Archive for beekeeping

“Bees and Pollination. How important is it?”

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“Bees and Pollination. How important is it?”

 Emma Brasseaux, Beauregard Parish 4-H’er

 Editor’s Note: Emma’s essay is an entry in the 2016 4-H Honey Bee Essay contest, and it posted on this blog. Best Wishes to Emma!

As the honey bee flies along Highway 171 in Beauregard Parish, Crimson Red Clovers cover the median like a soft blanket. Along the backroads, Indian Blanket, Tick Seed Coreopsis, blackberries and dewberries abundantly provide pollen for the honey bees to do their job, which is to pollinate all of our vegetables, flowers and trees.

In additional to pollen being an important part nature’s survival, bee pollen has lots of health benefits as well. It is wonderful for natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids, making it an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent that strengthens the capillaries, reduces inflammation, stimulates the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels naturally. [1]

While our native plants are in bloom, roadsides are not cut or sprayed as to allow the honey bees to gather and spread pollen. The Kisatchie National Forest is also home to many native plants that remain untouched and are a good source of pollen for the honey bees. Also in Southwest Louisiana, beekeeping associations have been formed. These associations provide support and knowledge to veteran beekeepers as well as those interested in just starting the process. A Facebook page has also been set up where people can find out what is going on in the world of beekeeping as well as news relating to the welfare of bees.

In my interviews with local beekeepers, I learned that the honey bees and their habitats need our protection. Some of the things that have been put into action in Louisiana are “Bee Aware” flags to help identify hive locations next to an agriculturally managed crop or area and the exchange of contact information to promote open communication among landowners, farmers, applicators of pesticides and beekeepers. Beekeepers also use hive identification and hive GPS locations as a way of providing information to farmers and pesticide applicators. All of these programs were designed to help all beekeepers to protect the honey bees.

Pastor Langstroth had an instinctive love for bees and was one of the first honey bee protectors. He discovered that the size of the frames needed to be 3/8 of an inch to protect the honey bees from disease and moths. [2] He took the guesswork out of beekeeping and continued to Americanize beekeeping throughout his life. We must continue to work towards protecting the existing habitats and strive to promote the beekeeping industry, not only in our community but in our state and country as well.

We need our honey bees to keep our agricultural economy alive. Are you aware that one of every three mouthfuls of the foods you enjoy depends on pollination by honey bees and other insects? [3]Can you imagine what we would do if we didn’t have those little helpers flying around pollinating all of our plants for us? Without honey bees to spread pollen, the abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts and plants will decline causing prices to go up. This will affect all people throughout our country. We need to make all people aware of how serious this could be if we do not take immediate action to SAVE OUR HONEY BEES AND THEIR HABITATS!

[1] http://draxe.com/bee-pollen/?utm_campaign=Article-Jan-2015&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=bee

[2]https://books.google.com/books/about/Bees_in_America.html?id=_Ir0f4v6ctsC&source=kp_read&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3] http://www.lsuagcenter.com/nr/rdonlyres/e7a3c920-bf81-4dc3-abdd-4675b5082ce7/104871/3478_louisiana_pollinator.pdf

Bibliography:

Hawkins, Keith. Personal Interview. 1-20-2016

Hebert, Richard. Hebert Honey Farm. Personal Interview 1-30-2016

Horn, Tammy. Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. University Press of Kentucky, 2005

LSU AgCenter. Cooperative Standards Adopted by Louisiana Pollinator Cooperative Conservation program (LPCCP) Pub. 3478 November 2015

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SW LA Beekeepers Association: “Common Mistakes of a Beginning Beekeeper & How to Avoid Them”

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SW LA Beekeepers Association: “Common Mistakes of a Beginning Beekeeper & How to Avoid Them”

Monday, January 4th, 2016, War Memorial Civic Center, 250 West 7th St., DeRidder, LA

          Mr. James Laughlin, East Texas Beekeepers, will be discussing the mistakes that new beekeepers make and how to avoid them.

