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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

This page will help you find answers to many of the common questions we have receive.  If you have a question you would like for us to address here please let us know by filling out our contact us page.

 

Common Questions:

Beekeeping

How do I get started in beekeeping?

How do I install package bees?

How to I make sugar syrup?

How do I collect a swarm of bees?

What type of paint can be used to paint a beehive?

 

Beekeeping supplies and equipment

Which is better plastic or wax foundation?

How do I get the honeybees to accept plastic foundation faster?

What is the difference between a wedged top bar and a grooved top bar?

What is the difference between wired wax foundation and wired wax foundation with hooks?

What does it mean to draw out foundation?

What is the difference between brood comb and honeycomb?

What is the difference between foundation used for honeycomb and foundation used for brood comb?

What is burr comb?

What are your hives made of?

 

Orders, purchasing and shipping

How do I track my shipment?

How do I calculate shipping?

Can I use my UPS account for shipping?

Can I pay with a check?

Can I order by email?

Do you sell package bees?

Do you have a printed catalog?

 

Honeybee information

What is “bee space”?

What is propolis?

How do honeybees make honey?

How is a queen bee made?

How do honeybees make wax?

Do honeybees hibernate?

How do honeybees reproduce?

 

Miscellaneous honeybee questions

How do I remove honeybees?

What is the best way to exterminate a beehive?

 

 

Beekeeping

How do I get started in beekeeping?

See our section on ‘How to Become a Beekeeper.’  It has detailed information concerning what beekeeping supplies, equipment, and knowledge are necessary to get started and become a successful beekeeper.

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How do I install package bees?

See our section on ‘How to Install Package Bees’ detailed instructions and a few videos showing how it’s done.

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How do I make sugar syrup?

See our section on ‘How to Feed Honeybees’ for sugar syrup recipes, ingredient calculations, and detailed information about making sugar syrup and feeding honeybees.

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How do I collect a swarm of bees?

To collect a swarm of honeybees you will need protective clothing, a spray bottle of sugar water, and a container to hold the bees until you can install them into a permanent home.  Swarms are usually very gentle because they do not have a home to defend however there is always a possibility that a swarm may be aggressive because of poor genetics or harassment from other wildlife such as birds or even starvation and exposure therefore it is advisable to always use some protection.  Every swarm is different mainly because they will all be located in different places.  Safety should come first, if a swarm is located in a place that is dangerous to get to such as the top of a tall tree it may be best to leave it alone and find another swarm to collect.

Assuming the swarm can be collected safely the process is simple.  First, spray the swarm with sugar syrup.  Second, position the container underneath the swarm and shake or brush the bees into the container.  Third, close the container so the bees do not escape.  If the bees are located on an immovable object such as a house or wall then you may need to use a brush.  If the bees are located on a tree branch then a good solid shake will usually remove nearly all the bees in a single blob.  The key to moving the bees into the container is to try to keep them together.  Once you have your bees in a container you have essentially created a package of bees.  To install your collected swarm into a new hive see our section on How To Install A Package Of Bees.

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What type of paint can be used to paint a beehive?

Any outdoor water based or oil base paint can be used provided it is thoroughly dry before installing the honeybees.  The most common type used is exterior latex paint.  For more detailed information and instructions see our section on ‘How to Paint a Beehive.’

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Beekeeping supplies and equipment

Which is better plastic or wax foundation?

It depends.  Plastic foundation is much more durable than wax foundation.  If plastic foundation is damaged by wax moths or if the bees build burr comb in the wrong place you can simply scrap it off and let the bees start over.  It is much more difficult to scrap burr comb or wax moth damage off of wax foundation and many times the frame will need to be replaced.  Wax foundation requires support pins or frame wire to help hold it in place inside the frame and plastic foundation does not require any support to hold it in the frame.  Honeybees usually accept and draw out wax foundation a little faster than plastic foundation.  Once the comb is drawn out from the foundation the honeybees will treat it the same regardless of what the foundation is.

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How do I get the honeybees to accept plastic foundation faster?

The most common way is to spray sugar water onto the surface of both sides of the foundation before installing it in the hive.

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What is the difference between a wedged top bar and a grooved top bar?

