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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Sunday, August 20, 2017

I treated for mites, what's next?

When the mites have been treated, making sure I have enough food stores for winter is next on the agenda.
 Actually, when putting on mite treatments is the time to check the food stores.   Most of the mite treatments involve taking off the top deep honey box.
 A feeding plan should be developed, and a plan made of when and how to feed at the same time when looking at food stores.
 The top box needs to be pretty much full of honey for winter stores. As I take the top box off, there are two things I look and feel for. I feel for the weight of the box. This quickly tells me how heavy the box is. I then tip the box back and look at the bottom of the frames. A little smoke on the frames gets the bees off the bottom of the frames. I want to see capped honey to the bottom of the cells of the frames.
 When bees fill honey frames, they start at the top of the frame and work their way down the frame. Just looking at the top of the box does not give an accurate description of the honey stores. Looking at the bottom of the frames, gives a true assessment of the amount of honey in the box.
 Typically, the bees will fill the center core frames in the top box. The frames more towards the outside of the box may not be filled as much.
 When I check for food in the box and determine the center frames are full and the outside frames are light on honey. I pull the center frames and move them to the outside and move the less full outside frames to the center. Then, when I feed, the bees are more likely to fill the center frames quickly. Bees never do a good job filling the outside frames.
 Most mite treatments say you cannot feed during the treatment process, other than ApiVar. Feeding needs to be started and finished as fast as possible.
 Feeding should not be dragged out for several weeks. As the colony is fed, the bees look at it as a nectar flow. During a nectar flow the queen is stimulated to lay eggs and produce brood. Beekeepers want the queen to stop making brood by early to mid October. Then a treatment of Oxalic Acid can effectively clean up any mites that are left on the bees. This leaves a hive as healthy as possible and ready for the rigors of winter.
 Now here is the issue: If feeding continues late into the season, there will be brood in the colony for about a month after the feeding stops. As the colony makes brood, there is the opportunity for more mite reproduction. The bees also have to feed the brood and keep it warm.
 Feeding late, say into October, a hive could have brood into November, sometimes as late as December. Caring for the brood will make the hive consume food, this can put a strain on a colony that needed more food to begin with.
 As fall progresses towards winter, the cooler weather makes it more difficult to feed. The bees do not like cold syrup and may not take it anymore.
 So get mite treatments done NOW.
 There is work to finish to get the bees everything they need for winter. Beekeepers that get this done will be in much better shape for winter survival.

Mite Treatments

There are many things to do in a short time. Pulling honey, extracting honey, mite treatments, feeding, not necessary in that order.
 It is now mid August and fall will be coming on fast. Beekeepers need to get many chores done very soon. There will be several posts about what we need to get done.

 Mite treatment: Mite treatments should be put on now. Waiting to treat for mites can jeopardize survival of your bees. Mites with time, damage your bees. If the bees are damaged too much by mites, even if you treat the bees, they will not survive the winter. Some Mite treatments can be put on with supers on. such as Formic Pro and Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS). Both of theses mite treatments cannot be put on if it is above 85 degrees for the first three days of use.
Other mite treatments
Apivar: Apivar FAQ
ApiVar cannot be used with supers on.
ApiGuard: ApiGuard FAQ
ApiGuard cannot be used with supers on.

Pollen coming in

It looks like Goldenrod pollen is the food of the day.
Large amounts of yellow pollen entering this observation hive. Photo by D. Munkvold

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pulling Honey

With the upcoming end of the nectar flow. Beekeepers will need to pull their honey off their hives. Here is a couple videos of how to pull honey.

Using a brush to remove the bees:

Using Honey Robber with a fume board:

Monday, August 14, 2017

The nectar flow, fading into late summer

The nectar flow, as it is right now, is about 90% done. This time of year the flow gets very spotty. One beekeeper is getting nectar others not. For many beekeepers the flow is over. There are some Alfalfa fields still flowering. If they don't get cut, there will be some honey there.
 The main flower at the moment is Goldenrod. Goldenrod is blooming everywhere. Fields are becoming thick with yellow flowers. It certainly looks impressive and beekeepers are licking their chops at this huge flower show.
 But lets get real. Goldenrod is the most devious flower. While beekeepers think we are going to get this huge crop of Goldenrod honey, time and again we are left with unfilled supers and unfilled hopes of a late crop.
 Goldenrod is a fickle flow, once in a while there is nectar in the supers, but I usually don't plan on it. About ten years ago I got two supers of Goldenrod honey but not much since then. Other beekeepers have fared better. But being the yellow flower is there, I am always the eternal optimist for some stinky nectar.
 Stinky nectar? What's up with that statement?
 Goldenrod nectar when it is high moisture content smells like wet sweat socks. As the nectar ripens the odor goes away. Goldenrod honey does have a distinct flavor.
 Goldenrod nectar may be coming your way, so I hope your hive's stink up the beeyard.

Extractor Sale extended one week

We have extended our extractor sale until August 19th.
9 - 18 motorized extractor ..... $1175.00 in stock
3 frame deluxe hand crank .... $399.95 in stock
Grey uncapping tank ............. $115.00 in stock

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Help at the MN State Fair

There are some volunteer opportunities at the fair. Volunteering at the fair is fun. Answering questions from the general public is a big help in promoting beekeeping. The booth at the state fair is a major draw at the fair and really helps get the message out to the general public about beekeeping, pollinators, and honey. Beekeepers score big in public opinion by what they see at the fair.
 Volunteering is a great way to help. Any first year beekeeper knows more than the general public. Don't sell yourself short. If you don't know an answer to a general questions, there will be someone there that can answer it. But most of the questions are easy for a first year beekeeper.
Sign up now, you get a free ticket to get into the fair. There is a honey demonstration sign up, a exhibit hall volunteer, and pre-fair setup volunteer.

