Beekeeper’s Jezebel Sauce




There will be a lot of grilling going on today. Here are two slightly different recipes for Jezebel Sauce from Southern Living Magazine. The first recipe uses honey.

This sweet-and-spicy sauce is delicious served with pork tenderloin and grilled chicken or as a dipping sauce for fried shrimp. It also makes a great savory spread for biscuits or roast beef and turkey sandwiches.

The complete recipes can be found HERE (with honey) and HERE (without honey).

Honey Bee Feeding Considerations during Nectar Dearth


, ,

To feed or not to feed…

If they have enough honey you don’t have to feed. We tell new beekeepers to feed because they need to build comb and often their colonies have not stored enough to weather the dearth period, and ultimately the coming winter. Remember, your bees may eat up a lot of what they have stored during our long Midlands dearth period. Fall nectar flow is often minimal in the Midlands and not to be relied on. If your hive has already built out enough comb and filled it with stores then the decision is yours.

As with most things in beekeeping, try to look forward at least a couple months. If your bees have plenty right now then they won’t starve over dearth but keep a close eye on their stores as dearth progresses. You may find they have eaten up much of what they have stored by late summer. That’s fine and you’ll still have time to feed if necessary before cold weather. However, ignoring them and waiting until the winter is imminent will not give them time to ripen (reduce moisture) syrup given too late in the season so plan accordingly and always look forward a couple months.

Other factors: If you have a weak hive sitting in close proximity to strong hives they may be robbed by weaker hives. The past few years I have used open feeding at a distance from the hives to give the bees something to gather. The stronger hives seem to dominate the open feeders and I get the impression I’m paying off the stronger hives to prevent them from robbing the weaker. Oh, well.

We had a commercial beekeeper speak at a meeting a few years ago that said he open feeds with buckets but severely limits the amount of feed available by limiting the number of holes on the bottom of the feeder to just a few. The bees know feed is there and work the feeder but it takes a while to drain the feeder. I’ve tried doing this but at some point the limited access creates rather brutal fighting for the syrup. It’s an unpleasant sight.

Fat Bee Man feeds on the hive but limits the number of holes in the lid. He uses a staple gun to punch two small holes in the lid. That, he says, provides them with enough feed to maintain the hive without causing excessive storage of feed or overstimulating brood rearing.

How much is enough? I’ve asked this question to some of our more experienced beekeepers in our association. The reply I have heard most frequently for hive maintainance and to sustain the hive is a quart a week. Of course, it also depends on your goals for the hive. If you made a split then you’ll have to offer them as much as they want. The quart a week is more of a maintainance amount for a typical hive to sustain them over summer dearth.

I spoke with a member at last night’s meeting that has hives at quite a drive from his home. He’s going to try open feeding with a bucket after having a recent small disaster feeding on the hive. I can’t remember the whole situation. I think he may have been using boardman feeders and essential oil mix in the feed. He mentioned he thought that the essential oil might be a mistake when he used it but did so anyway. Yes, it caused robbing. There is, perhaps, a time for feed stimulation but during dearth, when food is scarce is not a time to tempt strong hives to rob weaker hives.

If you want to start feeding do so when they stop bringing in nectar or if they need food based on your assessment of their stores. You can tell if they are bringing in nectar by the way they fly, coming and going at the entrance, and if they are storing nectar in the hive. You can also tell by activity at the hive entrance when the nectar has played out for the day by lack of flying as the day progresses. Yet another test can be made by placing a quart jar with syrup at some distance from the hives (far enough so as to not cause a feeding frenzy around your hives). If the bees show strong interest in the test jar then they are obviously hungry because nectar is far more attractive than sugar syrup. Also, some people with an acute eye for such things can see fat bees returning home with payloads of nectar. Make your best judgement as to whether you need to feed, and how to feed, based on your individual situation.

Waiting on Honey


, ,

As the nectar flow draws to a close, the girls diligently forage for the last of their key nectar and pollen sources, storing away the goodness to be turned into honey. Few tulip poplar and black locust blooms remain, and those that do, are vulnerable to wind and rain. Now that the danger of frost […]

Read more here: Waiting on Honey — settlingforbees

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings


, ,

Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I cannot resist chicken wings. I wanted to try another Asian style chicken wing, so this is a cross between honey sriracha and orange chicken. I made these fairly mild because my son can’t handle the heat. But if these were just for […]

via Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings — Joann’s Food For Thought

Usurpation in the Bee Yard


, , , , ,

Interesting event in the bee yard. A couple weeks ago I performed a cut out on a top bar hive that had gone burr comb crazy. I cut and rubber banded brood into deep Langstroth frames and brought it home. After letting them settle down I inspected the hive and was pleasantly surprised to find the queen unharmed. She was nice and big and had a dark color. Happy with myself, I closed them up. I did note that they seemed less than industrious and after over a week they took little sugar syrup and other than attaching the old brood comb to the frames they were not building new comb. There were plenty of loafers around the front while seemingly there was plenty of work to be done!

Then, they were gone! Not like a swarm or a new package sometimes absconds in a few days. It had been well over a week; maybe ten days. It could be they were thinning down the queen for flight. I though to check if that fat, heavy queen had been left behind but she was gone. It also seemed they might have waited until almost all of the brood hatched out before they left.

I checked all the trees because I look at all my hives daily and they had been there the day before. Nothing. Then I checked the swarm traps. Nothing. Not even scouts.

I resigned myself to losing them. Then I noticed a hive I had split the week earlier. It was three doors down from the absconded colony. The split had a queen cell but I didn’t think a laying queen yet. And the split had been a weak split of just a few frames of bees. But wait. Now the split was bubbling over with bees. By now you’ve guessed it. A usurpation had occurred. Wyatt Mangum writes about this happening especially during summer when a normal swarm would have almost no chance of otherwise surviving because of dearth. Wow.


