Jun 032014

I use this method for wax moth/hornet control where I live.  I catch dozens of moths and hornets at a time and the banana peel keeps the honey bees away from the trap.

  • Empty 2-liter bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider)
  • 1 large banana peel

Cut up banana peel in to small pieces and then mix all ingredients together and put into the 2 liter bottle.  Place cap back on the 2 liter and cut two holes opposite of each other about quarter size on each side of the bottle (up near the curve of the neck).  Hang from a tree about 3-4 foot from the ground.  Within days you will see hornets and moths drowned in the mixture.  There will be no honeybees because of the banana peel.

 Posted by at 5:04 pm
May 062014

A Dark Honey Producer’s Association Meeting will be held Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Extension Service.  The meeting will begin with finger foods.  Each family is asked to bring sandwiches, chips, drinks, cookies etc. for the meeting.  No chicken will be provided for this meeting.  Yvonne Harrison from the EKU Center for Econmoic Development Entrepreneurship and Technology will be presenting a program on marketing honey.  This should be an excellent educational program so please try to attend.

 Posted by at 9:56 am

How to Paint a Beehive

 Bee Blog  Comments Off
Mar 242014

Painting beehives is pretty straight forward and almost anyone can paint a beehive with a little knowledge beforehand.  Here are some recommendations, opinions, techniques that have been around for quite some time.  Many beekeepers have controversial opinions about this subject, which is why beekeeping is so fascinating.

stand to paint beehives

Saw Horses to hold painted beehives


What Type of Paint for beehives? 

  • When I first started thinking about which color, how many coats, which type of paint, I got really confused and started doing research on what seasoned beekeepers have done before in the past.  I decided that I wanted to be as chemical free as possible for the bees and human health, so I researched what is actually in paint itself.  I found out that regular household paint can contain up to 10,000 different kinds of chemicals, many of which are toxins and some are linked to cancer.  What I concluded was to go with the lowest level of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) as stamped on the pail of paint.  The federal government has regulations on voc content at no more than 250 grams per liter (g/l) for your flat paints and around 380 g/l for any other type (semi-glosses).  The ones that I have tried and use have <50 g/l and some stains have 5.5 g/l, which are easily found at your local hardware paint stores.
  • Satin or Flat?  The rougher paints will tend to attract more dirt and mildew than a regular satin paint with a smoother finish.  This will keep your hives cleaner and maintain their color longer.

Stain or Paint on beehives?

  • If you do decide to go with a stain over regular paint, make sure it is a water based stain so it will not harm the bees.  Also do note that some wood preservatives can leach arsenic just as pressure treated wood contains chromated copper arsenate (CCA) which is a pesticide.  There are some natural oil stains that have a low VOC rate at around 5.5 g/l and will darken the wood slightly but not make it overly dark that is sold by some beekeeping supply factories.  As with many stains, you would have to reapply these every 3-4 years in order to maintain the protective qualities.  If you do opt for stain, then go with one that voids out UV rays to prevent graying (Unless you like that look) of the wood.  Also, there is nothing more pleasing that a natural wood look with bees pouring out the front of a hive.

What Color Should I paint my Beehive?

  • The main thing to remember is the lighter the color, the cooler the hive, and the darker the color the warmer the hive.  Dark colors attract heat, light repels.  The color of paint doesn’t really doesn’t matter but does depend on where you live in the world.  For instance, if you live in South Florida, you would want your hives to be a white or lighter colors.  If you live in colder climates like on a mountain side in Northern Canada, you might want to go with a darker tint color to keep the bees warm.
  • Bees primary colors are blue, green, ultraviolet, and can distinguish oranges, purples, and yellows.  Bees will see red as a black and of course black as black, so keep this in mind when you are painting your hives so that you can cross paint your hives in order for the bees to distinguish their own individual hive to prevent drifting from one hive to another.  Some beekeepers will paint specific patterns like all circles on one hive and all squares or triangles on another hive to provide hive identification and to prevent drifting.
  • Traditionally beehives were painted white.  I have heard many things on this reason; One is because beehives contained a food product and this would promote cleanliness of the honey just as a doctor and dentist wears a white smock lab coat (To show they are clean).  Another reason is because that was primary the color of barns “back in the day” that was lying around after a full day painting, thus the next day was to paint the beehives.
  • Some urban beekeepers like to paint their hives to match the building they live in or to conform to urban regulations in the area.  Also, if you have hives that are in an area where it would be easy for thieves to steal your hives, then you would want to paint your beehives to blend in the area.  One of my friends hives is a cool camo in color and he mentioned that there were thieves that drove by his apiary that was on the edge of a tree line.
  • Another fun way to get young children involved is to let them paint the hive with different drawings.  Imagine 20 years from now your hive having a child’s painting on them to show them when they are older?  Have them draw flowers, the sun, bees, trees, wind blowing, water, farm animals, houses, stick people, beekeepers, or anything their little hearts desire.  If you ever do a hive give away for a local charity, then look into taking your hive to the local elementary school for the children to paint the hive for you, which you can give them a pizza party or a part of the donation charities.

