Ol' Buffalo Beekeeping Page

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Beekeeping Menu

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Do You Have a Bee Swarm in Your Yard? Don't Spray It, Report It!

Do you have a honey bee swarm in your yard? The Iron County 4-H Beekeeping Club can help you by safely removing the swarm at no charge to you. The swarm will help one of the youth in the 4-H beekeeping club with his or her project.

In Iron County, Utah call the Iron County Extension Service at (435) 586-8132 or the club leader at (435) 590-7569. You can also go to Swarm Patrol and Honey Bee Swarm Removal or call your County Bee Inspector, your County Extension Service to find a beekeeper who will safely remove the swarm -- usually at no charge to you. In an emergency, call 911.

We might also be able to remove an unwanted colony of honey bees that has become established in a hollow tree or in your home or other structure. If we need to open up your structure in any way, we'll need you to sign an agreement that clarifies the work we need to do. Since removal of honey bees from a structure often requires a lot of time and effort, there may be a charge for this service. Call us and we'll let you know how or if we can help.

Simply killing the bees that are in your home or other structure does not eliminate the problem. Along with several pounds of dead and rotting bees remaining in your structure, you will still have considerable wax, honey, and brood in in the structure that will attract mice, ants, foul odor, and physical damage. See this video for a short warning on simply spraying bees that are in your home or other structure.

Many people mistake honey bees with other similar insects such as wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. We can only help you with honey bees. If you aren't sure which insect you have check the image below or this more detailed explanation. If you still don't know, call. We'll help you identify the insect and what to do about it.

Note: If you are a beekeeper and would like to be added to the swarm list, please register at Swarm Patrol and/or Honey Bee Swarm Removal.

Host a Beehive

Would you like to have a local beekeeper place one or more hives in your yard to pollinate your garden?

Call the Iron County Extension Service at (435) 586-8132 or the Iron County 4-H beekeeping club leader at (435) 590-7569 and we will evaluate your site for suitability as a location for a beehive. If your site is suitable, we'll ask you to sign an agreement that clarifies your rights and ours.

This free service is only for year-'round location in home gardens or on farms which don't rely on honey bee pollination for profitability (ie large fruit farms). We only site hives in eastern Iron County.

Farms which need several hives for crop pollination typically pay a fee for pollination and want bees only during the blossoming period. This free service is not for them -- we don't want to compete against commercial beekeepers.

Top Bar Hives and Other Alternative Hives

Alternative Hive Designs (BeeSource) Bee Hive Types
Index of Hive Types  
3 Bee Honey  
Back Yard Hive Barefoot Beekeeper Top Bar Hive
Barry Birkey Top Bar Hive Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives
Bee Natural Top Bar Hive BeeThinking Top Bar Hive
BioBees Bush Farms Top Bar Hive
Cornwall Honey Top Bar Hive David Heaf's Warré Beekeeping Index
David Heaf Warré Hive Plans (Metric) David Tromp Top Bar Hive
David Tromp Top Bar Hive Construction Dennis Murrell Top Bar Hive
Dennis Murrell Top Bar Hive Georgia State University Top Bar Hive
Gold Star Top Bar Hive Honey Bee Habitat Top Bar Hive
How to Build a Top Bar Hive John's Top Bar Beekeeping
Kenyan Style Top Bar Hive Lance Waldner Top Bar Hive
Leonard Barton Top Bar Hive Long Lane Honey Top Bar Hive
Michael Bush Top Bar Hive Michael Bush Top Bar Hive
Michael Thomas Top Bar Hive My Top Bar Hive
Natural Bees Oregon State Beekeepers Association Top Bar Hive
Phil Chandler Plans for Beekeeping Equipment
Roger Delon Warré Hive  
Sean's Top Bar Hive Tanzanian Style Top Bar Hive
Texas Bee Guy Top Bar Hive Thomas Hybrid Hive
Thoughts About Top Bar Hive Design Thür Horizontal Topbar Hive
Top Bar Beehive Top Bar Hive Beekeeping
Top Bar Hive Beekeeping Top Bar Bees
Top Bar Hive Report Top Bar Hives in Alaska
Top Bar Hive Startup Guide Warré Beekeeping
Warré Hive Plans Warré Hives
Warré Methods Warré Store
Wasatch Warré Beekeeping Wojtek Top Bare Hive
Yahoo Tophive Group Yahoo Warré Group

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Marking a Queen Bee

International Queen Marking Color Code:
Color: For Year Ending In:
White (or gray) 1 or 6
Yellow 2 or 7
Red 3 or 8
Green 4 or 9
Blue 5 or 0

It is common practice to mark the queen with a small spot of paint on her back (thorax). A color code exists within the beekeeping industry to indicate the year the queen was introduced.

