Front Cover
 Bees in history
 Races of bees
 The colony
 Nectar-producing plants
 Beekeeping equipment
 Location of the apiary
 How to start with bees
 Apiary operation
 Enemies of bees
 Beekeeping organizations
 Bee books and journals

Title: Beginning Beekeeping
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020520/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beginning Beekeeping
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Haynie, John D
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00020520
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAB2779
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Bees in history
        Page 4
    Races of bees
        Page 5
    The colony
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Nectar-producing plants
        Page 10
    Beekeeping equipment
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Location of the apiary
        Page 13
        Page 14
    How to start with bees
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Apiary operation
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Enemies of bees
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Beekeeping organizations
        Page 31
    Bee books and journals
        Page 32
Full Text

,. I
:.- 2~

- *4 .


James J. Love, Chairman, Quincy
Ralph L. Miller, Orlando
J. J. Daniel, Jacksonville
Frank M. Buchanan, Miami

S. Kendrick Guernsey, Jacksonville
James D. Camp. Ft. Lauderdale
Joe K. Hays, Winter Haven
J. B. Culpepper, Ph.D., Executive Director,


J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., President of
University 1
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Provost for
Agriculture 1
Marshall O. Watkins, D.P.A., Director
J. N. Busby, B.S.A., Assistant Director
Forrest E. Myers, M. Agr., Assistant to
the Director


G. H. White, M.S., Asst. Boys' 4-H Club Agt.
B. J. Allen, M. Agr., Asst. Boys' 4-H Club
T. C. Skinner, M. Agr., Agr. Engineer
A. M. Pettis, M.S.A., Assoc. Agr. Engineer 1
John D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Agronomist
James Nesmith, Ph.D., Asso. Agronomist
S. L. Brothers, B.S.A., Assistant Agronomist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Veg. Crops Spec. '
Stanley E. Rosenberger, M. Agr., Assoc.

J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor Marketing Spec. in Veg. Crops
M. H. Sharpe, Ph.D., Assistant Editor James Montelaro, Ph.D., Associate Vegetabl
William G. Mitchell, M.A., Assistant Editor 1 Crops Specialist
Jack W. McAllister, B.S., Assistant Editor J. D. Norton, M.S., Asst. Veg. Crops Spec.2
K. S. McMullen, M. Agr., District Agent Bruce Barmby, M.S., Interim Asst. Veg.
F. S. Perry, M. Agr., District Agent Crops Specialist
W. Platt, Jr., M.SA District Agent Mason E. Marvel, M.S., Assistant Vegetable
Crop Specialist
C. W. Reaves, M.S.A., Dairy Husbandman James E. Brogdon, M. Agr., Entomologist
T. W. Sparks, B.S.A., .Assistant Dairy John H. Herbert, Jr., M.S.A., Assistant So
Husbandman Conservationist
H. B. Young, M.S.A., Asst. Ext. Dairyman Granville C. Horn, Ph.D., Soils Specialist
N. R. Mehrhof, M. Agr., Poultry Husb.1 R. S. Mullin, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
J. S. Moore, M.S.A., Poultryman
A. W. O'Steen, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg- HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
Laying Test, Chipley TALLAHASSEE
L. W. Kalch, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Hush.
G. E. Williams, B.S.A., Asst. Supervisor, Anna Mae Sikes, M.S., State Agent
Egg-Laying Test, Chipley Eunice Grady, M.S., Assistant to State HD.
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Industrialist Helen D. Holstein, M.A., District Agent
J. E. Pace, M.S.A., Animal Husbandman Mrs. Edith Y. Barrus, B.A., District Agent
R. L. Reddish, Ph.D., Asso. An. Indust. Eloise Johnson, M. Ed., District Agent
K. L. Durrance, B.S.A., Asst. An. Indust. Mrs. Gladys Kendall, B.A., Home Industrie
Thomas G. Herndon, M.S.A., Farm Forester and Marketing Specialist
A. S. Jensen, B.S., Assistant Forester Agentmily King, M. Ed., State Girls' 4-H lu
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agri. Economist Anne Elizabeth Thompson, M. Ed., Asst.
E. W. Cake, Ph.D., Marketing Economist State Girls' 4-H Club Agent
R. A. Eastwood, Ph.D., Economist in Alice L. Cromartie, M.S., Nutritionist
Marketing Susan R. Christian, M.S., Assistant Nutr.
H. C. Giles, Ph.D., Livestock Mktg. Spl. Farm & Home Development Spec.
K. M. Gilbraith, M.S.A.. Veg. Mktg. S Elizabeth Dickenson, M.A., Clothing and
Clifford Alston, M.S.A., Farm & Home Textile Specialist
Development Specialist Alma Warren, M.A., in L.S., Asst. Editor
C. C. Moxley, Ph.D., Associate Economist and Visual Aids Specialist
E. W. McElwee, Ph.D., Ornamental Frances C. Cannon, M.S., Asst. Health
Horticulturist 1 Education Specialist
R. W. White, Jr., M.S.A., Asst. Hort. Bonnie B. McDonald, M.S., Asst. Economic
S. A. Rose, M.S., Asst. Ornamental Hort. in Food Conservation
Fred P. Lawrence, M. Agr., Citriculturist Ruth E. Harris, M.S., Family Life Special
Jack T. McCown, M. Agr., Asst. Hort. Roberta V. Halcomb, M.S., Home Imp. Spls
W. H. Mathews, M. Agr., Asst. Horticulturist NEGRO WORK, TALLAHASSEE
W. W. Brown, M. Agr., Boys' 4-H Agent
G. M. Godwin, M. Agr., Asst. Boys' 4-H Floy Britt, B.S.H.E., District Agent
Club Agent J. A. Gresham, B.S.A., District Agent