Best Paint for Beehives

  • I’ll leave this up to you, but if you use a paint that dries fast and requires less paint because it already has a primer built into it, then the more time you can spend watching your bees.  For instance, I painted beehives without a primer and it took three times as long as if I did it with one that had a primer mixed already in.  Also, smudges were leave by the roller without a primer.

Roller or Flat Brush to Paint Beehives?

  • I personally prefer the flat brush technique because I just enjoy the painting part.  If you want something quick, then use the roller.  I’m sure my opinion will change over the years but I feel that I get a better coat with the brushes.

My Beehives are Sticking Together After Painting!

  • A lot of new beekeepers will stack their hives to the brim and use a roller up and down until they are done painting.  After a few hours they come back to move the hives and they find out that the hives are stuck to one another.  One way to prevent this is to put a spacer in between the hives like a washer or some pennies so that you can easily move them after painting.  I have used anything that will “slide” one hive off the other with great success.  Also, I have put end to end saw horses with two landscaping ties across to hold the hives up off the ground and allowed to air dry.  This brings the hives  up to waist height and will not hurt your back as well.  I can quickly paint a few dozen hives in a few hours this way.

    Painting beehive spacers

    Spacers used to paint beehive

What Parts Of A Beehive To Paint?

  • Remember one thing; Consider a beehive as a food container.  Therefore nothing on the inside should be painted.  Bees like to use propolis to create a antibacterial cavity for themselves as well as for them to provide a smell of pheromones specific to their hive.  If you watch bees, they really like to do house keeping chores, and if you looking into washboarding from bees, you’ll understand why.  Therefore do not paint anything that is inside the hive.  Paint or stain only the parts of the hive that is exposed to the outside elements.
  • Some beekeepers like to paint the “rims” or the top and bottom parts of the beehive where one chamber will physically touch the other when stacking.  Other beekeepers do not prefer this technique because on a hot day some paints will make the two hives stick together and it will be very hard to come apart, especially when there is propolis glued along with this.  If you have a old hive you could do more damage to the hive if they are stuck together.  Some beekeepers this doesn’t matter and they will paint the under and top rims.
  • Do NOT paint the inner cover, the frames, the entrance reducer (bees chew on this), nor metal tops of outer covers.  No painting of the outer cover (inside).  Do not paint the inside of brood chambers or supers.  Do not paint the inside of a slatted rack, queen excluder, or bottom board screens.

Glue on end grains of beehives?

  • If you take a look at the common ends of a beehive, you can see the grains of the wood showing.  This is the most susceptible part of the beehive that wears out fast.  The end grains draw water into the wooden ware like a straw.  A good friend showed me that if you take some waterproof glue like Titebond III and smear it into these grains before painting, then your hives will last a very long time.  Another method that I’m going to do research in is with a product called Log End Seal.  Since I live in a log cabin, I know the first effects of the end grains of logs drawing in water.  I purchased Log End Seal and applied it to my log home and haven’t had one bit of water drawn into the wood.  Now, with all this being said, I need to do the research first to see VOC levels, safety of the bees and other research before testing.

Do I Have to Paint My Beehive?

  • No is the short answer.  But be cautious that your hive will warp, grey and leak to some extent, and that your hive will not last as long as one that is stained or painted.  However if you are trying to go 100% organic beekeeping, then keep in mind that you need a non pressure treated wood as well.

I know there are many more methods, techniques on painting and staining beehives that are not covered here.  My purpose was to expose you to some of the most common methods in painting beehives in todays world.  If you have a technique worth sharing, please send it to info@kybeeco.com for consideration on it being published here on this website.  If you have colorful hives you would like to show off, please send them as well and I’ll post them in the galleries.



 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Mar 142014

Would like to see some beekeepers at the capital next week to show support for the 518 bill.   Please see letter from Tammy Horn (President of KSBA) below with more information.

