This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hive Sale

 Prices slashed - inventory reduction sale.
Check or cash only.
Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday  Feb 21st to the 23rd.  Noon - 6:00 pm
While supplies last - First come first served

Bottom Boards........$14.00 each

Deep Box - all Assembled w/frames and foundation ..... $39.00 each

Medium Box - all assembled w/frames and foundation . $36.00 each

Telescoping covers w/inner cover .... $28.00 each

Screened Bottom Boards .................. $25.00 each

Composite Hive Stands .................... $20.00 each

Winter Patty 50 lb pail (one available)........ $40.00
Winter Patty 10 lb pail (five available)....... $15.00

3 Frame Hand crank extractor (new-one available) Reg. $425.95 ........... $340.00
3 Frame Hand crank extractor (used-one available) ...........$250.00

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Univ of MN Bee Class

There are still openings for this bee class. Here is the link.
 The Univ of MN Keeping Bees in Northern Climates Year 1
February 23rd. 
This is a great class for novice beekeepers.
You get a booklet, they give you doughnuts and lunch.
Great class, you will get a solid foundation of beekeeping knowledge.
Sign up right away as this class will fill up.

Monday, February 11, 2019

What is happening on the bee front.

This Goldfinch says spring is coming. The feathers are starting to change to bright yellow.

Spring is coming, we can start feeding our bees syrup and pollen patties in about three weeks to a month,
February is almost half over. We are getting hammered with some snow, but the below zero temperatures seem to have gone away, at least for the near term.
 Not much to do on the bee front at the moment. When I look forward, to early next week, there is some sub zero in the forecast for a day or two. Long term extended outlooks look more seasonal as we approach March.
 We are now getting into the danger period of over wintered colonies. The queen will begin laying soon. Once brood rearing has begun in the hive, the cluster loses some of its mobility. The bees will not leave the brood and cannot just move to more honey if their stores begin to get depleted around the brood. The bees can move to honey and bring it back to the brood area. This is not a problem when the daily highs are in the 20's. If the weather turns cold, near zero, with cold days, the bees cannot move to more honey very easily. Starvation can occur if the cold event is three consecutive days or more, even though honey is in the hive. One day of very cold temperatures is usually not a problem. As beekeepers, we need to get the bees over the hump and to the balmier month of March.
 If the temperatures stays seasonal there is usually not much worry of starvation. If it gets cold, starvation can happen. There are some emergency food options that can be used, winter patties, fondant, sugar can all be used for this emergency food. Winter patties purchased from Nature's Nectar LLC are now just the sugar premix. The beekeeper needs to put the sugar premix on a sheet of wax paper and flatten out the premix to make the patty.

Spring will be here soon and we can put this winter behind us.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A beekeeper checked their hive today

This hive of Saskatraz bees is right where bees should be at this time of year. The bees have moved up from the lower box into the top box. The Saskatraz queen may start laying in the next seven to fourteen days. The hive looks in great shape. Large cluster of Saskatraz bees. The beekeeper has a Bee Cozy winter cover around the hive and a candyboard on top with candy for extra winter feed. They did two mite treatments last year. Formic Acid in August and Oxalic Acid in late October. Mite counts were very low after treatments.
  The hive was heavy with honey going into winter.
  The results are, healthy Saskatraz bees, as shown in this picture.
Photo by N. Gores

Beekeeping Classes

This is a link to some current beekeeping classes available around the metro area.

The Art of Beekeeping in Northern Climates
Century College - White Bear Lake, MN 
5 sessions, Thursdays starting at 6pm
This class is starting this week. There are spots available. 

If you have been struggling with your bees over the last year or two. Maybe you are doing something wrong. One small management task done incorrectly can lead to poor results with colony survival. A good foundation of beekeeping knowledge can help you bee successful. This is a great beekeeping class. 
 The five sessions can give the beekeeping student time to absorb all of the information presented. The instructor is well versed in beekeeping and has taught many beekeeping classes around the metro area for several years.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How is the cluster dealing with the cold

This is from beekeeper Paul's hive. He has a thermometer in the hive. Sometimes it can be a little deceiving on the internal hive temperature. If the cluster is near the temperature probe it can give an artificial warm internal hive temperature. Usually in the hive, once you get about nine inches away from the cluster, the internal hive temperature is about the same as the outside temperature. So right now, inside the lower box in a hive, it is about minus 20 degrees. In the upper box near the cluster, It will be warmer as the bees are eating more food and generating more heat to combat the cold. Plus heat rises and the upper part of the hive should be the warmest part of the hive right now.
 So beekeepers, if you think the bees heat the whole hive and keep it warm that is not the case.
Photo by P. Liedl

Warm this weekend

This weekend is a good time to check if your bees are alive. Go out in the warmest part of day. The bees may be going on cleansing flights so it may be obvious there is bee activity.
 You can also rap on the side of the hive and listen for the buzz of the cluster.
 If colonies were very heavy with honey going into winter. Sometimes the bees have not moved up yet. The bees in this situation may not go on cleansing flights if they are still deep in the hive. A beekeepers may think the colony is dead but they may be alive and well. If your hive fits this description, rap on the hive in the lower box as well and listen.
 Always wear a veil when out with the bees. They may be chilly, but they can still put the hurt on you.