1 Cooperative, Other Divisions, U. of F.
2 On leave.
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director









Associate Professor of Entomology and Extension Apiculturist

Page Page
Bees in History .......................... 4 How to Start With Bees .........- 15
Races of Bees ............................... 5 Apiary Operation ....................... 17
The Colony ..........................-..... 6 Enem ies of Bees ......................... 29
Nectar-Producing Plants ........ 10 Beekeeping Organizations ...... 31
Beekeeping Equipment ......... 11 Books and Journals ..................... 32
Location of Apiary ...................... 13

Honey bees are valuable to Florida farmers not only for the
honey they produce but more so for their service in pollinating
crop flowers. It is estimated that more than 10,000 Floridians
are now keeping bees and annually harvesting an average of
18,000,000 pounds of honey. Florida normally ranks about third
in the United States in honey production.
In gathering nectar and pollen honey bees visit several plants
on one trip, thus helping to pollinate many plants that otherwise
might not produce fruit or seed in abundance. They are par-
ticularly important with legumes, watermelons, cucumbers and
many other vegetables and fruits. It is estimated that their
pollinizing services are worth at least 20 times as much as their
honey production. Growers often pay beekeepers to place hives
in their crop fields.
In almost every section of Florida honey bees can be kept
easily and usually will produce from 5 to 10 gallons of honey
per hive each year. Some sections of the state have sufficient
nectar-producing plants to support hundreds of colonies in one
location, making possible commercial beekeeping.
A few colonies of bees can provide a wholesome sweet for
home use. As the beginning beekeeper grows in knowledge and
skill he can increase the number of his colonies until he has a
considerable sideline or is in commercial beekeeping.
Beekeeping is not difficult and its principles can be learned
by anyone. However, the production of honey, like the pro-
duction of most agricultural crops, requires close attention and
a thorough knowledge of proper methods. The successful bee-
keeper must be a keen observer and base his operations on his

A revision of Bulletin 151.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Anyone interested in keeping bees would do well to read a
good book on the subject and subscribe to a bee journal. Bee
supply catalogs will aid the beginner to become familiar with
parts of the hive and beekeeping equipment. Visits to nearby
apiaries will enable him to learn the general routine and to
gain confidence in handling bees.

i i

Fig. 1.-Actual size of individual bees. Left to right: Worker, queen, drone.

This bulletin is intended to provide basic information about
beekeeping of particular interest to beginners. Those who have
questions not answered here will find a list of references in the
back of the bulletin, or they may write the Agricultural Exten-
sion Service in Gainesville.

Primitive man became interested in bees as a source of sweet-
ening and has kept bees since before recorded history began.
In ancient times honey was the principal sweet and honey and
beeswax were used for medicinal purposes. The wax also was
used to make light, for writing tablets, for mummifying the dead
and for dozens of other purposes. Importance of honey is at-
tested by such Biblical references as "a land flowing with milk
and honey." As early as 3,000 B. C. Egyptians floated rafts
containing "bee logs" down the Nile River as the season pro-
gressed to take advantage of a succession of honey flows.

