Beekeeping in your Backyard FAQ 38 Things to consider

Beekeeping in your Backyard FAQ 38 Things to consider

so hello and happy Friday
welcome to frequently asked questions about backyard beekeeping episode number
38 this is the way to be and it’s Friday November 8th guess what the temperature
is outside 33 degrees Fahrenheit there’s snow everywhere as you saw during the
intro so it’s cold it’s unpleasant the bees aren’t doing anything there’s some
dead bees on the landing board because the temperature dropped fast and the
storm came in pretty quick and so now the bees are all clustered inside their
hives and this is where all the resources that they’ve worked so hard to
collect will mean so much if you’re new welcome if you’re returning thank you to
those of you who posted questions if you have a question for me and you’d like to
see it discussed next week on Friday then please write that down in the video
description No write that down in the video comments
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we don’t have a lot so this is probably gonna go fairly quick thank you for
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when a new video posts for me so there’s that let’s get right into it the very
first question is by Jack Tom Berlin do you ever add pollen substitutes to your
dry sugar and what is your take on that get or bad well I like to talk a little
bit first about when do you have dried sugar on for me and we discussed this in
our last FAQ the dry sugar gets put in the hive usually in the top on paper in
an open feeder or some container that gets your bees in close proximity to it
so that in an emergency your bees inside the hive during winter when they can’t
fly out will have access to some kind of sugar carbohydrate energy source that
will carry them over through that hardship in the winter time
let’s remember first that the most important thing that you can be feeding
your bees that you can leave on for them to get through winter is going to be
honey that they have gathered that is cap that is in frames and then they’re
going to be on that and they’re going to cluster on that what is pollen for
pollen feeds the baby bees so pollen is used by nurse bees so that leads us into
another thing can any of the bees take pollen on board and store and carry it
in their stomachs or in their fats or on their body other than the way a normal
forager would carry pollen on its legs back to the hive yes nurse bees can
actually bring pollen bits into their metabolism and they can store it in
their fat and they store resources that way so does it benefit us to add dry
pollen and in this case he says pollen substitute so let’s keep that in mind
it’s not real pollen it’s a substitute that generally comes in the form of dry
powdered pollen substitutes yellow it imitates pollen bits it’s a very fine
chalk dust consistency and the only one that I know of
that has a measurable benefit and that it actually competes as far as what the
results are for the bees to competes with real pollen is the ultra B dry
pollen so the thing is this is about me personally remember you’re asking me
what I would do I don’t like to put fallin inside the Beehive anywhere at
any time that’s because I think that pollen should be a resource that the
bees can get so I’m not against you putting out dry pollen in a pollen feed
or specific what I’m saying is I personally would not add it or mix it in
with dry sugar because the bees that are going after the dry sugar are not
necessarily the bees that are going after pollen or benefiting from pollen
so I would not mix it with the dry sugar when the bees fly out to get pollen
they’re going to be ringing that in and they’re going to start their bread with it
so the other thing is if you create an
artificial Paulin environment where the bees think that pollen is coming and
from the environment and that that may be able to be sustained by the
environment that’s when they start to rear brood so they will start the Queen
will start laying more eggs they’ll start using the pollen to make bee bread
and they’ll mix that with some of their saliva and some nectar and some honey
and they’re gonna use that to create royal jelly and then they’re gonna start
to raise brood for the following season if they do that too soon and the winter
hardship remains and this pollen does not remain a resource then they can
actually create too much demand because it’s a synthetic or an artificial pollen
I’m not a huge fan of that inside the hive although if the foragers are gonna
go out and get it you want to make that available away from the bee yard and I’m
not against that I just happen to have as a reminder for myself these are three
test tubes full of pollen and these are all collected by the same colony of bees
at different times early in the season this dark brown and light colored pollen
was probably coming from clover and other floral resources that early bloom
some of the yellow stuff kicked in here that would be sometimes it’s standing
lines and others but look at the mix that’s what I really wanted to show is
that there’s a variety of pollen sources here so it’s this mixed pollen now
here’s the thing this is pollen that was collected by bees it was on their hind
legs and that the workers were bringing in and they were going to actually put
it in the cells and then of course the nurse bees were going to come along and
they were going to amend that with some of their resources from the mandibular
glands and they were also going to contribute their own nectar to it and
they’re going to work it in to be bred and so that’s actually going to go
through a fermenting process so these pollen palps these little balls that
come in with the bees have not been through a lot of processing they have if
you see bees raking the pollen back to their hind legs they’re grooming their
faces their eyes they’re also raking Rossler mandibular glands which are just
above the mandibles and they’re streaking that down striking it down and
they’re adding that to make the pollen collect and stick so they can put it on
their hind legs so the sweetness that comes for those of you who are eating
pollen for whatever reason the sweetness in that comes from what the bees have
done in the field before they bring it back to the hive mixed with nectar mixed
with their own glandular material so there is some metabolized material in
with this but this is not the pollen that gets fed to the baby bees because
it does not be bred yet so but the reason I bring this up I was noticing
the way bees use or do not use pollen that’s brought in by the field workers
when you’re using a pollen trap which I did on one hive this year and when I
pulled the draw out some of the pollen of course the bees were still going
through the screen area even though the bottom portion was open and so these
bees then had the pollen balls on their legs as they went through and they fell
off on the landing board I thought oh and this is great because now let’s look
and see what happens to these pollen balls because I always thought if you
have a solid bottom board and sometimes pollen just falls off the legs of peace
as they get in there they don’t quite get it to a cell and then the worker
that brought the pollen in normally scratches out their legs and pushes the
pollen in and they leave these little pollen balls in the cells so sometimes
they don’t get it that far they’ll get knocked off on their way in and they
just fall to the bottom and I always thought because you have a solid bottom
board the bees can reclaim the pollen that falls to the bottom but guess what
they don’t yeah it was really interesting so the honeybees that are
inside the hive when these little balls of pollen we’re falling on the landing
board or just inside sure they all run over and they lick it and they work it
over because it’s sweet and it does have a nectar portion to it but they’re not
