Prepping 101: Keeping Bees – Alternative Hives vs. Langstroth Hives

Cracking the black box of survival. That is what this column has become more than anything else. This week I would like to demystify another survival topic that, much like Ham radios, radiation and EMP, is fraught with disinformation and obfuscation online. Learning to keep bees is not inexpensive, but it is a hobby that will pay you back dividends once you get going, and there is nothing mysterious about it. I started four hives last spring, and I’d like to take you through some of the decisions you’ll face, and the experiences I’ve had having made those decisions. I have had hives flourish. I’ve had one hive die. There is no formula for success when it comes to keeping bees. But no matter where you live in the US, there are beekeepers succeeding, and most likely if you dive in, you will too.

Langstroth vs. Warre vs. Top Bar vs. The Flow Hive

I bought this book in paper form on Amazon, because I don't like to read books on the computer. It is in the public domain, so can be downloaded free as a PDF, or sent to your Kindle.  I bought several beekeeping books, but none were as helpful as this book.

I bought this book in paper form on Amazon, because I don’t like to read books on the computer. It is in the public domain, so can be downloaded free as a PDF, or sent to your Kindle. I bought several beekeeping books, but none were as helpful as this book.

As soon as you start out on your path to learn bees, someone is going to try to convince you to not buy a 10 frame Langstroth beehive. That is what nearly every commercial beekeeper in the world uses, so of course it must be bad. In my experience, this is a bunch of malarky. Beekeepers, even the big ones, are not “Big Agri.” Langstroth hives are statutory in some states, and several states have laws requiring that you use a hive with removable frames, which for the most part are Langstroth hives. 8 frame vs. 10 frame? That much I don’t know. But most beekeepers are using 10 frame Langstroth hives, patented in 1852.

Initially I faced that torrent of advice from “natural” beekeepers and got myself sold on what is called the Warre hive, otherwise known as The People’s Hive. It was designed by Emile Warre’ in France, after testing over 350 designs of the day. His book, (free PDF)Beekeeping for All, was revolutionary for its day, but the Langstroth patent in 1852 changed everything, and I think for the better. As you’ll see in my video, the Warre hive doesn’t use frames, so the combs just hang from a top bar. The bees have to make the entire comb, and because there is no frame, if you damage the comb while extracting honey, which is usually the case, they have to make it all over again. The sales pitch of the people selling the Warre hive is that it is “all natural,” because according to the book, you rotate the hive bodies up, so there is never any comb that will be reused for more than one harvest. Theoretically this doesn’t trap bad bacteria and disease in the hive, but you won’t find any hard science behind this assumption. I tried the Warre method and didn’t find that the bees were willing to build comb below the existing hive body. I tried jumpstarting a frame both above and below the main brood nest, but there didn’t seem to be anything I could do to get the Warre hive to work as it is supposed to. I am stuck with my single Warre hive with bees in it, but from what I have experienced, they are a waste of time and energy.

This was one of the frames from my Warre hive early on. The bees thrived, but they really haven't been productive, despite months of feeding to build the initial comb. I don't see an advantage to the top bar style hives whatsoever. The goal is to produce honey.

This was one of the frames from my Warre hive early on. The bees thrived, but they really haven’t been productive, despite months of feeding to build the initial comb. I don’t see an advantage to the top bar style hives whatsoever. The goal is to produce honey.

The same thing goes for what they usually call a “Top Bar Hive” or “Kenyan Hive.” The sales pitch on these hives are two. One is of course the “all natural” beekeeping, just because it isn’t a Langstroth, and then there is the price. The 30 bar hives start at like $100 including shipping on Ebay, and smaller hives are even less.

I was not able to order one more hive worth of bees (which I’ll explain below) last spring to start one of the Top Bar hives I purchased, but from what I can see, they have some of the same problems I experienced with the Warre hive. The Top Bar is a triangle design, which i theoretically the natural shape of the combs that the bees make. I would call that a misnomer, because eventually the bees fill any space you give them, though the combs do start out as triangle shape. In the Top Bar hive you’ll find the same thing I found with the Warre. Because there is no frame, the bees will attach part of the comb to the walls of the hive. You’ll see in the video I made of my Warre, this causes you to have to break apart the comb as you pull the bars. Could you slide a thin blade along the sides first? Yes, but I think you’re still going to break comb.

This is what my medium honey super frames looked like. They were solid honey.

