Thursday, April 25, 2013

Putting on two new Honey Supers using Imirie Shims on the Hives. How I put the Shims together and why I decided to try them!

Gluing together Shims
Drying Shims

I bought some Imirie Shims to put on my hives recently. The Imirie Shim was invented by a Master Beekeeper named George Imirie. He attributed his bee keeping success to the use of these style top entrances between honey supers. 

Providing upper entrances for the worker bees to reach the supers honey storage location makes a lot of sense, they don't have to travel through the brood chamber and up through all the other supers. 

Additionally, these Shims have been used in winter as alternate entrances for the bees and for moisture escape with good success.  

My bees are building well in their 1st super above two brood chambers. Apparently, the way to produce maximum amounts of extracted honey is to put supers with this entrance between them on before honey flow starts. 

When you do this the smell of the beeswax, sugar water, and essential oils tells the bees their stores are empty and they need to start working. This smell creates a bee pheromone which the bees sense and react by making lots of honey. 

The top entrances also make it easier for the bees to reduce moisture much faster and build a larger crop. 

These shims also help to avoid congestion in the hive because you are giving the worker bees alternate upper entrances so they don't have to make the long trek thru the brood chambers to get to the supers. Bees swarm as a result of congestion and the Shims provide a logical and elegant solution to this problem.  This just plain makes a lot of sense to me so after reading about the Shims I decided to order some from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm

Close up on Bee Entrance on Shim

Wood Glue

Glued and Drying
When the Shims came all in bundles, I glued , nailed, and then painted the Exterior of the Shims in my backyard before installation. 

I painted the exteriors
of the Shims White to
match my hives and
protect them

Got on my Bee Suit

Got Smoker Going

Sprayed the Pierco Frames within
 the two Supers with
Sugar Water and Essential Oils/ProHealth
Hives BEFORE I put on
Top Entrances and new Supers

HIVES AFTER: note the
new upper entrance (
Imirie Shim)
between the two top supers

This is my first attempt at using the Shims. I decided to install on the Full Scorpio Moon and to Spray essential oils (I use Prohealth which I buy from ) and sugar water on the frames to help stimulate production on those frames. It was also a Lunar Eclipse and I felt this was an auspicious time to introduce the new entrances to the Bees. I figured with the combination of the new entrance and the Spray I concocted would be attractive to the bees. 

Last year I sprayed my frames in my supers with the same concoction with a lot of success. Since I use plastic frames, the bees need a little stimulation to get going on them but once they get going, they are fine.

The Sugar Water Spray Recipe I used today:
4 cups very hot water out of faucet
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons ProHealth (which has lemongrass and  spearmint essential oils in it and the bees love it)

I shake it up all in a bottle. I use a leftover OJ container with a screw on top. It is good to use a funnel for everything and I bought some funnels in the dollar store which work great. I then use a clean dollar store spray bottle. I like to re-use things but I didn't want to use any kind of spray bottle that might have had a chemical cleaner in it so I bought a new spray bottle to use only for the bees. I also spray the containers down with this solution when I get a bee package in the mail and I have to wait overnight or a day or so to install the new package and queen in the hive.

I haven't seen a bee go into the new Imirie Shim entrance yet, but my husband said he saw one near it. I will let you know how this experiment is working for me throughout the summer.  Since I am fairly new at Bee Keeping, I am still just learning but when reading and thinking about the needs of the hive, these upper entrances make sense to me. Currently, I am reading "Honeybee Democracy" by Thomas Seeley which is helping my understanding of the bees. This year I am connecting well to the ideas and needs of the hive because the longer I keep bees and learn about them as a living organism the more they make sense to me and I understand them on a lot deeper level then I did just a few years ago. I am an organic beekeeper and have been highly influenced by beekeepers like Michael Bush who wrote the "Practical Beekeeper"and Ross Conrad who wrote 

"Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture" . I learned the most from watching Youtube videos too. I have learned that using essential oils in the hive is very protective and supports the bees in a hugely positive way. I am also open to learning new things from experienced Beekeepers but mostly it's been trial and error learning. In a way the bees teach you and you learn naturally from them.

Happy Bee Keeping!
Melissa Abbott

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this - I've just ordered some imari shims from Brushy Mountain!