Bee Hive Manipulation Throughout the Year

Bee Hive Manipulation and
Throughout the Year
- Louisiana
Hive Maintenance
• I. Seasonal Maintenance
• II. Maintaining healthy hives/apiary
• III. What to look for regarding hive problems
and pests/diseases
• IV. Additional diseases and complications
• V. Differences between commercial and hobby
– Approaches to beekeeping
– Reasons for differences
• VI. References
I. Seasonal Maintenance
• Fall
– September into October
• Late Fall/Winter - October through February
• Spring
- March through April
• Summer
- May to/& incl. September
Fall Months – September through October
Slide 1 of 2
• Maintain weekly checking
• Harvest honey (mid-September for CENLA)
• Identify weak colonies: combine/ destroy/decide
which to do based upon hive condition
• Inventorying equipment: plan for rebuilding
and/or replacement
• Continue treatment of vegetation within bee yards
• Rotate brood boxes
Fall Months – September through October
Slide 2 of 2
Add supers as needed
Prepare hives for winter months:
– Maintain sufficient honey stores in hive
Apply pesticides as needed
– Disease Prevention/Treatment
• (ex. Foulbrood & Nosemia)
– Treat for varroa; tracheal mites
• (ex Apistan / Cumaphos; (Mite-a-thol);
Apivar ®(Amitraz)? - follow labels
Reduce entrances
Winter Months –
October through February
• Check hives (at least once a month) and check for:
– Strength (health and vigor)
– Honey reserves
– Yard maintenance
– Repair and/or replace equipment
Spring Months – March through April
Slide 1 of 2
Begin weekly maintenance
Check colony strength and honey stores
Initiate feeding to build up hive strength (ex.
BeePro patties)
Treat for varroa and tracheal mites if needed
Disease Prevention if needed
Rotate deep boxes and remove entrance reducer
Treat vegetation in yards
Repair and/or replace equipment if you haven’t
done so already
Spring Months – March through April
Slide 2 of 2
• Make colony increases (splits); capture swarms
• Continue feeding until honey flow is on
• All equipment should have been repaired/replaced
but if not, do so now
• Check Queens: commercial beekeepers often
replace her every year; hobbyist may choose to
keep her (Note: a young queen is a better
producer) – plan on replacing Queen before the
honey flow in your area begins
• Provide additional supers as needed
Summer Months –
May through August/September
• Maintain weekly checking
• Treat vegetation within bee yards
• Add supers as needed (When 7 out of 10 frames
are full, add a super)
• Harvest honey (June and September for CENLA)
II. Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary
Placement: Location, location, location!
Manage vegetation around hives
Maintain hive bodies and frames
Maintain healthy bees
Practice IPM
Remember: an ounce
of maintenance is
worth a pound of
live bees.
Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary (continued)
• Location, Location, Location:
– Best: morning sun – mid-day shade - afternoon
sun; Worst: full shade or sun
– Avoid flood zones
– Inaccessibility in inclemental conditions
– Areas prone to pesticide spraying
– Highly visible to public or in close proximity to
public/neighbor (esp. if they don’t want them
– Close to clean water and year-round food
Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary (continued)
• Manage vegetation around hives
– Spay, mow, but do something to keep the vegetation
under control
Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary (continued)
• Maintain hive bodies and frames:
– New hives should be dipped/painted inside and
out – Note: some bee keepers choose to not
paint inside
– Everything wears out – decide when to repair
or toss
Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary (continued)
• Maintain healthy bees
– For best brood production, requeen yearly
– Treat for varroa mites (spring and fall)
– Treat for all other pests as needed (small hive
beetles, nosemia, tracheal mites, American
foulbrood, European foulbrood, chalk brood,
wax moths, etc.)