This is what my medium honey super frames looked like. They were solid honey.

The bigger question or survival is one of resource preservation. Why would you run a hive that requires the bees to make new comb? Do you need the beeswax for candles? I’d rather have the bees make food, and go to bed early.

I will also mention The Flow Hive here, because mine just came, even though I ordered it last spring. If you haven’t seen this thing, it is a new invention that drains honey through the inside of the frame. The Flow Hive promotions on Facebook last year were actually the impetus of me getting into beekeeping. I watched a couple Youtube videos on the subject, then ordered my bees, figuring that I’d figure it out, which I did. Now that my Flow Hive is here, I am disappointed that it came completely unassembled, and I haven’t really gotten into it yet. It looks like a neat idea. It is expensive in comparison. I would just get a 10 frame Langstroth for now if I were you, which I’m not.

A Note on Plastic Frames

You’ll see in the video that I had terrible problems with “bridge comb” when I first got my bees going. This only happened where I used plastic frames in my brood box, and my takeaway from this is not just to avoid these frames for brood boxes, but to also bee aware of bee supply stores. I bought these hives from my local bee supply, and they installed the bees in them for me. When I ordered the plastic frames, based on internet research, they didn’t say anything. It was only after the fact, when I told them that I had problems, that they told me they suggest wooden frames with a plastic comb, not full plastic combs. I have not yet tried their suggestion, but I did rescue those hives somewhat by swapping out some standard wooden frames with preformed wax comb.

To start your bees, it is hard for me to tell you to try anything besides wax comb at first. There is risk involved, because the beeswax has to come from somewhere, and that means potentially introducing another beekeeper’s problems into your hive. The risk is theoretical, and I have yet to find even one horror story, but you just never know. I’m trying to cover the bases for this article, so you don’t have to stumble on these issues as you begin your own research. Most likely I’ll start my next hive with wooden frames and plastic comb. In my problem hive I did find some wax moths, and they can’t invade hives that use plastic frames.

Where Do I Buy Bees?

I didn't take a lot of pictures or shoot any video when I installed my bees. We actually had a baby the same week. This is the box that bees come in when you buy the 3 lb. package. The hole holds a can of sugar syrup, and you just shake the bees out through the hole into the hive body. Spray them down good with sugar syrup first and you can do this bare handed as I did.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures or shoot any video when I installed my bees. We actually had a baby the same week. This is the box that bees come in when you buy the 3 lb. package. The hole holds a can of sugar syrup, and you just shake the bees out through the hole into the hive body. Spray them down good with sugar syrup first and you can do this bare handed as I did.

First let me back up a step. How exactly do I do this? You would be surprised at how easy it is to start bees. You order what are called “package bees” from one of dozens of suppliers online, and believe it or not, they mail you the bees, using USPS generally. Your local post office will probably call you frantic that you have to come pick up your bees, because they have never dealt with this before, but once you have the bees in hand it is pretty simple. Inside the box will be about 3 lbs of worker bees, and one impregnated queen bee, in her own little “queen cage.” You spray your bees down with sugar syrup, made in a spray bottle with half and half sugar and water, and then, after you remove a couple of frames from your hive, literally shake the bees into the hive. Then you can just put some frames back and brace the queen cage in between a couple. Close up the hive and check it in a couple of days. If the bees have not freed the queen by eating the candy plug at the end of her cage, you probably can just pry the cage open and shake her into the hive.

Package bees cost between $115 and $200 this year. I would check to see if a local bee supply store will be arranging for a shipment that you can go pick up at their store rather than ship it in, because often these are cheaper. Our local store in Miami, South Florida Bee Supply, is only bringing in “nucs” this year, but last year they sold package bees for $90. A nuc is a small usually 4 frame hive that has already been started with a queen and workers, and that will already have some brood in it maturing. You’ll pay more for a nuc, but there will also be less chance of failure. I think that our supplier had a rough year and that is why they are only selling nucs.

I can’t tell you where to buy bees this year really. As I write this, if you Google “package bees 2016,” you’ll get a lot of hits. Most of the early dates are already sold out, but I was able to get April delivery from Mountain Sweet Honey Supply. Their base price is $135, and the shipping is very reasonable. I was able to snag a weekend special tonight for $115, so hopefully that’ll still be lit up when the Digest comes out Monday. I would have run this article a little earlier, because I know that the bees do sell out, but this is early enough to order bees.

