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New BeeManiacs Beekeeping 101 Class

BeeManiacs staff volunteers teaching classes and presenting about beekeeping in several bee clubs and conferences, but year after year, we hear the same feedback:

  • There are not enough beginner bee classes available and some people have to start a beekeeping season without any class support. By the end of March, there are no more bee classes available and people that have already ordered live bees find themselves without training options.
  • Some people requested classes in a different schedule than the ones offered by local clubs.

We decided to offer for the first time, our own beginner beekeeping class: BeeManiacs Beekeeping 101 – Sunday, March 31, 2019 – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

This class will cover everything you need to know to get started in beekeeping.

  • Different hive styles
  • Parts of the hive.
  • Beekeeping equipment options
  • Protective gear
  • Beekeeping tools
  • Basic honey bee biology – bee races
  • Apiary location
  • Installing your bees

Cost is $50 per person enrolled. Students that are 17 or younger can pay 50% of class fees (minors have to be accompanied by a paying adult).

Students that join this class will have priority and free access to shorter courses (regular fee is $5 per course) and to hands-on field days through the beekeeping season (about 6 hands-on field days during the season).

We have limited seats and you can book your ticket right now on this page:

BeeManiacs Beekeeping 101 – 3/31/2019

The link below shows other events and optional classes that we will have during the season (we are constantly adding new classes):

https://beemaniacs.com/events/

BeeManiacs also offers free online education modules and free support through our forum system.

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Store Closes for the Season – Online Remains Open

It’s that time of the year when most beekeepers in the Inland Northwest finished checking their hives, treating for mites, and feeding when needed.

There’s no much beekeeping activity left, so we usually close our store for the season.

The BeeManiacs online store remains open 24/7/365 though. If you need any beekeeping material, you can place an order online and we will ship it to you or you can still select “pick up at the store” and we will schedule an appointment for you to pick up your order.

If you rather buy items at the store in person, we can open by appointment. Just send us an email to info@beemaniacs.com and we will schedule your visit.

We will open again for regular hours of Friday, February 15, 2019.

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BeeManiacs contributing to Initiative for Nationwide Detection of Ss1 (INDES)

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is conducting research on Ss1 bacterium in honey bees and varroa mites. The goal of this effort is to recruit beekeepers in all 50 US states that will provide samples of analysis of Ss1 bacterium. The name of the program is Initiative for Nationwide Detection of Ss1 (INDES).

BeeManiacs collected dead mite samples following UW-Stout protocols and mailed the samples last March, contributing information from Eastern Washington State.

UW-Stout studies led to the discovery and reporting in 2016 of Serratia marcescens strain sicaria (Ss1) bacterium, a potential new threat to hives. Much of the work has been done by students at UW-Stout lab.

The goal of the INDES effort is to obtain samples of Varroa destructor mites and honey bees that will allow to better identify locations where the Ss1 bacterium is found. A clearer understanding of the bacterium’s location will provide more information about its potential impact on bee health.

You can see below some pictures of our mite collection for this program and also some links for more information about Ss1 bacterium.

 

Research buzz: UW-Stout professor, students identify bacterium that may kill honey bees

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Last Live Bee Options Left for 2018 Season

We are done with packages for this season, but if you would like to start keeping bees or restart a colony that died recently, you still have some options left for this year:

Please visit the respective links for more information and pictures for each option.

We are doing the “package in a nuc” and the “starter hive” for the first time this year. We only made ten of each, as a test, and if everything works well, we will make more in future seasons.

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Handling and Installing Packages

As we write this, we are sitting at Olivarez Honey Bees in California, waiting to load the packages and bring them to BeeManiacs.

Pickup date for the packages at BeeManiacs is April 28, rain or shine.

Bees in a package are very vulnerable and have a limited capability to regulate temperature and air flow. They depend on the beekeeper to provide the right environment during transport.

Transport tips

  • Once you have your package/s, we recommend you to go to your bee yard and install the bees as soon as possible.
  • We do not recommend transporting packages on the back of pick up trucks. There could be too much airflow (cold air) or could be exposed to too much sun or even rain. Car trunks are not a good idea either, because they could get too hot and lack ventilation.
  • It would be better for the bees to ride in the vehicle with the beekeeper with average or “room” temperatures. The longer the trip home, the more important it is to provide the right travel environment.
  • Just transport the package/s as you would a pet. Don’t leave the package inside a car (it could get too hot or too cold).
  • If you bring someone along for the ride, make sure they are comfortable with sharing the car with thousands of bees.
  • It may be a good idea to bring a veil or any protective gear, just in case.

Installing the package

  • Try to install the package later in the day, to prevent robbing from existing colonies and reduce chances of absconding.
  • Get the hive set up and ready to receive the bees ahead of time.
  • Take into account that the package is installed in one single box. If you bought a hive kit with multiple boxes, just use the first one. If you have a non-conventional hive, like top-bar, horizontal or AZ Slovenian hive, please note that you have to use follower boards or some kind of divider to make the chamber where the package is installed smaller.
  • You will need to feed the bees with sugar syrup (mix of granulated sugar and water 1:1) so make sure to have enough sugar and a feeder to deliver the syrup close to the bees.

A package that is installed correctly will start drawing out comb, have brood, and expand for the rest of the season. If there’s something wrong with the queen or the colony, we have about 7 to 10 days to solve the problem.

But when the conditions for the package are bad, all the bees could die within three days, without having a chance of establishing the colony (for example due to lack of syrup feed or if installed in a hive that is too big or has too many boxes).

When you pick up your package at BeeManiacs, we will give you detailed printed instructions to follow when you install them at home.

In the case you run into any problems, email us at livebees@beemaniacs.com as soon as possible. In many cases, we can help you resolve most problems, as long as we’re contacted right away within the first week.

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More Saskatraz packages available for ordering

We were able to increase the quantity of Saskatraz packages we are bringing this Saturday, April 28.

We will continue taking orders, while supplies last, on a first come, first served basis.

Until Thursday night (April 26) you can place orders for packages online:

https://beemaniacs.com/product/package-bees/

Friday and Saturday (April 27 and 28) we will only take orders in person at our store.

Online orders won’t be available from Friday on, even if we have packages left.

 

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Order and package pickup process for Bee Day

If you pre-ordered packages or materials that are ready to pick up on April 28, please read on.

Pick up hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Our store opens from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Bee Day.

The process to pick up existing orders is:

  • Proceed to park in our parking lot. Please park close to other vehicles to make sure we have room for everybody.
  • If you want to purchase something from our store or visit vendors and the beekeeping swap meet, please do that first.
  • Once you are ready to pick up your packages or pre-ordered material, please go to the store entrance (marked “1” in the diagram below) and there will be a desk where you can receive your printed invoice with pick up vouchers.
  • You can now go to the pickup area (the big barn), marked as “2” in the diagram and pick up your order/packages.
  • Once you’ve collected your bee package, we recommend going straight home and installing them as soon as possible.