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How can I extract honey from a comb without a mechanical extractor?

Is it possible to have two queens in a single bee hive?

Normally only one queen is found in each colony of bees. This is because rival queens do not tolerate each other and will generally fight to the death of one (usually the older will be killed by the younger). Worker bees do not care how many queens they have (although they will tend to kill a newly introduced queen as they would any other intruder into the hive). The reason beekeepers may want to have an extra queen in the colony is to increase the number of bees. Bees work more efficiently if their total number is increased. 100,000 bees in one colony produce much more honey than two 50,000 bee colonies. However, it is almost impossible to get that many bees from one queen - she can only lay so many eggs per day, and during the summer months worker bees live only a few weeks.

Briefly, the way it is done is this: In early spring, the brood section of a strong hive is separated by a screen into two parts - one with a queen and one without. Each part has a separate entrance. A queen is purchased or raised by the beekeeper, and carefully installed in the queenless part. The warmth, hive odors, etc., can circulate between the two parts, but the screen prevents the queens from getting at each other. After a week or so, the beekeeper checks to see if the new queen is accepted and laying eggs. If so, the screen is taken away and replaced by a wire mesh device, the "queen excluder", which allows worker bees to circulate through but the mesh openings are too small to allow the queens to pass. Each queen now lays eggs in her own portion of the hive - one above and one below the queen excluder. If all goes as planned, a rapid population explosion ensues and much honey is produced by the hive! Later in the summer, when all those bees are no longer necessary, the queen excluder is removed, and eventually the queens find each other and settle their differences. Thus the hive is naturally returned to the single queen state again.

Can I put a queen excluder at the base of the hive to prevent swarming?

Just like the queen, the drones are too big to pass through the queen excluder. Putting one at the base of the hive would prevent the drones from escaping, thus interrupting the breeding cycle.

What is the technique for using tobacco smoke to kill braula coeca?

Braula coeca is a member of the braulid family. They are sometimes called "bee lice" and are about the size of a pinhead. They are basically a wingless fly and apparently do little harm to the hive, other than eating some of the produce (from the mouths of the bees).

This technique came off the net, and may be untried, so consider this experimental!

CAUTION: You may kill your bees using this method.

WARNING: Use of nicotine in this way may be unlawful in some countries.

  1. Make the hive air-proof (except a small hole at the entrance).
  2. Put approximately 2 grams of tobacco in your smoker & light it.
  3. Put your smoker nozzle into the hole you left in the entrance and puff away until the tobacco has been all used up.
  4. Seal the entrance and wait a couple of minutes.
  5. Open the entrance.

Some bees may be so affected by the smoke that they will fall to the floor. Some bees may die.

The braula coeca in the hive should fall to the floor dead. If you have a removable floor, you should remove it now and incinerate the debris.

What about using tobacco smoke to kill mites?

What causes someone to become allergic to bee stings?

Don't skunks get stung when they raid a hive?

I have drones in November. What is going wrong?

What is a good way to sterilize a hive?

How can I tell if my wood preservative or paint will be safe for the bees?

How is lactic acid used to control mites?

Do varroa mites carry bee viruses?

What is the proper way to dispose of Apistan Strips?

Can you use the same Apistan Strips for multiple seasons?

What is an alternative to using an uncapping knife?

My bee hive died off. What do I need to do to prepare it for a new package of bees?

Is it a bad idea to have multiple races of bees in a single yard?

Does the Steve Tuttle 'Mite Solution' really control varroa mites?

How can I keep my bees from dying in the winter?

  1. Enough surplus honey; two deep hive bodies, one with 10 full frames (top) and one with at least four outside full frames, brood nest in center (bottom).
  2. Treatment for both kinds of mites (Apistan and menthol) in the fall.
  3. Proper ventilation (entrance reducer at the bottom for small opening), 3/4" hole in the top box for moisture release through venting. Keep the bottom entrance clear of dead bees, other debris, and snow. Check it every few days.
  4. Mouse guard at the bottom entrance.
  5. Hive wrapping temporarily (roofing paper) during spells of excessive cold. Some beekeepers here add a third super on top full of fiberglass insulation and with a piece of plywood nailed to the bottom to keep the glass away from the bees. Do this before cold weather sets in; never open the hive in the cold.
  6. Treatment for nosema (fumidil) in fall and/or spring.
  7. Hive painted a dark color so that heat from natural light is absorbed into the hive. This permits a looser cluster and allows the bees to reach honey on outside frames. They gradually move up in the hive through the winter to reach more. If it is too cold inside the hive, they will starve even though there is plenty of food, because the cluster is too tight to reach it. Make sure the winter winds do not hit the hive directly.
  8. Young bees need plenty of pollen. Without it, their ability to produce wax is inhibited. Brood rearing to gear up for spring starts early, late January or February depending on your climate. Feeding a pollen substitute as soon as it is warm enough to safely open the hive is a good bit of added insurance. Also, use an interior feeder during early spring if honey reserves are running low.
  9. Use a metal outer cover to prevent moisture from entering the hive. I like the telescoping variety with a masonite inner cover underneath.
  10. I never open my hives unless it is warm out; 60 degrees F is an absolute minimum for me; 65 or warmer is better. Bees and brood can get sick if chilled.
  11. My hives are slanted slightly forward, they are 1" lower at the front than at the back. This causes any moisture which collects on the floor to run out instead of evaporating in the hive. I also keep a cinder block on top so that the cover cannot blow off.

I hope this helps. I'm sorry it's not very well organized. One thing which really helped me was a book by Mark Winston called the Biology of the Honeybee if memory serves. There is a chapter which describes their wintering habits in great detail. The book as a whole was very educational for me and provided much insight into making beekeeping decisions. It really helps to have an idea of how the bees work when you are trying to figure out what to do or what to not do.

How can I move one of my hives just a short distance from where it is currently sitting?

How can I use bees to pollinate inside my greenhouse?

How do you locate a wild bee colony?

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This page was last updated on December 09, 2007