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Start Keeping Bees


Bee Hives & Things you need

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Honeybees are very interesting social insects.  It is the only insect that produces food for man. The honeybee has been in the news a lot in the last couple of years.  Many are worried about the honeybee and rightly so.  They are so important for pollination of fruits, vegatables and nut trees.  Many want to try their hand at beekeeping to help the honeybee and the environment.

With the economy like it is, many see raising honeybees and making honey as a wholesome hobby and a way to make a little extra money.  But where do you start?  This page will show you what you need to start.  Also, it will show you some things what you may want to have to make things easier, but don't really need.  Cost... Depending on how you order the hive a nuc with good used equiment or a nuc with new equipment has different prices. 

For the basic hive one story seen below on the left you have inside a deep, frames where the honeybees draw the comb, bees inside, bottom board, Inner cover, and a telescoping lid.  The price can be $400.00 + for a hive that is already developed depending on time and size of the brood area and number of workers.  Everything has to be figured out step by step as honeybees are super valuable and we don't have enough of them today.   You need to call way in advance of the need as other persons are often in line for honeybees.   

As a hive get time on it and the heat gets higher and higher a hive once small can suddenly get very large as brood starts hatching faster and faster. 

Queen types make a difference too. 

 


Parts of a Hive Explained in Detail

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You need a bottom board for the box to sit on. You need a hive body (box) filled with frames and foundation for the bees to live on. You need an inner cover on top of the box that creates a dead air space for insulation from heat and cold. You need a lid, sometimes called a hive cover or telescoping cover that fits over the sides of the box and a top super (box) to extend the brood or for nectar to be stored and you need bees.  The picture to your left an assembly line of new hives started in the spring.  Some hives start on drawn comb created at a different time and others start on only foundation.  If honeybees start on foundation in the early spring it is best to feed them a lot of sweetner like regular table sugar mixed 50/50 in hot tap water tell it goes clear.  Let that mixed sugar cool before feeding it too the honeybees!  Fall feeding do your mix 2 parts sugar to one part water.   Mix in hot tap water no boiling water when doing the mix.


In The Box

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This is what it looks like in the box. Bees cover the frames making them ready for the queen to lay eggs in the cells. If you want to make honey you need several of these boxes on top of each other for room for the bees to expand into and to put pollen and nectar to be developed into honey soon.  The bees 'pullout' the wax on the frames to create the hexagon shape of the the honey comb.  In those 'cells', the queen can lay eggs to make a giant army of bees to make lots of honey. The cells are also where the bees store the honey they make.  Many of the beekeepers that I talk to in late summer did not add more then # 1 or # 2 boxes for bees to make honey inside them.   Many are puzzled as to why they only got 30 to 60 lbs. of honey.   If I get with a beekeeper I tell them when you add boxes add # 3 to  # 4 not # 1 or # 2.   

In 2000 I was told when I started using the Parsons' Gold Solution add many boxes at the start.  I started in each yard with   # 4 medium boxes per colony from the get go.  I was shocked to find in one and a half weeks to have nearly 160 lbs. of honey on each hive and nearly all capped and all cured.

Ever since 2000 we are getting all the honey we want and then some.


Working The Bees

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Beekeepers need to open the hive periodically to check the bees. You need to see if the queen is still there. If she is laying eggs. If new bees are hatching and if there is honey. You need to look to see if things are getting crowded in there and if so, it's time to put on another box or two. Sometimes new beekeepers who don't understand the concept of the making honey or making more bees and they never put on another box. There is no where for the bees to store honey or the queen to lay more eggs if the room does not increase so the hive just stands still after a while and the hive then swarms to make more room and to cool the hive some.  If there is no room for the hive to expand there will be no honey for you and no honey for the bees to winter on when the cold comes in deep fall to winter.


A Bee Suit

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This is a hat/veil combo with zippered jacket. This jacket fits tight around the body at the belt line to keep bees from getting to you.  I think this is all that is necessary for a hobby beekeeper or experenced beekeeper that is just doing everyday hive work . A full bee suit will give the most protection, though.   I stopped using the full bee suit almost a decade ago due to heat.