Another reason to attend this meeting is to learn more about having bees by asking experienced beekeepers for advice. For more information, please contact Keith Hawkins, County Agent, 337-463-7006. Also, you may also obtain regular “beemail” updates about beekeeping by sending your request by email to khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu.

 

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Winter Bee Journal by Jimmy Earl Cooley

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Winter Bee Journal by Jimmy Earl Cooley

JEC BEE HIVES

I inspected my three beehives today and did not get stung!  It was near 62 degrees at 3:30pm, sunny, with no wind. Opened primarily to add food and cursory inspection.

My three hives are Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Apiary Registration Permit XX-XXX, effective October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

The hives names are Hebert, Shirley, and Carollyn; with Hebert and Carollyn born from splitting the Shirley last spring.  The Shirley hive was my strongest hive back then so I took several frames (honey, brood, queen cells) and divvied frames between two new brood boxes named Hebert and Carollyn.  Later added a second brood box with empty frames to each of three hives.

Inspection:

Carollyn

Two brood boxes with inner cover and top cover.  Later added a second brood box with empty frames to each of three hives.  Located 200 yards from Shirley and Hebert.

The hive was not very active, only a few bees entering and leaving the small entrance hole.  Put puff of smoke in entrance hole and under the raised top cover, waited 5 minutes and removed top and inner cover.  Observed a small number of small hive beetles but bees were calm and did not bother me. There were very few in upper box but could hear lots of activity in lower box.  Did not remove frames from upper box or inspect the lower box.  Filled the frame feeder with H2O/C12H22O11 mixture and placed a 6”X4”X1/4” piece of Bee Bread and covered hive.

Hebert

Two brood boxes with inner cover and top cover later added a second brood box with empty frames to each of three hives. Smoked, open top and inner cover for inspection and placing sugar water and bee bread.  Saw approximately a dozen medium size red wood roaches running away and killed several.  No hive beetles seen.  There were bees in upper and lower boxes.  Did not remove frames in upper box or inspect lower box.  Bees were actively trying to get back in box through entrance hole.

Shirley

Two brood boxes with inner cover and top cover. Later added a second brood box with empty frames to each of three hives. Smoked, removed top and inner cover for inspection and adding sugar water and bee bread.  Saw no roaches or beetles.  Lots of bees in this hive, upper and lower boxes.  Many tried to sting me through veil and suit.  Shirley and Hebert are in wooded opening facing my pond.  Hives are approximately 50 ft apart.

General Comments

All hives were clean but damp as we have had lots of rain the last week.  There were not as many bees as I expected.  Shirley had most and aggressive, suspect this is the original hive, with original queen that remained in the box at time of split and Carollyn and Hebert had to make a new queen.    It has been mid November since I last looked at the hives.  I harvested only three frames of honey this year for my use in August 2014.

Mr. Jimmy is a Master Gardener who started beekeeping a few years.

 

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Lost one of my Bee Hives by Jimmy Earl Cooley

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Lost one of my Bee Hives

by Jimmy Earl Cooley

Bad news with the Hebert Bee Hive.

I have been watching both hives but not examined in a month. Lots of activity with going and coming but in the case of the Hebert Hive it may have been more going than coming.

Two days ago I noted less activity at the HH and yesterday almost none.

I opened today and found everybody and everything has been moved out!

Found 11 dead bees, a couple of small roaches, and one caterpillar like worm.

Bees, eggs, larva, honey, pollen, nectar and everything gone just mostly empty cells. Some cells sealed over and some black. It’s as if robber bees came in the night and removed everything. See Photos. I had two brood boxes and one super. Everything cleaned out and a good cleaning. No dead bees anywhere around except the 11 mentioned.

I completely disassembled the HH and left parts out. It seemed so clean that no bees were coming around to forage leftovers. There was very little residue on inside bottom board.

