Disclaimer:

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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Monday, October 20, 2014

Wintering Bees

This is how I winter my bees. I learned this from attending the Univ of MN Beekeeping Short Course 25 years ago. It worked then and works to this day.
Now we have mites to contend with. There were no mites 25 years ago.
I usually put my covers on around Thanksgiving. If we are slated to get several inches of snow before then, I put the covers on before it snows.
 Once there is snow on the ground it can get quite cold and the bees need the covers on by then.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Support the Bee Squad

Come to Billy's on Grand Ave and drink some Honey Weiss Beer

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Varroa Symptom

I have had a few phone calls from beekeepers that told me all their bees absconded from their colonies. The bees were gone or had very few left and the hives were full of honey.
Hives that display this type of behavior, are bees that have very high levels of Varroa.
In fall, a beekeeper looks at their bees and they look great, three weeks later they look again and all of the bees are gone. This is not colony collapse, it is Varroa.
 Treating for mites in August could have prevented this from happening. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Package Bees 2015

I had a lengthy conversation today with Ray my package bee supplier. He was telling me about his year. 
 California as you know is in the grips of a devastating drought. There is nothing growing unless it is irrigated or a cactus. Beekeepers normally could depend on honey from Yellow Star Thistle for a honey crop. But with the drought, there was no honey crop. He has been feeding his bees for a large part of the summer. A week doesn't go by with out having a tanker truck of bee feed making a delivery.
 He did comment that his bees look very nice. Strong colonies and he has been able to keep his mite count low. Without plants blooming he has also been feeding pollen to the bees.
 He did move several thousand colonies out of state and the bees he moved did make some alfalfa honey. Not a huge crop but enough to make the colonies heavy and some local pollen.
 We talked at length about package bees for next year. He does see an increase coming to package bee and queen prices for the 2015 season. There was some discussion of how much it might be, but he said it was too early to put a number down. Ray said he wanted to tell Wendy and I early so we could pass the information on to our customers that there will be an increase.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Late Feeding

The time is running out for feeding. The next week looks good for temperatures. The bees should take the feed down still. It could be a cold winter according to future forecasts. So a heavy hive should be a good hive.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Entrance Reducers

With the cooler weather here it is a good idea to put in the entrance reducers. The cooler weather will have the bees clustering in the hive. In a three deep hive the bees will be mostly in the middle box. So not many bees in the bottom box.
 Mice are looking for a place to stay for the winter. Entrance reducers will keep them out of the hive.
Entrance reducers should be placed at the larger opening.