The place I ordered from last year, Pigeon Mountain Apiaries, still has bees available, but I have to warn you, as you can see from the end of my video, I can’t guarantee that the bees I got from them are not Africanized. Less than a year later they are extremely aggressive and when they sting, it produces a huge welt. They got into my suit and stung my face when I made the video, and the next day my face swelled up like a cantaloupe. That has not happened with the bees I got from South Florida Bee Supply. Pigeon Mountain had great customer service I have to say, but the nuc I ordered from them was not closed properly and my postman had to deal with flying bees. He put a bag over the nuc, so it was half dead when it arrived. They sent me a new queen and the hive did fine, as you can see. I am quite sure that they will vehemently deny that their bees have been Africanized, but you can judge for yourself.

Feeding Your Bees

The most important thing you can do after you install bees is to feed them, a lot. Dadant sells what I think is the best hive top feeder for the 10 frame Langstroth hive. It is made of styrofoam, and goes for just under $30. Most hobby beekeepers will tell you to use bottle feeders, but after a ton of research last year I found that the pros all use hivetop feeders. A bottle feeder can only feed about 20 bees at one time. A hivetop feeder can feed hundreds at one time.

The initial feeding that you provide will allow the bees to immediately build comb, without having the find a local source for nectar. In the spring nectar can be pretty sparse to begin with, so feeding your bees could be a matter of survival. The workers that you get in your package bees will be alive less than a month, and during that time they have to build comb so that the queen can start laying. The queen already has all the eggs she will ever have, so everything is ready to go but the comb, and the bees have to make that. With a hivetop feeder, you’ll see the comb building every day.

I didn't get into the lifecycle of the bee for this article, because there is plenty of information online and in books. You can see the bee larva in the cells here. Bees take meticulous care of their young.

I didn’t get into the lifecycle of the bee for this article, because there is plenty of information online and in books. You can see the bee larva in the cells here. Bees take meticulous care of their young.

I made my sugar syrup at 1:1 sugar to water, by volume. So I’d take a half gallon grapejuice bottle, fill it half way with Walmart sugar, then fill it up the rest of the way with my reverse osmosis water, because I don’t want to feed fluoride to my bees. The hivetop feeder holds almost two gallons, but even with 3 lbs. of bees, in South Florida in the spring, the water got moldy if I put in more than a gallon or so. Periodically I dumped the syrup, washed the feeder, and refilled it, because I could smell the sugar fermenting.

The other hivetop feeders I tried were made of wood, with floats, and didn’t work even close to as well as the styrofoam feeders. Every time I checked that feeder I found a dozen or more dead bees, whereas during the entire time I fed with the styrofoam, I think I found about 6 dead bees.

I also fed my bees what you’ll see called “pollen patties,” but I later learned that they are not made from actual pollen. If you search Youtube you’ll find how to make them out of soy flour, but I bought mine. My experience with them was not good, because I gave the bees way too much. If you decide to use them, start with very small amounts. Otherwise, at least here in South Florida, you’ll find small hive beetle maggots in the patties within about a day. I assume the beetles came in with my bees, but I don’t know what I could have done to prevent their arrival. They love those patties, I’ll tell you that. See the video for the small hive beetle traps I bought. They work great.

Bee Diseases

I strongly suggest that you buy The ABCs and XYZs of Beekeeping. It will give you the most recent updates on how to treat Varroa mites and all of the other common bee ailments. Don’t let the disease side of the equation scare you away. As I said above, beekeeping is easy and mostly successful. If you are running 1,000 hives as a pro beekeeper, and your hives are being shipped out to farms who pay you to bring them pollinators, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll be exposed to something that is actually fairly rare in backyard beekeeper circles.

Why Did I Lose a Hive

My best guess is that I killed my queen. About two months ago I saw that I needed to extract my honey. But as I explained in the video, I had not yet gotten a bee suit, so I did it bare handed and bare armed. It didn’t go well, and I dropped the hive bodies several times, killing a lot of bees. I also hadn’t experimented with the use of spray syrup instead of a smoker, and I went a little commando on my bees with the smoker. When I opened the hive the other day I found only a couple dozen bees trying to raise a queen cell. I am going to feed them and hope they succeed, but the queen will also have to make a successful mating flight and return for that to happen. Most likely I’m just going to dump a new package of bees in there once they arrive in April.

