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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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Treating with Oxalic Acid

One of the last bee work to do is treating your colonies with Oxalic Acid. Even if you had low mite counts into October, in my opinion this last treatment of Oxalic Acid is critical for winter survival. Hopefully your bees are now becoming broodless as the hive shuts down brood rearing. Late feeding may keep brood in the colony for a while yet.
 To get the best treatment, beekeepers need a broodless hive. With no brood in the hive, all of the mites in the hive are riding on the bees. A treatment of Oxalic Acid during this broodless time, yields the best results. When there is brood in the hive, most of the mites are in the capped brood cells and the Oxalic Acid treatment is less effective.
 Oxalic Acid treatments happen in late October.
 The treatment is applied when it is a temperature of 40 degrees at the time of application.
The temperatures can warm up later in the day, but at the time of treatment, we want the temperature to be 40 degrees.
 The reason for this is, the bees are clustered to a tight ball of bees when it is 40 degrees. The bees can easily be treated with the main cluster easily accessible. If it is warmer then 40 degrees, the cluster loosens up and it is harder to get all the bees treated properly.
 There are two methods of treating with Oxalic Acid, the dribble method and using a vaporizer.
 Do not use a bug fogger. A varroa vaporizer has been engineered for the treatment with Oxalic acid, a bug fogger has not been designed for mite treatments. The bug fogger does not have a way to measure proper dosing. With a fogger you could be killing your bees with to much Oxalic acid or you could be killing your bees with an ineffective treatment. Both scenarios are, your killing your bees.
 Here are two videos of treating with Oxalic acid.  Double click on the videos for full screen.

Dribble method, you are squirting the Oxalic Acid directly on the bees.

Using a vaporizer

Friday, October 11, 2019

Deformed Wing Virus

Deformed Wing Virus. Plus you can see the Varroa mites on the bee.
This is an article about Deformed Wing Virus or DWV. This article explains the importance of treating colonies before winter bees are being produced. By having low mite levels by around August 1st helps prevent the transmission of DWV into winter bees. By treating colonies later in the season, the mite level drops significantly, but there is a possibility that DWV is still a factor that leads to the colony's demise later in winter.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Bears are active

Bears are still active. This beekeeper had a bear get through his electric fence. The beekeeper did see that the bear was trying to tunnel under the fence. Some how the bear got bored with that and must have just taken the hit, to get to the pot of gold.
Who needs an uncapper when you have claws

Friday, October 4, 2019

National Solar Tour

This weekend is the National Solar tour. This is a great opportunity to go and look at homeowners solar system. You can talk to the homeowner about solar and look at their systems.
 Most solar owners will give you an honest assessment of their solar projects, what they did right, what they did wrong. Costs of their systems and their results on the electric bills.
 The best part of all of this, is that no salesman will be present.
https://www.nationalsolartour.org/map/ You can search for a Minnesota or Wisconsin map.
 We are hosting a solar tour at our home if anyone is interested:

A brief respite with warmer temperatures

Warmer temperatures are moving in for early next week. Last minute feeding can be done if needed.
 Too early for Oxalic Acid treatments. Late October is your best bet for proper treatment.
In my opinion I think all beekeepers should be treating with Oxalic Acid. If your hives have been running low mite counts, a treatment of Oxalic Acid in late October will clean up and extra mites. This will keep a colony healthier and will help the colony deal with the rigors of winter.
 Entrance reducers should be in right now.
Winter covers can be put on anytime after Nov 1st.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Whats happening on the bee front.

By now beekeepers should have treated their bees for mites and have fed any colonies that were light on food stores.
 The weather is changing, as it starts cooling off, feeding bees will get more difficult. Bees will not take cold syrup very well.
 Next week looks like highs in the 50's later in the week. A light frost is possible.
As the temperatures cool, mice will start moving into hives. So it is time to put in entrance reducer with the wide opening, or put on mouseguards.
Still to early to on winter covers.
Looking ahead, hives should be treated again for mites in late October using Oxalic Acid.
 Oxalic Acid is applied either with the dribble method or a vaporizer. Do not use a bug fogger. Oxalic Acid vapoizers for mites have been engineered for this purpose. Many do it yourself vaporizers give too much or too little of a treatment. In both cases you are injuring your bees, jeopardizing their survival.
 Oxalic acid is applied in late October, when the temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, at the time of treatment. More on this in upcoming posts.