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The Beeyard!

What Paint Should I Use For My Hives?

What Paint Should I Use For My Hives?

When it comes to designing a beehive there are some rules that should be adhered to in order to ensure the health of the honey bees that will inhabit it.

First and foremost a non-petroleum based paint is highly recommended. This will prevent any harmful chemicals from off-gassing or leaching into the hive.

NBee Gold carries a plant based Bee Safe paint produced by Pure Paint Laboratories in Nova Scotia. This paint is Eco friendly and contains no harmful chemicals or by products. It also has better coverage than traditional petroleum based paints, so a litre will go further for your dollar.

Bee Safe Hive Paint

The second rule that you should follow when painting your hives is to only paint exterior surfaces. Nothing that is inside the beehive should be painted including the entrance reducers as the bees often gnaw at the reducers with their mandibles which could cause them to ingest the paint used.

The main reason we paint beehives is to properly seal the wooden-ware so that it does not absorb moisture and begin to rot. Painting your hive components properly can greatly extend their service life and provide you and your bees lots of years of use.

Another reason hives are painted can be to help give the bees something to recognize or orientate to. This becomes important if you have multiple hives in one yard. Some beekeepers believe that it helps the bees identify their hives more easily and helps to reduce drift of bees from one colony to another if each hive in the apiary has distinct colours or patterns.

Just know that honey bees see in the UV spectrum so they don't perceive colours as humans do.  The below table is an approximate colour conversion for how bees would perceive a colour differently than a person.

When it comes to choosing a colour for your hives, anything will really do however some scientists believe that the most attractive colours to honey bees are purple, violet and blue as these are more vibrant in the UV spectrum that the bees are capable of seeing in.

Whatever colours you choose designing your hive is a fun family activity and gets you even more excited for the amazing honey bees that will soon live in your hive!

Have fun painting your hives!

Humans Honeybees
Red Black
Yellow Yellow-Green
Orange Yellow – Green (darker perhaps than yellow)
Green Green
Blue Blue plus Ultraviolet blue
Violet Blue plus Ultraviolet
Purple Blue
White Blue-Green
Black Black

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What The Heck is an Eke?!

What The Heck is an Eke?!

Beekeepers seem to love their lingo! All kinds of seemingly code words like "deeps", "singles", "doubles" or "nucs" to the infamous "Eke". Just what is an eke anyway, and what does it have to do with beekeeping?

In our opinion, an eke is an invaluable tool in the beekeepers arsenal when it comes to Winter supplies. Fancy code words aside, an eke is simply a spacer rim. It is mostly used during the winter months and is placed directly on top of the upper most brood box and the inner cover goes above and on top of the eke itself. 

At NBee Gold, we use ekes on all of our colonies as part of our Winter configuration. These rims have an entrance hole in them and provide our colonies with their upper entrances for Winter and also serve as a source of ventilation. The main reason we use the spacers is not just to provide an upper entrance, but to allow space between the inner covers and the top bars so we can place a 6 lb block of fondant on the hives as extra food insurance for the long cold Winter.

Although honey bees should be fed plenty of syrup going into Fall before Winter, sometime's they may burn through their stores a little quicker than usual. Having fondant at the ready immediately above the cluster is a great way to ensure that they will have something else to eat should they find their cupboards a bit bare during the coldest parts of the year.

Having the ekes in place over the Winter also make Spring time feeding easy when the temperatures are too cold for syrup.  You can simply crack the inner cover and already have the needed space to pour in granulated sugar on old newspaper on the top bars or place more fondant if the hives are very light and emergency Spring feed is needed. 

Our only piece of advice when it comes to using these ekes is that you remove them in the Spring as soon as weather is consistently warm enough to begin light syrup feeding. Since these rims add an additional couple of inches of space between the top bars and inner cover, the honey bees will begin filling that space with rogue comb when the weather is warmer and syrup is flowing. So save yourself the hassle of having to clean up a mess like that and remove the eke before syrup feeding starts!

Winter Eke Rim Beekeeping Supplies and Equipment Moncton

 

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How Much Does It Cost to Start Beekeeping?

How Much Does It Cost to Start Beekeeping?

Is it expensive to start keeping honey bees as a hobby?

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Solid Bottom Boards or Screened Bottom Boards?

Solid Bottom Boards or Screened Bottom Boards?

Are screened bottom boards better for your bees or is it better to go with a solid bottom board? Let's weigh the pros and cons of each style.

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When to Use Entrance Reducers

When to Use Entrance Reducers

Knowing when to reduce your beehive entrances is a critical understanding that can prevent a lot of grief in your bee yard.

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Gloves or Gloveless Beekeeping?

Gloves or Gloveless Beekeeping?

You will discover as you embark on your beekeeping adventure that beekeeping, like any craft, has some strongly opinionated "purist" attitudes amongst some of the people who take part in it. One of the most common points of contention surrounds wearing gloves, or not while tending your bees. 

Firstly, I want to take the opportunity to say there is absolutely no shame if you are not comfortable tending your hives without gloves. And no matter what some people may tell you, you are still a bonafied beekeeper even if you wear gloves.

gloveless beekeeping with bare hands

One of the benefits of going gloveless while working your beehives is that you get better dexterity. Sometimes the goatskin beekeeping gloves can be a little bulky and can give you trouble as you try to manipulate frames in the colony. Not wearing gloves also gives you a better feel for what you are touching in the colony, and generally will result in less crushed bees while you do your inspections. This is because you can feel the bees when you reach into the colony and will avoid inadvertently crushing them.

I always recommend to new beekeepers to try to start out keeping bees with gloves first. The reason being is that when you are just getting used to handling bees things can be a bit awkward at first. You are likely going to drop a frame or two, or bang something on the hive sending angering vibrations through the colony that will get the bees a little defensive and stingy. 

As you become comfortable moving through a colony and handling the components, I then suggest you start wearing thinner gloves like nitrile. The bees can still sting through the nitrile gloves, but not as readily. Since these gloves are skin tight you get the benefits of dexterity and more sensation of what you are handling as you work the colony. But at the same time, you have the mental safety net of feeling protected with a thin layer of gloves on your hands.

Once you are totally comfortable working your bees with nitrile gloves, then you can graduate to completely gloveless beekeeping. If you're working your bees at a good rate that doesnt upset the colony and you do it on warm, fair weather days between 11am and 4pm when most foragers are out working, you should be just fine. When you work gloveless you definitely get more of a sense of how your actions are affecting the colony because you can feel the bees.

All that aside, if you never feel comfortable working without gloves don't sweat it.  You are still a great beekeeper. I even work with gloves most times, although when I work my smaller colonies, like nucs, I tend to not wear gloves.  

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What's The Deal with Bees and Smoke?

What's The Deal with Bees and Smoke?

NBee Gold Beekeeping Supplies carries quality bee smokers! Find out why you as a beekeeper need one!

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The Compelling Case for Starting with 2 Hives

The Compelling Case for Starting with 2 Hives

Sometimes less isn’t best when it comes to beekeeping. if you’re planning on starting your beekeeping journey next season, here’s some thought you want to give about starting with at least two beehives.

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