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Beekeeping for Dummies, 4th Edition
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Table of Contents

Foreword v Introduction 1 About This Book 1 Foolish Assumptions 3 Icons Used in This Book 3 Beyond the Book 4 Where to Go from Here 5 Part 1: Taking Flight with Beekeeping 7 Chapter 1: To Bee, or Not to Bee? 9 Discovering the Benefits of Beekeeping 10 Harvesting liquid gold: Honey 11 Bees as pollinators: Their vital role to our food supply 11 Being part of the bigger picture: Save the bees! 13 Getting an education: And passing it on! 13 Improving your health: Bee therapies and stress relief 15 Determining Your Beekeeping Potential 16 Environmental considerations 16 Zoning and legal restrictions 16 Costs and equipment 17 How many hives do you need? 17 What kind of honey bees should you raise? 17 Time and commitment 18 Beekeeper personality traits 18 Allergies 19 Deciding Which Beekeeping Approach to Follow 19 Medicated beekeeping 20 Natural beekeeping 20 Organic beekeeping 21 Combining approaches 21 Chapter 2: Getting to Know Your Honey Bees 23 Basic Body Parts 24 Skeleton 24 Head 25 Thorax 26 Abdomen 27 The Amazing Language of Bees 27 Pheromones 27 Shall we dance? 28 Getting to Know the Male and the Two Female Castes 29 Her majesty, the queen 30 The industrious little worker bee 32 House bees 33 Housekeeping (days 1 to 3) 33 Undertaking (days 3 to 16) 33 Working in the nursery (days 4 to 12) 34 Attending royalty (days 7 to 12) 34 Going grocery shopping (days 12 to 18) 34 Fanning (days 12 to 18) 34 Becoming architects and master builders (days 12 to 35) 36 Guarding the home (days 18 to 21) 36 Field bees 36 The woeful drone 37 The Honey Bee Life Cycle 39 Egg 39 Larva 41 Pupa 41 Other Stinging Insects 43 Bumblebee 44 Carpenter bee 44 Mason bee 45 Wasp 45 Yellow jacket 46 Bald-faced hornet 47 Part 2: Starting Your Adventure 49 Chapter 3: Alleviating Apprehensions and Making Decisions 51 Overcoming Sting Phobia 52 Knowing what to do if you're stung 53 Watching for allergic reactions 54 Building up a tolerance 54 Understanding Local Laws and Ordinances 54 Easing the Minds of Family and Neighbors 55 Location, Location, Location: Where to Keep Your Hives 56 Knowing what makes a perfect bee yard 57 Urban considerations 59 Dealing with nervous neighbors 59 City bees have the same needs as country bees 59 Deciding where to put your hives 59 Strike a deal with a community garden 60 Speak to your landlord about roof rights 60 Providing for your thirsty bees 60 Understanding the correlation between geographical area and honey flavors 63 Knowing When to Start Your Adventure 64 Chapter 4: Selecting a Hive That's Perfect for You 65 The Langstroth Hive 66 The Kenyan Top Bar Hive 68 The Warre (People's) Hive 71 The Flow Hive 74 The Five-Frame Nuc Hive 77 The Observation Hive 79 Make a Beeline to the Best Beehive 81 Hives for harvesting honey 82 Hives for pollinating your garden 82 A hive for learning and teaching 82 Chapter 5: Basic Equipment for Beekeepers 85 Starting Out with the Langstroth Hive 86 Knowing the Basic Woodenware Parts of the Langstroth Hive 86 Hive stand 87 Bottom board 87 Entrance reducer 89 Deep-hive body 89 Queen excluder 90 Shallow or medium honey super 91 Frames 92 Foundation 95 Inner cover 98 Outer cover 99 Knowing the Basic Parts of a Top Bar Hive 99 The top bar 100 Everything else 101 Ordering Hive Parts 101 Startup hive kits 102 Setting up shop 102 Adding on Feeders 104 Hive-top feeder 104 Entrance feeder 105 Pail feeder 106 Baggie feeder 107 Frame feeder 108 Top Bar hive feeders 109 Fundamental Tools 110 Smoker 110 Hive tool and frame lifter 111 Bee-Proof Clothing 112 Veils 112 Gloves 112 Really Helpful Accessories 114 Elevated hive stand 114 Frame rest 116 Bee brush 117 Slatted rack 117 Screened bottom board 118 Beekeeper's toolbox 119 Chapter 6: Obtaining and Installing Your Bees 121 Determining