From Tammy Horn:

Hi all:

One of the last meetings in Appropriations and Revenue will take place Tuesday, March 18th, 2014.

If we cannot convince the representatives or senators to have a hearing on HB 518, exempting beekeepers from sales tax, we will not have another chance until 2016.

Can you meet me at the Capitol on the 18th, 8:30 a.m. (wearing bee jackets, preferably) to distribute honey and meet your representatives or senators?   I can bring a few jackets for those of you who are not beekeepers.

We need a strong show of support.  In this list are some directors of local bee associations.  If you can’t make it, but have members who can, please have them email me.

I need to know by Monday 12:00 p.m.


Tammy Horn, pres of KSBA


 Posted by at 7:58 am
Mar 122014

What can I say except for what an excellent program they put on this year! I arrived around 8:30am to find what appeared to be 400+ beekeepers from across the state, as well as other states attending. The school was at the Kentucky State University and directions to the event were top notch. There were signs everywhere for where to park and where the school was located. This started a wonderful day of learning.

When entering the school, there were volunteers to assist with pre-registered guests as well as those that didn’t. Clearly showing the lines and helping everyone out. The line to the registration was long, but within 3 minutes I was already through, had my packet and door prize stub in hand!

Continuing onto the vendor’s area where companies like Kelly Bee Supply, Dadant as well as other beekeeping companies were present loaded with tons of beekeeping equipment to serve all. We continued onto the Bradford Hall where the main opening session was getting ready to take place. During the day there were tons of refreshments (donuts, coffee, bottled water, orange juice) for patrons which was very nice of the organizations to provide this.

KY beekeeping conference

Bluegrass beekeeping conference

There was a welcoming to the very large audience from various speakers, including Dr. Tom Webster, Dr. Tammy Horn among others. The keynote speaker was Dr. Debbie Delaney (University of Delaware, Assistant professor, Wildlife and Ecology Department), which gave an outstanding speech of everything from a-z in beekeeping within her allotted time. I wish I could have spent all day listening to her speech on the various studies they are conducting with beekeeping. Most interesting to myself was the breeding and intermingling social aspects of different bee species in the studies that she showed during her slide show.

Next was the breakout sessions, which I attended the “Problems in the Hive” by Dr. Tom Webster. I have spoken with Dr. Webster many times before only through email, but now I finally was able to see him in action with his gentle nature with a wealth of information that he was able to produce in 45 minutes regarding various diseases and mite issues. Class size was about 60 in a large “theatre” classroom.

The next 45 minute breakout session that I attended was the “EAS Master Beekeeping Exam Warm-up” by Kent Williams. Kent is known as a huge commercial beekeeper over in the Western part of Kentucky and I have attended several of his classes before. I have to say, the presentation of every aspect of the EAS Master Beekeeping exam was spot on. I have done preps for such classes before to earn various degrees and this one tops them all. Not only did he go over correct what to expect, but also provided humor in his lecture, which is great about Kent. This class ran 15 minutes over, but everyone was on the edge of their seats listening to what he had to say. I’m sure we could have spent a good 3-4 hours just over this topic. The class size was about 20 due to the nature of those wanting to be certified as a Master Beekeeper from EAS.  This class by far was the best class I attended.

During the breakout for the lunch, registered guests were served Chick Fil A box lunches, along with option for vegetarian boxes as well. It was an excellent lunch while listening to other beekeepers talking different shop talk. Also area schools art departments had beautiful painted hives that were being sold in a silent auction. This was accompanied by a various plant booth. Excellent ideas!

silent auction beehives

Frankfort KY beekeeping school

painted beehives

Painted by hand beehives

Hand Painted Beehives Frankfort Ky

painted beehives frankfort ky

colorful beehives in Frankfort Ky

painted beehives

Donated hives Bluegrass beekeeping School

Next class I attended “Non Grafting Queen Rearing” was presented by John Pace out of Glassgow Kentucky. John’s hyped excitement brought the small room of 40 to the edge of their seats with the different variations of queen rearing techniques, as well as different types of tools and methods that can be used. You can tell John was one that has been there done that wrote the book type of person. Experience shined through with John.

The last class of the day was with the KY State Apiarist Sean Burgess. “Making Nucs for Colony Increase” was the topic of this class presented. The class went over several techniques of ways to do splits, queen rearing, drone breeding selection, location of hive setups, timeframes during splits, as well as other helpful tips from the field. As always, Sean is a very experienced professional in this field and is always pushing Kentucky forward in various beekeeping topics. He is extremely active with behind the scenes regulations in Kentucky and is helping KY beekeepers in ways that wears me out from thinking about all the tasks he does. If you want to know something about beekeeping, then ask Sean, he is the “go to” guy. Highly respected!

