I have the basic information I need, but experience is priceless. I would love suggestions tips and tricks of the trade
So I was reading alot this week about the care of bees, and their general habbits. And I came across the section about how do handle the bees and not make them angry. Really important stuff!!!
Quick few tips from that.
Try not to approach the hive at the entrance to avoid collisions.
Do not breath on the bees, Carbon dioxide is their warning signal for an intruder.
tip: blow a puff of smoke to see which way the wind blows and stay downwind.
Use your smoker. first blow a puff into the hive, and then when you open the hive blow smoke down into the combs. If bees begin to come to the top of the combs and "look" at you, use a bit more smoke.
Do not smell like bananas. (the bees alarm pheromone smells like bananas)
Don't mess with the bees if it is way too hot, windy, or cloudy.
Only attend the hive if it is mid morning to mid afternoon, (most of the bees will be foraging)
Well these are all the facts I can remember right now, feel free to add more.
Not smelling like banana’s is a big one. There was a recent post on the main board about it. The chemical (Isoamyl acetate) is used in a lot of foods including Juicy Fruit gum. It is the exact same chemical that bees use as their alarm pheromone. I’ve never had it happen, but I have heard reports of folks bee yards getting worked up by something bothering multiple hives (skunks, etc) and you can smell banana in the air.
Also, I puff a little smoke in the entry, crack the cover, puff a little more and let them sit for a few minutes. Use as much smoke as it takes to keep them calm, but don’t use too much if there is honey you want to use/extract. Smoked honey isn’t good….Trust me.
Interesting! Thank you for the tips. This will be my first year. My fiance and I built a top bar hive and are waiting on a package from Ruhl Bee Supply.
I found all of those tips in "Honey Bee Hobbyist" by Norman Gary Phd. I've picked up several books for research from the library. I highly recommend this one because it is very informative, has great tips, and really wonderful photographs of the bees, and it really tells you everything you need to know as a beginner. The Multnomah county library has alot of great books on hand for beekeeping as a hobby. Reading for research is a really really good idea, and is also super interesting.
Totally great to see a pdx beekeeping group here!
Here are my 2 cents re spring start up basics.
1. Keep brood and bees as warm as possible. I use sugar-water moistened terry cloths over all but the few frames I'm working on - even if it's in the 80's - chilled brood can affect their behavioral abilities.
2. I hardly use smoke anymore – 20% solution of skin so soft on the hands and face and/or lightly spray them with sugar water - leaves them much happier and they’ll move for it too - to shoo bees away for frame moving.
go to http://livehoneybees.com/blogfor more tips
Stuff we’re working on right now—lots of More than a Bee Movies in area libraries, negotiating observation and near-by hives to schools in W Linn and Vancouver Wa.
Say hi anytime and let me know how I can help you.
Thanks for the tips and the link for local info and events Brian! I like the idea of sugar water instead of smoke.