NC Certified Beekeeper study guide
How long has the NCSBA been in existence?
January 11, 1917
How long has Man been harvesting honey/other products from honeybees?
The earliest records of humans eating honey (and wax), are believed to date back 10,000
What are the various ways they kept bees?
Woven baskets, clay pots, horizontally placed clay pipe shaped hives, upside down straw basket( skep)
List of products obtained from a beehive? And what are they used for?
Honey: sweetening, wound healing
There is much anecdotal evidence that the consumption of local pollen has a beneficial effect on hay fever sufferers. Definite medical evidence is lacking, and more research is needed.
Beeswax: Candles, cosmetics and pharmacological preparations,
Propolis: Health supplement
Royal jelly: Food supplement
Bee venom: Acupuncture
What are some of the ways Man has used Bees and Bee products in the past?
sweetener for food and alcoholic drinks, antiseptic, embalming the dead,
What is the primary importance of the honey bee?
What is Bee space?
A breakthrough discovery in beekeeping was made by a man called Lorenzo Langstroth. He discovered that bees would keep a 'bee sized' pathway clear within a hive if it was between 6 and 8mm wide. He named the discovery 'spazio di ape' (or 'bee space' in English). This discovery was important because it led to the development of hives with moveable frames of comb. This allowed the beekeeper to remove comb and honey without destroying the hive. It also enabled the beekeeper to start manipulating the colony; helping it develop and grow. This discovery is often sited as the start of modern beekeeping.
Who is Rev. L.L. Langstroth, and what is he most known for?
Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth was an American apiarist, clergyman and teacher, and considered to be the father of American beekeeping. He created the modern day Langstroth hive.
Who was Charles Dadant?
Dadant was a French-American beekeeper. Dadant is considered one of the founding fathers of modern beekeeping, started Dadant and sons co.
Who was AI Root?
Started Root candles, started Gleanings in Bee Culture magazine, wrote the beekeepers bible,
Chronicled the Wright brothers flights
What inventions have modernized beekeeping?
The Langstroth hive, the frame, the foundation, the extractor
When did honeybees arrive in America?
What major events occurred in the US that regulated or changes methods of Beekeeping?
Colony collapse disorder, trachea mites, varrora mites, Africanized bees
What major events occurred in NC regulated or changes methods of Beekeeping?
Colony collapse disorder, trachea mites, varrora mites
What are the various types of bees throughout the world?
Honey , bumble , stingless , flower , leafcutter , wool carder , plasterer, mining, mason
What are the various races of bees that are kept, and what are their characteristics?
The most popular bees to order in North America. They are known for being gentle and good honey producers. They are typically reared in the south and have difficulty in colder climates, as they need to consume extra food to compensate for not forming a tight cluster the way other honey bee types do. Italian bees are strong foragers and do a great job keeping their hive clean.
On the down side, Italian bees tend to swarm and their sense of direction isn’t as strong as other bees, so they may drift from one colony to another and frequently rob. This can contribute to the spread of diseases between hives.
Highly resistant to mites and accustomed to cold climates. As such, they overwinter well. Unfortunately, they also tend to swarm, so it’s important for the beekeeper to provide extra space in the hive to prevent unwanted swarming.
Russian bees are highly sensitive to the amount of nearby foraging resources available. They will regulate the production of brood in times of dearth, which may be beneficial in climates where the amount of food available is heavily is dependent upon the seasons.
Russian bees tend to be slightly more aggressive, although this doesn’t always mean stinging. They’ve been observed engaging in head butting rather than stinging potential threats and guard their hive vigilantly, making them less likely to be robbed
Other than being somewhat gentler and more prone to robbing, these bees behave just like the Italians from which they evolved. They are rarely available in a package of bees, unlike Italians, so are often considered wilder.
Caucasian bees are known for high propolis production. The propolis they produce is soft and sticky, which can make it hard for beekeepers to inspect the hive. They stop producing brood in the fall and tend to overwinter quite well. In addition, because they are from a cold region they can forage on colder days than other bee races.
Caucasian bees show some resistance to European Foul Brood and are not overly inclined to swarm. Due to their high propolis production, they are not known for being honey comb producers and tend to conserve their honey stores as a result.
Finally, they are susceptible to Nosema and tough to find in packages, though it is possible.
Carniolan bees are incredibly gentle and easy to work with. Due to their region of origin, they are more likely to forage on cold, wet days than other types of bees and rank among the best for overwintering.
In addition, they create very little propolis and build up their numbers rapidly in the spring. Carniolan bees are also adept at handling dearths and rapidly adjust brood production based on the availability of food. They are a little more likely to swarm than Italians, so it’s important to be sure they have plenty of room.
When it comes to hive diseases and pests, Carniolan bees tend to be quite capable of fending off parasites and show good resistance to some diseases.
Buckfast bees are resistant to Tracheal mites and do well in cool climates. They are very gentle, easy to work with and are excellent honey producers. They have a low tendency to swarm and are economical in the use of winter stores.
Cold, wet winters are the norm for Buckfast bees, so they’re accustomed to building up the hive size quickly in the spring.
Africanized honey bees are known for being highly aggressive and, unlike their more docile cousins, will chase a person up to a quarter of a mile if they perceive a threat. There are more than 1,000 documented cases of Africanized bees killing humans and other large animals, such as horses.
They begin foraging younger than other honey bee types and frequently produce more honey. They also reproduce faster than other honey bees, meaning they require more food.
What makes an Africanized bee different from a European or western honey bee?
Highly aggressive and dangerous
What threats or difficulties do Africanized bees pose to the US/NC ?
They can interbreed with European bees.
African honey bees cannot be distinguished from European honey bees easily.
All honey bees readily defend their nests, and an attack usually means that the victim is too close to the nest. While European races of bees may attack a nest intruder with a few bees (usually no more than 10-20 bees), African bees may attack the same intruder with hundreds of bees. Further, African bees generally defend a larger radius around their nest and usually require lower levels of stimuli to initiate an attack. Because of these characteristics, African bees are capable of killing large mammals, including man.
