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Year Round Beekeeping & Managing Colonies Presented by Ray Civitts Mountain Sweet Honey Company Toccoa, GA. Seasonal Hive Management. North Georgia - 3 temperate zones - Up to 3 weeks difference - Southern most to the mountain area

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North Georgia - 3 temperate zones - Up to 3 weeks difference

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North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

Year Round Beekeeping & Managing Colonies Presented by Ray Civitts Mountain Sweet Honey CompanyToccoa, GA


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

Seasonal Hive Management

North Georgia

- 3temperate zones

- Up to 3 weeks difference

- Southern most to the mountain area

Today we will look at a month-to-month tasks


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

Placement of your hive

- Wind break

- Sun light on your hives

- Document what you are seeing and follow-up

- Good documentation will help you learn!

- Drainage (elevate the back of your hive by 1 degree)

o Water inside the hive

o Reduce moisture

- Water sources

- Ventilation

- Reduces mold

- Honey


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

Late February– Action Items

  • Flora begin to bloom (Maple Tree blooms)

  • More bees flying in and out of the hive!

  • Warm days of 55 degrees or higher

  • - Quick hive inspection

  • - Don’t want to chill the hive on cold days

  • Keep feeding sugar water

  • - When do you stop feeding?

  • - Nectar flow

  • - Slow usage

  • - Winter super is full


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

March – Action Items

  • Hive management is very important

  • - Identify weak hives for re-queening

  • - Why is this so hard to do?

  • - Pollen is coming in the hive

  • - May have to add a super due to bee space

  • - Helps reduce swarming

  • - Start building frames for supers

  • - Identify which hives do not need sugar water

  • - Winter honey super

  • Small hive beetles should be very minimal

  • - Keep on top of it!


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

April in your hive

Brood production should be going strong!

- Pollen is what keeps the queen laying.

- Queen is well mated

- Eggs

- Larva

- Capped brood

- Low brood production could mean your queen is failing

you must consider re-queening

- Possibly not properly mated


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

April – July management of your hive

Brood production

Bee space – Keep your bee space adequate

- Too tight and you will promote swarming

- Too much space will allow competing

insects into the hive.

Rule of thumb

- 80% of frames are utilized (brood or honey)

- Full super of bees

- Signs - Inner cover has many bees between inner cover and top cover.


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

30% bee space in the hive


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

May – Action Items

  • Continue weekly hive inspections

  • Most important - watch “bee space” in hive

  • - Add supers as needed.

  • - Look for queen cells to eliminate swarming

  • - Swarming will cost you in the following ways:

  • I. Loss of honey production

  • II. Loss of beepopulation

  • - Watch for failing queens

  • - Last chance to add hives


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

June – July hive management

Successful Wintering begins in July?

- A good defense is a good offense!

- Strong hive population

Get into your hives weekly! (March to late August)

-Check brood production of the queen

- Queen Cells

- Small hive beetles ***

- Wax moths

- Standing water

- Bee population

- Hive condition

- Water source

- Weed control


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

July - August – Action Items

Bees cool the hive by using water

- You will hear the bees use their wings to cool the hive

- Congregating on the outside of the hive – check bee-space

- Bees will go back into the hive an hour after sunset

Nectar flow decreases

Check for mites (mite treatment plan after nectar flow)

Screen bottom boards (Clean)


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

Sept. – October in your hive

  • Hive begins to transition over to winter bees.

  • Summer Bees will begin to be replaced

  • - Winter Bees begin to emerge

  • - Winter Bees are slightly bigger

  • Sugar water feeding

  • Repair hives


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

November – Action Items

  • Hives are now slowing down (Population, low exterior activity)

  • Smaller bee population (may have to take off a super)

  • Winter bees are now more common

  • Brood production is decreasing

  • Hive beetles are on the offensive

  • Golden Rod is the last pollen source

  • Sugar water feeding


North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

December – Action Items

  • Reduce hive opening down to 1 inch opening

    • Allows the hive to keep more heat

  • Begin monthly inspections on days above 55 degrees

    • Hive population

    • Hive condition

    • Brood condition

  • Softball size brood pattern

  • Weekly – Walk your bee yard

    • Hive activity

    • Sugar water usage


  • North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    December– Action Items

    • Determine a game plan for your hobby for the spring

    • - Cut comb honey

    • New bee yard for better honey production

    • - Sourwood, Tupelo, etc..