Beginning Beekeeping

Honey bees were first brought to the United States in the 17th
century. They were brought to Florida by early Spanish priests
who kept them for both the honey they produced and the wax,
which was used to make candles for church services.
Despite the fact that honey bees have been kept by man for
thousands of years, these highly specialized insects have not
become domesticated. They can live with or without the help
of man.
All honey bees in the United States belong to the same spe-
cies, but there are several races within the species. Each race
is named for the country from which it originated.
Germans.-For over 200 years until the late 1800's, Germans
were the only race of bees in the United States. They are small,
black, cross, very susceptible to European foulbrood, and do not
protect their hives against the wax moth as well as most other
races. They have been largely supplanted by other kinds.
Italians.-The Italians were imported from Europe in 1860
and are now the most popular race in this country. The first
three segments of the abdomen of these large bees are yellow.
A light strain of Italians bred in this country has the entire
abdomen yellow.
Gentle and easy to handle, Italians resist European foulbrood,
build fine queen cells, keep the hive clean and protect it from
the wax moth, winter well, and are not bad about swarming.
The three-banded Italian strain has proven exceptionally good
honey producers.
Caucasians.-This race of dark bees, sometimes called moun-
tain grays in this country, is one of the most gentle honey bees
known. The Caucasians defend their hive well against robbers,
seldom enter the wrong hive, winter well and cap their honey
cells white. However, they have several characteristics which
some beekeepers do not like. They build excessive burr and
brace combs underneath the frames on the bottom board and
may practically seal the entrance during the winter. Their dark
color makes it difficult to find the queen when requeening colonies.
Carniolans.-Native to Yugoslavia, Carniolans are gray-black
in color, large, gentle and good honey gatherers, but swarm ex-
cessively. They build numerous queen cells, and cap their honey
white. They are not commonly kept in this country.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Bees are gregarious insects and a colony is one of the most
highly developed social organizations in the animal world. It
is composed of three different types of individuals-the queen,
the worker and the drone or male. Each type is different in size
and development and performs its own particular function.
The period required for the brood to develop will vary slightly
with weather conditions, but is approximately as follows for the
three types of bees:

Queen .............
Worker ..-----
Drone ...............

Days as Egg Days as Larva Days as Pupa
3 5% 7
3 6 12
3 6% 141/2

Fig. 2.-Queen cells, shaped somewhat like a peanut and hanging down-
ward, may be found around the edge of the brood comb in preparation for
swarming when the colony becomes crowded.

Total Days

Beginning Beekeeping

Queen.-The queen bee, mother of the colony, is character-
ized by large size, wings that cover approximately half her body
and an abdomen longer than that of either the worker or the
drone. She leads a queenly life, being fed from larva to death
largely on royal jelly, a glandular food produced in the heads of
worker bees.
The queen, beginning from a fertilized egg, develops in a
large cell resembling a peanut. This cell is especially construct-
ed to open downward rather than to the side of the comb, as do
the cells of workers and drones. Feeding a larva from a ferti-
lized egg largely on royal jelly produces a queen.
Within six to eight days after emerging from her wax cell
the queen mates with a drone in mid-air. After mating with
about four or five drones, she returns to the hive. From two
to five days after mating she starts laying eggs and never mates
again. Often she lays as many as 3,000 eggs in a single 24-hour
Fig. 3.-The queen (center) is easily recognized by the long, tapered
abdomen and shiny thorax.


dlb "

Florida Cooperative Extension

Normally there is only one queen to a hive. The existence
of the colony depends upon her ability to lay eggs. Although
she may live as long as six years, it is a good beekeeping prac-
tice in Florida to replace the queen every year.

Fig. 4.-A good queen lays her eggs in a solid pattern over

tMe Druuu c-~iOD.

Since it requires four weeks for a queen to develop and
begin egg laying and another three weeks for her first offspring
to emerge from the brood combs, the importance of replacing
an old queen with a young one is apparent. It is a good practice
to obtain the queen from a queen breeder, rather than depend
on the bees to raise one themselves. Some brood should be raised
by the colony all year, even during the winter. Field bees are
dying every day and it is important that more be produced to
replace them if the hive is to survive.

Beginning Beekeeping

Workers.-These female bees with undeveloped sex organs
comprise the largest group within the colony. A good hive
should have at least 30,000 workers. As their name implies,
they do the work of the colony. They feed the larvae, clean,
guard and ventilate the hive, and gather pollen, nectar, water
and propolis. Under abnormal conditions, when a queen fails in
egg laying or when the colony is queenless, workers may even
lay unfertilized eggs which develop into drones.
The average life of the worker bee is about six weeks during
the main honey flow. They literally work themselves to death,
dying when their wings wear out. However, worker bees pro-
duced in late fall, due to reduced field activity, normally live until
the following spring.
Drones.-The drone or male bee develops from an unfertilized
egg which is deposited by the queen in a large cell in the comb.
The drone is large and stubby and has eyes that cover the top
of his head. His sole duty is to mate with a queen, after which
he dies. The drone is a strong flier, which aids him in over-
taking the queen for mating.

Fig. 5.-Drone or male cells (indicated by pointer) are large and rounded.
Combs with this many or more drone cells should be removed from the hive.

Florida Cooperative Extension

A normal colony contains from 100 to 200 drones-many
times the number needed. (Combs with too many drone cells
should be culled from the brood nest.) Drones are heavy food
consumers and often are fed by the workers. The workers drive
the drones from the hive in the fall or at the end of the honey
flow. In weak and queenless colonies drones may be allowed to
remain throughout the winter.


