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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Friday, October 2, 2015

Hives Moving into October

 Most beekeepers have extracted their honey and are feeding their bees if it is needed.
 The bees should be removing drones from the hive. Drones are not welcome in the hive over winter and will be replaced usually starting in late April or early May. Drones are produced when large amounts of natural pollen are available.
 Entrance reducers should be installed right now. Mice will start moving into hives with the cooler weather. The mice are looking for a nice place to ravage and an unprotected hive entrance is the perfect place to start. The entrance reducer should be at the widest opening.
 There has been some light frost in the east metro. Here north of Stillwater I have had frost the last two nights.
 Pollen is still available in small quantities at the moment. The first hard freeze will end the pollen availability, but the bees are still taking advantage of what is available.
 Brood rearing should be slowing down. Right now, Carniolan colonies may be broodless. Carniolans usually shut down brood rearing early. Oxalic Acid mite treatment will work well right now on a Carniolan colony.
 Italians will still have some brood for a little while yet.
If a hive is fed sugar syrup, plan on having brood in the hive for 30 days after feeding has stopped.
  Temperatures are forecast to be above normal for the next three months. This may be a good sign to help the over wintering in the states of MN and WI.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The weather

This looks like the last week of 70 degree weather. Beekeepers should check their hives winter stores. This warm weather may have made the bees consume more food than normal.  Topping off the hives food supply may have to be looked at.
 The extended forecast has the temperatures staying in the 60's for a couple weeks, then cooler as the days move closer to November. As the weather cools beekeepers that still have work to do will be finding it a little harder to get syrup into the hive.  Feeding needs to be completed as soon as possible. The bees do not like cold syrup and they will be reluctant to take the syrup down. It looks like there is about two good weeks of feeding ahead, after mid October the bees may be reluctant to take syrup very well.
 The top deep box should be full of honey right now. Feeding is needed if the colony is light on food stores. If the outside frames are empty. Moving the empty frames to the center of the box and full frames to the outside of the top box. The bees seem to fill the frames better if they are in the center of the box.
  Mite treatments are more limited in the colder weather. Apivar and Hopguard can be used as they are contact strips and don't depend on warm weather for them to be effective.
 Oxalic Acid has been approved for use in MN. Oxalic acid can by used around mid October, when a hive becomes broodless.  Oxalic acid only kills mites that are directly on the bees. Mites that are in brood cells are not killed by the Oxalic acid treatment. When hives are fed late, the queen will continue to lay. The nectar flow produced by feeding will stimulate the queen to lay eggs. Plan on having brood in the hive about thirty days after feeding.
 With the cooler weather moving in, entrance reducers should be put on colonies to keep mice from moving into the colonies.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What is happening now in the hive

The warm weather is helping beekeepers get their mite treatments and feeding done. Hives that were light on bees, have had an opportunity to build up to larger numbers. Beekeepers using ApiGuard and Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) have been getting the heat they need for the mite treatments to work properly.
 After a mite treatment, a test to see if the treatment worked is needed.
How to test for Varroa Destructor Mite Levels.
 Nature's Nectar LLC does carry the Univ of MN Bee Squad mite test kits. The kits contain everything needed to do a mite test.
 I had a beekeeper tell me they treated for mites with a mite treatment. Before they treated, they had five mites in the sample. After the treatment they had twenty mites per sample. This particular treatment did not work. Sometimes mite treatments don't work because of weather, hive population or being applied improperly. The beekeeper is now trying another type of treatment.
 All Varroa Destructor Mite treatments need to be applied according to the manufacturers label.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

last warm week?

This may be the last week in the 70's. Last week for mite treatment using Mite Away Quick Strips. The 70's help the treatment work properly.
Feeding heavy now. The bees will take the feed readily in the 70's. As it cools the bees don't take the feed as well. If a beekeeper has to get alot of feed in the hive in a hurry, a hive top feeder works great. They hold four gallons of syrup and the syrup is available to many more bees than a feeder pail or frame feeder.
The bees come up from below through the open channels and move down to what ever the level of the syrup is.

Hive Top Feeder The feeder goes on top of the top box

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


 I have had a few beekeepers tell me they went and checked their bees. They looked great two weeks ago and now there were no bees in the hive and all of the honey was robbed out. There were no dead bees in the hive.
 All of these absconding colonies most likely had high levels of Varroa. When Varroa levels get high, the bees will drift away. Leaving no bees and unprotected honey.
 If there were piles of dead bees one could say they were overcome by robbers and the colony was killed in the robbing melee.
 Failure to treat for mites leads to absconding or a weakened colony that will not survive the winter.

We Rent Extractors

Nature's Nectar LLC does rent three frame extractors for $30.00 a day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Late Summer forage

This is blooming all over in my tree lines. The plant is covered with pollinators.
I believe it is from the Joe Pye weed plant family.
Note the white pollen on the bees legs.
I have been informed by a beekeeper that this is White Snakeroot.
Thanks for the plant ID.
Photo by W. Kloek