Folks often ask us about our beekeeping practices. We'll try to summarize them here as best as we can. We hope you find it interesting.We are on a 3 to 5 year frame rotational schedule. As soon as the bees draw out a frame, we write the year on that frame - yes, every single frame. Yes, it is a bit tedious.
It should be noted that we view the Certified Naturally Grown Apiary Standards as the minimum bar of achievement for our practices. We are a proud CNG certified operation.
Monica does most of the beekeeping. This includes daily management and breeding. She is also the soap mistress! Soap, lip balm, ..., all of our value-added products. When you call our beeline, she is the one most likely to answer.
We have intention to toy with top-bar hives, but... so far, only to toy with them. No, we do not believe they are more natural. They aren't. They are just a different way to keep bees... and looks like a whole lot of fun! We will probably try them this year. UPDATE: We just installed packages on two top-bar hives for the first time (May 2011). Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or our Blog or our Newsletter to see how that goes.
We wire nearly all of our frames. We know many many people that don't wire their frames (they use crimp-wire foundation), but let us tell you why we do...
Sometimes the bees need more food. If so, we give it to them. Fall is the critical season. Honey bees have to go into winter fat. Fat (well fed) bees are healthy bees.
We are trying to find the right balance. Our goal is to eventually to get to the point that we only rarely have to feed the bees. We are not there yet.
All that being said, we are always open for change, and these practice will probably change over time.
Monica grafts our queens or makes natural splits when swarm cells are found. The presence of supercedure cells usually spells the end of the current queen. If they are superceding, something is wrong with that queen.
Talk to us!
Monica makes all of her soap using the old-fashioned, traditional, slow-process, cold-process techniques. No glycerine is taken out and she has refined her recipes to near perfection over the process of many years now.
We hope that gives you a bit of insight into our beekeeping methods and practices. Feel from to contact us if you have any questions.