the Kind of Bee You Want 121 Deciding How to Obtain Your Initial Bee Colony 124 Ordering package bees 124 Buying a "nuc" colony 126 Purchasing an established colony 127 Capturing a wild swarm of bees 128 Picking a Reputable Bee Supplier 128 Deciding When to Place Your Order 130 The Day Your Girls Arrive 131 Bringing home your bees 132 Recipe for sugar syrup 132 Putting Your Bees into the Hive 133 Hiving steps for Langstroth hives and Steps 1-7 for Top Bar hives 134 Hiving Steps 8-14 for Top Bar hives 139 Watching your bees come and go from their new home 140 Part 3: Time for a Peek 143 Chapter 7: Opening Your Hive 145 Establishing Visiting Hours 146 Setting an Inspection Schedule 146 Preparing to Visit Your Langstroth or Top Bar Hive 147 Making "non-scents" a part of personal hygiene 147 Getting dressed up and ready to go 147 Lighting Your Smoker 148 Opening a Langstroth Hive 151 Removing the hive-top feeder 153 Removing the inner cover 155 Opening a Top Bar Hive 156 The Hive's Open! Now What? 158 Chapter 8: What to Expect When You're Inspecting 159 Keeping a Journal 160 Inspecting a Langstroth Hive 161 Removing the first frame of your Langstroth hive 161 Working your way through the Langstroth hive 162 Holding up frames for inspection 163 Knowing when it's time for more smoke 164 Replacing Langstroth frames 165 Closing the Langstroth hive 165 Inspecting a Top Bar Hive 166 Working your way through the Top Bar hive 167 Top Bar comb management 168 Looking into Top Bar cells 170 Replacing the top bars and closing the hive 170 Understanding What to Always Look For 170 Checking for your queen 170 Storing food; raising brood 171 Inspecting the brood pattern 171 Recognizing foodstuffs 172 Your New Colony's First Eight Weeks 172 Checking in: A week after hiving your bees 172 Verifying that the queen was released 173 Removing any burr comb 173 Looking for eggs 174 Replacing the missing frame of the Langstroth 174 Providing more syrup 174 The second and third weeks 174 Looking for larvae 175 Evaluating your queen 175 Hunting for capped brood 176 Looking for supersedure cells 176 Provide more syrup 177 Weeks four through eight 177 Adding a second deep-hive body to your Langstroth hive 178 Witnessing a miracle! 178 Watching for swarm cells 179 Providing more ventilation 179 Manipulating the frames of foundation 180 Making room for honey! 180 Inspecting your multilevel Langstroth hive 181 Chapter 9: Different Seasons, Different Activities 183 Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 184 Your summer to-do list 185 Your summertime commitment 185 Falling Leaves Point to Autumn Chores 186 Your autumn to-do list 186 Your autumn time commitment 191 Clustering in a Winter Wonderland 191 Your winter to-do list 192 Your winter time commitment 192 Spring Is in the Air (Starting Your Second Season) 193 Your spring to-do list 193 Your springtime commitment 195 Administering spring medication 195 Reversing hive bodies 196 Managing Top Bar Hives in the Spring 197 Finding the cluster 198 Preventing the urge to swarm 198 Expanding the brood nest 199 The Beekeeper's Calendar 199 Part 4: Common Problems and Simple Solutions 203 Chapter 10: Anticipating and Preventing Potential Problems 205 Running Away (to Join the Circus?) 206 Swarming 206 Understanding why you want to prevent swarming 208 Keeping the girls from leaving home 208 They swarmed anyway Now what? 211 Capturing a swarm 213 Hiving your swarm 215 Absconding 216 Where Did the Queen Go? 217 Letting nature take its course 218 Ordering a replacement queen 218 Introducing a new queen to the hive 218 Avoiding Chilled Brood 220 Dealing with the Dreaded Robbing Frenzies 221 Knowing the difference between normal and abnormal (robbing) behavior 221 Putting a stop to a robbing attack 222 Preventing robbing in the first place 222 Ridding Your Hive of the Laying Worker Phenomenon 224 How to know if you have laying workers 224 Getting rid of laying workers 224 Preventing Pesticide Poisoning 226 The "Killer Bee" Phenomenon 227 What are "killer bees"? 