Harvesting Honey Demo http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f48a5a628a1fe3-harvesting
Exhibit Hall Volunteer http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f48a5a628a1fe3-beehoney
Pre-Fair Preperation http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f48a5a628a1fe3-beehoney1

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Treat now for mites

Right now is a perfect time to treat for mites. Just because you don't see mites doesn't mean that they are not there. If you start seeing mites on bees the mite population is very high in the hive. Be proactive, the hive you save may be your own.
 The weather is perfect right now for Formic Pro or Mite Away Quick Strips. Both of these treatments are considered organic and can be applied with supers on the hive.
 Treating now will lower the mite population before the bees start making winter bees, which usually starts around mid to late August.
 Winter bees are the bees that live through the winter. Winter bees have a different physiology than summer bees. Winter bees have the ability to store more lipids (fat) in their bodies.
 Having winter bees as mite free as possible is the key to overwintering success.
Waiting to treat your bees into September can cause your winter bees to be weakened and get viruses by a higher mite population. The odds of survival are much lower.
Dave Dahl from KSTP is forecasting hot weather coming back in about a week. If it is too hot, you may not be able to use Formic Pro or MAQS, other mite treatments will have to be used.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Formic Pro - The Video

We have a new mite treatment in stock and ready for sale now. This mite treatment is called Formic Pro. It will be the replacement for Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS). It is manufactured by the folks who gave us MAQS. Basically it is the same product. Looks the same and the application process is the same. The difference is, the treatment is a two week treatment instead of a one week treatment. It should be more effective for Varroa mite control. Supers can be on during the application of Formic Pro. There is an extended shelf life of Formic Pro of two years compared to 6 months for MAQS.
This is a video of what the mite treatment looks like and how it is applied to the hive.
 double click on the video for full screen

Sunday, August 6, 2017

All Extractors on sale

We have all of our extractors on sale this coming week.
Our lowest prices of the year. One week only.
The three frame hand crank deluxe extractor normally $439.95 now $399.95
Have a big honey crop?
We are offering the 9/18 motorized reg $1395.00 now the 9/18 motorized extractor on sale for $1175.00.
This is a radial extractor and does 9 deep frames or 18 medium or shallow frames at once.
Hand Crank 9/18 is normally $799.00 now $675.00
Need an uncapping tank, our grey uncapping tank is now $115.00 normally $135.00
Prices good until August 11th, 2017.
We are taking pre orders now, delivery to Nature's Nectar LLC in Stillwater MN within 7 days, depending on availability. We will be able to make sure they will be available when you order. 
You can stop by and look at these extractors.
The advantage of ordering from Nature's Nectar LLC is all warranty work is done here. When you order online and there is warranty work to be done, can you imagine what it would take to ship it back for service and the cost?
Buy local. save money and save on a possible big hassle.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tools needed to pull honey off the hive

This is a basic video that shows several tools to pull the honey off of the hive.
All of the tools work, some better than others.
double click the video for full screen

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Minnesota State Fair

Honey at the MN State Fair. The black Buckwheat honey is Amber honey. The Reddish Honey is Light Amber, all the other honey in this picture is White Honey.
This is the time of year when beekeepers compete for the best honey in the state of MN. Registration needs to be completed by 4:30 pm on August 14th. http://competition.mnstatefair.org/
Bee and Honey entries has to be bought to the fair on Saturday the 19th or Sunday the 20th of August.
 Food exhibits only on Tuesday, August 22nd 9 am to noon.
  You do get all your entries back at the end of the fair.
 Entries are in three classes, novice class, open class and Junior Division aged 10 - 15 years old ( the Junior Division does have some age requirements on some entries).  
 The novice class is for beginners and is a great place to start if you have never entered before.

All classes need to be looked at in the premium book. Read it thoroughly because the rules need to be followed exactly.
 You can enter any or all of the possible entries.
 Each entry has a description of what the entry contains.
There are many entry possibilities:
Liquid Honey in glass jars
Liquid Honey in squeeze containers
Granulated Honey
Chunk Honey
Comb Honey
Extracting Frame
Gift Basket
Beeswax Block
Food Entries
Creative Bee Art
Link to the Bee and Honey Premium Book

Friday, July 28, 2017

Great Weather and Nectar Ripening

The nice sunny weather will really give the bees a great opportunity to dehumidify any uncapped honey.
 It wouldn't surprise me, if you go out today and look at your colonies, that you would see bees at every opening fanning their wings.
 The bees are bringing in the warm dry air. The air currents of air that they move around in their hive, will bring down the moisture content of the nectar as it ripens into honey.
 Sometimes in humid weather, even though the honey is capped, it could still have a high moisture content. This dry weather can help improve that scenario.
 The beeswax capping are hygroscopic. That means it can absorb or give off water vapor right through the cappings.
 This sunny weather will keep the bees out working the nectar plants. I do think the nectar coming in has slowed a bit. But there still is nectar coming in.
 The nectar flow is probably about 65% - 70% over if I was to put a number on the nectar flow. The bees are still trying to store honey. If your supers are full, there is still time to add one more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Using a Refractometer

A Refractometer is used to measure the water content of honey.
 To be U.S. Grade A, honey has to have a water content of 18.6% or less. Honey that is over 18.6% water content, will ferment over time.
 There are many types of refractometers that have different scales and are used for a specific fluid in many different industries.
Beekeepers use a refractometer that is set up for honey. A honey refractometer is set up with a moisture content of 13% - 30% on the measurement scale.
 Honey refractometers are electronic or a visual lens.
The electronic refractometers use a sample of honey and will give you a moisture read out.
 I myself prefer the low tech lens style. A sample of honey is put on the lens. Then the sample is held up to a bright light for the reading. How the light passes through the honey sample gives the reading on the scale in the instrument. I like the low tech system because it is visual and you can see the results.
 A refractometer has to be calibrated to make sure it is accurate. Calibration fluid is used to calibrate the instrument. I always calibrate my refractometer before every season to make sure it is accurate.
 Beekeepers can bring me a sample of their honey and I will test it for free.
double click on the video for full screen

This is what the scale looks like in a Atago refractometer. Where the purple line and the white color meet is your number. Then a temperature adjustment is figured off the attached thermometer. This sample is reading about 19.3%.  Different manufacturers may have different looking scales

Atago Refractometer

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Some Pollinator Plants

 Many summer Perennials are still coming out and will be for the next few weeks.
These are a few of them that are in our Pollinator Garden.
Also, Purple Loosestrife is blooming in swampy areas.

Blazing Star

Milkweed in the background is still coming out

Butterfly Weed

Purple Cone Flower

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Extracting, The Basics

This is a video about extracting for a new beekeeper. Equipment used are a three frame extractor, uncapping tank, capping scratcher, filtering system, and a bottling pail.
 Your first year of extracting your honey crop, I usually recommend a capping scratcher to uncap the frames. With ten frames in the super the capped honey is very flat and flush with the wooden frames. It is hard to use a hot knife to uncap the wax cappings. With a capping scratcher it is easy to uncap. There is more wax in the honey and filtering is a little more putzy. Next year supers that have drawn comb, can be run with nine frames. The capped honey will be fatter on the frame, making it easy to use a hot knife.
Nature's Nectar LLC does rent several three frame honey extractors for $30.00 a day. We do take reservations for the extractors for when you would like extract.
If you have any questions about how to extract or what to use, stop by and we can help you make the right decisions to make extracting easy.
Double click on the video for full screen

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Planning for Varroa

I was up at the MN Honey producer summer meeting. One of the speakers was Meghan Milbrath. She is an epidemiologist. 
Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy. They get involved with mass outbreaks of disease and epidemics. 
 Meghan describes the current Varroa issue as an epidemic. Here is a link to her site for Planning for Varroa.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nectar Flow update

