Archive for Hive pest

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


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


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Winter Bee Journal by Jimmy Earl Cooley


Winter Bee Journal by Jimmy Earl Cooley


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.



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.


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.


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

SWLABA logoLSUAC4C72-80px[1]

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.


Jimmy Earl Cooley




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Inspection of Jimmy Earl Cooley’s bees, Summer 2013

AgCenter letterhead

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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Honey Bee Enemy #1: Varroa Mites

By George Giltner, Master Gardener

LSUAC4C72-80px[1]MasGarTM5x7_w85[1] A Blog from the LSU AgCenter & Beauregard Master Gardeners

                      Honey bees pollinate about 1/3 of the human diet, directly or indirectly to apples, blueberries, and 130 other crops in the United States.  For fruit and nut crops, the degree of pollination dictates the maximum yield and profitability of these crops.  This is why bee pollination services are reported at $9 billion plus within the United States alone.

Valuable bee populations have risen and fallen within the past decade due to numerous causes.  Some report that the honey bee’s worst enemy is man with improper use of insecticides.  However I disagree. We propagate bees, promote their good genes, aid their health against natural diseases, and supply them with abundant foraging acreage in a mutual beneficial relationship.  Enemy # 1 is debatable, but Varroa destructor, a mite (below arrow above) rate very high on the list.  The worst enemy is the one in a beekeeper’s hive.

Varroa mites actually originated in Asia.  There they did little harm to the eastern honey bees.  But when American honey bees were brought to Asia, the devastating damage to hives became evident.  Then over the past 100 years, these mites have spread worldwide.

5 varroa mites

A Varroa mite (under blue arrow) attacking a juvenile honey bee

The adult mites are reddish brown, round, and range from one to two millimeters in diameter.  Varroa go between the bee segments, puncture the soft tissue, and feed on bee hemolymph through the puncture.  The mites are passed from bee to bee in the hive.  Also they are transported to other hives when bees drift into other hives, when healthy bees rob weaker hives, and when beekeepers put hives in new locations.

When the mites reproduce, they enter the brood cells of larval bees that are about to be capped.  The mites feed on the bee larvae, lay eggs that soon hatch, and both continue to feed on the bee larvae.  The result of this feeding is damage or death to the developing bee.  It is safe to assume that hundreds of thousands of bee hives have been destroyed, causing billions of dollars of economic loss.

It sounds hopeless, but beekeepers can take countermeasures.  Sticky traps underneath a screen bottom tray can capture the varroa mites as they frequently fall off the bees.  Placing colonies in full sun modestly reduce varroa numbers.  Fogging mineral oil and dusting the bees with powdered sugar have not been proven to be effective to this date.

The most significant advancement toward control has been through genetic breeding programs.  Favored genes are associated with bee behavior.  One behavior is for the bees to groom themselves and other bees in the brood.  Therefore mites are knocked off the bees lowering the mites in the bee colony.  Another behavior is hygienic bees that can detect problems in the developing brood.  They uncapped the infected larvae and remove it from the hive.  This hygienic behavior is called ‘varroa sensitive hygiene’ or simply ‘VSH’.  Bees with these genetic traits can be purchased from specific bee suppliers.

Contact Keith Hawkins (337-463-7006) at the LSU Agcenter or the Southwest Beekeeper’s Association for additional information.

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Open Bee Hive for Inspection…..Nov 2012

by Jimmy Earl Cooley, beekeeper & Master Gardener

LSUAC4C72-80px[1] A Blog from the LSU AgCenter, Beauregard Parish, LA

I have been feeding sugar water for two months in hopes of giving necessary food to tempt bees to fill the two empty frames in my top, of two, brood boxes with sugar.  I opened the hive in Nov 23rd and found it amazingly clean and free of hive beetles and all bees docile and cooperative. Although the two frames were still completely empty with no activity, although they were consuming a quart bottle of sugar water every few days.  Must be using to support the hive or other bees and yellow jackets stealing water.  I rotated the entrance board to reduce the entrance hole from approx. 3inch to 1 inch for winter and placed spacers between inner cover and top cover to allow for ventilation during winter.  I removed several frames from top brood box and looked down to bottom brood box and everything looked good and clean and full of bees.  Noticed on the side of a frame from top brood box, what appeared to be a queen cell or maybe several together, with openings on top, as if queens may have hatched out.  I did not pull any lower or other frames from top box to search for queen. So looks like winter is progressing without incident or problems.  Plan to open hive again for quick inspection in Dec.  Comments appreciated.   Jimmy Earl Cooley 11-24-2012

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