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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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scale update

The hive scale was at 315 lbs today. I added a super. It now weighs 330 lbs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

checked supers tonight

I checked supers in a few of my beeyards tonight. My first load bees had three supers mostly full. I added two supers each. The hay field in that beeyard was blooming and hopefully if it doesn't get cut I should easily get two more supers off of it.
My other bee yards were second load bees that got put in a week after they were delivered. Most are moving up into the supers and starting to put up some honey.
All of the population numbers were looking great.

Hours this week

Natures Nectar will be open Tues 4:00 to 8 pm. Closed Wed - Fri. Open Sat 1 -4.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hive Scale Update

I checked the hive scale tonight and it is up to an even 300 lbs.
There is still swarming going on. From over wintered colonies to packaged bee colonies. I am sure the heat and if the nectar shuts off for a while the bees can get that ramblin fever. My colonies are still bring in nectar at a good pace. I am hoping that this nectar flow has some legs to it and will hopefully last into August. The rain we have been getting has kept everything green. So the plant life is under no moisture shortage.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed is a noxious weed and should not be propagated. Having said that, this nectar producing weed is in full bloom around the metro area. This weed makes a butterscotch tasting honey. I do get many people asking for this type of honey.

Bees Hoarding Instinct

This is the time of the nectar flow I try to use the bees hoarding instinct to my advantage. This hoarding instinct is a survival trigger. They will do everything they can to save as much honey as possible. Putting extra supers on the hive gives the bees the incentive to fill them up. As the supers start filling up, the bees may slow down bringing in nectar as the available storage area decreases. Giving the bees more supers keeps the honey coming in if it is still available. If you go to your hive when you pull off the supers and they are all full, this usually means the bees would have filled more, given the opportunity.
Remember new supers with foundation are put under drawn out supers right on top of the queen excluder.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The flow update

I have been getting mixed news on the nectar flow. Some folks getting a huge crop and other not so much. The strange spring set us back but has given time for the package bees to develop nicely. There is still honey coming in to my hives in Stillwater. Hopefully the flow has picked up around the state.
My hive scale is up to 270 lbs as of tonight. The bees are hot and hanging outside the hive.

The Heat Blast

This week will be a blistering week for beekeepers. As beekeepers venturing out, looking at bees in a bee suit for a long time can be dangerous. Heat stroke kills more people a year than all other weather related deaths combined.
A beekeeper friend of mine has a business associate that was cutting trees down on that 102 degree day a month ago. The guy did not follow hot weather rules of drinking enough water and slow down a bit. The last I heard he came down with heat stroke and had been in the hospital for three weeks. There is a possibility that he may have brain damage.
So in this hot weather slow down, drink plenty of water and minimize trips to the bee yard. It is not worth serious injury that can impact your family.
How do the bees cope? In this hot weather the bees are collecting water and placing it in the hive and fanning on the entrance cooling down the hive. Beekeepers try to thing like bees and provide extra ventilation. Does this help a hive? While I have not seen research on this, there is a possibility this can cause a negative effect. The extra ventilation can possibly disrupt the air currents in a colony and the hive may not be able to cool or dehumidify nectar as it ripens effectively.
When it is hot, bees will congregate, sometimes in great numbers on the front of the hive. This is normal behavior. Honey production may fall off. Nectar producing plants sometimes stop producing nectar during high heat conditions. Bees themselves may become highly defensive if a hive is dug into. Swarming may increase also during this time.
For myself if I have to go out it is to check on supers. Quick checks under the cover and always use a smoker. Add supers if needed then back into the truck and the A/C.

Friday, July 15, 2011

hive scale update

The hive scale for Thurs evening July 14 was 258 lbs

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Typical day at the farmers market

This is a country music song that illustrates sales at a typical farmers market.
There is an ad at the start. Blake Shelton - Honey Bee (song and video)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hive scale update

I added two supers on Sunday. The hive now has two deeps and 5 supers.
It then had a combined weight of 225 lbs.
Since Sunday it has gone up 11 lbs to 236 lbs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The flow

This coming weeks weather is going to be perfect for honey collection. The bees will be out working and bringing in nectar. Beekeepers need to stay ahead of the bees. Put on supers two at a time. Check hives weekly to see if more supers are needed.
Drawing comb? Put new supers with foundation on top of the brood nest. Bees reluctant to move up into the supers with a queen excluder? Remove the excluder, when the bees start drawing out the super and putting up some nectar, put the excluder back on. Don't trap the queen up in the supers, look for eggs before the hive is closed up.
Just because a beekeeper has a package, supers must go on. Bees can move swiftly to fill up supers. Without supers the bees may fill up the colony with honey, leaving no place for the queen to lay. The hives population will suffer and decline. The hive will not be able to winter.
This is the time of year that the beekeepers have spent months working for. Hopefully the bees will accommodate with a bumper crop of honey.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover
I drove down to Chaska today. On the way back I was looking at all the White Sweet Clover blooming along the roadside in the ditch. It is interesting to note that I saw it in Edina two days ago. Driving up 494 I followed the bloom to Woodbury. All of a sudden it stopped. I did not see any more on the north side of 94 as of yet.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My honey flow update

Checked the scale tonight 199 lbs. It was 185 lbs on Wed evening it went up another 14 lbs in two days.
Driving around I have seen the explosion of flowers in my drive from Stillwater to Edina.
Birds Foot Trefoil, Vetch, Sumac. Also one of the major nectar producers in this part of the state is White Sweet Clover. It has just started blooming in Edina and I expect to see this all around the metro by next weekend.
What a difference a week makes. A week ago some beekeepers hives were starving and this week we need to put on more supers