A wedged top bar is used with wax foundation and a grooved top bar is used with plastic foundation.

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What is the difference between wired wax foundation and wired wax foundation with hooks?

Not much.  The only difference is the hook at the end of the wire.  The term hook can be a little misleading in that it is not really shaped like a hook.  It is actually just a ninety degree bend in the wire.  This bend will fit under the top bars wedge or cleat.  This configuration is slightly more secure however it increases the chance of damaging the foundation during assembly because the wedge is sometimes difficult to attach.  Frame wire or support pins are still needed to help support the foundation until the bees draw it out and attach it to the frame.

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What does it mean to draw out foundation?

Foundation is intended to serve as a starting point and a pattern or blueprint for the honeybees to follow when they are building honeycomb.  The foundation is a sheet of plastic or wax with the honeycomb pattern already molded into it.  The pattern is a series of hexagons of very precise dimensions.  The edges or borders of the hexagons are raised and the centers of the hexagons are depressed like little cups.  The foundation is thin, just under an eighth of an inch for wax foundation and up to three sixteenths of an inch for plastic.  Honeycomb varies in thickness but a double sided section of honeycomb is usually a little more than an inch thick.  The honeybees draw out the foundation into honeycomb by adding wax to the edges of the hexagons on both sides of the foundation.

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What is the difference between brood comb and honeycomb?

Brood comb is where the queen honeybee lays her eggs.  Honeycomb is where the worker bees deposit and store honey.

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What is the difference between foundation used for honeycomb and foundation used for brood comb?

Nothing, they are the same.  All foundations can be used for brood or honey.  Bees will use honeycomb and brood comb interchangeably.  From the beekeepers perspective it is usually best to have dedicated comb for honey storage as honey that was stored in comb that previously had brood in it may have a slight darkening in color and a change in flavor however it will be perfectly safe to eat.

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What is burr comb?

Burr comb is comb that the honeybees build in the wrong place.  Frames and foundation are intended to guide the honeybees so that they will build comb in specific places and in a specific way inside the hive.  Sometimes honeybees will ignore this guide and build comb in random places.  This usually makes it difficult to remove frames and inspect the honeybees and equipment.

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What are your hives made of?

Pine.

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Orders, purchasing and shipping

How do I track my shipment?

When your products are shipped you will receive an email update with the tracking information.  If you do not receive this email you may want to check your spam filter.  You can also login to your account and you will be able to view it there.  If it is not in your account send us an email or fill out our ‘Contact Us’ page and we will send it again.

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How do I calculate shipping?

Shipping can be calculated quickly and easily using our website.  Choose all items you wish to ship and add them to the cart.  When you have added all items to the cart click the “View Cart” button at the top of the page.  Confirm that the items in the cart are correct and click the “Calculate Shipping” link under the total, enter your shipping information, and click “Calculate Shipping”.  The shipping amount will be visible in the cart.

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Can I use my UPS account for shipping?

Yes and no.  We do not want your UPS account number however if you like you can email us a shipping label and we will use it.  If you would like to do this please let us know when you place your order so we will know not to ship it.  Then we will pack your order and email you the number of boxes.  Once we have the labels we will remove the shipping charge and process the order using your labels.

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Can I pay with a check?

Yes.  Choose the items you wish to purchase and add them to the cart.  Then click the “View Cart” link at the top of the page.  Confirm that the items in the cart are correct and click the “Calculate Shipping” link below the total.  Enter your shipping information and click “Calculate Shipping”.  The shipping total will be added to the order.  If you are shipping to Georgia repeat this process using the “Calculate Tax” link located below the total.  Print this page and send a copy of it with your check made payable to:

Golden Bee Beekeeping Supplies
111 Mediterranean Ave.
Anderson, SC 29621

If this process seems too long send us an email with the items you wish to order along with any options and your shipping information and we will email you back with the total and an order number.

All orders paid by personal check will be held until the check has cleared.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Can I order by email?

Yes.  Send us an email with all the items you wish to order and your shipping information and we will contact you for payment.

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Do you sell package bees?

No, we only sell beekeeping supplies and equipment.  However our 'Queens and Package Bee' section has an excellent list of queen and package bee suppliers.

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Do you have a printed catalog?