III. What to look for – Hive Problems/Pests/Diseases
• Queenless hives
– Presence of only drone brood and/or multiple eggs laid
within individual cells
What to look for – Hive Problems/Pests/Diseases
• Queenless Condition
– Laying worker bees, in absence of queen begin laying
eggs – problem: infertile bee laying eggs with haploid
DNA produces drones
– Unless treated, hive will die
– Remedies:
• Introduce new queen
• Combine hive with queen-right hive
• Destroy (due to additional problems seen)
• Options:
– Purchase mated queens with known
genetics/breeding stock from reputable dealer
– Raise your own
– Allow hive to requeen itself through supercedure
(look for swarming queen cells)
• If old queen isn’t producing she can be killed and
Indications of poor queen
• Patchy brood pattern on combs
You can requeen or let the bees do it for you –
sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t
• Requeen or “do something” when you see
the following:
Maintaining a Healthy Hive/Apiary
Wax Moths (Lesser and Greater)
• (Lesser: Achroid grisella;
Greater: Galleria mellonella L. )
• Declining/stressed hives are prone to wax moths infestation
• Hive might abscond if not die out altogether
• Can degrade woodwork of hive and frames
• Note: some people raise them for bait and food!
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary Wax Moths
– Prevention
• Proper storage of hives and frames
• When building hives, provide for bee space (so bees
can reach and remove wax moth eggs and larva)
• Storage: fumigation should be considered whenever
wax moths are present.
– Misconceptions
• WM’s do not kill honeybees
• Cannot infest a healthy hive (more often than not,
these hives have problems preceding the WM
• Will not infest frames stored inside
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary Wax Moths
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary
Small hive beetles (SHB) (Aethina tumida )
• Exotics from S.Africa into U.S. in 1990’s
• Feed on multiple nectar and pollen sources
• In the hive they feed on brood, pollen, honey and
• The bees may abscond or succumb but in either
case, the hive is lost
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary (SHB - continued)
• They are omnipresent in Louisiana
• Even healthy hives can succumb to unchecked/managed
beetle problems
• Answer: manage the beetle populations in your
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary SHB Management
• IPM: predatory soil nematodes*, hygienic queens that
kill/remove SHB, non-pesticidal traps
– Soil nematodes infect the pupa with bacteria, which eats
the tissue and causes septicemia in the SHB. The beetle
dies, and the nematodes live inside the decaying carcass.
• Traps, baiting, poisons, etc.
– West Traps: black plastic trays with powdered lime or
vegetable oil placed on bottom board.
– Better Beetle Blaster with apple cider vinegar
– Beetle Barn traps ( baited with
attractant (CombatR (a.i.=FipronilR)), CriscoR with
boric acid, etc.
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary
SHB (continued)
• Management options (continued)
– Baited jars located outside the hives – apple cider
vinegar; Crisco, etc.
– SHB traps from cut up (3’x5”) advertising signs (Boric
acid & Crisco) – FatBeeMan videos on
– Roach traps placed around base and below hives
– Guard Star drenching on ground around hives
– Physically smashing the little buggers when seen
– Praying, Crying, Cursing, etc.
– Praying
– Forget beekeeping and herd sheep instead
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary
SHB (continued)
• Pictorial of various SHB control techniques:
Maintaining a Healthy Apiary
SHB (continued)
• Pictorial of various SHB control techniques:
Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi )
Slide 1 of 2
• Mated females migrate from old bees to young
bees; reproductive phase occurs inside the trachea
• Colonies in the sun tend to have lower levels
• Colony Symptoms: Bee population dwindles in
fall and winter months resulting in colony death;
heavily infested colonies do not build up in spring
and usually don’t make a honey crop
Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi )
Slide 2 of 2
• Treatment Options:
– Use of genetically selected mite-resistant stocks:
Russians, Buckfast, ARS-Y-C1, etc.
