Oct 032014
 

Yes, I’m “That Guy”.  My love for beekeeping has got me personalizing my plates now.  Just wanted to post.

 

beekeeping license plates beekeeper license

 Posted by at 2:30 pm

Honey Bee Candy Recipe

 Bee Blog  Comments Off
Sep 192014
 

Honey Bee Candy Recipe

Recipe comes from a local bee club.  Thought I’d share.

  • 11 oz water
  • 5 lb sugar
  • 1 pint white syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Het to 250 degrees, stirring constantly.  Cool to 220 degrees.

Electric mixture until turns white, pour into mold

Plastic outer cover or top.  Line with aluminum foil.

Wax paper on top pour into lid let cool then turn out cut in half.  Put half on each hive on top of frames with little spacer.  Put new paper over candy and put lid on box.

 

 Posted by at 10:29 am

Honey House Flow Chart

 Bee Blog  Comments Off
Sep 122014
 

Honey House Flow Chart

Since were on the topic of Honey Houses, I wanted to describe the event flow.  Yours may or may not be the same, but this is a run down of the most common ways.

 

Honey flow:

Hot room—> Supers to uncapping bench—> Frames into uncapper or hot knife—> From uncapper to dripping rack/tank—->From dripping tank to edge of extractor to be loaded—->into extractor for 15-20 minutes variable speed—->Honey free flows into double stainless strainer 600/400 micron—->Honey flows into stainless steel holding vat tiled down to pump (or goes into bucket if you don’t have vat)—->Tank vat pump has automatic kickin switch and takes honey up to and expels into 50 gallon holding/settling tank for minimum of 24 hours—->After 24 hours honey comes out of stainless steel bottling valve into jars/bottles/barrels—->Jars/bottles/barrels are packed for distribution.

 

Frames and Super flow:

Hot room—> Supers to uncapping bench—> Frames into uncapper or hot knife—> Empty supers to outside rack for 1 coat of white paint to sit/dry for 24 hours minimum—->From uncapper to dripping rack/tank—->From dripping tank to edge of extractor to be loaded—->into extractor for 15-20 minutes variable speed—->Wet frames go to holding rack until supers are done drying from paint (min. of 24 hours)—->After 24 hours of super drying, frames back into supers—->24 hour old supers/frames back onto hive (bottom or top supering). Or if done for the season, place into storage room with wax moth protection.

 

Wax flow:

Hot room—> Supers to uncapping bench—> Frames into uncapper or hot knife—> From uncapper to dripping rack/tank—->Capping’s sit for min. of 48 hours and to be crushed/rotated—->capping’s into melting pot—->From melting pot to wax molds—->Out of molds to wax paper or plastic Ziplocs—->Wax to shelving storage.

 

Flow Chart Honey Supers Frames and Wax

 Posted by at 3:01 pm

Honey House Planning

 Bee Blog  Comments Off
Sep 122014
 

HONEY HOUSE PLANNING

This is not an accurate and definitive list, its more less a guideline from the research I’ve done from other beekeepers with their past experiences on what they do or do not like.  Your plans may or may not be the same.  Before building/construction, please contact your local and state departments for permits and regulations.  Please let me know if there is something I’m needing to add, take away, or modify from this list to be able to build a “perfect” honey house.

