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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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Late winter hive work


Put the pollen patties right where the bees are. They need to be able to touch the patty. Leave the wax paper on both sides of the patty. Replace if the patty starts getting hard or moldy.
We are now turning the corner on winter and transitioning into spring. Right now there should be brood in a live hive. The queen should be laying. The amount of brood can vary widely from hive to hive. Several factors can influence this, available pollen in the hive, hive strength, room for queen to lay.
 Sometime this week, pollen patties can be put on the hive. Once pollen patties go on, they should be checked every ten days or so. If they are being consumed, replacements should be offered as needed. Do not let the colony run out of patties. This can set them back and brood could perish from lack of protein. A steady supply of pollen assures good hive development. Poor protein supply results in poor quality bees that will have shorter lives and improper glandular development.
 Natural pollen collection can be interrupted by an extended cool or wet weather. Keeping pollen patties on the hive assures always having a protein source for the bees. I leave pollen patties on the hive until the dandelions come out. Then the fruit bloom comes with fruit trees and ornamental flowering trees. After the fruit bloom there is usually a dearth of pollen. I normally put pollen patties back on from mid May until early June. Package bees will need pollen on the hive from the time they are installed into a hive, until early June.
 The introduction of pollen into the hive will kick the hive into more brood production. More brood means greater consumption of honey stores. 
 Feeding sugar syrup or ProSweet may be required to keep the colony alive.
A beekeeper needs to judge whether feeding is necessary. Lifting up the top box should give you a clue if feeding is required. If a groan is involved in the lifting process, there is probably enough food for now, in the top box. If the top box seems light, give the colony a pail of syrup.
 The problem that beekeepers run into is, overfeeding. This is a common problem with spring feeding. If a beekeeper feeds pail after pail of syrup on an overwintered colony, the bees will fill their hive with syrup. This will leave no place for the queen to lay and the hives population may suffer.
 When feeding package bees or when drawing out comb on new foundation, feeding needs to be constant until the comb is all drawn out.
 Not much else to do yet. Keep the winter covers on for another couple weeks.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Beekeepers, we need your help now!

Minnesota Honey Producers Assn.
February 23, 2017
Dear Fellow Beekeeper,

 Beekeepers, please contact your state reps and senators from your district.  House bill HF-124 and its sister bill in the senate SF-218 are amendments to the existing law that prohibits roadside mowing and baling on state and trunk highways in MN before the August 1st deadline.  This law was originally enacted in 1985! And passed unanimously.  The current house bill with amendments to allow mowing and baling at anytime of the year without seeking permits or approval has passed the second committee and could be voted on soon.  Landowners that don't wish their ditches to be mowed and baled before Aug 1 must ask for and receive approval from their local road commissioner.

  Please impress upon them the importance of delaying mowing until Aug 1 and it's impact for your bees,  the law was passed in 1985 unanimously, preserving habitat is more important  today than ever.  Tell them the benefit to Minnesota's pollinators far outweighs the value of poor quality ditch hay. Tell them it is backwards thinking to allow a few individuals to profit off the wonderful ditch hay, and that people that don't want their stretch of ditches mowed and baled before aug 1 must ask for and and be granted permission to preserve their ditch habitat. Tell them we've had pheasant summits and pollinator summits in this state the last 2 years to figure out how to improve habitat, and that improving roadside ditch habitat has always been a centerpiece in these possible solutions.  This is a giant step in the other direction.

  It's fairly simple to find your reps and track the bills and read them. Go to www.leg.state.mn.us  Or just type in MN house of reps.  Type in the bill #.  You can search for your reps and senators by town and zip code if you don't know who represents you.  Contact your legislator

Thank you

Dan Whitney
pres MHPA

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cold coming back next weekend

With the cold weather coming back next weekend. I am out checking hives and putting on winter patties. This hive is Carniolans. They winter a smaller cluster. There was about three frames of bees. For Carniolans three frames of bees this time of year is fine. Carniolans just explode in population and I expect them to do fine. Three frames of bees for an Italian colony this time of year is on the weak side. A weak Italian hive with three frames of bees, should build up ok but they may not be able to divide.
I added two winter patties to this colony. I will be able to feed it and add pollen patties in about two weeks. I placed the patties right where the bees are so they can touch the patties.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fake Pollen

On the first warm days in the spring, bees can be seen in bird feeders or on saw dust. The bees collect dust off of the bird seed and saw dust and pick it up as pollen. It is not pollen.
 Beekeepers need to be careful sawing treated lumber in early spring, the bees can possibly bring back the treated lumber dust back to the hive. Treated lumber offers protection from insects in the treatment. This dust can possibly kill a colony.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The warm weather

This warm weather is energizing beekeepers to go out and put pollen patties on their hives and start feeding syrup. It may be a good idea to hold back for a couple weeks.
 This is Minnesota, the upper midwest, winter has a way of showing up again. Feeding syrup and pollen, early, can get the queen laying brood at a greater amount than normal for this time of year. If the weather stays warm, a hive could get overpopulated too early and the hive may be swarming by mid April, before queens are available. If the brood population increases drastically in a hive, a cold snap could jeopardize the survival of the colony.
It may be bad to stimulate the hive to get the bees rockin and rollin. Maybe a more prudent approach is called for.
What can you do right now. You can check the food in the top box. Lift the box to make sure it is still heavy with honey. A frame or two of honey can be moved  from another hive or from the lower part of the hive to bolster stores in the top box. Put the honey near the main cluster, do not put it in the main cluster. If the hive is low on food and the survival of the colony is in doubt, feeding syrup is the option. Better to feed than risk the bees starving.
Other than that, not much else should be done.
Pollen patties go on around March 1st, feeding can begin then also.
The forecast for next week has possible big snow storm in the forecast.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Added Hours

Now open:
Wednesday------ Noon - 6 pm
 Friday----------- Noon - 4 pm
Saturday--------- 9 am - 3 pm