after the pollen they were just after the sweetness and then those pollen
balls just laid around on the bottom and guess what else happened they went moldy
they go moldy because there’s pollen there and there is a sugar resource too
so this material is just going to decompose which is why you have to wash
out then now they will clean out the bottom board then I can just let little
moldy bits and pieces the way I saw the moldy pieces
we’re in things like the flow hives that have the slides the trays that go in the
bottom so now the little balls of pollen fall through that go into the tray and
then nothing else has access to it they ultimately start to mold so the bees
don’t use it so unless the pollen is turning to be bred and fed to baby bees
the pollen is brought in from the field really isn’t used so the question would
be if you mix dry pollen substitute with dry sugar which is also a substitute for
honey what’s going to happen to the pollen and will it actually be of any
use to the bees so if you have any kind of acquaintances or somebody in a lab
that’s doing Studies on that bee nutrition and which bees will actually
glean pollen substitute from dry sugar and how and where they would use it that
would be very interesting but for me there’s no evidence right now that shows
that that would be a benefit to the bees and it’s just the potential for
something else in your sugar to spoil that’s why you keep it out so we don’t
want them to kick off brood prematurely we want them to do that foraging if
they’re going to bring in a pollen substitute I want that to coincide again
with weather that facilitates foraging I don’t want the bees to all be confined
and then they were boosting their diet some way so for me personally no and and
that’s my reasoning it’s because of the way that I’ve seen them ignore pollen
and when it wasn’t brought in directly from the field and so we’re faking out
the bees when you put this pollen substitute out in a feeder when they go
foraging and they’re they’re looking for paul and resources on early plants which
normally would be trees at the beginning of the year and by the way i put the
dates on the caps of all of these so i know when they’re foraging and what
they’re getting and when the pollen is the strongest so for my annual record to
see what’s going to happen but when they can’t fly out and they
start to get pollen they start to bring that in that’s a natural rhythm that is
a natural time for them to start producing brood and building up for the
spring nectar flow so I would much rather let that come from nature now if
you’re in an environment where those resources almost never show up in nature
you might be in a bad place for beekeeping overall if you’re infrequent
dirts and you’re just doing this to help your hives limp along then that’s gonna
be harder you know I don’t live in an area like that where I live every time I
put out a substitute pollen substitute for example the bees didn’t you add like
three bees in it and they didn’t come back a lot so they really didn’t care
about it and that speaker as the environment already started providing a
lot of pollen resources early on and from what I was trying to explain with
this the diversity of pollen not a single source the diversity all these
different colors all these different little pollen sources provide it’s like
you having a variety in your diet you’re going to have a better quality result
from that nutritionally when there are several sources and those are natural
sources so that’s my take it’s not necessarily bad you should just be aware
of what the potentials are that it could kick off brood rearing too early and
that the environment may not be supporting what you’re artificially
providing inside the colony so number two this is from D animal reviews what
is your opinion on a long laying inside a backyard shed that has been insulated
from winter and summer well a long laying is reference to a long lang straw
hive so the Langstroth hive the removable frame bee hive is what most of
us are using and of course we know that when we expand the hive first you have a
brood box that’s the bottom and then you have supers that stack one upon the
other and these frames are aligned with one another and the bees build up so
we’re simulating a hollow tree the long Liang simulates a you know hollow tree
that fell over so instead of the vertical build-up which means you have
to be tall enough to access it you have to be
lifting boxes off and so on there’s another method if those of you have ever
looked at a top bar hive it’s the same principle atop our hive so
only have top bars and they’re primed with wax and then the bees draw natural
comb down and then also generally if you look longitudinally down the length of
that hive structure it has angled walls so with the long leg though the walls
are not angled the walls are vertical and the bottom is squared and it
accommodates the standard length trough frame so for visualization purposes this
is actually a drone come Foundation one piece but this is the size of it so a
long Langstroth box would be built with shoulders inside little rabbit cutouts
so that it would support the frames like this and just as with any other high if
you would start with maybe three or four frames of brood or drawn comb or you can
install package bees and they’re gonna build out and as they fill each of these
frames you’re gonna add another frame to provide them more space for expansion so
instead of building up higher they build horizontally what’s the advantage of
that well you never have to pick it up you never have to pull the boxes off
because there’s only one long box so the long Langstroth hive would be built to
accommodate the maximum capacity of all the frames that you think that you would
ever need and that means that there’s empty space beyond the frames but then
there’s something called follow boards which are solid boards that the bees
don’t pass through so the bees are working the frames in here and then as
you see all these frames are full well then you move your follow board over and
you install another empty frame for them to expand in that direction and so the
the brood and everything remains in the middle three four or five six or however
many frames a board you have and then the honey of course gets stored outward
from that and it may go asymmetrical they may build all of their honey off to
one side of the other so you would start in the center of this long box this long
coffin looking thing and my opinion about it is I think it’s cool
I think it’s cool for a lot of reasons number one you can look in on them
often you don’t have to lift the boxes you can look frame by frame you can add
frame by frame there’s no lifting if somebody were handicapped if somebody
were in a wheelchair let’s say it’s a lot of people that get into beekeeping
are retired a lot of people do it as a gardening pastime as well they add it to
their backyard you might be elderly they might be arthritic you know there are
any number of reasons why somebody would not want to be picking up and moving
heavy boxes full of honey so the long liang has real potential I plan to add
one who knows when as far as needing to put that inside a shed I mean that’s
convenient and that’s cool because you could work it in the rain you could work
it in the snow you can get in there look at your bees I don’t know yet if I’m
going to do that I definitely have space inside a building to do that but I kind
of like the idea that they’re out in the open and the reason is because you’re
gonna build a permanent structure that’s how I see the long line you know it’s
like a fallen log let’s make it thick inch and a half thick two inches thick
get some real timber and make that thing out of it and mill it down and then just
start just install as you would any other beehive only now horizontal
instead of vertical have it at a convenient height guess what we’re not
