Tagged: urban beekeeping
July 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm #8806
I am happy for you!Afracanized bees are nice when they are a small colony.When they get bigger they start surprising you.When you open the hive to inspect try to find the queen.If you find her rip off the queen cups and queen cells.If they have cups and cells we put another hive box on top so that they dont want to swarm and have more space to build..July 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm #8818
We inspected but I couldn’t find any queen cells, nor the queen. Of course I’m not an expert, this is my first time inspecting a hive.
We saw though lots of capped and uncapped brood, lots of new bees were born, chewing their way into this world, and we saw some honey as well. But lots and lots of capped brood.
How can I tell the Africanized bees from non-Africanized bees apart?
Why don’t we have a queen nor any queen cells?July 9, 2014 at 8:09 am #8821
Hello, Afracanized bees will get meaner as the family gets bigger.The queen is hard to spot , if there is brood then she is there.She hasnt biult cells or cups because shes not ready for swarming.July 9, 2014 at 8:33 am #8822
Regarding this message—please read my reply again.
Ok Susan, I have experience with feral bees.If you dont know that feral bees will bee afracanized(killer bees).A bee swarm will have a just mated queen and she will lay eggs right away.Bee swarms will build queen cells rite away because they are used to swarming.The only thing you can do about that is by changing that Queen with a european bee(i suggest).I have afracanized bees, they will sting thru your suit if your without a smoker. i got stung on my hand 10 times and my hand couldnt fit into the glove.Afracanizwd bees will kill if your without a suit.
The feral bees in most southern states of the US are now Africanized. The differences can only be detected by lab genetics analysis. This information is from many sources—the Ag Commission, the Tucson Bee Lab, etc.
You are not correct in asserting that all swarms have a “just mated queen” The primary swarm from a mother hive leaves with the old queen, who IS mated. Secondary and any following swarms have VIRGIN, UNMATED QUEENS, and sometimes swarms will contain combinations of mated and unmated queens. This issue was just discussed in a series of posts from the acknowledged expert, Michael Bush. Here are the links to documents you may like to read—
Multiple queens in a swarm have been observed as far back as Huber at
Bee swarms DO NOT build queen cells “right away” They build comb for the queen they have to lay eggs in, or if she is a virgin, they must wait for her to take mating flights to become mated and this can take up to 2 weeks. Queen cells can only be built if there is a laying queen or if the workers have access to eggs from a queen that may be failing—a supercedure. Since swarms are trying to “set up housekeeping” the impulse to build a queen cell is not logical sense or a phenomenon observed historically.
Also, the “killer bee” epithet is extreme and outdated. I have 8 hives of feral, Africanized bees, rescued from situations of conflict with humans, and all have their own Africanized queen. All are about 3 years old, are all at least 3 deeps in size and do not sting with the ferocity you cite. I would not keep them if they did. Feral bees differ in their genetics and temper. I and some of the folks in this group are rescuing ferals and mentoring others with these same bees every day of the week. These bees do not need European queen replacements, and would not benefit from such a management technique anyway. European bees are poorly resistant to varroa mite and its vectored disease, Africanized bees are strongly resistant—I don’t want to have bees that die from these parasites, nor do I want to be treating with chemicals, so this is the advantage of Africanized ferals.July 9, 2014 at 8:47 am #8823
Enci—you do not need to find the queen. The evidence that she is there is the presence of eggs, open brood and capped brood. Every time you do an inspection, this is what you WANT TO SEE. ALL STAGES OF BROOD—then you know your queen is right and doing her job.
Also, giving your hive, as it grows, another box plunked on top, will not necessarily head off the impulse to swarm. They can still become crowded, draw swarm queen cells, and swarm. This is a common mistake for new beeks to make. When adding the second brood box, you need to move a few of the brood frames from the lower box up into the next box— into the Center of the Next box. Replace the open spaces below with empty frames. This is called “brooding up” and is discussed by Michael Bush in his book here—
Please consider coming to the meetings put on by HoneyLove for helping people get bee mentoring, questions answered, and networking with all sorts of beekeepers.July 9, 2014 at 9:11 am #8825
Elisha—you are advocating a very seriously flawed rationale here–
“I understand that some people are rich and can pay for a suit in no time, but i bought mine after i got bees but got atleast 15 stings before i got it.The bee venom is very healthy for you, the bees dont charge money.”
