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, August 31, 2013


Goldenrod is in full bloom around the metro. The Goldenrod in my wife's flower garden has large heavy heads. I swear every pollinator in Washington County is in my yard working the Goldenrod. The bees are loving it.
 A beekeeper stopped in my shop today, he extracted his honey last week. He put his wet extracted supers on top of the inner cover for the bees to rob out any nectar that was left. He went to check on them yesterday and found the bees were putting honey back in the supers. So he had to put the supers back on and he is hoping to get one to two supers of honey off the goldenrod.
Full Blooming Flower Heads of Goldenrod photo by W Kloek

Bee working the Goldenrod photo by W Kloek

MN State Fair Bee and Honey Results


Saturday, August 24, 2013

methods for pulling honey

Using a brush to remove the bees from a super.

Using a fume board with Honey Robber. You can use Honey Bandit or Fishers Bee Quick. All of these work the same. The trick is to pull honey when it is hot out. In my opinion the Honey Robber works the best and is the least expensive. The Honey Robber is offensive to some beekeepers, the Honey Bandit and Fishers Bee Quick are more pleasant (odor) to work with.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Extracting Demonstration

Uncapping Honey

Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko and Beekeeper Mike Wybierla explaining how to pull honey. 
Our annual extracting workshop was Sunday. Fifty beekeepers attended. It was a great time with everyone able to try a hand at uncapping frames of honey, extracting, filtering and bottling a jar to take home. The moisture content of the honey that we extracted was 16.4 percent. Very low moisture.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Goldenrod, the last hurrah

I have noticed Goldenrod starting to bloom around town. It should last around two weeks. Hard to say if it will be a nectar producer or just a pollen producer.
 Right now the nectar flow has slowed around the metro and hopefully there will still be one more super to fill.
 The top deep box should be pretty much full of honey right now. If the top deep only has a couple frames full of honey, supers should now be removed and feeding should start, the bees need to fill the top deep box with feed for the colony's winter stores. Feeding colonies now that are low on winter stores must start now to give the bees enough time to put enough food away. Feed 2:1 sugar syrup, 2 parts sugar to 1 part water heavy syrup or feed ProSweet.  Once the temperatures start cooling off as fall comes on, the bees slow their ability to take down large quantities of feed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Extracting Workshop

Warren Schave and Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko demonstrate over wintering

Uncapping a frame of honey to extract

We are having our annual extracting workshop on Sunday, August 18th. 1 - 4 pm
This is a hands on workshop.
We will show how to pull honey using various methods. 
 Everyone will be able to uncap honey, spin frames in an extractor, filter and bottle honey.
Also how to treat for mites and prepare a hive for winter.
This workshop is limited to 50 beekeepers, please no children.
Please call and reserve a spot.
No repeats please.

State Fair

Now is the time to get some honey for the state fair. The fair is a great way for beekeepers to show off their product to the general public.
 This year the Ag Hort building is being remodeled and will be a huge draw to the fair goers. Your entry in the fair helps promote the honey industry.
 Your family and friends have patiently listened to you talk about your bees all year. Now it is time to show your stuff at the fair.
Go to the Ag - Hort - Bee competition page. Check out the Ag Hort Bee premium book. Under the Bee and Honey section there are many classes to enter. If you have never done this before there is a novice entry class. I strongly encourage beekeepers to enter. It is fun, you may win a ribbon. Read and follow the directions for the class you are entering.
 An extracting frame of honey, first place prize is $75.00 cha-ching
All the ribbons pay an award and you will have award winning honey, the best in the state.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nectar Flow Update


The nectar flow has slowed down. There are still nectar flowers out there and the bees are still bringing nectar in. Some areas around the metro are better than others. Some locales the nectar flow is down to a trickle.
 I have heard of most beekeepers have had a very good flow so far and there is still more to come.
 Goldenrod is going to start blooming in the near future. The flow from Goldenrod is always a little iffy. The flow can be very good with one to two supers of honey coming in or hardly any honey in the supers. The Goldenrod flow hits when hives are in peak population and it is about the only show in town. The bees totally focus on this plant for honey and pollen.
You know if Goldenrod nectar is coming in because the bee hives smell like wet sweat socks. While this may concern beekeepers their honey will smell bad, this oder goes away as the honey ripens. Goldenrod honey has a nice mild flavor and is sought out by people with fall allergies.
  There is supposed to be a decent rain tonight. The rain should keep the flow going.