What can be done about Africanized honey bees?
Africanized bees do not live in beehives but rather in natural or man-made cavities. As such, beekeepers are on the front lines in our attempts to reduce the impact of Africanized bees. In short, beekeepers are part of the solution, not the problem.
Means of prevention
Mark all queens with paint or numbered tags, no exceptions
Regularly check hives; don’t let them “feralize”
Properly store all bee equipment; don’t let swarms move into empty hives
Be on the look out for parasitic swarms (Africanized bees can invade a colony of European honey bees and take over the nest)
Means of control
Requeen any unusually defensive colonies and call your local NCDA&CS Apiary inspector so that they may take a sample
Soapy water in a spray bottle, rather than aerosol insecticide, is usually a better method to kill suspect bees if they become a nuisance
Educate public and other beekeepers about the benefits of honey bees and how to avoid contact with Africanized bees
What is pollination?
The act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. One of the ways that plants can produce offspring is by making seeds.
Parts of a flower
How do bees differ from other insects in relation to pollination capabilities?
Bees exhibit floral fidelity, due to floral fidelity, the pollen on a bee's body will be the correct pollen to pollinate the next flower she visits.
What are the benefits of apiculture to agriculture?
Bees can help make your plants healthy as they pollinate, as well as fruit trees in nearby orchards. Pollination.
What crops are dependant on Honey Bees for pollination?
Almonds, cherries, cucumbers, blueberries, watermelons, apples, squash, strawberries, melons, and peaches.
What crops benefit from bee pollination, but do not require it to set fruit?
alfalfa, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.
What crops don’t require bees at all?
wheat, rice, soybeans and sorghum, need no insect help at all; they are wind pollinated or self pollinating.
What’s the difference between a hobbyist beekeeper, sideliner and commercial beekeeper?
Hobbyists do not rely on their bees for income and manage 2 or 3 hives.
Sideliners supplement their primary income and manage from 10-199 hives
Commercial beekeepers make a living from bees through a combination of honey sales, pollination services and selling bees. A commercial producer manages from 200+ hives.
What do commercial operations do throughout the year?
Many commercial beekeepers manage hundreds, if not a thousand hives, while providing valuable pollination services to farmers, in addition to producing honey, wax and other bee products, and supplying distributors with live bees.
What are the two sexes of honey bees in a colony?
Male and female
What are the two castes of honeybees in a colony?
3 castes: Drone, worker, queen
What are the four stages of honey bee development? How are they different? What is the purpose of each stage?
The four stages are:
Egg – The egg is very small 1.7 mm long and 0.4 mm wide. The purpose is to hatch into a larva 3 days after it is laid.
Larva or Larvae – Looks like a small grub curled up in the cell. The purpose is to eat and grow shedding its skin 5 times. Eats royal jell at first and then if it is to become a worker it is fed pollen and honey. After 5 days the cell is capped.
Pupa – The pupa spins a cocoon and develops into a bee. After 12 days the adult bee chews her way through the wax capping to begin work as an adult.
16 days for a queen
21 days for a worker
24 days for a drone
What is haploid?
having a single set of unpaired chromosomes.
What is diploid ?
containing two complete sets of chromosomes, one from each parent.
What are the three main segments of an adult bee? What are their respective functions? What primary organs are contained in each?
Head – The head houses the bees brain, and primary sensory organs (sight, feel, taste and smell). It also is where the gland for making royal jelly is located as well as glands for pheromones used for communications. The primary organs located here are the eyes, antennae, mouth and proboscis.
Thorax – The thorax is between the head and the abdomen. It is where the two pairs of wings and the six legs are attached.
The wings have Hamuli that are hooks that attach the two sets of wings together.
It also has Spiracles used to breathe. The spiracles are attached to trachea which are tubes used to circulate the air.
The 3 pairs of legs are segmented making them very flexible. The front legs are used to clean the antennae. The middle set of legs are used for walking and packing the pollen. The rear set is where the pollen baskets are located.
Abdomen – The back part of the bee. It contains the digestive organs, reproductive organs, 4 pairs of wax sent glands (workers only) and the stringer.
Stinger - The stinger is similar in structure and mechanism to an egg-laying organ, known as the ovipositor, possessed by other insects. In other words, the sting is a modified ovipositor that ejects venom instead of eggs. Thus, only female bees can have a stinger.
What are the different sensory structures of the adult bee? Which of the five senses does each use? What is the primary mode that honey bees use to communicate?
Antennae – Uses smell and feel . In honey bees, the segmented antennae are important sensory organs. The antennae can move freely since their bases are set in small socket-like areas on the head. Each of the antennae are connected to the brain by a large double nerve that is necessary to accommodate all of the crucial sensory input. The tiny sensory hairs on each antenna are responsive to stimuli of touch and odor.
Eyes – Sight - the compound eye is its ability to detect movement. Honey preference for broken figures. Honey bees also have three smaller eyes in addition to the compound eyes. These simple eyes or "ocelli" are located above the compound eyes and are sensitive to light, but can't resolve images.
Legs – The bees have taste receptors on the end of the legs
Proboscis - Taste The proboscis of the honey bee is simply a long, slender, hairy tongue that acts as a straw to bring the liquid food (nectar, honey and water) to the mouth. When in use, the tongue moves rapidly back and forth while the flexible tip performs a lapping mo tion. After feeding, the proboscis is drawn up and folded behind the head. Bees can eat fine particles like pollen, which is used as a source of protein, but cannot handle big particles.
The primary mode honey bees use to communicate is Chemical or the use of pheromones.
What is the sex of a drone bee? Are they haploid or diploid?
What is the primary function of Drone bees?
To mate with the virgin queen
How do they differ in appearance and function from the queen and workers?
