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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are a number of questions we have been asked often over the years. The list continues to grow, but that's what we're here for - to help you, the beekeeper, have a most enjoyable hobby/career.

When will we carry 8-frame boxes, covers, bottoms, etc.?

First, we've been making 8-frame equipment for 30+ years on a custom order basis. As we see the popularity of 8-frame equipment rise, we want to make sure our customers know that they can get the highest quality 8-frame woodenware right here. The so-called standard 8-frame hive measures 13 3/4 inches from end to end - if you are ordering 8-frame equipment for the first time, just specify that when prompted. However, your existing 8-frame equipment should be checked to determine that this is what you have. It could be 13 7/8 in., 14 in. or even 14 1/4 in. and we will need to know to process your order. We offer 8-frame equipment in hive bodies, all three super sizes (7 5/8", 6 5/8" and 5 11/16"), inner covers, regular flat covers in pine or cedar, and bottoms in pine or cedar. The pricing is the same as it is for 10-frame. We currently do not make 8-frame tele-covers due to the tin. If you have questions concerning 8-frame equipment , please Contact Us.

You sell a couple of different grades of wood. What's the difference, and what's the best grade for me?

We basically sell three different grades of bee supplies as described on our Grading page. They are Select, Commercial and Budget. The most common grade is Commercial. It allows for the following deviations in our grading process: tight knots are allowed except in the dovetail or in the rabbet on boxes. Knots must be tight and solid. The same grading rules apply to covers and bottoms. Generally, frames of this grade will not contain any knots or discoloration. Our Select grade has less wood deviations than our commercial grade. We allow only small, tight knots or small pitch pockets, but with no deviations in the dovetail, rabbets or in the handholds. The same rules apply to covers and bottoms. We do not carry a select grade in frames - dimensions are such that only commercial and budget grading rules apply. Our Budget grade is our seconds. They are a very serviceable grade which allows some loose knots and/or cracks, but with the same precise fits as our other grades. For frames, discoloration and knots that are tight enough to not break under pressure are included. Stock is limited to availability. It's a personal decision as to which grade you choose. It is only logical that the higher the grade, the longer the product should last. Wood species may play a more important role - see the next FAQ below.

What difference does it make as to the kind of pine used in woodenware? Pine is pine, isn't it?

NO. This is one of the biggest misconceptions we see in our industry. All pines are a softwood, but there is a big difference in the amount of resin each type of pine has inherently. Think of resin as the "glue" that keeps wood from slivering, flaking and drying out to a point it is that the wood is "punky" or too soft. The most common "punky" wood used in bee supplies are Eastern White Pine and Spruce. We use Ponderosa Pine exclusively. Whereas a White Pine or Spruce hive body may last 8-10 years, Ponderosa Pine will last at least twice as long. This ratio applies to frames, covers and other woodenware as well. Yet the price is comparable. This is why our major competitors buy at least some of their woodenware from us each year. Do yourself a favor and ask what wood species is going into your purchase and steer away from anything that isn't Ponderosa Pine.

Do you have dealer network across the country?

Yes, we work with about 15-20 dealers. If you would like to know of the name and address of the dealer(s) nearest you, just e-mail us. If there is enough interest, we may add a page to our site listing all dealers across North America. We recommend you always check out our monthly specials, though, as they apply to deals here at Western Bee only.

Does Western Bee sell bees?

For several years, Western Bee has supplied bees to local beekeepers/hobbyists in the spring. This is a one-time deal each year and we require customers to be here on specific day to pick up their bees. Click here for a list of apiaries that sell bees across the country.

How many times per year should I treat my colonies for varroa mites?

Although this seems like a simple question, a couple of thoughts come to mind:
1.) If you treat once a year, the chance of your own population of mites building up increases because of the time between treatments. Plus you have to be aware that drifting bees will be bringing mites into a particular hive all the time.
2.) If you treat too often, then you are accelerating the selection, (survival of the fittest) of the mites most resistant to the mite treatment. These mites breed and, of course, you have a population of mites that is resistant to a particular miticide. There has to be a happy medium somewhere. We suggest starting off with treating in the spring before buildup and honeyflows and in the fall in preparation for winter. Twice-a-year treatments are important in areas with a high density of colonies as well as high varroa mite populations. You will have to adjust your treatments as you get a feel for the seriousness of the varroa problem in your area.

Can I use menthol for the control of varroa mites?

Menthol is used primarily and exclusively for the control of tracheal mites. It does not work well or at all on Varroa mites because of their development cycle and where it takes place. Varroa adults are just too big to be affected significantly by menthol vapors.

Is there a recipe to make a medicinal patty for prevention of foulbrood?

Yes, the 'terri-patty' recipe follows here. It's used for the control of both American and European fouldbrood PLUS aids in the control of trachael mites. Take 1/3 lb. of Crisco, 2/3 lb. of granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of terramycin. Mix well. Make four 1/4 lb. patties. Put patties on 7 X 7 inch newspaper or waxed paper. Put paper with patties between the two brood chambers on top of the top bars. We recommend 1/2 lb. per colony per year.

Are there any circumstances that would occur where a beekeeper would want to feed sugar syrup to a hive that had ample stores of honey?

Yes, we can think of four different situations where a beekeeper may want to feed sugar syrup.
1.) To stimulate brood production,
2.) To medicate,
3.) To prevent the bees from opening cells in comb honey production and
4.) To flush or prime a cell-raising colony.

What is the approximate weight of a full ten-frame deep super of honey? What is the approximate weight of nine full deep frames spaced evenly in a 10 frame super?

85 lbs. and 85 lbs.

A bee egg hatches after how many days from laying?

21 days.

What causes bees to swarm?

Swarming can occur from any reason listed below, or a combination of reasons listed, or possibly from other reasons depending upon their geographical location:
1.) Honey bound (meaning a super should have been added),
2.) Brood bound (another brood chamber should have been added),
3.) No bloom available,
4.) Elevated hive temperature,
5.) A heavy initial nectar flow,
6.) Heavy drone population,
7.) Extended seasonal photo-period,
8.) Optimum weather.

How much does a gallon of honey weigh?

That's highly dependent on the moisture content of the honey - it varies up to 11 lbs., 14 ounces.

How many bees in a pound?

Approximately 3500 or less if gorged with honey.

What is the life span of a worker bee during nectar collection?

Up to six weeks.

How many cells on a deep (9 1/8") frame?

Approximately 7000.

What is your preferred method of SPLITTING hives?

We've always taken an empty box - 1/2 filled with frames, set it next to the hive we want to split, then pull out 4-5 frames of brood - making sure the queen from split hive isn't on the frame - put it in new hive, shake some extra bees and add a new queen. Seal the hive, and move it at least a couple of miles from the split hive. If you don't, they'll find their way back.

Is it better to hive new packages on drawn comb or new foundation?

Drawn comb gives a new package a head start - we've done it both ways, but logic dictates that drawn comb allows the bees to become more productive quicker. With new foundation, more time is spent feeding, particularly if the spring is slowing any normal spring bloom.