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The honey flow is over or will shortly be ending (depending upon where you live in Southeast PA), initiating the start of robbing season. During robbing, bees from one hive try to steal honey from another hive. It is important to prevent the start of robbing, as it’s easier to prevent robbing from starting than it is to stop robbing once it has started. Robbing can destroy a colony, and the colony may become very aggressive. It is your job as a beekeeper to prevent robbing.

The weakest colonies are most likely to be robbed. Be sure that the size of the hive entrance is proportional to the strength of the colony. However, since this is the season of high temperatures, ventilation is important. To improve ventilation with a small entrance, I cover the hole in the inner cover with window screening and then put a stick under the outer cover to increase air flow.   (anti)Robbing screens for use at the front entrance may be purchased or easily made (search the web for design ideas). These generally incorporate hardware cloth in a simple wooden frame with a design that requires bees to traverse a less-than-direct path to gain entrance to the hive. Robbers don’t know the path, whereas hive residents have learned it to exit and enter the hive.

Also be careful when opening the hive. Boxes that are stacked to the side must be covered with a cloth (old pillow cases work well!). Do not leave honey-containing frames exposed to bees. Keep hives open for the least amount of time needed to accomplish your task. And if you think some robbing has begun, close up the hive and check it or its neighbor another day.

Check the web for additional suggestions for preventing robbing. There are lots of good ideas out there!


2016 Nucs for Sale

photo nucsNucs in their overwintering configuration

I currently have nucs available, each consisting of five medium depth frames of adult bees, including three frames of brood of varied ages (all of which are offspring of your queen), as well as pollen and honey. You will take the nuc home in a waxed cardboard nuc box ($10 deposit), from which you can transfer them to an eight or ten frame medium depth box. These nucs have a locally raised 2016 queens bred from local survivor mothers. Queen mothers may be of Italian, Carni, VSH or other desirable stock; all queen mothers have survived one to multiple winters here in SE PA. Five frames of bees, three frames of your queen’s brood, as well as nectar and pollen. overwintering a nuc can provide an early Spring replacement for a hive lost overwinter. $155

I am PA licensed (C2015-75, through September 22, 2016) to sell Queens and Nucleus colonies. As part of this program, my queen rearing apiaries are inspected by the PA Department of Agriculture twice a year, typically at the beginning and end of the active beekeeping season. I use no antibiotics in my beekeeping operations.

If interested, email me via the “contact” tab above. Requests are honored on a first come, first served basis. Thank you for your interest! ___________________________________________________

Observation Hive for Sale

Looking for an observation hive to take with you when speaking to school groups or at environmental events? Want to attract attention to your booth at a farmer’s market? Bring an observation hive! I have a previously used observation hive for sale. It holds three, medium depth frames, giving space for brood and honey stores. A port that accommodates a mason jar for feeding sugar syrup is at one end of the hive, whereas the other end has a metal plate that can be raised to provide a bee exit directly or connection of a tube for exit via a building window. Frames are placed in the hive by opening the Plexiglas-containing side door with wooden knob. The hive also has a metal handle at the top for carrying to an event and screened ventilation holes on the sides and top. I’ve successfully used an identical observation hive for long-term placement in a school-even over winter-making the daily activities of the bees accessible to children.                                                                                                                Contact Vincent Aloyo: 610-278-1621. $125.