Thankfully, when I extracted, I skipped the hive you see here at the end of the video, because that hive had brood in the top hive body, and not a lot of honey, so I left it alone. Those bees are gloating at me today, because they definitely won that round, but I’ll be back.

Killer Bees

Africanized honey bees, otherwise known as “killer bees,” have migrated to most areas of the US that produce package bees. My bees were sold to me as Italian honey bees, which are the most common type, and they are known for being docile, as well as great producers. That hive came to me as a nuc from Pigeon Mountain, and it hasn’t produced much if any honey, while the bees are extremely aggressive. For the video I first was sloppy with my zippers on the suit, and I only wore a tshirt under the suit so I would be cooler. Those bees stung right through it, so I’m going to need to put some denim under the suit and try it again, or buy a thicker suit. I’ll be moving that hive out of my backyard to my bugout location. I’m thinking that I can make an electronic sensor connected to a solenoid and kick that sucker over should an intruder arrive. Anyway…

Buying a Beehive

The best buy I have found for buying a complete 10 frame Langstroth hive, shipped, is this guy on Ebay. It is just under $200, which is insanely cheap, and much less than I paid online before I discovered that we have a local production shop here. South Florida Bee Supply has a great deal if you are local. It is a deep super for a brood box with frames, and two medium honey supers with frames, plus the bottom board, top cover and telescoping cover, for $170. They do ship, but the shipping isn’t cheap. You will see in the video that the two hives I got from them are unpainted. This was because I had them install the bees for me because I couldn’t pick them up on Saturday, which is their pickup day. I wish I had asked them to paint the hives first. You’ll see that I drew pictures on the front of my hives. The bees get confused if you don’t mix up colors or something for them, and they will go to the wrong hive, only to get into fights till the death the hive guards.

If you elect to go for the alternative hives, just Google around and search Ebay. There are only a few companies that make the Warre design, and if you watch their videos, they admit that in their own apiary, they only use Warre hives as an entertaining side project, for something different, but the online popularity has given them an income from building and selling the hives. I had to try it so I got not only a couple complete 4 frame hive setups, but also hivetop feeders for the square Warre design, and even some framed honey supers.

Catching Swarms

I will most likely use those Warre hives to catch swarms from other local beekeepers, and if I am successful, and we aren’t already eating survival food by then, I’ll do an update article. Eventually, unless you employ countermeasures, all beehives will eventually swarm. This usually means that they hive raised a new queen, and a whole bunch of bees decided to leave with her. They don’t always warn you that they are going to swarm, if you even have time to check in on them enough to catch it. The trick is to give them an attractive home far enough away from the original hive, so that they will decide to to there on their own. You can buy “catch hives” online, which are just small boxes of some sort, and there are lot of lure tinctures you can buy to bait the box. To my knowledge, my hives have not swarmed yet. But I would say the mean one will do so soon, so I’m getting it out of here.

Langstroth’s book, and just about every beekeeping book you’ll find, has a big section on preventing swarms. This is very technical stuff, and you are better to find a class on it than try to figure it out yourself. Most backyard beekeepers just let them swarm and hope they don’t decide to settle in the eaves of the neighbor’s house. I bought a vacuum box in case I have a swarm emergency. there is a guy selling them on Ebay.

Transporting Bees

One of the more lucrative options for making money with bees is the provide them to farmers as pollinators. That involves moving your bees. To do that, the popular advice out there is to use what they call hive staples to nail your supers together. Then when you put the hives out, you space them about 10 feet apart. The pros don’t do this. It just so happened that right near my bugout location, a commercial beekeeper dumped 88 hives for orange blossom season. I don’t think he was hired to do this. I think he just wanted to be able to sell orange blossom honey, but the nice thing was that I got to see something of how he rolls. His method is to forego the bottom boards entirely, and mount 4 hives on a wooden pallet. Then he uses a mini forklift to load and offload the hives from a flat trailer. He just removed the hives about two weeks ago, and I periodically checked in on them, as he had left the hives on what I think was either state or railroad land. I don’t know if he lost hives or if people just stole them, but about a dozen hives disappeared over the time that they were there. The apparently figured out a system to keep the love bugs from bothering the bees, by putting white and black buckets on top.

This is the design that a local beekeeper uses near me. He mounts 4 hives on a pallet, with a deep brood box super and two medium honey supers. The white buckets are to attract love bugs so they don't bother the bees.