Although there are many flowering plants in Florida, only a
few are useful for commercial honey production. Some plants
produce nectar in one section of the state but not in another.
If no bees are located in the general area where you expect to
place your hives, it would be well to check for nectar-producing
plants. If not enough plants are available, blooming at different

Fig. 6.-Florida's principal honey-producing plants include Ilex (gall-
berry) (below), and citrus (orange blossom), tupelo and saw palmetto
blossoms (top to bottom on next page).

Beginning Beekeeping

times, to maintain the colony all year, it will be necessary to
move the colony to better pasture.
The type of nectar the bees gather influences the flavor and
color of honey. Honey is usually marketed under the name of
the principal flowering plant from which it is produced, such
as orange blossom, tupelo or palmetto honey. Most of Florida's
honey is produced from blossoms of citrus, saw palmetto, Ilex
gallberryy), partridge pea, tupelo, mangrove, seagrape, thistle,
pennyroyal, snow vine and summer farewell. Clovers are not
too plentiful in Florida, but are good nectar plants where they
are found. Bees placed permanently in a citrus grove must be
near the edge, close to other nectar plants blossoming during
summer and fall, otherwise they will starve and the colony
die out.
For best results the apiary should have numerous honey
plants within a radius of a mile and a half, even though bees
will fly farther than that when necessary.

The modern beehive, invented in the United States in 1851
by L. L. Langstroth, has made possible the present-day bee-
keeping industry. This hive allows for easy examination of
the queen, the young developing bees and the stores of honey
and pollen, giving the beekeeper a chance to obtain maximum
returns from his investment through giving better and more
intelligent care to his bees.
The 10-frame Langstroth hive is almost universally used by
beekeepers and is recommended for beginners. Each colony will
need one or two full-depth hive bodies for rearing brood and
storing honey and pollen. Shallow supers will be needed for
each colony for the storage of surplus honey.
It is necessary to have a smoker to quiet the bees when open-
ing the hive and a hive tool to separate the hive parts. Burlap
bags, rotten wood and pine straw and other fuels which burn
cool are all good materials to burn in the bee smoker. The
hive tool is a piece of flat steel 10 inches long, curved at one
end and straight at the other. It is used to pry hive bodies and
frames apart and scrape propolis and wax from hive parts.
Wear white or tan non-woolen clothing while working with
bees. Dark or woolen clothing tends to irritate them. Beekeep-
ers wear veils to protect their faces. Some beginners wear

Beginning Beekeeping

gloves, but these are usually discarded, since they tend to im-
pede the work.
The best site for bees is away from the paths of people or
farm animals and near good honey plants. When bees are car-
rying nectar they fly low and anyone in their path in front of
the hive may be stung. This low-flying area extends for a num-

Fig. 7.-For successful beekeeping the beginner needs this equipment.
Equipment (shown on top of hive cover) includes hive tool, bee brush, bee
veil and smoker. Hive parts (from top to bottom): Cover, shallow super,
queen excluder, deep super or brood chamber and bottom board. Leaning
against the hive is a deep-brood frame containing wired foundation. A
Boardman feeder is shown at the entrance (left).

Florida Cooperative Extension

ber of feet in front of the colony. However, anyone can pass
safely within five or six feet to the rear of the hive with little
risk of being stung.
All colonies should be placed on stands from 8 to 18 inches
above the ground to protect them from ants, toads and skunks.
A good hive stand can be made from two large concrete blocks.
A wooden stand large enough for two colonies with a space be-
tween to place supers when working either colony is ideal. If
more than two colonies are placed on a stand the beekeeper jars
and disturbs the other colonies before he is ready to open them.
This makes it more difficult to work the colonies.
Colonies usually are faced south or east, to avoid the cold
northwest wind in winter and to allow sun to shine on the bot-
tom board. Bees are more active when placed in the sun.
It is advisable to treat the hive stand with a good wood pre-
servative such as 5 percent pentachlorophenol to prevent decay

Fig. 8.-Good brood combs are necessary for successful beekeeping.
All brood combs should have wired foundation or horizontal wires nailed
in before the foundation wax is fastened to the frame.

Beginning Beekeeping

organisms from penetrating the lumber. This material, as well
as other wood preservatives, can be purchased at lumber yards
or hardware stores.

For success in beekeeping, bees should be kept in hives with
removable frames, so brood and bees can be examined when
necessary and frames of honey can be removed when filled.