As I was finishing the disassembly I heard a loud noise at the Shirley Hive, which has been very active.

I went over and bees were swarming around the entrance and then got larger and larger and up into the sky approx 25 ft above and forward of the SH.

This is the same thing I experienced last year when the HH split. But after about 20 minutes the bees settled and all returned to the SH. I thought for sure a small swarm had left the SH but could not find one.

I am assuming it was a prelude to a split or a cleaning flight.

The SH has two brood boxes and one super. I opened the SH and it had lots of bees.

So I removed 5 frames (brood, honey, babies, and etc) from second brood box and moved to a new brood. Replaced empty spots in SH and new brood box with new frames. Moved the new brood box away to new location. After looking at number of bees now left in the SH, I decided to split again. So I moved the second brood box from SH to the location of the previous HH with a new foundation board. Then took 4 of frames from lower SH brood box and moved to second box, which I had moved to the HH location.

So now I have three boxes.

  1. The original HH hive is gone.
  2. The second brood box from the SH, along with frames from the lower SH and top is now in the original location of the HH.
  3. Frames from the second brood box of the SH were removed and placed in new a new brood box, along with new frames and top cover and moved to another location.
  4. The original SH lower brood box was left in place with new frames added and cover lid.

Hope this makes sense. Now have three hives with lots of bees and frames of essentials.

I saw the remains of a couple of queen cells that seemed to be already opened.

I did not find the queen so assume she is in one of the boxes and the other two will have to make new queen.

Sure disappointed I lost the HH. Was hoping for lots of honey.

I found a small caterpillar like worm that seemed to be eating the honey remains down in the cells.

I took lots of photos, but only sending a few. Can show you all if you wish.

THINK SH ATE THE HH!

Jimmy Earl Cooley

 

 

 

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My Bees, Jimmy Earl Cooley

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My Bees by Jimmy Earl Cooley, 1/12/2014

Inspecting and feeding bees today and was stung seven times by Shirley Hive Bees.

Used normal procedure, including smoke.  First opened the Shirley Hive and immediately several swarmed my head.  I continued to remove the top and inner cover and removed two frames so I could get to the sugar water container.  Put more sugar water in feeder and by then the bees were swarming around my head and stung thru suit and several got me thru shirt around left shoulder and one or two got under the vail and all told was stung 7 times.  Used Benedryl on stings and took a Benedryl tablet.  Itching has almost gone but some swelling in neck and shoulder.  Noted that some of the rascals were holding on to bee suit and trying to push stinger inside.

Real bad bees – these Shirley ones.  I think the queen must be replaced.  Suppose to be one of the queens we got from Weaver last year, but dont know for sure.

I think my plan should be to split the Shirley Hive immediately and kill the queen and divide the workers and frames and put in a ,new queen or queen cells if you have any, in each split.  I have ordered, received  and assembled three new hives, each containing 2 brood boxes and one super, along with base, inner cover, and top.  Can use for the split.  All three are sitting near the Hebert and Shirley Hives.  This is about a dozen stings I have had from the Shirley Hive since installation.  What you think?

I then opened the Hebert hive and fed and observed and not a single bee approached me!  I would hope that there would be queen cells in the Hebert hive to put with the split of the Shirley hive or at least raise some queens from the bees in the Hebert hive.  Maybe I could try that with my queen nook and split workers from the Hebert hive.

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Dead Bees By Jimmy Earl Cooley

Dead Bees By
Jimmy Earl Cooley

I opened my two bees hives for inspection on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 .  I found many dead bees.

I have two bee hives, one named Hebert (named after Richard Hebert) and one named Shirley (named after Charles Lee Shirley) located between my ½ acre pond and a 90 wide airplane runway.  The Hebert hive is three years old and the Shirley Hive is one year old.  The Shirley Hive consists of an screen bottom base with plastic insert in place and two brood boxes plus inner and outer cover. When I removed the outer and inner cover of the hive I saw many dead bees on top of the frames and little or no activity in the hive.

