Fruit Press Is Here!
Today was a very big bee day. My ‘extractor’ came in! And, fantastic surprise this, it’s from Italy! I feel very fancy; I import my tea pots from the UK and my fruit presses specifically for wine making from Italy. I had no idea it was made it Italy when I bought. Here’s a picture while it’s still clean and pristine.
Basically, I plan on using this fruit press to press the honey comb. I’m hoping it’s much more effective than a turkey pan and a fork!
Today was also the beekeepers meeting. It was very interesting. The author of scientificbeekeeping.com was our guest speaker, and he talked for two hours. One thing I took away was the use of ‘drone frames’. He runs an operation with over 1000 hive with his two sons and a few other helpers, and he said that they have a drone frame in every single hive as part of their varroa control. And because this frame is present, the bees are much less inclined to draw drone comb elsewhere in the hive, making splits and things easier to sell, as people aren’t as happy receiving drone comb in their nucs. The other important thing was that ‘a good beekeeper should double the number of hives in his apiary every year’. His operation is so big, and commercialized, that this was more incorporated into a marketing perspective than a hobbiest (that is a word right) would like I think. That said, it is easy to double (and triple) colonies and then combine them at the end of the year. It also allows you the opportunity to sort of ‘roll the genetic dice’ if you will, because for every new colony you make you have the chance to produce a wonderful queen.
He talked about feeding both sugar syrup and protein patties more than I would’ve liked, as I’m not a fan of these so much, and a lot of what he talked about related to a specific regiment of feeding of his. He also talked about working hives in the snow, and had multiple pictures of him doing so. This was far beyond my years/experience level, and I feel confident is saying it was also beyond that of much of my fellow association members, so I felt like this was a bit of a daunting subject that my cause a bit of trouble. And the reason for these visits was due to an overlarge population caused by feeding earlier in the year. So… yeah.
He talked a lot about various treatments for varroa, and most of it had to do with good breeding, which I liked. Apparently there are a couple strains of bees that are almost entirely resistant to varroa. One was a Russian strain and the other was some acronym I can’t remember. VHS I feel like it was, lol. These were both around several years ago when I first took up beekeeping, but their credibility wasn’t so great yet. I’m inclined to try the acronym one though, because they’re supposed to be very docile unlike the Russians.
Other than that there wasn’t much of note. He had several very fancy graphs that depicted bee and mite populations throughout the year and their relationship. Oh! He did explain the reason for the apparent “explosion” in the mite population at the end of the year. The mite population actually stays relatively the same all year, but the bee population doesn’t. Because the bee population is reduced so much in the fall, the apparent mite population explodes. Get it? The number of mites per bees increases because the number of bees in the hive has decreased. It really has nothing to do with an increase in the mite population at all. That said, treating in fall is still important because the mite to bee ratio is so high.
I recommend checking out his website, scientificbeekeeping.com simply because he referenced it so often during his lecture. He tried to cover almost the entire scope of beekeeping in two hours, so he skimmed over a lot of the little things and told us to check out his website if we were interested in anything in particular.
I’ll harvest some time in the next week and post pictures for you all to see how it goes!