The last session wrapped up around 3-330pm, which included the winners of the silent auction beehives, the door prizes (Thanks Tammy Horn for the many signed books you donated!). About 3/4 of the crowd was there at this time, but all in all this was a wonderful event to attend. All in all, the location was wonderful; it was very well organized, great door prizes, excellent lectures from experienced veteran beekeepers. The only downfall I had was there were some rooms that were too small and with so many people, there were some that had to sit in the floor areas. But the organizers can look at the positive side of this and pat themselves on the back to show that they brought in the crowd!

Hope to see you next year!


 Posted by at 3:06 pm
Mar 122014

As many may or may not know, bill 518 has been filed that will remove state sales tax from beekeeping equipment.  The bill has been sent to the Appropriations & Revenue Committee (chaired by Rep. Rick Rand).  There is still plenty of work to be done in order to get this Bill to admend KRS 139-480.

There is talk about the KSBA needing beekeepers to show up with their beesuits on at the Capital in Frankfort next week (Tues, Wed, Thurs) March 18-20th to show support for this bill.  They need at least 20 beekeepers in suits in order to do this, and of course the more the better.  More information on specific times, dates, locations can be found on the Kentucky State Beekeepers Association Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kentucky-State-Beekeepers-Association/261215883957

In the meantime, its critically important to contact the representatives below (email, phone, facebook, or twitter) and let them know you are in support of Bill 518 that gives the state permission to admend KRS 139.480.  Rick Rand is the most important person to contact.  He is the one that can say either yes or no with no other approvals.



Phone Number(s) Work: (502) 255-3286 Home: (502) 255-3392

Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 619 Email Address(es) Annex: Rick.Rand@lrc.ky.gov



Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 640

Email Address(es) Annex: Dwight.Butler@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Bob M. DeWeese EAST LOUISVILLE [Vice Chair] Annex: (502) 564-4334 Capitol: (502) 564-5391  Email Address(es) Annex: Bob.DeWeese@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Arnold Simpson NORTHERN KENTUCKY [Vice Chair] Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 695 Email Address(es) Annex: Arnold.Simpson@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. John Carney CAMPBELLSVILLE Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-5855Capitol: (502) 564-5855  Email Address(es) Annex: John.Carney@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Leslie Combs EASTERN KY Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 444-6672Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 669 Email Address(es) Annex: Leslie.Combs@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jesse Crenshaw LEXINGTON Phone Number(s) Home: (859) 252-6967Work: (859) 259-1402Work Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 620

Rep. Ron Crimm EAST LOUISVILLE Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 706 Work: (502) 400-3838 Email Address(es) Annex: Ron.Crimm@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Robert R. Damron NICHOLASVILLE Phone Number(s) Home: (859) 887-1744Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 614 Email Address(es) Annex: Robert.Damron@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Mike Denham MAYSVILLE Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 759-5167Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 696

Rep. Myron Dossett WESTERN KENTUCKY Phone Number(s) Home: (270) 475-9503Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 657 Email Address(es) Annex: Myron.Dossett@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Kelly Flood LEXINGTON Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 675 Cell: (859) 221-3107  Email Address(es) Annex: Kelly.Flood@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jim Glenn OWENSBORO Phone Number(s) Home: (270) 686-8760Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 705 Email Address(es) Annex: Jim.Glenn@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Richard Henderson EAST KENTUCKY Phone Number(s) Home: (859) 585-0886Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 642  Email Address(es) Annex: Richard.Henderson@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Martha Jane King WESTERN KENTUCKY
Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 618 Home: (270) 657-2707 Email Address(es) Annex: MarthaJane.King@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jimmie Lee ELIZABETHTOWN  Phone Number(s) Home: (270) 737-8889Work: (270) 765-6222Work: (270) 765-2312 (fax) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 650 Email Address(es) Annex: Jimmie.Lee@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Reginald Meeks LOUISVILLE Phone Number(s) Work: (502) 741-7464Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 653

Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 287-7303 Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 720 Work: (606) 287-3300 Work: (606) 287-3300 (fax) Email Address(es) Annex: Marie.Rader@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jody Richards BOWLING GREEN Phone Number(s) Home: (270) 842-6731Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 699 Email Address(es) Annex: Jody.Richards@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Steven Rudy PADUAH Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 637