A paint pen, model car paint, or fingernail polish may be used to mark the queen. The identifying mark should be small, so that it does not cover any other part of the queen. A 1/16" stick, lightly dipped in paint, is a good applicator if you don't have a paint pen. Generally, queens are marked before being introduced. They can; however, be marked at any time. Paint should be given ample time to dry before the queen is released into the colony. In fact, queens may be purchased already marked by the queen producer.

Some beekeepers also identify queens by clipping the tip of the tip of one forewing. If queens are replaced every two years, the beekeeper clips the left wing(s) on queens introduced in odd years, and the right on queens introduced in even years. The clipping practice may also supplement the paint spot technique as a back-up should the queen lose her paint mark. If clipped correctly, the queen will not be able to fly. However, if clipped too closely, the queen may appear damaged and be superseded.

See also Queen Catching and Marking.

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Beekeeping Quotes

A brier rose whose buds yield fragrant harvest for the honey bee. — Letitia Landon

A swarm of bees in May is worth a ton of hay.
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm of bees in July ain't even worth a fly. — Author Unknown

Bees are not kept for their color, but for their productivity. — Brother Adam

A bees' stinging apparatus measures less than one thirteenth of an inch, the other 2 feet are pure imagination. — Will Rogers

Before explaining some other methods of artificial swarming, which I have employed to great advantage, I shall endeavor to impress upon the mind of the bee-keeper, the great importance of thoroughly understanding each season, the precise object at which he is aiming, before he enters on the work of increasing his colonies. — L.L. Langstroth

But the bee yard, when not the scene of herculean labors, as at harvest time, is largely a place of quiet where one feels not alone but rather an integral part of the scheme of things. Solitude is not really the word for it. Communion is. One is not separated from company but only from distraction. One's thoughts and feelings are not imposed from without but elicited from within, rising in absorption with the vast surrounding nature. — Richard Taylor (The Joys of Beekeeping)

Don't assume that all bees are as calm as yours. When going to work a strange hive, assume they'll be aggressive and dress and smoke accordingly. If they turn out to be calm, you can wear less the next time. If they're crazy, you won't get stung for no good reason. Like I did yesterday. — Steve

For the rest, whatever we have got has been by infinite labor, and search, and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is that instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light. — Jonathan Swift

Go to the bee, and learn how diligent she is, and what noble work she produces; whose labor kings and private men use for their health. She is desired and honored by all, and, though weak in strength, yet since she values wisdom she prevails. — Bible (Septuagint), Proverbs 6:8

Honey bees fly 55,000 miles to bring us 1 pound of honey.
During a honey bee's life (about 40 days) a honey bee will gather about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
Bees must visit 2 million flowers to gather 1 pound of honey.
How many bees are in a 3 lb package of bees? About 10,000.

How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower. — Isaac Watts

If a beekeeper tells you he knows what he's doing, be wary and keep a keen eye on this fellow, for he has already told one lie, and no doubt will tell you another. — Author Unknown

If a queen bee were crossed with a Friesian bull, would not the land flow with milk and honey? — Oliver St. John

If the colonies are strong in numbers and stores, have upward ventilation, easy communication from comb to comb, and water when needed, and hive entrances are sheltered from piercing winds, they have all the conditions essential to wintering successfully in the open air. — LL Langstroth

If the [honey] bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live. — Falsely attributed to Albert Einstein

If the question in your mind starts "how do I make the bees..." then you are already thinking wrongly. If your question is "how can I help them with what they are trying to do..." you are on your way to becoming a beekeeper. — Michael Bush

If you're not part of the genetic solution to breeding mite-tolerant bees, then you're part of the problem. — Randy Oliver

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. — Abraham Lincoln

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. — Dale Carnegie

I have established mystic contact with the spiritual core of apiculture and now, anything is possible. — Charles Martin Simon

I have likewise shown that we strive to interfere as little as possible in the activities and organization of the colony, and that the honeybee will at all times blindly follow her instincts regardless of our wishes. Indeed, the old-time title 'beemaster' has no real validity in modern beekeeping. The tasks of the modern bee-keeper might more actively be described as a 'service'. In fact, we are more truly servants than masters. — Brother Adam, Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey

I like pulling on a baggy bee suit, forgetting myself and getting as close to the bees' lives as they will let me, remembering in the process that there is more to life than the merely human. — Sue Hubbell

I think it safest to base our assumption, that bee culture, in some respects is a hazardous business, even amongst the most thorough and careful. — A.I. Root, 1882

It is well known that improper diet makes one susceptible to disease. Now is it not reasonable to believe that extensive feeding of sugar to bees makes them more susceptible to American Foul Brood and other bee disease? It is known that American Foul Brood is more prevalent in the north than in the south. Why? Is it not because more sugar is fed to bees in the north while here in the south the bees can gather nectar most of the year which makes feeding sugar syrup unnecessary? — Jay Smith (Better Queens)

It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted. — Mary Flannery O'Connor

