Beekeepers have been around longer than beekeeping gloves. A lot of the “old timers” don’t use gloves. Either they don’t mind getting stung or they rarely do anything to provoke their bees to sting. I assume it is the latter.
If a beekeeper can handle working sans gloves, it’s admirable to me. For those who use gloves, working bees without gloves is a great goal to work towards.
Lots of beekeepers use gloves because they can’t afford to lose functionality in their hand for a day. I’m one of those beekeepers who needs a fully functioning hand everyday (as if nobody does). When stung in the hand, my hand likes to swells up nicely and it puts my fine motor skills out of commission. My hand will get nice and puffy, prompting the hasty evacuation of my wedding ring.
During my first year and a half of beekeeping, I would rarely wear gloves. With a low population of bees, I was able to gradually build my confidence as my bees slowly built their population up. Here are five things I learned about working gloveless
- Bees are very passive and rarely sting unless provoked
- Reaching quickly across frames from back to front (or vice versa) provokes bees to sting
- Working without gloves taught me to respect bees, making me a much better beekeeper
- If given the choice, I would rather not get stung (it hurts like the dickens)
- Bees are pretty tough and will move out of the way when you apply a little pressure
I now use gloves nearly all the time now. I miss all the dexterity that going glove less gave me, but my hands thank me for it. I still maintain the slow, zen-like movement when handling my bees, but can still tell when the bees would rather me be somewhere else.
Like a farmer can smell the rain or a sailor reads the water, beekeepers have their own learned skill set. And being able to “read” your bees is of the utmost importance. If you don’t know how to “read” your bees, work them without gloves and they will teach you.
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.
Ever want to know what your bees are doing each month? Want to know what beekeepers are supposed to be doing each month to help their bees? Watch our monthly video or better yet, subscribe to our Bees & Beekeepers newsletter to get a more in depth glimpse into your bees each month.
Many beekeepers use foundation to help the bees, but not all foundation is made the same. Cell sizes differ greatly among brands, as does amount of wax sprayed onto plastic foundation. Smaller cell sizes allow for more eggs to be laid by the queen, creating a more compact brood nest.
Assembling foundationless frames can be very simple to do, but some best practices can be followed to increase the chance of success. We have tried several different ways, from wiring frames to breaking paint sticks in half. Read how we assemble our foundaitonless frames effeciently now.
Showing you how to assembled 50 langstroth frames with foundation with only 25 seconds per frame. We used 1 1/4-inch long staples and Titebond 3 wood glue to assemble them. Each frame is fitted with our heavily waxed foundation with 2x as much beeswax as standard plastic foundation.
As a beginner beekeeper, it is important to choose whether to use 8 frame bee equipment or 10 frame bee equipment before starting to keep bees. There are advantages and disadvantages to using both types, so read our blog to find out which is right for you.
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.
We don't think much about honeybees during the winter. Well they are alive and well, just in a sort of hibernation inside their hive. For the bees it is a race againts time and cold weather if they are going to survive the winter.