2018 UPDATE ON REPLACING DEAD BEE HIVES
I have kicked off the honey bee season by making lots of preparations getting the empty hives in mint condition for new bees! Thank you friends and family for helping me secure a refrigerator and freezer so I can sterilize hives/frames/equipment and hold the honey bee frames to put into rotation safely.
Unfortunately a lot of the honey bees at Valhalla Spa Organic's home apiary didn't survive over the winter. So my first priority is replacing lost stock by purchasing a local & a high-quality genetic line of bees. The most preferable line would be from a queen being selected for breeding programs that have vigorous hygienic grooming tendencies, which help tremendously in keeping the Varroa destructor mite in check. The more the girls groom themselves and each other the more mites get knocked off. And if using a screened in bottom board the mite falls to the ground and can't crawl back up into the hive to re-infect her host.
Also this year I will be deploying special Drone Frames to attempt to physically disrupt the Varroa breeding in peak cycle. The mites prefer to lay their eggs in the larger male Drone cells during a certain time of year. So I will sacrifice the poor little males before they hatch in order to kill the Varroa cell hijackers before they hatch in the Drone cells. The chickens will ecstatically have an early Thanksgiving dinner a'la drone frame. I also deploy a variety of organic acid treatments to kill the mites. The two I use are safe, organic, and does not affect the honey at all due to the timing of treatments.
The Gainesville Area Bee Club members go in together on a big order once a year so I will buy my bees with the club this year from the very reputable bee supply store, Dadant, in High Springs, FL. The bees are sold there in small boxes with five frames of bees and a mated queen ready to go into your permanent bee hive at home. These mini-hives are called Nucs.
I have nine hives that need to be re-housed with bees/queen from the Nucs and a list of supplies the bees need to help them survive this year. So that means I need to raise almost $1,700 for tangible local purchases next month to do my part to help save the honey bees by shepherding them, caring for them, and keeping the girls safe!
Please contribute what you can to protect the honey bee pollinators and share with others interested in agriculture, nature & conservationism, or gardening!
FEB 2018 EQUIPMENT WISH LIST FOR VALHALLA SPA ORGANICS APIARY
- 9 Nucs of Replacement Bees/Queen = $1,350
- 8 Division Board Feeders M00859 $4.27 x 8 = $34.16
- 3 Brood Builder Patties w/ Honey B Healthy CTN/ 10 M0014610H $19.95 x 3 = $59.85
- 1 Mite Away Quick Strips 10 Dose M01461 $41.45 x 1 = $41.45
- 1 HopGuard Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment $48.00
- 5 Pounds of Ground Cinnamon for Pest Control = $32.00
- 2 Varroa Mite Screen Board CTN/ 1 B41501 $15.85 x 2 = $31.70
- 3 Assembled 9 1/8" Grooved Top-Bar Frames CTN/ 10 C75210 $32.45 x 3 = $97.35
- 2 Fifty pound bags of white cane sugar $25 x 2 = $50