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Bee books

I just finished another book on beekeeping. I have enjoyed all the books on bees I have read so far and these last two are no different (The Backyard Beekeeper and Plan Bee).

The Backyard Beekeeper was a great reference book on learning the ins and outs of beekeeping. Plan Bee was a fun read from a beekeeper who provides fun stories, experiences, and teaches beekeeping in an easy format.

A few notes for reference that I took from these books:

[25 Rules of Modern Beekeeping from The Backyard Beekeeper:]

  1. Queens must be raised in luxury
    1. How queens are raised determines how good they will be - check weather, drone population, health of rearing colony, chemical exposure
  2. Queens must be well mated before being sold or used
    1. Make sure there is sunshine for the 2 weeks before queen is to be delivered
    2. Find out how many drone colonies the producer has. Each queen needs 25 drones
  3. Queens must be productive
    1. Check laying pattern, try to count sealed brood
  4. Your bees should be adapted to your location
    1. Obtain local if possible
  5. Your bees should be selected to your management style and technique
  6. Your bees should be resistant to pests and diseases
    1. Seek locally produced queens and resistance/tolerance to Varroa
  7. Your bees should be well behaved
  8. Be aware of the rest of the pests
    1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
      1. Healthy, large population with a productive queen of hygienic behavior
      2. Have enough food all the time - Elimination of nutritional stress
      3. Live in clean wax
      4. Are in full sun
      5. Able to avoid constant, though possibly occasional, contact with agricultural pesticides
      6. Isolated from other bees
      7. Drone trapping/freezing
      8. Sugar dusting
  9. Keep your wax clean
    1. Wax absorbs toxins bees are exposed to
  10. Isolate your bees from other bees
  11. Avoid agriculture, all the time, at all costs
  12. Provide enough room for bees and brood
    1. Help avoid swarming, be ready for winter or other lean times
    2. Can estimate needs by sealed brood - 1 worker = size of 2 sealed brood so double size
  13. Provide enough room for nectar and honey
    1. Think of nectar as 70% water and 30% sugar as food for bees
  14. Manage swarming
    1. Make sure there is room for all the adult bees
    2. Crowding, lots of available food, increasing day length, population, and aging queen all lead to swarming
  15. Make sure there's enough good food all the time
  16. Remove weak and diseased colonies and combine small but healthy colonies
    1. Don't waste time with runts
    2. Often it's the queen's performance
  17. Keep excellent records, take good care of your equipment, and have extras
    1. Good records save money, time, make honey, save bees, are are good
    2. Give each colony a number
    3. Take care of your tools (and they will take care of you)
    4. Have extras
  18. Take care of the bees that take care of the bees that go into winter
  19. Winter appropriately
    1. Some winters aren't cold - just hungry
  20. Learn about Varroa
  21. The best way to control Varroa is the worst way to make honey
    1. Splits from a strong colony can be mite-less: leave them queenless or not released for a brood cycle (3 weeks)
    2. Can use drone comb traps and soft chemicals
  22. Use IPM treatments first, soft next, and hard never - Must Test for Varroa
    1. Use IPM as able (see above)
    2. Few chemical treatments that can be used with honey supers
    3. Organic acid treatments (leave no residue in the wax)
    4. Essential oil compounds (these leave residue)
  23. Seek continuing education
    1. Read, find a mentor, take classes, volunteer
  24. Know all about beekeeper safety
    1. Stings, Lifting, Bee robbing
  25. Food safety isn't the last rule, it's the first
    1. Treat honey, pollen, wax, and propolis as food products. Use as little smoke as needed, avoid chemicals, exchange brood combs every 2-3 yrs

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