>My philosophy in rearing bees is to first do no harm.
>These creatures have been doing their thing for many years without my help so I am trying to do the best for them by leaving them to their own devices as much as possible.
Yes they have.
>About mite control, there are many ways to control mites. From a powered sugar shake to harsh chemicals. I am in favor of using the least destructive method possible and only progressing to chemicals if absolutely necessary.
>How is a â€œsugar shakeâ€ done?
That depends on the purpose. If you want to quantify the number of mites in your hive, you take a cupful of bees in a jar with some powdered sugar:http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tidings/btid2000/btdjan00.htm#Article2
If you want to use it for control (as opposed to measuring) of mites then most people just sprinkle it over the top of the box and then brush it down between the frames.
> It will take me a long time to dust each individual bee unless I can do it during branding time
>Seriously, do you dump powered sugar in between the frames? Do you pull each frame and dust the bees on the frames?
Many methods have been done. The most difficult is to run the bees out into a screened box and treat them outside the hive. The simplest is to dump the sugar across the top bars and then brush it down between.
>What about those absent/foraging?
Most of the mites will be in the brood nest.
>I learned that SBB stands for screened bottom board and that a sticky board should be used under it to determine if there are mites in the colony
Or just a board. And only when you're trying to count.
>and if there are, they should be monitored during and after treatment to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
Absolutely. Many using chemicals don't do this and lose their bees because of resistance.
> (MB donâ€™t read the next sentence.) I bought a beginner bee keeping kit
>(sounded right to me since I am a beginner). I have a deep super that came stapled to the bottom board
It CAME stapled to the bottom board? Where did you get it? I've never seen one that came that way. It's much easier to clean off the bottom board if it's separate.
>Pretty tough to get a sticky board into it
Why? The ones made for a solid bottom board just slide in the entrance.
>so soon I will purchase a SBB (screened bottom board)
Sounds like a good plan.
>Can I successfully take the old solid BB, cleat the sides and back and use it for a cover?
Why cleat it? It works fine as is. The bees will glue it down. You'll have excess bee space, but it will work. If you use it as a top entrance the will burr it less since, even though the beespace is too much, they are using it for traffic.
>I could close it during the winter with an entrance reducer on the smallest setting.
Or next to the smallest setting...
>About preparing for winter, I live in a climate that sees winter lows in the 30s and winter highs in the 50 - 60 as a general rule.
That's not winter. :)
>My one colony, which I started from a nuc on Memorial day of this year, has filled two deep supers with honey and brood, I checked them today and found the outside 4 frames in deep super of the brood nest are filled with honey, the inside frames are filled about 50% with various stages of brood cells 50% honey. There are two honey supers which I added during the past two months that are 25% full of uncapped honey. Should I be doing anything here?
How much does it weigh altogether? That's the real issue.
>I heard that as a general rule a colony needs 50 lbs of honey to survive until the spring flow.
I can't say there, but here I'd be shooting for 100 to 150 lbs.
>What does 50 lbs of honey look like in a super?
A ten frame medium full of honey is close to 50lbs of honey. But what's important isn't what 50 pounds looks like. What does it FEEL like?
>Iâ€™m sure most of you have the experience to look at the super and determine if honey stores are sufficient to overwinter a colony
No. I don't. I lift it.
>Do I need to weigh a few frames to determine that the colony has 50 lbs to survive the winter?
Have you ever lifted a 50 pound bag of feed? Do you know what 50 pounds feels like? You can always lift one end of the hive and set it on a bathroom scale. Personally I'd want more than 50 pounds.