I removed several of the frames and there were dead bees on some of the foundations, sitting around areas of _ and honey.

I also saw dead bees between the frames of the lower brood box.  I heard some bee activity in the lower brood box.  I closed the hive and retreated to think about the problem and what to do.

I then opened the Hebert Hive and saw many dead bees.  The Hebert Hive consists of wooden base with two brood boxes and one top nook box with 1/2 inch spacers between the inner and top covers.  Again, there were dead bees on top of the nook frames and between the frames of the brood box.  The Hebert hive contains more overall bees so therefore more dead bodies.  I heard bee activity in the lower brood box. I replaced the frames, inner cover, and outer cover.

After researching the situation and discussing the situation with experienced beekeepers at the South West Louisiana Beekeepers Association.  I anticipated cleaning the hives and removing the dead bees and residue but decided (as suggested by the experts)  it was best to leave the hive for the bees to clean and care for.

On December 3, six days later, I inspected the hives and found most all of the dead bees were gone from inside the hives and placed, by the bees, on the outside of the hives near the entrances.  So the bees took care of the problem.

What happened to kill the bees?

I believe the most likely problem was the cold weather  and the north wind we experienced on the evenings of November 25th and 26th.  I estimate approximately 500 to 100 bees dead from the Hebert Hive and a much smaller number for the Shirley Hive.  The dead bees photo is the Hebert Hive.

I originally located the two hives near the pond (for plenty of water)  and in a semi wooded area facing basically east and west, with the entrance toward the southeast. This allows the hives to be bathed in direct sunlight from sunrise till around 2 pm and then in partial shade until sundown.  This allows the bees to better cope with our tropical weather.

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Inspection of Jimmy Earl Cooley’s bees, Summer 2013

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Inspection of Jimmy Earl Cooley’s bees, Summer 2013

by Jimmy Earl Cooley

SHIRLEY HIVE contains two brood boxes only. Bees and new queen installed in this hive, by Richard Hebert, from a group without a queen, on April 12, 2013.

I opened lid and saw lots of bees here. Then I removed inner cover, saw small hive beetles (SHB) on top of frames on top brood box and killed with hive tool.

I inspected frames, in upper box, starting with outer ones on both ends going toward center of frames. I  saw bees but no sign of any building activity until frame three .

By this time bees were swarming me badly and were very mad (time is 9:30 am and sunny), hitting my veil and two stung me through  my bee suit in the area of my belly (probably the part of my body toughing the inside of the suit, had no T shirt on).  It was just a prick so the bees were not able to get stingers into me deeply.  Also I got a sting through the left glove between wrist and elbow. Again, it was just a small sting.  Also I got a bite on right leg, just above my sock.   The itch went away after I applied stick Benadryl.

I did not remove upper box completely to look at lower box, replace all frames and inner cover and lid.  NO honey from this hive for JEC. This year all the honey will go to bees for winter food.

HEBERT HIVE contains two brood boxes and one  honey super. These bees swarmed and  I lost half of them on April 10, 2013. Richard and I Installed a new queen, assuming old one went with swarm, on April 12, 2013.

I opened lid and saw lots of bees here. Then I removed inner cover and inspected frames. No hive beetles present due to treatment inside.

Working bees are in super but they produced almost nothing in the way of comb on any frame.  I thought there would have been something but I guess all their work has gone into storing supplies in lower and upper supers for winter.  I did not inspect upper or lower brood boxes at this time. I  just looked down from super and all looked well.   There will be NO honey from this hive for JEC this year, all work gone into storing supplies for upper and lower brood box.  Bees in the Hebert Hive are better than Shirley Hive, but they are still annoyed by me.

RESULTS:  No honey to harvest for JEC from Shirley or Hebert Hive.  What honey made, was left for the two hives to consume for winter food.

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