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Starting A New Hive ~ The Treatment-free Way

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Intuition: ~the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. ~a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. Treatment: ~the manner in which someone behaves toward or deals with someone or something. ~medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury. ~illness—a disease or period of sickness affecting the body or mind. What is intuitive treatment-free beekeeping? ~Assisting by observation & understanding of the needs of honeybees and aiding in their natural cycles without the use of chemical treatments, antibiotics or any other possible thing not naturally found in a beehive; such as foundation sheets, plastic frames, etc. All our bees make their own wax combs, all the time. We do not feed them or add anything to them.

~ As wax ages, toxins may build up in it. If the bees continue to raise their brood on old wax combs their immune systems may become compromised and the hive may develop symptoms of sickness. Once the bees immune systems are compromised they will start to attract pests who will introduce more diseases.. At this point the hive could be a loss. Did you know that most beekeepers use their wax combs for years in their brood nests? Why do people use treatments for bees? ~Many years ago there were several pests & diseases that flared up in the beekeeping industry. Many beekeepers lost their hives. Out of fear of losing their businesses they turned to treatments to relieve the bees of their symptoms so they could continue to produce honey and keep the bee business going. What are the pests & diseases that could harm bees in Hawaii? ~Varroa Mites, Small Hive Beetles, Nosema Ceranae, American Foulbrood, chalkbrood, snotbrood, & wax moths.

How can you care for bees without using any treatments or medications?! ~Pick a hive design you wish to work with. (Most common is Langstroth Hives & Top Bar Hives.) ~Buy bees from someone you know is a treatment-free beekeeper. (Paradise Nectar nucs consist of 1 mated queen, 3-5 lbs. of bees, & 3 brood combs.)

~Have the bees delivered & installed with an overview of hive care, or pick up your bees and take them home and set them up in their new hive.

Basic set– up process:

Step 1– Place one empty bar/frame next to the wall near the entrance side of the hive.

Step 2—Place one brood comb/frame next to the empty bar. Followed by another empty bar and then another brood comb. All in the sameorder that the brood combs are removed from the nuc box. Step 3—Before inserting the 3rd comb, attach the queen cage, containing the mated queen with 3 attendant worker bees, to an empty top bar with a rubber band. Place the top bar in the hive next to the brood comb.   (You may also release the queen at this time. It is best to place a queen excluder over the entrance to keep her safe and in the hive. Remove it after 3 days.)

Note—if the cage touches the comb in any way then the queen cage must be adjusted to make it so that it does not touch. If the cage touches the wax comb it will attract small hive beetles. Step 4— Place the last brood comb in the hive next to the queen cage/bar. Make sure the comb does not touch the cage! Step 5—Shake the rest of the bees into the hive. Then put the rest of the top bars in place and cover the hive with a roof of some kind. White plastic roofing works very well tied down with rope. Leave the bees to settle into their new hive for two days.

Step 6—Open the hive in the afternoon two days after setting up the bees in the new hive. check all the combs for queens cups/cells. Before removing the cups/cells, examine the queen cage and make sure that the queen is alive and moving around. Once all the cups/cells are removed put all the combs back in place and prepare and opening large enough to reach down into the hive with the queen cage in hand and gently open the circular plug on the top side of the cage, place a finger over the hole to keep the queen from running out. Next, open the large hinged top of the cage and hold the cage open facing the last comb. Make sure to observe the queen crawl onto the comb and then shake the cage to remove extra attendant worker bees. Close up the hive. Make sure to release the queen from the cage in 2 days. Then check the hive again in one week.

Ongoing-care: Check the hive every 2 weeks. As you go through the hive add empty bars between the straight combs that are covered with closed wax cells. This will guide the bees to making new straight combs. (Do not place an empty bar between combs with open cells or the bees will extend the combs out, instead of down.) It is important to observe how many bees are in the hive and how covered the combs are by bees before adding empty bars. The hive must be large enough to have the extra energy to expend making new combs.

~As the hive grows the maintenance stays the same. Let the bees make new combs. Once combs get dark and the bees start filling them up with pollen and honey, harvest them. Then let the bees make fresh white combs. Make sure to leave all brood and nectar combs for the bees. Full pollen and honey combs need to be harvested to make room for new brood combs to be built. This is what will keep them healthy & hygienic so they do not need to be treated.

Bees make wax in their bodies for a reason!!

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