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.

Search This Blog

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The weather

This looks like the last week of 70 degree weather. Beekeepers should check their hives winter stores. This warm weather may have made the bees consume more food than normal.  Topping off the hives food supply may have to be looked at.
 The extended forecast has the temperatures staying in the 60's for a couple weeks, then cooler as the days move closer to November. As the weather cools beekeepers that still have work to do will be finding it a little harder to get syrup into the hive.  Feeding needs to be completed as soon as possible. The bees do not like cold syrup and they will be reluctant to take the syrup down. It looks like there is about two good weeks of feeding ahead, after mid October the bees may be reluctant to take syrup very well.
 The top deep box should be full of honey right now. Feeding is needed if the colony is light on food stores. If the outside frames are empty. Moving the empty frames to the center of the box and full frames to the outside of the top box. The bees seem to fill the frames better if they are in the center of the box.
  Mite treatments are more limited in the colder weather. Apivar and Hopguard can be used as they are contact strips and don't depend on warm weather for them to be effective.
 Oxalic Acid has been approved for use in MN. Oxalic acid can by used around mid October, when a hive becomes broodless.  Oxalic acid only kills mites that are directly on the bees. Mites that are in brood cells are not killed by the Oxalic acid treatment. When hives are fed late, the queen will continue to lay. The nectar flow produced by feeding will stimulate the queen to lay eggs. Plan on having brood in the hive about thirty days after feeding.
 With the cooler weather moving in, entrance reducers should be put on colonies to keep mice from moving into the colonies.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What is happening now in the hive

The warm weather is helping beekeepers get their mite treatments and feeding done. Hives that were light on bees, have had an opportunity to build up to larger numbers. Beekeepers using ApiGuard and Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) have been getting the heat they need for the mite treatments to work properly.
 After a mite treatment, a test to see if the treatment worked is needed.
How to test for Varroa Destructor Mite Levels.
 Nature's Nectar LLC does carry the Univ of MN Bee Squad mite test kits. The kits contain everything needed to do a mite test.
 I had a beekeeper tell me they treated for mites with a mite treatment. Before they treated, they had five mites in the sample. After the treatment they had twenty mites per sample. This particular treatment did not work. Sometimes mite treatments don't work because of weather, hive population or being applied improperly. The beekeeper is now trying another type of treatment.
 All Varroa Destructor Mite treatments need to be applied according to the manufacturers label.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

last warm week?

This may be the last week in the 70's. Last week for mite treatment using Mite Away Quick Strips. The 70's help the treatment work properly.
Feeding heavy now. The bees will take the feed readily in the 70's. As it cools the bees don't take the feed as well. If a beekeeper has to get alot of feed in the hive in a hurry, a hive top feeder works great. They hold four gallons of syrup and the syrup is available to many more bees than a feeder pail or frame feeder.
The bees come up from below through the open channels and move down to what ever the level of the syrup is.

Hive Top Feeder The feeder goes on top of the top box

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


 I have had a few beekeepers tell me they went and checked their bees. They looked great two weeks ago and now there were no bees in the hive and all of the honey was robbed out. There were no dead bees in the hive.
 All of these absconding colonies most likely had high levels of Varroa. When Varroa levels get high, the bees will drift away. Leaving no bees and unprotected honey.
 If there were piles of dead bees one could say they were overcome by robbers and the colony was killed in the robbing melee.
 Failure to treat for mites leads to absconding or a weakened colony that will not survive the winter.

We Rent Extractors

Nature's Nectar LLC does rent three frame extractors for $30.00 a day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Late Summer forage

This is blooming all over in my tree lines. The plant is covered with pollinators.
I believe it is from the Joe Pye weed plant family.
Note the white pollen on the bees legs.
I have been informed by a beekeeper that this is White Snakeroot.
Thanks for the plant ID.
Photo by W. Kloek

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bee Work, our schedule is growing shorter

The window for feeding and mite treatments is getting less every week.
 Extended forecasts for daily temperatures is heading into a cooler trend. As it cools off ApiGuard and MAQS ( Miteaway quick strips) will not be as effective. ApiGuard and MAQS need warmer temperatures to work effectively.
The next week to 10 days will work for MAQS.  Starting ApiGuard now would be a bad choice in the twin cities and points north. ApiGuard is a month long treatment and there will not be time temperature wise to get a full treatment regimen in.
 Moving forward, from the third week of September. The options for mite treatments will be ApiVar and Hopguard. Both of these mite treatment are contact strips and will work in the cooler fall daily temperatures.
 Feeding if needed should be done now. Beekeepers need to get any feeding done as fast as possible. Feeding promotes brood production because it is a nectar flow. Brood will be raised during a nectar flow. A hive can have brood present 30 days after feeding ceases. It is best to get feeding done by late September if possible. Right now the bees will take the syrup down very quickly. As the temperatures cool the bees become reluctant to take it down. The bees do not like cold syrup.
 Feeding ProSweet instead of sugar water is easier for the bees. ProSweet syrup is just like honey. It has fructose and sucrose. The bees store it in the cells and they are done with refining it. With sugar water the bees have to dehumidify it and turn it into honey. More work and it takes time. Nature's Nectar LLC does carry five gallon pails of ProSweet.
 The winter set up for food is this:
  • The top box should have eight full frames of honey and one partially full frame. The partially full frame should be in the center.
  • The second or bottom box (if in a two deep hive ) should have four full frames of honey, two frames on the outside of both sides of the box. The bottom box of a three brood box hive should have two full frames of honey on the outside ends of the box.
  • Do not put partially filled boxes on top of a hive. The bees may move up into this box in late winter and starve even though honey is in the box below. If you have partially filled boxes, place them now on top of the inner cover. The bees will move up and bring the honey down to the brood nest.
 Feeding ProSweet. The pails now come with an e-z pour spout. The five gallon lid does not have to be removed.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Court rules for the honeybee

A federal appeals court has overturned the EPA decision to allow the use of Sulfoxaflor.
Court Revokes EPA approval of Insecticide

Saturday, September 5, 2015

MN State Fair Competition Results

Congratulations to all of the participants at the fair. The beekeepers worked hard to turn in their honey entry.
MN State Fair Bee and Honey Competition Results
The Nature's Nectar Award for Honey Frames - Blue Ribbon winners:
Gerald Anderson - Deep Frame
Sandy Tschannen - Medium Frame

Sweepstakes Grand Champion - Sandy Tschannon

 Some fair pics
White Honey

White and Light Amber Honey

Elizabeth W. a volunteer Bee Interpreter answering questions

Chunk Honey, Creamed Honey and Comb Honey

Comb Honey

12 0z Containers and Frames of Honey

Honey Frames

Honey Frames - The honey looks dark because of the black foundation


The bees have been bringing in nectar off of the Stiff Goldenrod. They have been working it and I noticed robbing behavoir of my bees is not there at the moment.
Other beekeepers have told me their hives smell like wet sweat socks so there is a flow happening. It may be the heat and humidity that kicked in the nectar flow. The weather will change next week and the Goldenrod nectar flow may stop with the cooler weather.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bees on Goldenrod

Now my bees are on the goldenrod. Maybe the heat and humidity has made the plant more interesting. Photos by W Kloek