We have used this jacket lots and got along fine. You should wear long pants like jeans so the bees can't get to your legs. Tape your pant legs clear shut and even over the tops of your shoes so the bees can't sting through your socks. Occaisionally they sting through clothes, but it is usually 1/2 to 1/4 sting and so doesn't amount to much.    We have on hand now the Hat Veil Cotten/Poly Jacket Combo and the Hooded Veil Cotton/Poly Jacket Combo both are $77.00 each.   We have many sizes duing the season but not that many usually on off season times.

The Hooded jacket is warmer then the Hat/Veil Jacket Combo in winter.  My choice is the Hat Veil Jacket Combo all year.  In the winter I wear a cap that has a tie on it so my head is warmer under the main cap attached to the Jacket.   The Hat Veil Jacket Combo is much cooler in hot times and I like that one in the summer.     

I buy genes that are 1 inch longer then what I should wear and this covers my boots or tennis shoes well.   I stopped taping my pant legs for the most part to my boots right at 7 years ago and so far the number of bees that climb up at my boot line are few in number.   I have to really be in the bees way after dark to get stung anywhere.

In season we usually have many sizes from small to often 4X large for the Hat - Veil jacket combo and some of the Hooded Poly/Cotton Jacket combo's.  I still as of today January 9, 2017  have several of the Hat - Veil Jacket Combo's left.

Since bee equipment is something you can not go to just any store to find one needs to think way early on what is wanted.

 


Gloves

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These are ventilated leather gloves. They are near elbow length, light to heavy weight with an elastic band at the top to provide protection.  Available in different sizes/costs.  This Leather glove Vented  $30.00 to $35.00 each for sizes from Child/Small to X Large.   Usually I get in some Small pairs of gloves but not that many.  Today July 17, 2016 I have many pairs of bee gloves on hand. 

If you are in driving distance from us call ahead of time to make sure we are here to receive you.  Many beekeepers plan ahead and get such items for gifts and to have extra around for family and friends that come and want to see a bee hive up close.    You can not have too many pairs of bee gloves!   Some of our customers from far away places like Chicago come and buy pairs of bee gloves as if they are buying for their assoiation so you can see they want many pairs!

I  take bee and equipment orders nearly every day.  I make plans early to have equipment here for the massive numbers of beekeepers that want equipment  as well as bees.   Often the levels of equipment vanishes quickly so please do plan ahead for what your bee and equipment needs are.

I just got in word this past season that the number of beekeepers in the United State numbered in the millions.  Word is it that OH had 1 million new beekeepers so the demand is massive.  It is no wonder the ordering of honeybees and equipment starts very early every year.

Just in Ohio in 2013 - 5,000 new beekeepers joined the ranks for this interesting hobby - business!

Think how many beekeepers are going to start with more honeybees spring, summer and even fall 2017!

I have on hand now a large number of deep frames and medium frames for the up and coming bee season 2017.   

  

 


Smoker

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This is a smoker. The smoker is a metal container with air bellows attached. A smoldering fire is built in the metal chamber and the bellows are used to blow the smoke produced out through a nozzle at the top of the smoker. When lightly puffed into a colony of honey bees the smoke causes a temporary confusion and disorganization within the colony. The honey bee's group defensive behavior is disrupted. This allows the beekeeper to move calmly and to confortably inspect the interior of his colonies.  The larger the colony the more smoke a beekeeper might need.  Don't smoke too much or too often.

Cost - Smokers with or with out a Shield $38.00 to $49.00 each.  Smokers are in such high demand most companies run out way too fast.!  A smoker can last many, many years with good care!

Most supply companies run out of this quickly and it is nearly impossible to get them and continue to stock them.   Many want a smoker no matter what it looks like.   A smoker is a must for sure as the hive gets bigger and bigger and the numbers of adult bees increases.   I usually light two smokers as you do not want your smoker to go out and if one does you have a second one going.

Honeybees are in such demand big supply places often can't even keep in stock such items due to the world market.   Most of the beekeeping supplies go over seas leaving us with what is left about 25% of the USA production.

My advice to you wanting to get into honeybees today order early and early means way before January of each year if at all possible!

