have a poorly mated queen. Think about replacing her. A spotty brood pattern could be an indication of poor mating but could also be an indication of disease.
Now is the time to get foundation drawn out. It allows you to have comb ready for the larger flows and keeps the bees busy and less likely to swarm.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
While you still have some time, begin preparing for the season ahead. If expanding your colonies, ensure you have hives ready for splits and that you have the relevant nucs, hive material etc.
If your focus is on honey ensure you have as much foundation drawn out and aim to have your hives as strong as possible as opposed to having multiple hives. Ensure you have a sufficient number of supers!
Would you like to know more about honeybees? Do you wonder what all the fuss is about? Could you picture yourself in a beekeeping suit but are afraid to try?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, our beekeeping class may be for you.
Our popular one day Beekeeping Boot Camp is a good introduction to the world of the honeybee.
This beekeeping class will give you a great start on your journey to become a new beekeeper.
Commercial Beekeeper, Kerry Owen, owns Bee Well Honey Farm and operates over 2000 hives.
Master Beekeeper, Charlotte Anderson, is the first female master beekeeper in SC and a former SC Beekeeper of the Year. We will have a great lecture during the morning session and actually go into the hives during the afternoon ! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn first hand from experience beekeepers.
Our next class is Saturday March 11, 2017- cost is $75. Register now.
Mead Making Class
Learn how to make the world’s oldest fermented beverage in our Mead Making Class. We will demonstrate how to make a simple mead. When done correctly, home brewed mead will be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Join us and see how simple it is.
- Date: May 20, 2017
- Time: 10:00 a – 12:00 p
- Cost: $20.00
- Mead Making Demonstration
- The History of Mead
- Special Mead Fermentation Techniques
- Mead & Honey Tasting
- Discussion of Different Mead Styles
Bee Well Honey Farm Presents the 2017 NC & SC Joint Spring Meeting of the South Carolina Beekeepers Association
Please make plans to join us for the annual spring conference of the South Carolina Beekeepers Association to be held in Rock Hill, SC March 3-4, 2017.More Information/Register
Editor of “Keeping Bees with a Smile”, comprehensive resource on keeping bees naturally in horizontal hives. He is a regular contributor to American Bee Journal, Bee Culture, The Beekeepers Quarterly (UK), and other major publications, and speaks internationally on sustainable beekeeping and organic growing. He holds a PHD in Forestry from the University of Missouri and Master’s in Natural Resources from Indiana University. Author of world-renowned research in sustainable agriculture, he lives with his wife and four children on a forest homestead in the Ozarks in southern Missouri where they catch feral survivor-stock swarms and raise bees in several dozen low-maintenance, easy-to-build horizontal hives.