If a person is anaphylactic (deadly reaction to bee venom–the airway shuts down) then, bee venom is not “very healthy for you” Not only that, the rich as well as the poor are equally affected and it can be severely costly in comparison to the payment for a bee suit. There have been club members associated with this group who have developed anaphylaxis over time and in response to several stinging incidents. They DID NOT KNOW they had this tendency. The responsible course, and the one HoneyLove advocates, is the use of a bee suit as cheap insurance. This is not snarky or a condescending attitude as one poster has put it—new beekeepers NEED to hear the facts as well as know–the is no end to learning about this craft. If one poster believes that “we were all “experts” then a discussion like this would be inherently unnecessary” I would direct her to the MANY expansive beek groups such as “BeeSource” “Organic Beekeepers Yahoo group” and lots of others where experts discuss the “inherently unnecessary” over and over. Everyone starts out as a beginner, but it is helpful to open the mind to learning everything many times.July 9, 2014 at 9:52 am #8830
Education (both research and hands on) and getting all necessary beekeeping gear (including a suit and a well stocked first aid kit/EpiPen) are the first steps to becoming a responsible urban beekeeper. We all need to do our part to keep the beekeeping community in the best of standing with our neighbors and the city!
Here is a list of recommendations we put together before thinking of getting your own bees:
We also encourage you to join us each month at the HoneyLove Sanctuary to learn hands on how to handle bees BEFORE getting them in your own backyard: http://www.meetup.com/HoneyLove/events/187206002/
Please help us to make LA a safe and responsible place for urban beekeeping to thrive!July 9, 2014 at 10:01 am #8831
Thanks for the post. I have been using a similar book to get my hive started and I too have bought most of the necessary equipment (other than the smoker and scraper) simultaneously with my hive. I think this forum has been a great resource for me and for the most part, I really appreciate all the helpful comments. I have been keeping an eye on the honeylove website so that I can attend some of the workshop but it seems that most of the meetings are for “advanced beeks”. Would this sort of meeting be open to beginners as well or are there meetings designed specifically for the new beekeeper??
MichelleJuly 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm #8834
Just want to agree that beginners should be able to post questions here and have them answered politely. But it is very important that people recognize themselves as beginners and not be giving out advice that is based on ignorance. For example, this statement: “Bee swarms will build queen cells rite away because they are used to swarming.” Totally false and untrue, and based on a lack of understanding of the swarm process and physiology. Read “Honeybee Democracy” by Tom Seeley. Or, if you don’t have enough money to buy it, I’m sure there are many places online where you can finds excerpts from Seeley’s many studies about swarm behavior. They do not build queen cells right away.
I just want to say one other thing about AHB’s or Afriucanized honeybees. We do have that genetic strain in our bees in LA, it’s true. And that is why it’s important to be honest about what keeping bees entails, not just in terms of the enjoyment and pleasure of the bee lover,but also in terms of the preservation of public safety. Temperament is a key component of a hive and not to be taken lightly in an urban (or suburban) environment. Please respect the common space around us; it belongs to everyone! As that little swarm you have grows bigger, it will become more important. to protect the people around you by using known methods of inspection -like using a smoker- to keep the bees calm and monitor their mood proactively.
RuthJuly 12, 2014 at 10:19 pm #8839
Im sorry, i need to correct myself on what i said.I didnt mean to say that bee swarms will build queen cells rite away.They will swarm more frequently then other bees that were not from a swarm.Thats what a pro beekeeper told me anyways.
I’m also a learning beekeeper so i dont know everything.
ElishaJuly 13, 2014 at 10:45 am #8844
Elisha—I am sorry to say, either this pro-beekeeper has some prejudices about Africanized bees and their swarming proclivities (this is a common myth) or you could have misunderstood his words. Bees swarm—this is Nature’s way of helping them procreate. Healthy hives have the population and reserves to throw a swarm and will do it when a certain level of crowding sets off the process. ALL bees swarm under the right conditions, and all bees come from a swarm in Nature. We humans have waylaid that process by breeding bees, selling them in packages, and controlling the mating of the queens artificially. Michael Bush cautions that many times, purchased queens have not been mated adequately and are shipped with ovarioles in not fully developed status. This impedes their reproductive capabilities.
Please access on the computer Michael Bush’s entire book—you do not have to buy anything, it is all there—at bushfarms.com/bees.htm
It is a complete and thorough compendium of common sense management and keeping of honeybees, and is a source of treatment free and feral genetics information.
The book is titled—”the Practical Beekeeper, Beekeeping Naturally” by Michael Bush. He did a workshop with one of our clubs in 2012.
By the way, none of us will ever know it all, and learning constantly is a lifelong process to be greatly enjoyed! SusanJuly 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm #8864
I believe HLO has changed the name of these meetings to better reflect a symposium atmosphere. The last Sunday meetings took the place of the erstwhile BBK meetings and we altered the format to include more advanced topics than BBK did (the meetings got old fast and bored even slightly experienced beeks who stopped coming and stopped learning). What we’d like to do is have our beek community teach each other; all levels have always been welcome and encouraged.
HoneyLove members can check out Seeley’s Honeybee Democracy from the HLO library:
Here’s a super-condensed excerpt of Honeybee Democracy for $1.99.
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