Kathy and I want to thank all of our faithful beekeeping customers for their many words of encouragement as well as preference of Ozark Cedar Hives for your apiary needs. As 2020 approaches we will enter our ninth year of business. A large portion of our sales are returning clients as they expand their bee hive operation even after several years from their first purchase. We feel this is the best testimony we could have as to the superiority of our bee hives.
We are offering three new products on the web site. Solid bottom boards, Gable roofs and Ceracell top feeders. We have actually been making and selling a few of the gable roofs and solid bottom boards for a few years but had never featured them on the web site.
We are still “old school” and do not have instant online ordering. Nearly all our customers have specific questions in their purchasing process and we enjoy giving each one personal attention to help them make the best choice for their specific beekeeping needs.
We are beekeepers ourselves, so I would like to take this opportunity to mention a couple of our most recent observations.
Since the beginning we had stayed with the practice of zero treatment, thinking that the surviving bees should prevail. In 2018, we realized that was not feasible. We placed hives in two new locations. Four Russian bee- 5 frame nucs were placed next to a Missouri state conservation reserve. Four more identical nucs were placed just outside a town but with several large acreages of natural vegetation within one mile. Both locations proved to be incredible honey producers giving us from 50 to 100# harvest beyond their winter needs even in this first year. Both locations are a few hours from us so inspections can be several weeks apart. In late August they were 5 boxes high and packed full of bees. In October we returned to find that most of them had died or absconded and were robbed out. A hard lesson to learn that with a mite infestation, hives that have continuous strong brood rearing is ideal for mite over populations.
We now regularly test all our hives and treat with “so called” organic treatments. There are various ways to test but we like the quickness and accuracy of the alcohol wash. If even one hive in an apiary tests more than 2% mites, we treat all the hives there. Mite treatment has been with Formic Acid and mineral oil fogging (laced with essential oil). Mites are still present but kept low such that the bees are doing well.
This year in 2019, honey production for new nucs was less (but still very productive) since the cold rainy spring caused the nucs to be about a month later. However, we had several hives we successfully wintered over. A few gave us well over 100# of harvest. What really surprised me was that almost without fail, the highest producers were on solid bottom boards instead of the screened bottom boards. I will be careful to observe whether this tendency repeats itself again. And in relation to treating for mites, the treatment methods we are using, which is normal for most fumigation treatments, bottom boards must be closed to hold in the treatment.
Please know the above observations are only food for thought and not meant to suggest what we are doing is the only valid way to keep bees.
Please let us know how we can help you with your beekeeping needs in 2020.
Bob and Kathy Owen