MAAREC January 2001
Available from Penn State or Univ of Delaware in paperbound book form -$10. Contact Maryann Frazier, 501 Ag & Ind Bldg, PSU, Univ Park, PA 16802 or Dewey M . Caron Dept of Entomology, Univ of Delaware, 250 Townsend Bldg, Newark, De 19717

Introduction to Beekeeping & Beekeeping History
1st Session Outline I. What is Beekeeping? Stewardship of Apis mellifera a) Beekeeping is population management of a social insect that seeks to maximize adult

population to coincide with target bloom (pollination crops, major nectar resource). b) Beekeeping requires skills in bee management and ability to work with wood, metals, and vehicles and also the ability to follow directions as written. c) Beekeeping is long hard hours of individual work. d) Beekeeping is enjoyable, immensely rewarding (other than financially) and self-satisfying. e) Beekeeping requires ability to take stings. f) 3 types of beekeepers (1) Commercial – 300+ colonies (2) Sideliners – 25 to 300 colonies (3) Hobbyist/bee-havers – less than 25 colonies, keep bees for various reasons II. BEEKEEPING IN ANTIQUITY a) Man as a robber of wild nests – still seen in some cultures today b) Keeping bees in skeps, clay pots, bark hives and gums (1) Seasonal management of bees in non-hives – robbing feral colonies (2) Harvesting honey from skeps, gums, etc. – honey production and harvesting from minimal-management hives (skeps, gums, etc.) c) Spread of bees by man (1) Introduction to North America in 1622 (2) Spread of bees in the United States (3) Introduction of Italian bee to the U.S. (4) Introduction of African bees into Brazil (5) Introduction of European-race bees into Asia (and transfer of mites to A. mellifera)

BEEKEEPING WITH THE MOVABLE-FRAME HIVE a) Reverend L. L. Langstroth and his discovery of bee space b) History of the Langstroth legacy (1) His book – “The Hive and the Honey Bee” (2) His movable-frame hive (original hive, Root’s simplicity hive, today’s Langstroth hive) (3) His championing of Italian bees c) The development of extractor, foundation roller and improvements in the ancillary equipment (smoker, mailing cage) d) Advantages of adoption of a standard Langstroth hive e) Development of queen/package bee industry f) Worldwide spread of movable-frame (Langstroth) hive 1st Session ... Page 2


IV. a) b) c) d) e) f) g)

PRESENT STATUS OF BEEKEEPING IN THE UNITED STATES Important honey producing & pollination rental areas of U.S. Comparison of United States with world The progress in beekeeping education The progress in disease inspection (since early-mid 1900s) The development of pollination rental since World War II The large commercial apiarist vs. the part-timer/hobbyist The roles declining forage, pollination rental and pesticides now play in beekeeping

References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch 1, 12 Crane, Eva. 1983. The archaeology of beekeeping. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, NY Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 1 Free, J. B. 1982. Bees and mankind. George Allen & Unwin, London MAAREC web site: Honey bee biology (material from USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) and “Beekeeping equipment”) Pellett, F. C. 1938. History of beekeeping. Dadant & Sons, Hamilton, IL Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 1

PRESENTATIONS/ASSIGNMENTS A great number of things can be done with beekeeping history. Individual pieces of equipment, hives, or topics such as beekeepers past (or present), time periods, etc. can be given to students to research for written or oral presentations. The availability of library facilities and individual interest should be considered before assignment or selection of topics. Bring a skep, log gum and movable frame hive to class and discuss bee requirements, legal requirements and modern vs. ancient beekeeping practices for each, using props for illustration. If old hives can be borrowed, discuss the relative merits of each hive. Compare old equipment with the modern Langstroth hive. Make or purchase U.S. or world maps and have students diagram or determine the beekeeping regions, statistics for regions or countries, flora, number of beekeepers or other features and color code the map(s) with this information. A good discussion of U.S. regions is in BEEKEEPING IN THE UNITED STATES (USDA Handbook 355), and for the world in BEES AND BEEKEEPING by Eva Crane. There is at least one book on L. L. Langstroth (Naile 1976. AMERICA’S MASTER OF BEE CULTURE: THE LIFE OF L. L. LANGSTROTH). National Geographic has a video on “Honey Hunting in Nepal.” There is an older Univ. of Guelph (Canada) film “Beekeeping in Tanzania” that shows management of feral and top bar

1st Session .... Page 3

hive colonies in Africa. Portions of other videos (including the Ohio State Series) explain the virtues of the Langstroth movable-frame hive.

SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What influence did L. L. Langstroth have on the development of beekeeping? How important was his advocacy of Italian bees? Can we recognize other individuals who contributed as much to beekeeping as Langstroth? 2. Discuss seasonal management of bees in a skep, log gum, or other nonmovable frame hive.

Describe how a feral bee colony might be “managed” or robbed of honey. 3. Distinguish between commercial and sideliner beekeepers. Between sideliner and hobbyist. Can we tell how important factors like management, forage plants, location, etc., have on productivity? 4. What are some of the factors an individual needs to consider before starting a beekeeping hobby? What would your recommendations be for an individual who wishes to supplement his/her income with bees? Or wishes to become a commercial beekeeper? 5. What is the future of beekeeping? What can we learn from the past?

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Bee Biology
2nd Session Outline Classification of Honey Bees a) The Animal Kingdom and Class Insecta b) Order Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants, & important parasitic wasps) c) The closely related wasps and a seasonal life cycle typical of paper wasps, yellowjackets and hornets d) The Genus Apis and species of Apis e) Three characteristics of bees (1) Plumose body hairs (2) A pollen-holding area of body hairs (3) Nectar & pollen diet f) Other bees, such as bumble bees, mining bees, carpenter bees I.


The Honey Bee Social System a) 3 prerequisites of an insect society (1) Overlap of generations capable of caring for young (2) Reproductive division of labor (caste system) (3) Cooperative brood care b) Evolution of sociality c) The other insect societies (ants, wasps & termites)

The Honey Bee Colony a) The 2 sexes and 2 caste members & their duties (1) The queen – female that lays eggs and produces chemicals (2) The drone – male that mates with queen (3) The worker – does all the work b) The sequence of duties of the workers (1) Early duties of cleaning debris from hive, polishing cells (2) Serving as nurse bees for older worker larva (feed nectar/pollen mixture) and then feeding royal jelly to young larva (3) Ripening and storing of nectar (4) Secreting beeswax and building comb (5) Care of queen, queen retinue, guarding and other miscellaneous duties (6) Foraging for 4 materials needed from outside (a) Nectar collection (b) Pollen collection – climb about on flower, comb into pollen baskets (c) Water collection and its use to dilute honey & air condition hive (d) Propolis collection (7) Dance language c) The basic bee nest and organization (1) Comb building in the wild (2) Organization of a brood area and a food storage area above the brood 2nd Session .... Page 2 (3) Use of propolis as a sealant (4) How frames, foundation, supers, etc. must conform to basic nest biology IV. a) The Colony as a Whole Queen replacement (1) Queen substance and how it functions (2) Queen behavior (3) Emergency rearing of a queen (4) Supersedure (5) Swarming Colony defense (1) Role of guards (2) Challenge to intruders (3) Pheromone role in defense Role of pheromones in colony cohesion (1) Identification pheromones (2) Regulating pheromones (3) Situational pheromone communication Seasonal population fluctuation





(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) V.

The spring buildup (rapid & impressive) The large summer colony (60,000 bees) Propensity of bees to store nectar Fall preparations for winter Surviving the winter on stored honey

Anatomy of the Honey Bee (if time permits) a) External body features (1) 3 body regions – head, thorax, abdomen (2) Head (a) Antennae (b) Simple and compound eyes (c) Mouthparts (3) Thorax (a) Wings (b) Legs (c) Hairs & spines of legs & pollen basket (4) Abdomen (a) Body segments (b) Spiracles (external openings of breathing system) b) Internal Anatomy (1) Nervous system – brain, ventral nerve cord, ganglia (2) Respiratory system – spiracles & tracheae (3) Digestive system (4) Circulatory system – aorta & heart (5) Reproductive system – male female, including sting

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(6) Muscles, membranes and other structures (7) Gland systems – exocrine (pheromones) and endocrine (hormones) VI. BEE BEHAVIOR a) Care of Brood b) Transfer of food c) Scenting and fanning d) Ripening honey e) Reaction to smoke f) Queen retinue and care VII. Comparison of perennial honey bee colony with other perennial and seasonably eusocial insects (if time permits).

References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 2-8 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. U Del. Lab 1,2,3 & 4 Dadant & Sons. 1992 The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 3-9

Dade, H. A. 1977. Anatomy and dissection of the honey bee. Int. Bee Res. Assoc., Cardiff, Wales, UK. 158 pp. MAAREC web site: Honey bee biology (from Penn State “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” And USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeepeer’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 1, 2 Snodgrass, R. E. 1984 reprint. Anatomy of the honey bee. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, NY. 334 pp. Von Frisch, K. 1967. The dance language and orientation of bees. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA. 566 pp. Wilson, E. O. 1971. The insect societies. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA. 548 pp.

