The beekeeper must
– Look at the condition of the hives and their supports.
– Make repairs when necessary.
– Inspect the hives to verify the queen’s presence, production and storage of food (honey and pollen).
– Posture of eggs, presence of enemies and diseases
– Make the necessary arrangements so that this does not influence the productivity of the hive.
– Change the frames when they are deformed, black or even broken.
– The queens usually reject frames of the type quoted above, not performing postures on them.
The system of this hive is based on 5 moving parts
1 – A background, base or stage of the hive.
2 – A nest, which is the box where they take the 10 pictures.
3 – A handle, which is a box similar to the nest, but with half the height and where only takes 8 pictures. (The frames, which are of two types, one for nest and one for handle, with half the height of the first.)
4 – A cover of coat, that is the cover that covers the pictures.
5 – A second cover, this is of plate to protect the rain.
The assembly is as follows, from bottom to top: dais, nest, hood cover and rain cover. Between the dais and the nest is an opening in the front and a platform of landing and takeoff: it is the board of flight. The nest has this name because it is where normally the queen and her baby are. The handle is where the excess honey produced should be left and that can be extracted by the man without prejudice of the family. In certain situations a screen is used between the nest and the handle to avoid that the queen does posture outside the nest: this screen is called excluder of queen, that allows the passage only of the workers. This provision follows the principle of nature. The bee always deposits the honey above and around the place where the young are, due to the thermal qualities of this, which serves as a blanket.
Once housed in rational boxes and placed in apiaries, bees become a responsibility to the man who collected them, and should be lovingly cared for and provided with everything necessary for their well-being. In nature as the hive grows, it needs space. A honeycomb that served several generations of bees becomes, for various reasons, unfit for use, and then they abandon it. As long as there is space they are building new combs. Once all the available space is occupied, the whole colony leaves for another place.
In rational boxes man can take care that the precious space for work does not lack. In periodic reviews we can replace the inappropriate frames with new ones with new wax or we can expand the hive by placing new nest boxes or handles depending on the case. And in this work it is necessary to keep in mind that the bee needs the space to work. A hive that sees itself without space and suddenly receives it, then shows its gratitude through a considerable increase of activity. The opposite case also happens. If flora is scarce, if there is no food in nature, man is obliged to supply the colonies that are under his care. It is then time to adjust the space of the hive by reducing it by removing one or more boxes. In times of scarcity the queen restricts her posture, the number of individuals decreases, and a very large space can not be taken care of by them. It is usually necessary to feed the families. For this there are own equipment, and one should always use pure honey for this purpose.
The handling of the hives must be done in a safe, decisive, harmonious and silent manner. Bees are very sensitive to strong odors, dark colors, noises and human imbalances in general. Those who work with them must be balanced on all levels of being. Brazil’s Africanized bees, in particular, are quite aggressive, or rather defensive, and they need to be very careful. There are several tools and equipment appropriate to bee management. To start the beekeeper must be properly dressed. It is indispensable to wear the monkey suit with mask, gloves and boots. Besides, nobody should go to the apiary to work alone.
The beginning of the work gives a little smoke inside the hive. This is done with the fumigator. Smoke must be clean, dense and cold. Its purpose is to cause a certain suffocation in the bees and the illusion of a fire. In the face of this threat they worry about airing and house and preparing the escape, filling themselves with honey. In addition to being distracted, with the stomach full of honey are prevented from using the stinger effectively. The amount of smoke should be kept to a minimum, and someone should be in charge of the fumigator all the time. Once the hive has been fumigated, the top cover is slowly opened with the beekeeper’s scraper, initially leaving a small opening for the bees to become accustomed to the outside light, while at the same time a little more smoke is released through that opening .
The sequence of the work is done naturally, lifting the necessary boxes and examining the inside of them, depending on the purpose of the manipulation (routine review, emergency review, extraction of honey, etc.). The observation of the movement in the pictures always gives clear indications of how the interior of the hive is. For example, whether it is a strong or weak colony, if there is a queen present, the movement is ordered, although it is more or less intense. Therefore, it is only necessary to open a beehive if it is a period of regular review or if some strange behavior is noticed in the pictures.
During handling we should avoid some procedures ...
– Active perfumes and deodorants.
– Hit and shake the combs.
– Crush the bees with the chisel or between the frames, they release a pheromone of attack that causes the bees to attack the nearest target.
– Strong colors (black, red, blue), such colors are unpleasant for them. White, light yellow and light blue are the most recommended because they irritate less.
– Cloudy, rainy and high winds. These days cool the pups, they should be at an ambient temperature around 30º to 35º degrees.
“Do not touch the hive too soon, not too late.” In beehives bees that transport the nectar and pollen are the most aggressive, so we should move when they are not. This occurs depending on the region, between 10:00 and 17:00.
– Stay in front of the hives during handling. Bees enter and exit the hive always relying on the observations they made on their first flights.
– Never let the fumigator go off.