This is the design that a local beekeeper uses near me. He mounts 4 hives on a pallet, with a deep brood box super and two medium honey supers. The white buckets are to attract love bugs so they don’t bother the bees.

He dropped a total of 88 hives on what I think is either public or railroad land near large orange groves. Orange blossom honey sells at a premium. He lost about a dozen hives over this experiment from what I saw, possibly to theft.

He dropped a total of 88 hives on what I think is either public or railroad land near large orange groves. Orange blossom honey sells at a premium. He lost about a dozen hives over this experiment from what I saw, possibly to theft.

Keeping Bees for Survival

I didn’t address this section first because I think it is self evident that keeping bees won’t be first on your long term survival plan. If you have a bent to grow things and care for things, learning bees now is probably a good idea if you can afford to start. I will be surprised if we get through this summer before everything boils out, but you never know. The powers that be may have a short term plan to kick the news of our imminent demise down the road a couple years. One thing I can tell you is that the news of the death of the bees has been greatly exaggerated by the media. The biggest threat to the bee population has been beekeepers retiring and their kids not being interested in the business. Hives die, everywhere, often for unknown reasons unrelated to pesticides or geoengineering. I have not heard tell of one beekeeper who lost their hives in a wholesale swath of destruction, unless you are talking wax moths. Feed your bees for a month when you get them. Let them get strong and confident, and they will fight off most threats.

There was a recent study by Keele University that revealed huge levels of aluminum in bumblebees. This is no surprise to me, because as my regular readers know, I have been trying to open people’s eyes to the top secret spraying of aluminum on all of us, including the bees, for some time. If you dig into the docs at, you’ll find that geoengineering in the form of stratospheric particle injection has been going on for decades. The bees, and all of us, are part of a giant science experiment that is failing. If we don’t change course, there is no future for any species on this planet, not just the bees. Aluminum has been measured at levels tens of thousands of times normal in everything from whales to salmon to cows to your own human body, but most of you will keep calling those white trails behind the planes contrails, until this finally ends.

This giant toad, and it's offspring, used to hang out under the Warre hive waiting for bees. It is endemic of what survival will bee like I think.

This giant toad, and it’s offspring, used to hang out under the Warre hive waiting for bees. It is endemic of what survival will bee like I think.

As pollinators, from a survival perspective, bees are not what we have all been led to believe. If you bought the Seedsavers book I suggested last spring, you have already read the section on pollinators, and honey bees are great at some types of flowers, but not great on others. I would take a look at that book before jumping into bees just for the pollinator side of the equation.

Enjoy your bees for the months after you install them. Before they get comfortable, they really don’t attack you. I used just a head net until recently. And unless you do get some Africanized bees, just because they are buzzing around you doesn’t mean they are trying to sting you. Try not to kill any bees, because bees give off a fight or flight pheromone when they die, and that will get the rest of the hives stinging. Also, if you get stung, flick the stinger out with your hive tool right away, and run for the hills. They also release a pheromone when they sting, and it acts as a giant green light to go all in with stinging this intruder until he leaves, so leave. A few bees will chase you, or in the case of these African bees, a lot of bees will chase you, and keep trying to sting you for like an hour. Then they just give up and leave, I wish the rest of the world was like that.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • BillSF9c October 23, 2016, 3:08 am

    I finally bit the bullet, as it were, and looked at the Warre’ beehive utube, (I almost never watch them or TV,) to see what the hubbub was about ~”How not to handle a beehive.” While you were a tad rough on them, now and then, I suppose you had to be to ensure the comedic intent came across. I’m not one much given to laughter, but your gift of voice and subtle near-antics had me slapping my knee a bit as if intentionally inverting all of Warre”s instructions. You through in JUST enough semi-facts to make it almost seem believeable. THIS could be deemed problematic, as some who have never read the Abby’s book may not realize your jest. THANKS for a near-hilarious 15 minutes.
    Best regards-