    • What will you offer this year (Wax candles, honey jar sizes, etc)

    • Feed your bees!

    • Order your bees in

    • December for best

    • Ship and pickup dates.


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Winter – Action Items


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Winter – Action Items


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    January in your hive

    Make sure your bees can have honey during the winter!

    - Leaving a medium super for your bees to consume

    - Pull empty super

    - Heat efficiency of the hive

    - First year hives?

    - Option is to feed sugar water for the winter

    at a 2 to 1 ratio

    - Limited honey for your first year to store up.

    - If you take all the honey

    - Be prepared to feed sugar water for the

    next 8 months.

    ** Quick calculation is approx. 37 lbs. per hive for a first year hive.


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Winter season in your hive


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    January – February Starvation

    • Large winter colony

    • - Large colonies eat through their winter honey stores

    • - Must monitor honey stores of the hive.

    • - Pickup the rear of the hive to feel the weight

    • - #1 reason for bee loss during the winter.

    • Late Winter Starvation

    • - Feed sugar water

    • - Pollen patties

    • - Take honey frames

    • from other hives.


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Question & Answer Session

    • What questions do you have?

    • Visit our website at: MountainSweetHoney.com

    • Beekeeper News: Weekly Blog – Beginning Beekeeper to

    • Sideliners - Slides will be posted under this page.

    • “Like” us on Facebook: Mountain Sweet Honey Co.


    Harvesting honey presented by ray civitts mountain sweet honey company toccoa ga

    Harvesting Honey Presented by Ray Civitts Mountain Sweet Honey CompanyToccoa, GA


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    When does honey season begin?

    • Traditionally “honey season” begins in April

    • - There must be a nectar flow

    • - The bees will be extremely active

    • * Different flora has daily release of nectar

    • * Bees get extremely active (not swarming)

    • - Bees will store the honey in the honey super

    • - Capped & Uncapped looks like this


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Uncapped Honey?

    Uncapped honey consists

    - Higher moisture

    - The hive warmth will reduce the moisture down to 20%

    Caution! Don’t harvest uncapped honey

    - Due to moisture and natural sugars your honey will ferment and you will have to make meade or throw out the honey.


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    When is it time to harvest?

    Normal Wildflower honey season ends by the second week of July

    - The bees sense a nectar is very limited

    - Want to protect their food stores

    Why is it important to get the honey in a timely way?

    - Bees will start to eat into the capped honey

    Inspect your supers

    - Look for fully capped frames of honey

    - It may take an extra week for the honey to be fully capped

    What tools will you need?

    - Wheelbarrow to carry your supers

    - 8 frame super = 65 lbs

    - 10 frame super = 80 lbs+


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    What next?

    Extra frames to replace the frames you just took to harvest

    - Extra super – frames

    If Sourwood is present you will have more nectar = more honey

    - mid July to mid August (dependent on elevation)

    Club Extractor available

    - See Virginia Webb

    Now it is time to brush the bees off the frames

    - Gentle motion

    - Cover super with a towel to keep the bees off the frames

    Take the frames to a garage or kitchen to process


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Processing Honey

    Several methods of processing

    1. Crush the comb

    2. Use a cold knife

    3. Use a hot knife

    Crushing the comb

    - Cut the comb out of the frame and simply crush the comb

    - Honey will flow out from the wax comb.

    - A good reference would be Linda Tillman’s website to see

    this in action.

    - Need a grate from a grill works good.


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Cold or Hot Knifes

    A cold knife is exactly what it is called.

    - A serrated knife that is non-heated

    - Many have warm water to dip the blade into

    - This keeps the blade warm

    A hot knife can be a fixed temperature or variable heat

    - Melts the wax comb to release the honey

    Once uncapped, the honey will begin to flow

    - Normally want room temperature above 85 degrees

    - Honey naturally flows better in warmer temps.

    - Cooler temps are harder to extract


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Hot Knifes


    North georgia 3 temperate zones up to 3 weeks difference

    Bottling

    Most beekeepers their first year will only need to borrow the

    association extractor.

    Most honey is sold in Pints and Quarts in this area.

    - Honey Bears

    - Honey Angels

    - Muth jars

    Make sure your containers are clean

    Honey is pure and lasts forever

    Honey that has higher sugars will crystalize at some point

    - Simply place the jar in some warm water to eliminate the

    crystals in the jar.


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