– Prolonged contact with vegetable oil (extender
patties); use of “essential oils”
– Mite-A-TholR (menthol):
Treatment Time Frames: One annual treatment –
late fall to early winter, November to December
• Non-chemical Options: Use resistant stock;
treat with vegetable oil extender patties;
maintain young queens
Varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni )
Slide 1 of 2
• Feed on sealed brood and adult bees
• Mated females move from brood cells to adults, then
to reproduce, move to new brood before sealing of
• Colony symptoms:
– Bee population declines rapidly during winter or after
honey flow, during the summer
• Treatment Options:
– Use of genetically selected mite-suppressant stocks:
Russians, Hygienic queens, etc.
– Mite fall traps (screened or sticky bottom boards
– Trapping mites in drone brood (mites tend to infest
drone brood 10X more than workers)
Varroa Mites (Varroa jacobsoni)
Slide 2 of 2
• Treatment Options (continued):
– Heating of bees and brood (ex. placement of hives in sun vs. shaded
– Use of essential oils; plant smokes (toxic knockdown methodology)
– ApistanR, CheckMiteR and or Formic acid (this latter chemical is
not recommended by USDA).
– Apivar ® (Amitraz)
• Treatment Times:
– two annual treatments – early to mid-summer, mid-June thru July
& early to mid-winter, mid-January to early February
• Non-chemical Option:
– Heat treatment and use of drone-brood frames/removal and
American foulbrood (Paenibacillus sp. )
Slide 1 of 3
• Spore-forming bacteria; spores accumulate in the comb;
• Symptoms
– Capping of diseased cell becomes moist and darkens in
– As larva shrink, the capping is drawn down into the
mouth of the cell so the normal convex capping becomes
– Death of infected larva takes place after the cell has
been sealed and the cocoon has been spun.
American foulbrood (Paenibacillus sp. )
Slide 2 of 3
• Symptoms ( continued)
– At death, diseased larva changes from a normal pearly
white color to a creamy brown, and then gradually
– Larval remains can be drwn out into a brown thread or
– As larva dries, it becomes dark brown.
– Final state is very dark brown scale that lies uniformly
on the lower side of the cell and extends from just below
the mouth of the cell down to the base.
American foulbrood (Paenibacillus sp. )
Slide 3 of 3
• Treatment Options:
• Antibiotics prevent germination but don’t kill spores
• Use of Oxytetracycline (TerramycinR) - an antibiotic used
to PREVENT A.F.; [antibiotic resistant strains of A.F.
exist]; do not use on a regular basis
• Burning of combs/scorching hive bodies is only reliable
way to eliminate A.F. once it has formed in a colony
• Use of hygienic queens,
• Eliminate old dark comb and rotate new combs into brood
• Burn infected combs and scorch interior of hives
European foulbrood (Melissococcus pluton)
• fungi; infection is seasonal
• Treatment Options
– Use of hygienic queens
– Change queens
– Clean bottom boards
– Eliminate old dark comb and rotate new combs into
brood nest
– Burn infected combs and scorch interior of hives
– Use of TerramycinR
Nosema (Nosema apis)
Slide 1 of 4
• Protozoan; widespread; may also be responsible for some
supersedure of queens
• Symptoms: no symptoms specifically indicative of
– inability of bees to fly
– excreta on combs or lighting boards
– Pile of dead or dying bees in front of hive
– Failure of colony to build up in spring
Nosema (Nosema apis)
Slide 2 of 4
• Transmission:
– spores enter body of adult bee through mouth and
germinate in gut
– Active phase of organism enters digestive cells that line
the mid-gut where it multiplies
– Contents of these cells are used as food supply until cell
ruptures and sheds new spores which pass down
through small intestine to rectum
– Spores accumulate and are voided in the excreta of the
– Cycle begins again
– Spores can remain viable for months in dried excreta
Nosema (Nosema apis)
Slide 3 of 4
• Cyclic effect within hive(s):
– Near end of winter, combs are often soiled with excreta
– Other bees become infected as they clean soiled combs
during spring expansion of the brood nest.