Fig. 9.-Starting with package bees. The hive combs have been placed
in the deep super and a Boardman (glass jar) feeder installed. The can
of sugar sirup is removed and the queen cage is installed between drawn
combs. The queen should be out of the introducing cage in four or five days.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The beginner should start with not more than three or four
colonies. When he learns how to handle bees and is sure that
he will enjoy working with them, he can increase the number
of colonies. One can start in beekeeping by buying a complete
colony from a beekeeper, buying a package of bees, catching a
stray swarm or transferring bees from an old bee tree or bee
gum to a standard hive.
Established Hive.-The most satisfactory way to start bee-
keeping is to go to a nearby beekeeper and buy an established
colony. The beekeeper will go through the colony and show
you how to work the bees. The colony obtained should have
at least eight frames covered with bees and the queen should
be laying a solid brood pattern on five or six frames. The hive
itself should be of sound material and of standard 10-frame
size. The bees should be of a good strain and gentle. When
one desires additional colonies this colony may be divided dur-
ing a honey flow to make two. (See discussion on making in-
Packages.-If you wish to start with package bees you can
find the addresses of package bee producers in any good bee
magazine. All leading bee strains are sold in this manner. Di-
rections for installation into the hive will come with the pack-
age. It is advisable to order your package to arrive during a
honey flow. Otherwise, feeding the new colony will involve
much time and expense.
Swarm.-In catching a swarm, have a hive containing frames
and foundation ready for the bees. If the bees are hanging on
a low limb, cut the limb and gently carry it to the hive and place
it across the entrance. Soon the bees will start moving into the
hive. If the queen enters the hive the swarm will usually stay;
otherwise they will fly away. Progress of a colony can be ob-
served from the beginning if started with a swarm or package
of bees.
Transferring Bees.-Transferring bees from tree cavities and
old box hives should be left to the more experienced beekeeper.
Even he may lose the colony after it has been transferred.
Transferring should be done only during a good honey flow, so
the bees can overcome the shock of replacing brood in the combs
and restocking food. U. S. Department of Agriculture Farmers
Bulletin No. 961, Transferring Bees to Modern Hives, gives
details and presents photographs of the transferring process.

Beginning Beekeeping

Whether the apiary consists of few hives or many, the same
principles of operation will apply. Frequent observation of the
hives, particularly in spring, is essential if the beekeeper is to
know the condition of the colonies and be able to do the things
necessary to keep the colony in top shape. Probably in no other
phase of agriculture is proper management more essential.
Opening the Hive.-It is necessary to open the hive when
examining the bees or taking honey. Always approach the

Fig. 10.-When entering a hive, first smoke the entrance with three or four
puffs, then crack the cover and smoke the top of the frames.

Florida Cooperative Extension

hive from the side or rear. When their line of flight in front
of the hive is blocked the bees are likely to sting accidentally.
With a well lighted bee smoker direct three or four puffs of
smoke into the entrance of the hive. With the hive tool pry
open the cover and send two or three puffs of smoke across
the top of the frames. As you remove supers from the hive or
the bees cover the top of the frames, blow a few puffs of smoke
across the tops of the frames. Smoke causes bees to engorge
with honey, making them easier to handle. However, excessive
or hot smoke irritates bees, causing them to sting and be dis-
agreeable. All movement while working bees should be slow and
deliberate. Quick, sudden motions may cause them to sting.
The hive tool is used to separate frames so they can be re-
moved easily by grasping them at each end. Remove the brood



Fig. 11.-The hive cover is handy for keeping the supers off the ground.

BT ,a -;.1i Beekeeping 19

frames very slowly. Do not roll or mash the bees while remov-
ing the frames. Usually the second frame from the outside is
pulled first to prevent injury to the queen, which is normally
near the middle of the hive. The first two or three frames re-
moved can be leaned against the hive body to make room for
easy examination of the rest of the hive. The frame contain-
ing the queen should never be placed out of the hive because
if the queen should drop to the ground, she might be lost and the

Fig. 12.-The queen excluder keeps the queen and drones in the brood
nest but allows the workers to enter the honey supers. (Not all beekeepers
use queen excluders, but they are desirable to have.)

Florida Cooperative Extension

colony would be queenless. Always examine the frames by hold-
ing them directly above the hive. This allows any bees and nec-
tar which drop from the frames to fall into the hive. Place
frames back in their original position when closing the hive.
It is a good practice to push the frames together from each side

Fig. 13.-When examining brood frames slowly remove first the second
frame from the outside. This avoids injuring the queen, which is usually
near the middle of the hive.