    • BillSF9c October 24, 2016, 7:05 pm

      Paul – please feel free to write & I’ll reply & offer my ph#. A “few” words on the Abby Warre’s /The People’s Hive, & vs the Reverand Langstroth’s. Studies agree with you that bees want their larve below the honey. Langstroth enforces this with a queen excluder above the bottom box, while Warre’ allows the bees to continually lay eggs lower as upper cells become backfilled with honey stores… as in a feral tree cavity. Lang’ers tend to use pre-formed foundation and reuse the comb, saving all the honey which is required to make comb. Most Warre’ users harvest comb for wax use, resulting in less honey. Comb is light but it takes.8oz.of.honey to make 1oz of.comb. Warre’ studied ~10
      each of MANY hive types over ~10 years. His thrust was to create a
      simple cheap hive to replace the
      straw skep which tended to require
      sulphur smoke to kill the bees to
      take the honey. Lang’s can yield
      more honey. Cage hens can yield
      more eggs, perhaps. If you want to
      make a hive, a Warre’ is simpler.
      Inspections are not to be made.
      Harvest is by the box. Single combs
      are not removed – exception – a
      special knife is easily made to cut
      side attachments. A longer side-
      frame on your topbar will help. Cheesewire may be used to cut a
      box loose when harvesting a box,
      removing your comb-rip issues.
      Lang or Warre’ are simply different
      vehicles w dif handling requirements and costs & strengths. A Warre’…the
      Peoples’ Hive, is more of a
      VolksWagon – Peoples’ Car. “No
      antifreeze” Cheap & easy to make.
      Feeding, treatments, inspections, are discouraged. Windows? Ha. Good for
      kids and scientists. A 10ft 2×8,
      makes 2 boxes, a.minimum size. Use a 2×10 & the scrap makes handles
      and topbars. 300mm is 11.8″. DeMetricized mine totally, widened
      to 9 topbars and infilled corners to
      keep a simple square but octagonal
      inside, more tree-cavity like in shape. My handles.remove to look sleeker.& make theft harder. Try again w the Warre’ but review, as it is handled differently. You tried to handle some aspects like a Lang, & made some messes. That’s all. But start studying up on candle-making. ;>) Stop feeding them. Get “local survivor bees from untreated stock.” Let yours survive – or not… You want sturdy stock. Buy local is also for bees. Feral swarms? Unless everyone around you has bees & treats.
      Cordially –

  • Steve Gray April 25, 2016, 10:06 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time and writing this. I purchased a flowhive about a month ago – and the box is delivered but not the plastic combs yet. The comments are almost as entertaining. That dickhead that doesn’t believe that contrails are poisoning us all is an idiot, and I’m going to just stoke the fire by adding fluoride to the list of ‘things the government does but is interested in keeping on the down low’. Sort of like NSA/Email, Hillary and email, Hillary and large cash payments, etc. I have 40 acres so if anyone gets stung by my bees they can be thankful, because it means I haven’t shot them yet. Ha ha ha. Just kidding NSA! Anyway, I’m hoping the time line is longer than you have suggested (this summer) because I’m still clearing a lower field. My plan is to order been for the next spring. I want to plant some bee friendly plants in the field. I also plan on putting my hives inside a fully screened dog pen – chainlink on the top also – to keep out bears and coons. I was figuring a 6′ x 8′ one would allow me to keep two hives safe? I guess I’ll also be buying or building a langstroth (I enjoy woodworking) since it sounds like just my flowhive won’t be enough. I have at least one old bee tree – a pine tree even – but man those bees are 60′ off the ground. I need to purchase some more gear and read up on your suggested books anyway before I get bees going. Thanks again!

    • Paul Helinski April 26, 2016, 11:40 am

      This week I put out a video on how to install package bees.

  • SantaWalt February 24, 2016, 12:53 pm

    In the killer bee sections, you talked about an aggressive hive. That is usually caused by a bad queen. If she is mean, the entire hive will be also. Suggest you try re-queening that hive with a docile queen.

  • Mike V February 23, 2016, 12:23 am

    A pretty good article, until you showed what an idiot you are by believing in the whole “chemtrail” myth. As an engineer, reporter, private investigator and pilot with aerial application experience, I can state with absolute certainty that there is no such thing as “chemtrails”. I have in the past offered a $1000.00 reward to anyone who can produce an air sample, taken from a contrail under proper scientific protocols, that contains anything other than water vapor and exhaust gasses consistent with internal combustion engines. I might still, if anyone propagating this garbage would step up and actually produce some solid scientific proof. This has been going on supposedly for decades, and yet not a shred of proper scientific proof has ever been produced. The complex physics aside (the maximum altitude for any aerial application is 200′, the typical application altitude is less than 50′), just the logic of such a conspiracy is enough to prove its impossibility. Such a project as is alleged would require tens of thousands of front-line and support personnel, and in all these years not a single one has “blown the whistle”. As Ben Franklin famously stated, “Three can keep a secret, provided two are dead”. Please don’t show your ignorance again with such nonsense, or maybe it will become obvious that you don’t know anything about bees, either.

