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, January 30, 2010

How do the bees handle the cold?

Bees are amazing creatures. The way that most bee discoveries are made is by observation. Jerry Linser went and was looking at his hives in some extreme cold of a week ago and he observed the following:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beekeeping Class still has openings, starting very soon

Century College

Backyard Beekeeping

This class will prepare you for beginning your beekeeping hobby in early spring. All basics of beekeeping will be covered including:

-Hives and equipment

-Honey bee society and biology

-Hive products and marketing

-Diseases, parasites, pests

-Seasonal management

-Field trip to an apiary

Beekeeping is a fascinating and rewarding hobby. If you have ever been interested in keeping bees, this is your opportunity to learn from a Certified Master Beekeeper.

Robert Sitko, Instructor and Beekeeper

Thursdays, Feb4– Mar 26, 2010. 7 Classes plus one field apiary trip

No class 3/18 & there will be a field trip on a Saturday, TBD

6:30-8:30 PM, East Campus, Room 2561

Course No 20105-2048


Call Century College 651-779-3341 to register.

Bob Sitko
13042 10th St N
Stillwater, MN 55082


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Package Bee Order Forms

I have mailed out package bee order forms. If you don't get an order form by Wed. call or e-mail me. I may not have your address.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Beekeeping Workshop

There is a beekeeping workshop in Menomine, WI. It is put on by the Dunn County Beekeepers and the Univ of WI - Extension.
Here is the link for more information.


Friday, January 15, 2010

What's Happening in the Hive right now.

The warm weather has been a good deal. The bees should be able to shift their cluster around, hopefully to be on new frames of honey. If you went out to peek under the inner cover you should notice the bees have moved up into the top box. If there was a lot of honey below they might not have moved up yet.
This time of year a hive uses around 12 - 14 pounds of honey a month. Which is about a deep frame and maybe a half of one. The hive continues on this pace of honey consumption until mid Feb. when brood raising starts and honey consumption goes up considerably.
The bees will be going on cleansing flight tomorrow Sat. The high of 34 degrees and the sun will be just right for this. The bees will fly out of the top entrance, fly out, poop and fly back into the colony. It is normal to see dead bees around on the ground dead in front of the hive.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My new web site

I have a website.
It lists basic information. Contact information, package bee and queen pricing.
I will be sending out package bee order forms next week.

My Chilly Visitor

This Robin has been coming to my heated birdbath lately. I put out my trail camera and took his picture. The date and time is wrong and the temperature today was around 7 degrees F.
I also have had two Eastern Bluebirds and Mourning Doves within the last week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Big Win for Bees: Judge Pulls Pesticide

Natural Resources Defense Council
Press Release, December 29, 2009

Big Win for Bees: Judge Pulls Pesticide
Bee toxic Movento pulled from market for proper evaluation

NEW YORK – A pesticide that could be dangerously toxic to America’s honey bees must be pulled from store shelves as a result of a suit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Xerces Society. In an order issued last week, a federal court in New York invalidated EPA’s approval of the pesticide spirotetramat (manufactured by Bayer CropScience under the trade names Movento and Ultor) and ordered the agency to reevaluate the chemical in compliance with the law. The court’s order goes into effect on January 15, 2010, and makes future sales of Movento illegal in the United States .

“This sends EPA and Bayer back to the drawing board to reconsider the potential harm to bees caused by this new pesticide,” said NRDC Senior Attorney Aaron Colangelo. “EPA admitted to approving the pesticide illegally, but argued that its violations of the law should have no consequences. The Court disagreed and ordered the pesticide to be taken off the market until it has been properly evaluated. Bayer should not be permitted to run what amounts to an uncontrolled experiment on bees across the country without full consideration of the consequences.”

In June 2008, EPA approved Movento for nationwide use on hundreds of different crops, including apples, pears, peaches, oranges, tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, almonds, and spinach. The approval process went forward without the advance notice and opportunity for public comment that is required by federal law and EPA’s own regulations. In addition, EPA failed to evaluate fully the potential damage to the nation’s already beleaguered bee populations or conduct the required analysis of the pesticide’s economic, environmental, and social costs.

Beekeepers and scientists have expressed concern over Movento’s potential impact on beneficial insects such as honey bees. The pesticide impairs the insect’s ability to reproduce. EPA’s review of Bayer’s scientific studies found that trace residues of Movento brought back to the hive by adult bees could cause “significant mortality” and “massive perturbation” to young honeybees (larvae).

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops grown in America . USDA also claims that one out of every three mouthfuls of food in the typical American diet has a connection to bee pollination. Yet bee colonies in the United States have seen significant declines in recent years due to a combination of stressors, almost certainly including insecticide exposure.

“This case underscores the need for us to re-examine how we evaluate the impact of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment,” said Colangelo. “In approving Movento, EPA identified but ignored potentially serious harms to bees and other pollinators. We are in the midst of a pollinator crisis, with more than a third of our colonies disappearing in recent years. Given how important these creatures are to our food supply, we simply cannot look past these sorts of problems.”

The court decision is available at http://docs.nrdc.org/wildlife/wil_09122901.asp
More information on threats to honey bees at www.BeeSafe.org
Contact: Josh Mogerman at 312-651-7909
Jim Riddle
Organic Outreach Coordinator
University of Minnesota
www.organicecology.umn.edu <http://www.organicecology.umn.edu>

Sunday, January 3, 2010

MN Hobby Beekeepers Annual Banquet

Please think about attending this Banquet. The banquet is a fund raiser that helps the Univ of MN beekeeping program. It is fun and have some great fellowship with your fellow beekeepers.
Annual MHBA Banquet January 23 2010 - Annual MHBA Banquet and Scholarship Auction, Clubhouse at Edinburgh USA Golf Course in Brooklyn Park
All beekeepers are welcome, you don't have to be a club member.
for the order form, event description and a detailed map, click the link on the banquet description
Please return your reservation and check made out to MHBA by January 12, 2010 to
Joerg Kessler, 4844 178 Lane NW Ramsey MN 55303 or call weekdays 651.602.1861 or evenings 763.753.3612

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A good basic article about bee breeds

Italian queen with workers

I get the question all the time of what race of bees is the best. While I have my personal favorite, I have found trying the different varieties gives a beekeeper a better understanding of his or her craft.
Every breed has different qualities that a beekeeper likes or dislikes. Some bee breeds are more hostile than others and I stay away from those. Other than that experimenting is fun and educational. But it is to easy to say a race is good or bad by trying it only once. It takes 4 or 5 years of a race to get a true feel of how they perform.

Package Bee Information

Right now I am waiting for my 2010 pricing from my bee supplier. I expect to have it in 2 to 3 weeks. Usually it comes after the ABF convention.
Here is a link to the convention. The itinerary is quite interesting.
The location is Orlando, Fla. I wish I could go.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, My New Years Resolution

Today is Jan 1 2010. New Year resolutions are being laid out all over the world. A new year for beekeeping is here. It is time to get into the beekeeping mode. I am planning to do a major housekeeping chore of getting rid of much of my old comb and old boxes. The comb on many of my colonies are now over 10 years old. They have seen many different hive treatments that with time can build up in the brood comb.
This type of cleaning can help with better queen viability, less chalkbrood and nosema and a general better well being of the colony.
I know I will take a decrease in honey production with all the new comb that the bees will have draw out but, in the big picture it will set me up for more successes in the future.
So the New Year resolution will be, new comb for better bees. My bees will be healthier and much better off.