gonna have any skunks or anything trying to get into it because it’s going to be
probably the working height of it will probably be about the height of this
table so we might say 28 to 32 inches in height and then you lift open the top
which should also be thick insulated material because remember we’re
imitating a fallen log and because we don’t lift it who cares how heavy it is
so make a really solid support system for it and look it up do a youtube
search horizontal hive horizontal Langstroth and you’re gonna find out
that some people absolutely swear by them now in my area I have spoken with
people that started off with the top bar hives and not one of them got their top
are knives for a season through a winter season so that has not worked out really
well and one of the differences between the
top bar and the long Liang is with the long length as I showed before
you’re already working with full frames the top bars just had the top bar so the
rest was natural comb all the way down and so when you pull it up you have a
much more delicate structure because there’s no frame to work with so I
prefer the long leg concept over the top bar hive concept top our hives have have
gone back and they’re popular in a lot of areas just not here because I’ve
given a lot of bee presentations too a lot of beekeepers and those were just
beginning beekeeping and those who started with top our hives because I
thought that would be a great thing to have that nothing panned out so I’m
gonna try it I’m gonna build one we’re gonna see how it goes I’m gonna make it
bigger than it needs to be because if there’s wasted space who cares but if
you run out of space now you get a problem because it is a structure that
is constant you don’t expand it you don’t latch more boxes onto the end of
it it’s all one big piece so I recommend for those of you that are going to build
one probably make it longer than you think it’s gonna need to be and then
you’ve got those follow boards remember so you’ve got an artificial end of the
colony structure that is movable and so planned for something larger than it you
never know the other thing is maybe you can have you know a barrier board in the
middle and you can have two colonies in the same long length structure under the
same support system that could be kind of cool you could even put a roof over
it or something so yeah I think it’s a great idea and I’m gonna be doing that I
would not put it in a building and there are a lot of people that seem to want to
add heat to a hive they want to put it in a heated warmed building and I’m
gonna suggest you that that is not a great idea and the reason is the reason
we’re keeping in areas I’m in Pennsylvania in the United States
northeastern United States and as you can see outside is very cold we get a
lot of snow and everything else I want bees they can handle this environment if
we’re warming the bees and we create a weather an artificial weather system
inside the building then they’re going to be active longer through the year and
they’re going to consume their resources more
and these will not be bees that we know to be acclimated to the environment that
we’re keeping them and keep in mind that the bees ultimately one day will swarm
they’ll send their genetics out I don’t want bees that have to be kept
in an insulated building that’s heated in the winter and cooled in the summer I
want bees that are hardy enough to handle those environments on their own
and that’s why we’re working with Sasuke trash bees now so that’s my opinion I’m
gonna try one I’m gonna make a cool one next people last time sent B lots of
questions about the Sask atrocities that are talked about they were very
frustrated for your beginning beekeeper you want the bee Weaver bees how do we
get the bees they don’t ship packages and everything else well Sasuke trash
which I do not have a final word on because I’m still evaluating him
there’s a lot of buzz about them you can buy packages where’d you get the
packages there’s a breeder authorized to breathe the Sasuke trash line which is
in the state of California one of the biggest manufacturers of beekeeping
supplies probably in the world is manly-man Lake is selling the Sasuke
trash packaged piece I already ordered two for next spring so if I don’t need
them come spring then I’ve got two coming in that I can occupy I have lots
of empty hives I can add hives to my apiary
right now we’re at fifteen colonies I want it to be ten but we’re testing
other things so I’ve got five extra colonies going into winter which will
better my chances of ending up with at least 60% of those come spring I hope
but I’ll put a link for the man lake order for the bees men Lakes kind of
iffy about giving you a date someone asked me when you order your bees you
get to pick a date when they’re going to be delivered no you don’t Man Lake tells
you when they’re gonna deliver them you don’t get any options they’re gonna say
we’ll send you a notice out maybe a week in advance I think last year they
wouldn’t notify me about anything so you just have to be ready to get your bees
so packages are available order them now because there’s a thing if they sell out
you’re just gonna be out of luck for the B’s that you want and then yeah so
that’s it man like order now if you’re if you want
those package B’s but there again I don’t have a bottom line on them I don’t
know how they’ve wintered yet cuz I bought them in the spring we’re gonna
talk about them a little more today anyway the next question from st.
Germain you said last week that this was your best year thanks in large part to
the overachieving staska trapeze so we’re just talking about incest recipes
I get a lot of questions about them so can you share how much money you got
from how many production hives and then you wrote back later and said ooh it’s
not supposed to be money it’s supposed to be how much honey you got well in
general I don’t like to talk about money which is what I told Saint Germain
but then I said that’s B economics who cares and by the way he calls these
production hives so let’s just be clear about something I’m a backyard beekeeper
I’m not a commercial beekeeper so my bees are not being kept for profit
so I’m not looking for ways to increase honey production or I definitely don’t
sell pollen you know that was an experiment because I evaluated pollen
traps and I wanted to see what the impact was on the brood and everything
anyway but I will give you an account so we had and we’re gonna go ahead to head
those I knew to be Sask attracts colonies started with three this year
those that I knew to be B Weaver colonies and I had three of those so we
had six colonies that we could consider in production so because keep in mind
sometimes when you install a package you shouldn’t really expect to get resources
off of those your first year and let alone put flow high flow supers that’s
what that is if you put a flow super in a colony it better be a super productive
colony because they may not even touch the frame simona may not seal them up
and they may not put honey in them but these asket razz bees did if you don’t
know this ask attracts bees are new this year
down in the United States they are and were developed up in Canada Saskatchewan
Canada so then they authorized a breeder in the state of California to go ahead
and breed the Sask attracts line and then of course to sell them here in the
United States that way we’re not importing bees from out of country which
can be a huge mess so they’re being bred in California and then people are buying
packages and they’re shipping him around so my top performing Sasuke trash colony
of bees installed this year that was put in a flow hive – that’s a flow hive –
and it was a 10 frame size which is 7 flow super frames and it’s confusing for
some people we got at least and then we got more than this but I can verify that