Presentations/Assignments There are some really excellent movies/videos on honey bee biology. See the listing available from UDEL Extension on MAAREC web site. One or more should be shown to the class as an introduction. A good movie on mating and one on dance language are available for rental from Penn State Audiovisual and also listed in the MAAREC site. Have students make a collection of bees and wasps and identify specimens. For some of the wasps, nests could be collected. Be cautious since bees and wasps can sting. Have students consult literature on worker activities/development and make charts and graphs showing developmental stages depicting time spent doing various activities. Some commercial charts are available, such as “The Life Cycle of the Honey Bee” by Maxant. Consult 2nd Session .... Page 4 references such as USDA Beekeeping in the UNITED STATES. Dadant & Sons sell 12 study prints – large photos, with lots of explanatory information on the reverse, that are suitable for instruction, demonstrations or to help make exhibits on honey bees. Make a diagram or model of a bee, labeling external body features and internal organs. Compare bees to humans in such functions as vision, hearing, breathing, nervous system, body skeleton/support and circulatory system. A commercial model of the honey bee is available from Carolina Biological Supply, 2700 York Road, Burlington, NC 27215, tel: 336-584-0381 With an observation bee hive you can show students the communication dances of honey bees. It is possible to set up a series of demonstrations (or experiments) on dance language. See the book OBSERVATION HIVES by Webster and Caron (1999) (available from A. I. Root Co.) for information on establishing, maintaining and using observation hives as a teaching tool. Locate and take apart a “wild” nest of honey bees in a tree hollow or in the side of a building. Make measurements of the cavity size, number and extent of beeswax comb, size of population, amount of honey stores and brood. Compare your findings to bee colonies in hives.

SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How does the honey bee fit into the classification of animals? Why do we use a common and scientific name for the honey bee?

2. What does “social” mean in insects? How is “eusocial” defined? What are common characteristics shared by social insects? 3. Swarming is a natural event in a bee colony. What is swarming and what purpose does it serve? Since bee colonies survive the winter, how does swarm behavior compare to wasp and bumble bee colonies in their production of queens and males at the end of the season? 4. Can you explain the rule of 3 (from Caron HONEY BEE BIOLOGY AND BEEKEEPING, Chap. 4, and USDA Handbook 335, Beekeeping in the UNITED STATES)? How many essential features of bee biology fit the rule of 3? 5. How dissimilar is the bee hive from the basic nest constructed by bees in a tree hollow? Can we learn more about hive design by studying “wild” nests. How does a bee hive differ from a hornet or wasp nest? 6. What are some of the major differences between bee and human anatomy? 7. Each caste in the bee colony has a different development. Chart differences in development, behavior and adult anatomy of female castes queen and worker. Do the same for drones. Why is the drone not a caste example?

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Rule of 3 (Modified from USDA)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Beekeeping Equipment
3rd Session Outline I. a) The Basic Bee Hive Hive stands (1) Commercial hive stands (2) Homemade stands from wood, metal, brick, cinder block, etc. (3) Hive stands extend life of equipment, reduce pests and require less bending over Bottom board & entrance reducer (use reducer to keep mice out) The brood chamber boxes (1) Two standard (full-depth or deep) hive boxes (2) 1 Standard and one half-depth (upper box not as heavy to remove) (3) 1 Standard box (difficult to manage bees especially overwinter and producing honey) (4) 3 half-depths (uses more equipment, sometimes queen reluctant to move from one box to another) (5) Some variations in bee boxes (8-frame boxes, other countries) Queen excluder Supers (1) Illinois or half-depth size (2) Shallow super (3) Section-comb honey supers (4) Standard size boxes as supers The cover

b) c)

d) e)


(1) Use of the inner cover (2) Telescoping vs. migratory cover g) Assembly of pieces & painting exteriors II. Building or buying new/used a) Building your own vs. buying commercial equipment b) Buying used equipment Frames and Foundation a) The basic frame (1) Split wedge & grooved top bar (2) Hoffman end bars (3) Types of bottom bars (grooved, split & 2 piece) b) Assembly of frames c) Foundation (1) Brood foundations (crimp-wired, medium brood) (2) Foundation for supers (crimp-wired, cut-comb foundation, thin surplus, specialty cell size) (3) plastic foundation/frame


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d) Installing foundation (1) Handle carefully & install not too far in advance of use (2) Wiring of crimp-wired and medium brood Decision on Type of Honey to Produce a) Extracted honey (1) Advantages – easiest bee colony management, reuse drawn comb, literature widely available (2) Disadvantages – costly extracting equipment and general unavailability of rental equipment b) Cut -comb honey (1) Advantages – no costly equipment, boxes and jars readily available, management not as difficult as section comb honey (2) Disadvantages – management may be more difficult than extracted honey, more recurring expenses such as foundation c) Section comb honey (1) Advantages – packaging of final product easy, attractive product (2) Disadvantages – most difficult management, recurring costs d) Speciality honey IV.


Ancillary Protective Equipment a) Smoker b) Hive tool c) Veil (better to go with best) d) Extra clothing (coveralls, boots, elastic straps for pant legs & shirt sleeves) e) Use and abuse of gloves

IV. a) b)

c) d) e)

Other Equipment Bee brush, frame grip and other manipulative aids Equipment to handle honey (1) Extracting equipment (extractor, heated knife, settling tank) (2) Design of a honey house for (1) small and (2) large size beekeepers (3) Containers for honey (bottles, cut-comb boxes, etc.) Equipment to feed bees Equipment to medicate bees Miscellaneous equipment


Sources of Bee Supplies a) Major manufactures supply free bee equipment catalogues b) Local dealers c) Used equipment

3rd Session .... Page 3 REFERENCES Bee supply catalogs - see appendix for listing Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch 12, 13 Caron, D.M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 6 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 12, 13 MAAREC web site: Beekeeping equipment (from Penn State “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” and USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 3 USDA Farmer’s Bulletin #2204. Selecting and operating beekeeping equipment.

Presentations/Assignments Have students, using bee supply catalogues, compute costs of starting a beekeeping hobby. Compare prices of different manufacturers. Calculate additional equipment costs in categories a) not necessary but useful, b) useful at times, and c) luxury. Have students make a diagram or model of a standard hive, labeling each part and include the cost of each piece. Assemble equipment in class or in special workshop. You might be able to get some donations from local supply dealers, have students (who wish) purchase equipment or obtain funds to buy equipment. Assemble both hives and frames. Demonstrate and have students practice assembly of frames and putting foundation in frames. Wire foundation into frames. Have students prepare a list of alternate materials that could be used as hive stands, covers, ancillary equipment, etc and list some advantages and disadvantages of each. Discuss the merits of homemade/used equipment and the pitfalls that may happen. Demonstrate some homemade items if available.

Build or have a student or the class build a hive, to be shown without bees, suitable for a fair demonstration. Such an exhibit should include boxes cut to expose frames, different hive parts labeled and information about the standard bee hive/beekeeping. Videos from Ohio State and Univ. of Georgia show hive equipment assembly.

Some Discussion Questions 1. What are the most important features of a frame? Why is the top bar thick? What is special about end bars? What is the purpose of the various types of bottom bars? Can the Hoffman frame in use today be improved? How? 2. Many additional pieces of equipment can be used. Why is it best, other than the expense, to keep equipment simple? 3rd Session .... Page 4 3. What is the relationship of foundation to comb? How important are secure and sturdy combs? What problems will appear if comb is not kept confined within the frame? 4. What is the best paint to use for bee hives? Why do we paint only the outside portions? 5. Why are there hive boxes of 3 depths? Can you list advantages and disadvantages of each size (don’t forget expense, bee acceptance or bee biology)? 6. What are the relative merits of plastic vs. wood for hive bodies? For frames? What are the limitations of laminated woods (such as plywood) in bee equipment? 7. Why is it so important to have standardized equipment? What are some of the best reasons to use the standard dimensions of the commercial firms selling bee supplies? Can the standard hive dimensions be improved? 8. What facilities are necessary for assembly of equipment? Can you think of gadgets for faster or easier assembly? Can you see areas where gadgets may be of help? 9. What factors need to be considered in buying used bee equipment?

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Standard Langstroth Bee Hive (From Brushy Mountain Bee Supply Co Catalogue)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Apiary Locations and Obtaining Bees

a) Purchase all equipment needed and have it assembled, painted and ready before bees arrive b) Select and prepare apiary site in advance c) Read literature from several authors on starting with bees II. LAWS AND REGULATIONS a) Hives must be movable frame – for disease inspection b) Local zoning ordinances – may prohibit beekeeping or not include beekeeping as an exemption c) Registration of bee colonies or apiary location – some states require while others do not. Write your state Department of Agriculture and ask for beekeeping rules and regulations to find out for sure. d) Liability for damages or stings – a difficult problem. Bees not a problem by themselves but your beekeeping may be a nuisance. Avoid problems before they develop. Other beekeepers in area? Follow Good Neighbor rules!