Rep. Sal Santoro NORTHERN KENTUCKY BOONE CO Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 691 Email Address(es) Annex: Sal.Santoro@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Rita Smart RICHMOND/MADISON CO Phone Number(s) Home: (859) 623-7876Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 607

Rep. John Will Stacy EASTERN KENTUCKY  Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 743-1516Home: (606) 743-1516 (fax)Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 693

Rep. Fitz Steele EASTERN KENTUCKY Phone Number(s) Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 697 Home: (606) 439-0556 Home: (606) 439-0556 (fax)

Rep. Jim Stewart III EASTERN KENTUCKY Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 542-5210Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 690 Email Address(es) Annex: Jim.Stewart@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Tommy Turner SOMERSET
Phone Number(s) Home: (606) 274-5175Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 716 Email Address(es) Annex: Tommy.Turner@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. David Watkins HENDERSON KY Phone Number(s) Home: (270) 826-0952Home: (270) 826-3338 (fax)Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 700 Email Address(es) Annex: David.Watkins@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Jim Wayne LOUISVILLE Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 616 Work: (502) 451-8262

Rep. Susan Westrom LEXIINGTON Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 740 Work: (859) 266-7581 Email Address(es) Annex: Susan.Westrom@lrc.ky.gov

Rep. Addia Wuchner NORTHERN KENTUCKY  Phone Number(s) (859) 525-6698Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 707

Rep. Jill York NORTH EASTERN KENTUCKY Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 602 Email Address(es) Annex: jill.york@lrc.ky.gov


 Posted by at 9:58 am
Feb 262014

Concerned beekeepers around Kentucky, please support this by calling Chair Tom McKee at 1-502-564-8100 ext 667 or the assistant ext 889 and request Chair Tom McKee files a bill for amendment KRS 139.480.

A quick call, with your name, location, if you are or are not a beekeeper and that you support this amendment.  They are really nice on the phone when talking to them.

From Tammy Horn

KY State Beekeepers Association

Industry Fact Sheet

Please Amend KRS 139.480

1. KY 139.480 needs to be amended so that beekeepers may buy equipment and nutrition to feed honey bees—whose value in fruit and vegetable pollination is equated to $130 billion nationwide (2010 census)—without paying sales tax.

2. Because healthy bees are necessary to food production, this amendment “fits” into KRS 139.480, which exists to eliminate sales tax on items related to food production.

3. KY has approximately 4200 beekeepers (35 members x 120 counties), generating 1.4 million in sales on average.  This equates to merely $90,000 in sales tax.

4. During economic recessions, churches increase candle sales (more people go back to church) and more people become beekeepers (gardens, etc.).  So the numbers provided are a good barometer for the highest estimate of tax dollars to impact the state.  As the economy improves, the amount of impact on the state coffers will decrease.

5. Honey Production was the lowest ever recorded in the U.S. in 2013

6. Penn State Researchers released findings that showed, on average, each forager bee returns with 6 different pesticides in  the pollen.  The pollen is used to make bee bread and then fed to larvae.   Not surprisingly, when foragers return to the hives with higher pesticide counts, more larvae die than those foragers that return with less.  To read more, please refer to the website: http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2014.

7. The U.S. consumes 400 million pounds of honey a year, yet domestic beekeepers produce only 140 millions pounds.  China and Argentina fill the gap.  With proper state-support such as elimination of sales tax, KY can develop forest-based beekeeping to fill this gap.

8. KRS139.480 eliminates sales tax on “insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, and other farm chemicals to be used in the production of crops as a business.”  Many of these chemicals have a detrimental impact on honey bees, which are equally necessary for “the production of crops as business.”

Bottom Line: Amending KRS 139.480 to eliminate sales tax on bee equipment and nutrition solves one inequity for KY beekeepers who, on average, lose one in every three beehives every year.


 Posted by at 9:30 am

Moving Beehives

 Uncategorized  Comments Off
Feb 252014

This appears to be one of the most popular questions in beekeeping.  Usually the beginning beekeeper will place a hive in a location that has too much or too little of something (sun, shade, inconvenience etc).  In the case of my father, he placed three hives right next to his house, which when mowing became a quick problem during the summer.  He asked me to help move them, which with the cold winter we had, I procrastinated with the task.  In the last few days though the weather has been above 50 degrees, so I figured this would be a better time than ever.