we got at least 10 gallons of honey from that one colony so from once asked at
rest colony we got 10 gallons in the next ask attracts colony going over we
got 7 gallons which was also on a flow hive and the third Sasuke Trask colony I
didn’t get any honey yeah you know why because I just put supers on and left
them on so I want to let them go into winter they each have at least a medium
super of honey on them but my third task at rouse colony I didn’t take any honey
off because I wanted to see what they would do guess what they did they built
up really fast I didn’t take honey off and they swarmed and now they’re not
pure sastras bees anymore those are the ones that have the little golden bees in
that colony now which we talked about before so but then we go to the weavers
my top producing weaver colony and keep in mind I’ve had these for four years
but they all require this year because they’d all swarm so are they pure weaver
stock not necessarily if you’ve gotten hygienic varroa resistant piece and they
don’t breed directly with other hygienic varroa resistant bees that hygienic
traits and the varroa resistant traits are watered down and are diluted the
only way that they maintain full survivor stock like that is when they
breed with others that are also surviving but anyway one of my Weaver
colonies got six gallons number two weaver colony yielded four gallons and
another way the weaver colony yielded four gallons
so let’s talk economics we might as well mention the money we get people that say
if I backflow hive I just spent $700 750 depending on the
flow hive you might have spent 800 when will I get all my money back
well let me tell you what if that thing yielded if you took that flow hive and
you put SAS Katraj bees in it you could have pulled 10 gallons off of that each
gallon is 4 quarts each court this is a court that sells for $20 so you’ve got
$80 per gallon 10 gallons $800 you could have paid for that one the first year
now that’s an unusual situation so you would have got your money back the first
year but on average a flow high for me would not pay for itself unless it has
been through 2 full years first so I have for that second year you’re in
clear profit zone for the honey but of course if you have to buy a new bees or
new Queens or other things or a lot of other costs that impact that but anyway
from five production colleagues because remember the sixth one was not harvested
from 31 gallons four quarts at $20 per quart that is two thousand four hundred
and eighty dollars from a backyard apiary now what about tax on that the
state that I live in honeys of food there’s no food tax mm-hmm so that’s two
thousand four hundred eighty dollars minus the cost of your jars your lids
and anything else that would be considered a consumable or an expendable
that gets used up in that production but with the flow hives
how long do flow hives last I pulled my original flow super off this year and
will not be putting it back on so that’s from 2015 it went into production in
2016 so we got three solid years out of it and it’s not that it’s ruined it’s
just that now because it’s all cool-looking and worked up by the bees
it is what I want to bring with me to show people and to talk about beekeeping
in one of the methods that we can use to take honey off so it did not degrade
so the frames keep going so anyway that’s quick economic description their
five colonies two thousand four hundred eighty dollars it’s unpredictable its
agriculture if you had a bunch of rain this was an unusual year bunch of rain
unseasonally wet cold everything else that could impact your bees agricultural
practices are always at the mercy of the weather so we just had a really
fantastic year we’re loaded up with honey we have honey coming out the wazoo
around here anyway and if you’re wanting raw honey you want to get it for me I’m
sorry it’s all spoken for so thank you though for thinking that it would be
good honey for you next question is from six deep six I wonder if you could
mention how your slatted racks worked out this past season and also follow up
if your bees let you keep those upper vents open so it’s lighter rack we put
this on this year what’s a sliding rack I did a whole
video about it that in fact I was holding this in the cover image of the
video so if you find it you could look at that and I’ll explain it more this is
a slider rack this is for an eight frame box slider racks how do they work out
they worked out really good as far as I could tell now did they meet all the
claims that I read about before I bought them no people say that if you put a
slider RIKEN you won’t see bees bearding on the front of your hives that was not
true they bared it anyway the principle was that they’re supposed to be able to
gather in the space under here so your forage is gathered there and then on
these really hot days or days when they’re dehumidified the honey the bees
won’t be collected outside your colonies and they won’t beard now do they not
beard as much as hives that did not have these you could say marginally it looked
like that was the case but here’s the real bonus to it remember we’re just now
going in a winter with these so I haven’t been through a winter which with
the slider rack this is towards the front of your hive so this solid
Lord here cuts down on the amount of light that’s coming through the entrance
reducer underneath of it it’s all supposed to cut down on winter you know
air and when those blowin storms come is supposed to cut down on drafts up inside
the colony so that’s yet to see if you know it’s yet to be seen if that’s going
to do that or if it changes anything as far as the configuration goes the other
thing was that if you look at a brood box and you look at the frames in the
deep brood box which is your bottom box the queen generally starts laying eggs
all the way down to the bottom of the comb but they always leave a gap just
before that bottom Ridge and then their art over here so the claim was if you’ve
got slide and racks then the Queen will perceive this as a darker space or
protected space so she’ll lay more eggs further down was that the case no so
what happened was it didn’t really do all the things that they said it was
going to do it still might be great for wintertime what it is good for for those
of you who are doing X aleck acid vaporization and you use those x alec
acid sublimation irons that go in through the entrance board usually those
would be especially when you let it go the iron would impact the bottoms of
those frames which have wax all over them and you’ll be killing bees because
the bees that get on that hot iron die and what these do is provide a very
convenient utility space for you to do that vaporization and not bring your
iron in contact with the actual brood frames so that’s a plus the other thing
is on the back of all of these when I install them on my hives I drill a
quarter inch hole right here because I use the pro vape 110 4x alloc acid
vaporization for the colonies that need it now because I don’t know going into
the season which Cullen is it going to need it I drill the holes anyway and I
put a quarter 20 threaded thumb screw in there as a placeholder and if I ever
need to treat the colony the hole is already there we can put it in there and
vaporize a colony with out having to drill a hole in the box
itself I don’t have to go through the entrance board I can cover that up with
a nice damp cloth and I can do this from behind each colony so for utility
purposes alone the slider racks are cool so do I like them I like them do they
meet all the claims that were made about them in my opinion they really don’t but
it’s not a total waste if you’re a commercial beekeeper which we’re not
we’re backyard beekeepers but commercial beekeepers don’t like the added expense
you know the trade-off for the benefit what’s the benefit will that turn into a
return on their investment probably not for the backyard beekeeper has to have