Selecting the Apiary Location a) Good and bad features of an apiary site b) Considerations for the bees (1) Bees need nectar, pollen, water, propolis and climatic conditions favorable to collect these 4 materials. Flight range over 10,000 acres. Provide water if none within 1/4 mile. (2) Spring pollen and nectar sources important for colony buildup. (3) Sunlight and south or southeast-facing entrance best to promote early morning flight. Some very hot areas may benefit from afternoon shade. (4) Avoid damp, stagnant air pockets. Construct natural or artificial windbreaks for fall, winter, spring if windy location. (5) Keep colony entrances free of vegetation. c) Considerations for the beekeeper (1) Vandalism, a major problem. Locate where colonies will be secure. Paint hives to blend with area (moderate green, not white which stands out). (2) Locate nearby – long distances cut down on manipulations and result in less attention and added expense. (3) Convenient location to approach with equipment and remove honey. Have enough room to work individual colonies without obstructions or interferences. (4) Avoid areas where natural events such as wind storms or flooding may occur. (5) Attempt to avoid areas of repeated pesticide application or vandalism. d) Special considerations for urban beekeepers (1) Attempt to conceal hives by special paint effects, vegetation borders or other means. 4th Session .... Page 2


(2) Make bees fly up and over areas frequented by people such as sidewalks and other right-of-ways. (3) Provide water source. (4) Give neighbors honey and explain the real facts about bees to alleviate their fears. Be sure your family understands bees. Avoid problems before they appear. Capture swarms and eliminate wasps to assist neighbors. (5) Bees will do well anywhere. Select a convenient site for you.

e) Arrange colonies in the apiary to reduce drifting IV. PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT BEE RACES a) Italian Bees – most widely used. Are slow to build up and when large tend to remain large and not reduce brood rearing in fall. b) Carniolan – increasing in popularity, build up faster and reduce brood-rearing better when resources reduced. c) Caucasian Bees – less available, darker colored bee, may use large amounts of propolis, darker queen – somewhat more difficult to locate on comb. d) Hybrid bees (1) Hybrids readily available: Buckfast – developed for cooler conditions, reasonably gentle, good overwintering Midnight – Caucasian x Italian – very gentle bee, slow to build up in spring Starline – Italian x Italian – developed for honey production (2) Disadvantages: need to requeen to keep hybrid colony, some colonies that requeen themselves turn out defensive and hard to inspect. e) Other races – generally not widely available. None superior to what we have. f) The Africanized bee in the Americas OBTAINING THE BEES a) Buying package bees and installing new equipment – most convenient and usually the recommended method (1) Order packages for April or May delivery in advance from one of several suppliers. (2) Handling of package after they arrive – store in cool, non-sunny location and feed dilute sugar syrup; check for live queen. (3) Install packages – do in evening. Have knowledgeable beekeeper on hand to assist. Follow directions and best to shake bees from package into hive. Let bees release queen. (4) Remove empty queen cage after 2 – 3 days. (5) Feed newly-installed package and allow to become established by not examining for 3 weeks except to replenish syrup feeder. (6) Advantages of package bees (reasonable cost, know approximate arrival time, build-up good but small enough for beginner to handle, little risk of disease, young vigorous queen, start at beginning of season, little chance of problems at installation or in early handling) vs. disadvantages (must know of supplier and


4th Session .... Page 3 order early, cost about $45.00, can have installation problems, dead queen, dead bees). b) Buying new equipment and capturing a swarm (1) Assemble equipment early and leave name and telephone number at agencies likely to receive swarm calls (extension, police, fire department). (2) Capture of the swarm – must get the queen into your capture apparatus. Old comb or bee smell helps. Probably preferable to use hive if swarm at convenient location. (3) Move the swarm to apiary site – after dark or when most of swarm inside. Feed sugar syrup. (4) Advantages (free bees, rapid colony buildup) vs. disadvantages (swarms not always easy to capture, finding a swarm unreliable, usually has old queen, sometimes a virgin queen).

c) Buying established colonies of bees (1) Purchase from someone you know. Buy good equipment only in good shape. If not standard size, be sure you can use with other equipment. (2) Have the bees inspected for disease by apiary inspector. (3) Be sure colony queenright and otherwise okay. (4) Advantages (colony already established and can obtain honey crop first season, often can get very good buy) vs. disadvantages (can buy disease, mean bees, odd-sized equipment, no regular market so availability uncertain, colony may be or get too big for a beginner, moving colonies to new owner’s apiary site, judging value of equipment and bees). d) Buying or starting nuclei (nucs) (1) Best method if increasing colony numbers. Nucs can be started in small box or standard hive body. Strong colonies can often be divided more than once. (2) A good method of starting if nucs available at reasonable cost. e) Buying used bee equipment (1) Problems with non-standard sized equipment (2) Problems with AFB disease (as well as Nosema and others). If no drawn comb, it is not practically possible to determine if AFB spores present. (3) Advantages of used equipment: drawn comb is a big help in capturing swarms or early development of package bees, equipment already assembled, usually lower cost (4) Disadvantages: disease a major factor, evaluating worth of equipment.

REFERENCES Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch 13 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 8 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 2, 11, 12, 13 MAAREC web site: Starting with bees (from Penn State “Fundamentals of beekeeping” And USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 4, 6 Winston, M. L. 1992. The killer bee. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA th Session .... Page 4 4 PRESENTATIONS/ASSIGNMENTS Have students draw a sketch of an actual or projected apiary location for hobbyist/sideliner. Discuss how to select/prepare an apiary site and plan with the students how to start a small apiary. Install one (or more) packages of honey bees. Have students practice installation with empty packages and empty hives. To keep costs low you can make up your own packages. Capture a swarm with the class. You can create a swarm by buying or making a package of bees and then tying their queen (while in a queen cage) to a branch or other structure and shaking the bees out so they cluster around her. If you release the queen a few minutes before swarm capture, make sure the queen is clipped or you could lose the whole swarm in an escape! Discuss how to capture swarms in less convenient locations. Obtain one (or more) copies of the state laws regulating beekeeping for your state. Review in class or have students review them outside of class.

Make or have the students do a listing of bee races, their characteristic and some advantages and disadvantages of each. Much has been published on the Africanized bee and various projects on this could be assigned.

SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What state and local regulations and liability laws relative to beekeeping would the beekeepers be subject to? How can a beekeeper reduce his/her liability? 2. What are some of the things potential beekeepers must or should do before actually becoming a beekeeper? 3. Is beekeeping really a rural pursuit? What are some of the problems and special considerations necessary for the urban beekeeper? 4. How important is the flora when an apiary location is selected? How important is a water source? How important is the beekeeper? 5. What are the best qualities to use when selecting a rural apiary site? A suburban site? A city or town location? How many colonies should be kept at one apiary and how far should they be separated? 6. How can one best choose the bee for one’s own apiary? How important are the differences in the various races and hybrids?

4th Session .... Page 5

7. How important is drawn comb (or equipment walked on by bees) toward successful starting? What problems might a beginner encounter when drawn comb is not available? 8. What factors should be considered in ordering package bees? How important are the different producers? Is there a big price range? When is the best delivery time? How big a package should one order (2, 3 or 5 lb.)? 9. Why is it best to shake the bees from the package into the hive? Should you or the bees release the queen? What are some alternative methods of installation and their disadvantages relative to the shaking method? 10. Older people will tell you they had a relative who was a beekeeper, but few young people are becoming beekeepers today. What does this mean for the future of beekeeping? Or for honey sales? How can we improve our educational and public relations effort for the bee and her products?

4th Session .... Page 6

Contrast of Ideal vs Poor Location (From Sammataro & Avitibile)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Basics of Colony Manipulations - Gaining Confidence
5th Session Outline I. THE BASIC COLONY EXAMINATION a) Preparing to open bee colonies – equipment needed includes: smoker lit, veil on, notebook handy, proper clothing b) Opening a bee colony a) Use of smoker & where to stand (side or rear); use of hive tool b) Removing covers and the first frame

c) Best time of day and weather for examination c) Examining a bee colony - what to look for (1) Handling frames (2) Looking for brood, honey stores, pollen stores, estimating population (3) Starting in lower box and working up (4) Covering frames and boxes removed to prevent robbing; avoid chilling injury to brood d) Closing the bee colony and record keeping e) Some possible trouble signs (1) Low colony population (2) Poor brood population/pattern (3) Excessive drone brood or drone laying queen (4) Queen cells (swarm or supersedure cells – telling emergency cells from swarm or supersedure cells) (5) Running or restless behavior of bees (6) Disease or pest such as wax moth II. a) b) c) d) III. EXAMINATION OF HONEY STORES Examination of supers and means of adding or removal of supers Determination of adequate winter stores The rapid mid-winter examination of food stores Lifting the hive vs. looking into the hive

EXAMINATION OF THE BROOD CHAMBER a) When to examine for brood (twice – spring and fall, plus any additional times to insure queenright) b) Looking for eggs or young larvae c) What to do if no brood in active season/fall/winter d) Typical fall brood pattern, spring pattern and summer pattern e) How to tell when problems (no queen, drone layer, laying workers, dearth of brood)


FIRST YEAR PRODUCTION a) Production the 1st year – generally not possible unless start with established colony b) Decision to add a super instead of a standard hive body as bees fill brood chamber box - insuring winter survival the first year 5th Session ..... Page 2 c) Using a swarm to produce section or cut-comb honey the first year. Combining swarms to get larger colony.


