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I am ready to assemble my hive but wonder if this is the best time of year to start. Is there a best time/weather etc to start?



Jessica Geffen said:

I am ready to assemble my hive but wonder if this is the best time of year to start. Is there a best time/weather etc to start?
Jessica, actually because we are here in South Florida you can start a hive pretty much at anytime. There are times I would be easier because of a good nectar flow. If there is not a good nectar flow then you will have to feed the bees.
Yiu dint mentuon when it would be easier, when is there better nectar flow?

Nectar flow is usually in the Spring and fall. Some areas don't have the fall. Where I live it don't seem to stop at all. There is a lot of landscaping that blooms. After all Location, location. location is the key. 

I've noticed that the SHB population in my 2 hives seems to be growing. I've read this is typical in the late summer in FL. I bought 4 SHB traps from Dadant that can be reused by filling them with bait and veg. oil. The problem I'm having is that my girls keep filling the entrances with propolis so the SHB's can't get in. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Mark in Boynton Beach

Mark, I use screened bottom boards the bees chase the beatles out. Also, cover the ground with concrete stepping stones, tar paper etc. The larva stage for the hive beetle it needs the ground. Another suggestion is take uncented Swiffer pads and cut then smaller then place them over the brood frames. The bees will fluff them up creating an area that the hive beattles will get trapped into and die.I hope that any one of these suggestions help.

Good suggestions. So ditch the SHB traps since the bees keep filling the entrances anyway? How large an area around the hives should be paved or have tar paper?

At least 10 ft. I currently have my hives on my back driveway and I have none to a couple of small hive beetles.

Nectar source is the key. Traditionally spring provides the most nectar food sources and is the best time to start. Unfortunately, hobbyist beekeepers are last in line to get Queens & Nucs so they tend to get a late start. But if you start in the fall, you will get a jump start for the spring and be more likely to harvest your first honey come May/June. But plan on feeding them from November until Spring. Feeding is crucial. Many problems for new-bees can be averted simply by having a strong hive. This means giving them every advantage they can get by anticipating their needs. Some points to consider to add to success: A screened bottom board can reduce varroa mite counts, hive beetles and wax moths, a good dirty water source like a bird bath or pond provides most trace elements bees need and they prefer it. July& August have less nectar sources than Spring or Fall. November/December have almost no nectar sources. Regardless, if you don't live near a good variety of nectar sources you will be less successful. Thus, evaluating feeding needs for the first year or so will give you a good idea of the floral diversity in your area. Don't forget to check pollen storage, bees do not live by sugar water alone. If they can't make bee bread they won't last for long. And look into supplements. Those with lemon grass oil have numerous benefits or check youtube to see what you might want to try for yourself. Try "The Fat Bee Man" he does a lot with organic treatments. And last, don't over do it. Too big a patty of honey bee health is like ringing the dinner bell for hive beetles. In this case less is better. Good luck.

I've got a hive that is losing a lot of bees. I notice some bees are acting like they are having a seizure, flying in circles on the ground. Workers are dragging out dead and disfunctional bees by the minute. I have two other hives nearby that seem fine, so I'm not sure if it is from pesticide spray. I did an inspection and noticed a shotgun brood pattern with larvae in the uncapped cells. Does anyone have an idea what is going on? Thanks!

That's beekeeping. Cleaning the beetle traps is part of your routine hive inspection which is usually every 2-3 weeks depending on the time of year. As for bait. A lot of people use vegetable oil. It will eventually putrify. Use mineral oil instead with apple vinegar for bait. Tip: beetles are frequently "jailed" beneath the beetle traps. Use your hive tool and crush the trap edges before lifting the beetle trap out to clean or rebait. Also, if you put that used trap in you freezer for 10 minutes the propolis will get brittle and be easier to clean.

Mark Muir said:

I've noticed that the SHB population in my 2 hives seems to be growing. I've read this is typical in the late summer in FL. I bought 4 SHB traps from Dadant that can be reused by filling them with bait and veg. oil. The problem I'm having is that my girls keep filling the entrances with propolis so the SHB's can't get in. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Mark in Boynton Beach

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