everything that benefits our bees put a slatted rack in there because it’s cool
in it you know it works to some degree it’s not a lot all right
and what else make sure your site attracts following your bees keep your
event open did the bees let me keep the upper vents open no they did not so I
have feeder shims on top of all the colonies what’s a feeder sham look like
these are my own they’re super heavy we put them out because I put rapid rounds
in here this is where you feed rough stock rough cut wood and of course this
one that’s not been in a beehive but this rough cut bottom surface here in
all of the hives got covered of propolis because it so it became part of a
parabola sound Volokh which is a way that the honeybees fight bacteria inside
their hive they’re prop lies the surfaces and if it’s a rough surface
they’re gonna seal that up and so you just created a germ barrier so to speak
now the hole in the center gets covered by a rapid round so this thing is in
there from the other side of course plugs this hole which is how we got into
the discussion without these holes here now we’ve just got a solid cover
that is not ventilated so some people are interested in venting their hives
through the top so that’s when we came in and put two inch and a half holes on
the back part of it which would not be blocked by the feeder
they have stainless steel screens in them so then the point is on the front
of this you can control venting so that’s a vented spot and then the
thinking is – you can turn this and close it up for winter or whatever so I
decided that that would be cool because then the bees could vent through that
well every single one of the colony is that I put a feeder shim like this on
they had the vented holes they sealed them solid with propolis so not one
colony allowed the top to be used as event they also sealed and glued up the
bottom sections of the rapid round feeders against the hole so they didn’t
want any top venting now this might be regional so if you have bees in the
South Imai love those vents they might leave them open they might need a top
vent they might be dealing with a high humidity situation where I live the bees
opinion if they’re demonstrating that through their propyl izing practices
they do not want upper vents in any of their hives including my observation
I’ve the observation the hives that I have is actually in a building that gets
the full cold experience it is not sealed off except from wind and rain and
things like that so those bees there are inch-and-a-half
insulation firm rigid board insulation on the faces because that’s the class
part of the observation hive it has four inch and half fence too high and too low
and those are all sealed solid with propolis and what the bees did on one of
the lower vents is they open up a tiny half-inch area that is moderately
venting the rest of them are solid with amber-colored propolis so they don’t
want venting on that either so the bees let you keep the upper vents open no so
does that mean I’m going to stop putting those stainless steel screen vents in my
feeder shins no I’m still going to put them in because if the bees decide later
that they want to open those up and the vents are there and they can do it if
they leave them sealed up fine but I’m leaving the bees
some options they can share out there propolis they’ve demonstrated it before
and when the weather’s warm they generally don’t chew and manipulate
propolis when it’s freezing so but if it warms up and they feel like indeed
venting they can chew that out themselves so as I said I will still put
the vents in the feeder shims I will still have that front controller on and
I did not use any upper entrances this year at all and the bees all did
extremely well so we’re kind of you know adapting to what the bees are telling us
that they like and one of the things they like is to have their tops
weatherproof airtight no ventilation through the top so thanks for that
question next did you resolve your live frequently asked questions issues they
think it’s a great idea okay well I’m glad those of you who tuned in and saw
my iPad temporary livestream where I was trying to read questions and nothing
worked out and then I just said that’s it we’re quitting I have figured it out
so now that it’s winter now that it’s snowing now that we’re gonna be stuck
inside and hopefully my photography work you know tapers back a little bit I’m
doing a lot of cinematography work this this winter time and so I should have
the time to sit back and actually do a live chat kind of so we’ll come in now
the other thing is people posted you know I appreciate the interest in this
other people posted dates and times that they would like to have chats happen and
they could be in the middle of the week some somebody said sunday weekend’s were
good I’m thinking Sunday afternoons that’s what suits me and I can’t do it
every Sunday afternoon and some people said that they were disappointed they
wanted to you know engage in a live chat discussion but they didn’t have any
advance warning well yeah cuz I was just testing it so I just flipped it on you
know try different things out and now it works now I can see the feed I can see
the questions that people would post and things like that so I’m going to try it
again there may not be any prior planning on
it I might just you know have an hour free and get a cup of coffee and goes to
town so what I’m going to turn on this thing now so what I’ve done is I set up
a chat station yeah just for that I would it be cool to do it here but I
don’t have any broadcast capability right here this is a shielded area so
notice there’s no noise or anything so down here this steel-reinforced
you know YouTube bunker I’m just kidding it’s not a YouTube bunker I’m in a tent
in my backyard right now so anyway we’re gonna do it it works we’re gonna do that
coming up maybe even test it out tomorrow for like 10 minutes or
something you know that goes if it’s live you could start out thinking 10
minutes next thing you know an hours gone by so for those of you who told me
that you want to see that thank you thank you for being a rat being
interested in that I think we find just to answer just-in-time questions you
post your question we talk about it next one Homer Sturgill I’m going to try your
wasp experiment please post an update for those of you don’t know what my wasp
experiment is my backyard apiary always gets assaulted in the years pass by
Yellowjackets thousands of Yellowjackets are humming around it didn’t matter if
you’re taking honey whatever you’re doing Yellowjackets were on people
they’re after the bees they fly when it’s really cold the bees haven’t warmed
up yet so you see those cold weather Yellow Jackets going right in the
landing board and nobody’s defending because it’s too cold for the bees yet
so my idea was when I saw a paper wasps that were not putting up with
Yellowjackets there are these brown rust colored paper wasps and I’ll put a video
up of them they were chasing off the Yellowjackets and so I thought hmm those
paper wasps never attacked the bees and you never see them zipping into those
openings and rolling around with the bees stinging back and getting stung by
the bees so because they don’t fight them but they are a wasp and they do
help this place Yellowjackets by the they have the same food resources when
it comes to pest control and things like that but these paper wasps specifically
the brown colored ones are very tolerant of people you could be standing there
could be a paper wasp nest right here by your head you can walk by it every day
and absolutely nothing you can also stare
right at them they don’t do anything you can study them I’ve actually taken paper
wasps nests now put them right on the kitchen table and watch the baby wasps
hatch out that’s not passive they are with people so what I’ve been doing is I