Overcoming Beginner Problems a) Proper clothing, equipment and weather (1) Attire – use protective clothing while gaining confidence. Tie shirt sleeves and secure veil, pant cuffs, wear heavy clothing, use light colored clothes avoiding wool, suede or leather and use gloves until more confident. (2) Tools – have smoker going producing ample cool smoke. Hive tool to pry. (3) Climatic conditions – examine middle of day rather than at end. Temperature 70 to 90°F best, not too windy, not raining, flowers for bees to forage. (4) Why do an for examination – have reason for opening

b) Adapt your behavior (1) Smooth movements – avoid jerky or rapid movement. Don’t reach over the colony. (2) Use your smoker to disperse bees and smoke when “bees are looking at you” from top of open box. (3) Don’t drop bees on ground around your feet. Hold combs over open colony. (4) Watching foraging, lifting the colony and other non-hive opening skills. VI. Avoiding Problems with Stings a) Proper use of protective clothing, veil and smoker b) Use rubbing alcohol with wintergreen essence to cover sting odor and clean wound. c) Length of colony examination, weather factors and behavior of beekeeper d) Some bees are more defensive. Recognize defensive (don’t say aggressive) bees by flight into veil, tendency to sting, flighty response to smoke. e) Work smaller colonies to gain confidence. Can work colonies in a nectar flow condition much easier. f) Use spray or ointment to reduce itching. Use cold to reduce swelling and initial discomfort. Scratching sting sites may lead to infection. g) Reactions to stings (1 Normal reaction – pain, wheal forms, swelling, redness and then itching. May last one to 7 days. Swelling variable but if remains at sting site then normal. (2) Allergic reaction – must recognize as different from normal. Get exaggerated response. Swelling at site and elsewhere on body, nausea, dizziness and maybe unconsciousness, hives, or itching on other parts of body, headache and generalized poor feeling. (3) Anaphylactic shock – most severe and immediate reaction. Usually will manifest itself in 10-15 minutes. Rush individual to hospital or doctor to get a shot of adrenaline or individual could die. (4) Toxic reaction. From multiple stings - too many too rapidly – will not lead to an allergy but discomfort can be greater.

5th Session ..... Page 3

REFERENCES Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 13, 14 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 13 MAAREC web site: See appropriate materials. Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 5

PRESENTATIONS/ASSIGNMENTS Demonstrate, with an empty bee hive, the procedure on how best to open and examine a bee colony. If bees are available, do the same with a live bee colony. Have students open a bee colony while you watch and offer help and friendly criticism. Do not attempt to rush timid or scared students. Allow

them to work at their own pace as much as possible. Remember that students don’t necessarily learn by seeing (or hearing) just once. Examine bee colonies as many times as feasible allowing the students to do rather than just watch. Have a bee sting you (or a volunteer) to demonstrate proper method of scraping sting out and the normal reaction to a sting. Collect some of the normal sting remedies (baking soda, ice cube, meat tenderizer, anti-histamine ointment, sting relief aerosols) to show to class. Have students make a list of home remedies for sting relief. Stings are a real problem and a real fear for beginners. You shouldn’t neglect to talk about stings, supplying accurate information. Don’t dismiss concerns about stings as silly and unfounded. It might be possible to get an M.D. to talk to the class on stings. Have students talk about fears, concerns, and hesitations about starting a bee colony. Demonstrate how to light a smoker and how different fuels burn. Compare both a large volume and smaller volume smoker. Show personal protective equipment and discuss relative merits of the various items. Remember that students don’t necessarily learn by seeing (or hearing) just once. You can examine bee colonies many times. Allow the students to do rather than just watch. Have them smoke, open, look for brood, etc., with you standing by to offer advice and assistance. Do not rush them as they will lack confidence and be very scared of being stung. If conditions permit do a demonstration and then permit students to practice. The more sessions like this the better they will become.

SOME DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What are some of the methods to teach beginners how to examine a colony and describe what to look for? Is it possible to teach/assist them to gain confidence and to help them overcome their fear of being stung? How important is it to smell, touch, taste and feel as well as hear about bees, beekeeping, bee products or other aspects of apiculture? th Session ..... Page 4 5 2. To what extent has the bee’s sting influenced beekeeping? Limited beekeeping? Kept more individuals from starting with bees? How do you differentiate between a normal and an allergic reaction to stinging insects? What are the treatments for normal reactions? For an allergic reaction? 3. How frequently should a bee colony be examined? What are some of the harmful aspects of too frequent inspections? How long should a colony be open during each inspection? 4. How can the beekeeper avoid irritating the colony? What can be done with bees that are excessively defensive? 5. What should be done if a colony is suspected of being queenless? If the beekeeper suspects a

disease condition? If too few honey stores seem to be the problem?

Beekeeper Removing an Excluder

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Fall & Winter Colony Management
6th Session Outline I. BIOLOGY OF FALL & WINTER a) Consolidation/shrinking of the brood area as food sources dwindle and temperatures drop lower b) Formation of the winter cluster c) The slowing and eventual halting of brood rearing d) The decreasing adult population of fall and winter


MANIPULATION OF BEE COLONIES IN THE FALL a) Requeening of colonies every other year – many reasons to do – too few do because of work b) Early fall (late August, September) 1) Thorough colony inspection (a) No AFB disease (b) Monitoring for Varroa mite threshold (c) Adequate (60 lbs.) honey stores (d) Queenright colony and compact brood area 2) Correcting deficiencies (a) Feeding as necessary 1. Feeding combs of honey 2. Feeding diluted honey in a syrup feeder 3. Feeding sugar syrup (2 parts sugar: 1 part water best in fall) a. Boardman feeder at entrance b. Top feeders you make yourself c. Division board feeders that replace frames d. Friction top pails or glass jar feeders on top of colony 4. Feeding dry sugar – on inner cover or in empty comb or on bottom board 5. Best to use sucrose

6th Session .... Page 2

6. Cull poor comb or foundation frames (b) Uniting weak/queenless units with stronger colonies 3) Adding grease patty for tracheal mite control – put right in brood chamber 4) Feeding Fumidil-B for Nosema Control 5) Treating bee mites/BEE PMS – combining chemicals for mites/antibodies c) Late Fall (October – early November) (1) Inspection for adequate honey reserve & feeding as necessary (2) Reducing of hive to brood chamber w/food chamber above (3) Fumigate stored equipment with PDB for wax moth control (4) Reducing colony entrance for mouse control (5) Moving to best winter location or providing a wind break (6) Vent excess moisture from top of hive


WINTER COLONY CARE a) Danger of opening colony and inspecting frames b) The quick check for adequate honey stores c) Importance of getting equipment ordered, package bees ordered early and winter equipment repaired CHANGES IN WINTERING OF BEE COLONIES a) The old method of packing and insulating colonies for winter b) The disadvantages of packing (time consuming, cost, keeps cluster too warm so eat more honey rather than less, start brood rearing too early) c) Modern concepts (keep pests such as mice out, keep Nosema levels down, vent excess warm, moisture-laden air and carbon dioxide, importance of good sunny, windless location with early spring pollen sources) ASSESSMENT OF WINTER MANAGEMENT SKILLS a) Checking for dead colonies. Determining the reason for losses w/deadouts b) Condition of colonies in spring



References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 15 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 9 & 10 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 14, 20 MAAREC. Web site: Extension leaflets on Fall/Winter Management; Colony Management (taken from Penn State “Fundamentals of beekeeping” and USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 7, 8, 9 USDA Research Report #1429. The thermology of wintering honey bee colonies. 32 pp.

