June 2018

Notes from June 11, 2018 Meeting

Attendance - 42

Brad Keck opened the meeting. Barbara Mulkey and Katie Hill supplied the food and drinks. They treated the apples with honey and water to keep them from browning.

Introduction of new attendees.

Earl Rowe and David Cheek presented on honey extraction.

Earl uses 8 frame medium boxes for weight reduction. They recommended that all equipment be the same so you have what you need to replace or add boxes.

Check for honey in the supers. Don't extract outside due to robber bees. First step is to get bees out of the supers.

Two way trap on inner cover. Leaves room for small hive beetles to invade the box while waiting for the bees to clear out, which can take up to two weeks.

Use a fume board and Bee Quik. Need to use this when it is hot.

Set the super on its side and use a leaf blower to blow the bees out.

Don't use a queen excluder after a super is completely loaded with honey since the queen won't pass through the honey. Bees won't go through a queen excluder to draw comb on bare foundation in a super.

David uses a hot knife to cut cappings. He demonstrated cutting cappings off a frame over a tank. He likes using 9 frames in a 10 frame box so the comb is built out more, which makes it easier to cut the cappings without having to use a cappings scratcher. He uses metal tabs to space the frames in the super. You also need to use 9 frames in the brood boxes if you use them in the supers so that the frames are spaced uniformly.

David manages the club extractors, one of which is a 9 frame radial extractor. David also announced that this would be his last year managing the extractors. He demonstrated on a 2 frame tangential extractor. Frames are spun three times with the frame flipped over between spins. Spin slowly at first and then faster as the honey is spun out so that the comb is not forced out of the frame. Having the extractor full of honey while spinning the frames gets air bubbles into the honey.

A strainer is placed in a bucket under the honey gate on the extractor to catch debris coming out of the extractor. The honey is then ready to bottle. The honey is strained but not filtered. The bucket should have a gate valve on it. There was some discussion of people having trouble with the gate valve leaking when closing it. One person said that they used a ball valve in lieu of a honey gate valve.

They recommended use of a towel or other cover when removing the supers from the beeyard to keep bees from getting back into the boxes to rob them. Honey needs to be extracted the same day the boxes are removed from the hive due to small hive beetles slimeing the honey if the boxes are left for two or three days. David said he generally only extracts once a year, but the last two years he has had to extract twice during the year.

Extract when the nectar flow is over. This year it may be the end of June due to dry conditions. The nectar flow is over when clover dies out. David mentioned that Jim Pickett has a hive on scales and when the weight of the hive stops increasing, the nectar flow is over. It was also mentioned to watch hummingbird feeders. When the bees start using the hummingbird feeders, the nectar flow is over.

Wikipedia lists nectar sources for bees ("List of North American nectar sources for honey bees"; see also "Forage (honey bees)" and "List of honey plants"). Vitex and Tupelo were mentioned as good nectar sources. Vitex and Korean Evodia are late summer bloomers. In late fall, bitterweed is a problem as it ruins the taste of honey for people, but not the bees.

Nectar needs to be cured to convert it to honey. Honey needs to be capped with a sugar content of 80% or more and a water content of less than 18% for extraction. Frames with only 50% capped cells will have yeast and a high water content and will ferment. Honey is hydroscopic and will absorb water if not sealed.

Extracted frames can be returned to the hives and the bees will clean the frames. Putting the frames out in the open and not on a hive can promote robbing.

You need to have the supers off of the hives before winter if you are using two brood boxes. Bees need at least 40 pounds of honey for winter. A cold winter is better than a warm winter as the bees do not consume as many resources in a cold winter since they are not flying as much. The queen excluder needs to be off the hives before winter.

David spoke about notching the inner cover for ventilation of the hive. He has observed that bees draw air from the top and force the air out the bottom through the entrance.

End of meeting (around 8:30).