collect them and I put them in little three-sided wooden ruffcut boxes and I
mount them different places and let the nests develop as they would you know
wherever they would choose to live and then that way I increase the paper wasp
numbers in the vicinity of my apiary and then the result in you know the
hypothetical result is that they’re going to displace Yellowjackets and all
of less yellowjacket pressure on my bees is it working I don’t know but this year
we got fewer Yellowjackets attacking the bees so but I’ve done other things you
know I’m feeding the bees in an open feeder away from the colonies and so
that’s cut down on the Yellow Jacket traffic there if you have any kind of
syrup or nectar or kind of open feeders in your apiary get that out of there and
move it well off from your apiary and you will draw the robbers and wasps and
hornets and other things away and so maybe the combination of that and my
paper wasps benefited my bee yard because I had no full con flag battles
on the landing boards going on which normally happens every year you know
there’ll be a bumble bee that lands and tries to get in there’ll be six bees
rolling around on and there’s a battle royal there for a little bit but the
Yellowjackets used to cause these big landing board
skirmishes they were really trying to rob out the colonies and that did not
happen once not with any colony this year so is that because of my paper wasp
experiment that is yet to be seen but I’m gonna continue doing it so I add
paper wasps nests all around my apiary and along the building of my observation
hive and it seems to displace the Yellowjackets because those paper wasps
don’t let the Yellowjackets stick around so maybe it works plus their pest
control to you says a win-win they you Homer for asking about them and
that’s ongoing I don’t have any final you know declaration about whether that
works or not but it is cool to have wasps around that people can look at up
close and not be stung by so it’s a win-win
next is Russ make them is it safe to say the bees exiting and wiping their faces
are robbers alright when you’re looking at your landing boards and I hope you do
a lot when you look at landing boards and if B is a robbing one another
it becomes very obvious but there are some behaviors that you’ll notice right
away one is when bees are robbing they’re zipping in and out really fast
there’s none of this inspection area normally these are landing and going in
when traffic numbers are low the guard bees touch each bee sniff each bee where
the guard bees the ones with their front legs up and they they go like this and
every and their mandibles open at every bee that comes in if you see a
conspicuous absence of those guard bees on the landing board and you’ve got bees
coming and going in and out of there you need to pay close attention to that
colony because they may be a defense list for a reason they may be occupied
inside fighting more closely with bees that have made it through the entrance
honey bees can rob one another out in a very short amount of time and they get a
feeding frenzy going now what’s the behavior when the bee comes out as
described here by Russ when they come out and they’re wiping their faces so
these are four limbs and you even see em stick their tongue out and they use
their four limbs and they’ll run it down the length of their tongue that doesn’t
necessarily mean that that’s a robbing bee but there are other things that tell
you that that bee has just taken on more food than it can handle and that happens
a lot when they’re robbing and getting into the resources stored by a strong
colony that has collected a lot of resources through the year so when they
successfully get through their guards and they start robbing it out and we’re
talking about there’s going to be a lot of activity you’re also going to see
secondary examples of robbing little bits and pieces of wax and propolis
because they’re going to chew the wax so we’re going to get into them and they’re
gonna rob them out so you’ll see bits and pieces of wax and particles dragging
out you’ll also see some dead bees if the struggle has just begun and you
won’t you see honeybees going in you’ll probably see some wasps getting in and
out – now what’s the other physical behavior of wasps have recently taken on
more food than they can handle when they’re robbing it’s kind of like when
you see these videos of law enforcement when you know there’s rioting going on
and people are running out of stores they busted up the windows they’re
carrying more things than they can handle their pockets are full they’re
they’ve got everything under their arms bees are kind of the same they over feed
so the secondary thing that you would see is bees on the landing board or bees
that leave the landing where they can’t fly very far and they’re stuck all over
the grass around look at their abdomens they start wiggling their abdomens in
these circles and that in combination with them grooming and rubbing
themselves down is evidence that that bee has over eaten because they’ve got a
full honey crop in their abdomen and they’re trying to manipulate and orient
themselves before they fly in so they’re actually flexing their abdomen a lot so
when you see that abdomen twirling behavior in conjunction with that
grooming behavior that bee is full of resources and it’s probably over eaten
we know that bees can fly with about thirty percent of their body weight so
they can be really loaded and those that have like go near our feeding stations
sometime when there’s a lot of resources there the bees will cling to everything
around the feeding station and that’s because they’ve over eaten they found an
abundance of material and resources that they want they overload they fly out and
that I have to park until they actually get rid of some of that weight so they
can fly home so just that in itself look for the secondary behaviors bees at
robbing tend to zip straight in there’s no landing board hanging out getting
acquainted there’s no you know touching of tongues and taste testing to see
what’s coming in and that kind of thing robbing is a frenzied aggressive
behavior and there will be secondary evidence that that colony is being
robbed so you look for that and guess what that’s the last question for today
so I hope you benefited from something we talked about if you have questions
that you’d like to have answered you’re self then please write them down in the
comment section I hope I can get to those next Friday most of the questions
I write down on my notes here come within the first three or four days out
for a video like this one post I’d like to respond to questions that are
relevant to the time of year the season that we’re in we’re going into winter
right now so we’re doing preps for next year this is a great time of year to
start to stage equipment for spring order your bees get up to speed watch
some youtubes learn some stuff share what you know those of you have been
posting pictures on my Facebook page Fred’s my faul we’ll put the link down
in the video description go to that because that’s cool let me tell you
something the people that are posting pictures that are beehives that they’ve
made and the artwork that they’re putting on them and it’s amazing and
it’s fantastic to be able to share their and I’m glad to see people talking with
one another but show your pictures share your information there if you’ve got a
photo your beehives your bees your favorite colony whatever you want to do
post that stuff there if you’re a spammer you get blocked right away but
guess what there hasn’t been a single spammer yet so that’s cool to you so
thank you to those of you who are posting pictures of your beehives and
sharing your information on the Facebook page and thank you again to those of you
who post your questions here I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I hope
you’re warmer than we are thanks for watching