6th Session .... Page 3

resentations/Assignments Use a standard hive or a hive model to illustrate each hive manipulation discussed. It is much more effective to both tell students to reduce hive entrances in the fall and to demonstrate insertion of an entrance reducer or other mouse guard in a hive or hive model to make your point. Demonstrate all fall manipulations with full-scale beekeeping equipment or a scale model hive. Illustrate alternative methods of accomplishing the same fall management task. For example, you can reduce a hive entrance with a commercial wooden entrance reducer or pieces of scrap lumber, sheet metal reducers (commercial or homemade), wire screening and by other means. Similarly, there are numerous means and devices for feeding bees sugar syrup. Bring several feeders to class to illustrate how they work and point out advantages and disadvantages of each. There is a short (<10 min.) video on Fall & Winter and a companion video Late Winter/Early Spring produced by Univ. of Wisconsin in the late 1970s. It has no information on mites and is no longer

available although there are copies available to rent or loan (from Univ. of Delaware). A 28-minute video from Univ. of Guelph features Outdoor Wintering in Ontario. Slides on fall and winter are included in general series on bee management. Videos from Ohio State and Georgia feature management in fall and winter. Draw diagrams of what one should expect in a colony properly prepared for winter. Show the honey stores needed and proper position of the brood nest. Use references to make overhead transparencies from B&W illustration such as in Caron and Sammataro/Avitable books. Draw side and front views of hives that are reduced to 1 standard box, 1 standard & a half-depth box, 2 standard, and 2-1/2 boxes. If teaching in the fall, go to an apiary and perform a fall inspection. If teaching over the winter remove a colony cover to demonstrate the cluster position. Point out how bees on the edges of the cluster stand up on the hind legs and expose their sting when disturbed in cold weather (or after dark when cool). Collect some hive bees, cut off their heads and pull out the digestive tract from the rear of the abdomen with forceps to illustrate rectum size and check for swollen, distended ventriculus (midgut) which is a symptom of Nosema disease. Discuss changing beekeeping practices such as the older concept of packing colonies for winter, moving colonies into cellars, etc., vs. current practice of not packing or, for commercial beekeepers, migrating southward. The effects mites have on bee colonies should also be discussed (see information in this resource manual on pests and diseases).

Some Discussion Questions 1. What is the relationship of bee biology to successful fall and winter management? Have we learned everything about wintering biology? 6th Session ..... Page 4 2. There is no one correct way of maintaining and manipulating bee colonies. What are the most important things that need to be done to bee colonies in the fall to insure successful overwintering? 3. If successful overwintering results in fewer than 10% of the colonies being lost can we say that we have mastered this portion of the season? What are the reasons bee colonies die? In very northern areas beekeepers may kill the entire colony and start from a package colony the next season. Alternately they may kill some colonies and move the remainder to a more favorable wintering location further south. What are some of the factors a beekeeper needs to consider before dividing or killing, overwintering or moving south to overwinter? 4. What are the bee diseases/mites to consider for control in the fall? How have they changed beekeeping in the 90s? What are the best management practices to control bee mites/diseases and Bee PMS? 5. Give some of the means of venting excess moisture from a bee colony. Why is this one hive manipulation so necessary for successful wintering? 6. Why is a mouse in a bee colony harmful to the bees and more likely to lead to less successful overwintering? What are some simple, inexpensive and humane means of controlling mice?

7. Give some of the reasons, besides economic, for our change in overwintering practices as regards packing colonies for winter. Are beekeepers who still pack colonies necessarily wrong in so doing? 8. What manipulations can or should be performed on a colony during the winter? Can the same information be ascertained without colony examination? 9. Why do colonies die overwinter or in early spring? How should the equipment of dead colonies be handled? How can a beekeeper determine what killed the colony? 10. Why do we recommend requeening of colonies every other fall? What bee race is most appropriate for successful overwintering and why do some bees potentially have an advantage over others.

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Spring Colony Management
7th Session Outline I. BIOLOGY OF SPRING a) The rapid increase in brood and adult populations once pollen becomes available and temperatures moderate b) Preparations for swarming as expanding colonies crowds brood rearing area c) Biology of swarming (colony reproduction) d) Cleaning of comb cells, construction, new combs and other biologies of spring expansion e) Storage of nectar and ripening


MANIPULATION OF BEE COLONIES IN THE SPRING a) Early inspection for condition and food (Feb. – March) 1) Remove dead colonies, clean entrances 2) Checking colonies for honey stores (do rapidly to avoid harm)

3) Feeding of weak colonies (a) sugar syrup or dry sugar (b) pollen supplement or substitute (costs and benefits) b) Early spring management (mid March – mid April) 1) Maintenance of active brood rearing colonies 2) Inspection during favorable weather for (a) Adequate honey stores – feed sugar syrup (1:1) if necessary (b) Proper brood rearing – reverse if jammed in top box; combine if queenless or supply new queen (c) No disease – AFB especially; feed terramycin if EFB 3) Install packages c) Special management for pollination colonies & for early honey crop

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Spring Colony Management
7th Session Outline III. BIOLOGY OF SPRING f) The rapid increase in brood and adult populations once pollen becomes available and temperatures moderate g) Preparations for swarming as expanding colonies crowds brood rearing area h) Biology of swarming (colony reproduction) i) Cleaning of comb cells, construction, new combs and other biologies of spring expansion j)

Storage of nectar and ripening


MANIPULATION OF BEE COLONIES IN THE SPRING d) Early inspection for condition and food (Feb. – March) 4) Remove dead colonies, clean entrances 5) Checking colonies for honey stores (do rapidly to avoid harm) 6) Feeding of weak colonies (c) sugar syrup or dry sugar (d) pollen supplement or substitute (costs and benefits)

e) Early spring management (mid March – mid April) 4) Maintenance of active brood rearing colonies 5) Inspection during favorable weather for (d) Adequate honey stores – feed sugar syrup (1:1) if necessary (e) Proper brood rearing – reverse if jammed in top box; combine if queenless or supply new queen (f) No disease – AFB especially; feed terramycin if EFB 6) Install packages f) Special management for pollination colonies & for early honey crop

7th Session .... Page 2 g) Mid spring management (mid April – mid May) 1) Maintenance of active brood-rearing colonies 2) Brood box reversal for brood expansion 3) Swarm prevention and control 4) Dividing strong colonies 5) Disease inspection – if not done earlier 6) Supering the strong colonies (with or without the queen excluder) h) Swarm capture of feral nest swarms and other beekeepers colonies (not your own) i) Late spring management (mid-May, onward) 1) Swarm prevention and control as necessary 2) Dividing colonies and starting nucs 3) Supering colonies (methods of adding supers) V. ASSESSMENT OF SUCCESSES a) Keeping swarm instances below 10% of total b) Storage of nectar/honey by strong colonies c) Size of colonies and relative strength for pollination/nectar storage or other objectives

References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 16 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 11 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 14 MAAREC. Web site. Extension leaflets on Spring Management, Managing Honey Bees For Pollination and Early Honey Flows; Dividing Honey Bee Colonies (ABJ reprint); Swarming Prevention and Control; and Colony Management (taken from Penn State “Fundamentals of Beekeeping” and USDA “Beekeeping in the US”) Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook. Ch. 6, 8

Presentation/Assignments Each of the various spring manipulations should be demonstrated with an empty hive or a model hive in the classroom. If you can, you should demonstrate (and allow practice) with colonies.

Especially show normal colony examination, looking for swarm queen cells and adding supers. Beginners have a difficult time recognizing normal brood patterns and seeing abnormalities. Point out frames with mixtures of worker and drone cells. If you find them, bring in examples of drone layer or laying worker. Disease examples should be carried to class except AFB. (AFB can be taken but wrap it in special paper and caution the students in handling it.)

7th Session .... Page 3

Draw diagrams of brood chambers in 1, 1-1/2, 2, and 2-1/2 boxes to show normal colony expansion in the spring. Add supers and reduce brood to 1-1/2 or 2 in the diagrams to show what the beekeeper should accomplish with spring manipulations. Show how reversal of brood boxes can benefit colony expansion. There are several videos available that illustrate Spring Management. These include 3 lengthy (1 hour) videos from Beekeeping Education Service. Videos from Ohio State and Univ. of Georgia show manipulations during spring. There is a slide series on bee management also from Beekeeping Education Service. Overhead transparencies can be used from illustrations in resources listed.

Some Discussion Questions 1. Bee colonies increase in population each spring despite manipulations the beekeeper may or may not do. How is it possible to recognize colonies that might need to be stimulated or others that have expanded too rapidly and may need swarm control or division? How can a slowly increasing colony be moved along more rapidly? What are the problems likely to happen with colonies that expand too rapidly? 2. How important is timing in successful management? What are some of the manipulations a beekeeper can do if timing is not very refined? 3. Relatively few beekeepers feed pollen substitutes or supplements. What are the advantages to feeding supplemental protein? What are the problems? 4. Many bee colonies die in early spring. Why? How can the beekeeper prevent such loss? Are there dangers in feeding sugar or protein supplements too early in the spring? 5. Why is swarming a major management problem? What causes swarming? What are the techniques to use to control swarming? Why is cutting of queen cells only not enough for swarm control? What happens if a queen cell is missed in one of the 3 basic methods of swarm control? 6. Explain a honey-bound brood chamber. What can a beekeeper do if this condition is recognized? 7. What is a queen excluder? Why is it such a controversial piece of equipment?

8. What are the relative advantages of bottom vs. top supering? Can the first super be added too early? or too late? How should conflicting management concerns of swarm control and supering be best handled?