Note right now last that I checked I had some in stock. 

I planned early and got more in this year then in any year to date! 

If you need one I can ship it to you.

Shipping cost vary depending on where you live and the distance from Forest, OH.


Hive Tool

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The hive tool. The honey bees collect a miscellaneous product called propolis from tree gums, saps and resins-anything sticky. This they use to seal cracks and crevices within the hive. because of the sticky nature of this product a special tool is used for those times when a little leverage is necessary to remove frames, supers, etc. from the hive. Cost.

Hive Tool Painted $9.00 ea.  My advice to a beekeeper is to keep more then one in stock.   I started out with one decades ago but the day that I lost my trusty hive tool was the day I decided to have at least # 4 on hand.  You can't work a hive without damaging the boxes with out one of these tools.  You must have a standard hive tool.  The standard hive tool is light weight and works well to get between two boxes for lifting the box to remove it.


Beekeeping Classes

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Beekeeping Classes 101, 201 and 301   

This CD is not necessary to have bees, but it is valuable source of information that can help you when you have questions and there is no one to ask. It answers hundreds of questions you might have. For example: Should I buy package bees or nucs? How do I hive package bees? Where should I place my hive? When do I need to requeen? How to start a business with bees. Advice for professional beekeepers. It's easy to use and at your fingertips any time you need advice.  This CD has no motion was developed by a Dana T. Stahlman  -  Cost... $20.00 ea.

 

Our 1st DVD from Parsons' Gold Apiaries  -  Beekeeping Simplified   (Picture coming soon)

This DVD is me talking and moving showing you various points

Objectives we want to accomplish for this DVD are:

*My history with honeybees from the beginning to the present

*For Example:  The Interest, then a hobby & next a Commerical Operation 1998 to date 

*Bee Hive Break down - A look at some equipment for honeybees and how each part goes together for each needed step.

*Assenmbling a wooden frame ,with glue and wiring that frame plus other examples of other types of frames.

*Process to light a smoker, various fuels and successfully keeping it burning.  A smoker needs added fuel from time to time too. 

**Place an order early as we expect large volume sales nationwide!

*We have lots of action and many interesting pictures plus tips to help you with your beekeeping experiences on each DVD

*This DVD is being produced by Robert B. Parsons and Jared M. Tuttle.   Cost...$24.00 ea.

 

Our 2nd DVD was completed in March 2013 near the end of the month.  

                         Hiving Packaged Honeybees Successfully

This DVD has me moving and showing important points that you need to know when doing this important process.

We show some equipment in the first part that you will need and some points to call ones attention too.   The last part is actually hiving a package and the date we wanted was around March 21, 2013

This year 2013 our plans are to provid more teaching tools in the form of instructional DVD's that deal with topics that beginning beekeepers find interesting and informative.  I am gearing them to all levels of beekeepers because each person will pick out what he or she finds to be of help and will store that knowledge for another time in their experiences to come.  We really wanted to have one out late in 2012 but that was not possible last year.  

I personally have been asked for years during my travels and expeiences with honeybees to do more related to educational DVD's.    It was not possible tell late in 2012 to start the planning and set up for such a venture.  I have been a beekeeper for over # 4 decades and in that time I have been able to do more with honeybees then I could have ever imagained was possible!

I started out my life in Indianapolis, Indiana then to, Biloxi, Mississippi, then to, Fresno, California then to, Michigan City, Indiana, then to, Bloomington, Indiana,  then to, Terre Haute, Indiana, then to,  Orleans, Indiana, then to,  Phoenix, Arixona, then to Aurora, Colorado, then to Orleans, Indiana again then to, Freeport, IL, then to,  Ada, OH, then to,  Lima, OH, then to, Cridersville, OH and then to, Forest, OH.  All along this trip above the honeybee has been with me helping me grow in my desire to do more and to be more with this insect!

If you want to read the topics that Jared and I want to address in 2013 go to Packages and Nucs and read far down for the list of the 22 + topics so far.  We might cover several topics per DVD but it just all depends on how each topic area works out. We plan to have DVD's that cover one topic and they will be priced differently.   This DVD cost  -  $24.00 ea. 