  • Slopped pitched floor.
  • Large “cattle” floor drains.
  • Window air conditioners
  • Windows with bee escapes
  • Stainless steel table for primary use cutting honey comb (chunk and comb honey)
  • All electrical plugs GFC with twist lock hanging from ceiling
  • Utility mop sink
  • Use of gravity for the flow of honey (Place extractors on stands).
  • Cabinets
  • Insulated
  • Rodent/Insect free
  • Grafting area
  • Wooden ware repair area
  • Extra water tank for honey house with hot water a little above norm but within codes (to clean honey out faster).
  • Skylights for extra heat and lighting.
  • Hot room for supers
  • Water pipes under floor in hot room connected to broiler.
  • Wood burning stove.
  • 14-16 foot high ceilings in hot room or where supers will be brought in.
  • Multiple hand wash sinks
  • 3 compartment sink stainless with drain boards for utensils.
  • Restroom with hand wash sink.
  • 100 amp 220 volt circuits #12 or 20amp.
  • Municipal water
  • Municipal sewer or approved septic
  • Drive-in area for unloading supers and equipment.
  • Loading dock truck height.
  • Smooth non-absorbent easy cleanable flooring
  • Fiberglass walls at least up to super height for washing down.
  • Epoxy or cement sealant on floors (questionable since there are different reports on the acid of honey that can eat through this, need more research).
  • Utility mop/sink.
  • “Pex” plumbing.  Used for medical grade, will not leach chemicals and frost resistant.  Stainless steel plumbing is said to be overkill for a honey house.  Stay away from common pvc though.
  • First aid station and eye wash station
  • Office, break room, clock in for employees
  • State, local and federal posters and regulations for employee referrals.
  • Office for honey or equipment sales
  • Telephone (cordless).
  • Nitrile glove rack
  • Ceiling fans (or large exhaust)
  • Dishwasher
  • Laundry machine and dryer
  • Dirty bucket storage
  • Clean bucket storage
  • Clean area for bottling
  • Refrigerator (depending on what for example: medications, honey frame freezing or regular employee food) separate from each other.  Keep bee stuff out of human stuff.
  • Incubator for grafting
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Floor shopvac
  • Shower
  • Everything food grade and BPA free equipment.  Stainless everything
  • Chemical room/cabinet storage.
  • Dolly, Hand truck, movers dolly storage area (to prevent accidents).

honey house planning

 Posted by at 2:25 pm
Sep 092014
 

Honey Producing Plants Basswood

Dr. Patrick Angel, forester, soil scientist and beekeeper in Kentucky talking about the tree Basswood (linden) (Tilia americana) and honey production from this pollinizer.
1.  Basswood:  Heart shaped leaf.
2.  Branching is alternate.
3.  High nectar producing tree for honey bees.
4.  Known as the bee tree or linden.
5.  Grows throughout eastern US.  About 70-80 feet tall, 2-3 feet in diameter, dense crown.  Ornamental and seen in many cities.
6.  Pale yellow in clusters several inches long, appear in mid summer in June/July.
7.  Somewhat erratic in nectar flow.  2 2 1/2 week nectar flow.
8.  Its been cutback for its wood, but its making a comeback.
9.  Honey is almost water white in color, some people feel its too strong, but its a good blend for table honey.

Questions to Dr. Angel and be sent to info@kybeeco.com

 

 

 

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Aug 292014
 

How to Crush and Strain Honey Extracting Honey by Hand with regular wax foundation instead of plastic foundation.

This helps new beekeepers extract honey without purchasing an expensive extractor the first few years. Do note that you will have to purchase more foundation after doing this procedure (unless your using a topbar hive with natural comb). Basically cut it out of the comb into a straining bucket lined with new cheesecloth or a new laundry bag and let it filter out over a few days. Honey will be cloudy with this process, but its only because its bubbles that will eventually rise to the top. I like to do another strain with a stainless steel colander after this process to finely filter.

Steps:  (Create your honey straining bucket)

1.  Obtain some clean, heavy duty, food grade and BPA Free buckets.  You can get these from a hardware store for less than $4-5 dollars.  Or grocery stores deli departments (cake area) will have 4-5 gallon buckets they wash out and sell or give to customers that had icing in them.  You will need 2 of these (1 will go on top of the other to drain comb). Have all of your equipment ready for the process.  Make sure to wash your hands, wear a hat and apron and bee as clean as possible.

Honey buckets

2.  Drill holes in the bottom of one of the buckets near the middle section and not around the outside so honey doesn’t drip down on the sides of the bottom bucket (this will be the bucket you set on top and put the cheesecloth and honeycomb in to drain down to the bottom bucket).   You will have some plastic protrusions as a result of the drill, but cut them off with a razor blade or wire cutters.  Be careful since these protrusions can be sharp.

