Curriculum

AN INTRODUCTION TO BEES AND BEEKEEPING

By Bill Mares & Russ Aceto

LESSON ONE: BEES AND EVERYONE

I. Welcome and Congratulations: You have chosen to study a creature which has given humans sweetness and light for thousands of years, and now pollinates a hefty chunk of your diet.

[ “What do YOU want to get out of this course?” –Go write this on the board ]

[Hand out packets,, with syllabus and book reviews. You should read through this material on your time. Catalogue is very good. Subscribe to one of journals, preferably both.

Buy Sammataro’s book, or Flottum’s or Delaplane, which will be available.

 

II. HISTORY: BEES AND HUMANS 

--Goes back over 8,000 years

--You are joining an extraordinary fraternity: Aristotle, Virgil, Lloyd George, Sherlock Holmes, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson wrote about them. QUOTES

FOUR ERAS:

A. The chase/hunt--

B. Early beekeeping Egyptians, Middle Ages, Honey trees- always had to destroy hives to get honey

C. Industrial Age—Langstroth’s bee space—was a combination of inventing the wheel and splitting the atom. Moveable Frame, lasts until

D. The era of Varroa and globalization of markets and pests. Your hobby is tied to the fate of the overall honey industry

III. WHY ARE BEES IMPORTANT: THE PAY-OFF

KINDS OF HONEY:

--Liquid

--Comb

--Crystallized, whipped, etc.

--Cut Comb

--Varietal

--Wax—for cosmetics, molds, models

--Propolis—health properties.

--Venom--Especially Pollination:

IV. WHY KEEP BEES?

---Endlessly fascinating

-- wonderful products

--help with pollination

--working on cusp between settled and wildV. WHAT IS INVOLVED IN KEEPING BEES?

--A place to put hives

--Boxes, frames, tools, foundation,

--Smoker, veil,

--Bees

--tolerant neighbors

VI Problems facing beekeeping—interweaving of threats—biologic, market, development

VII. Movie: “Why Honey Bees?” ( Notice the Mraz’s and other Vermont scenes.)

VIII. Questions and homework

Bottom Board

Books to Sell

Deep with frames

Cook books

Medium Brochures

Inner Cover

Outer Cover

Smoker Hive tool

Suit

GRANT FOR NEWBIES !!!!!

 

LESSON TWO: EQUIPMENT AND BEES

I. ANATOMY OF A HIVE: Posters and photos. Equipment

Demonstration:

A. Full hive:

Bottom board

Screened bottom board

One/two deeps

One/two mediums

Frames, wax and plastic

Queen Excluder

Hive escape

Inner Cover

Outer cover

Feeders

II. CLOTHING AND TOOLS

Full suit, half suit

Everything in tool box

Gloves

Water, candy bars

• Hive Tool- What is it used for

• Smoker

• Veil/ Pull-over veil

 

• Gloves – to glove or not to glove the alarm pheromones

HONEY EXTRACTION

--Process—cutting cappings, spinning honey knife and filter .

C. GO OVER THE “BLOGGED” EQUIPMENT [Make copies]

III. MEET THE BEES

20,000 species of bees, only four produce honey 

--Queen—center of hive, only one can live 3-4 years, hatches in 16 days

--Workers—do whole range of tasks, gestate in 21 days, live only 6 weeks in summer

--Drones—24 days to hatch. Do nothing but wait around to mate with queen. Expelled from hive in fall.

BIOLOGY OF BEES [Searching for poster of bee anatomy]

--Body parts—Head, thorax, abdomen, stinger

BEE COMMUNICATION

--Bee Dance –most famous, new/old theory on smell

--pheremones from queen, giving different directions.

--antennae—picking up messages

[ BM SHOWS SLIDES OF BEEKEEPING –MAYBE! ]LESSON 3: AN EVENING OF PATHOLOGY DISEASES, ETC AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM.

This is where the rubber hits the road. You’re responsible for keeping your bees alive. Benign neglect won’t work anymore. The bees have been under a lot of stress and you need to know how sickness manifests itself.

NTM: GO OVER TEST QUESTIONS FOR GUIDANCE

 

BEE HEALTH –Benign neglect no longer possible

--Clean home.

--Diseases—AFB, Chalk brood, nosema—two kinds,

--Mites, esp. Varroa

--Predators, like bears, skunks, mice

--Wax Moths

Integrated Pest Management

Hygienic queens, screened bottom boards, drone combs,

LESSON 4: INFORMATION AND ASSEMBLING EQUIPMENT

I. [ Year in the Bee yard:] Pass out Steve’s sheet.

II. Assemble equipment –Divide into two groups showing wax and plastic differences.

III. Go over text books, make sure you start with Sammataro, OR Flottum (give out Ann Harman’s article.

Read lots of catalogues, --they are full of information.