    • Paul Helinski February 23, 2016, 11:16 am

      Why don’t you take it yourself Mike. Maybe you’d be a force for good instead of a force for bad. The science, photos, patents, and test results are beyond conclusive. A lot are dead, but the planes are being flown as drones under lockdown conditions. If you slow yourself down and read the data at, you’ll be scared out of your pants. Take your $1,000 reward and order your own lab tests of your own blood Mike. Then stick it up your ass so you can read it.

  • Apis Amato February 22, 2016, 10:30 pm

    WRT your hostile bees: remember that apiculture and a diet high in bananas don’t mix! The amyl acetate molecule that is the root of “banana” scent? It’s also the bees’ alarm pheromone they emit when something is perceived as attacking the hive. You eat lots of nanners & the bees are gonna be gunnin’ for ya! 😉

  • steve hammill February 22, 2016, 7:24 pm

    Not a bad article for a beginning beekeeper. However, this…

    >>>When I opened the hive the other day I found only a couple dozen bees trying to raise a queen cell. I am going to feed them and hope they succeed, but the queen will also have to make a successful mating flight and return for that to happen. Most likely I’m just going to dump a new package of bees in there once they arrive in April.

    Is bad news for you and bad information for wannabe beekeepers. Most likely the few bees left are working on eggs laid by worker bees after the queen died. Worker bee eggs can only produce drone bees. Feeding a hive producing drones is a fool’s errand. Instead, try to determine what killed the hive: moths, mites, or something else. Then clean the hive and the frames and put in new bees. I only raised bees for four years, so I’m not a master beekeeper, but you learn a lot in each year.

    My advice for wannabe beekeepers is that beekeeping ain’t too hard, but stealing the honey is hard work with very little ROI. So unless you are driven to raise bees, support your local beekeeper by buying lots of their honey because honey never goes bad (unless the beekeeper is messing with it). If you are driven to raise bees, it is an interesting hobby. It is not worth the effort because rarely do you get the amount of honey that you would expect for the time invested. But if it is a labor of love for you, few things are more enjoyable.

    I’ve toyed with raising bees again, but in Montana, the winters can kill a large percentage of your hives. This returns me to supporting your local beekeeper.

  • Magic Rooster February 22, 2016, 5:34 pm

    It is amazing to me that even an article on beekeeping can bring out the “quasi experts” and people who simply think their opinion is the “be all end all.” These people take intellectual masturbation to new heights.( aka jacking one’s jaws)
    Thanks for the article!

  • Chase February 22, 2016, 11:36 am

    Why would you take that aggressive hive to your bug out location? Didn’t the African bees break out of their lab and mate with local bees, creating the problem in the Americas in the first place? Destroy the hive and start again, it’s the only responsible thing to do.

    • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 12:39 pm

      No you don’t need to. All you have to do is requeen. The bloodline of the bees will be new in a month.

  • Johan Loots February 22, 2016, 11:16 am

    Hi Paul , very interesting web page. There is a way to calm your Africanized Bees . I am from Zambia
    where I kept some Hives and an old man taught me . Take several Free Spinning Auto cooling fans ,
    paint all the blades white except for one which is painted black . place these these fans randomly around
    the hives so that the is a lot of movement around . If done correctly You will be supprised at the result.
    As children we played touchers with swarming bees and used the aid of honey-guide birds to find wild hives
    in the Veld.

    • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 12:39 pm

      Wow that’s pretty cool. Thanks for the advice. I’m going to try that.

  • Gloria Balboa February 22, 2016, 9:33 am

    Hello Paul,
    Thank you for including us in your article. We proudly manufacture right here in Miami, Florida! Packaged Bees can be delicate at times and challenging for the beginner. We have chosen to sell established Nuc’s this year as we have found that the transition is significanlty smoother. Your article is very informative and a great source of information for the beginner that may have unanswered questions. Beekeeping is booming every where. Our most recent class this Saturday was a huge success and we have another Queen Rearing Class scheduled for March 19th. Again thank you for all of the research you have done and for sharing all your information! Have a great day!

