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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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hot Hive

This is a hot hive. The beekeeper was concerned if this was a prelude to swarming. But it is 90 degrees out and the hive is hot. Too many days like this can possibly lead to swarming but a hot hive will cool off by Tuesday for sure.
A hot hive. Temperature around 90 degrees the bees will meander out of the hive to cool off.  When they start hanging on the bottom board in a clump it is called bearding.  
                                                        Photo by Anders

What is blooming in July

This is a link to what is blooming in July
Native's: https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/page/whats-blooming/july-native-plants

Non native's: https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/page/whats-blooming/non-native-species

Not all of these flowers are nectar flowers. Observation is the key. If the bees are working a particular flower they are getting pollen and or nectar from the plant.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Nectar Flow

Honeybee on my just now flowering Basswood Tree photo by W. Kloek
My basswood tree has finally flowered. This honeybee was taking advantage of the available nectar.
I am hearing great things about this nectar flow. A beekeeper that keeps bees in St. Paul near the Mississippi river has four capped supers already. That is about 140 lbs of honey. Which equals about 2-1/3 five gallon pails.  He is going to extract the supers this weekend and put the supers back on.  He started the hive with a package of bees this spring.
This nectar flow still has another four weeks to go.
Stay ahead of the bees, add supers before the supers on the hive are full. Check supers weekly. When in doubt add supers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hours for holiday weekend and the nectar flow

We will be open normal hours over the holiday
Friday 9 am - 4 pm
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm

Give the bees plenty of room in the supers. If you have two supers on and they are putting any honey in the second super, it is time to add two more.
Bees have a hoarding instinct. If there is room to fill they will work to fill that space with honey. At harvest time,you never want to pull off all full supers off a hive. If all of the boxes were full when they were pulled off, that meant the bees would have made more honey if the space was there to fill.  Pulling off one partially filled super off a hive, tells you the bees gave you everything they could get.

We are at peak nectar flow right now and probably will be for the next three weeks. Good soil moisture, warm days that is the formula for success.
I am hearing of widespread honey success, with everyone having a good nectar flow.

I drove up to Hackensack, MN yesterday. There was white sweet clover blooming everywhere. So the whole state should be having a good nectar flow.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hive Weight Graph

This is a graph of a hive started at Warner Nature's Center. It was a 2 lb package that was installed on a scale. The package was installed with a feeder pail on and a pollen patty. There was some honey in the hive. The scale was then zeroed.
 The weight is on the right. You can see the hive was at a negative number from were it started due to the feeder pail being off and honey consumption. It starts in early June at a negative 12 lbs from the start of zero.
 You can see the graph creeping up. Notice the rise and fall of honey weight with the daily temperatures. There are minor honey flows going on in early June. As the temperature goes up so does the weight of the hive with new nectar coming in.  The weight goes down slightly overnight as water is evaporated from the nectar and the consumption of the nectar by the bees themselves.
Notice on the graph 6/15 it is clear the main nectar flow has started at Warner Nature's Center, which is near Square Lake in northern Washington County.
 From 6/15 to 6/27 the hive has increased its weight by about 35 lbs in twelve days. That is about the amount of honey of one medium super.
 Warner Nature's Center has open fields nearby and has a good amount of trees. It will be interesting to see if the weight goes up much when the Basswood trees open. As of today the Basswoods have not flowered in our rural area. That should change any day now.
 The inside hive temperature fluctuates around 5-7 degrees while the outside temperature has a 20 degree swing between night and day.
Scale data and photo by P. Liedl a beekeeper from Warner Nature's Center

Monday, June 22, 2015

White Sweet Clover and other plants

I saw White Sweet Clover starting to bloom in the Stillwater area. This is one of our main nectar plants.
white sweet clover
also many nectar plants are starting or getting ready to bloom.
 Milkweed is getting ready to flower.  There is a hungry, hungry monarch caterpillar on the leaf. Photo by V. Samelian
Basswood trees are flowering in the cities right now

Swarm control

I had a beekeeper that had his bees flying around the front of his hive in large numbers. He felt swarming was imminent. He called me and asked what he should do. He has several hives.
  I told him to got out immediately an switch the swarming colony with a weaker hive. So he moved swarm Hive A to weak Hive B. Then weak Hive B to swarm Hive A. He then went through the hive that wanted to swarm and removed the swarm cells. Now the field bees fly back to where they think they live. Hive B the weak one, gets all the field bees from Hive A and now gets stronger. Hive A the strong hive gets the field bees from Hive B and now gets weaker. This solves swarming issues immediately.  Now Hive B needs to be watched for swarming because it will be stronger.
 The beekeeper was lucky he was home and saw this in the morning. By noon the bees may have swarmed.