Archive for July, 2012

More Notes from a Beginning Beekeeper by Jimmy Earl Cooley



More Notes from a Beginning Beekeeper

By Jimmy Earl Cooley

Latest work with Bees.

June 8, 2012 – Opened bee hive for inspection and to add liquid sugar food.  Noted that approximately half of food was gone so added ½ gallon of sugar solution.  2 parts sugar to 1 part water.  Took liquid feeder off to inspect second super (shallow, mid-size) to see if bees had started building in frames.   They had started building comb in middle frames of the 10 frames in box.  Took photos of this.  There were no dead bees in the liquid feeder so this design is working fine.  Took off liquid feeder super box to see queen extractor and look down at original base super.  Did not remove any of frames in base super but all looked good looking from top view.  Reassemble hive without entrance restrictor.  jec

June 14, 2012– Found estimated 50 dead bees in internal liquid feeder super.  Appears I let storage area go dry or at least low of sugarwater and bees were able to find openings around edge of wire mesh, enter, and could not get out or something akin to this explanation.  Removed super with feeder from hive and examined closely and appears feeder must have liquid to a level that will prevent bees from going into liquid chamber but allow to feed.  I’m going to fill feeder with 2+gallons of sugar water and check more often to see if this is problem.  Does anyone have comment or similar experience? 

Guess I’m learning at their expense! jec

 Saturday, June 23>Charles Shirley has bees in the outside wall of his house.   Probably to detailed for me but would help someone remove.  He called me late today and said there was a swarm in fig tree in yard did I want?  Told him yes but have not done before, just read about the topic.  So I gathered my equipment up, with several cardboard boxes (different sizes) and went his house.  I put box just under swarm and he cut off fig limb and I caught in box and quickly closed top lid flaps and taped shut, had already punched small holed for air.  Took home and set up super with 10 frames on cinder blocks, with empty (of frames) midsize super on top of base super to hold bees and limb.  Also took one frame from base super and replaced with inside feeding frame with sugar water.  Opened box and placed bees and cut limb inside empty midsize and put plywood cover on top of two super hives.  Had also piece of plywood for hive base, no entrance.  Cover has a 2 inch hole for entrance on top.  So ordered base and top from Mann Lake bee supply company.

>Placed second hive about 20yards away from first and back in trees so no line of site between hives.  Will check box tomorrow and hopefully bees have left wooden limb and traveled to frames in lower box.  Hope I got the queen,

>Bees were very gentle and believe I got 95%of them.  Flying in the dark here so please comment if you see mistakes I made.  Are hives to close?  Both are facing pond but different angles for entering.   Later     jec

 Checked new bees this Sunday morning (6/24).  Removed top and most bees were still hanging on piece of fig limb in top box.  Probably means the queen has not decided to go down into frames in lower box so I shook all bees off into frames tops and put top back in place… Did not recognize queen, just hope she was in the bunch. Did not recognize her and did not want to spend a lot of time with top cover off.  Many bees flew up and around but none left on limb. Left limb near hive.  Added more sugar water to inside feeder.  Jec

 Thursday, 6/28/2012

The new bees that I got from Charles Shirley seem to be fewer and I don’t see any work going on the frames, building combs and etc.  Although the liquid inside, the feeder is going down quite rapidly and I have to add every other day. Is it possible bees from old hive is robbing sugar water.  They have their own.  I’m going to take out all frames and see if there is a queen.  I’m afraid they have left or run away by old bees?  Hives are not that close to each other, perhaps 20 yards with trees separating them.  Bees were introduced almost a week now.  Jec

 Monday, 7/2/2012

Richard Hebert, a local beekeepers, responses to Mr. Jimmy’s questions about the new bees mentioned above: “Good morning, Mr Jimmy    it is possible that the other hive is robbing from the other feeder, especially if the new bees don’t have a queen and aren’t defending the hive….


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Battle of the Bugs: Fall Webworms by George Giltner







Image 1. These two races of Fall Webworms may occur in the same area.  The redheaded race has an orange head and orange tubercle pairs.  The black-headed race has a black head with black tubercles.

Battle of the Bugs: Fall Webworms  by George Giltner

Fall webworms, Hyphantria cunea, are already causing problem defoliation problems in as many as 100 shrubs and trees in Louisiana.  They usually first appear in late April and are not a problem until late fall when they are known for the large unsightly webs.  This year they have an early start. 

They overwinter in pupae that are found in cracks of tree bark or on the ground.  Adults emerge as temps rise, mate, then female lay eggs in a mass of up to 600 eggs on a lower leaf surface.  The entire life cycle can be completed within 50 days.  4 generations/year occur in our area.

Fall webworms are easily differentiated from tent caterpillars by their size, behavior, and web structure.  Mature fall webworms (1 inch) are ½ the size of tent caterpillars.  Fall webworm behavior is to twitch when threatened and they remain inside the web.  Fall webworms spin webs at the terminal branches of their host trees, whereas tent caterpillars form tent in branch crotches.  Fall webworms are hairy caterpillars with distinct paired dark spots on each segment of the back.

Internet control recommendations vary from Homer Simpson style, long pole, burning torches to some nasty chemical treatments.  Since these offer Darwin Award opportunities, I will only recommend safer and natural means of control. 

1)      Damage the web – this will allow more access to 80+ species of parasites and predators.  Just poke a stick or hose around their defensive web for entry by yellow jackets and paper nest wasps, birds, and predatory stink bugs.  Parasitic flies and wasps are most important, therefore do not use contact chemical insecticides within the area on infection.  Try to endure wasps until August when they change from insect predators to nectar/sugar feeders.

2)      Apply Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)  or Spinosad – Applications are more effective on smaller feeding caterpillars.  Spray next to the leaves not covered with webbing.  UV protectants used with Bt offer more protection to the bacteria against UV solar light.

3)      Trim out smaller infections of fall webworms.

4)      As a last resort, Carbaryl sprays can be used to merely wet the web and cover nearby foliage.  Caterpillars will contact the insecticide by walking on the web or by eating new leaves.  There is no need to blast the web out of the tree!

5)      Do nothing.  Trees may look bad, but they will recover even if defoliated completely.  Strong storms may be a physical factor that open webs for natural control.


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