  1. I have one hive and I would like to add a couple more in the spring. Is it possible to install multiple packages at the same time? Thanks for all of the consistent great info.

  2. Its going down to -25 plus now add wind chill and more like -30ish now. My 3 hives are safe in my shed with a small heater. I will feed them once inside temp of +4ish is reached. It drops bad now, today was +7, funny story I when moving them the hives moved on my quad and come flying out lol I had to go inside and suit up to straighten it all out lol. I added a pollon paddy last month. I plan to go in each hive once the shed warms up cheers

  3. It rather dogmatic to say adult bees do not eat pollen. The truth is we simply do not know for certain. They could eat a tiny amount or mix with water or nectar. There are so many things we don’t truly understand about bees and I think it safe to say we could study bees for the next hundreds years and still not be able understand them completely

  4. Fred
    I live in similar weather like you, so:
    Those feeders you mentioned, I got them, hole in the middle for the jar lid, 4 holes on each corner one everything with 1/8" hardwire cloth and on top of that, I got a hole in the front with hardwire cloth also; my bees never propolize any of the vent holes; now mind you, I only use those kind of feeders during warmer weather in dearth, etc.
    For winter I got something similar with entire bottom having 1/2" hardwire and sugar candy fill about 2", the feeder is about 4" tall, I have a front hole with a similar wheel you have that I can rotate per need, only difference, I made a U shape with a lid that I attached on the inside of the front vent hole where the bees have to come in and go down into the hive before they get access to the sugar on the other side of this U shape cage I made, that also protects the hive from robber bees having access to the sugar, works like a charm, already they penetrate thru that 2" sugar places as it is cold outside and they eat that damp sugar mix that eventually harden solid.
    Second, I own two long lang's, in my opinion the only thing those are good for is making a lot of brood, not your kind of honey production style of hive, you get some honey but not as normal hive production; but those serve me well for brood parking as I take away capped brood frames from the mating nuts as my queens mate and lay eggs, also that young population as it hatches in the long langstroth, I reuse for starter/finisher on my queen production, works like a charm; that is my 2cent on this subject.
    Other than that, you are THE man, I still wonder why in the world you only limit yourself to 15 hives, with your potential and knowledge, I always wonder my friend, lol.
    God Bless and keep it up.

  5. Thanks, Fred. Looking at your intro, I'm so glad I live in TN. The long lang sounds interesting – I'm actually a smaller. 58-yr old woman, so has a beginner beekeeper, lifting those supers is hard. Although I'm routinely carrying hay bales and feed sacks, it's hot heavy work in a Southern summer.

  6. Hi Fred! I'm a backyard beekeeper as well. There is an online program to become a Master Certified Beekeeper. I was wondering if you think there would be any advantages or disadvantages to becoming certified?

  7. Im down to a single beehive.Lost my bees and @ 100 kgs of honney due to absconding because we had 4 months without rain ,there were low nectar sources and the otther beekeepers harvested the honney from their hives turning them to become robbers on a scale i never seen before.
    My only beehive that survived has red honney in it made from grapes.
    I wanted to take a picture but i didnt opened the hive so that il not atract robbers to them.
    Grapes honney its not good for them and shortens their life by a lot because it contains too much fructose instead of glucose.
    Next year i will cut the wing tip of the queens to catch them back in case they abscond again.

  8. My bees loved the upper shims / venting. They did not use the upper entrance on returning flights though. They did beard out the hole though.

  9. My Saskatraz built up super fast also. However thier built for cold description I am not sure of. When it is 47 degrees out and sunny only the weaver hives are out. The Saskatraz stay in until 60s weather.

  10. In my observation of robbing, the bees zip out just as fast as they zipped in.
    My bees come out onto the landing board or hive then pick a direction, then head off, robbers zip right out of the opening without touching a thing, I haven’t seen any hang around to achieve “flying weight”.

    If you see a huge holding pattern outside of the box and bees basically flying directly out of the entrance without touching he woodware…your bees are being robbed.

    Great video Fred, sorry to hear about your snow already.

  11. Thanks Fred! I always appreciate your videos.
    I'm looking forward to the live chat. While you get your coffee ready, send us a warning please.
    Did you get rid of the little moth flying around taunting you? Lol
    Have a great day!

  12. 1st SNOW! W0W : |} it's Beautiful ~ Looks as You were ready. 2 – Next Gen. Bees know vents available under propolis? just Clever.
    3 – YouTube Bunker lol hmm – defense against being attacked by YT?
    4 – Paper Wasps – Discover them the hard way . . Pruning shrub. You'd think i'd learn, each year, ha ha – or whenever i do, i get 'reminded'.
    I Bow my head and Apologize, also, i Don't think they like being stared at, but could be Watching that I Don't Prune them out – Again.
    Wild Colony here put their Nest in Same row of Shrub . . > On Purpose? : D GREAT TO KNOW – 'can guard & defend [aid]' Honey Bees. SUPER!
    5 – You are INVALUABLE!!!!! Glutton Bees – reminds me – working at Milk packaging plant, i'd watch Flies in break room pigging out on spilled milk.
    They'd take in So Much, i swear their Cheeks & Eyes would bulge while trying to fly away.
    THANK YOU! Your Filming shown and what said, is SO FUNNY! LOL It'l have me Looking for same of Hive in my outer Porch Wall. CHEERS!

  13. Dear Mr Fred This is Mohammad Salah from Egypt and I am adding my name to my comments now because you mentioned that somehow the names does not appear on the comments on your side

    An amazing and beautiful long video and I hope that the winter stays longer so that all of your videos are that long :):):):):)
    Thank you again and have a nice week end

  14. Hi Fred. Love your FAQs. Questions for future episodes: 

    1. I've recently heard someone claim that bees don't store fondant. They'll either use it as an energy source or ignore it, so it's okay to leave it on any time of the year without risk of the bees storing fondant sugar in the supers. Care to comment?

    2. You've covered infrared cameras in part. Could you describe more why you like the model you are using? If it helps, I just bought a Seek Compact (attachment for a smart phone) and I feel like I'm not getting the depth of heat signature I was expecting. Are there limits to using these cameras, and/or what work-arounds have you developed to get maximum results for the purpose of evaluating the size, location and temp of the brood nest? Please advise.