Spotted Knapweed Flower

Spotted Knapweed Flowering
The current nectar flow so far has been outstanding. Many beekeepers have reported that they have 4 - 6 supers on their hives with most of the supers full of honey.
 I had a beekeeper in yesterday. He runs about 25 colonies. He purchased more supers. His hives have a total 100 supers, most of them are full of honey but not capped yet. He has pulled off some supers and extracted them to give him more room. His story is the same for many beekeepers that I have talked to.
 This will be a record honey year for many beekeepers. Many beekeepers may get up to eight supers per hive. One tip: if a hive gets too high from too many supers, you can move full supers onto any under performing hives. The weaker hives will take care of the honey. When moving the supers you can move them with the bees in them. Just pull them off and move them.
I think the next seven to ten days may be the peak in the current nectar flow. The warm days and warm nights with dry days make the nectar flow in large amounts. Being the nectar flow started a little late, I think it may last into mid August.
  If I was to put a number on it, I would say the nectar flow is about 45 - 50% done. This is about the midpoint of the nectar flow. So more nectar is still coming. The intensity may lessen as Basswood and White Sweet Clover start to wane after the next week to ten days, but the nectar flow is not done by any means.
 More nectar plants are still coming. Joe Pye weed and Purple Loosestrife to name a couple, but there will be also other flowers that bloom in late July into August. I had a beekeeper observing his bees working on spotted Knapweed. He says they looked like they were preferring the Knapweed. Knapweed honey has a buttery flavor.
 From a moisture stand point we need some rain. Quarter to half inch spurts spread out over the next month would be perfect. Not enough rain can turn plants. A little brown in the lawns is fine, but brown and crispy it too dry. Also large amounts of rain can also impact the nectar flow. Too much rain can possibly impact the nectar flow in a negative way.
If you are not getting any nectar in your supers, your hive may have swarmed or the colony has not enough foragers to bring in the nectar.
 Stay ahead of the bees, check your supers every five days. I hope everyone is riding this nectar train.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Friday, July 14th

We will be open normal hours on Friday, July 14th. noon - 6 pm
Jim will be at the MN Honey Producers convention in Walker, MN
Wendy will be running the store on Friday.
Jim will be back for Saturday hours, 9 - 3 pm

Monday, July 10, 2017

What's Blooming

Some common nectar plants I have seen blooming:
Yellow Sweet Clover
White Sweet Clover
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Bee Balm
Spotted Knapweed
White Dutch Clover
Alsike Clover
Sumac (waning)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Package Bees and Supers

The nectar flow that has arrived a little late, that is good news for beekeepers with package bees. Usually the honey flow starts around the third week of June. This year it started in earnest around July 4th.
 Package bees are usually at full strength around July 1st. So most of the new beekeepers are benifitting from the later nectar flow. Package bees are getting honey and are putting it in their supers.
 Now, what is the strategy. Most of the new beekeepers were told they would not be getting any honey their first year. I think for many of them, they can throw that statement out.
 As the bees draw out wax on the super frames and fill it with nectar, when they move into the second box and start work there, it is time to add two more supers. Bees have a hoarding instinct. If there is space to fill with honey, the bees will try very hard to fill it up. If the beekeeper is not diligent in adding more space, the bees may not collect anymore honey, or they could possibly fill the brood nest with honey. Filling up the brood area is never good. This cuts down on the queens ability to lay eggs and may ultimitly lead to the population of the hive diminishing.
 I think it is not a stretch for new beekeepers who have action in both supers could possibly fill two more supers.
 Let's look at where we are at in the nectar flow. I am estimating we have gone through about 25% of the nectar flow so far. That still gives us the majority of the nectar flow still in the future.
 I have heard good things so far with many beekeepers with overwintered hives have over 4 supers filled with honey already. Much of it was Black Locust, that ran very heavy this year.
 The week ahead weather wise, looks perfect for honey collection. Warm days, eighties to upper eighties. The warm weather helps the nectar flow better.
So, watch the supers, check them every five days or so and stay ahead of the bees.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Washboarding bees

A beekeeper shot this video of her bees washboarding on the front of her hive.
This is a behavior that happens occasionally in a hive. This is a little odd because a large area on the front of the hive has bees doing the behavior. The bees are just moving back and forth.
 No one is sure what really causes this, but an interesting behavior.
Video by K. Strupp

The Nectar Flow is Intense

The nectar flow has really picked up steam. Beekeepers have been stopping in for more supers. They were looking in their hives yesterday and today and noticed a huge difference than where the hive was just a few days ago.
 The hive at Warner Nature Center is on a scale. That hive put on over 12 lbs of honey on the 4th of July alone.
 You can see on the graph, the honey weight is the yellow line. From the 29th until the 1st, a slight honey gain. The 2nd and the 3rd, a more notable increase. Then the 4th of July, the nectar weight starts to rise dramatically. Today the 5th the weight is still on an upward trend. This is the link to Paul's Scale.
Paul's Hive Scale
 Beekeepers need to check their hives if they haven't checked them lately.

Current hive weight on a colony at Warner Nature Center - P. Liedel

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Nectar Flow - July 4th

Happy Birthday America.
On this Independence Day I am pleased to say the nectar flow is going again.
White sweet clover and Basswood / Linden trees have finally made an appearance. The hot temperatures will get many flowers blooming with nectar available everywhere.
 I am not sure of the nectar flow intensity, but if you have kept your bees from swarming, the bees should be filling supers quickly.
Make sure there is at least two supers on and check them weekly. A strong colony with a good nectar flow, can fill up a super in a week.
 Stay on top of the supers. If the bees are filling the second super, it is time to put on two more.
If there is a good nectar flow and a hive has a good population the bees may be able to fill four to six supers.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Swarm Catching

I had a customer call me to tell me his bees had swarmed and were high up in a tree. I told him that he needed to get a hive box as high in the air as he can.
 He really didn't have a deer stand so he elected to put the hive boxes on top of his truck. The truck was parked near the swarm tree.
 Within an hour the swarm had found the hive box and had moved into the hive.
A shout out to Trevor, nice move on catching the swarm.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I've been searchin

Basswood Trees heavy with blooms
I have been looking for some nectar plants. I have some positive news.
I had to do a road trip into Wisconsin tonight. The Lift Bridge is closed so I had to go the long way. As I was driving on 94 near Hudson, I did see some White Sweet Clover blooming in the center median.
 Sara in Red Wing emailed me and said she finally has the White Sweet Clover blooming down there.
As I was coming home through Stillwater tonight, I did see some Basswoods blooming near Cub foods.
 So it looks like some things are moving forward, let's hope the nectar is there for our hungry bees.