It will be readily appreciated that in the course of many years and daily contact with bees, the professional bee-keeper will of necessity gain a knowledge and insight into the mysterious ways of the honeybee, usually denied to the scientist in the laboratory and the amateur in possession of a few colonies. Indeed, a limited practical experience will inevitably lead to views and conclusions, which are often completely at variance to the findings of a wide practical nature. The professional bee-keeper is at all times compelled to assess things realistically and to keep an open mind in regard to every problem he may be confronted with. He is also forced to base his methods of management on concrete results and must sharply differentiate between essentials and inessentials. — Brother Adam (Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey)

Like the honeybee, the sage should gather wisdom from many scriptures. — Bhagavad Gita

Listen to the bees, let them guide you. — Brother Adam

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. — Bible, Proverbs 24:13

One of the beekeeper's very first tasks must be the study of bee behaviour and the adaptation of himself if he wishes for success. — Brother Adam, Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey

Our apiculture forefathers, those great men who defined the principles of modern beekeeping: Langstroth, Dadant, Root. Why were they so extravagantly successful? The answer is simple. Because they didn't know what they were doing. They made it up, as it were, as they went along. — Charles Martin Simon

Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind. — Friedrich Nietzsche

Shall I take brood from strong colonies to give to the weaklings? Not I. For the damage to the strong colonies will more than overbalance the benefit to the weaklings. — Dr. C.C. Miller (Fifty Years Among the Bees)

So work the honey bees -- creatures that by a rule in Nature, teach the art of order to a peopled kingdom. — Shakspeare

The bee is more honored than any other creature; not because she labors, but because she labors for others. — St. John Chrisostym, 4th century

The beekeeper must first of all be a bee lover or he will never succeed. — Ticknor Edwardes

The best environment for the bees is not agricultural, I have them there for my benefit and deal the best I can with the side effects thereof. — A comment on Bee-L

The Creator intended the bee for the comfort of man, as truly as he did the horse or the cow. The honey bee was... created not merely with the ability to store up its delicious nectar for its own use, but with certain properties which fitted it to be domesticated, and to labor for man, and without which, he would no more have been able to subject it to his control, than to make a useful beast of burden of a lion or a tiger. — Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810 – 1895), apiarist, clergyman and teacher. The Hive and the Honeybee, 1852

The fruit of bees is desired by all, and is equally sweet to kings and beggars and it is not only pleasing but profitable and healthful; it sweetens their mouths, cures their wounds, and conveys remedies to inward ulcers. — Saint Ambrose

The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. — Jacques Yves Cousteau

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. — Henry David Thoreau

The more I studied beekeeping, the less I knew until finally I knew nothing. But even though I knew nothing, I still had plenty to unlearn. — Charles Martin Simon

The only consistent thing about bees is their inconsistency. — Dr. C.C. Miller

The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee. The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey. And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it. — Winnie the Pooh in A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner

The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee; A clover, any time, to him is aristocracy. — Emily Dickinson

There are a few rules of thumb that are useful guides. One is that when you are confronted with some problem in the apiary and you do not know what to do, then do nothing. Matters are seldom made worse by doing nothing and are often made much worse by inept intervention. — Richard Taylor (How to Do It Book of Beekeeping)

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. — Henry David Thoreau

The secret of my health is applying honey inside and oil outside. — Democritus (contemporary of Hippocrates, who lived to the ripe age of 109)

Tiggers don't like honey. — AA Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee. One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few. — Emily Dickinson

We have never known what we were doing because we have never known what we were undoing. We cannot know what we are doing until we know what nature would be doing if we were doing nothing. — Wendell Berry, Home Economics

We lived for honey. We swallowed a spoonful in the morning to wake us up and one at night to put us to sleep. We took it with every meal to calm the mind, give us stamina, and prevent fatal disease. We swabbed ourselves in it to disinfect cuts or heal chapped lips. It went in our baths, our skin cream, our raspberry tea and biscuits. Nothing was safe from honey...honey was the ambrosia of the gods and the shampoo of the goddesses. ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

We're all busy little bees, full of stings, making honey day and night, aren't we honey? — Bette Davis

Whatever style (hive) may be adopted, let it by all means be one with movable frames, and have but one sized frame in the apiary. — AB Mason

When bees to distance wing their flight
Days are warm and skies are bright
But when their flight ends near their home
Stormy weather is sure to come. — Unknown

When one stands before a hive of bees one should say quite solemnly to oneself: "By way of the bee-hive the whole Cosmos enters man and makes him strong and able. — Rudolph Steiner, Lecture 1 on Bees, 1923

When you go in search of honey you must expect to be stung by bees. — Joseph Joubert

When you hear buzz around the beehive, you know they're making honey in there. — Terrence Howard

Women make the best beekeepers cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. — Sue Monk Kidd

Your Lord revealed to the bees: ‘Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow.' From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. — Qur'an, 16:69

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The Honey Bee Is Classified Thus:

Kingdom: Animalia (because they are multicellular, can move of their own volition, and ingest organisms or their products)

Phylum: Arthropoda (because they have an exoskelton and no spine, a segmented body with a pair of joined appendages for each segment)

Class: Insecta (because they have compound eyes, two antennae, and three body sections, each with a pair of legs.