  • Robert Klene February 22, 2016, 9:12 am

    Just order an other Queen, ( I like Russian for the cold weather ) Find the mean Queen and take revenge and replace her with a new one. (the queen controls th temper of the hive). Introduce the new one the same way you put the original one into the hive. Give the hive time to accept her before she gets out of the queen cage.

  • R Lautherboren February 22, 2016, 8:58 am

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the legal aspect of bee keeping. Most jurisdictional zoning laws do not allow bee keeping in residential areas, near schools, near public parks or near other areas of public congregation for obvious reasons. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture requires bee hives to be kept on at least two acres of land. A neighbor awhile ago was fined $20k by the Department of Agriculture after his bees attacked another neighbor. The hives were being kept in the backyard of a home with a 5000 square foot lot. The neighbor who was attacked sued, won a judgment far exceeding the homeowner’s insurance coverage. To make a long story short, the amateur bee keeper lost his home, family and happy life because he failed to research the legal aspects of beekeeping and use common sense!

    • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 9:30 am

      Florida passed a law outlawing any and all local ordinances against bees. Scare tactics like yours are purely anecdotal, and the overwhelming whole of beekeeping is totally safe and harmless to neighbors.

      • R Lautherboren February 22, 2016, 9:52 am

        Maybe in Florida, but there’s 49 other states the last time I counted. Additionally, Federal Law trumps State Law, so if anyone was injured by bee hives kept on less than 2 acres of land, the Floridian would be held liable!

        • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 11:05 am

          Fools like you are the problem with America today. Like any USDA has ever charged someone under any federal law for anyone ever being stung by bees.

        • SantaWalt February 22, 2016, 11:58 am

          Please tell us what federal law you are talking about. The only federal law concerning honey bees that I can find relates to importing bees or honey. There is no federal law about killing bees, but there was a court ruling against a pesticide that kills honey bees. It always comes across as an opinion when someone makes a statement about federal law without giving the actual statute. I did a search that yielded no results, but searches don’t always reveal the info needed.

          • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 12:37 pm

            My search revealed nothing either. He apparently feels there is a federal statute that prohibits keeping bees on less than 2 acres of land. I can’t find it.

    • steve hammill February 22, 2016, 7:36 pm

      While this strikes me as BS, I would encourage any beekeeper to keep an EpiPen, just in case a neighbor or visitor is stung and goes into anaphylactic shock. It could save someone’s life if they are allergic to bee stings. Your doc will give you a script if you tell them you are beekeeping and want to keep one as a precaution.

      I don’t know the legal ramifications of administering the dose, but at least, you have it if it is needed.

  • Rocky February 22, 2016, 7:52 am

    Uhmmmm… While entertaining, to say the least, and at least eye opening in the selection of beekeeping equipment, all you preppers quit drooling already because, considering that we have here an article here that suggests the “feed buckets” on top of the beehives are there to attract love bugs; the validity of information in this article is well, I ain’t even going there!

    Been beekeeping for 50+ years, and never have I ever heard the buckets for love bugs routine. Now that’s funny!!!

    • Paul Helinski February 22, 2016, 8:30 am

      Well perhaps you don’t keep bees in cattle country Florida Mr. Rocky. I can assure you that the buckets are for love bugs, but I . am not clear why he changes them from white to black. I have a feeling it has something to do with wasps. I lifted the buckets to see if there was anything there and there was nothing. You also wouldn’t feed bees in the middle of orange blossom season, to get orange blossom honey. As I said in the article, there is no formula for keeping bees, and my question for you is why don’t you share some of what you learned in 50 years instead of criticizing things you don’t know? In other words, pull your head out of your ass, and contribute something to humanity instead of just taking.

  • Frandanco February 22, 2016, 4:28 am

    Paul Helinski –

    Thank you so much for this awesome article and video !
    Wow – what a lot of work you did to make all this happen and still take the time to manage your hive/s..
    I am so grateful for this – have been thinking I might like to start a hive or two, just for the enjoyment of watching these unbelievable little critters do so much work and at the end leave all this sweet honey for us to share with them..
    Again, thank you Paul, this is amazing !!!
    Much Blessings to you and yours always…

  • Daddio7 February 22, 2016, 4:17 am

    This is a very informative article. The videos were good except for all buzzing but that was not your fault.

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