Beginning Beekeeping

of the hive, leaving space for separating the frames at the next
Seasonal Management.-In the early spring, after a semi-
dormant period, bees begin to increase their brood nest. At
this time they use more honey than during the winter months.
To raise a pound of bees requires from 8 to 10 pounds of honey,
in addition to the necessary pollen. The beekeeper should check
his colonies at this time to make sure they have from 20 to 25
pounds of stored honey with which to raise brood before the
first honey flow.
It is advisable to check again six to eight weeks before the
flow to see if the colonies still have sufficient stores of honey
and pollen. If these stores are insufficient, feed sugar sirup and
a pollen supplement.
Make sugar sirup by mixing equal parts by volume of sugar
and water. Feed it at the entrance to the hive in a quart-jar
(Boardman) feeder (Fig. 13) obtainable at bee supply stores.
Fig. 14.-A Boardman feeder (right) enables the beekeeper to feed the
colony during periods when nectar-producing flowers are not available.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The hive entrance should be reduced to two or three inches when
feeding to prevent other bees from robbing the hive.
Pollen supplement is made of 5 parts soybean flour and 1 part
brewers' yeast by weight. It can be obtained from most bee sup-
ply houses. Mix thoroughly and knead the pollen supplement
into a doughlike paste by adding sugar sirup. Place this inside
the hive on top of the frames above the brood nest. Place a piece
of wax paper on top of the pollen cake to prevent it from drying
out. If the colony has to be fed, it will take at least a gallon of
sugar sirup and a pound of pollen supplement to put it in good
condition. After feeding, check the queen to see if she is laying.
In the spring the queen should have five or six frames of
brood laid in a solid pattern with every cell filled and sufficient
bees to cover the brood and care for it. A queen laying in a
spotted pattern should be replaced. If it is too early in the
season to purchase a young queen, unite the weak colony with
a strong one by placing the weak colony on top of a strong colony
Fig. 15.-Pollen is stored in the wax cells near the brood cells. Without
sufficient pollen the colony will not be capable of rearing brood.

-. -
"... 4- I_


A.ZBGi r.h z

Beginning Beekeeping

with two sheets of newspaper between. A colony with a poor
queen or queenless is an easy prey for ants and wax moths,
which can quickly ruin the combs and hive parts. The united
hive should be strong enough to prevent wax moth damage.
A strong colony of bees is the best protection against the rav-
ages of the wax moth. Later in the season when queens are
available the hives may be separated into two good colonies.
Moving Bees.-Colonies can be moved a few feet at a time
each day without disturbing bees returning from the field. If
longer moves are to be made, move the colonies at least a mile.
Bees are best moved after sundown or before daylight, when
most of them are in the hive. The entrance may be screened or
left open. However, it is advisable for the inexperienced bee-
keeper to screen his colonies before moving. Before attempting
to move a colony, fasten the hive parts together with two-inch
staples, so they will not slip apart in transit.

Fig. 16.-When preparing to move bees the entrance to the hive can be
closed with a piece of folded screen wire. Nail the hive together with two-
inch staples.

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Many commercial beekeepers smoke the entrance of the hives,
quickly load the colonies on a truck and start the truck moving
as soon as possible. The smoke causes the bees to remain in
the hive until loaded and the jarring motion of the truck on
the road will cause them to stay in the hive until unloaded at
a new location. As soon as the new location is reached the col-
onies are smoked and quickly unloaded and placed on stands.
If the colony is extremely strong, the weather hot and the
entrance screened, there is a possibility that the bees will crowd
the entrance and cause the colony to suffocate. A screened
cover on a strong colony will permit proper ventilation, partic-
ularly if the hive has a screened entrance.
When to Add Supers.-When the honey flow begins place
supers of drawn comb or full sheets of foundation on the hive
as old ones are filled. If combs in the top story are being filled,
it is time to add a super. There should be ample room in the
brood nest and supers for normal bee activity at all times, as
this tends to prevent swarming. Under normal conditions the
honey will be completely capped in about two weeks and can
then be removed from the colony.
Summer is a good time to check the queen and replace her
if she is not laying a uniform brood pattern. If the colony has
poor, sagged combs with a large number of drone cells, now is
the time to remove them and replace with new frames or drawn
comb. The best way to get brood comb is to put frames with
full sheets of foundation directly above the brood nest during
a honey flow. Never put new frames of sheet wax foundation
in the colony when the honey flow has stopped, as bees will par-
tially destroy it.
During fall, after the last honey flow, remove all surplus
honey from the colony, but leave one shallow super above the
brood chamber for winter stores. In Florida about 40 to 45
pounds of honey should be left in each colony, since this is cheap-
er and more practical than feeding sugar sirup in winter and
spring. Combs occupying the second story which are well filled
are usually sufficient to winter the colony.
During the winter months when there is little bee activity
the entrance should be reduced to help maintain heat in the
colony and to prevent mice damage to the brood combs. The
entrance is reduced with an entrance block so the opening will
be approximately one-half by three inches. Also, at this time
of the year, all supers with empty combs should be fumigated

Beginning Beekeeping

and stored until spring. Instructions for comb fumigation and
storage are given on page 31.
Requeening.-In the South the queen lays during a much
longer portion of the year than in the Northern states, thus
wearing herself out sooner. When the colony has been estab-
lished for a year it should be requeened. This is best done dur-

