Beekeeping Hints – Fueling your smoker – Save money! Go natural!

Beekeeping Hints – Fueling your smoker – Save money! Go natural!

OK, I get all the mass mailings of all the same beekeeper supply houses and vendors that most of you do. Some of times I just flip through some of the pages and shake my heads at what people will buy, and much more at what people will pay! Clearly, there’s some newbies still out there that haven’t been tought about smoker fuel or else have more money than brains.

OK, so, let’s just employ a little planning and opening your eyes. Most cases, some of the best smoker fuel is right in front of you and best of all, IT’S FREE! Unless you’re in a desert you have pine trees around you somewhere. In my case, they line the roads to my hives and we have lots of them in local parks! Well, simply avail yourself to some of the dry pine needles and pine cones! They’re some of the best smoker fuel you can find! They light easily (especially when you use a blow torch like I do!) and smoke more than Winston Churchill
smoking a cigar!

When loading my smoker I first cram in a dry pine cone in the base, then I pack the rest on top and around sides. Works incredibly well.

Usually I take a small bag with me and fill it with dry needles and a few cones. You never know when you’re not going to have a pine tree handy and need to fire up a smoker.

Some beekeeping vendors hope you have more money than brains, well, I’m hoping you have more brains than they think 🙂

I did a quick low budget youtube’er on this. It’s here at: https://youtu.be/V_CQTdceWJc

Good luck and good Beekeeping!

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

Beekeeping

Beekeeping Hints – Controlling Small Hive Beetles with Diatomaceouse Earth – DTE



 
Beekeeping Hints – Controlling Small Hive Beetles with Diatomaceouse Earth – DTE
 
For old time gardeners and beekeepers, the use of diatomaceouse earth(DTE) is an old and well used tool when it comes to trying to get a handle on unwanted pests.
 
For the beekeeper fighting small hive beetles(SHB), DTE is used liberally under the hives with the intent of disrupting the growth cycle of SHB’s by killing the larva phase.  The natural growth cycle of a SHB requires that the larva spend some time in the earth before it emerges as an adult insect, so if you can kill or disrupt its larval cycle you can help reduce the numbers of these things we have to deal with.
 
The application is simple.  Just sprinkly liberally below your hives.  I prefer to use St. Gabriel’s brand ( no paid plug here ) as a fellow beekeeper’s research determined this to be the best working variety for his hives.  And, I don’t like to reinvent the wheel.
 
I did a quick low budget video on utube that you can find here – https://youtu.be/D57iYySh_1M
 
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand…in the bee yard.

Beekeeping

Beekeeping Hints – Controlling small hive beetles with Beetle Blasters

Beekeeping Hints – Controlling small hive beetles with Beetle Blasters

One of the many and perhaps most annoying pests we beekeepers have to contend with is the small hive beetle.  Frankly, you can’t get rid of them, probably second only to mite issues, they’re at the top of the list of parasitic arthropods that beekeepers have to manage.

With this blog, we’ll look at one item – the Beetle Blaster.

Frankly, they’re an incredibly simple device to use.  You just fill them about 2/3rds of the way up with vegetable oil and carefully slide them into your hive box in between the frames.  Usually one per box of frames is sufficient and you’ll insert one in each box of your hive.  I check them periodically when I’m working my hives as they tend to either fill up, solidify with age or in some hives get sealed off by the bees.  As they age or fill, simply and carefully remove them from the frame, replace with a new one and throw the old one away.

You need to be careful as the oil inside them is a fluid and will slosh around and spill out if not handled carefully.  It’s a very simple clean up if this happens – just wipe it off with a paper towel or napkin and you’re in business.

Be very careful with working with the hives that have blasters installed.  Again, the fluid in them can spill out if they’re not carefully handled and get on your bees. This will kill your bees as it coats them in oil and prevents them from breathing or moving. If and when this happens, just remove the dead bees and quickly clean up the mess.  Be very careful because if you spill on your queen, you’ve got a more serious problem to deal with.  Vegetable oil isn’t a poison per se, but coating a bee with it is potentially deadly to the bee.

Most any 100% vegetable oil will work.  I generally use the generic store brand, but if I run out I’ll snag a bottle of whatever the local Tigermart has on the shelf to finish the work I need to get done.

Now, these blaster aren’t the cheapest things around.  If you’re a smaller hobbiest buying them a strip at a time is very economical, but if you’re a bigger hobbiest or planning on being a beekeeper for a long time, then I would suggest you get them in case lot of 100.  It’s ALOT cheaper.  I get mine from Trevor and the folks at Bon Aqua Springs (basprings.com).  This isn’t a per se plug for them and I advocate shopping around but I’ve had good luck with them.

I just posted a low budget vid to youtube so you can see the process visually – https://youtu.be/dGKmFG-QoK0

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand…in the bee yard.

Apiculture, Beekeeping