Subscribe to one or other of beekeeping magazine. Join VBA.

Read BEE-L

IV. Get a mentor. OR SHADOW ---One of the problems with beekeeping is that so many people have their own systems, many of which work. So what are you the novice to do? Get a mentor you trust and nestle under their wings, Find someone who will let you ask lots of questions, Gradually, you will find you have to ask fewer questions, you will have answered some of them yourself, You will come to find where you differ from your techer-tutor-mentor, as Russ has differed from me.

V. Go over Steve Parise guide (possibly) and take them to the VBA test on the web. (for members only!)

VI. Take them on Internet and book tour of what’s available. but your first purchase should be Diane’s or Kim’s book.

VII. If there’s time, show pix of beekeeping in Vermont and Central America.

VIII. Questions … http://www.beekeeping.com/_menus_us/index.htm?menu.htm&0

Another great world site

Betterbee http://www.betterbee.com/

Brushy Mountain http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/

New England Farms http://newenglandfarms.com/

F.W. Jones http://www.fwjones.com/

Walter Kelly http://www.kelleybees.com/

Vermont Beekeepers Association http://www.vermonttbeekeepers.org/ 

http://www.beeculture.com/ Magazine’s homepage and a lot more!

http://www.beesource.com/ Online source for ideas, links and questions!

http://www.tianca.com/tianca29.html good introduction to beekeeping from a Long Island beekeeping association.

http://www.hoosierbuzz.com/ -Indiana state beekeepers association

http://pollinator.com/ THE page for those interested in using bees for pollination!!!!

http://www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/honeybee/breeding/Select.html New World Carniolan site

http://www.beehoo.com/ World beekeeping resources in English and French

http://www.beekeeping.com/_menus_us/index.htm?menu.htm&0 Another great world site

http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/infosale.htm Site for information

 

WHAT EQUIPMENT TO BUY? - Bill Mares & Russ Aceto (CVU)

1/10

Hives:

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The assumption here is that you're starting 2 hives, each with 2 deep hive bodies and 2 medium supers. For the sake of simplification, Bill advises sticking with the medium supers, which overwinter better and will produce more from the same amount of labor as a shallow super. When shopping for wood, be aware that sometimes more than one grade is offered (Better Bee = 'select' & 'commercial'); it's worth it to spend up for the premium wood. 'Hive kits'- the already assembled options, usually feature the plastic frames. Better Bee offers an unassembled kit with wood frames, but if you order 2 a la carte, you'll save $25. Of course, you'll probably make up that savings when you buy the necessary assembly tools, etc.., but you might be happy to have those around.

Deep Hive Bodies (4)

Deep Frames (40) the Better Bee has 3 types of wood frames. In Bill's opinion, the easiest to work with are the 'wedged split' frames, which you may also see listed as open bar/open bottoms in other catalogs.

Medium Supers (4) or more

Medium Frames (40) or more

Crimp-wired Foundation order these to match your frame order;

(40) deep, (40) medium or more

Your first season, 4 supers total is probably fine. Like all things bought, sold & assembled, there is a margin of error that you should allow for - so more frames/foundations than necessary may save you. If you're getting nucs this year (which are each 5 frames) you may still want to order 10 total for each deep, and consider the extras back ups.

(Plastic Foundation : comes in all sizes. Advantage is that you don't need supporting wire. Probably needs an extra layer of wax on it to draw bees. Avoid the one-piece plastic frames, which bend and crack.)

Bottom Boards (2) pine reversible

Screened Bottom Boards (2) varroa screens

Inner Covers (2)

Outer Covers (2) telescoping outer cover; Get them in parts and put together yourself.

Bee escape or fume board (1) triangle escape;

Entrance Reducers (2) also called Entrance Cleats

Feeders--there are three ways to do it. A reservoir the size of a frame inside the hive; a jar of syrup which attached to landing board; and feeding from a can or jar through the hole in the inner cover.

Tools:

Notebook/Hive Records, pencil

Smoker most beginner kits come with the 4 x 7" model; the 4 x

8

10" is a better bet (I suppose that because we're new at this, it's better not to run out of smoke...) the Better Bee Advanced Pro Smoker, is $4 extra and has some insulation/antiburn implementations

Hive Tool look for the 10" model, and consider getting 2!