A weak nectar flow and swarming

Whenever there is a weak nectar flow or on and off nectar flow, swarming can be an issue.
 Unreliable nectar intake this time of year, makes the bees nervous that not enough food is coming in and they may have to leave to find a more steady food supply.
 Stay on the looking for swarm cells program during this time.
If the weather warms up and the nectar flow gets more steady, the swarming issue will lessen.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cool Weather affecting the Nectar Flow

I have noticed my nectar flow has slackened off around my place. The way I know without even looking at my hives, is bee behavior.
 The bees were coming in my garage smelling the beeswax on the frames with new foundation. The bees are looking for nectar.
 I had a frame feeder sitting by a nuc box. It had a little syrup in the bottom of the feeder. Bees were flying into the feeder getting the syrup. This behavior has been subtle. Just a few bees hitting the syrup. There is a nectar flow going on, but it has diminished and bees are searching for new sources of nectar.
 When the bees discover a nectar source, foragers come back and waggle dance on the combs inside the hive. This dance tells the bees the direction, distance from the hive and intensity of the flow.
 Being that it is a nearly empty feeder, the nectar available was small and not too intense. That is why only a few bees were there. There must not have been much excitement in the hive for the feeder syrup.
 If it was late August I would have 10,000 bees on the feeder in a half an hour.
    Weather change: The warm temperatures that are coming later in the week should get the nectar going again.
White Sweet Clover is still missing in action. Basswoods should be blooming in a week or so. At least that is when they should be blooming.

Bee Venom in Cancer Treatments?


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Deer Pics

I finally got around to checking out a trail camera that is back by my beeyard. These are a couple pics from last winter.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nectar in the Hive and Queen Excluders

When the bees start filling the hive with nectar, they usually will fill the brood area with honey first. There still is plenty of brood and eggs in the brood box, but the bees pack in the brood area first. As more nectar comes in, and there is no where left to put honey, it is at that point, the bees move into the supers.
 For the bees, it is about survival. They will fill their living area first, so there is honey for the future survival of the colony.
 Beekeepers always blame queen excluders for their problems with honey not being stored in their supers. This really is not the case. I know a commercial beekeepers who runs 9000 colonies. He uses queen excluders on all his hives. He sees value is using excluders. Most beekeepers with more than a couple hives use honey robber with fume boards to remove their supers. Honey Robber is a odor repellent and makes bees leave the supers quickly.
  If any brood gets laid in a super, the bees will not leave the brood no matter what is used. This make supers harder to remove and more labor is required to get the bees out of the supers as the bees have to be brushed off the frames by hand. If the excluders were causing him to get less honey, I am sure he would not use them.
 Colonies with new supers and bare foundation, I usually suggest that queen excluders are left out until there is a little wax and nectar on a frame or two in the supers. At that time I would put in the excluder.
 On my hives with drawn comb, I put the supers on top of the excluder and the bees move up into the supers when they are ready.
 Excluders don't cause swarming. Lack of management by the beekeeper causes swarming. Beekeepers should still be on the seven day checking for swarm cell schedule. If this schedule is not followed, the bees may swarm.
If you are not getting any honey in your supers after a week or two of the start of the nectar flow, your hive may have swarmed or you are in a poor nectar area.
 When a hive swarms the field bees leave. These are the same bees that will bring honey to the hive. If the field bees leave in a swarm, there are not enough field bees to produce excess honey and the hive is unlikely to have any honey in the supers.
 How do you know if this has happened? If you look in the brood box and see no eggs or young larvae, probably some queen cells the hive probably has swarmed. Do not remove the swarm cells at this point, this will be your new queen. The bees may fill the brood area solid with honey as the brood hatches out.
 Honey is coming in, hopefully you should see a a few full supers soon.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nectar Flow

Birds Foot Trefoil

White Dutch Sweet Clover
I think it is safe to say that everyone in the metro area is experiencing
 a nectar flow.
 I was out in my back bee yard and noticed my Catalpa Trees flowering. Catalpa Trees have very large leaves and produce large bean pods. The flowering usually means the timing is right for the start of the nectar flow. The Catalpa trees don't really secrete nectar, and I have never seen the bees work the Catalpa flowers. But, the timing of their bloom usually coincides with the early part of the main nectar flow.
 I added supers on my hive by the Catalpa's yesterday and noticed the top deep box was solid honey.
 I have White Dutch Clover and Birds Foot Trefoil blooming in large numbers near my bee yard.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Upcoming week perfect for MAQS treatments

The next week will be perfect weather for Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) mite treatment. The temperatures will be in the mid to upper 70's.
 If you have done a mite check or just want to treat to knock down the existing mite levels, this is the time.
 Hives that started with package bees will have mites starting to creep up in numbers from when the package was hived. A single strip of MAQS now will knock down the mite levels until about August, when a full treatment should be applied.
 Overwintered colonies that were not treated for mites in the spring, should consider a full treatment of MAQS now before the mite population starts causing damage to the bees.
 MAQS can be used during a nectar flow when supers are on the hive.
I had this video on a couple weeks ago but a refresher is always a good.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What is happening in the hive and the nectar flow

 Have You Seen This?
White Sweet Clover
 Hives are still building up and should be nearing their peak populations in the next couple weeks for most of us. There are some beekeepers with some lagging hives, like a couple of mine. But they will be looking much better soon.
 Swarming is still happening, keep checking for swarm cells. Once the nectar flow starts coming in heavy, that should give the bees other ideas other than swarming.
 The nectar flow in Stillwater isn't real strong yet, but that should be changing soon.
 I haven't seen any white sweet clover blooming yet around my place yet. Alsike clover is blooming in my lawn and back in my field near my hives. I have seen the bees working it.
 This rain we have just received was a god send. The lawns were just starting to get a little brown. But now with the rain yesterday and today, plants will be green and robust.
  I think bees make more honey when it is a little dry than a little wet. But, brown and crispy is a little too far and puts most nectar flows to a dead stop.
 Most of the first cutting of hay has been harvested. I was getting a little Alfalfa nectar coming in until it was cut. Alfalfa gives more nectar after the first cut. The second cutting of hay, is usually early to mid July.  So I have to be patient.
 My wife's garden is coming in very nice. The bumblebees have been working some of the plants.
Nectar plants to look for: White Sweet Clover, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Basswood/Linden trees (around July 1st), White Dutch Sweet Clover. See some flowers? Are the bees working it? Find out what it is.
 The nectar flow is coming, very soon,  to a hive near you.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Upcoming Heat

The next three days will be very hot. The heat can bring out swarming in a hive. So make sure the entrance reducers are out and the slide is out on screen bottom boards. When it is very warm, it is normal to see bearding in front of the hive. It does not mean it is a sign of swarming. Bearding is just the bees trying to keep cool. The hive is hot so let's sit out on the porch type of thing.
 Mite tests should be done on colonies soon. A beekeeper should know where they are for mite loads. Some beekeepers just treat for mites without testing.       The only mite treatments that can be put on now with supers on is Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS). Some beekeepers put one strip in for a knock down effect on the mites. Then do a full treatment of two strips in mid August. Having low mite levels is the key to bee longevity.
Hive populations should be getting big now, so get the supers on to get a big honey crop.