Honey bucket crush and strain

 

3.  On the second bucket (bottom collection bucket), cut a hole that is large enough to let the top bucket drilled holes drip through, but just enough to let the top bucket sit on top and rest on the edges.  Again be careful because the edges can be sharp.

extracting honey crush and strain

4.  Clean out the buckets once more to make sure any plastic is out of the buckets.

5.  Now you will have the two buckets where the one with the drilled holes sits on top of the bottom bucket resting on the edges that you didn’t cut.  At this point you can use either cheesecloth or a different type of strainer like a colander to drain your comb.  They make strainers from big box beekeeping companies but they sell them for $40-$50 (plus shipping) at the time of this writing.  You want to get stainless steal with dealing with food processing and you can get a colander that is stainless steel from big box local department stores that can basically do the same thing and have bucket arms.

honey extracting by handextracting honeycomb

6.  When I do a crush and strain, I use new cheesecloth and a colander that is dedicated directly for this process.  You can use your hive tool for this process or a similar object.  If you have plastic foundation,  you can scrape the come directly off the plastic into the cheesecloth/colander/strainer.  If you have natural foundation, just cut out the comb and dump on top of the cheesecloth/colander/strainer.  If you have a wax foundation, then cut out the comb and into the cheesecloth/colander/strainer.  Some beekeepers will use wired frames, if so, then you’ll have to work around these wires and sometimes a wire will break free so be careful to make sure it doesn’t get into the honey or if it does, then just fish it out.  Your colander and strainer will filter this out.

IMG-20140807-00740

7.  After all the comb is into the cheesecloth/colander/strainer area, then you can use your hands to crush open the cappings (this will be messy!).  After about 24 hours the honey should be all strained (depending on the amount).  You can hold up the top bucket (careful not to get any on the floor) and see if its still dripping.  Usually I’ll rearragnge the cappings/honey in the top strainer (sorta like flipping it over or stiring it up) in order to let more come out.

8.  Be sure to cover your buckets with a clean cloth when you leave them out for a few days for the bubbles and any sediment to rise.  This will help prevent your honey taking on water from the air.  I usually take the first top layer of the honey off for my personal usage since the sediment doesn’t appeal to some people purchasing honey (You want to display a good product).  Bottle at least one for customer use after this and make sure the honey is clear of any particles.  You might see some particles in the honey and if you want this out you can strain at least 200 micron filter (us plastics food grade ez bucket strainers are good to use and cheap (200-400-600 microns).  If you go below 200 microns (like 100 microns), then you will filter out the pollen but it will be a good clear particle free honey (takes longer to strain if using a finer strainer).  To note, 100 microns is a finer strainer than a 1000 or 600 micron.

extracting of honey by handcovering honey to prevent water absorption

If you have any questions, please let me know.

 

Youtube video of the process:

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:12 am
Aug 282014
 

Steps on installing a package of new honey bees.

 

Steps to install a Package of Bees:

1.  Make sure you have all your tools needed as well as a plan on what to do.  Have your smoker, bee suit, veil, brush, extra smoker fuel, hive tool, sugar water, spray bottle with sugar water.  You will need a 1:1 ratio of sugar water (1 pint of water to 1lb of sugar mixed well).

2.  The day before you get your bees, make sure you have your hive already setup with the front of the hive pointing towards the East to South direction.  If you don’t know or don’t have a compass, then know where the first ray of sunlight comes up and point it in this direction (this is East).  This will allow the bees to get out early to the fields for nectar and pollen.  Have all parts of the beehive ready to go for tomorrow.

3.  When you pickup your bees inspect them to make sure they have not overheated in the process of shipment.  If they have then notify the package provider.  Take the bees next to the hive that you will be installing them in and spray the screen about an hour or two before you install them.  This will let the bees eat and become honey full where they don’t want to sting as much nor fly as much.  This will also calm them down.  Be sure not to over spray where it will drown the bees.  Every so often check on the bees to make sure they are calm and spray again if needed.