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Summer Management and Honey Production 8th Session
Outline I. Biology of Summer a) Population fluctuating in the summer colony (1) Brood/adult cycles in large colonies (2) Swarming/absconding of summer colonies (3) Supersedure of old queens (4) Queen loss, pesticide loss and other factors in summer colony demise b) Honey production (1) Nectar collection by foragers (2) Ripening of nectar to honey (3) Storage of ripening honey & capping of honey cells Manipulation of Bee Colonies to Provide Surplus Honey STORES a) Supering for honey flow (1) Determining when supers need to be added (2) Size of super to use (3) Methods of supering ( ) Top supering (a) Bottom supering (b) Baiting supers to get bees working in them (4) Oversupering early flow and consolidating honey storage towards end of flow b) Drawing frames of foundation c) Why produce honey in the comb? (1) Market for section honey, cut-comb, chunk and honey-filled frames (2) Lack of medical evidence that honey in the comb is better for customers (3) Do not need honey processing equipment d) Building strong and populous colonies before nectar flow – use of swarms vs. overwintered colonies e) Determining proper timing to super for flow – supers must go on at start of flow and not before f) Supering after crowding of brood area. Must crowd and force bees to move onto foundation (1) Getting supers ready to add (2) Adding 2 or more supers at one time (3) Finishing sections and securing complete supers of capped honey – difficult but economically important (a) Moving sections about to influence completion (b) Feed only honey to finish sections


g) Removal of supers (1) Remove when capped but without delay 8th Session .... Page 2

(2) Best techniques to remove (bee escapes or blowers – must not injure cappings) (3) Protection against wax moth by freezing comb sections h) Packaging section-comb honey or cut-comb honey for market i) Rebuilding colonies for winter and management of non-comb-producing colonies III. Non-flow Summer Manipulations a) Drawing foundation frames b) Culling broken frames or frames with abundant drone comb c) Building weak colonies d) Special activities (1) Trapping pollen (2) Transferring bees from box hive or side of building (3) Rearing queens Checking for Queen Replacement Problems a) Examination of colonies to find queenless colonies b) Examine only smaller colonies usually c) Building weak colonies


References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 11, 17, 18 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 12 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 14, 15, 16, 18 MAAREC Web site: Extension leaflets on Summer Management and Transferring Bees, Colony Management Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 8, 9, 12

Presentations/Assignments Demonstrate the various methods of supering colonies using an empty hive and supers or a model hive in the classroom. Do the same with colonies in the field if conditions permit. Discuss relative merits of queen excluders. Do not hesitate to go over the same points more than once. While out in the apiary verbally explain what you are doing and why. Let the students do – don’t have them just watch. If you have the equipment you should demonstrate use of a pollen trap, techniques to preserve pollen, how to rear queens and how to transfer bees from a nonstandard box hive. Show properly installed foundation and bring examples of good and bad drawn comb to class. Demonstrate the importance of good, solid combs and how foundation installation, plus proper comb drawing conditions, are so vital to obtaining such comb. Why should beekeepers have

extra drawn comb? How should it be stored? What is the value of good drawn comb. 8th Session .... Page 3

Demonstrate a section super or frames appropriate for cut-comb honey. Both require use of thin surplus foundation which must stay in place after placement on the colony. Discuss difficulty of producing comb honey, its relative merits and why fewer beekeepers are practicing this beekeeping art today.

Some Discussion Questions 1. What are the relative merits of top supering? Bottom supering? Baiting supers? Why must the beekeeper insure that bees work in supers he/she adds to the colony? 2. What are the steps a droplet of nectar goes through as it leaves the flower before it becomes a droplet of extracted honey. 3. What supers are most appropriate for extracted honey? Cut-comb honey? Section honey? Bulk comb honey? How does management change to produce these different honey types? 4. Beekeepers can use a super box of 4 basic depths. What are advantages and disadvantages of each size super relative to supering, honey production, and removal of supers. 5. What is “whiting?” What other signs or indications do bees provide to help the beekeeper to know when to super? What problems can result from early supering without (or with) the queen excluder? 6.

Why is production of honey in the comb so difficult? What happens if bees are not crowded or if honey-filled supers are left on colonies for too long a time period?

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual

Handling/Marketing the Honey Crop
9th Session Outline I. Handling Extracted Honey a) Review of conditions optimal for production of surplus honey b) Removal of honey from colony (1) Wait until 3/4 or more of cells capped – leave on colony until ready to process (2) Different methods of removing (a) Bee blower or forced air (b) Bee repellents (benzaldehyde, and Bee Go = butyric anhydride) (c) Bee escapes (disadvantage: two visits to colonies and bees may rob) (d) Bounce and brush c) Movement of honey supers to extracting house – keep robbing down, do not delay extracting d) The extracting honey house (1) Design honey house for flow and working space (2) Basic equipment (uncapping knife, extractor, uncapping tank, settling tanks) (3) Automated honey handling equipment e) Uncapping frames of honey f) Extracting uncapped frames g) Course straining of wax particles, dead bees, etc., from liquid honey h) Settling honey to allow debris to float to the top Handling Honey Cappings a) Automatic capping melting equipment b) Draining honey from cappings c) Getting honey from drained cappings (gas or electric stove, solar wax melter) and what to do with honey (feed to bees) Handling Wet Honey Supers a) Storage of wet supers b) Robbing (controlled or open) of wet supers and storage of dry supers c) Culling bad frames; repair of damaged frames Bottling of Honey Bottling from settling tank vs. from 60s Large-scale bottling equipment Cleaning and straining honey for bottling Crystallization of honey before/after bottling The honey label



IV. a) b) c) d) e)

9th Session .... Page 2


Handling liquid honey without an Extractor

a) Squeezing and mashing combs b) Handling comb and settling the liquid c) Chunk honey or cut-comb honey as a better alternative VI. Marketing the honey crop a) Relative merits of wholesale vs. retail (direct or through middle man) b) Quality – quality – quality c) Displays and honey shows to boost sales

References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 11, 17, 18 Crane, E. 1975. Honey: A comprehensive survey. Crane, Russak Co., NY. 608 pp. Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 15, 16, 18 MAAREC Web site: Products of the hive. Sammataro, D. and A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 12

Presentation/Assignments You should be able to demonstrate one or more methods of removing honey supers. Store frames or supers of honey in a freezer for demonstrations if you teach when honey is not normally available on colonies. In class, show how bee escape is used with inner cover. Demonstrate bounce and brush with frames (empty or with capped honey) – do without bees if you cannot do with live colonies. It might be possible to visit a honey house (even a temporary extracting set-up of a hobbyist). Alternately, you might bring extracting equipment to class to show the equipment and demonstrate how it is used. Keep some frames of honey available for class. Uncap and extract such frames to allow students to taste “fresh” honey. Demonstrate an ideal honey house design and then discuss some alternatives. Have students design/diagram a honey handling facility. Show important factors of uncapping, extracting, settling tanks, handling wet supers, storage, and other aspects. Bring honey to class and have students judge it for cleanliness, flavor, moisture content and crystallization. You could set up some samples with dirt, foam, crystals forming, etc., to let students see the best and some of things that can go wrong. Visit one or more outlets selling honey. Have students survey supermarkets, roadside stands, neighborhood/convenience stores to see honey sales and compare prices. Log-on to the 9th Session .... Page 3

National Honey Board web site (linked on MAAREC site). Suggest students visit a honey show and challenge them to prepare show entries.

Some Discussion Questions 1. Are there any real alternatives to extracting honey? How can one extract honey if an extractor is not owned? 2. Most beekeepers extract just one time each season. Why is this most practical? For what reasons would a beekeeper extract more than once in a season? If a beekeeper extracts a honey crop early, how can he/she be sure the colony will have sufficient food stores for winter? 3. What are the elements in design of an efficient honey house? What regulations relate to design, sanitation and cleaning of honey extracting/bottling facilities? Describe the honey handling of the backyard beekeeper as compared to the commercial beekeeper. 4. What are some of the ways honey and wax can be sold? Why do some people claim medicinal properties and greatly exaggerate the nutritional qualities of honey? What is its food value? Why must we not advertise honey as a medicine? How can processing (just extracting, or extracting, heating and filtering plus other processing) alter the value of honey in our diet? 5. What is robbing? Why should robbing behavior be controlled? What can be done to control robbing once it starts?