MN Honey Producers Convention


The MN Honey Producers are having their annual convention July 13 - 15th in Walker, MN, at the Northern Lights Casino. 
There are some great speakers on the agenda this year. Dr. Meghan Milbrath whose post of Why Did My Bees Die explained to many beekeepers what they are doing wrong with their bees.
There will be a customer appreciation day at Mann Lake LTD. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scott County Beekeepers

A new bee club is starting up in Prior Lake area.
 We are meeting on the third Tuesday of each month 6:45pm.  At the Prior Lake City Hall.  If you would like to post this info on your blog that would be great.  I
could be a contact if someone wanted more information.

Thanks again.  We hope to be a good support to one another and keep our bees healthy and happy.

Deb Hoger
for more info:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yellow Sweet Clover

I did see some yellow sweet clover blooming in a ditch yesterday. This usually suggests the main nectar flow is getting ready to start. Yellow Sweet Clover does not give huge nectar flows in eastern Minnesota because it is too humid here, but where it is drier in the western part of the state and the Dakota's it is the major honey crop. In the Dakota's one hive can give you 300 to 500 hundred pounds of honey per hive when they get enough rain to keep it green. This year the Dakota's have been too dry and the Yellow Sweet Clover flow is going to be a bust.
 White Sweet Clover will be blooming soon. White Sweet Clover is the honey crop for most of us. Supers should be on your hives now if they are ready for them.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Black Locust Flow

I talked to a commercial beekeeper who runs 700 colonies. He says he has been having a heavy flow of Black Locust honey. He told me that all his colonies have filled one super of honey. He runs deep boxes for his honey supers. Deeps weigh about 90 lbs when filled and capped with honey.

Supers On

This hive is having a nectar flow. New white comb can be seen on the darker burr comb. The white new wax means nectar is currently coming into the hive. This is a way to identify a nectar flow.

The weather this coming week is perfect bee weather. The warm temperatures will be getting many plants towards their blooming stage of their lifecycle. There is an old saying that the nectar flow starts about 10 days after the first clover is spotted. I had clover blooming in my yard about four days ago. Supers should be put on now on any colony that is ready for them.
The southern part of the state of MN may already be into a nectar flow and it may be coming very soon into the metro area. Black Locust trees are in full bloom right now. I was driving east on Hwy 36 last night. I saw several stands of Black Locust trees blooming between Dale and 35E on the southside of the road.
 Package bees, if the bees are done drawing comb in the deep boxes put your supers on now. If the colonies are on their last box, monitor them closely. Colonies with just have a frame or two to finish, it would be best to put the supers on. All colonies right now are exploding with bees. There may be six frames of brood emerging in a very short time. A deep box of foundation that took a month to draw out a short time ago, now can be finished in ten days. Colonies drawing foundation still should be fed syrup, but that may be ending soon. Weak colonies are the exception and still may need syrup on for a while yet.
 With the higher populations everything will change quickly. As beekeepers, we need to be prepared for the changing condition of the hive. Colonies should be checked on a seven day cycle for swarm cells.
 When putting supers on with new foundation, the supers with foundation need to be put on so they are located right above the brood boxes. Supers with already drawn comb can be stacked on top of each other. As the supers fill up and a new super is needed, supers with foundation are put underneath filled supers. Supers with drawn comb, just keep stacking them on.
 I do use queen excluders on all my colonies. But with new supers with new foundation, I usually leave the queen excluder off until I see wax and nectar on a frame or two in the first super. I do quick check of the supers looking for a queen, if she happens to be there, I encourage her to move down into the top deep with a little smoke. I then slip the excluder underneath the supers.
 Supers go on two at a time. This time of year, if the honey flow starts off with an intense flow. As super can be drawn out, filled and capped in one week. Check your colonies once a week to monitor the progress of the supers.
 The honey flow is almost here. Beekeepers have worked towards this goal all spring. We have nurtured small colonies from three and four frames of bees to a hive that is packed top to bottom with bees. We are now approaching the payoff with boxes of golden nectar.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sold Out Of Queens

We are sold out of queens for 2017 and will not be getting anymore this year.
If you need a queen,
try Olivarez HoneyBees Inc


The nectar flow is coming very soon. This is the time of year reversals cause confusion. Normally on package bees with new foundation, when the bees finish their last box, beekeepers should do a reversal. Bottom box is changed with the top box. Bottom box to top, top box to bottom. The reasoning is this, there is more pollen stored in the bottom box, with the bottom box now on the top, when the nectar flow starts the bees will fill the top box with honey. This honey is the winter stores for the colony.
 During winter the bees will move up into the top box sometime in late January. As the bees uncap honey for winter food, the bees will expose stored pollen. The queen will start laying around mid February. Now that there is brood in the colony, pollen is needed to feed the young larvae. No pollen means no brood. The last reversal has helped to insure that pollen will be available.
 So now the confusion. If a package colony has not finished the top box and the nectar flow starts. The bees will fill the top box with honey. If the top box is very heavy and is filled with honey it is too late to do a reversal. I have had several customers do a late spring reversal and put the top box full of honey on the bottom of the hive. Their bees died over the next winter because all of the winter food stores were on the bottom of the hive. The bees will not move down to get honey. The bees may starve even though there is a large amount of food stores in the bottom of the hive.
 So what to do? If the top box is full and you missed the reversal opportunity, grab a frame of pollen from a lower box and put it into the center of the top box. The bees will fill in honey on top of the pollen. This will give the bees some available pollen in February. If this doesn't work for you, pollen patties can be given to bees a little earlier than normal to fill the pollen gap.

