The Bee Smart Beekeeping Seasonal Calendar

Honey bee colonies have seasons.  They are the same seasons we observe in general, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  The bees observe the timing and changing of the seasons a bit differently though than we do.

We talk about certain beekeeping tasks and chores that should done seasonally.  The first Spring inspection, the last Fall inspection.  Treatments for various environmental issues and potential pest problems, etc…

When is Spring for Bees though?  When does it actually beeginning?  Is it a date on the calendar?  In my experience,  I would like to suggest that it starts when the bees sense it and act upon it.  More of observing certain environmental conditions and the innate responses that are triggered in the colony in response to those conditions.

For me, Spring doesn’t really start until colonies get serious about drone production.  During the Winter and what I call “pre-Spring” there are good weather conditions to get inspections done to check on brood production, feed stores and colony buildup.  Spring isn’t actually kicked in though until we see the colony make a serious effort at drone production.

When the first batch of drones are capped I can fairly reasonably say that Spring is here and in about 2 weeks swarms might get started and virgin queens will be able to begin mating.

Swarms don’t usually leave until virgin queens are about to emerge.  Virgin queens can’t get mated until there is an abundance of drones.  “Abundant” being a relative term depending on an area’s population density of colonies.

So, first drones, then virgin queens, then swarms.  Spring has sprung indeed.  Our hive inspections,  manipulations and activities fall in somewhere among these beehaviors.

That’s the beeginning of the year for me.  To go to the opposite end, Fall, what do the bees tell me about that?

Once again, the colony tells me when Fall arrives with drones.  The colony stops or dramatically reduces drone brood production and actively starts culling the drone population.  Fall has slipped up on us.

No more drones means no more queen rearing (unless something goes awry).  The active beekeeping year has come to it’s eventual winding down.  Once again, those timely inspections, manipulations and control measures will be fit in among the bees drawing down the colony population and makeup.

Somewhere in between Bee Spring and bee Fall is bee Summer.  How do the bees indicate that Summer has begun?  Good question.  The most obvious indicators of Summer in a bee hive are the colony teaching it’s population peak and switching the focus from primarily brood buildup to foraging and honey production\stores.

So with bees as with with everything else, “to all things there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven…”

When planning those beekeeping activities, Maybee consider is it time for it based on a date or by the bees?  Could bee that the bees will have something to tell us about that.

 

 

Bee Smart Presents: Tees for Bees

We are engaged in planning the first ever mini golf tournament to generate revenues and increase awareness about bees and beekeeping.

Some of the revenues will be donated to the Nebraska Extension program for Bee research and beekeeper education.

This, the first tournament, will bee held in the Omaha, NE greater metro area.  Subsequent tournaments may be held in other locations or multiple locations simultaneously as things progress.

The Bee Smart “Tees for Bees” mini golf tournament is currently in planning and details will be released when they beecome available.

Gold standard assessing neonicotinoids: Field bee hive studies find pesticides not major source of health issues | Genetic Literacy Project

Some lab studies but almost no field studies suggest neonicotinoid pesticides are harming bee health. Why is there such a gap in conclusions? And why are field studies virtually ignored in the media, while one-off lab studies hinting at catastrophe are circulated widely?

Source: Gold standard assessing neonicotinoids: Field bee hive studies find pesticides not major source of health issues | Genetic Literacy Project

California Beekeepers, Farmers Prepare For Pollination

As beekeepers prepare for the almond pollination season to begin, multiple issues face them along the way.  Hive thefts, diseases and pesticide use concerns loom over their heads along with the rainy weather.

Much of Northern California has experienced above-average precipitation this winter, but by the time bloom begins in mid-February, almond growers hope the sun will shine long enough to allow bees to fly and do the job of pollination. Almond bloom usually begins in mid-February and continues until mid-March.

We Bee Painting

We had a great time doing bee themed paintings at the event this past Saturday at Cheers Paint and Sip in Omaha, NE.  The painting was of a bumblebee in a field of flowers (for most of us, others got uber-creative) which we dedicated to the Rusty Patched Bumblebees which were recently placed on the Endangered Species list.

Here is a photo of our participants and their excellent works of art.  One of their paintings will grace the header photo of this website for the month of February.  The video and results post will be out soon so you can see all the creative fun that was had in the name of bees.

Image by Heather Bell of Cheers Paint & Sip

Common crop chemical leaves bees susceptible to deadly viruses

According to Chris Mullin, professor of entomology, Penn State, adjuvants in general greatly improve the efficacy of pesticides by enhancing their toxicities.

Source: Common crop chemical leaves bees susceptible to deadly viruses

Bringing You The Best Of The Buzz On Bees, Beekeepers and Beekeeping

Here at the Bee Smart beekeeping project, we want to bee the best we can bee.  A large part of that is working to bring you interesting, useful and entertain original content.

Beeginning today, Bee Smart beegins the next phase of bringing forth the buzz by doing a bit of news aggregation.  Meaning, we scour the world wide web every morning looking for noteworthy news and put it all together here in one place for you.   Beecause of that, we’ve also added a new category area to search in our posts, “Bee Newsworthy”

You will notice that we have already posted some interesting tidbits pulled from various news sources that we think you will find fits our description of “useful, interesting and entertaining”.

Later today, you will still get some of our original content as you are becoming used to seeing as well.  I hope you enjoy the news and notes here.  I know I like them.

 

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