The Personal Pretective equipment for face, hands and body that was above we really want to make that as one DVD at a later date this spring.

 

 

Our 3rd DVD was out in May 2013, Near the End of this Month.

                   Honey Comb Production and Pollen Collecting

*I am going to show different equipment related to the how a person places equipment to do these collection steps

*When does the beekeeper start to arrange equipment for these seasonal needs?

*How does this happen and what about the queen how do I keep her from placing eggs in cells for table honey?

*When is the comb honey ready and how is this all accomplished?

* When do persons gather the Pollen in a season?

This DVD cost $24.00 ea.

 

Our 4th DVD is centered around:                                          

Catch a Swarm & Work the Bees.

This DVD right now is about a weekend from being done

We started selling this DVD July 29, 2013 even

before it can be sent out.

*This DVD shows the step by step process to hive a swarm with two beekeepers working together.  This DVD tells all the needed steps to get the job done.

*The next part of this DVD shows a person working through the top box for two hives showing the progression for honey production for hives started this past spring.  This is all in a days work when working the bees.  When a beekeeper does what is called working the bees they are looking for:

   A. Do hives need fed?

   B. Are queens needed?

   C. Does the grass need mowed near hives?

   D.  Do hive parts need repaired?

   E.  Do the hive parts need painted?

   F.  Are supers needed for an expanding colony?

   G.  Do frames need moved closer to the outside for filling honey supers?

   H.  Do hives need to be split to reduce the numbers of hatching brood?

   J.  How does one know when supers need to come off?

First # 4 DVD's all together $90.00    

This DVD the 5th costs $24.00 each 

 

Our 5th DVD was completed as of August 1, 2013.

Harvesting and Processing Honey for the Small beekeeper.

This DVD will show some of what a beekeeper needs to know about the harvesting of Honey.

Below are some examples of points that we would like to address in this DVD.

 

A.  How does the beekeeper get the honey combs off each hive?

B. What equipment is needed when processing combs full of honey?

C.  How best does one cut off the cappings that seals the cells full of honey?

C. What is the best method to house the cappings when uncapping the cells?

D. What is an electric Knife and how does it get the cappings off the cells full of honey?

E. Why is a filter a good items when processing honey out of the combs?

F. What is so special about saving drawn comb to the next year?

G. How does one keep the Wax Moth larva from growing in empty combs?

H. How hot should the extracting room be when extracting honey?

 

Price for this DVD is $24.00.  All # 5 DVD's market for $112.00

 

Our 6th DVD was completed on January 2nd 2014.    We have shipped them nationwide since then. 

                     The Prescription

This DVD will help beekeepers better keep hives healthy in many condition of the year.

Below are some examples of points we will tried to address with this DVD.

This level of information was accumulated over many years of beekeeping experiences.

  -

A.  Steps to help over winter a hive in the fall, winter and into cool spring days and nights.

B   Why a hive suffers in the cooler periods of the year?

C.  Why having too much honey on a hive might be a death trap?

D.  What happens when nectar is not cured in cells and when workers can't fly?

E.  Other forms of sweeteners for honeybees in super cold times of the year.

F.  How to use Parsons' Gold Solution in the deep winter on the top box?

G. How can a condition called: Honey Bound cause a hive to suffer in winter?

H.  How can a top entrance help a hive in cold times of the fall, winter and spring?

J.  What can a product called the - All Season Inner Cover - do for a hive in the cold and in high heat?

K. This - All Season Inner Cover - can even help your hive in hot periods of the year to keep it cooler.

L.  This - All Season Inner Cover - helps your hive in summer by keeping the hive cooler.

 

 

 

Price for this DVD is $24.00 each. This DVD was completed on January 2, 2014.


All # 6 DVD's now are $133.00 + S/H $8.00 developed by Parsons' Gold Apiaries!!!