Fig. 17.-A new queen is introduced into
queen shipping cage on the bottom board.
introducing the new one.

the hive by placing ne snall
Remove the old queen before

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ing the last honey flow of the season. Queens are cheaper late
in the season and requeening at this time assures the colony of
a young, vigorous queen the following spring to build up the hive
for the first honey flow.
When you are ready to requeen, purchase a queen of the de-
sired strain from a queen breeder (listed in bee magazines).
When the new queen arrives find the old queen and kill her by
pinching her head and dropping her on the bottom board of the
In Florida a good way to introduce the new queen during the
summer is to place the queen cage on the bottom board of the
hive after the old queen has been killed. Check the colony in
five days to see if the bees have released the new queen. If
the cage is empty, examine the brood frames for eggs. When
eggs are present the new queen has been accepted by the colony.
The colony should not be disturbed too much at this time. If
the queen is still in the cage, tear off the paper end of the cage
and close the hive. Let the worker bees release the new queen
by eating the candy out of the cage. Examine the colony again
in seven or eight days to see if the new queen is laying. Wait
two or three weeks before disturbing the brood nest again. If
the new queen was killed by the worker bees it will be necessary
to order another queen at once. The queenless colony should
have a frame of unsealed brood added before introducing the
second queen.
Swarming.-The causes of swarming are not definitely known,
but it is thought that one chief cause is a crowded brood nest.
Swarming is nature's way of reproducing bee colonies.
However, swarming is not profitable for the beekeeper, since
the swarm usually contains the bees that would have gathered
the surplus honey. Good beekeepers try to reduce swarming as
much as possible. Artificial methods of making increase are
better than trying to catch swarms.
Some aids in reducing swarming are: replace old queens with
young queens, allow plenty of space for the brood nest, provide
ample storage space in the honey supers, and remove queen cells.
All of these practices are important.
Making Increase.-There are a number of ways to make in-
crease, the beekeepers' term for establishing new colonies. One
of the simplest methods of increasing the number of colonies in
an apiary is to divide a strong hive during a honey flow by placing
half of the brood and adhering bees with a new queen in a new

Beginning Beekeeping 27

hive. Five frames of drawn combs or full sheets of foundation
can be placed in each hive to fill it to 10 frames. Obtain a mated
and laying queen for installation in the new hive when making
increase. (See discussion on requeening.) Leave the old queen
in the old hive.
When you have several colonies you can make a new one by
pulling one or two frames of brood and bees from each and
placing them with a new queen in a new hive without weak-
ening any colony seriously.
Capturing swarms and introducing package bees (see dis-
cussions under preceding section, How to Start with Bees) are
other methods of making increase.

Fig. 18.-This extracting set-up is satisfactory for the small beekeeper.
Left to right: Stack of honey supers, electric hot plate for heating un-
capping knife, uncapping a comb of honey, stick with a nail through it
provides pivot for turning comb, extractor and honey settling tank.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Comb or Liquid Honey.-Comb honey, put up in small wooden
sections (41/4x41/4"), is quite pretty and appetizing but is very
difficult to produce. One must have an unusually good honey
flow and good weather to produce it.
It is best for the beginner to use regular shallow frames in
supers above the brood nest, separated from the brood nest by

Fig. 19.-When removing combs of honey from the hive, brush the bees
into the hive or at the entrance.

Beginning Beekeeping

a queen excluder. The queen excluder is a metal wire sheet that
confines the queen to the hive body but allows workers to pass
through to the super above. Bees will produce approximately
twice as much honey in the shallow frames as in the small comb
honey sections. Swarming also is much more of a problem in
comb honey production than in the production of extracted honey
or bulk comb honey in shallow frames.
Honey removed from shallow frames can be cut out and used
as bulk comb honey or can be extracted from the comb by using
a honey extractor. The beginner will find bulk honey the most
satisfactory to produce and as his apiary grows he may obtain
an extractor for the production of liquid honey.
Removing Honey.-Probably the best way for the beginner
to remove honey is to take each frame out of the super, shake
off the bees just above the hive and brush off the remaining bees
with a fiber bee brush. By this method you can free a super
of honey of bees in one or two minutes.
The honey can then be removed from the frames for market-
ing as bulk comb or extracted honey.
Marketing Honey.-Honey can be marketed either whole-
sale or retail. The beekeeper with a few colonies will usually
find a retail market locally. Honey to be sold at retail should
be packed in glass or tin containers. Many beekeepers can dis-
pose of their entire crop at retail from a well located roadside
stand on a much traveled highway. When retailing honey the
price should conform generally to retail prices in the community
and should be consistent with labor and expense involved.
Honey to be marketed wholesale should be packed in 60-
pound cans or 55-gallon barrels. More and more producers are
selling their honey crop cooperatively. A more orderly system
of marketing is maintained in this way throughout the year.