Friday, June 2, 2017

European Foulbrood

There has been some European Foulbrood (EFB) being reported by several of my customers.
 European Foulbrood can come with a cool wet spring. This type of Foulbrood can clear up on its own. It does not leave scale that reinfects colonies. But treating with Terramycin clears up EFB very quickly.
 European Foulbrood responds well to Terramycin , an antibiotic.
Speaking of antibiotics, several beekeepers that have this problem tried to purchase some Terramycin to treat their bees. But there was a federal law change. and beekeepers can no longer purchase antibiotics without a veterinarian visiting the hive, looking at the hive, troubleshooting the disease, then writing a prescription.
The beekeepers with the sick bees called a few veterinarians to help them. Most were uninterested and did not know anything about what the brood diseases looked like anyway. So what traditionally was a problem that beekeepers fixed, now will cost them some major money to fix. A vet visit, a prescription, what is that going to cost. I can't imagine a vet doing a site visit for less then $100.00.
 I think the result of this law, while intended to keep antibiotics out of the food chain, will result in colonies going untreated and may cause widespread colony outbreaks on some infectious diseases such as American Foulbrood, because beekeepers will not pay that vet fee.
 I think a better solution is requiring beekeepers to get a comp card like a pesticide applicator would have to get. There is only a few diseases that beekeepers need antibiotics for.  So, a short course of disease identification is all that would be needed, a test to prove that a beekeeper is competent, and a card is issued. The card would give the beekeeper the license to purchase the antibiotic.
 By getting a vet involved in disease troubleshooting is bad business for beekeepers but good for vets. In my opinion, this sounds like a money grab by the Veterinarian political lobby. What is the next step, prescription for mite treatments and pollen patties? I think it is time to put some heat on our federal Congressmen and Senators .

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Entrance Reducers

The next couple days will be getting quite warm. Any colonies in at least two deep boxes should have their entrance reducers removed off their hive. Leaving entrance reducers in on very warm days can cause a hot hive. The bees may be bearding in front of a hive and can cause swarming issues. Tomorrow, Thursday may be 85 and humid. It would not be surprising that strong colonies will be bearding out the front of the hive even with the entrance reducers out.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Queens and whats up in the hive right now

We do have some queens available right now. Italians and a few Saskatraz.
 On Friday we will be getting our last shipment of queens for the year. They will be marked Italians and marked Carniolans.
 Colonies are building up for the upcoming nectar flow. Most package bee colonies should be having a big populations. The next two weeks, package bee colonies will be having many frames of emerging brood increasing the hives population quite a bit. If you are running three deeps and have just put on or close to putting on your third box, the large population of bees will draw out a new box in about 10 days. Make sure there is syrup on the hive so the bees can finish out any undrawn comb.
All package bee colonies should have at least two deeps on them right now. Don't get hung up on if the bees haven't drawn out the outside frames in the first box. Put on the second box if you haven't done it already.
 If you have good populations in both boxes you can remove the entrance reducers. If your package bees are done drawing comb, do a reversal. Bottom box to the top, top box to bottom. No reversals should be done on any colonies after June 10th. The top box may be getting heavy with honey. That is the winter food for the bees. If the top box is very heavy with honey do not do a reversal. Leave the top box the way it is for the rest of the season.
 Swarming is a concern for all colonies this time of year. All colonies should be checked for swarm cells. Remove swarm cells before they are capped. Check the hive every seven days. Check all the boxes. If you just check the top box for swarm cells you are wasting your time. Swarm cells can be on any frame.
Over wintered colonies are bursting with bees. Swarming is going on around the Midwest.
Black Locust trees are blooming around the Stillwater area. Hay fields will be blooming now or very soon. Farmers are or will be cutting the first crop of hay in the next week to 10 days. There may be a nectar flow if the hay is not cut right away. The main nectar flow should be starting in about two weeks.  Overwintered colonies and any package colonies that are done drawing comb, should have supers on now.
 All hives are now getting large populations. The main nectar flow is on the horizon. Keep the bees from swarming and you may end up with a nice honey crop.

Monday, May 22, 2017

They're Ba-ack - Mites

I was out helping a friend do some dividing and requeening. As we were looking through the colonies a mite was spotted on a bee. Looking at more and more of the bees as we were looking for the queen we saw more and more mites. We did see some mites in the drone brood as well when burr comb was broken open between boxes. The colonies were in good shape with good populations of bees.
  Over wintered colonies are building up in numbers of bees, but so is the mite population. Mite treatments on strong colonies should go on soon. If the are left untreated, viruses may start showing up. Colonies with high mite counts today may not survive until August unless the mites are brought under control.
 With the nectar flow just around the corner, the mite treatment that should work well at this time is Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS), the active ingredient is Formic Acid. It is a seven day mite treatment. So the mite treatment will be done before the nectar flow hits. Mite Away Quick Strips can be on during a nectar flow.
 Package bee colonies new this year can have one MAQS srip on the hive around mid June.
Here is the YouTube video about  MAQS:

Supercedure - Trying To Make A Queen

Queenless hive with supercedure cells. The queen cells were removed and a new mated queen was added to the split.
I purchased a divide from a beekeeper. The beekeeper thought she had moved her queen into the split. I checked it after a couple days and noticed that it was queenless. I was planning on replacing the old queen anyway, but this was a good learning moment. The split had a lot of older larvae and capped brood but no eggs or young brood.
 The bees started making queen cells. Supercedure cells are an emergency situation for the bees. They will try to make a queen off any viable larvae they can use.
 For this reason, supercedure queens are not the best for replacement queens. The queen cells are elongated out of the cells and sometimes the room for the new queen to grow properly is not there. This can result in a poorly developed queen.
 Swarm cell queens on the other hand are produced exclusively to make a queen that will replace the queen that leaves with the swarm. The cell itself is usually a large cell with plenty of room to grow.
 Swarm cells produce very nice queens. For this reason, a beekeeper should have a five frame nuc or two available for use. A frame of bees that has undeveloped swarm cells on the frame can be moved into a nuc box. This swarm cell will develop in the nuc. The queen will emerge and if she is properly mated, you will have an extra queen on hand. A true free bee. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mite Kits

We do have Mite Test Kits available now

Bee Math: Rainy Weather + Cool Temperatures=Swarming

These are supercedure cells or emergency queen cells. They are usually on the side of a frame. Supercedure happens if the queen dies and the bees will scramble to try to make a new queen. 