We are soon coming out with our 7th DVD, How to Split a Package to Make 2 Hives out of 1 Package

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Parsons' Gold Solution

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Parsons' Gold Solution is a product designed to keep your honey bees healthy. It contains all natural ingredients so it will not harm the bees or get in the honey or wax.  It was developed in 1991 as a solution to a vast majority of beehive problems, and it was formulated from herbal extracts which bees naurally come into contact with in the wild.  It contains no pesticides.  It helps bees be as healthy as they can be and helps them defend themselves from mites.  When it is in the hive the Small Hive Beetle does not like to venture in so that element is not a problem either in the hive. 

Some beekeepers think this product is something you do not need to keep bees, but from my expeiences and others that report back to me it is highly recommended.  Cost... starting at $15.00 for the # 33 treatment syringe of the Herbal Jelly up to $260.00 for 2,500 treatments. See Parsons' Gold Solution page.   There is the concentrate another product that goes along with this product but from my expeiences the Herbal Jelly is the best for on the bottom and the concentrate is better under the inner cover or on the top bars or on the end bars on a few boxes if your hives are 6, 7, or 8 boxes high.

The basic order a # 33 treatment syringe of the herbal Jelly costs today $15.00 plus $8.00 S/H.  This syringe will treat one hive for over 2 years if you treat the standard way even in the winter months of # 4 treatments per hive spaced a week apart then once per month per there after.  If you are starting your treatment program out and you are concerned about the health of your hives you might choose to treat more then 4 times in row tell your hives look like they are more healthy.   In some locations in the USA where Mites and the small Hive Beetle are known to be more plentiful if it were my operation I would treat more to start just to be sure of the out come.

I have developed a Prescription of sorts over several seasons that comes in handy for helping honeybees in periods of cold weather and the Herbal Jelly treatment is one part of the Solution.  Each beekeepers at one time or another has the experience of how hard winter can be on the life span of hives of honeybees. 

I have over wintered hives using this Prescription with over whelming success! 

If you are interested in more please take the time to give me a call at 419-273-3066 as winter draws near. 

Hive losses go up greatly at all times of the winter each year due to many complication that honeybees expeience.

A healthy hive can even die in the winter with plenty of honey above the brood do you know why?


Extra Equipment

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Optional. If you want to make honey for yourself or to share with others, you will need extra equipment. Bee boxes have other names. The largest is called a deep box. A deep box, sometimes called a super if you use it to make honey, can weigh 70-100 lbs. if the bees fill it with honey. Next size is a medium, also called an 'Illinois' and can hold 40 lbs. of honey and be nearly 50 to 60 lbs. when full of honey.  A shallow is the smallest box and can weigh 30 + lbs. when full of honey. If you get extra boxes, you'll need the frames of beeswax to go inside them.  Bees will use any size box you put on, but generally, deep boxes are for brood, eggs, larvae and baby bees and are on the bottom where the queen likes to live. Shallows are often for comb honey. But beekeepers put on the size that is practical for them. If you are a strong healthy young guy/gal deeps are no problem.  However, most woman want mediums and shallows they are easier to handle. You can get equipment new or sometimes you can find used. Cost.... See New and Used Equipment pages.

In this picture I was trying to take hives of honeybees to CA and this set up helped me due to the fact that the bottom boards was attached to a deep for the start of a brood area.   All that I needed was a medium box on top with some honey and brood for each hive to go to CA.   When the load arrived in CA they are placed in a staging area where hives are fed then moved to an orchard ready for the bloom to open soon after the new year begins. 

What you do not see in this picture is another row of light green boxes on bottom boards stacked high to the right as big as the ones on the left.  This picture was taken in the late summer of 2005.  We were ready to produce that August 500 colonies.   California was paying at a high of $165.00 for the use of a colony for about a month that next winter in 2006.

If you are wanting to really expand for spring 2017 you will want to start this winter for next spring. last fall feeding with 2 parts sugar syrup to 1 part water.  Contact me for what else to do to help hives in deep winter so your investment will get through the winter well.