They are the larger than workers, their only function is to eat and make flights to the drone congregation area to mate with a virgin queen.
How long do drones live?
They may live for just a few weeks or up to 4 months.
drones die once they mate.
What is a drones development time?
What happens to drones in the winter?
At the end of the summer, or when the going gets tough, they’re the first to be kicked out of the colony, so as not to drain resources.
Do drones feed themselves?
Do drones make honey, wax, or bee bread?
What is the sex of worker bees in the colony?
Are workers haploid or diploid?
How is the worker different from the queen?
Smallest bee in the colony, queen is the largest
Do workers have ovaries? Can they lay eggs?
What are the various tasks of the worker bee, and at what age do they normally do them?
Days 1-3 Housekeeping – cleans and polishes cells for other eggs and honey and pollen storage.
Days 3-16 undertaking removes dead bees from the hive.
Days 4-12 Nurse bees, feeding and caring for the developing larvae. They feed pollen , honey and royal jelly produced from the hypopharyngeal gland in the worker bees head.
Days 7-12 attending to the queen, they groom, feed, remove queen waste and coax the queen to lay eggs.
Days 12-18 young worker bees take nectar from foraging bees and place it in cells. The act of exchanging food between nest mates is called trophallaxis. They add an enzyme to the nectar and fan it to remove the moisture and turn the nectar into honey. The pollen is also stored in cells as food for the brood as it is mixed with honey to make bee bread.
Days 12-18 Fanning – The bees beat their wings or fan to create drafts to regulate the temperature of the hive. They also fan to release a pheromone from their Nassanoff gland that acts as an orientation message to returning foragers.
Days 12-35 Builders – they produce flakes of wax from the wax gland on the underside of the bees abdomen. They help build new comb and in capping honey and cells.
Days 18-21 Guarding – guard the hive from strange bees or other pests wanting to steal honey or eat bees.
Days 22-42 field bee – Takes orientation flights and begins the last task of the honey bees life. Foraging for pollen, nectar, water, and propolis.
How long does a worker bee live? In the Summer? In the Winter?
6 weeks in Summer, 4-5 months in Winter
What do bees forage for outside of the hive?
Nectar, pollen, water, propolis
How do they transport what they forage upon?
They transport pollen in the pollen baskets on rear legs
They transport liquid in their honey stomach
Where are foraged items stored within the hive?
Inside the cells
Propolis is used to seal/glue cracks together
What changes if any do the bees make to the items they forage?
They add enzymes to the nectar in their honey stomach, they mix pollen with honey to create bee bread for the larvae
What is the sex of the Queen?
Is she haploid ore diploid?
How does she differ in appearance from a worker or drone?
The queen has a larger abdomen, and longer legs
How is a queen produced?
bee larvae are fed some royal jelly for the first few days after hatching but only queen larvae are fed the jelly exclusively. As a result of the difference in diet, the queen will develop into a sexually mature female, unlike the worker bees. Queens are raised in specially constructed queen cells.
When does a colony produce a new queen? And why
Before swarming to reproduce the species, after a queen dies as an emergency supercedure, or to replace a failing queen.
What is a swarm cell, supercedure cell, where, why, and when are they in the hive?
swarm cells produce a new queen to take the place of the one preparing to leave the hive. Typically, the bees produce many swarm cells and the strongest of these new queens take over the production of new brood for the colony.
Most beekeepers report seeing three or more swarm cells of variable age in their hives. Unlike supersedure cells, bees typically create swarm cells along the margins of the comb when the colony is preparing to swarm.
When a colony is raising a new queen to replace the aging, ill or missing queen, they produce supersedure cells. The new queen that emerges from the cell will take over from, or supersede, the old queen. To boost the odds of producing a healthy new queen, the colony creates several supersedure cells at the same time. In most cases, the first one to emerge will become the new queen.
Beekeepers usually find supersedure cells on the comb face, extending out from the surface and hanging downwards. With most varieties of honey bees, the colony will produce between one and three supersedure cells at one time.
How, where and when do bees mate?
When a virgin queen flies to a site where thousands of male honey bees may be waiting, she mates with several males in flight. A male drone will mount the queen and insert his endophallus, ejaculating semen. After ejaculation, a male honey bee pulls away from the queen, though his endophallus is ripped from his body, remaining attached to the newly fertilized queen.
The next male honey bee to mate with the queen will remove the previous endophallus and eventually lose his own after ejaculation. Male honey bees are only able to mate once during a mating flight, and after mating, a drone dies quickly, as his abdomen rips open when his endophallus is removed. Even drones that survive the mating flight are ejected from their nests, as they have served their sole purpose by mating.
Virgin queens mate early in their lives and attend several mating flights.
What is the approximate life length of a queen?
average lifespan of a queen is three to four years
Approximately how many eggs does a queen lay a day ?( during brood build up)
What is meant by Brood?
Where is brood generally found in the hive?
In modern removable frame hives the nursery area is in the brood chamber, which beekeepers prefer to be in the bottom box.
What does healthy larvae look like?
curled white grubs found in open cells of brood combs.
Larvae are glistening and pearly white, with an orange gut line running along their back.
What are the three stages of development prior to emerging as an adult bee?
Egg, larva, pupa
How does a brood cell become capped?
Adult bees cap these cells once the brood has gone through the process of egg and larvae. Once the cell is capped, the larvae spins its own cocoon while inside the cell and develops into a pupae
How does the covering of brood cells differ from the covering on honey or pollen cells?
Capped honey cells are slightly indented versus the capped worker brood cells that have a slight protrusion to them. Pollen is not capped.
The protrusion gives the pupa extra room to grow.
Waxed, brood usually cream to brown colored, honey is white.
What does the brood eat? How?