228 Bee prepared! 229 Chapter 11: Colony Collapse Disorder 231 What Is CCD? 232 What to Do If You Suspect CCD 233 Why All the Fuss? 233 What's Causing CCD? 234 The cellphone theory 234 It may be the perfect storm 234 Parasites 234 Pathogens 234 Pesticides 235 Other possibilities 237 Answers to FAQs 237 What You Can Do to Help 238 Chapter 12: Understanding Diseases and Remedies 241 Medicating or Not? 242 Knowing the Big-Six Bee Diseases 242 American foulbrood (AFB) 243 European foulbrood (EFB) 244 Chalkbrood 245 Sacbrood 246 Stonebrood 247 Nosema 247 Nosema apis 247 Nosema ceranae 248 A handy chart 248 Chapter 13: Heading Off Honey-Bee Pests 251 Parasitic Problems 251 Varroa mites 252 Recognizing Varroa mite symptoms 253 Using two surefire detection techniques for Varroa 253 Knowing how to control Varroa mite problems 256 Tracheal mites 259 Symptoms that may indicate tracheal mites 260 How to control tracheal mite problems 261 Natural source options 261 Synthetic chemical options 263 Zombie (Phonid) flies 265 Other Unwelcome Pests 265 Wax moths 265 Small hive beetle 266 Determining whether you have a small hive beetle problem 266 How to control the small hive beetle 267 Ants, ants, and more ants 268 Bear alert! 268 Raccoons and skunks 270 Keeping out Mrs Mouse 270 Some birds have a taste for bees 272 Pest Control at a Glance 272 Chapter 14: Raising Your Own Queens 275 Why Raising Queens Is the Bee's Knees 275 Understanding Genetics 277 Dominant and recessive genes 277 Inbreeding versus outcrossing 278 Accentuate the positive 279 What Makes a Queen a Queen 280 Talking about the Birds and Bees for Honey Bees 282 Creating Demand: Making a Queenless Nuc 283 Queen-Rearing Method 1: Go with the Flow 283 If the queen cells are capped 284 If the queen cells are open 284 Mind the timeline 285 Queen-Rearing Method 2: The Miller Method 285 Queen-Rearing Method 3: The Doolittle Method, also Known as Grafting 288 Tools and equipment 288 How it's done 291 Providing nuptial housing 293 Finding Homes for Your Queens 294 Evaluating the Results 295 The Queen Rearer's Calendar 295 Marking Your Queens 296 Part 5: Sweet Rewards 297 Chapter 15: Honey, I Love You 299 Appreciating the History of Honey 299 Understanding the Composition of Honey 301 Healing with Honey 302 Honey and diabetes 302 Honey's nutritional value 303 Honey and children 303 Choosing Extracted, Comb, Chunk, or Whipped Honey 303 Extracted honey 304 Comb honey 304 Chunk honey 305 Whipped honey 305 Honey or honeydew honey? 306 Taking the Terror out of Terroir 306 Customizing your honey 306 Honey from around the world 307 The Commercialization of Honey 312 Is it the real deal? 312 Raw versus regular honey 312 Organic or not? 313 Your own honey is the best 313 Appreciating the Culinary Side of Honey 314 The nose knows 314 Practice makes perfect 315 Recognizing defects in honey 315 Pairing Honey with Food 316 Infusing Honey with Flavors 316 Judging Honey 317 Honey Trivia 318 Chapter 16: Getting Ready for the Golden Harvest 319 Having Realistic Expectations 320 What Flavor Do You Want? 320 Assembling the Right Equipment to Extract Honey 321 Honey extractors 321 Uncapping knife 321 Honey strainer 322 Other handy gadgets for extracting honey 323 Double uncapping tank 323 Uncapping fork or roller 323 Bottling bucket 324 Solar wax melter 325 Honey containers 326 Planning Your Extracted Honey Harvest Setup 326 Gathering Comb Honey Equipment 328 Section comb cartridges 328 Cut comb 328 Branding and Selling Your Honey 328 Creating an attractive label 329 Finding places to market your honey 332 Selling your honey on the web 332 Chapter 17: Honey Harvest Day 333 Knowing When to Harvest 334 Bad things come to those who wait! 335 A few pointers to keep in mind when harvesting liquid gold 336 Getting the Bees