Bee Ready Vol. 75 - August 2006

Dale K. Pollet  |  9/8/2006 1:26:06 AM

It has been an on again-off again honeybee season, and the weather has not really cooperated for the bees -- first, too dry and too hot; now too wet in some areas for the bees to work efficiently. Honey production is down again, below average, and in some cases 40%-50%. We had some flowers early in the season but not enough moisture to make a good crop. Now the rains and storms are moving in too often to allow the flowers to produce usable nectar for adequate honey production. We have a lot of flowers blooming now if the weather would just cooperate.


There has been an increase in the calls for honeybee removal throughout the state. Recently I have broadened the list on the web site for beekeepers willing to remove honeybees or collect swarms or both. Click here for the web site.

If there are changes to the list that need to be made, please send me an e-mail or a note with the corrected information. Any beekeeper can be added to the list by sending me the required information: name, services provided, travel distance and any additional parish that can respond to removal of swarms or colonies in structures.


The state fair is right around the corner, and now is the time to start getting your honey samples ready. The competition has been scarce the past couple of years, so this year may be the last one if more samples are not entered. Remember that each entry in all three categories -- light, amber and dark -- requires three one-pound glass jars with a numbered tag for each set. The tag number should be written on the top of each jar in waterproof ink or a permanent marker. The fair is held in mid-late October, so preparation should start now to remove bubble and froth from your samples. If you are unable to attend, contact your county agent and he/she will bring your samples to the fair for you. I can also help transport samples if needed. Good luck, but remember, you cannot win if you do not enter.


Although we’ve had a poor-to-moderate spring for honey production, we have the potential to produce a good fall flow this year with the giant ragweed, goldenrod, vervain, wild asters, bleeding heart vines, and for a few of us in north Louisiana, a few basswood and sourwood trees. Due to sufficient rain right now, these flowers could help to boost honey output for the year and help to produce a good fall flow. Remember, I am putting together the book on honey and pollen plants, and if you find the bees working heavily on an unknown plant, send me a sample and take pictures of the bloom and foliage so we can add it to our book.


Once again, we received essays from 4-H'ers around the state. Thirteen different parishes turned in essays with a total of 26 participants. I want to thank each of you who were instrumental in assisting the 4-H'ers in gathering their information and writing their essays. The topic for 2006 was Honey Bees in Art and Culture. We had some very interesting essays, and I even learned a few things. All the kids were winners, and the top three were:

  1. Corissa Blount, Livingston Parish
  2. Jyra Bickman, Washington Parish
  3. Ashley Coco, Concordia Parish


Many people think that when summer is almost over, school is starting and football is in the air, we can stop thinking about getting overheated and dehydrated. In fact, now that the rains are coming, it is actually somewhat hotter and more humid outside; thus, we should be especially careful about protecting ourselves from the heat. Remember to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Dizziness and headaches are two good indicators of overheating, and when your body stops sweating, it is past time for you to take a break and protect yourself.


We still see populations of hive beetles and varroa mites that can kill the hives if unmanaged. Be sure to treat your hives as they go into the winter, not only for these pests, but for foul brood and nosema. Treatments in the fall after harvest will help provide you with strong colonies that will be ready to go in the spring. Proper storage of frames and foundation will help to reduce the potential for infestation of wax moth larva.


If you have any equipment or bees for sale, let me know, and I can list them in the next newsletter.


Remember to register your hives with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. This is an excellent means for the department to have a record of where colonies are located in case of an emergency.


To date, we have not had any additional finds of the African honeybees. Hopefully one good thing coming from the storms is that they removed the Africans from the coastal areas.


The annual Honeybee Field Day will be held at the honeybee lab on Ben Hur Road at LSU on November 4, 2006. The program is being put together now and will be sent out shortly; mark your calendars now. Come enjoy the friendship, meet other beekeepers, and learn what is going on and what is new with honeybees.


Remember that the state meeting is the first week in December in Alexandria.


Dale Pollet

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