Randy Oliver – Scientific Beekeeping

Randy Oliver’s Scientific Beekeeping Site. A must read!

So, what does a non-migratory Wyoming beekeeper do when the winds are howling and the snow blowing? This one turns down the thermostat. Fires up the infra-red heater. Kicks back and reads.

It’s been awhile since I’ve visited Randy Oliver’s  Scientific Beekeeping site. It was well worth the return visit.  If you haven’t been there, take the time.

For some reason, the site is easier to navigate around than before. And I noticed a few articles that I’d previously missed.

Randy has a way of incorporating scientific data, in an easy to read style and wry sense of humor, with his personal beekeeping experience. He’s open minded enough to look at beekeeping alternatives worldwide. And he brings home the bacon with practical recommendations and applications tested in a commercial operation.

Not subscribed to the bee mags? Shame on you! But not all is lost. You can find updated and expanded versions of Randy’s bee mag articles there as well.

Anything Randy writes is well worth reading. And as he frequents Bee-L from time to time, it’s worth a quick look there to peruse his latest thoughts.

Lord Howe Island, Australia. Paradise!

I especially appreciate what Randy Oliver has done in his latest series of articles on bee viruses. It’s no small matter to research and condense all that very technical, genetic stuff into something that can be read and understood, especially by me. But that’s another story I’ll share later.

In the interim, check out Randy’s Nosema pages. This information can’t be found anywhere else. Also, inside these pages, is the original, although long lost use for blue paper shop towels. It will surprise many beekeepers. :-)

And I especially liked the Australia visit. There’s nothing better for a frigid climate beekeeper than thinking of warm, exotic, far away places where bees thrive without treatments. And where beekeepers pull a super of honey every two weeks.

It must be the cool air and infra-red heat. It’s time to really kick back and dream of far away places.

Take care. Keep warm. Dream bees.


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4 Responses

  1. resupinate says:

    Thanks Dennis,
    I’ve been working today on an entire makeover of the site, and the addition of my latest dozen articles for ABJ. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet gotten up my model that explains colony collapse, which is part of my “Sick Bees” series.

    I hope to soon follow your lead with an upgraded and more user-friendly site : )

    Randy Oliver

  2. Dan Smith says:

    Dennis, Great website, thanks for all the insight. I’m an urban beekeeper in Salt Lake City with two hives, a TBH and a Langstroth. My Langstroth hive failed last year after swarming and then failing to requeen it’s self. I started seeing capped brood and thought all was well until I figured out it was dronebrood from laying workers. Oh the humiliation of a beginning beekeeper! I use two deeps and shallow supers. I’m thinking of using three deeps this year to facilitate checkerboarding in the future. Do you think Salt Lake’s climate could support three deeps? You mention that after checkerboarding the cluster ends up in the top box. Come Autumn do you have to move them to the bottom or will they migrate down by themselves before Winter? My TBH will start it’s second year. I’ve read that second year hives will supersede for sure. True? Regardless, I’m planning to use my TBH for nuc splits to have extra queens available for requeening. Thanks for the inspiration, Dan.

    • -dm says:

      Hi Dan

      Sounds like you’re having fun. And Salt Lake City should be a great place to keep bees. It looks like you’ve taken some great advice as two hives gives you options.

      Three deeps? Equipment sizing is mostly beekeeper preference and management style once the bees have their needs met. So, give it a try and see if it works for you. A nuc will do better in a small space that’s expanded as they grow. But a full size, healthy colony won’t have any problems with three deeps.

      Deeps are heavy. Some prefer to use four mediums instead.

      Checkerboarding? I’m not sure where I’ve said checkerboarded bees end up in the top box. If so, I’ll have to go back and change it. Unless a cluster is failing, it will remain exactly where it was at the end of the summer. It best to leave them alone at that time, as the bees know what configuration is best.

      In a three deep hive, that’s mostly in the center box. In the early spring, that center box is moved to the bottom. The top box, which is mostly sealed honey, is moved to the middle. The original bottom box, which is mostly empty frames, is used to checkerboard the middle box and itself. Then it’s set on top of the hive.

      Supercedure? The bees will do it when they need to. And it’s based on the condition of the queen.

      When queens are in a climate where they lay all year long, are pushed by stimulative feeding and migration, or are subjected to environmental/disease factors that shorten their lives, they can supercede within a year. In your climate, the second year is probably a healthy queen’s best year. I suspect, that she should be ok, for another year, in your tbh.

      If she fails, maybe your swarm that got away will provide some drones for the new queen. :-)

      Take care Dan. Good luck. and let me know how things turn out for you.


      • Dan Smith says:

        Dennis, it seems I misread your statement in the article, “How early is to early”. I see it has to do with the timing and results of early checkerboarding. I’ll be carefully logging all the early blossoms this spring. Last years log shows pollen on some bees knees March 6th, then it snowed for another month.

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