Beekeeping Questions — 20 Comments

    • Starting packages in the summer after the spring nectar flow reduces the amount of time the bees have to build up honey stores for the winter. Although this can be done, you will most likely need to feed the bees during the summer and autumn drier season when nectar sources are not plentiful or your colony will probably not survive though the winter. I would recommend you avoid buying packaged bees from the south at any time of the year. Instead, seek out local beekeepers for a source of honeybees already aclimitized for your area.

        • I recommend that you contact or visit your local beekeeping club in order to find a nuc supplier for next spring within an acceptable driving distance of your home. In the meantime, a beekeeping club’s library has a wealth of information about beekeeping – more than you will find at any public library. Studying those materials may help improve your success next spring and help insure your $100+/nuc investment. Also, most clubs have a swarm contact list. If you can get on this list, your chances of obtaining free honeybees increases significantly.

    • A strong hive, sized appropriately to the volume of bees within, is the best deterrent against ants and other invaders. However, if ants are a problem, I have had good success using corn meal. Ants are unable to digest corn meal, however, they still perceive it as a food source. Sprinkle corn meal over the ant trail and cover to prevent the rain from washing it away, and within a week you should not have an ant problem. Note, honeybees cannot digest corn meal either, but they usually do not eat it. Hence, try to avoid applying corn meal in the hive where the housekeeping bees would feel the need to remove it.

  1. Hello I’m a new beekeeper in Waynesboro. I live in town and will be unable to keep hives on my property and so I am looking for potential out-yards. If anyone is interested or knows someone who is please let me know.

  2. Hello.

    I am a new beekeeper in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I started with four hives but one of them ran into a problem. It appears the queen died and the workers started laying. At this time, it doesn’t look like it is worth stopping the workers and putting in a new queen as there are not enough workers left and I don’t want to weaken any of my other hives.

    I know it is already late in the season, but I am looking for a nuc package or a swarm that someone might know of or bees getting ready to swarm that I could buy from someone. If you know of anyone who can help, please ask them to e-mail me at


  3. We are hosting and Emergency Preparedness Expo May 9, 2015 in Lynchburg, Virginia. We would like to invite you to attend as a vendor.

    Could you please forward contact information for the person that handles Advertising and Event Planing for your company.

    Respectfully Submitted;

    Robert Sutliff – Owner

  4. I am new to having bees. I have one other hive. I just caught a hive in the last week. They are all over the outside around the opening. It has been rainy in Texas. Im wondering if they are trying to stay cool since the rain has stopped and is this normal behavior. Thank you for your help.

    • Honeybees clustering around the hive entrance in large numbers is referred to as bearding. This behavior occurs usually when there is not enough room in the hive and the weather is very warm. Like many people at a party that causes the room to heat, the same thing happens with bees in a hive. So to help keep the hive cool, the bees cluster outside the hive. When bearding behavior is observed, the beekeeper should inspect the hive and add supers if necessary.

  5. I am reposting what I put on the other part of your website. I was at the lavendar farm near Harrisonburg in the last year or two. I was told that the beekeeper’s bees were healthier/protected from mites because of the lavendar pollination. Do you know if this is true and/or if their are any effective treatments for mites-varroa or otherwise? Thanks

    • Natural plant based oils have been shown to help control many types of bacteria and parasites. See
      Although I grow lavender here as well, I do not know how much of an effect lavender oils have on varroa mites. Oil of wintergreen, for example, has been claimed during several presentations at our club to be effective in controlling varroa. If you use this oil, however, be sure to wear gloves during application because it can be easily absorbed through the skin resulting in methyl salicylate overdose.

  6. Is anyone using fgmo or fgmo/wintergreen oil combo to treat for mites? I’m also curious if any club members have used OA for mite treatments?

    • Depends on the number of hives you want to have and where they will be. If you just want a few hives in your yard, then once you get the equipment together it can take about a few hours a month, with the spring and summer months being your busiest. Come to one of our meetings next year and get some more information. Look under meeting schedule for time and place.

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