The honeybee in Florida is subject to two principal bacterial
diseases, American and European foulbrood, and two insect pests,
wax moth and ants.
American and European foulbrood, which are harmless to
man and do not affect honey for human consumption, attack
the developing brood. American foulbrood is by far the more
serious and will destroy every colony in the apiary unless stopped
early in its development.

30 Florida Cooperative Extension

Foulbrood is easily recognized. Numerous larvae and pupae
die and dry up and the diseased brood gives off a foul odor. If
you suspect you have American or European foulbrood in your
colonies, get in touch immediately with the State Plant Board,
Gainesville, Florida. They will send a state bee inspector to
advise you of corrective measures.
Wax moths are found only in weakened hives or stored
combs. Take care at all times to keep colonies strong by hav-
ing good laying queens and ample stores. If you do this the
wax moth will cause little or no injury. The larvae of this pest
riddle the comb and leave silken tubes. The pupa or resting
stage is spent in a shallow cut made in the side of the hive or
the frames.
The control of wax moths should be done by prevention
rather than treatment. Badly infested hives should be scraped
clean of comb and cocoons and the frames should be refitted

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Fig. 20.-The wax moth is a pest of honeybees. In weak hives it may
completely destroy the combs. Systematic inspection will prevent the loss
of combs and many times the loss of the bees.

Beginning Beekeeping

with full sheets of foundation before being given back to the
During winter months store empty supers with drawn comb
to prevent attack from wax moth larvae. An easy way to do
this is to place a cover on the ground and put a sheet of news-
paper over it. Place a super on the newspaper and sprinkle
over the frames 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls of paradichlorobenzene.
Then place another sheet of newspaper over the super and add
another super to the pile and repeat the treatment. Cover the
top super with a sheet of newspaper and then a hive cover. In
two weeks take down the pile and repeat the paradichloroben-
zene treatment to kill any young larvae which may have hatched
from the eggs. These two treatments two weeks apart usually
are sufficient to keep the combs in good condition during winter
Many beekeepers have a fumigating chamber for storing
combs. Paradichlorobenzene is satisfactory as a repellent when
used at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 cubic feet of storage
Ants are also enemies of bee colonies. If they are trouble-
some in your apiary dust the area around the hives with a 5
percent chlordane dust or place the hives on stands painted with
a 2 percent chlordane insect spray, such as is used for roach
Chlordane is an insecticide which is poisonous and should be
handled with care. Read and follow the precautions given on
the container.
Locate all ant hills possible and treat by pouring a few table-
spoonfuls of this spray into each hill to eliminate the ant colony.

There are a number of beekeeping organizations in which
the beginning beekeeper would enjoy membership. These or-
ganizations have meetings at which beekeeping problems are
discussed and are also a means of making beekeeping friends.
Florida-State-Beekeepers' Association.-The State Associa-
tion holds one two-day meeting each year and a one-day meeting.
All beekeepers are welcome. Commercial, sideline, amateur and
hobbyist beekeepers enjoy friendly contacts at these meetings
and learn something of value.
Where there is sufficient interest in one or more counties,
beekeepers find it beneficial to have local meetings. The State

Florida Cooperative Extension

Beekeepers' Association is made up of district associations. It
provides assistance for all beekeepers.
Those interested in beekeeping may contact or write the
County Agricultural Agent, who will supply information as to
how persons may attend beekeeping meetings and become mem-
Beekeepers' Institute.-A two-day beekeepers' institute is
held each year at one of the 4-H Club summer camps sponsored
by the Agricultural Extension Service. The purpose is to bring
to beekeepers the latest information and improved practices in
Southern States Beekeeping Federation.-Beekeepers inter-
ested in promoting good will and fellowship between package
bee raisers in the Southern States and honey producers in the
North and East may become affiliated and help the Southern dis-
trict cooperate more fully with the National Beekeeping Fed-
National Beekeepers' Federation.-Beekeepers may be mem-
bers of their local organization, state association, the Southern
Beekeeping Federation and the National Beekeepers' Federation.
American Honey Institute.-The American Honey Institute
is the beekeepers' research laboratory on the use of honey. The
Institute promotes the use of honey in national advertisements
and with the use of their many printed bulletins on honey at cost
to beekeepers. The American Honey Institute is financed by
beekeepers and should have the support of as many beekeepers
as possible.
Write Director, American Honey Institute, Commercial Bank
Building, Madison, Wisconsin, for further information on the
use of honey.
Root, E. R. ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. A. I. Root Company, Medina, Ohio.
Grout, Roy A. The Hive and the Honeybee. Dadant and Sons, Hamilton,
Phillips, E. F. Beekeeping. A. I. Root Company.
American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio.

July 1959

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