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A gaggle of geese, a herd of cows, a pack of wolves, a cluster of bees…. it’s all semantics.
What is the cluster size? This is a common question you may hear among beekeepers when discussing the size of a honey bee colony. The honeybee cluster is the main brood area of the hive. Here the queen will lay eggs and the nurse bees will feed the young. Honey and pollen will be stored nearby for ready access. The cluster area is the “heart of the hive”, especially in winter.
Most of the year, the honeybees will be spread out over the frames going about their daily chores. But the arrival of cool weather forces the bees to begin the clustering behavior. Because of the rearing of young, the brood area must be kept warm. When brood is present the temperature at the center of the honeybee cluster will be near 94 degrees. The bees produce heat by moving their wing muscles. As you move toward the outside of the cluster the temperature will drop. When the weather gets colder, the bees cluster tighter together.
Most beekeepers want a large cluster of bees going into late Fall. Throughout the winter, some of the older bees will die and the hive population will decrease. We want a colony to have a large enough population to sustain some loss before new bees begin to appear in late winter.
Genetics also plays a part in cluster size. Some strains of bees (such as Russians or Carniolans) will carry smaller clusters into winter and then expand the brood nest rapidly upon the arrival of early Spring.
When bitter cold weather arrives, the bees will not leave the cluster to bring honey close by. If the cold weather continues until the honey supply near the cluster is exhausted – the bees will die. This is especially a danger to small clusters. So, a honeybee colony can perish even when they have a full super of honey on top or several frames away. The honey stores have to be in the right place at the right time.
We wish the very best for all of our beekeeping friends and their bees during this winter weather!
This is a great time of year to prepare new equipment for Spring. We have everything you need: order here
We Want You for Bee Well Bootcamp
This in-depth beekeeping class covers all the crucial details of starting with bees. This course begins with a Lecture and concludes with Field Instruction.
March 7, 2020
10:00 am – 12:00 pm Lecture
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Field Instruction
- How to install, feed, and medicate your bees
- Behaviors of the bees
- Detection of mites, beetles, and diseases
Field Instruction Includes
- Examine real beehives
- Hands-on interaction with the bees
Class Instructor – Kerry Owen
Becoming a Beekeeper is an exciting journey that many people wait years to experience. Unless you are lucky enough to have a beekeeper in your family, you might find yourself exploring the possibilities during mid life or later. This is okay. Beekeeping can be a meaningful adventure for young and old alike. Even though the craft does involve hard work and some heavy lifting, you can learn management techniques to help lighten the load.
Becoming a Beekeeper involves not only an education in honeybee biology and maintenance but also an understanding of natural local botany and climate conditions. Good beekeepers need to know when the food providing plants will bloom in their area. Weather conditions can affect honeybee colonies significantly and beekeepers must be prepared to step in when conditions warrant.
Those most likely to succeed will prepare well in advance of actually receiving the honeybees. Selecting a proper location, assembling equipment and learning the basics of honeybee management will help you to become a beekeeper worthy of the name. Remember you want to become a successful beekeeper not a “bee haver” .
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.
Our next class is Saturday March 11, 2017- cost is $75. Register now.
Protecting Your Bees with Nite Guard
Beekeepers are charged with protecting their colonies from pests, diseases, environmental conditions and predators. It is common to think of your bees as pets – even though they are considered “livestock” by USDA. Beekeepers in many areas of the country deal with predators such as : skunks, opossums, bears and humans. All of these “animals” may cause problems for your bees in the upstate of South Carolina.
Nite-Guard is a solar powered predator deterrent. Charged by the sun during the day, the solar light activates at dusk and flashes all night. Nite Guard is weather-proof and earth friendly. Safe for people, pets and livestock – it looks like a security camera and may even deter intruders. Many wild animals are distrustful of the flashing red light that signals danger. While no items works in every situation with every type of predator, these lights have proven very beneficial for many users around the county.
Placement of your nite-guard lights will vary depending on the type of animal you are targeting. The company has a great website that gives the consumer tips and ideas to ensure the best use of the product. Nite Guard
Bee Well Honey is proud to offer Nite Guard to our customers for use in your beeyard, garden or home.
Becoming a Beekeeper with Bee Well Honey
As we near the end of 2014, we begin to think about what will be in store for the next year. Perhaps you are considering a new hobby ? Maybe you have always been interested in honeybees but don’t know where to start ? Here at Bee Well Honey we have been helping people become beekeepers for many years. The world of beekeeping is exciting and filled with many ideas. Each person who desires to succeed will have to chose their path as there are many thoughts on how to manage honeybees.