Honey Bee Usurpation



Goals in Beekeeping and Upper Entrances


, , ,

As with all beekeeping we have to ask ourselves what our goals are. Do we want to keep bees just to have bees? Do we want to keep them in as “natural” a way as possible? Do we want to make bees for sale as nucleus hives? Or do we want to manage our bees for honey production?

If one wants to manage their bees in as natural a manner as possible then do so by following their lead. Thomas Seeley and others have determined that honey bees will choose a dry cavity approximately 40 liters in size with an entrance of approximately 2 square inches. The bees select that size because it gives them what they need to meet their ultimate goals – reproduction and survival. They build up fast, fill it, and swarm which has definite advantages for them from pest, disease, and reproduction standpoints. If we want to keep bees more naturally we simply need a gum log or empty 40 liter box with a hole bored in the side – no frames, no foundation, nor fancy hive accessories.

But most of us don’t keep bees naturally. The moment we step away from that gum, skep, or single 40 liter box we are managing them in a manner to accomplish our goals not their goals. I’m not interested in raising bees in cavities like they select. I’m interested in managing bees in cavities I select based on the goals I wish to attain. But that’s not so bad. My bees benefit from disease management, protection from starvation, and pest control which they would not have if left on their own.

For me that’s different management and different box configuration for making queens, a different box configuration for overwintering, and lots of boxes for honey production. And it’s also lots of management every step of the way. Adding ventilation, boxes, making early splits, treatments, IPM, regular assessments, and interventions just so I can support them while they focus their efforts on plundering the local nectar resources.

Regarding upper entrances, they are added when needed for ventilation, reduce brood nest congestion, and increase traffic efficiency. They also create a disruption in the swarming process. They allow nectar to be cured quicker with less effort increasing the bees’ efficiency, decreasing their caloric expenditure, and saving precious wing wear and tear for their future as foragers. But managing upper entrances also means getting them back off when they are no longer needed which is after the nectar flow and prior to the major pest onslaught such as hive beetles and yellow jackets. For the most part it is a two month a year manipulation. It is work for me which increases the efficiency of the hive such that they can grow far beyond what nature intended. But it requires management.

Beekeeping is science based management. It is not for the lazy nor for procrastinators. Most people want their beekeeping to be something in between a gum standing in the backyard and what I strive for. Most probably don’t want large hives – they want a little honey and a well pollinated garden. That’s great. For them they can choose any number of hive types such as Langstroth, TBH, Warre, Long Lang, etc. and have good outcomes while enjoying their bees. It’s all good if you know your goals and follow your ideals and science.

Ross Rounds – Comb Honey


, ,

Looks like I get to cross another one off my beekeeping bucket list. Comb honey! When I started beekeeping I read Richard Taylor’s book, The Joys of Beekeeping and have had the idea of making comb honey ever since. I crowded this hive after the first month of the flow by removing a super when they actually needed one, and replaced it with a super of Ross Rounds. Now, about three weeks later, all 32 rounds are beautifully capped. I realized after pulling it today that I had no space in the freezer so I put it back on top after inserting a medium. They deserve the space for all their hard work! Currently when foragers return at the end of the day it looks like a package of bees hanging from each entrance.

Happy Birthday Charles Dadant



10320494_675197675868065_9048284071600579477_nHappy Birthday Charles Dadant ! -Born May 22, 1817
Share Birthday Wishes for Charles Dadant !

Biography of Charles Dadant (1817-1902)

Mr. Charles Dadant was born May 22, 1817, at Vaux-Sous-Aubigny, in the golden hills of Burgundy, France. After his education in the College of Langres, he went into the mercantile business in that city, but ill-success induced him to remove to America. He settled in Hamilton, Illinois, in 1863, and found a profitable occupation in bee-culture, which in his hands yielded marvelous results. He soon became noted as one of the leading apiarists of the world.

After a few years of trial he made a trip to Italy, in 1873, to import the bees of that country to America. Though at first unsuccessful, he persisted in his efforts and finally achieved great success. He was the first to lay down rules for the safe transportation of queen bees across the sea, which is now a matter of daily occurrence.

Later on, in partnership with his son C. P. Dadant, he undertook the manufacture of comb foundation which has been continued by the firm, together with the management of several large apiaries, run almost exclusively for the production of extracted honey.

Although well versed in the English language which he had mastered at the age of forty-six, with the help of a pocket dictionary, Mr. Dadant was never able to speak it fluently and many of the readers of his numerous writings were astonished when meeting him to find that he could converse with difficulty. His writings were not confined to American publications, for in 1870 he began writing for European bee-journals and continued to do so until his methods were adopted, especially in Switzerland, France and Italy, where the hive which he recommended is now known under his name. For twenty years he was a regular contributor to the Revue Internationale D’Api-culture, and the result has been that there is probably not another bee-writer whose name is so thoroughly known, the world over. Mr. Dadant has been made an honorary member of more than twenty bee-keepers associations throughout the world and his death which occurred July 16, 1902, was lamented by every bee publication on both continents.

Mr. Dadant was a congenial man, and a philosopher. He retained his cheerfulness of spirit to his last day.

In addition to his supervision of the revision of this book, he was the author of a small treatise of bees, “Petit Cours d’ Apiculture Pratique.” He also published in connection with his son a pamphlet on “Extracted honey,” Revised into the French Language was also undertaken by their united effort. This book has since been translated into the Russian language.

Source: (1905) Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee
Author: Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, Charles Dadant, Camille Pierre Dadant