out of the Honey Supers 336 Shakin' 'em out 338 Blowin' 'em out 339 Using a bee escape board 339 Fume board and bee repellent 340 Honey Extraction from a Langstroth Frame 342 Harvesting honey using an extractor 342 Cleaning frames after extracting 344 Harvesting Honey from Your Top Bar Hive 345 Selecting the comb to harvest 346 Getting the bees off Top Bar comb 346 Harvesting using the crush-and-strain method 347 Harvesting honey using a honey press 348 Harvesting cut-comb honey 350 Harvesting Wax 350 Part 6: The Part of Tens 351 Chapter 18: More than Ten Fun Things to Do with Bees 353 Making Two Langstroth Hives from One 353 Making One Langstroth Hive from Two 355 Dividing a Top Bar Hive into Two Colonies 357 Combining Two Top Bar Hive Colonies 358 Building an Elevated Hive Stand 359 Building materials list 361 Cut list 361 Planting Flowers for Your Bees 362 Asters (aster/callistephus) 362 Bachelor's buttons (Centaurea) 363 Bee balm (Monarda) 363 Hyssop (Agastache) 363 Malva (Malvaceae) 364 Mint (Mentha) 364 Nasturtium (Tropaeolum minus) 364 Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia) 364 Salvia (Salvia/farinacea-strata/splendens/officinalis) 365 Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia) 365 Brewing Mead: The Nectar of the Gods 365 Create Cool Stuff with Propolis 368 Propolis tincture 369 Propolis ointment 369 Propolis varnish 370 Making Gifts from Beeswax 370 Beeswax candles 370 Dipped candles 371 Molded candles 371 Beeswax furniture polish 372 Beauty and the Bees 372 Use your cappings 373 Equipment 373 The recipes 373 Ultra-rich skin cream 374 Rich body balm 375 Beeswax lip balm 375 Beeswax and olive oil salve 376 Beeswax lotion bar 376 Natural homemade sunscreen 377 Packaging and labeling 377 Chapter 19: More than Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Bee Behavior 379 Chapter 20: My Ten Favorite Honey Recipes 385 Honey Curry Vegetable Dip 387 Golden Cornbread 388 Honey Picante Chicken Wings 389 Apricot Honey Bread 390 Asian Honey-Tea Grilled Prawns 391 Broiled Scallops with Honey-Lime Marinade 392 A Honey of a Chili 393 Beef and Potato Tzimmes 394 Chewy Honey Oatmeal Cookies 395 Apple Honey Tart 396 Part 7: Appendixes 397 Appendix A: Helpful Resources 399 Honey Bee Information Websites 399 Apiservices - Virtual beekeeping gallery 399 The Barefoot Beekeeper 399 BeeHoo - The beekeeping directory 400 Beemaster Forum 400 Bee-Source.com 400 Facebook - Top Bar Beekeeping 400 Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAARAC) 400 National Honey Board 401 Bee Organizations and Conferences 401 American Apitherapy Society 401 American Beekeeping Federation 401 American Honey Producers 402 Apiary Inspectors of America 402 Apimondia: International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations 402 Eastern Apiculture Society 403 International Bee Research Association 403 USDA Agricultural Research Service 404 The Western Apiculture Society 404 Bee Journals and Magazines 404 American Bee Journal 404 Bee Culture 405 Bee World 405 Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment 406 Bee-commerce.com 406 BeeInventive 406 Bee Thinking 407 BeeWeaver Apiaries 407 Betterbee 408 Blue Sky Bee Supply 408 Brushy Mountain Bee Farm 408 Dadant & Sons, Inc. 409 Glorybee Foods, Inc. 409 Kelley Beekeeping 410 Mann Lake 410 Miller Bee Supply 410 Rossman Apiaries 411 Sacramento Beekeeping 411 Swienty Beekeeping Equipment 411 Thorne Beekeeping Supply 412 State Bee Inspectors (United States) 412 Appendix B: Beekeeper's Checklist 413 Appendix C: Glossary 415 Index 423

About the Author

Howland Blackiston has been a backyard beekeeper since 1984. He's written many articles on beekeeping and appeared on dozens of television and radio programs. He is also the author of Building Beehives For Dummies, which provides detailed instructions on how to build hives from scratch.

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