The Beekeeper's Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained

The Beekeeper's Problem Solver: 100 Common Problems Explored and Explained

by James E. Tew


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Beekeeping requires understanding, commitment, and attention to detail. Laying the groundwork for a successful hive is essential, and demands a keen appreciation of critical areas like hive management, breed choice, and health requirements.

Bees often disguise problems, though, making recognizing trouble in the crucial, initial stages that much more difficult. Whether you're a newcomer or an old hand, The Beekeeper's Problem Solver provides the information you need to nip problems in the bud, or avoid them in the first place.

Author, experienced beekeeper, and apiary expect, James E. Tew, explains 100 common problems faced by beekeepers. He clearly spells out their underlying causes, and how to solve all of them. Each one is tackled in depth, with photographs and diagrams, as well as a wide range of practical tips and useful insights. Don’t lose your hive to something preventable, just grab your problem solver!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631590351
Publisher: Quarry Books
Publication date: 02/15/2015
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 469,660
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.60(d)

About the Author

James E. Tew has been keeping bees for over 40 years. He has a Ph.D. in Entomology and is currently a Consulting Professor at Auburn University, where he conducts beekeeping educational programs and maintains social media systems that support the Alabama beekeeping industry. Recently retired from The Ohio State University, where he worked for 33 years as an Associate Professor focusing on pollination ecology and the use of honeybees and native bees as pollination agents, James gives lectures and workshops for beekeepers in the US and UK, runs the website One Tew Bee (, and has written numerous books, including Wisdom for Beekeepers, as well as articles for Bee Culture magazine.

Table of Contents

Introduction 8

Chapter 1 Beekeeping Basics 10

1 I don't know how to start beekeeping 12

2 I'm unsure when is best to start beekeeping 14

3 I don't know where to get my first bees 16

4 I'm concerned that my apiary is in a poor site 18

5 My new bees arrived during a cool, rainy period 20

6 Beekeeping equipment is expensive 21

7 I'm not sure how to buy an established colony 22

8 My nextdoor neighbors are afraid of bees 24

9 Some bees were crushed during a hive examination 26

10 My bees are aggressive toward garden machinery 28

Chapter 2 Beekeeping Equipment 30

11 My hive equipment doesn't match 32

12 I'm concerned about hive equipment theft 34

13 The paint finish on my hives is failing 36

14 The inner cover of the hive is glued down 38

15 Plastic hives accumulate water during the winter 40

16 Beeswax foundation is difficult to install 42

17 I don't have the right tool to open up the hive 44

18 The queen excluder is disrupting colony function 46

19 My bee gloves make hive work difficult 48

20 The beehive smoker will not slay lit 50

21 The handles on my bee boxes are inadequate 52

22 A hand truck loaded with a colony tipped over 54

23 My observation hive is not thriving 56

24 I'm confused by differing foundation cell sizes 58

25 I'm unsure which bottom board design to opt for 59

26 A loaded hive stand has accidentally collapsed 60

Chapter 3 Biology and Behavior of the Colony 62

27 My bees item to sting more often than is normal 64

28 A swarm has clustered beneath the parent hive 66

29 There are few egg and larvae in the brood nest 68

30 There is cross comb on the foundation inserts 70

31 The bees keep scouring the hive entrance 72

32 Some capped brood ceils have small openings 74

33 Healthy bees are lying dead in front of the hive 76

34 The brood combs have turned heavy and dark 78

35 There are many dead drones at the hive entrance 80

36 There are two queens in the brood nest 81

Chapter 4 Managing and Manipulating Hives 82

37 The bees have built combs in empty spaces 84

38 The bees are gathering on the front of the hive 86

39 The brood nest is overcrowded 88

40 The brood nest has been built across multiple boxes 90

41 The hive is bulging with too many bees 92

42 A large number of bees died off in the winter 94

43 The bees are visiting neighbors' water sources 96

44 The colony looks too weak to survive winter 98

45 My apiary has been flooded 100

46 The hive lower entrance is often blocked in winter 101

47 Brace combs have stuck the hive boxes together 102

48 The bees have built many swarm cells 104

49 Rain has stopped pollen and nectar flow 106

Chapter 5 Queen Production and Maintenance 108

50 I need to store a replacement queen 110

51 I don't know where to look for the queen 112

52 The queen is not a good egg producer 114

53 Some cells have multiple eggs 116

54 Finding the queen takes a long time 118

55 The queen is difficult to cage 120

56 Larvae won't slide off the grafting tool 122

57 Too few drones are available for queen mating 124

58 Some of my queen mating nucs have failed 126

59 My replacement queen was killed 128

Chapter 6 Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees 130

60 There are mice living in the beehive in winter 132

61 There are multiple problems with the colony 134

62 Varroa mites have overrun the colony 136

63 There are ants nesting beneath the outer cover 138

64 Small hive beetles have invaded the colony 139

65 There are signs of AFB in the hive, but no foul odor 140

66 Chalkbrood is affecting colony productivity 142

67 Wasps are attacking the bees 144

68 Animals are visiting the apiary at night 145

69 The brood smells foul and has punctured cappings 146

70 Wax worms are destroying the combs 148

Chapter 7 Pollen And Pollination 150

71 Too much pollen is packed in the brood nest 152

72 There are drones snick in the pollen trap 154

73 The bees are pollinating weeds 155

74 The pollen I have collected is decaying 156

75 My pollination colonies are mixed sizes 158

76 Too few bees are pollinating the target crop 160

77 The bees won't eat certain types of pollen 162

78 The bees won't consume pollen supplements 164

79 Many bees are lost during a hive move 166

80 The bees are struggling to find good forage 168

Chapter 8 Producing and Processing Honey 170

81 The bees worn: leave full honey supers 172

82 Some honeycombs do not have wax cappings 174

83 The extracting room is cramped and inefficient 176

84 Many bees are coming to the extracting area 178

85 Honey has granulated in the comb 180

86 My comb honey crop is disappointingly small 182

87 The honey filter keeps getting clogged 184

88 I'm unsure how to guarantee varietal sources 186

89 Liquid honey has accidentally been spilled 188

90 Extracted honey has granulated in jars 190

91 My bottled honey is not selling well 192

Chapter 9 Beeswax, Propolis, and Specialty issues 194

92 Beeswax is firmly stuck to plastic foundation 196

93 Propolis is difficult to gather and process 197

94 I can't get my beeswax candles out of the mold 198

95 My pure beeswax candles have a cloudy film 200

96 Bee stings are painful and cause swelling 202

97 My honey soap is not setting up properly 204

98 My neighbor has found bee droppings on their car 206

99 Spots of beeswax are hard to remove 207

100 Rendering beeswax over a flame is a fire hazard 208

Glossary 212

Index 218

Further Resources 222

Image Credits 223

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