In order to be more environmentally conscious and our entire catalog is located online.  We do not have a printed catalog.

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Honeybee information

What is “bee space”?

Bee space is the distance bees use to crawl between comb or hive parts.  It is approximately three eights of an inch.  Honeybees will build comb in a space that is larger than three eights of an inch and close the space with propolis if it is smaller.  Proper bee space must be maintained throughout the entire hive or the honeybees will glue the parts together making it very difficult to inspect.

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What is propolis?

Propolis is a resinous substance that honeybees make form sap and other resins collected from plants.  Propolis is used to seal cracks in the hive and glue various parts of the hive together.

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How do honeybees make honey?

Honeybees collect nectar from flowers and put it in their honey stomach which concentrates it by absorbing water.  Honeybees have two stomachs one for transporting and concentrating nectar and the other for the usual purpose.  Enzymes are also added to it which breakdown any complex sugars into simple sugars.  When the honeybee returns to the hive it regurgitates it into an empty cell in the honeycomb.  Yes, it is true that honey is bee vomit.  However, it is important to realize that a honeybee’s honey stomach has developed especially for this purpose and that it is nothing like a human stomach.  Other worker bees will continue to work the honey and evaporate water from it until it is ready to be caped.  The entire purpose of converting nectar into honey is to give it a long shelf life by making it stable and resistant to microbes such as yeast and bacteria.

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How is a queen bee made?

The difference between queens and worker bees is the diet she receives when she is developing. The same egg that produces a worker bee will also produce a queen bee.  The process to produce a new queen begins within the first three days after the egg is laid.  Worker bees will begin feeding a heavy diet of royal jelly.  All larvae are fed some royal jelly however the larva selected to become a queen will be fed royal jelly exclusively.  The royal jelly only diet causes the queens’ ovaries to completely develop which gives her the ability to mate and lay eggs. 

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How do honeybees make wax?

When honeybees eat honey they will convert some of it into wax.  The wax is secreted through pores in their abdomens.  The segments in a honeybee’s abdomen are called sternites.  The wax emerges from in between the sternites as little flakes.  The bees chew the wax and mold it into whatever shape they need such as honeycomb, caps, or cell cups.

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Do honeybees hibernate?

No.  Hibernation is a very specialized form of dormancy which some animals use to pass through winter.  An animal that is hibernating will take a long time to recover and can even be moved around without waking.  Hibernation is different from sleep in that sleeping animals can wake quickly.  During cold weather honeybees will cluster in a tight ball in order to preserve warmth.  A honeybee cluster may appear dormant on the outside however the inside of the cluster is warm and very active.  Honeybees can lay eggs and care for brood and generally conduct business as usual from within the cluster.

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How do honeybees reproduce?

This question has two answers depending on if it is asked about individual bees or an entire hive.

Honeybees reproduce individually when the queen lays eggs inside the hive.  The eggs hatch and develop into larva.  The larvae grow and spin a cocoon and pupate into a honeybee.  The process is similar to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly.

Honeybees produce a new beehive by swarming.  When a hive swarms the old queen will leave the hive with about half of the adult bees and take as much honey as they can carry.  The swarm will gather a short distance from the original hive and send out scout bees to locate a suitable place to start a new hive.  Once a new place is located the swarm will move into it and begin building comb, laying eggs, and collecting honey and pollen.  The original hive will raise a new queen to replace the queen that left with the swarm.  If the process is successful there will be two hives, the original hive and a new hive.

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Miscellaneous honeybee questions

How do I remove honeybees?

Please contact a local beekeeper, beekeeping club, beekeepers association, or the closest branch of your states department of agriculture.  To find one of these organizations please see our resources section.

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What is the best way to exterminate a beehive?

Honeybees serve an important purpose and every effort should be made to avoid exterminating them.  The best way to get rid of honeybees is to find a local beekeeper that wants them and will remove them for free.  A local beekeeper can also show you how to prevent them from coming back.

A hive located in a wall or other structure should not be exterminated unless it is done by someone that knows how.  Exterminating a beehive will leave behind honey and rotting honeybees which can cause problems that are far worse than a living beehive.  Honey left behind inside a structure can cause a mess, property damage, insect infestations, and electrical fires.

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