Swarm cell. On the bottom of a frame.
The current cool and rainy weather has the bees locked in their hives. While they are locked in, the hive is still moving forward. The queen is laying and new bees are emerging.
 The cool weather will make the overwintered hive feel overcrowded. This will give the hive a reason to make swarm cells. A inspection for swarm cells should be done on a seven to 10 day schedule on strong colonies.
 Normally when swarm cells are capped, the bees will swarm. Most of the field bees will leave with the old queen. If you look in a hive that has swarmed, you will see no eggs and older larvae and capped brood. You can remove the swarm cells and install a new queen.
 If you come across a swarm cell that is open on the bottom with no larvae inside, may mean that a virgin queen has emerged. Or if you see these swarm symptoms and you are not sure if they swarmed or you are queenless. This is when having a second hive helps. Take a frame of eggs from the queenrite colony and put it in the queenless colony. Check it after five days. If the bees are making queen cells off the new brood, you could safely say you are queenless and put in a new queen. If the bees are not making queen cells you may have a queen in the hive and she has not started to lay yet.
 In a hive with a virgin queen, new bees will be getting old enough to forage. The foraging worker bees will bring in nectar and can fill the hive up with honey while the bees are waiting for the queen to start to lay eggs. This can make a hive honey bound, leaving no place for the queen to lay. If this happens, the frames need to be spun out and emptied of the honey and the empty frames given back to the hive. The honey may be too high of a water content to be called Grade A honey, but it can be fed back to the bees.
 Where are swarm cells?
Swarm cells can be anywhere. They are usually on the bottom of the frames. But the bees will put them on burr comb or funky comb. I have seen swarm cells hanging off the top bar. Sometimes the swarm cells are on bridge comb that spans between boxes. When the boxes are broken apart, sometimes the swarm cell is destroyed and the beekeepers never notices that there was a swarm cell there. If one swarm cell is missed it will develop and the bees will swarm.
 Unsure what swarm cells look like? Go to Google Images, search for swarm cells and you will see over a million pics on what they look like.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Open Hours this week - Queens have arrived

We will be open:
Thursday 8 am - noon
Friday noon - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 1 pm.
Sunday 2 pm - 4 pm
We have to close early on Saturday.
The weather will be lousy on Saturday so we will also be open for two hours on Sunday.
The queens have arrived. They got here around 11:30.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What is happening in Mid May in the hive

Black Locust trees usually bloom in late May. They are a great nectar source.
Now it is mid May and we have had some nice warm weather over the last week. The warm weather has made it possible for the bees to expand their brood nest. This came at a good time.
 Package Bees: The 2 lb and 3 lb packages are building up quickly. 2 lb packages should have on their second boxes by now. 3 lb packages should be very close to having a second box. Don't get hung up if the bees have not drawn out the very outside frames in the lower box. Bees are reluctant to draw out the outside frames in a hive because of the temperature differences along the outside edges of the hive. If looking at a single deep and you are unsure if you should add another box or not. If you are thinking, "Wow, there sure are a lot of bees in this box" If that statement crosses your mind then add another box. A frame of drawn comb can be moved down at a later date. If the hive is too crowded they will swarm.
 Overwintered Hives: Overwintered hives are packed with bees right now. Many of these colonies have put up a super or two of honey already. The crowded colonies should have or should be divided. Swarming is going on and I have heard of quite a few swarms already.
 This rainy weather will lock the bees in the hive for many days. The bees will feel very crowded and the swarming impulse will be kicking into high gear. This swarming impulse will be in all strong colonies and swarm management should be in place.
 Checking for swarm cells every 7-10 days is in order. Checking all the boxes for swarm cell and cut out any uncapped swarm cells. Usually if you come across a capped swarm cell the hive would have already swarmed. 
 If the hive has swarmed you should notice a decrease in activity at the front door. There should be a noticeable reduction in bee arrival and departures. There still will be a large population of bees in the hive. But the foragers will be the bees that have left. You normally don't see the foragers in the hive in great numbers during the day because they are out gathering. So an inexperienced beekeeper would say their bees must not have swarmed. 
 If there are capped swarm cells in the hive and the hive has swarmed, it is better to pinch the swarm cell and buy a queen then it is for them to make their own queen. It works best to pinch the swarm cell. Sometimes cutting a capped swarm cell, there could be a queen just hours from being released. If the cell gets opened  with out squashing the bee inside, a virgin queen can pop out and jump into the hive. This virgin queen can be very difficult to find. Installing a purchased queen into a hive with a virgin queen, will result in the demise of the queen that was just purchased for $31.00.  
It is best to purchase a queen, at least from May through the month of June. After the month of June. Purchasing a queen isn't going to influence the outcome of the nectar flow. By the time new bees start emerging the nectar flow will be mostly over. Make sure a queen is available to purchase before the swarm cell is pinched.
The fruit bloom: The fruit bloom is coming to an end. Most of the flowering trees and shrubs are done blooming and even the dandelions are on their way out. The bees will now be coming to a time of a dearth in pollen. There may not be large amounts of pollen for about two weeks. Pollen patties should be on hives for the short term. The next nectar flows will be Black  Locust in Late May, and alfalfa and the beginnings of the first clover blooms in early June.
Black Locust can produce a large amount of nectar if there is a large amount of these trees in you locale.
Everything is moving in the right direction. The main nectar flow is about a month away. Keep your bees from swarming and this may be a good honey year for all..

The Great California Bee Heist - Solved


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What is happening in the package hives right now

Package bees should all be increasing in size by now.
 2 lb Packages: The 2 lb packages by now should have their second box on. The 2 lb packages were installed around April 4th. That means new bees started emerging around April 30th. The packages will be increasing in population everyday.
 3 lb packages: The 3 lb packages were installed around April 17th. The 3 lb packages should be having emerging brood starting around now. They should be ready for their second box probably next week sometime.
If you are drawing comb on new foundation there should be syrup on the hive constantly until the comb is finished.
Pollen patties need to be on package bee colonies until early June. Package bee hives do not have the population to forage for the needs of entire colony until around June 10th. Consider this, a package hive colony installed around April 4th, new bees start emerging around April 30th. The new bees can't even start to forage until about 22 days later. Now that puts us around May 21st. It will still be another couple weeks before there is a large amount of foragers that are old enough and in large enough numbers to provide for the hive. The 3 lb packages are two weeks behind these dates. So for them, their initial time for flying foragers is around May 30th. With good populations of foragers starting around mid June.
Cold weather could have impacted some of these dates slightly if the colonies were slowed in their population numbers by not being able to expand their brood nesting area.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Queens - new shipment on Wed May 10th

We are Closed Saturday May 6th through May 9th.