When moving a beehive, you will hear a lot of beekeepers mention the move it 2 to 3 feet or 2 to 3 miles rule.  What this means is if you move it less than 2-3 feet, or over 2-3 miles, then you will be fine with all the bees coming back to the hive and not getting lost.  If you move the hive anywhere in between 2-3 feet and 2-3 miles, expect the bees to come back to their original location since when they leave the hive to collect water or nectar they are not aware of their surroundings and fly right to a food or water source and then on the way back they get lost to the “new location”, and thus uses their senses to identify landmarks to go back to their original location before you moved the hive.  If moving less than 2-3 feet, then do so over a number of days to finally reach your destination.  If you are planning to move the bees greater than 2 to 3  feet, then move the bees out 2 to 3 miles for a minimum of 9-10 days, then move them to where you finally want the bees to be located.  If possible keep the bees confined for a few days so they will reorient when they exit the hive.  Some accounts say if you leave the bees confined for up to 24 hours, then you will need some type of blockage in the front of the hive.  If you leave them 2-3 days, then you do not need an obstruction, they will reorient regardless.  If you do confine them, please make sure they have plenty of sugar water before hand.

Early morning or late evening is best for beehives to be moved since the majority of the bees are back in the hive.  Also, when there is an overcast or cloudy day will work as well.  If moving bees in the winter, then beware of the dangers that the ball cluster that is keeping warm on the frames can be rattled, which can result in the breakage of the cluster and the bees not being able to regain the entire cluster again to provide the warmth needed.  Typical moves are done during the late fall when bees have stopped searching for nectar for the upcoming winter months, but still warm enough not to break their cluster of warmth.  Worse times are during a honey flow when bees are clearly not paying attention to any obstruction and are on a honey hunger flight, thus coming back to a empty area where their home used to be, so avoid moving during peak nectar flow times.

Moving beehive old location

Moving bees old location

When you get ready to move the hive, be sure that the new location is exactly where you want your bees.  Make sure you have a good windbreak behind the hive that your blocks or hive stands are in place as well.  Make sure that you’re pointing the entrance in the East to South East direction so that the rising sun can hit the entrance of your hive in the morning so it will drive the bees out early to collect nectar.  Bring a level with you as well to make sure there is a slight tilt of the hive forward for any winter months, so the condensation run off goes out of the hive.  The basic rule of thumb is to prepare your new hive location as much as possible so you don’t have to revisit the area because you forgot something.

For the physical move itself, you will want to block the entrance with either a screen stapled mesh or a block of wood that is securely in place.  After the entrance is blocked, make sure that you have tie down straps in the front and sides all around the hive so no chamber gets lose on you.  Use a dolly if moving a few feet, or use a truck bed or trailer with the hive strapped down securely if moving over a long distance.  Some beekeepers will not close the entrance or strap down the hives.  If this is your first time, I recommend blocking the entrance and strapping down the hives so you feel more secure with the procedure.  Some beekeepers will place a nuc or old empty hive in the old location in case the field bees that were out when you moved them can come back to some type of home, which can be placed into the new hive after a period of a few hours.

How to move a beehive

Moving bees new location

The most important method that is recommended regardless of the 2 to 3 feet or 2 to 3 mile rule is to always put something in front of the hive to make the bees reorient themselves when leaving the hive.  When I talk about putting something in front of the hive, I mean latterly right at the entrance so they reorient themselves.  A branch with a lot of leaves on it, some straw in the front of the hive, a old shirt hung up by sticks or draped over the top of the hive (but not totally blocking the entrance) are some good examples.  Regardless of what you put, be sure to make it where the bees have to be aware of what is in front of the hive so they hone in on their surroundings.  Leave this in place for about 2-3 days and then remove the obstruction.  If you have a second entrance or ventilation hole, be sure to close this up or place another obstruction in front of this opening.

Moving bees

Moving beehives

Good luck with your move and if you have any tips or recommendations, please share with us!


 Posted by at 10:38 pm
Feb 212014

A very well written book with a lot of research from Hannah Nordhaus with history and interviews from John Miller, a commercial beekeeper.  There are some disagreements with commercial beekeepers for the conditions that hobby beekeepers experience today (CCD, Mites, Diseases), with the idea that commercial beekeepers are imposing such issues to weaken the honeybees.  Throughout the book, John mentions the struggles that he has to go through in order to relocate and keep his bees living throughout the year.  Pollination crops are shown to be very dependent on the honeybee, but little is done in order to “protect” them from various concerning diseases.  The book gives a great overview of commercial beekeeping with emphasis to anyone wanting to become a commercial beekeeper and the challenges one must face.

Commercial Beekeeping Book

The Beekeeper’s Lament How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America by Hannah Nordhaus

 Posted by at 11:48 am

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