The brood eats royal jelly, and bee bread fed by the nurse bees
What are the Hypopharyngeal, Nasanov, Wax and Sting Glands
Hypopharyngeal glands are used by nurse bees to make royal jelly
The Nasonov gland is exposed by: workers forming swarm cluster, young workers returning from orientation flight, foragers at a food source, returning foragers when they have problem with finding the nest entrance , disorientated workers outside the nest , workers waiting at the nest entrance for queen returning from mating flight, worker at the nest entrance of queenless colonies, near larvae chosen for emergency queen rearing, workers in some unnatural circumstances.
Nasanov gland occurs only in workers, not in queens or drones.
Wax glands are located on bees bellies, they secrete a liquid that hardens into a wax flake.
Venom sac pumps poison into the victim after a sting.
What is meant by superorganism?
The term superorganism is used most often to describe a social unit of eusocial animals, where division of labor is highly specialized and where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for extended periods.
How far do bees fly when foraging? Mating?
As a rule of thumb the foraging area around a beehive extends for two miles (3.2 km), although bees have been observed foraging twice and three times this distance from the hive.
From 1- 6 miles away when mating
How much foraging area is required to support a colony of bees?
Conventional wisdom suggests that to nourish one colony of honeybees it takes one acre of blossoming trees, shrubs, or flowers to thrive. No one really knows for sure, and of course, there are so many variables that no generalization can be assumed. It may be one acre in some regions but five or more elsewhere.
Bee Nutrition: what does Pollen provide?
Does it take more of an effort for workers to make honey or wax?
What are the following bee activities? What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
What is a swarm?
The process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees.
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Provide ample room for expansion when needed, keep hive ventilated, make splits in spring.
What is supersedure?
The replacement of an old or inferior queen bee by a young or superior queen.
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Keep an eye out for backfilling brood nest
What is absconding?
The act of the colony of bees leaving the hive
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Keep varroa mites in check, make sure conditions and needs are met
What is a laying worker?
laying worker bee is a worker bee that lays unfertilized eggs usually in the absence of a queen bee. Only drones develop from the eggs of laying worker bees. A beehive cannot survive with only a laying worker bee.
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Requeen before it resorts to that.
What is a drone laying queen?
An old queen that has ran out of sperm
What is robbing?
Robbing is a term used to describe honey bees that are invading another hive and stealing the stored honey. The robbing bees rip open capped cells, fill their honey stomachs, and ferry the goods back home. They will fight the resident bees to get to the stores and many bees may die in the process.
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Keep robbing screens, or entrances reduced, don’t spill sugar water, or community feed within 300 yards
What is drifting?
Drifting' is the term used by beekeepers to describe the behavior of bees which leave one colony and join another. Drifting often occurs when a number of colonies, housed in similar hives, are kept in close proximity to one another.
What can a beekeeper do to minimize negative impact?
Hive separation and alternating entrances.
At what temperatures do bees decline to leave the hive/fly?
Bees rarely work when the temperature is below 57oF or above 100oF. They cannot fly when the temperature is below 50o
What are the effects of sunny vs. cloudy days? Wind, rain, humidity?
The bees are more aggressive in windy, rainy, cloudy conditions.
What are safe conditions to do a hive inspection?
Inspect your hives anytime it is warm enough and the sun is shining. The bees are not too active outside the hive at temps below 57 degrees The warm sunshine is going to get them out and about.
Inspect your hives between the hours of 11:00 to 2:00. The worker bees will be out foraging so you won’t have as many to contend with.
Inspect whenever you have time and the sun is shining. (Make sure it’s warm enough!)
Do not inspect when it is raining. (Rain keeps everyone at home and puts the girls on edge?)
Do not inspect when it is cloudy. (Cloudy weather seems to make the girls ill-tempered.)
Try to avoid windy conditions (Causes the girls to drift into other hives.)
You can inspect while the sun is shining until it gets dark.
Where do honeybees live in nature?
Honey bees can thrive in natural or domesticated environments, though they prefer to live in gardens, woodlands, orchards, meadows and other areas where flowering plants are abundant. Within their natural habitat, honey bees build nests inside tree cavities and under edges of objects to hide themselves from predators.
What materials do they use to construct their hives?
Why is honeycomb built the way it is? Bee space/ shape /location /composition?
a hexagonal structure uses the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given
Volume. The hexagonal wax design provides light weight and great strength.
Does one strong colony make more honey than two colonies 1/2 the size? Why
Yes, more foragers
Hive equipment and bee keeping tools.
What are the components of the modern hive? What is purpose of each?
Bottom board – Is at the bottom of the hive and is built like a shallow three sided box. The open side is where the bees land on the porch and enter the hive. The bottom board may have a screen for ventilation. It is the floor of the hive.
An entrance reducer – is a piece of wood that can be flipped in different ways and put on the bottom board to reduce the opening of the entrance so the bees have an easier time defending the entrance from intruders.
Supers – the supers contain frames which may hold wax or starter strips to help guide the bees in building comb. The bottom super or supers would be where the queen would reside and lay eggs. Other supers may be used to store honey if we are lucky.
An inner cover – Sits on top of the top supper and would be considered the ceiling of the hive. It provides a buffer from the hive top and helps regulate air flow.
The telescoping outer cover – This would be the roof of the hive.
What standard protection and tools might a beekeeper use?
Common tools are: the smoker – it provides smoke to cover or erase the bees alarm pheromone and thereby keeps the bees in the hive and not attacking you. The hive tool – is used to loosen hive parts, open the hive, manipulate frames. Bee suits gloves and veils – protective clothing to keep the bees from stinging and allow you to inspect / work the hive. Frame rest – hangs on the side of the hive and holds 3-4 frames, can be used instead of leaning them against the side of the hive.
Bee brush – used to brush bees off of the frames.
Bottle of sugar water – can be used to spray the bees when installing a new package or when inspecting.
What are some considerations when deciding where to place a bee yard?
Which direction should the hive openings face? Why?
What are some unfavorable conditions to consider when placing a bee yard?