Each Spring Bee Well Honey provides hundreds of packages of bees to upstate beekeepers. These packages help replace winter loses for experienced beekeepers and fill new hives for people who are just becoming a beekeeper. Call now to place your order for Spring delivery.
We have a special package that contains the most needed items for the new beekeeper. We call this the Beginners Kit and it will be a big help to the new person becoming a beekeeper and unsure of which items to purchase. In addition, starting December 13, 2014 thru Christmas – we will be having our 20% off sale so this is a great time to get those special gifts.
Call Bee Well Today 864-898-5122
or visit us online at beewellhoneyfarm.com
Christmas is just around the corner.
Here at Bee Well Honey we have been getting in the Christmas spirit for quite a while. Our shelves are stocked to overflowing with all types of great gifts for you, your family and friends. We have a selection of ready to give baskets for those customers who need a gift in a hurry. Our staff selects special items from our large inventory that are known customer favorites. We have locally made fine pottery and handmade soaps and candles.
In our beekeeping center, you will find everything the beekeeper needs to make plans for the new year. Got a beekeeper in your family ? All beekeepers enjoy receiving new equipment, tools and books to help them with their hobby. Maybe its time to upgrade to a honey extractor ? We have several sizes to choose from.
We extend the best wishes for a joyous holiday season to all of our customers and friends.
Beekeeper’s Supplies and Education – Important Parts of a fascinating hobby
One of the most important facets of becoming a beekeeper is the beekeeper’s supplies and education. These elements are considered long before the bees ever arrive. At least this is the optimum way to become involved in beekeeping. Americans have enjoyed the hobby of beekeeping ever since the colonists first arrived – some bringing colonies of honeybees with them in the 1600’s.
Today the hobby of beekeeping is seeing a resurgence in popularity brought on by the media coverage of large honeybee losses. Keeping honeybees has changed a lot in the last 30 years. It is the intelligent approach to beekeeping that is most likely to yield good results. Many catalogs contain pages and pages of Beekeeper Supplies that can be overwhelming. Proper Beekeeper education can help the new hobbyist prepare for and mange their colonies.
Bee Well Honey has provided a full line of beekeeping supplies for years. We have everything you need to get started from beginners books to wooden ware and even the bees themselves. After a very successful event in the Fall of 2014, we will be offering a one day Beekeeping Bootcamp in the Spring of 2015. This one day class will feature lecture time and field time in actual hives. Date and price to be determined.Are you ready to dive into beekeeping ?
Order your bees NOW for spring delivery. Order bees here
Want more information about the Beekeeper Boot Camp ? Email us at : [email protected]
Bee Well Honey has seen a lot of growth over the last several years. What began as one man’s dream to pollinate a small apple orchard, has grown into a major contender in the raw honey market in the Carolinas. Beekeeper, Kerry Owen along with family and a staff of loyal employees spend many hours each season providing customers (retail and wholesale) with a good crop of raw honey. The Natural Market began as a charming wooden structure on the farm and now is housed on a busy street corner near downtown Pickens. Please stop by our current location and enjoy all the healthy foods, supplements, gifts and beekeeping supplies that we have to offer as Bee Well Honey continues growing.
The term “bees for sale” brings forth great excitement in the minds of beekeepers everywhere. Each year Bee Well Honey in Pickens SC offers packages of honeybees for sale to new and experienced beekeepers in the region. We have been doing this for over 10 years and we believe that we have a good system of providing new colonies to meet your needs. Honeybees are facing many difficulties and there is no perfect bee or perfect beekeeper. Getting your colony off to a good start in early Spring is an important part of having a successful beekeeping program. Interested in Bees but don’t know how to become a beekeeper ? Bee Well can help you there also with our experienced staff and one day Beekeeping BootCamp. Order your packages now to secure the best early dates and be ready to start off 2015 with a “BUZZ” !
The Beekeeper’s Fall is a special time for human and bee alike. The hot muggy days of the southern summer are almost at an end. Most bee colonies have been at their largest population and are starting reduce in number. As the “cluster” size diminishes the beekeeper will want to make sure that the colony is not left with too much space to patrol . Too much inside space with too few patrol bees can result in an infestation of pests such as Small Hive Beetles or Wax Moths. The Beekeeper in Fall will also need to evaluate the amount of honey that is stored for winter. Bees do not fly when the weather is cold and winter (even in our area) rarely offers much in the way of nectar. Failure to provide the bee colony with proper winter food is a failure on the part of the fall Beekeeper.
Enjoy the cooler weather. Inspect your colonies before it gets too cold. Get ready for a nice winter rest while your bees are resting and dreaming of Spring.