Alaska Beekeeping Symposium

Spring 2019 BeesCene

Below you will find some charts and images that are part of my 2019 BeesCene Spring edition article

Figure 1: Basic Climate comparison between Yukon and Alaska - Source:

Photo 2: Nathan’s Winter Setup – Single poly hive, double brood chamber, wooden inner cover, notched upper entrance with a polystyrene hive cover

Figure 3: Frame type layout of queenless nuc

Figure 4: Flowchart detailing failed hive

Figure 5: Chart detailing temperatures and humidity (inside and outside hive).

Photo 6 & 7 & 8 : Feb 3rd 2018 (-40C); Jan 7th, 2019 dead bees at entrance (-30C), 25 dead bees test shows Nosema spores present. Other 3 hives were negative on Nosema.

Figure 7: These charts display the weather data in terms of bee behaviours (>8C Forage Degree Hours; >16C Nectar Degree Hours; <8C Cluster Degree Hours). The calculation is similar to Growing Degree Days, instead I use hourly weather day. These charts show the weather for Whitehorse YT and the Abbotsford BC. It is clear that both the bee season and winters are very different. The nectar flow potential are clearly very different and the wintering requirements are drastically different. Even a place like Edmonton known for its cold winters has half the winter intensity and a very much longer bee season.

Figure 8: This chart is a representation of both the local wind and rain conditions.

Figure 9: Satellite imagery to estimate forage (soil disturbance levels) in a 2 km radius – Both these areas had hives with weight scales. Both areas had nectar flows during the same period but second picture had much higher yields.

Figure 10: Slide from my presentation showing the various symptoms. The likely cause was pollen deficiency, high heat, and mite DWV. Likely PMS (Parasitic Mite Syndrome) and not a brood disease.

Figure 11: My winter Preparation

My last topic was on winter preparation and the need to start early (mid-August). I presented my 12 step approach:

1. Insert bee escape and pull honey (not much surplus this year but my top brood box is in the 75-100 lb range - I can hardly lift alone)

2. Remove one empty frame per deep as bees will usually ignore outside frames

3. (NEW) Insert new 2 1x10 frame blank per deep (help with moisture and remove empty space where bees usually get wet in winter during warm spells followed by cold spells - condensation)

Note: I have noticed that bees don’t propolize my poly boxes very much. I will be reducing the with of my insert by ¼” and scratching up the inside surface to encourage the bee to propolize this inside surface. Propolis has been shown to be link with healthy bees (Anti-fungal/viral/bacterial properties)

4. Treat each hive with Nozevit+ certified organic Nosema treatment

5. Feed 4 L – 20 L of 2:1 syrup (Backfill shrinking brood nest)

6. Feed pollen patty

7. Treat OAV for varroa (1st year hives or as required – mid August)

When cold sets in: (remove any pollen patty left in the hive)

1. Put extra medium on top to hold combined moisture quilt and dry sugar cake. New setup will let me easily add pollen patty and baggy feed bags in spring. I'll put a piece of styro above feed area to prevent heat loss. Still debating top entrance or no top entrance. I have had better success without.

2. Bring hives off the stand onto 2" styro and ~2 pallets (or when I get a strong helping hand)

3. Bubble wrap 2 hives together (or 2" styrofoam + bubble wrap for wood hives)

4. Protect front entrance from snow and wind (use piece of plywood or simple awning as in picture)

5. Ignore them until March...