How might a beekeeper overcome unfavorable conditions?
What laws exist where you intend to keep your apiary?
Face the hive to the southeast. That way your bees get an early morning wake-up call and start foraging early.
Positioning your hive so that it is easily accessible come honey harvest time. You don’t want to be hauling hundreds of pounds of honey up a hill on a hot August day.
Provide a windbreak at the rear of the hive. A few tress or bushes, or a fence made from posts and burlap to block the harsh winter winds that can stress a colony.
Put the hive in dappling sunlight. Ideally avoid full sun because the warmth of the sun requires the colony to work hard to regulate the hives temperature. Also avoid deep dark shade because it can make the hive damp and the colony listless.
Make sure the hive has good ventilation. Avoid placing it in a gully where the air is still and damp. Also avoid putting it at a peak of a hill where bees are subject to winter’s fury.
Place the hive level from side to side and with the front of the hive slightly lower then the rear ( a difference of an inch or less is fine) so that any rain water drains out of the hive and not into it the hive.
Locate your hive on firm drive land.
Mulch around the bee hives prevents grass and weeds from blocking its entrances.
Unfavorable conditions would be, a damp low lying flood prone area, dark forest canopy, next to a walkway/road
A fence could be erected to force the bees to fly over a walkway/road, cut some trees down to get sunlight.
Anyone who sells more than ten Nucs a year must be inspected by NSBA,.
The common or usual name honey must appear on the label. A floral source such as sourwood, clover, etc., may be part of the name provided the product contains a significant amount of pollen from that flower.
The name, address and zip code of the manufacturer, packer or distributor must also appear on the label.
A declaration of net contents must appear in the lower thirty percent of the label panel expressed as weight such as “Net wt. 30 oz. (1 lb. 14 oz.)”.
Where might you obtain bees from?
NC State Apiary authorization ensures that those selling bees in North Carolina are selling disease-free stock of known origin. A quick check on a prospective source can reduce later heartache and wasted funds. Check with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Apiary Division for details and a list of those permitted to sell bees in North Carolina.
Hobbyist beekeepers are also permitted to sell restricted numbers of bees locally without a permit. Local chapters of the NCSBA often have a method of connecting breeders and buyers. Check with your local chapter.
Know the procedure for installing a package with queen:
With your hive assembled and the cover removed, pull out and set aside three or four frames from the middle to create a space for your new bees. Next, remove the wooden lid from the package with your hive tool, exposing the tin can used to feed the bees during shipping. Remove the strap holding the queen cage, being careful not to let the cage fall into the package.
Place the package on its side over the space in the new hive where you removed the four frames and gently slide out the tin can.
Gently pull the queen cage out of the package and set it off to the side on top of the frame. Turn the package upside down and gently shake it to help the bees fall into the hive. You may need to strike the side of the package to help move the bees into the hive.
It’s now time to install the queen. We suggest leaving the queen in her cage for the first few days so the workers have time to become accustomed to her pheromones. There are several was to do this:
In some queen cages, a cork covers a white candy plug that keeps the queen in the cage until the bees eat through the candy and release her. Use a wood screw or other sharp tool to carefully remove the cork and expose the candy.
In other queen cages, there is no candy plug behind the cork. In this case simply leave the sealed queen cage in the hive for a few days before reopening the hive and gently removing the cork.
Once you have prepared the queen cage, place it between two frames and use the pressure of the frames to hold the queen cage in place.
Finally, replace the frames you removed in step one. Make sure to keep the proper spacing between the frames, and replace the hive cover.
After a week, check to see if the queen has been released from the cage or release her manually. This is also a good time to check the foundation and if the queen has started to lay.
Know how to introduce a new queen to an established colony:
The hive to receive the queen must have no queen or queen cells already present. Ideally, the hive should be queenless for at least 24 hours prior to introduction.
The cage should be placed in the middle of the brood nest (if no brood is present, place the cage in the middle of the cluster). Position the cage between two frames, so that the candy end points up and the screen is not blocked. Squeeze the frames around the cage to firmly suspend it, any damage to the comb will be repaired by the bees when the cage is removed. Make sure the hole at the candy end is not blocked. Note: If 10 frames are used, one frame may have to be removed to accommodate the cage.
The bees in your colony will chew through the candy and release the queen within a few days.
Know how to light a smoker, and keep it lit for the duration of the inspection:
Begin with some quick-starting fuel like crumpled newspaper or pine needles. This fuel should not be packed tightly, but should be light and fluffy with lots of air spaces. Ignite the fuel, wait until it burns on its own, and then push it down to the bottom of the smoker with your hive tool. Squeeze the bellows a few times to force air up through the lightly-packed fuel.
After the initial fuel is burning well, add another handful of fluffy fuel to the smoker. Once it begins to burn, push it down with the hive tool and squeeze the bellows a few more times.
Repeat the previous step one or two more times, always waiting for the fresh fuel to begin burning before pushing it down into the smoker, and always adding a few puffs of air.
Once the fire is burning lustily and flames are licking the insides of the fuel chamber, you can add larger fuel and more oxygen.
After the the larger fuel has ignited, you should be able to close the lid. At this point, the fire should smolder on its own with only an occasional squeeze on the bellows. Remember to check the fuel supply from time to time, and always add a few puffs of air along with the fresh fuel.
What is the proper technique for opening a hive?
Give a few long cool puffs of smoke into the entrance. Lift the telescoping cover and put a few puffs of smoke into the top of the hive. Remove the top cover and place it top side down on the ground. If there is a hive top feeder put a few puffs into the screened access to drive the top bees down into the hive. Remove the hive top feeder and set it on top of the telescoping cover is such a way as to not crush the bees that may be on the bottom of the feeder. Cover the feeder to stop robbing. Remove the inner cover if there is one and give the bees a few COOL puffs to drive them down into the hive. When prying up the hive top feeder use one hand to control the top of the feeder while prying with the hive tool in the other hand. This is intended to eliminate any sudden pops and loud cracks that may upset the bees.
