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FAQ

How do we powder sugar our bees?

Hi Molly & Elinor, here is a link to Country Rubes how to dust with powder sugar to help bees remove mites.
http://www.countryrubes.com/instructions/usingpowderedsugar.html
You can only do this if you have a screened bottom board on your hive. Keep in mind Country Rube have many hives and use a square screen to sift powder sugar over each box. But as backyard beekeepers you can use an every day flour sifter.
Hope this helps in understanding mite control. August and September is the time of year that we need to be proactive to help our bees through the winter. In your hive the queen is laying the eggs that turn into worker bees for winter to early spring. This is the workforce that will maintain the queen and future bees throughout the fall, winter & into the beginning of spring.

How much powder sugar do you use?

Typically you want to use one cup per box. But if you have a small colony then adjust for how many frames the bees are using. If for instance they are using 5 frames then powder sugar just those frames, using about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.

Are there screen bottom boards with removable solid boards?
It seems that Biofuel Oasis has the ones from Country Rube, which have a white plastic “observation” panel, instead of a solid wood piece that fits in there. What do you recommend?

Country Rube is the best made screen bottom boards you can buy!!!!
Please remember to remove the white plastic tray before installing under your hive. The tray is only meant to be inserted when doing a mite check and then for only 24 hours at a time.
This is money well spent as they’re the best made & easiest to work with bottom boards. They keep the hive Environment cleanest for the bees.

Molly is finding that the deep super is quite heavy. What do you think about using all mediums, including for the brood chamber? We are contemplating the set-up for our second hives in spring, and need to know how to order our woodenware.

This is a very important question and one that every beekeeper faces and needs to make a decision about. So lets look at pros & cons.

Positives:
The biggest positive is obvious -reduction in weight. But another plus is not having to have at least two different sizes of frames. You can order one size and have enough on hand to be used for both honey & brood. Although once a frame has been used for brood bees are unlikely to store honey in it.
Deep boxes used for brood are typically not going to weigh more than 15 to 20 lbs.
Shallow boxes can be used for honey supers, weighing far less than a medium when filled with capped honey.
Shallows are typically used to produce comb honey. When you set up for comb honey you save on the cost of buying foundations as in comb honey you do not use foundations.
In a Langstroth hive the frames are removable! Eliminating the need to pull a heavy box when harvesting.

The negatives are as follows:
Cost of buying more boxes & frames. The reason we use “deeps” is that bees build their bees nest and then enlargement it as spring nears. The queen is in laying mode and she needs room to get her eggs deposited. Thus if you use 2 deep boxes it gives her the room she is likely to need. You’ll need 3 mediums or 4 shallows to make up the equivalent of the 2 deeps.
While we are on the subject of the bees nest it’s important to remember the nest moves up inside the hive in the Spring, and then moves back down in the Fall in perpetration for Winter. This means if you use smaller boxes; as the beekeeper; you’ll be wanting to anticipate your colonies needs by adding or removing boxes as needed.
Medium boxes can easily weigh 50 lbs. or more when filled with 10 frames of capped honey.
Using shallow boxes for honey suppers means having varying sizes of frames on hand.