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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – December 2015

- December 1, 2015 - - (excerpt)

Swarm Trap Article Was Helpful

I want to thank Dr. Leo Sharashkin and ABJ for the article “A Swarm Trap On Every Tree.” This ingenious design has enabled me to expand my apiary almost 4-fold this spring. I have put up swarm traps in the past using 10-frame hives with a full deep and an empty medium with only a success rate last year of 1 out of 8 traps. Using Dr Sharashkin’s method this year I made 8, put up 6, and caught 6.

Those other two swarm traps I did not put up did not go to waste. These light-weight easy-to-carry hives are great to just keep in the back of the truck. And, thanks to my wife and social media I received at least 30 calls/notifications about bees. Some of these were swarms where I used a newly built ready-to-go swarm trap with 5 or 6 frames with foundation and some drawn comb. Some were about already established hives in a house or garage. I used the swarm traps for the swarms for about two or three days then moved them into a full hive, reset the swarm trap and away I went on another call.

I started this spring with 5 over-wintered hives and throughout the spring I caught or cut out 22 more hives. Some of these swarms I caught were fairly small and I combined them as a double queen unit or just offed the obviously weaker queen and made one. Some were really fast growing wonderful hives all on there own.

In the past I have only caught one or two swarms each year. Catching these large numbers showed a wide variety of what is out in the wild. Lessons I have learned from this experience is to keep track of the queen/hive’s abilities and requeen as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way and lost several of the hives. When I gathered data and analyzed it I found that most of these hives just needed a stronger younger queen. In my case small hive beetles over ran the hives once they had dwindled to a certain point. My wife gave me the idea to try next year for small hive beetle control which is putting hives and our chickens together; chickens love small hive beetle larvae. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

These traps cost about $22 each including two straps for each, nails, screws, and paint, but not counting the frames and foundation. This is approximately $176 total. With a total of 18 of these new hives being obtained using these new swarm traps, each of these potentially $110 “packages” only cost me $9.78 each. Next year I plan on building an additional 16 or more traps and expanding. I also will be ready to requeen as soon as I see the first sign of a weak queen as well as put my chickens to work. Hey Dr. Sharashkin, have any more wonderful ideas I could use?

Thank you,
Brad Staggs, Southwest Missouri

Utility Company Saves Honey Bees

Attached article from the Circleville (Ohio) Herald shows the great lengths a utility company went in order to move a colony of bees. Perhaps it would be of interest to your readers. Large companies often get attention from beekeepers and environmentalists for seemingly ignoring honey bees and the challenges they face. This is a refreshing article.

David Crawford
Circleville beekeeper

Ohio Utility Workers Move Bees Discovered in Utility Pole

by Amanda Plotts
Staff Reporter
Circleville Herald

A utility pole replacement project turned into a mission to save bees after workers came across a beehive in an old woodpecker hole in a 90- foot utility pole on the west side of Goodchild Rd. just south of Circleville, OH.

In August, Service Electric Company was contracted by American Electric Power (AEP) for a utility pole replacement project in the area.

“We look for hazards and in this case, we found a hive of bees,” said Jim Scott, field safety coordinator for Service Electric Company.

Scott said that Service Electric Company always strives to leave everything better than they found it on a job site and that includes the environment. With bees being important to agriculture, Scott said he knew something had to be done to save them.

“AEP has policy of do no harm and Service Electric embraces that policy,” Scott said. “Our company promotes and supports AEP. Their polices are our policies.”

Once Scott was aware of the beehive, he checked on the bees daily and …