– Thus, disease within the colony increases rapidly for a
time leading to a dwindling of the colony in the spring
because of premature death of the overwintered bees.
– Usually, the colony survives and the proportion of
infected bees begins to decline rapidly.
– This decline occurs because the excreta are normally
voided away from the hive when regular flights become
possible in the spring.
Nosema (Nosema apis)
Slide 4 of 4
• Cyclic effect within hive(s) (continued):
– Since the old bees now die off & are replaced by healthy bees
emerging from the brood combs, the disease may not be
detectable in the colony by the end of the season.
– However, enough spores remain on the combs from the
previous winter to infect a few bees in the cluster that form
when winter sets in again thereby forming a nucleus for a
repetition of the cycle.
• Treatment:
– FumidilR is the only chemical approved for the control of
– Should be used in cell builders prior and during queen
rearing schedules to protect queen honey bees from the
IV. Additional Diseases/Complications
Slide 1 of 3
• Fungal Diseases:
– Chalkbrood (Ascophaera apis)
– Stonebrood (Sacbrood)
• Viral Diseases:
– Cripaviridae
• Chronic paralysis - (CPV)
– Dicistroviridae
• Acute bee paralysis (ABPV or APV)
• Israel acute paralysis virus (IAPV)
Additional Diseases/Complications
Slide 2 of 3
• Viral Diseases (continued):
– Dicistroviridae (continued)
• Kashmir bee virus (KBV)
• Black Queen Cell virus (BQCV)
– Cloudy Wing virus (CWV)
– Sachwood virus (SWV)
– Iflaviridae
• Deformed Wing Virus (DWV)
• Kakugo virus (KV),
• Varroa destructor virus 1
– Iridivividae
• Invertebrate Iridescent virus type 6 (IIV-6)
Additional Diseases/Complications
Slide 3 of 3
• Dysentery
• Chilled brood
• Pesticide losses
• Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
V. Differences in Hive Mgmt./Mtnc.
between Commercial and Hobby Beekeepers
Slide 1 of 2
• Beekeeper’s objectives and goals for beekeeping:
– Money (ex. Pollination vs. Honey production)
– Enjoyment
– Personal fulfillment
– Job location and/or availability (beekeeping as a 2nd
job position)
– Incentive
– Time
– Ignorance – lack of knowledge
Differences in Hive Mgmt./Mtnc.
between Commercial vs. Hobby Beekeepers
Slide 2 of 2
• Commercial beekeepers often feed their bees all winter and requeen yearly – reason: Pollination requires well-stocked hives
– Hobby beekeeper may or may not do this
– Pest & disease monitoring & treatments
• Making colony increases/splits
• Elimination/replacement of weak queens/hives and replacement
of damaged/contaminated equipment
• Keeping informed of beekeeping knowledge, organizations,
laws, regulations, etc.
• Staying involved with other beekeepers, beekeeping
organizations and the like.
• Registration/Licensing of hives/yards with state
Similarities in Hive Mgmt. between
Commercial & Hobby Beekeepers
Repair, maintenance & replacement of equipment
Inventorying and replacement of equipment
Checking colony strength and honey stores
Checking queen productivity
Vegetation management in bee yards
Assuring adequate space (supers) as needed
Managing of weak hives: replace/combine
Managing for and harvesting of honey
VI. Reference Sources
Page 1 of 3
• Images
Reference Sources (continued)
Page 2 of 3
Documents and Fact Sheets
Reference Sources
Page 3 of 3
• Capital Area Beekeepers Association’s “An Annual
Beekeeping Task & Mgmt. Calendar”
The End
• Goodbye, au revoir, farvel, nakemin, auf
wiedersehen, avrio, qualcuno, Auf
wiedersehn, gudbai, do widzenia, adeus,
adios, despedida, hej da, gule gule.
• Hit the road Jack and don’t you come
back no more no more, What’d you say?,
I said, Hit the road Jack and don’t you
come back no more.

similar documents