BEEKEEPING IN THE NORTHEAST - An account of my beekeeping, not a treatise of expertise, but for friends & family who wish to keep bees vicariously through me, and for the occasional apiarist passer-by.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Red Path Apiary - My 2014 Plan For Raising Northern Disease Resistant Bees

Untitled Document WINTER JAN 2014 ~ University of Souther Maine Agricultural Extension
I finally got in to a university level course at USM on Intermediate Beekeeping but I've already had several courses of beginning, intermediate and advanced. Most of those were taught by Wendy Booth and every course has taught me something new. I'm amazed there is always more to learn, but I do feel I am comprehending the whole picture of the beekeeper's world for the sake of the coming season.

The USM class was taught by Erin Forbes and Jack Hildreth. I am so delighted at Erin's knowledge, energy and confidence. It was a four hour round trip drive in our cold snowy weather, but I only missed one class due to that. I learned so much and hope to have the opportunity to study with some of these folks in prep for the Kentucky MB tests.

It's November 2013 and usually by this time in Carroll County, NH we have some snow fall. The days have been cold, but a warm up allowed me to get busy building my 8 eight frame hives for the new Red Path Apiary. I spent Friday, inside, rain, rain, rain, building the hives. Forgot how hard it is to put the hive bases together.

Screen Bottom Board - only paint
non-contact surfaces
I spent the next day in 40F degree sunny weather, climbing to 57F, painting them with my all time favorite, never-lets-me-down, fast drying, cold applying (35F!!), non-smelly, acrylic Super Paint from Sherwin Williams. So lucky we still have one of those in town!

Lost my print out of an article from the web very generously illustrating how to paint a hive. If I find it I will post it here. Basically, keep the parts of the hive that touch each other bare wood as the paint wants to stick to itself even when dry.

The land was offered for this use by a retired couple who did have hives many years before. I feel very privileged to have as a partner in the land preparations a skilled veteran in landscaping. She and I will share the garden attached to back of the apiary.

Aesthetics are always a consideration in our beautiful rural area so there was concern expressed about the electric fencing; but my experience now, five years into trying to manage fencing in our black bear friendly neighborhood, has led me to use a strong, non-permanent metal U-Post arrangement with a solar charger.The land owners said they didn't care if I put a circus tent up, they wanted bees!

Planting Thyme

The posts are in. The wire will be strung in the spring. For the base of the new hives I decided to stick with the chimney stones from a local masonry supply. I'll fill the centers with granite gravel which has worked very well. I attended a class in perma-culture last year that encouraged beekeepers to plant thyme in their apiary, so we did. The organic chemical thymol is derived from this herb, but I have heard it is still toxic from a state entomologist. Thyme, the herb, may work as a deterrent for mites. My partner suggested we gather wood chips from the town brush dump to lay paths and keep the grass down around the fencing. This is working out to look advantageous. I'm so tired of managing the grass growth up around my other hives.

(Now that I've seen this from Fortnum & Mason in London...hmmmmm)

COLOR? I'll stick with my yellow chiffon but isn't that a pretty green? The paint has held up so well on my oldest hives from 2008. It was recommended in an old article that I cannot find at the moment but will insert when i do. I'm redoing a study of accent color. I know I chose the base color for a good reason. I believe this particular yellow shows up in the green ultraviolet spectrum for the bees. As I am grouping hives in two and decided not to stand them apart as I have in the past, I will paint the hives with different accent colors. Here is a nice video I found on the subject.

Do a google search for "ultraviolet spectrum, honey bees" to find the latest research. Here is also an article I've found well done: West Mountain Apiary - Bees & Color

Here is a video of interest:

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