9th Session .... Page 4

Honey extraction setup (From Brushy Mountain Bee Supply Catalogue)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Bee Botany and Pollination
10th Session Outline I. POLLINATION a) Define pollination – transfer of pollen from anther to stigma, fertilization and fruiting/seed set. b) Agents of pollination – wind, insects, rain, other animals c) Types of pollination – cross pollination, self-pollination (must be self-fertile) d) “Rewards” flowers offer pollinators – nectar, pollen, oils, odors e) Insects as pollinators (1) Insects other than honey bees (2) Managed honey bees – can be moved, managed (3) Honey bees constant to one flower type (4) Body hairs of honey bees ideal for trapping pollen (5) Moving bees and rental contracts f) Crops pollinated by honey bees; forage/legume crops, fruit crops, nut crops, oilseed crops, vegetable seed & production g) Pollination of endangered/native plants BEE FLORA a) Early spring plants (1) Early flowering trees and shrubs along water sources (alder, willow, skunk cabbage)


(2) Maple and elm, crocus in cities b) Mid-spring (1) Dandelion, yellow mustard, other weeds, early blooming shrubs (2) Fruit bloom & pollination c) Honey plants (1) Locust and tulip poplar (2) Blackberry (3) Summer bloom sequence – sweet clovers, vipers bugloss, basswood, sumac d) Other summer bloom (1) Cucumber and pollination of cucurbits (2) Minor summer plants (3) Some pollen plants – corn, ragweed, others e) Fall bloom (1) Major – spanish needle, Bidens sp., goldenrod, aster (2) Other including buckwheat & lima bean f) Honey dew – secretion of aphids or other plant-sucking insects that honey bees collect and ripen

10th Session .... Page 2


INCREASING THE HONEY CROP a) Planting of little benefit to bees b) Moving bees to the flower source – methods and timing c) Factors that affect nectar secretion by the plant

References Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 11, 19 EAS Misc. Pub. 2. Pollination - includes references to extension publications CAPA. Managing bees for crop pollination. 34 pp. Penn State. Hives for hire. Univ. of Tennessee. Making a pollination contract. Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 10, 11, 24 Free, J. B. 1992. Insect pollination of crops. Vol. 2. Academic Press, London. 544 pp. Johansen, C. and D. Mays. 1990. Pollinator protection. Wicwas Press, Cheshire, CT. 212 pp. Lovell, H. B. 1996. Honey plants manual. A. I. Root Co., Medina, OH. 64 pp. MAAREC Web site: Pollination. See also Caron website McGregor, S. E. 1976. Insect pollination of cultivated crop plants. USDA Agric. Handbook No. 496. 411 pp. Pellett, F. 1976. American honey plants. Dadant & Sons, Hamilton, IL Sammataro, D. and A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 14

Presentations/Assignments There are several excellent VHS tapes on pollination listed below. Slide sets on bee flora and

pollination are available from Beekeeping Educ. Service, PO Box 817, Cheshire, CT 06410. Title Length Date Source The story of pollination 23 1983 National Geographic Society The honey bee (a growers guide 30 1995 USDA (A.I. Root Co.) colony evaluation for pollination) The flower & the hive 12 1960 Internat. Film Bur. (Canada) Sexual encounters of the floral kind 58 1986 Insight Media, NYC & Carolina Biological Plant reproduction 30 1997 Insight Media, NYC Flowers: Structure & function 10 1950s Coronet, Northbrook, IL Pollination of alfalfa by honey bees 28 1960s Hercules Powder Company Pollination: the insect connection 14 1986 Insight Media, NYC Birds and the bees 50 1980s Teachers Video, AZ Putting wild bees to work 27 1973 USDA

10th Session .... Page 3 Pollination is a natural topic to use to make fair displays or other visuals. Much information is available on pollination. You can have students pick specific crops or just pollination itself and do or submit designs for poster display, essays or other projects. Bee botany/pollination is a great topic to invite a beekeeper to the classroom to share his/her experiences in producing honey and/or pollination of crops.

Some Discussion Questions 1. What role does the honey bee play in commercial pollination? In the home garden? In pollination of wild flowers around us? 2. What plants can beekeepers urge homeowners or public officials to plant that would help his/her bee colonies? 3. How can a beginner determine what plants will supply pollen for his/her bee colonies. Supply nectar? How can he/she tell what plants will be a surplus nectar source and the dates they will bloom? 4. The value of honey bees as pollinating agents exceeds the value of their honey/beeswax product by 10 or more times. Explain this statement. What crops are pollinated by honey bees in your area and what is their value? 5. Describe the major nectar and pollen sources in spring buildup? In surplus nectar flow? In fall storage flow? How important are “minor” pollen and nectar sources?

10th Session .... Page 4
Cross- and self-pollination (Diagram from Carolina Biological)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Problems: Diseases, Pests and Pesticides
11th Session Outline I. Brood Diseases (Bacterial) a) American Foulbrood – AFB (1) Caused by pathogen Paenibacillus larvae (2) Effects – kills larvae and entire colony eventually (3) Symptoms as seen by beekeeper (sunken perforated cappings, etc.) (4) Spread of AFB (beekeeper – in nature by drifting or robbing) (5) Use of drugs for prevention (terramycin, but may have resistancec) (6) Control once diagnosed positively (burning/ETO: antibiotic drugs not effective) b) European Foulbrood – EFB (1) Caused by pathogen Melissococcus pluton but other organisms show up rapidly (2) Effects – bee brood killed, colonies (3) Symptoms as seen by beekeeper (and possibly distinguished from AFB) (4) Spread of EFB (5) Control via use of antibiotic terramycin (6) Requeening as control Chalkbrood (fungus of brood) Caused by fungus Ascophaera apis Symptoms (mummies on bottom or outside colony, sometimes in cells) Spread (infected pollen & beekeeper) Control

II. a) b) c) d) III.

Virus Diseases of Honey BeeS a) Sacbrood – virus of the larva (1) Diagnosing and telling sacbrood from AFB & EFB (2) No control measures effective (3) Managing infected colonies b) Septicemia and other virus diseases of the adult (1) Difficulty in diagnosing (2) No control effective Nosema Disease of Adult BEES a) Caused by protozoa Nosema apis b) Five major effects (1) Inhibits digestion of food and production of royal jelly (2) High rate of queen supersedure (3) Colony population lower and less honey production (4) Lower winter survival and higher dysentery level (5) Individuals have shorter life span and slower spring population increase c) Symptoms difficult to diagnose – can inspect gut of bee


11th Session .... Page 2

d) Spread e) Control and proper use of fumagillin (Fumidil-B)


Distinguishing Disease from Other Problems a) Brood problems sometimes hard to distinguish (1) Chilled brood – see especially at edges of brood area (2) Brood killed by pesticides – do not see 12 capped, 6 larva, 3 eggs ratio you usually expect because larva not living to capped stage b) Queen problems (1) Queenlessness – reasons and how to distinguish (2) Laying workers – multiple eggs in cells, eggs at odd angles and positions (3) Drone-laying queen – only drone brood c) Adult problems (1) Lack of adequate adult population (2) Pesticide kill of foragers – pile of dead bees at entrance (3) Genetic abnormal adults d) Multiple symptoms of Bee Parasitic Mite Syndrome (BEE PMS) BEE MITES a) Varroa jacobsoni (proposed new name Varroa destructor) – Varroa mite (1) Varroa mites and bees (2) Sampling for mites (a) visual inspection of adult or brood (drone) (b) ether roll (c) alcohol/soapy water (d) sticky boards (e) powdered sugar (3) Control of Varroa (a) miticides Apistan & coumaphos (b) other chemicals (formic acid, essential oils) (c) IPM methods – 1. Necessity for monitoring thresholds 2. Physical/mechanical 3. Cultural control 4. Genetic control/resistant bees b) Acarapis woodi – tracheal mite (1) Tracheal mites and bees (2) Dissecting bees to monitor for tracheal mites (3) Control with menthol, formic acid (4) Use of grease patties for control


11th Session ..... Page 3


SERIOUS PESTS AND THEIR CONTROL a) Wax moth – a caterpillar that destroys beeswax comb, always present especially when weather warm. Attacks unattended or improperly attended or stored comb (1) Effects on comb. How to distinguish (2) Control in colonies through management and strong colonies (3) Control in stored comb through PDB or exposure to light (4) Control in comb honey by freezing b) Mice – enter colonies in fall and build a nest (1) Reduce entrance or use mouse guard and importance of proper fit of reducer (2) Control by proper manipulation (3) Chasing out and keeping out mice discovered inside c) Human vandalism – a growing problem (1) Stealing colonies, stealing honey and tipping colonies over (2) Branding or identifying equipment to reduce theft (3) Avoiding locational problems, painting hives to blend with scenery d) Ants and termites – sometimes serious. Sometimes have to keep equipment off ground. (1) Methods of protecting hives and hive stands from ant and termite invaders (2) Importance of quality hives and workmanship in building, or putting together of same, so as to limit crawling and nesting spaces (3) Discouraging of ants and termites with proper colony inspection on a regular basis. e) Small Hive Beetle OTHER PESTS/PREDATORS THAT MAY OCCASIONALLY BE A PROBLEM a) Skunks, opossums, and raccoons – nighttime visitors (1) Recognizing damage (2) Control by elevating colonies or screening at entrance b) Bears (1) Damage – usually extensive (2) Control by careful site selection or electrified fence c) Birds (mockingbirds, purple martins, English sparrow, woodpeckers) (1) Which ones and extent of damage (2) No control necessary d) Frogs, toads, snakes & lizards (1) Recognition (2) Control e) Livestock – large animals that might tip colonies over. Locate bee colonies outside livestock area. f) Spiders & insects inside the hive – most after pollen. Strong hives not invaded. g) General insect predators at flowers and around hive – several insects capture flying bees (robber flies, praying mantids, assassin bugs, spiders, dragonflies, etc.) but no control other than movement of colonies.