Order: Hymenoptera (because they have membranous (hymen) wings (ptera)
Family: Apidae (because it’s a bee)

Subfamily: Apinae (because it has a pollen basket)

Genus: Apis (Latin for bee)

Species: Apis mellifera (from the Greek, meli, meaning honey, and the Latin, fero, meaning carry.

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IronBee Nucs for Sale

Nucs (nucleus hives) are not the same as package bees. Nucs include bees, brood, honey, pollen, and frames. A nuc costs a bit more than a package, but you get a significant head start over buying bees alone.

Each of my IronBee nucs consists of 5 standard deep Langstroth frames:

  • Approximately two frames of capped and uncapped brood covered with an estimated 2 -3 pounds of adult bees,

  • Approximately one frame of honey and pollen, and

  • Two empty frames (foundation or drawn comb)

Each nuc includes a young, mated IronBee queen. IronBee queens are open-mated and based primarily on Italian stock.

  • Since my queens are open-mated, I have no control over what type of drones mate with the queen. However, I make an effort to flood the mating area with my own drones.

  • I use minimal drugs and chemicals to prevent disease and to control parasites. I am concerned by reports that mites build up a resistance to the acaricides used by other beekeepers to kill them and use less toxic mite control methods. Instead, my queens are based, in part, on selected resistant strains of bees that have prospered with minimal artificial treatments.

  • I select for what I think really counts:

    • Hardiness in Utah's high desert climate,

    • Gentleness,

    • Resistance to disease, mites, and other pests,

    • Productivity,

    • Not pedigree or color.

My price for Spring 2016 is expected to be $140 plus a $10 deposit per nuc to be refunded when the empty nuc box is returned in good condition. Quantity will be limited. I offer a $50 discount per nuc for 4-H youth who are active in the Iron County 4-H Beekeeping Club (one discount per 4-H family).

My nucs will be delivered in 5-frame temporary nuc boxes. There will be no frame exchange. You may bring your own hive and transfer the bees to your own boxes and save yourself the deposit fee and the trip back to return the nuc boxes.

Nucs are for pick up in Cedar City, Utah or local delivery only. They will not be shipped directly to you.

Queen-rearing season here in the Rockies is much latter and shorter than in the South and at lower elevations. At 5800 feet in the Rockies, I don't have the guarantee of an early, warm Spring like the nuc, package, and queen sellers on the South and California. So, my nucs will most likely be ready for pick up in mid to late May. Conditions beyond my control such as wet or cold weather or nectar flow may affect delivery date. So, there is a chance I might not even have bees for sale!

So, the bottom line is that I can't guarantee that I'll have nucs for sale in the Spring. If you're willing to risk not having bees at all, contact me in April when I'll have a better idea whether I'll have some nucs.

There are some other good Utah vendors of bee packages, nucs, and queens listed at the Utah Beekeepers' Association website. If you want Utah-raised bees, you might try Rob Brinkerhoff in Kanab (435-644-8192), Casey Lofthouse in Hurricane (435-467-2787), or Mel Taylor in Santa Clara (435-673-5340 or 435-668-6492). Although they don't sell Utah-reared bees, IFA and CAL Ranch are also reported to be a good place to order, because they seem to be good bees and you pay a lot less for shipping than if you order directly from a distant vendor.

Suggestions for hiving your IronBee nuc:

  • Upon arriving home with your bees, place the nuc box in the exact spot and in the same orientation as you will put the hive. Remember that bees orient to the spot you place them so if the nuc is placed in one spot for a few hours and then moved to a hive location in a different spot, the bees will be homeless when they don't find the hive.

  • Remove the the entrance cover or plug.

  • Let the bees calm down for at least an hour or two while still in the nuc box.

  • Place the frames from the nuc box in the middle of your hive box. Fill the remaining space on either side with your frames.

  • Ideally, you have a warm, sunny day to transfer the frames and bees to your hive box. This way the field force will be out flying and there will be less congestion in the nuc box.

  • If the weather is cool (less than 50º F) or cloudy feed your bees to compensate for their not being able to get out to forage. I recommend a ratio of 1 cup of sugar to one cup of water until your are confident they are bringing in nectar. I also recommend placing a pollen substitute patty on the top bars over the cluster of bees.

  • Do not leave the bees in the nuc box for more than a few days or they will become too crowded and swarm.

  • Return the empty nuc box promptly for your $10 deposit refund.

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