Queen cups are very common in a beehive during the spring and summer. The bees build them in preparation for raising a new queen, but bees will build much more than they need. More often than not, the bees do not ever use them, but just build them just in case.
Choosing between beekeeping veils and suits is daunting, especially when trying to make a decision as a new beekeeper from a catalogue of equipment you have never seen or put your hands on. There are so many different options and prices, complicating the matter instead of making it easier. More options are not always better. We chose our favorite style and our least favorite style.
Super is short for superstructure, which refers to the boxes placed on a beehive for bees to store honey. Historically, a super was always medium, 6 5/8-inch tall box or a shallow 5 3/4-inch tall box. Both are traditionally referred to as supers, exclusive of the deep 9 5/8-inch box used on the bottom of the hive.
Pine is popular because it is inexpensive, grows quickly and is easy to cut. Cypress is popular as it grows slowly in wet areas, creating a denser wood with tight growth rings and increased durability. The tight rings and the naturally present preservative cypressene minimizes decay, allowing cypress bee hives to last longer than any beekeeper does. Even "new growth" cypress from todays trees carry the same natural preservatives as when cypress trees were first harvested.
Starting to keep bees requires a lot of upfront decision making, some are easy to change later than others. Choosing to use all medium boxes or a combination of deep, medium or shallow boxes is decisions that is harder to change later. If you use a combination of sizes, it is difficult to undue that decision and change to only medium boxes.
The average pollen grain is 25 microns wide, much smaller than the smallest filter a non-commercial beekeeper will have. Filters designed for straining honey for hobby beekeepers come in three sizes, 200 microns, 400 microns and 600 microns. These numbers represent the size of the tiny holes in each filter.
As of September 2015, honey cannot be certified organic by the USDA. Any certified honey sold in the United States is imported from other countries and certified organic by that country. A US beekeeper can have non-certified organic honey that is raised organically, but it is nearly impossible to actually produce. Read on to know why.