Capping Scraper this was listed as an 'uncapping fork';

Bee Wire, Zinc Metal Eyelets, & Punch all for assembling wooden frames

Wiring board, nails, hammer

Glue wood glue or Gorilla™ glue

Bee Brush good to have, but in use, less is more or you'll annoy your bees

Protective Clothing:

Suit; full or half -

I noticed that the Better Bee pullover doesn't show which type of veil comes with, so I'm still looking...

Veil with suit or separate

Gloves, leather or rubber -

Bill says that beginners would be smarter to start with leather as they offer more protection (they reach farther up your arm) and better dexterity. However, as your skills progress, be aware that leather stiffens, and that as your gloves collect stings the alarm pheromones will remain present the next time you visit your hive - think about washing them sometimes.

Boot Bands

Bee Food:

Pollen Patties - BeePro or make your own; this is a powdered substance that you might want to have on hand, just in case 

Sugar Syrup - 1:1 ration in Spring, 2:1 in Fall

Medications:

here are some that you may want to keep on hand

Fumagillin - for nosema

Mite-away II

Apiguard

Api-life Var (try brushy mountain for this)

Bill's Optionals & Extras

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Queen Excluders (2) metal, listed under tools****

knife or box-cutter

duct tape

carrying case for tools

uncapping electric knife

extractor (check with others in your community first, better

to share this when starting out)

frame grips - can be helpful if frames get stuck

text book - your choice

hive wrap-felt or tarpaper

MADDIE’S NOTES FOR QUICK “CLASSES”

BEES AND HUMANS –4 Eras

--Goes back over 8,000 years

--Never completely domesticated.,

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--Put in Skeps, logs

--Big discovery of bee space and moveable frame

WHY ARE BEES IMPORTANT: PRODUCTS

--Honey

--Wax—for cosmetics, molds, models

--Propolis—health properties.

--Venom--Especially Pollination: CCD

WHY KEEP BEES? :

---Endlessly fascinating

-- wonderful products

--help with pollination

--working on cusp between settled and wild

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN KEEPING BEES?

--A place to put hives

--Boxes, frames, tools, foundation,

--Smoker, veil,

--Bees

--tolerant neighbors

ANATOMY OF THE HIVE

--Brood chambers,

--Supers

--frames

--Wax vs. Plastic

--Bee Space

MEET THE BEES

--Queen—center of hive, only one can live 3-4 years, hatches in 16 days

--Workers—do whole range of tasks, gestate in 21 days, live only 6 weeks in summer

--Drones—24 days to hatch. Do nothing but wait around to mate with queen. Expelled from hive in fall.

BIOLOGY OF BEES

--Body parts—Head, thorax, abdomen, stinger

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BEE COMMUNICATION

--Bee Dance –most famous, new/old theory on smell

--pheremones from queen, giving different directions.

--antennae—picking up messages

BEE HEALTH

--Clean home.

--Diseases—AFB, Chalk brood, nosema—two kinds,

--Mites, esp. Varroa

--Predators, like bears, skunks, vols,

WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO?

--FIND A NEIGHBORING BEEKEEPER TO HELP

--READ AT LEAST ONE TEXT

--SUBSCRIBE TO ONE MAGAZINE

--JOIN VBA AND OR LOCAL CLUBIII.

Diseases and Disorders

A. Varroa mites

*

bees. True/False

* All of following are negative effects of varroa mites on a bee colony EXCEPT:

a. They feed on 

Varroa mites become established in a colony in

all the following ways EXCEPT: a. piggy-back on

Varroa mites have all the following physical

characteristics except: a. Size of a pin-head, b.

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reddish-brown, c. have six legs d. flattened ovalshaped

crab-like body.

 

Varroa mites can commonly be seen in all the

following EXCEPT a. feeding on honey; b. in thesymptoms of a severe

drone brood, c. on adult bees; d. dead on the bottom

board.

All of the following are

varroa infestation EXCEPT: a. Spotty brood pattern;

a. Capping scratcher to open drone brood; b.

* In Vermont all the following legal treatments are

available for varroa mites EXCEPT: a. Check-Mite b.

B. Tracheal mites*Tracheal mites are microscopic mites which live in

* All the following are effects of tracheal mites,

EXCEPT: a. feeding on the bees’ hemolympth; b.

The following are all treatments for tracheal mites

EXCEPT : a. using resistant stock; b. menthol; c.

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vegetable oil patties; d. Fumidil-B

* Vermont currently has high levels of tracheal

mites. True/FalseC. American foulbrood

American Foulbrood is a highly-contagious sporeforming

bacterial disease affecting honey bee brood.