What are some beekeeper procedures that minimize colony damage, defensiveness, and encourage colony well being? What beekeeper behaviors should be avoided?
Work in a calm deliberate manner but do not rush. Reacting suddenly to stings around the head entices more bees to sting. Avoid crushing bees when shifting or replacing frames, especially the queen. Crushed bees emit an odor which excites other bees to sting. Bees like light colored clothing, avoid black. Also keep a log book.
How should the frames be manipulated? Where should they be placed if removed from the hive?
Ah the hive is open and some COOL smoke has driven the bees down into the hive. Time to remove the first frame. The first frame to remove is an end frame or wall frame. Insert the curved end of the hive tool between the first and second frames, near one end of the frame top bar. Twist the tool to separate the frames from each other. Repeat on the other side. The first frame should now be free. Using both hands pick up the first frame by the end bars. Gently brush away any bees with your fingers that may be in the way as you get a hold on the endbars. With the frame in both hands gently and slowly lift it straight up and out of the hive. Be careful not to crush or roll any bees as you lift the frame out. Now the frame can gently be rested on the ground leaning vertically up against the hive or it can be set in a frame rest. There will still be bees on the frame. Now there is room to move the remaining frames in the hive using the same process. Separate the second frame and remove it for inspection then put it back into the hive near or against the wall and work your way through the hive.
Holding up frames for inspection stand with your back to the sun so it will easier to see details o the frame. To look at the other side of the frame continue holding it by the end bars and turn the frame vertically, then turn the frame like a page of a book now smoothly return it to the horizontal position and you will looking at the other side of the frame.
How should a hive be put back together?
After inspecting the last frame there should be an empty frame slot on the opposite end of where you started and there should be one frame on the ground leaning against the hive. Slowly push the nine frames that are in the hive as a single unit toward the opposite wall of the hive. That should put them back where they were before you started the inspection. Pushing them as a single unit keeps them snugly together and avoids crushing bees. You are now left with the open slot from which the first frame was removed. Smoke the bees one last time to drive them back down into the hive. If there are still bees on the last frame leaning against the hive or in the frame rest carefully bang it on the bottom board next to the front entrance, now it will be easier to put the last frame back in the hive. Make certain that all ten frames fit snugly together.
What are some things that can be done to minimize burr comb?
One thing that may minimize burr comb is to observe the ⅜ inch bee space.
Why do bees sting?
To defend their colony
To protect their hive
To protect their food.
If they are alerted by other agitated/stinging bees pheromones and become more defensive.
What happens to the bee once it has stung?
When a honey bee stings you, its sharp, barbed stinger pierces the skin. This stinger injects a venom called apitoxin. In most cases, the stinger gets stuck in the victim’s skin and tears loose from the bee. In most cases, this is a massive injury to the honey bee. Other parts of its body rip off with the stinger, killing the bee. The stinger then continues to pump venom into the victim for up to 10 minutes or until it is removed.
Honey bees are the only bee species that die after stinging.
Know what to do if stung in the bee yard:
Know how to remove a stinger:
Scrape off the stinger and venom sac with a hive tool, blow smoke on it to mask the attack pheromone
A dab of honey helps
Know what to do if a bee gets in your veil:
If a bee should get inside your veil, stay calm, step away from the hive, take off the veil, turn it upside-down, and let the bee fly out.
What reactions to bee sting are normal? What reactions to bee stings are life threatening? What should be done in response to normal reaction? ... a serious life--threatening reaction?
In the normal reaction to a bee sting, the skin is reddened and painful. Swelling and/or itching may also occur, but the pain usually disappears over a few hours. A large local reaction causes swelling that extends beyond the sting site. For example, a person stung on the ankle may have swelling of the entire leg. While it often looks alarming, it's usually no more serious than a normal reaction. Large local reactions peak at about 48 hours and then gradually get better over 5 to 10 days.
Treatment if You’re Not Allergic:
First, if you’re stung on the hand, remove any rings from your fingers immediately.
If stung by a bee, the bee usually leaves a sac of venom and a stinger in your skin. Remove the stinger within 30 seconds to avoid receiving more venom. Gently scrape the sac and stinger out with a fingernail or a stiff-edged object like a credit card. Don’t squeeze the sac or pull on the stinger, or more venom will get into you.
Severe allergic reactions (also called an anaphylactic reaction) are not that common. But when they happen, they're emergencies.
Symptoms can include:
Trouble breathing, Hives that appear as a red, itchy rash and spread to areas beyond the sting
Swelling of the face, throat, or any part of the mouth or tongue
Wheezing or trouble swallowing, Restlessness and anxiety, Rapid pulse
Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure
Get emergency treatment as soon as possible.
What colony activities can be expected of the bees at the various times of year in your area?
SPRING: Inspection / Feeding / Equipment Manipulation, and why?
The bees are producing brood fast, in preparation for the nectar flow, The beekeeper should check food stores, and make sure there is plenty of room to prevent swarming, make splits, check for swarm cells.
Describe honey flow / 70 % “rule” / ratio of sugar to water in feeding/ pollen patties
Honey flow is the time when bees have ready access to abundant resources, allowing them to dramatically accelerate the creation of honey within the hive.
When 70% of the frames in a box or full add another super. The ratio of sugar syrup in the spring is 1:1
15-18% pollen patties are fed to promote brood rearing in the Spring.
SUMMER: Honey Harvesting, storage, and distribution
How much honey, and when should it be extracted from the colony?
The beekeeper decides how many honeycombs (and which) will be removed. Beekeepers leave from 44 pounds (20 kg) per hive in mild climates up to 130 pounds (60 kg) in regions with very hard winter, so that the colony can handle problems caused from lack of food, bad weather or drought. It’s extracted in mid summer when the frames are capped.