Extracting Honey

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Optional. Once the bees make the honey, the next thing is 'how do you get it out of the frame?  You can cut the beeswax comb out of the frame and put it in a tub and let the honey run out. You can squeeze it out with you hands. A very messy way. (You ruin the combs if you do it this way, and that isn't good.) You can get an extractor like shown in the picture. You cut the wax cappings off the comb with a knife, put the frame in the extractor and using the handle, you spin the honey out, The one in the picture does two like frames at a time. The honey runs out of the extractor into your container when you open the gate at the bottom.  You can spend up to thousands on extractors, depending on whether you want stainless steel, electric crank and how many frames you want it to spin at a time. This extractor Costs - $260.00 + S/H and sometimes taxes and S/H is added.   Contact us for information related to getting this extractor to you.   This still is a very popular extractor and one year it was sold out nationwide over 4 times.   Today I am told I can again get this small extractor!  I have one also as I do talks around the county and this small extractor is a very good tool to explain how honey is extracted and for a low end price for a machine.  It is light weight and is small enough for a child to be able to see it up close and work it too.  I would for sure be with a child running this extractor.

In 2010 I had two of these extractors the only two in the county I was told and one I shipped to CA and the other went to a beekeeper in Columbus, Ohio.

On December 1, 2012 we finished extracting about little over a half ton.   The very next time I could get back to the extracting process the uncapper would not work and we were waiting for new parts to extract the 1,200 to 1,500 lbs. left.     On January 29, 2012 I did all my 2011 honey in one day 12 full hours.  2011 it took me several months to prepare my extracting set up and due to that my time to extract was way late.   I had help and two of us extracted my honey crop from late in 2011 on January 29, 2012.  My haul was a half ton and that was not bad for a season where not a drop of nectar was stored tell July 22, 2011. 

In Ohio in 2012 our flowering crops were planted late due to many days of constant rain so the nectar producing plants came on late but even with the extrement heat of 2012 we in this part of Ohio made a boat load of honey and for that we were very happy! 

In years past I often would start extracting honey late in July and would still be extracting honey in December and January.   In 2006 I started extracting in late August and was still extracting honey in January 2007.   Most small beekeepers just do not comprehend how hard it is to get help that will stay the course and keep on keeping on with you! 

Several seasons now past our honey haul was from 14,000 lbs. to 16,500 lbs. and try that haul on for size getting help to be there for you hour after hour day after day and week after week at nearly 100 degrees.  Honey does not flow well at 72 to 75 degrees.

In 2008 to 2009 I had to have my honey custom extracted due to a move here Forest, OH.   In 2010 my system was up and running but due to an uncapper chain going down I had to extract without a good automatic uncapper of frames of honey.  In 2011 as was said above we had too much rain and late nectar storage but all was fixed except my spinner.  I got the spinner fixed October to November so I was ready to start extracting January 29, 2012 for the 2011 honey crop.   

People were waiting for our honey haul to be processed all fall 2011 and into the new year of 2012.  Thank goodness January 2011 was so warm or it would have taken more then 12 hours to finish that extracting process.   By getting it done on Januray 29, 2012 this was a first for me since the last time I was late into another year that was Januray 2007 when my process place was in Allen County near Lima and Cridersville, OH   

I remember well back in 2000 to 2003 buyers coming out of Chicago came for a half ton and a ton.  That size order was small to me in thoes days.

Back in 2013 some needed extracting equipment was late getting here from out west so we could extract right at 1,500 pounds of honey.  To keep the wax moth from eating combs full of honey we kept the supers uncovered at the top super.

The wax moths did not harm this large amount of honey.  They will not harm it if the room in cool and you don't cover each stack.  The wax moth larva needs the area closed so they can warm it.  

Most of the 2,000 to 3,000 lbs. of honey still to extract back in 2013 crystalized so we fed it to our new hives or swarms in 2014 and 2015. 

On November 7, 2015 we were not done with the 2015 haul of honey but we are super close to being done.

This past spring 2015 it rained here in this part of Ohio tell right at July 22, 2015. When the rain was over the hives jumped forward.  Production for this season is lower then last year.  I will likely about 3,000 of honey.

In early December the 11th  2015 we can only hope that this warm weather today will last into deep winter.  Tomorrow December 12, 2015 the weather persons are saying it will be in 70's!

On July 17, 2016 the weather has been perfect for massive honey production if supers were stacked high!

Today January 2017 it is bitter cold with a snow storm heading our way from Indiana.  Bee work of any kind has come to a stand still!