Sunday, August 30, 2015


Yesterday I hosted our Bee-keeping meetup group for a brunch meeting.  Had a great time and learned a few things.  Gave a tour of my yard and apiary also.  By the way I'm hosting an apiary tour and short lecture on natural bee-keeping methods on Sat. Sept. 12th between 11 and 2.  All are welcome and its free.  E-mail me for directions.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Varroa has appeared

After all these years I have finally found mites in my drop pan.  Two of the overwintered hives have them.  In hive No. 3 I found one, and in hive No. 2 I found four.  Both of these hives were the ones I had made such a critical error in not using top bars in every box. Here's hoping that the bees can take care of them as they did the beetles.  I have also been finding a lot of moths in the drop pan.  This seems to be an added bonus, because I think they are trying in vane to sneak in the back but can't get in and then get covered with D. earth and die.  Have also found a couple moth larvae too, also dead.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Octagon backyard hives for sale

Complete Octagon bee hives for sale in NYC area, with established proven over wintered northern Carnolian/Russian stock included.  Raise bee's to Warres' natural bee keeping methods.

Always wanted to do something to help out the bee's?  Maybe wanted to say, " I raise bee's.  No place to put them?  No problem.  Will keep and maintain the hives in my bee yard for half the honey.  Friendly non aggressive bee's.  Enjoy our July harvest get together by helping or just keep hands off approach and we'll ship you the honey. Will also set up and maintain on your property (business or residential), or will just set up, you do the rest.  Will mentor.

Hives are 100% cedar and we raise the bee's naturally and limit interaction to as little as possible.   (Photo of 2 box setup.)

Hives consist of 4 boxes, screened bottom board with catch tray (dusting powder included), with or without Beetle trap entrance if set up on your property, pitched roof with insulated cedar shaving blanket.  Hives come with 10 top bars or, 4 center frames with 6 top bars and burlap cover cloth.  Each box holds approx. 25 lbs. of honey. Only one full box needed for over wintering.   Hives are monitored for diseases but I only naturally treat on a limited basis to keep colonies hardy.  Each hive box comes with viewing window for monitoring and enjoyment. Visit your bee's anytime.

Stock is limited to 10 hives for spring of 2016 so sign up now (more or less depending upon over wintering and if good swarm year).  No down payment needed until spring.

Cost $550.00 per hive complete.  Maintenance is 1/2 raw honey per year.

Cannot guarantee bee's once leaving my yard but will replace as necessary if I maintain.

Pete's Bees   646-201-2461

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Queen outside the hive

Doing my routine walk around the hives this morning I noticed a couple bees sunning themselves on the outside of the entrance.  A closer look revealed that one was a queen, so I picked it up for a closer examination.  Finding nothing abnormal, I put it back and it then flew off.  My only thought is that I may have killed the original queen while doing my honey harvest, but the dates didn't coincide with her appearance, maybe they are just superseding.  Hope she finds a couple good mates this time of year.  Otherwise all is normal.  I did find some beetle larvae in the drop pan from the last hive I harvested Monday this week.  Not unusual for the beetles to try and get a hold while the hive is a little disrupted.  Finding them on the bottom means the bees are back in a cleaning mode again which is what I would expect.  The harvest yielded about 15 lbs on the outside bars (5) as there was still brood in the center so I left those in and replaced the box.  Later

Monday, July 13, 2015

Treatment for Nosema

Found several bees in the yard unable to fly so decided to treat the queen castle colony for Nosema using Oxalic acid fumes.  The hive has not increased in size for more than 2 months so will have to wait to see how it works.  All the other hives are doing well.  Will have to let it go this autumn if this doesn't work.

Pulled the top box off the last hive today and harvested honey.  There was still brood in the center comb so left them in place and cleaned and returned the empty bars back and replaced the box on the hive.  Got about 16#s of honey, should have been around 25#.  Because I was experimenting (bad idea) the lower box had no top bars so had another mishap with everything falling down but eventually got it straightened out.  Honey is super sweet with a light amber color.  I bottle for allergy sufferers so leave it murky with lots of pollen.  With such a wet spring and all my hives swarming at least twice I think it was not to bad.  Creating a hardy bee line is the important thing.  Later

Monday, July 6, 2015

Harvest day 2015

Saturday the 5th of July I opened both of the hives I had previously tried to harvest without much success and pulled off the top boxes of each.  I was a little upset when I found that neither hive had begun repairing or using for that mater, the combs which had been damaged.  I only got about 4# of honey from the worst one but the other yielded about 22 lbs.   Most of the center comb from the later was empty.  Not much of a harvest this year so far but at least these 2 hives are back to normal again and harvest will be much easier next year.  The last hive is full in the top box and I may take a few bars from the new swarm hive as they are putting honey in the second box already.

