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 23, 2013

Treating for Varroa with Formic Acid and Hopguard

Treating for Varroa in the month of August is critical for the hive surviving through the winter. Varroa builds up with time. The bees that are being parisitized by the mites are weakened and can become victims of viruses over the winter months, causing the hive to die before spring. Treating in August gives the bees time to go through a couple of brood cycles before winter. The new bees have not been victims of the Varroa parasite and are much healthier going into winter. Treating in Sept makes it harder for the bees to turn out enough healthy bees before winter. Using Formic Acid or Hopguard works great for keeping the supers on and treating for the Varroa mite at the same time. This will let us have the supers on later to take advantage of the Goldenrod flow which will be late, like every nectar flow so far this year.
 This coming weekend is supposed to be cool. This is a perfect time to treat colonies with miteaway quick strips with the ingredient called formic acid.
This is a fumigant that kills Varroa. The cool weather lessens the initial intensity of the vapors. if the weather is too warm it can kill some brood. Miteaway quick strips is a seven day treatment and can be used when the supers are on. The dose involved is the same amount as a food additive and is perfectly safe with the honey supers on. The strips need to be removed if the temperature are going to be over 85 degrees F. the first three days of treatment. The labels says a respirator needs to be worn when using Miteaway qwik strips. Always read and follow the label before using any miticide.
Double click on the video for full size.  Website http://www.miteaway.com/


Photos by Paloma, Mites are in everyone's hive you can see the little red pests on the drone larvae

Hopguard is a miticide that comes from the Hops plant. Hops are used for making beer.
Hopguard can be applied when the honey supers are on. Hopguard is applied with cardboard strips. The strips come in a foil pouch that has the liquid miticide in the pouch. Each pouch has 50 strips. The directions on the label is a little confusing and has led to improper applications.
 The proper dosage is two strips per brood box. One brood box two strips, two brood boxes four strips, three brood boxes six strips. Treatment is over a three week period of time. The strips are put in for one week. Then another set for one week, then one more set of strips for the third week. This kills Varroa through a full 21 day brood cycle.
Read and follow the directions on the label.
A beekeeper that used hopguard and was befuddled by the label. A good explanation and his positive results. http://www.honeybeesuite.com/tag/hopguard/
Hopguard video

Nectar Flow update

Right now I see Spotted Knapweed in full bloom around the metro. Also Purple Loosestrife is blooming in swamp areas. Both of these are noxious weeds and should not be propagated. But having said that, they are both great honey plants. Purple Loosestrife honey is a greenish color and looks like new motor oil. Both plants make nice tasting honey.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Great blog

This blog has good perspective from a new beekeeper. He has had some glitches along the way but was able to get through them just fine. Dealing with a swarm your first year is always challenging but he made all the right decisions.
The pictures are great and add a lot to his beekeeping venture.

Big Honey Crop

This nectar flow is proving to be a big honey crop. I have been talking to beekeepers coming through purchasing more supers. They all have been saying their hives are full of bees and the honey is still coming in strong.
 I do think this nectar flow has some staying power. We are coming up on the second cutting of hay. Alfalfa produces more nectar this time of year than at any other time. The ground still has good moisture and our honey plants are still looking great.
 Here are some pics of some beekeepers hives. Most of the hives started as packages this spring.
photo by T. Hinzie

photo by T. Hinzie

photo by R. Connoy

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Than Honey - The Movie

 More Than Honey moves from the Lagoon Theatre to the Edina Cinema and runs from July 19th through July 25th.
After that it is gone.

What's Blooming and the nectar flow

Milkweed, Spotted Knapweed, Vetch, many other flowering plants. The nectar flow is still going strong and seems that it will keep going a while yet. If the honey supers are filling up, put on two more supers and the bees may fill them up.
 Several new beekeepers have stopped in and purchased more supers. They were surprised to get honey their first year. Most beekeepers should be getting four supers of honey or more this season.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Than Honey - The Movie 2013

This movie is playing at the Lagoon Theatre in Mpls. It has a very limited engagement. See it before it is gone.

Nectar Flow

We have been talking to beekeepers coming through our shop. The nectar flow seems to be flowing very well with many beekeepers stopping in and getting more supers to keep up with the flow. A beekeeper from Hudson, WI stopped by to get more supers. He says he will need a ladder if he has to put on anymore supers.
  Many nectar bearing flowers haven't even bloomed yet so the nectar flow will last for a while.
Some new beekeepers think that they won't get any honey their first year. This year everyone that has a good population of bees and their bees have not swarmed will get honey. Beekeepers will find that two supers will not be enough and will need more supers to hold their honey crop.
 When looking at supers on a hive, if the bees are in the second box and drawing comb and nectar is starting to get put in the cells, two more supers need to be put on.  New supers with foundation need to put on directly above the brood nest.
 Bees have a hoarding instinct. If there is room to store honey they will work to fill that room. Supering ahead of the bees will give us all a super honey crop.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

White Sweet Clover

I did spot white sweet clover blooming yesterday. White sweet clover is the major honey plant in this part of the state.
white sweet clover

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What's happening in the bee world

Right now every beekeeper should have all their brood boxes drawn out and have honey supers on. We are done feeding syrup.
 Supers have to go on. The bees will plug up your hive with honey and they will not live through the winter if you don't put on the honey supers.
 If the supers are new foundation you might want to hold off on putting the queen excluder on. Once the bees have a little drawn comb and nectar going in the supers the queen excluder can be slipped in then.
 Supers go on two at a time. When drawing foundation in supers they should always go on right on top of the brood boxes. If using drawn out supers, they can be stacked on as needed.
 Stay ahead of the bees, supers can get filled up very quickly. Check them weekly. If one is done and they are working on the second box, throw on two more.
What I see blooming in the ditches, yellow sweet clover, birds foot trefoil, red clover, sumac, Basswoods are just starting.
Everyone should be experiencing a nectar flow at this time.

Friday, July 5, 2013