Moisture content of honey.
Ideally the moisture content of honey should be less than 17.8%.
What happens if it is higher or lower than the recommended or legal requirements?
If the moisture content is too high, say greater than 20%, the honey may ferment due to yeasts in the honey. Since honey is hygroscopic, if it is not in a sealed container, it will attract moisture from the air.
Lower is fine.
What types of honey are there?
There are more than 300 different types of honey in the United States, each with a unique flavor and color depending on the blossoms visited by the honey bees. Single varietal honeys result when the honey bees gather nectar from the same type of flowers. This process is aided by beekeepers who strategically place their hives in an orchard or adjacent to a single type of flower and then carefully monitor the collection of the honey
How does the choice of type of honey effect the decision on what type of equipment to use on a hive?
Comb honey would require a different foundation in the frames.
What cleanliness and food safety procedures should be incorporated in the extraction and ‘bottling’ of honey?
Most beekeepers prepare a “honey house” in a building near their home that is not used for other family activities. A small portable wooden building works well.
You may decide to use your garage or kitchen for honey processing. This practice is fine for home use.
However, honey processing in the home provides a chance of contamination from other food items
Are there rules and regulations that govern this activity?
No, honey is a natural product there are no restrictions other than the way you label the container.
What equipment might be used for extracting and ‘bottling’ honey?
Extractor, uncapping knife, uncapping tank, strainer, uncapping fork, bottling bucket
How does a mechanical extractor work?
A honey extractor is a mechanical device used in the extraction of honey from honeycombs. A honey extractor extracts the honey from the honey comb without destroying the comb. Extractors work by centrifugal force. A drum or container holds a frame basket which spins, flinging the honey out.
What is a honey gate?
A honey gate is a plastic valve on the bottom of the bucket which is used to drain honey from the bucket
Concerning Labels: Are there laws and regulations governing what is required on a label?
Yes, The name honey. The floral source (sourwood, clover, etc.) can be part of the name if the product contains a significant amount of pollen from that flower.
Name, address, and zip code of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
Net contents in the lower 30% of the label expressed in both pounds/ounces and grams.
What are recommendations fo labels?
Once you have the correct content for your label, you can concentrate on other things, like an eye-catching design and the kind of paper and ink you want to use. Also, depending on where you will sell your honey, you might need to include a UPC code.
Why do some honey labels state that it is unsafe to feed honey to infants?
infant botulism is a rare but serious gastrointestinal disease caused by exposure to spores of Clostridium botulinum ( C.botulinum) which are found in the soil and air.
What should be done with any equipment or frames from which honey was extracted?
Replace the frames, and let the bees clean them up, wash equipment with soap and water
FALL: What is winter-prep?
Preparing the hives for winter
When should winter--prep activity be initiated?
Late Summer, is the time for us to begin to evaluate our beehives and consider what they may need for Fall.
This gives you plenty of time to decide which colonies may need requeened or fed. And you may decide to combine 2 weak colonies into 1 larger hive for Winter.
Treating bees for pests in the fall –how and why?
We want a good population of healthy nurse bees in the hive (July-August) to raise healthy winter bees. The Winter bees will live until Spring so it is important for them to get proper nutrition. Mite levels should be well under control before September.
Fall requeening vs spring requeening
Although many beekeepers requeen in the spring, requeening is generally recommended for the fall, with enough time remaining in the season for the new queens worker bees to populate the colony. Fall requeening has several advantages over spring requeening. With fall requeening, the younger queen winters with the colony and is less likely to die during the winter than older queens. Fall queens generally cost less than spring queens. Fall requeening can disrupt the growth of tracheal mites populations, which can increase dramatically during this time. Spring requeening causes a break in the brood cycle just when the colony should be rapidly building up its worker bee population for honey production.
Spring queens are always in short supply and always cost more and sometimes aren't mated as well.
Fall brood build--up Equipment considerations
Spacer for pollen patties, oxcilic acid vaporizer
Feeding bees ( ratio of sugar to water )
WINTER: Clustering characteristics
Any time the temperature drops to around 57 degrees Fahrenheit, bees in a hive collapse into a cluster. The cluster is a well-defined ball of bees inside the hive. The bees form their cluster around the brood, tightening together to generate and preserve heat. As the temperature warms, the cluster expands; as the temperature cools, the cluster contracts.
Inside the cluster, the bees generate heat for the brood and interior bees. They do this by a sort of shivering alongside the brood. The bees repeatedly contract their powerful wing muscles, which generates warmth. Further inside the cluster, bees continue to attend to their regular activities of eating, rearing brood, feeding the queen and the larvae, and moving about.
As the outside temperature drops, the bees remain in their cluster. Eventually, in the heart of winter the bees inside the cluster will cease rearing brood. While formed in a cluster, bees have little ability to move about the hive freely. They have to stay close to the cluster to stay warm. This is why it is nearly impossible to effectively feed bees with syrup when temperatures drop into the 50’s or below, as the bees cannot break free from the cluster to access the syrup.
This is also why, during times of prolonged cold temperatures, the bees need to have honey stored close to where they are clustering. Colonies have been known to die of starvation even when honey is in their hive, because the honey that was available was located too far away from the clustering bees.
Ventilation is very important to the health of the hive. It can be especially important in the winter in colder climates as well as during the heat of the summer. We have found an upper entrance so moisture can escape the hive in the winter combined with insulation so the moisture does not condense on the underside of inner cover and drip down on the cluster significantly improves over wintering success.
Protection from inclement weather:
make sure hive equipment is secured to resist strong winds.
be sure to have the hives on sturdy stands or level ground
beware of falling trees and tree limbs
make sure the hives are not in low-lying areas or those prone to flooding.