This spring has been wet again and the nectar has not flowed to well for me at this end of the island but as long as the bees can stock up for winter I'll be happy.  The three lesser swarm hives are slowly building up but I won't know for sure until Oct., whether to unite them or not.  Feeding is definitely on my to do list for those three this autumn, am saving honey just for that purpose  Later

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Natural Bee Keeping

What’s natural about keeping bees?  Man has been cultivating bees for thousands of years, but to the bee, it’s not natural.  But then, thousands of years of keeping them one way or another, maybe it is.  Over a hundred years ago when the framed hives were invented, the doomsayers said it would destroy the bees.  Is it?  I hardly think so, but it is putting a lot of stress on them, constantly manipulating the inside of the hive the bees have worked so hard to make their own.  Chemicals to fix this and that, constantly inspecting, cooling the brood, making life inside the hive more taxing.  Stealing too much honey and having to replace it with sugar water.  Is it actually the sugar water which is causing the problems?  Moving the hive from point to point and grazing on single plant species.  Replacing the queens 2, 3, 4 times a year and then watching the whole bunch fly off to places unknown (CCD).  Do artificially inseminated queens even know what their role in life really is? Never having taken the first flight, no wonder they take the colony and leave. Is it simply these queens which are responsible for CCD?

As backyard bee keepers, we need to make a change and begin committing to a more natural way and make it better and less stressful for both us and the bees.  Allowing the bees to build their own environment makes them more docile.  Frankly, friendlier bees means no more sweating days under the hood.

Bee diseases can and should be monitored only, but on occasion we can give them a hand.  Nosema for example, is a fungus caused by too much humidity in the hive and this we can help by providing more ventilation.  I also think it is caused by feeding sugar syrup which has been around too long.  For the Hive Beetles we can provide beetle traps and screened bottom boards with catch basins under to catch larvae as they drop, or using Nematodes around the hives.  Tracheal mites can be treated with oxalic acid without too much adverse effect to the bees.  But the Vorra mite is something the bees have to learn to work with.  Applying poison’s only poisons the comb and honey, exposing that back to us as consumers and then, because the mites become resistant, we have to put in stronger and stronger poisons, a never ending cycle.  But by allowing the bees to build their own environment inside the hives; they can then fend off all of the above.  And if they can’t, we have to let them perish and start anew with a hardier breed and or crossbreed from other hives which have survived.  (By the way, Monsanto is trying to develop, through gene manipulation, a “Super” bee which they say will fight off the mites, Or are they just trying to make a bee which can withstand there own poisons so they can then sell more and stronger ones? Of course all with government grants.)

So what is natural bee keeping?  It is simply allowing the bees to tend to themselves.  By providing them with a more natural environment inside the hive and allowing the bee’s to build new comb to raise brood however they want, the bees do exceptionally well on their own.  Natural comb shape is not straight, but curved to inhibit a bad environment inside the hive.  Monitoring the bee’s actions from outside and checking the drop board for any problems, and allowing the colony to die if need be and opening the hive only as a last resort.  With all the problems we have caused over the years, we need to be trying to raise a hardy, more resistant bee and not to promote further problems.

Let’s talk about the hive.  My preference is an octagonal shape, more closely resembling the inside cavity of a tree.  After several years of experimentation, I have settled on one that suits me well.  The boxes are 7” tall with a 14” diameter inside cavity, closely matching the inside dimensions of the Warre hive.  The bottom board is screened and has a beetle trap entrance.  Under the screen is a drop pan which is sprinkled with Diatomaceous earth.  The roof has a built-in blanket filled with a cedar shavings for positive ventilation.  Each box has ten top bars (some of have 4 center removable frames, which helps with splitting the hives if need be and or transferring eggs and brood to a queenless colony, these are bottomless).  A single full box of honey will weigh approximately 35lbs, more than enough supplies for an entire winter.  I harvest in July, then, just monitor through-out the late summer until close-up in winter, when I add insulation to the outside of the hives.

After finally learning to let my bees be, I have succeeded, this year anyway, in having a 100% survival rate and more than doubled my stock naturally.  I also gave away 2 swarms and had the misfortune to lose 1 to Nosema, after feeding some leftover syrup and lost 2 that flew away when I, unfortunately, was not around.  Good luck on your endeavors.  Later