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, September 27, 2011

The weather clock is ticking, Feed now or it may be to late

It is time to stop waiting and feed the bees if they need feeding. The weather is starting to cool as we move into fall. As the temperatures fall so will the ability to add winter stores to a colony of bees.
Colder weather also cools down the syrup on a hive. Bees don't like cold syrup and are reluctant to take it down. The bees also need time to turn 2:1 sugar water to honey and dehumidify the sugar syrup.
A colony needs about 9 frames of honey in the top box and around 4 frames of honey in the box under that for proper winter stores.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The big freeze

The freeze Minnesota just experienced while a relief to hay fever sufferers, did not help the beekeepers.
This was the first time in maybe 15 years I was getting a Golderod flow. The Goldenrod plants seemed very numerous and the blooms seemed very thick. The bees were working it and bringing in nectar and pollen. Two of my beeyards smelled like old sweatsocks. That would be Goldenrod nectar. The honey is a little darker than clover but it has a nice flavor.
The freezing temperature may have killed many nectar and pollen producing plants that would have helped round out the colonies with a little more free food and pollen before sustained cold weather takes over.
As a beekeeper I have to make sure that my colonies have ample stores now, while the bees will still take down syrup. The later in the season it gets, as it starts to cool down the bees seem reluctant to take down cold syrup. Also, feeding spurs brood production. The later feed is on the hive the later brood is in the colony. Feeding into late October means there will be brood in the colony almost until Thanksgiving. Having brood late in the season forces a colony to deplete their winter stores and increases Varroa population.
Feeding now will give them the time to fill up for the winter and if everything goes right, an overwintered colony to divide in the spring.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I pulled my honey today

The weather was hot so I knew it was time to pull my honey. I like to use the heat to my advantage. I use Honey Robber and fume boards to clear the bees out of the supers. Today the Honey Robber was working great. Put the fume board on and in about 7 minutes the top super and most of the time the one below it was free of bees. I pulled off about 45 supers. Some hives had all the supers full. I should have been a little more on top of it and added a super three weeks ago but I didn't have the time.
The flow around the Stillwater area was seems to be the best in the metro area after hearing stories from other beekeepers around the seven county metro area.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pulling honey and the weather

The next three days will be the best for pulling honey using fume boards and Honey Robber. Honey Robber works great when it is upper 80's. The bees leave the supers very quickly. I am pulling all of my honey tomorrow.
Later this week the highs are going to be around 60 degrees so I will try to feed as soon as the supers come off and the bees should take it down fast. Maybe I can get my fumigillan treated syrup done before the cold weather hits.
The cold weather will make some mite treatments not work very well. If is stays cool using Hopguard may be the better choice for mites because it is a contact strip and temperatures don't matter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New fall hours

I have finished working my long days Woo-Hoo. That was a grind mid May to Sept 1. That is how I spent my summer I hope everyone had a great summer.
Now that I will be around more, my hours will be expanded a little bit more.
Sept - Oct hours
Monday-Wed-Fri - 4:30 - 7 pm, Sat 9 - 4 pm