Spring is time to order bees

by Beekeeper's Wife on May 3, 2011

Apiary (Bienenhaus) in Upper Bavaria, Germany

Image via Wikipedia

Ordering Bees – Beekeeper’s Notes

In March I started to prepare my order for bees. I have  20,  3-pound packages of bees on order with Lapps Bee Supply. There are about 10-12,000 bees in 3#.

According to Answers.com if you want to know how many bees in a pound:

There are 3,333 and 4000 bees per pound. However, according to the Wikipedia article in the “related links” section, a honeybee weighs about 100 mg. If there are 453600 mg in a pound, 4536 workers would make a pound of bees.

When ordering a package, there are also drones and a queen. Together with differences in weight among breeds and individuals, the difference between the estimates is understandable.
If you still think that bee suppliers are cheating beekeepers, consider that a typical hive in summer has a population of about 60 000 bees, and remember that a queen can lay 2000 eggs in a single day.

Other needed supplies that I also ordered are medication for vireo mites, foul brood, nosema, chalk brood, and trachea mites. I ordered some replacement frames with foundation so that I can get rid of any that might look less than ideal as I go through the hives.   I have frame feeders but plenty of them for the size of my bee yard.

A fresh coat of paint

I also took all my spare boxes and gave them a coat of fresh white paint which helps with protection of the wood and reflecting heat during the summer months. In past years when traveling in Europe and Germany, I saw many apiaries located near wayside parks with hives painted a rainbow of colors.   Many of the hives were then housed in a larger structure and enclosed.  Only the entrance was left exposed for the bees. I didn’t find out exactly why, but the structure certainly protected the hives from being knocked over or taken, So its a safer way to have bees around a populated area.  It doesn’t prevent the issue of swarming but that can be managed by the beekeeper through attention to the hive, queen cell management etc.

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