A top entrance for the bees to escape in heavy snow
Inspecting hives during winter:
lift the lids on your hives during the winter at least every few weeks. On warmer days (40’s degrees F), quickly lift the lid to check on food stores. Replenish as necessary. Peek at the inner cover for moisture/mold when you lift the lid. Increase ventilation at the top if present. This can be done with a small shim. Also, periodically knock on the side of the hive to see if you hear your bees buzzing back to you.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management, or simply IPM for short, is a phrase that is familiar to many beekeepers today. This concept of pest management seeks to control pests using a variety of strategies that are safe, effective and economical and will lead to a sustainable level of control.
How and why is it useful to beekeepers?
Unsustainable honey bee colony losses in recent years have been extremely costly to the US beekeeping industry. Beekeepers are now faced with many unforeseen challenges that have been identified or discovered as a result of a broad-based research net that has been cast to solve the much publicized colony collapse disorder (CCD). Regardless of the outcome of the CCD dilemma, the US beekeeping industry must utilize an integrated pest management approach to survive. This means that beekeepers will no longer have the luxury of using a single pesticide or a single antibiotic to control their colony problem, as in the past. An arsenal of strategies is now available to maintain healthy colonies including genetic, biological, cultural, mechanical, physical, and chemical control. Beekeepers must be better informed than ever to select the best combination of IPM tools for their beekeeping operation. Beekeepers must be capable of evaluating and modifying their IPM strategies to survive and succeed in the future. Asking the right questions is important (3). Were my strategies successful this year? Was the pest or disease prevented or managed to my satisfaction? Did the pest population exceed the treatment threshold level? Were there any unintended side effects as a result of my actions? And lastly, what must I do in the future to improve my pest management plan? Today’s beekeepers must be vigilant in their pest management plans to stay one step ahead of their pest problems.
Pesticide legalities of labels, and usage:
Pesticide product labels are legal documents. This statement is found on all registered pesticide product labels in the United States: "It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." Most label statements are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
PESTS of the HONEY BEE
Know the various pests:
Varroa Mites, Tracheal Mites, Greater Wax Moth Small Hive Beetle, Ants, Yellow Jackets, Mice, Bear, Skunks
Know how to check for tolerable thresholds of pest infestation:
Alcohol wash/sugar roll
Know the cause of the introduction to the colony of these pests:
Mites are introduced by mingling with bees from outside the Apiary,
Hive beetles and moths are attracted to hives.
Know the life cycle of the pests:
Know the symptoms of infestation by pests & the effect on the colony of bees:
Bees wings would be deformed in a Varrora infestation , or they might be seen on the bee
Beetles or moth larvea would be all over the comb.
Infested Bee Colony
Once they are infested, the solution is to reduce them down to just the space the cluster of bees can cover. Remove all the rest of the comb. If you have a freezer, freeze it to kill the moths, or if it's too far gone, let the moths finish cleaning it up. Electric bug zapper help reduce the moths at night.
Know what can be done to eliminate, or reduce the presence and effect of pests:
Hive beetles can be caught in beetle traps
Varrora can be treated with a variety of products:
Apivar, oxcilic acid, apigard, formic acid
DISEASES of the HONEY BEE
Know the various diseases.
(AFB, EFB, Nosema, Sacbrood Chalkbrood, Deformed Wing Virus, Paralysis Virus)
Be aware of what causes the various diseases
American foulbrood (AFB) is a fatal bacterial disease of honey bee brood caused by the spore forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. ... Adult bees are not affected by AFB but can spread spores within and between infected and clean hives through robbing and drifting.
European foulbrood (abbreviated EFB) is a bacterial disease that effects honey bee larvae before the capped stage. European foulbrood disease is characterized by dead and dying larvae which can appear curled upwards, brown or yellow, melted, and/or dried out and rubbery. The causative bacteria, Melissococcus plutonius is ingested by honey bee larvae after which the bacterium competes for food inside the larvae. If the bacteria out-competes the larva, the larva will die before the cell is capped. Alternatively, the bee may survive until adulthood if the larvae has sufficient food resources. European foulbrood should not be confused with American foulbrood (AFB), which is caused by a different bacteria that produces different symptoms and control requirements.
European foulbrood disease is considered to be more problematic in situations where forage nectar is sporadic, or other situations that result in fewer nurse bees in colonies to feed larvae. At the onset of nectar flow in early spring, forage recruitment of house bees may increase rapidly resulting in few bees in colonies to feed honey bee larvae. Often, when the nurse bee to larvae ratio stabilizes later in the season, or remains stable throughout a season, symptoms disappear. However, this disease can occur throughout a season and will sometimes not clear up on its own. In severe cases, colony death can occur. Also, yearly reoccurrence of EFB from contaminated combs and equipment can occur. The bacteria that causes EFB does not produce spores, but combs contaminated with the bacteria can still reinfect honey bees in subsequent years.
Nosemosis, or Nosema disease, is caused by two species of microsporidian parasites (a type of spore forming fungus) called Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae. N. apis is thought to have originated on European honey bees, while N. ceranae is thought to have evolved as a pest of Asian honey bees (Apis cerana) and has only started to affect the European honey bees relatively recently. N. ceranae appears to be more damaging than N. apis, affecting more cells in the bees mid-gut and killing infected bees faster than N. apis.
Infection of adult bees at a young age can cause the bee to have difficulty digesting food for the rest of its life. These bees usually do not produce brood food/royal jelly secretions from the hypopharyngeal glands and often skip the brood rearing stage of their life, becoming forager bees at a young age. The infected bee often has a shortened adult lifespan. When queen bees become infected they also have reduced lifespans and cease to lay eggs. These impacts cause reduced colony health, population and performance, which can ultimately result in the colony dying.
Adult honey bees that are less than eight days old become infected when they ingest the virus. The virus can be ingested either in contaminated food or by removing larvae that were killed by the Sacbrood virus.
Infected adult bees do not show any obvious symptoms. However the hypopharyngeal glands (these are the glands that produce royal jelly/brood food) of nurse bees become infected. It is thought that infected nurse