4.  Transport the bees to the hive area with your gloves on and take a few frames out of the center.  This is where the bees are going to be “dumped” into.  Spry the bees if they are becoming restless.

5.  Remove the top stapled door with your hive tool and remove the can of sugar water then the queen cage while placing the panel back on top (Hold it down with your free hand).  Inspect the queen to make sure she is alive and her attendants are alive.  She will be the one with the larger abdomen.  Set the queen cage aside in a safe place.

6.  While still holding the panel/door with your free hand pick up the box and knock the box of bees on the ground opposite of where they come out.  This puts the bees in the bottom most position of the caged/screened box.

7.  Take the panel/door off and invert the screened box where the hole is facing down over the beehive so the bees drop down into the area where you took the frames out.  Shake vigorously the box up and down and side to side so the bees come out and land into the bottom of the beehive.  At this time there will be around 10-15 thousand bees circling you.  Don’t be afraid because you have your suit on, smoker and they are engorged with sugar water and less likely to sting.  It could take up to several minutes for most of the bees to come out of the box, but they eventually will.  Prop up the screened/cage box in front of the hive entrance with the hole in the box pointing towards the entrance (This will allow the bees to come out of the box and fly into the hive).

8.  Puff a little smoke if you wish and place the frames back into the hive gently.

9.  Remove the cork that is located on the candy end of the queen cate with a small nail.  Do not remove the candy though.  What will happen is the bees in the hive will eat through this candy in a few days (2-3) and release the queen.  During this time they will accustom themselves with the queen and are less likely to kill her or reject her.

10.  Put the queen cage between two frames with the candy side upwards.  Some queen cages will have a white plastic tab on it so you can gently nail it to the top of one of the frames to hang down.  Either way, make sure that the queen cage does not drop down to the bottom of the beehive.

11.  Feed the bees in however manner you wish.  A new caged/screened box like this will have a metal sugar water mixture which is fine to use in a top feeder, but most new installs are done with a borman feeder (front entrance feeder) until the new beekeeper knows how to use other advanced feeders.  It is very important to watch the sugar water level and keep it always filled during the first week of installing the bees until you see the queen lay eggs and/or brood developed.  With the response to feeding the bees, they will develop and “draw out” the cells of the foundation in order for the queen to lay eggs.

12.  After 3-5 days the queen needs to be checked to make sure they have released her.  If they have not, then some beekeepers will chip away at the candy themselves with a small nail to help the process or they will spray 1 spray of water on the candy to help it dissolve.  If she is out of her cage, then you can remove the queen cage from the hive.

13.  After another 3-5 days, inspect the hive again and make sure they queen has started laying eggs which will appear as extremely small grains of rice inside the honeycombs.  You might need a magnifying glass or a headset in order to see them.

14.  If you see eggs, then congratulations on your first beehive setup!   Ask me questions and I’ll try to answer the best I can.

 

 Posted by at 11:03 pm
Jun 032014
 

Wax Moth Control for Beekeepers

I use this method for wax moth/hornet control where I live.  I catch dozens of moths and hornets at a time and the banana peel keeps the honey bees away from the trap.

  • Empty 2-liter bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider)
  • 1 large banana peel

Cut up banana peel in to small pieces and then mix all ingredients together and put into the 2 liter bottle.  Place cap back on the 2 liter and cut two holes opposite of each other about quarter size on each side of the bottle (up near the curve of the neck).  Hang from a tree about 3-4 foot from the ground.  Within days you will see hornets and moths drowned in the mixture.  There will be no honeybees because of the banana peel.

 Posted by at 5:04 pm
May 062014
 

A Dark Honey Producer’s Association Meeting will be held Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Extension Service.  The meeting will begin with finger foods.  Each family is asked to bring sandwiches, chips, drinks, cookies etc. for the meeting.  No chicken will be provided for this meeting.  Yvonne Harrison from the EKU Center for Econmoic Development Entrepreneurship and Technology will be presenting a program on marketing honey.  This should be an excellent educational program so please try to attend.

 Posted by at 9:56 am