Letters to the Editor

 Letters to the Editor - February 2015

(excerpt)

February Cover Picture

Most Wisconsin farmers, especially those that grow corn, will probably tell you that Wisconsin is over-populated with White Tail deer.  They are inquisitive animals and will find every corn field in the State.  They will also check out beekeepers’ beehives in the winter, but unlike  some other animals, will not try to get at the honey.

Wisconsin painter Marie App has had seven of her paintings reproduced on covers of beekeepers’ national magazine covers.  She exhibits watercolor and oil paintings in several Wisconsin galleries. To contact the artist for commissions or beekeeping prints and cards, email her at marieapp@hotmail.com.

Hive Heating

For those who would consider heating their hive in the winter, there is a better and possibly safer way to do it, if a person has some electrical know how. Instead of using a light bulb, I would suggest using a power resistor as the heat source. The bees don’t need the light, and a power resistor produces heat only. If a 120 volt source of power is used, a 500 ohm power resistor would produce 28.8 watts of heat. However, I think wiring 120 volts into a humid beehive is not something I would recommend. A safer method would be to use a 12 volt source of power, from a battery charger, where a 5 ohm resistor would produce 28.8 watts of heat, or more, depending on the charger.

Each resistor would draw about 2.5 amps, so a 10 amp charger could heat four hives. It is important to note that a power resistor rated for up to 100 watts or more should be used, to dissipate the heat over a larger area. The 100 watt resistor is 6.5 inches long by 3/4 inch in diameter, making it easier to fit in a hive than a light bulb would be.

Dewey Hassig
hassig@hotmail.com

Queens Killed by Beekeepers?

The title of Larry Connor's column in the December issue (Many Queens Are Killed By Beekeepers) and his first sentence relating a quote from a queen producer "that 50 percent of his queens are killed by beekeepers" in the context of new beekeepers and newbee instructors implies that there are bad practices other than the usual rough handling, dropping on the ground etc. that beginners engage in that kill queens and that those of us who are beekeepers and mentors or instructors need to warn newbees about these dangers.  Instead he told us of the ways in which newbees (or any of us for that matter) might kill colonies by not recognizing the integrated biology of queen and colony thus killing or removing cells of needed replacement queens.  Dr. Connor makes a number of  good points but never really addresses the concern brought up by the first paragraph's queen producer.  Beekeepers kill many queens by destroying supersedure cells but how do beekeepers kill queens provided by queen producers?  This would be useful to know and to pass along to newbees. 

Brent Weisman
Tampa, FL