Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grafting Queen Bees Made Easy

     For many backyard beekeepers the thought of grafting queen cells sounds similar to performing brain surgery or rocket science.  While there are many methods of making queens (Advanced Beekeeping) Randy Oliver has produced a great powerpoint presentation that provides an easy and understandable step-by-step tutorial on grafting queen cells.  The advantages of creating your own queens are numerous.  They include cost savings as queens in our area sell for $25-35.  Also time savings as allowing a split nuc to create their own queen takes about 50 days to produce a laying queen.  This means the building of your colony and honey production are delayed 50 days.  Maybe most important of all, grafting your own queens from your strongest colony allows you to control the future genetics of your colonies.  This allows you to participate in creating your own disease resistant, hygienic, local, survivor stock which may be the most important aspect of the future of beekeeping. 
     While the grafting process can be performed at any time mating is possible your local swarm season is best.  All that is required is a frame of pollen, a frame of young brood and lots of nurse bees.  The tools required are a grafting tool (Urban Bee), plastic cell cups and a damp towel.  A magnifying jeweler's headlamp is optional.  Queens emerge 10-12 days after grafting.  To check out Randy's powerpoint on grafting download "Queens for Pennies" from our Beekeepers' Library  or go to

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beekeeping Webinar: Making Colony Splits

Bee Lab Webinar on April 16th 

Ohio State University will be presenting their next free monthly beekeeping webinar on April 16th from 9AM to 10AM (Eastern District Time).

Making Colony Splits - An Inexact Procedure

Jim Tew, Extension Bee Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service 

Taking a "split" from a bee colony is comparable to taking a cutting from a plant. Dividing surviving colonies is a traditional way to make colony increases and recover from winter-killed colonies.  

The challenge is that splitting a hive requires our best guess. This webinar discusses some ways to help make your best guesses. 

All webinars are free, and pre-registration is not required. To join this free webinar, follow the link and LOG IN AS A GUEST at about 8:55 (EDT) on April 16th (That's 5:55 a.m for you west coasters):

To access via iPad or iPhone, download the Adobe Connect app.

      This and each monthly webinar will be recorded and archived on the OSU Bee Lab website the day of the session and is also available in our Beekeepers' Library.  

     When creating a split in addition to the benefit of creating a new colony there is also the benefit of a brood break which means a break in varroa reproduction. In the past beekeepers were careful not to move the queen when creating the split but for many that philosophy has changed.  I'm in agreement with this and feel moving the old queen to the new split assists in a faster buildup of the new colony.  The stronger parent colony will quickly make a new queen and is more able to withstand the broodless period.  Should be a good webinar.  Enjoy! 


Friday, March 14, 2014

Beekeeping Webinar

     Each year Ohio State University presents a beekeeping webinar series free to the public.  If you have never participated in a webinar it is an online presentation that allows you to ask questions at the end of the presentation.  If you can't make the webinar, not to worry as they are recorded and available on the O.S.U
Beelab website or in the Webinar section of our Beekeepers' Library.  There are 7 webinars scheduled for this year:

March 19: Phenology for Beekeepers, Denise Ellsworth, The Ohio State University Extension/Entomology

April 16:  Making Colony Splits – An Inexact Procedure, Jim Tew, Extension Bee Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service

May 21: 10 Rules of Modern Beekeeping, Kim Flottum, Author and Editor of Bee Culture Magazine

June 18: Hive Monitoring: Measuring Primary and Secondary Pests of Your Hive, Alex Zomchek, Master Beekeeping Instructor

July 16:  Chemistry of Honey, Thom Janini, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University

August 20: Bee Foraging in Rural Areas During Corn Planting, Reed Johnson, Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University

September 17: Winter Preparation, Barb Bloetscher, State Apiarist, The Ohio Department of Agriculture

     The first Beelab webinar, "Phenology for Beekeepers" will be presented by Denise Ellsworth from the Department of Entomology at O.S.U. on March 19th between 9a.m and 10 a.m (EDT). 
     Phenology is the study of recurring biological phenomena and their relationship to weather and climate. Bird migration, hunting and gathering seasons, blooming of wildflowers and trees, and the development stages of many insects are examples of phenological events that have been recorded for centuries. Participants will learn about the science and practical use of phenology, including how to track bloom time of local plants based on Ohio's web-based biological calendar. We'll give a special focus to those plants most visited by honey bees.  All webinars are free, and pre-registration is not required. To Join this free webinar, follow the link and LOG IN AS A GUEST at about 8:55 on March 19th:

To access via iPad or iPhone, download the Adobe Connect app.  Enjoy!


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