For millennia the man tries to raise bees in order to extract their products, mainly honey and wax. Until the beginning of the century it was a custom, especially with the meek European bees, to house the swarms in rustic boxes and thatch baskets and leave them in the yard. At the time of collecting the material it was necessary to destroy almost the entire nest. The combs were squeezed to remove the honey, and the wax melted. And the colony was forced to rebuild everything again. Many naturalists were concerned with improving the management conditions of the colonies both in relation to man and in relation to them. So they were inventing various types of shelters for swarms, almost always without much success.
However in the middle of the last century an American mathematics professor, Lorenzo Langstroth, discovered the so-called bee space and idealized the hives that are used today in certain countries, called Langstroth, standard, or American, with mobile frames and very comfortable for bees and for man. These hives are standard practically all over the world. What allowed the rationalization of beekeeping – technique to create bees of the genus Apis – was the millimeter organization of the nest. The space bee is simply the exact size of the spans that allow the movement of the bees between the combs and other dependencies of the place where the nest is. If the gap is larger, they build combs, or wax structures; if it is smaller they seal with propolis.
Leaving this adequate space between the frames – which are moving frames placed in the boxes – you can force them to build your combs inside them without soldering them together or in the box. The way to lead them to build their combs “properly” is by placing a wax blade on the frame. They find the blade and orient it. These blades can still be printed with hexagons so that the bees need only raise the walls of the alveoli. The slides thus prepared are said sheets or sheets of wax. The boxes used also have adequate measures for the biological behavior of the bees. Langstroth carefully observed the space needs of the families and managed to elaborate a box with almost ideal volume and dimensions.
It is nothing more than the departure of part of the bees to settle elsewhere, it is observed that such phenomenon will occur when the hive has the following characteristics:
– Huge movement of bees in and out of the hive and an above-normal amount of drones.
“Many queen alveoli in the pictures of the nest.”
– A cluster of bees on the outside of the hive forming a kind of beeswax.
Although the swarming is a disorder for the beekeeper, because it compromises in the production of the hive, it is not for the bees, since it is part of the instinct of perpetuation of the species.
This phenomenon can be accelerated due to the following conditions:
– Lack of nectar and pollen in the pasture field.
– Very high or very low temperature inside the hive.
– Old and precarious staves.
– High population.
– Lack of space for the queen to put her postures.
Unfolding the hives
When a hive is about to swarm or when we want to increase the number of hives in the apiary, we can do an unfolding. That should be done, if possible, before or after the large floras to avoid compromising productivity.
The easiest way to do this is:
– Place an empty hive near the hive that will be divided.
– Place in the empty hive a box containing eggs containing eggs, one with open calf containing day eggs (or real alveoli) one of closed calves and one containing pollen and honey, taken from the hive to be divided.
“The queen must be in the hive to be divided, not in the one that is empty.”
– The frames with pollen and honey should be on the sides of the hive and the chicks in the center.
– Complete with empty pictures the pictures taken from the mother hive.
– Carry the mother hive at a distance of at least two meters from the new hive.
To maintain order and harmony in the apiary, it is necessary to enable the colonies to remain strong. Therefore one must always be attentive to the quality of the queen present in a colony. A queen is good if her posture pattern is regular and steady. If necessary, the man should intervene, because sometimes a family does not have enough initiative to replace their mistress. In this case one of the simplest techniques is the following: the weak or the old queen is located, it is removed from the hive and eggs and pups of up to one day taken from a strong family are introduced. Noticing the absence of the mother bee, the daughters will soon try to pull one or more real alveoli, and possibly will use the introduced chicks to generate new queens. There are other techniques such as the introduction of queens already born or even fertilized, union of weak families, etc.
Before installing your apiary, you should note the following:
– Existence of good bee flora in the neighborhood. This ensures a good production of honey during the year.
– Existence of good quality drinking water. If it does not exist you will have to make a water cooler.
– Be sufficiently distant from sources susceptible to contamination, such as urban centers, highways, industrial areas, landfills, waste incinerators, etc.
– Place of easy access and very high. For a greater convenience of the beekeeper and do not overload the bees as the harvest of the nectar.
– Place the hive on trestles protected by bags of water, thus preventing the attack of ants and other small animals.
Try to avoid locations that have the following conditions:
– Strong winds. It disrupts the life of bees as well as changes the temperature inside the hive.
– Locations near bakeries and candy factories.
– Avoid that bees remove such places, thus avoiding possible inconvenience. – Very humid place, dark and subject to floods. Prevents disease spread. – Transits of people and animals. Avoid accidents.
– To avoid accidents take a distance of 100 meters from these places.
– Place with lights on at night because the bee is attracted if it hits the lamp until they get hurt.
– Do not place a larger number of hives on the apiary than the capacity supported by the bee flora.
– Avoid saturation of apiculture pastures.
There is no final word about the ideal place where a hive should be placed. In Paris, there is an apiary that sits above the municipal theater. Of course, your income would be appreciably better if you were located in a rural area. If the beekeeper uses common sense he will choose a good place for a future apiary.