Caribbean Bee College – Barbados 2017

_DSC0110.JPGA fun and rewarding educational event was conducted at the University of the West Indies and Mount Gay Distillery. The opening and closing ceremonies were held at Mount Gay, a sponsor of the event. Opening remarks by the Minister of Agriculture encouraged the sector and its importance in agriculture.

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Haitian Program

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A 3 day workshop in beginning beekeeping with a group of 14 youths from Cite Soliel. We tested for varroa with a sugar roll test in Port au Prince. Part of the training is getting bee stings. piki piki – FYI; Varroa numbers were 7 / 300 bees. We treated all the colonies with homemade Amitraz strips.

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Steel Drum Hive honey

I made a TBH a few years ago using a steel 30 gallon drum. I open it twice a year. In March, I inspect for a queen and check her age. Then opening again in July for honey  harvesting. This year it produced close to 3 gallons of honey. The colony has 22 top bars and I harvest from 7 or 8 of them each year. I love the shape.

The hive is in full Florida sun and I have less than $5 invested in it. It has been active with feral bees for 3 years now. I have taken a Darwinian approach to survival of the fittest with it. If it swarms, I look at it as a positive. They are dealing with varroa on their own terms.

Note: This is not the approach I take with my managed Langstroth hives. They are inspected for varroa on a bi-monthy schedule and treated annually.

TBH honey

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Bee College – November 1-4, 2017 – Barbados

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Haitian Top Bar Hive

 

This has proved to be a valid design for a TBH. Tropical bees tend to prefer smaller cavities. We built 24 of these in Haiti for under $10US each. A creole version of this blueprint is also available. Please write for a pdf or jpg.

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Caribbean Bee College 2017- Barbados

Talks are underway for the upcoming CBC later this year in Barbados. The University of the West Indies at Cave Hill will help host the event. All hope is for November 1-4. If you would like to get on the emailing list for this fun event, drop me a note and I will pass it on. Learn about bees in one place from experienced experts in the field of apiculture.

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Caribbean Honey; short supply

The drought throughout the Caribbean is having an impact on the bees as well. No water, no flowers, no nectar, no honey and food for the bees. Always remember, honey is the bees food first.

The Eastern Caribbean nations have had little rain the past few years. It has shown up in very little honey being produced by the managed colonies. Keeping colonies alive under the stress has been an added issue to most beekeepers. Feeding bees sugar-water is an added expense that no one needs. Once a hive is weak and stressed, the wax moths will take advantage and overrun a colony.

Moving your hives to locations that do have nectar plants may be imparive. Antigonon leptopus, commonly known as Coralita, Coral Vine, Mexican creeper, cemetary vine, Chain of hearts, Pretty Mexican girl, Bee bush is always in bloom throughout the Caribbean. It is an invasive species, but a good nectar source for bees.

Hopefully the El Niño drought is over. Bring on the rains for not only the crops, but the bees as well.

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