11th Session .... Page 4



a) How bees may be killed (1) Pesticides applied to crops in bloom (2) Drift of pesticides to flowering plants (3) Flowering weeds in crop being sprayed (4) Spray of bee hive proper (accidentally or on purpose) (5) Contamination of water source b) Bees may suffer (1) Lose field force (2) Lose field force and part of hive bees (3) Entire colony killed (4) Colony weakened so don’t survive winter or disease can gain foothold (5) Pile of dead bees at the colony entrance c) Considerations when using pesticides in close proximity to honey bees (1) State laws and regulations (2) Temperature, wind direction and speed (3) Location of honey bees relative to spray area (4) Time of day (5) Types of pesticide d) Migratory methods of commercial beekeepers with respect to crop spraying

References AAPA. Protecting honey bees from Varroa jacobsoni (leaflet) CAPA. 1991. Honey bee diseases and pests. 16 pp. Caron, D. M. Honey bee biology and beekeeping. Ch. 20 Caron, D. M. Apidology laboratory manual. Lab 7 Dadant & Sons. 1992. The hive and the honey bee. Ch. 25, 26 MAAREC. Honey bee parasites, pests, predators, and diseases. 86 pp. MAAREC. Web site has several leaflets and the interactive BEE AWARE site. Morse, R. A. & Kim Flottum. Honey bee pests, predators and diseases, 3rd ed. Sammataro, D. & A. Avitabile. The beekeeper’s handbook, 3rd ed. Ch. 13

Presentations/Assignments You can spray a colony of bees with resmethrin insecticide to show one method of how bees die and the pile up of dead bees at a colony entrance. This is expensive and some in class may object. Use extreme caution. You should illustrate in some way the differences between the diseases. Use videos, slides (available from Penn State University) or overhead transparencies of pictures (from books 11th Session ..... Page 5 or handout). Provide chart or have students make chart of different characteristics of various diseases. You can bring diseased comb samples into class. Use extreme caution and contact state apiary inspector for best method to use to handle disease samples.

Put sticky boards in a colony to obtain Varroa mites. Demonstrate dissection for tracheal mites if you have a microscope adequate to see them. Discuss how bee mites have changed beekeeping. Collect as many samples as possible and visit an apiary to see symptoms and illustrate control methods. Radio Shack sells an inexpensive 30X pocket microscope which can be used to view tracheal mites in the tracheae. Collect examples of predator activity. A bottom board eaten by termites (or ants), the chewed remains of bees spit out by skunks, bottom boards scraped by skunk, a hive body hit by a shotgun, etc. Allow wax moth to become established in some comb and bring to class to show damage and the actual moth larva and adult.

Some Discussion Questions 1. What is the causative agent (pathogen) of AFB? EFB? Chalkbrood? Nosema? What are distinguishing characteristics of each? 2. How are diseases transmitted from one colony to another? Is the beekeeper the usual method of transfer? 3. Good management practices are the best control for brood diseases. Under what circumstances should a beekeeper use antibiotic drugs to help control brood disorders? Since AFB forms a spore that a drug cannot penetrate, should such drugs be permitted to be used around AFB? 4. What is Nosema? How can Nosema be controlled? Can you demonstrate the economics of feeding Fumidil-B vs. not feeding? 5. Bee mites have completely changed beekeeping. Pesticides have been readily accepted and used (over-utilized) directly inside a colony. Why do hive mites have such a profound effect? What are the alternatives to miticide/chemical control inside a bee colony? 6. Describe how hive stands and entrance screen (or reducer) can reduce or eliminate predation by small rodents such as mice, larger animals like skunks and occasional insect pests like ants and praying mantids.

11th Session .... Page 6 7. How can we reduce human vandalism? What is the value of branding equipment? How important is location in terms of vandalism? 8. What role have brood diseases played in beekeeping management in the past? Today? How are pesticides affecting the bee industry today? Do pests and predators have much impact

on beekeeping? 9. What rights do beekeepers have when their bees are killed by pesticides? Since some courts have interpreted bees as trespassers can beekeepers sue others for damage? Will the pesticide problem become worse or gradually become less severe? 10. Explain the statement “The beekeeper is the honey bees’ worst enemy.”

11. The best part of this course was _______________________________. The least desirable was _______________________________________. As a student I can or cannot manage a bee colony with confidence.

Small Hive Beetle

11th Session .... Page 7

Life Cycles of varroa (top) and Tracheal Mites (Cornell University)

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual

You should obtain one or more free catalogues from a national bee supply dealer for use by your students. There may be a local supply dealer who might be willing to come to discuss equipment and/or bring bee supplies for sale. It may be appropriate to also order package bees for installation by your students. Advertisements for these, videos and lots of other useful items related to bees and beekeeping can be found in one of the three bee journals listed on the next pages. Bee Supply Dealers

A. I. Root Company 623 W. Liberty St. Medina, OH 44256
Tel: 216•725•6677 800•289•7668 FAX: 216•725•5624 Email: Website: Supplies & publications

Betterbee, Inc. R.R. #4, Box 4070 Greenwich, NY 12834
Tel: Inquiries: 518•692•0221 Orders: 1•800•632--3379 FAX: 518•692•9669 Email: Website: Supplies; queens, nucs, packages available (Wilbanks• supplier)

Brushy Mtn. Bee Farm 610 Bethany Church Rd. Moravian Falls, NC 28654

Tel: 336•921•3640 800-233-7929 FAX: 336•921-2681 Woodenware, supplies

Dadant & Sons, Inc. 51 S. 2nd St. Hamilton, IL 62341
Tel: 217•847•3324 Toll free orderline: 1•800•637•7468 FAX: 217•847•3660 Email: Website: Woodenware, supplies, extracting equipment

Mann Lake Supply 501 S. First St. Hackensack, MN 56452
Tel:218•675•6688 Orders: 1•800•233•6663 FAX: 218•675•6156 Email: Website: Supplies, woodenware

Maxant Industries PO Box 454G 28 Harvard Rd. Ayer, MA 01432
Tel:978•772•0576 FAX: 978•772•6365 Equipment

Walter T. Kelley Co., Inc. 3107 Elizabethtown Rd. PO Box 240 Clarkson, KY 42726•0240 Tel:
207•242•2012 800-233-2899 FAX:207•242•4801 Manufactures supplies; queens, packages, woodenware

MAAREC Beekeeping Resource Manual
Welcome to the WORLD OF BEEKEEPING! This Resource Manual features a presentation outline of 11 basic topics that could be covered in a beekeeping course. Each topic includes a list of references that can be used to prepare the lecture. Also each has a section on some presentations/assignments to accompany the lecture topic that will help supplement the classroom/lecture-type of presentation as well as suggested lab-type activities. Each session includes a list of some appropriate reference materials and discussion questions. BASIC BEEKEEPING COURSE – 11 TOPICS
Session 1 Introduction & History of Beekeeping………………………… 2 Session 2 Bee Biology….....................…………………………………… 4 Session 3 Beekeeping Equipment………………………………………… 9 Session 4 Apiary Locations and Obtaining Bees…………………………. 14 Session 5 Basics of Colony Manipulations - Gaining Confidence.……… 20 Session 6 Fall & Winter Colony Management .......……………………… 24 Session 7 Spring Colony Management .........……………………………. 28 Session 8 Summer Management & Honey Production ...………………… 31 Session 9 Handling/Marketing the Honey Crop .........…………………… 34 Session 10 Bee Botany and Pollination ..............………………………….. 37 Session 11 Problems: Diseases, Pests, Pesticides …………………………. 41 Appendix ...........................................………………………….. 49

The references include the appropriate chapters in THE HIVE AND THE HONEY BEE, (1992) from Dadant & Sons, HONEY BEE BIOLOGY & BEEKEEPING by Dewey Caron and the material in the BEEKEEPERS HANDBOOK, 3rd ed. by Sammataro and Avitable. I have a manual of 12 practical, hands-on laboratory exercises (APIDOLOGY LABORATORY MANUAL) that might be used directly

by students or as a supplement to one of the recommended textbooks. Each topic also includes references to some appropriate extension publications available on the MAAREC web site ( We recommend students get a major extension publication like Penn State’s Fundamentals of Beekeeping, Maryland’s Beekeeping in Maryland or USDA Agricultural Handbook 335 Beekeeping in the United States. (The last two are out-of-print but copies may still be found. BEEKEEPING IN THE UNITED STATES is scheduled for revision.) A list of equipment suppliers and their addresses plus a number of other sources of information will be found in the appendix at the end of the Resource Manual. Some additional useful general references are A Year in the Bee Yard (1983), BEES AND BEEKEEPING (1978) and THE NEW COMPLETE GUIDE TO BEEKEEPING (1994) all by Roger Morse, and HIVE MANAGEMENT (1990) by Dick Bonney. The BEEKEEPER’S HANDBOOK, 3rd ed. (1998) has an extensive list of references arranged by topics. Older books may also be useful, but if written before 1990 will lack adequate information on bee mites. I thank the MAAREC Task Force for comments and suggestions and especially appreciate the effort of Ann Harman in preparation of this BEEPEEPING RESOURCE MANUAL. Dewey M. Caron - January 2001

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