Friday, April 2, 2010

My new goodies arrived from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm!

So I went to eat lunch on Thursday and by the time I got home, I found two packages on my front porch. I was happy to see that my goodies arrived from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm which is located two hours from me in Moravian Falls, North Carolina. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted a spare hive in case I find a swarm somewhere, and now I have a fully complete set-up for when the moment arrives. As you can see, the only thing it needs is a fresh coat of paint -- and I've already picked out the color. Bright orange! The orange color like the breakfast drink, Tang. So between my lemon yellow hive, the upcoming lime green hive -- and the spare orange hive, I should have all the citrus colors in my apiary. It should look like a taste of Florida right here in North Carolina!

Thank goodness the pest eliminators I ordered arrived too including the ten pack of ApiLife-Var (for varroa mites) and the disposable Beetle Blasters. Brushy Mountain includes their own instructions with the ApiLife-Var, and when I opened the plastic package to read them, you can really smell the ingredients even though each one is sealed in heavy foil. Each wafer includes the active ingredients of Thymol, Eucalytol, Menthol and Camphor. It is all-natural, and the active ingredient is the Thymol..a more purified form of oil of thyme. You open one foil package (you cut the two wafers into eight pieces) and put it over the brood nest for 7 to 10 days for a total of three treatments (21 to 30 days). The only problem I've read about the pieces is that unless you staple them to the frames or enclose them in screen wire, the bees will try to carry it out as trash. So I plan to take an old window screen and enclose the wafers inside to they can't move it around. You also have to block the screened bottom board and reduce the entrance so the vapors will permeate the entire hive. I'm planning to put the AprLife-Var in the hive for the first treatment this Saturday. And I plan to post just what kind of reaction my colony has to it and what observations I see too. The Beetle Blasters are self explanatory, but in case you've never heard of them, you put mineral oil inside them and put them on top of the frames in the five. When the small hive beetles scurry through the hive, they try to take cover in the traps -- and they meet their demise by drowning in the oil. All I can say is, good riddance! Back to the ApiLife-Var, Brushy Mountain says that used correctly, it will kill 95% of the varroa mites in your hive and won't harm the bees.

Here is the new inner cover I ordered from Brushy Mountain called a Goble cover.  I like it much better than the ones I have from Dadant. This inner cover is a piece of 3/8" plywood which is glued and nailed into the outer rim. And as you can see, it has a hole in the front which acts as an upper entrance. Its a lot more solid than the Masonite inner covers from Dadant which buckle really easily from hive moisture (and I speak from experience). I plan to order two more of these inner covers this week for all my hives. I'll never go back to using the Masonite inner covers anymore. Plus you get a better deal with the Goble covers because they're cheaper in price than the Masonite ones.

I have no clue what kind of bush this is, but I know my bees love it! It sits in my neighbor's yard, just across her fence and directly behind my bee hive. I noticed a flurry of bees on it all afternoon. Not only was it popular with my honey bees, but it was full of bumblebees too and they all seemed to be getting along just fine. I went to get my camera and waited patiently to snap some pictures of them gathering goodies from the flowers but every time I would get poised, they would move around. Finally in frustration, I decided to snap a picture of the entire bush. But take a look at the top left of the picture (where I circled in yellow). There you can see a bee as she's flying away from the bush. Hey, it wasn't a picturesque as I hoped for, but I think you get the idea.

I didn't mention that I bought 20 Pierco one-piece frames for the brood nest of my new hive. I've read lot of good things about the one-piece frames, they seem to be the rave of commercial beeks, so I decided to give them a try myself. They're coated in beeswax, and as soon as I opened the box, you could really smell it. Let's hope they work.

Pictures coming of the new lime green hive which goes into service just as soon as I split my current hive!

Bee good, everybody!


  1. Full report please on the Api-Life Var. I have not used it but would like to know how it works for you. I have a bucket of Mite-Away II to burn through.

    My new hives are being painted this week with a Coastal Blue. They look like children's toy boxes. Pictures to come.

  2. looks like your bush there is flowering quince. (if it has thorns - it's quince. if not - then heck, i dunno!


  3. Mark - I always love reading your posts because your love of beekeeping comes through with every word you write. Isn't it amazing what we learn in the first year of beekeeping and the changes we make.

    I have great garden news. My new chicken coop/shed is under construction. Baby chicks arrive Monday! I'm so happy I'm going to have a mini-farm - something I've always wanted.

    Have a great weekend and a happy Easter.

  4. All of my stuff is from Brushy Mountain. I think they are a bit better with basic things with their equipment and their products are better made.

    The flowering tree looks like a type of camelia. Heavy pollen producers!

    Be careful with the beetle blaster, you can accidently tip it and spill the vegi oil out all over the place. You can put apple cider vinegar to attract the beetles into the trap. They like the smell. It isnt strong enough to cause them to come in from outside, but if they are already inside, they will go right to it.

  5. Add my vote to hear more about what you think of the new mite treatment.

    Do you use a varroa screen with a sticky board so you can do mite counts? I like them because I can do before and after mite counts.

  6. Like the anonymous person said; the bush looks like Flowering Quince. I'm not sure bees go for it but I'm still reading.



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