True/False

AFB weakens a colony by killing young brood and eventually will kill the entire colony. True/False

The following are all symptoms of AFB EXCEPT

a. an irregular pattern of capped brood cells.
b. sunken, perforated cappings;
c. chocolate-colored dead larvae”;
d. Dead larvae easily removed from cell. 

When opened, an infected cell will contain dead larvae or pupae with light-brown color and melted appearance. True/False

Dead larvae or pupae infected with AFB will have a ropey or mucus-like consistency. True/False

In more advanced cases, the dead larvae or pupae will dry down to a white or gray mummy-like scale on bottom of the cell. True/False

Which of the following is NOT a treatment option for AFB?
A. Terramycin,
B. Tylan,
C. Burning.
D. Mite-Away II.

To control AFB, hives should be treated twice a year with anti-biotics. True/False

 

D. European foulbrood

* EFB is a spore-forming bacterial brood disease. True/False

EFB is very common in Vermont. True/False

EFB is considered a stress disease and is most prevalent in the spring and early summer.

True/False

All of the following are characteristics of EFB, EXCEPT:
a. EFB generally kills larvae 2-4 days old;
b. most larvae die before their cells are capped;
c. diseased larvae show a non-uniform color;
d. Dead larvae pull out in ropy strands.

* Treatments for EFB include all the following EXCEPT:
a. Terramycin;
b. Re-queening
c. warm weather and honey flow;
d. Menthol

D. Chalkbrood

*Chalkbrood is a fungal brood disease of honey bees. True/False

Worker, drone and queen larvae are all susceptible to chalkbrood. True/False

All of the following are symptoms of chalkbrood EXCEPT

a. scattered partially uncapped brood cells containing mummified larvae;
b. dead larvae that are chalky white and covered with fungus filaments;
c. Dead larvae “mummies” are often found on the landing board or ground;
d. dead larvae are twisted in bottom of the cell.

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Chalkbrood is most prevalent in late spring when the brood nest is expanding rapidly. True/False

* There is presently no chemical treatment available for chalkbrood. True/FalseE.

result in severe losses. True/False

It is most common during the first half of the brood rearing season, and usually affects only a

small percentage of the brood. True/False

*All of the following are characteristics of sacbrood EXCEPT:
a. It affects both drone and worker larvae.
b. Larvae die in a stretched-out position with their heads raised like the keel of a boat.
c. Dead pupae will be found with tongues stuck top of cell;
d. Dead brood is often scattered among healthy brood.

The diseased larvae are easily removed from the cells, unlike those of AFB. True /False

When removed, the contents of the larvae are watery and the tough outer skin appears as a sack of fluid. True/False

Strong colonies and regular re-queening are most effective in combating this disease. True/False

F. Nosema, both Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae 

* Nosema disease is caused by a spore-forming protozoan, that invades the digestive tracks of honey bee workers, drones and queens. True/False

* All of the following are effects of Nosema EXCEPT:
a. Damage to the digestive track may produce symptoms of diarrhea.
b. Infected queens have lower egg production and shorter life spans, often leading toward supercedure.

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c. sunken cappings on brood cells; d. shortened life span, reduced brood production and colony

development. 

The only treatment for nosema is fumagillin, administered in a syrup solution. True/Falsea.

Small hive beetle

Small Hive Beetles (SHB), originated in India and are a new pest in the U.S. since 1998.

True/False

Adult small hive beetles are about one-third the size of a bee, black and covered with fine

hair. True/False

SHB larvae are often found in silken galleries. True/False

* The best treatment for SHB in Vermont is cleanliness in the beeyard and honey house and

maintain strong colonies. True/Falseb.

Wax moth

All of the following are effects of wax moths EXCEPT:

a. Larvae can cause considerable damage to beeswax combs;
b. wax moth larvae damage or destroy the combs by chewing through the beeswax;
c.wax moth larvae feed on caste skins and pollen.
d. Wax moth larvae defecate in honey causing it to spoil.

Other effects of wax moths are all the following EXCEPT:
a. They spin silken galleries to protect themselves from bees
b. Combs are often reduced to a mass of webs and debris.
C. They damage wooden hive components in process of forming cocoons. d. They “ball” the queen.

Old dark brood combs are the most susceptible to wax moths. True/False

You can prevent damaging numbers of wax moths in active colonies by maintain strong colonies. True/False

All of the following are ways to prevent wax moth attacks on stored combs EXCEPT:
a. expose combs to light and air circulation;
b. subject combs to sub-freezing temperatures,
c. use approved wax moth controlled chemicals; and
d. spray combs with sucrocide.