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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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Shorter hours this Friday

We will have shorter hours on Friday July 29th. Open 1 - 4 pm.
Normal hours on the other open days.

Bee Friendly Garden Story MPR

MPR story on bee friendly garden
Bee Friendly Garden

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Neonicotinoids in South Dakota

This article talks about research on honeybees in South Dakota and the levels of neonicotinoids. Neonic's are a pesticide applied to seeds of many plants such as corn and soybeans.
Neonic's in South Dakota honeybee study

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hive Scale

Paul from Warner Nature Center shared this hive scale photo. The yellow line is the honey weight. You can see the hive weight increased from about 110 lbs on 6/29 to around 150 lbs on 7/7. Notice the rise and fall of the hive weight everyday. As the bees bring in nectar, the bees fan the hive to evaporate water in the nectar. The weight of the hive changes daily until the supers are filled out. The weight then stays pretty much constant after that. Maybe falling slightly. Paul explains that it was not for a lack of nectar flow. The supers were all full and the bees stopped collecting. He was aware of the supers being full.
Scale hive at Warner Nature Center from 6/29 through 7/14

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hot Weather, Hot in the Hive, Cool at Nature's Nectar LLC

FYI: We have installed air conditioning in our sales room.

This hive was overcrowded earlier in the year. But it is a good pic for a hot hive. The hive is hot and bees are hanging outside

How does the hot weather affect the bees?
When it gets really hot, the bees will hang out on the front of the hive. This is normal.
  Inside the hive it is packed with bees. Bees are hanging on and covering the frames. With the large population of bees it is hard to cool the hive. To compensate for the heat, collection of water increases. Water is placed throughout the hive and the bees will fan their wings to create air currents. The air currents evaporate the water and have a cooling effect similar to a swamp cooler that are used in the drier western states for air conditioning. The weather that is coming has high heat and humidity. The high humidity make evaporating the water in the hive more difficult and the cooling effect from evaporating the water is not as great. So to help cool the hive, bees will move out of the hive to reduce crowding on the frames. The bees can cover the front of the hive, cluster under the front of the bottom board, and/or cluster underneath the front edge of the telescoping cover.
Taking measures like lifting covers can make cooling the hive harder. Bees set up air currents in the hive by fanning. Creating a large opening may make it harder for the bees to cool the hive.
When the temperatures cool of the bees will move back inside.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's Blooming on the Browns Creek Trail

My wife and I went for a walk down the Browns Creek Trail in Stillwater this morning. We went a few miles, beautiful morning for a walk. Breezy plus no bugs. We were looking at all the flowers blooming. Many summer flowers in full bloom or some coming on strong in early stages of bloom. Take Manning Ave to McKusick Road. head east to Neal Ave. Take Neal Ave South about one block. There is a large parking area there and a Stillwater park with a big kid play structure.  We got on the trail and headed west. It is about a mile to the Manning Ave Bridge. I am being descriptive because they are working on a new subdivision of 55 homes. At that point it is a perfect place if you have any tykes that like trucks and big equipment to safely view the construction from an elevated viewpoint. But I did take some pics of what is blooming that was my true focus, not the loss of pollinator habitat.
Bee Balm at my house. This is a great pollinator plant. Also used by butterflies and Humming birds

At the MN Hobby beekeepers on Tuesday night. An hour before the meeting two U of MN scientists Gary and Mike go thru colonies and explain what is going on. They answered questions and demonstrated mite testing. The over wintered colonies they tested all had high mite counts. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what is happening in a bee hive.

Queen Ann's Lace (big white flower ) I did not see any bees working it. Yellow  flower is Birds Foot Trefoil, purple flower is Spotted Knapweed

White Sweet Clover and Rudbeckia is the yellow flower

Sumac and Rudbeckia

Goldenrod in bloom already. We just saw one plant. Normally it is widespread in August



There goes the neighborhood