    3. All things relative (I'm in Ireland with 99% humidity and temperatures slowly approaching 32° F at night, and 45° during the day) — a. what would you expect to see as a healthy or ideal range of humidity levels and b. during this period (of some activity) and again when the bees go into a tight cluster (no bees flying) what would you expect as a MEASURABLE temperature from a sensor placed on top of the frames (as directly over the brood as possible).

    4. I'm saving some honey in reserve (one hive, no sign of chalk brood or other diseases) — I emptied the 1/2-filled Flow Hive frames before storing the frames in the freezer for winter — and I'd like to try vac-packing the honey to lay on top of the frames over the brood nest, with a few small puncture holes (made with a small syringe). There shouldn't be large swings of temperature (or is it atmospheric pressure), that would push syrup out of an upturned jar. I'd love to hear your thoughts, both on the practicality as well as the timing…

    Thanks "/ Jenny

  15. Are you familiar with the BeeSpoke long Lang, with supers?

  16. Very intresting experiment with the paperwasps! I am suprised that people have problems with Top Bar Hives and Langlongs in your area. As you indicate I think it is a good idea to use thick wood when in use in cooler climate. Good luck with your!

  17. Yeah those topbar hives are much harder to manage the comb in and all. I have one hive on another farm in a topbar.. next spring i want to move it over to a regular Langstroth. Time definitely flies by in live stream mode.. 🙂 Yeah the paper wasps are always pretty chill with me too. Thanks as always Fred!

  18. Glad you're back doing these on the regular. I drilled an entrance on my top deep box during this season. Now that winter is coming, should I plug that entrance up?

  19. Hi Fred, I've been lurking on your channel for over a year, as i'm very interested in getting 2 flowhives for my back yard. I've never kept bees before but i did become a member at my local beekeeper organization. My first goal would be having bees for pollination with the hope in the far off future of getting some honey. I have a question that i'm embarrassed to ask in my group as it goes against what everyone wants when it comes to beehives, but i've been unable to find any answers online. I'm hoping you will be able to help. Is there a way to maintain a balance in the bee population? what i mean is this. I live in South Central Fl so we don't really worry about winter (just dearths) and i worry that a beehive would grow faster than im prepared for. i really do not want nor do i have the time for, more than 2 hives. I know most people want their hives to grow and that it is a sign of a healthy hive. and that im worrying about something that likely won't happen right away (especially as an inexperienced bee keeper) and chances are, i'll lose a hive rather than see a bee explosion, but i'm still worried. i know the best prevention is close monitoring and splitting as necessary. if you think this is something that's easily manageable, do you think having a nuc box or 2 would be sufficient to keep the split until i give it to the beekeeper organization?

  20. Thanks for the post summer follow up on the slatted rack. My main observation is the guard bees positioned themselves further back in the hive. I have no idea about bearding and egg laying as I don’t have enough hives to compare reliability.

    Another advantage I found was I could attach the tabs for my entrance reducer/mouse guard and still rotate boxes and not nail anything into the box. I have a flow hive 2 and they don’t fit traditional entrance reducers.

    I’ll be watching for a winter follow up report.

  21. Great video fred could you tell me if you or any1 else can tell me if this is robbing
    Its nov 10 UK south 10degrees C
    Warre hive unopened in 7 years
    Theres pollen coming in
    I've corked one of the open entrances so there's only one open now
    There were a few bees dead in the grass and some but not a lot of fighting

  22. Hey frederick , would you mind maybe recommending a good bee suit now that the bees aren't as active .. I've been shopping around but would love you opinions on one.. I only live 35 minutes from Mann lake ,wilkes barre .. it's so nice and so terrible lol

  23. in my area of central washington state, my bees do not make it over the winter without a top vent. My bees are forest swarms. So in summer and winter my bees are maximum vented without a screened bottom board. I don't feel screened bottoms are so hot and my bees do well because they are from this area. How many generations? unknown

  24. Beekeepers and beekeeper hopefuls love to talk bees, our families maybe not so much, your videos fill the void, even one way conversation! Love the videos!

  25. I appreciate your videos and willingness to experiment with different options on beekeeping. You show the hives level from side to side, how should they be from front to back? Looking forward to your work on the long hives. I am old and can't handle the full supers very well. Flow hive looks like a good option for handling honey gathering, but they are way too expensive for me.

  26. Wow U got a lot of honey from your bees U have more trees and forging land then I do here I live in the city. But I did get 10 gal from 5 hives and I was very happy with it. I did not get any from the sas a tras this came from my carnies and Russian the honey It sold in 2 days. Queen Right colonies sale sa a tras packages as well for 170 per package plus shipping cost I checked with them because mann lake did not tell u much. I did not order any I am getting queens instead and going to switch out queens and do some splits to get my sas a tras bees. I did that this year hope they do good this winter I am so excited about them thanks again for the videos I lost sound so got to check to see if it is on my side take care and have a wonderful week

  27. Hi Fred. I have watched all of your FAQ videos and have learned a lot from you. I am going to start beekeeping next spring and have ordered 2 nucs. I will see how it goes but eventually I would like to expand my apiary to about 6-10 hives. Should I try to do as many splits as possible during my first year or should I let the colonies grow out and then do some splits in the following year if all is well? What would be the best approach? Thanks.

  28. My husband and I are beginning beekeeping this coming spring. We received our Flow Hives about 3 weeks ago. I’m now staining and painting them. We ordered saskatraz bees this weekend. I’m excited mostly and sometimes overwhelmed with all the information needed to know. We joined our local bee Association on Sunday. I very much enjoy your videos. There is so much to learn and know. I have so many questions. Question for you… #1 are the saskatraz bee’s varroa resistant like the BeeWeaver bee’s? #2 How do you get packages of BeeWeaver bee’s without driving to Texas?

  29. How do you know when it is a Dearth, I can imagine easily not noticing that their isn't many flowing going on around the neighborhood, how do you know thru your bees that it is happening, besides seeing dead and dying bees around

  30. can smaller holes/openings into the hives prevent the yellow jackets from entering the colony? Paper wasps clean your garden out of the white cabbage moths, they also eat all the other pests in your garden, they feed them to their babies, an excellent partner!

  31. But, once you see that your hive is at that moment having fighting and robbing inside your hive…what Do you Do??

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