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.

Search This Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2018

More Saskatraz Hives

Here are a couple Saskatraz hives with their heavy supers
Saskatraz package hive from the western suburbs, Buffalo area. / photo by D. Casey

Saskatraz Hives from the Stillwater area. Left / - Overwintered Saskatraz Parent, / middle - the divide / Right - 3 lb Package with Saskatraz queen / Photo by G. Gehrman
Saskatraz packages - two full supers and the third is 2/3rds full / photo M. Thorp

What's blooming

As the white sweet clover starts to wane, more flowers are coming online. Late summer perennials are coming out. Also some weeds are blooming right now. Purple Loosestrife can takeover a swampy marsh and crowd out native plants.
Purple Loosestrife and Spotted Knapweed are both noxious weed. They should never be propagated. But as long as they are there the bees will work them.
 Purple loosestrife honey has a greenish hue. It looks like new motor oil.
 Spotted Knapweed has a buttery flavor. Both honeys are of very good flavor.
Spotted Knapweed
Purple Loosestrife

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Great Saskatraz Hive

This is a pic of a Saskatraz hive. That is one huge honey crop in the making.
This is a result of a great queen, big hive population and no swarming.This was from a package of bees from this year.
photo by M. Hergott

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I have 3 queens

I have three queens available for sale. Carniolans

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Weather and the nectar flow

The nectar flow is booming for most beekeepers. Many beekeepers reporting that they have two or more supers with honey in the boxes.
 The upcoming week looks perfect for honey collection. Hot days and warm nights. Days and nights like this, get the nectar to flow, usually at a greater rate than if the highs are only in the 70's.
 Swarming is still going on. I have had several calls from beekeepers trying to collect their bees that are now up in a tree.
 When checking for swarm cells, all the boxes need to be looked at. If only one brood box is checked, there is no point on checking. Queens are being pushed down into the bottom brood box now as the top brood box fills with honey. This is what beekeepers want to see. Their top brood box full of honey for winter.
 Stay ahead of the bees. If there is two supers on a hive and both of them have honey in them, it is time to put on two more supers. This nectar flow looks like it has a long way to go. It would not surprise me if many beekeepers get four supers of honey or more.
If you are not getting much honey right now:
  • Your bees may have swarmed
  • You had queens issues sometime in the spring
  • Poor population of bees in the hive due to a brood disease
  • Poor nectar flow where your bees are located 
  • You have put the same supers on for a couple years and the bees never made wax on the foundation. Now the foundation is no longer attractive to the bees, the beeswax odor is gone. The foundation should be replaced with new.
Now is the payoff for all of the hard work we have done to get our bees to this point. We have endured cold weather, blizzards, cold spring. All of this is now old news. The honey flow is on, now lets enjoy the show.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What's Blooming

Basswood / Linden Tree - photo N. Gores
 Basswood trees can produce a tremendous amount of nectar if the conditions are right. Basswood like hot days and warm nights to produce a good nectar flow. It does not produce every year. Last year we got Basswood honey, with the hot weather we are experiancing right now,  I am optimistic that we will have another good Basswood Flow.
Sumac - photo by N. Gores
 Sumac does produce nectar and the bees do work it. The honey tends to be in the reddish color.
Thistle -  Photo by N. Gores
Thistle is blooming everywhere right now. This is also a decent nectar plant that the bees work. 
White Dutch Clover - Photo N. Gores

Birdsfoot Trefoil and Daisy - Photo by N. Gores

Brood box tip

As this honey flow progresses, beekeepers need to think about wintering your bees. Wintering your bees means the top brood box being mostly full of honey.
 Over the next couple weeks, a beekeeper should examine the top brood box. Honey frames that are on the outside edges of the box, never get filled with honey very well. Beekeepers find themselves feeding syrup later in the season to bolster honey stores. By feeding syrup, this is a nectar flow, the queen lays when there is a nectar flow. With this new brood, mite production will continue to increase. Sometimes feeding is done very late and brood is then in the hive into November. This late brood in a colony and increased mite load can have a bad outcome for winter survival.
 Taking the time to go out, remove your supers. Look in your top box. Full frames of honey that are in the middle of the top box should be moved to the outside frames and the outside frames should be moved to the center of the top box. The bees will now be much more likely to fill the middle frames with honey. This should get you the honey you need for most of the winter stores and cut down on the fall feeding.