I got two this week alone, along with some from the fruit growers and seed companies. Lots to look through and many decisions to make in the next few cold weeks. As I reviewed my catalogs these last few cold days, I made a list of items I'd like to order, along with ideas I want to implement in 2014.
For example, I am going to order a drone board this year, so I can stay ahead of the Varroa mites. Several of my colleagues have told me this is a good working solution to keeping the mites (and drones) in check.
This year the bees gave me a fair harvest. However, I was worried that the girls would produce what they did last year, and I wasn't ready. I was quickly borrowing processing supplies from my fellow club members and bee buddies. So this year, it's time to get out the hive tool and pry open my wallet to get an extractor and hot knife. Every year I say I'm going to do it, but every year, my fiscally conservative Scrooge overtakes my ghost of Christmas present.
It's highly unlikely I'll make one, unless I want one that doesn't work, but I may be looking for a used one or just treat myself to a new extractor.
The other item I want to get is a few back-up hive tools. I keep losing mine!
I use both versions of hive tools. There are advantages to both, but again, having a backup is worth it to me, along with a pair of alligator pliers.
There are other "back-ups" I am looking to add to my collection, as I have bees at my house and my farm. So having a smoker and veil in both places is important to me.
As part of this blog, I'd like to post some tricks and tips with every column.
Here's the first: When I was in the Army, I would take an extra boot lace and tie one end to my rifle and the other end to my belt loop or suspenders. I'm thinking I may want to do that with my hive tool (especially the new ones!), using a hook and cord tied to my belt with the other end tied to my hive tool.
Last year I learned about swarm traps, candy boards and ways to reduce winter moisture, among many others. Please feel free to email me your Bee Trix to firstname.lastname@example.org Please put Bee Trix in the subject line. Include a photo if possible. I'll credit you if you like.
Until next time, I hope you enjoy this blog.