We will be getting a new shipment of queens on Wednesday May 10th.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Swarm cells in strong colony

I went through a strong overwintered colony last night and cut out over 20 swarm cells. This turn in weather will bring out swarming.
After I cut swarm cells I looked for eggs and saw none. There was brood in larvae and capped stages. The queen must have stopped laying and a swarm was going to happen today. I don't think they swarmed because there was a large amount of field bees coming and going. So to totally stop a possible swarm, I switched the location of the hive with a weaker colony. Moved strong hive to weak hive location and weak hive to strong hive location. The field bees fly out and go back to where they think they live. Now the strong hive has lost most of their field bees and the weak hives gets a huge increase in field bees, and I think the swarm has been averted. I will check the strong hive again in five days to see if the queen has started to lay again.
 Look today for swarm cells in strong overwintered colonies or your bees will be up in a tree.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Open Longer Hours This Week and hive update

Nature's Nectar LLC will be closed on Saturday May 6th.
We will be open longer hours to sell queens and supplies for the upcoming weekend.
Wednesday noon - 6 pm
Thursday 8 am - 6 pm
Friday noon - 6 pm

The cold weather has really thrown a wrench into hive expansion. The bees are doing OK, but the cold has the bees unable to spread out like we would like. The warm weather is coming and things will be back on track soon. The 2 lb packages will be hatching new brood starting sometime this week. Their hives will be showing an increase in bees. Beekeepers who had all drawn comb may be adding a second box in a week or so. Beekeepers drawing foundation on the 2 lb packages are still expanding their comb in the hive. A second box is on the horizon for you. When the bees have drawn out eight of the 10 frames it will be time to add another box. Don't wait for them to draw out the very outside frames, the bees almost never do those frames. I usually will move them in one frame from the outside so the bees will work on them.
 Over wintered colonies are still moving forward. There are so many bees in these colonies that the cold does not stop them from getting bigger. While the cold has stopped the bees from foraging and has held back the swarming, the upcoming warming trend may change all that. Swarm prevention protocol should be in force with the rising temperatures. Check the colonies for swarm cells on a seven day cycle. Cut the cells before they are capped. If you find capped swarm cells, your hive has probably swarmed. Divides are happening now and for the next three weeks or so. Put honey supers on overwintered colonies now. This warm weather will definitely get the nectar coming into the hives.
 Mite checks should be done on overwintered colonies to see what the mite load is. Some beekeepers have been treating for mites already this season.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Longer Hours

Now open longer hours on Friday open noon - 6pm
Wed. noon - 6 pm
Thursday 8 am - 11:45
Friday noon - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm

Cold weather and Walk away splits

The cold weather we have had has put the bees into tighter clusters. With the contracting of the cluster of bees, there will probably be some brood mortality in some colonies. The earlier warm weather, let the bees expand their brood areas. Now with the colder weather, the bees may not be able to cover all the brood that the queen had laid. This uncovered brood will more than likely get chilled and die. Don't be surprised if you start seeing dead brood and or bees in front of the hive when the temperatures warm up. This will set the hive back a little but it won't hurt them in the long term.
 Walk away splits should not be done in this cooler weather. The cool weather may chill the brood that the covering bees have been shaken off of. A large number of brood could perish during the time it takes for the bees to reoccupy the split that has no bees covering and protecting the brood. Stick with a traditional split and there will be no problems.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The fruit bloom and dandelions

The fruit bloom and the dandelion bloom has begun across the metro area. Traveling to the south metro I saw many dandelions and flowering shrubs and crabs starting to bloom.
 My Wild Plums are just starting to show some life. But in St Paul Wild Plums were in full bloom.
 This current bloom will last around three weeks with Apple trees coming in around May 10 or so. This bloom is about a week earlier than normal. This is ice cream time for the bees. Wide spread nectar and quality pollen. If the weather is good the bees win, if the weather is cool and rainy the bees may miss some of the ice cream. Pollen patties should still be on colonies during this cool and rainy times. The bees are not able to forage right now and for much of the next week. Pollen is needed now because the hive is still moving forward in spite of the weather and beekeepers need to keep pollen available or the hive population may suffer.
 Strong overwintered colonies should have honey supers on NOW. Honey supers go on two at a time. It is not uncommon for strong colonies to get a super or two of honey during this time if the weather accommodates.
When this weather warms up a little, swarm control should be used on strong overwintered colonies. Many of the strong colonies are bursting with bees. Some warm weather may get swarm cells going in the hives.
 Divides are going on now and into the month of May. If you do not divide a strong colony, the bees will divide themselves, they WILL swarm.
If you don't want to run more colonies, Nature's Nectar LLC does buy divides.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


The queens have arrived. I have a little prep to do. But I should be ready to sell by 12:30.
Limit on queens this week: 3 queens per car.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Closed May 6th - May 9th

Nature's Nectar LLC will be closed Saturday May 6th to May 9th.
Open on Wed May 10th. Plan your queen purchases accordingly.

3 lb packages-Check for Queen Acceptance Now

Sugar water in the top cells, pollen is the yellow in the cells, eggs are in the lower cells.
The beekeepers that purchased 3 lb packages should have a laying queen by Wednesday. Even though the weather is cool, you still need to check the hive for eggs. If you see eggs you know the queen has been accepted. If you don't see eggs and larvae in your hive, you may need a queen. While you are checking, you do not need to see the queen. If you see eggs then you are good. Close up the hive. Failure to check for queen acceptance may jeopardize the survival of the colony.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How to do a divide

A divide is when a strong overwintered colony is split into two hives. If strong overwintered colonies are not split, the hive will more than likely swarm. If the hive swarms, that colony will probably not yield an excess honey crop.
A divide can happen when a colony has eight frames of brood and bees. If you do not have that much brood yet, wait a week and check again. Make sure a queen is available when the divide is ready for a queen.
Steps to make a split:
  1. Divide eight frames of brood between two boxes on the hive. Brood is, frames containing eggs, larvae and capped brood. I like to mix up the brood types in the divide. This assures getting bees of all ages on the split frames.
  2. Put a queen excluder between the two boxes of brood. Wait four full days.
  3. After four full days, go into the hive and inspect the boxes where the brood frames have been placed. You are looking for eggs. Whichever box with the brood has eggs, then that is where your existing queen is. Leave the box with eggs called the Parent, and takeaway the other box. Put honey supers on the parent.
  4. Put the removed box with brood, called the divide, by itself in the bee yard. Put a feeder pail on the divide. There is better queen acceptance during a nectar flow. Approximately 24 hours later install the new queen using the slow release method, using a hard candy plug.
  5. Seven days later, check the divide for eggs. If it has eggs, the queen has been accepted. Now the divide is in a single box. It will remain this way for around a two weeks when another brood box is added. Add honey supers before the nectar flow starts, usually around mid June.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Marked Saskatraz Queen on a frame of QuickDraw foundation. Notice the eggs in the open cells at the top of the pic.

I will be getting queens starting next week and will be getting weekly shipment of queens for the next month.
Please call or email to reserve a queen(s). I will be getting 300 queens to start. There will be a 3 - queen limit the first week of queens.
Carniolan - unmarked $31.00, marked $33.00
Italian - unmarked $31.00, marked $33.00
Saskatraz - unmarked $33.00, marked $35.00
Queens will only be available to my current customers.
If you are not in my customer list or no longer buy your bees from me, try Olivarez Honey Bees or Big Island Queens for queens.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Pollen clings to the hair of a honeybee. The pollen is dry. The bees will regurgitate nectar from their honey stomach, then rake their legs over their body. The nectar will get mixed into the dry pollen. As the bees groom themselves, they rake the now moist pollen into a pellet and it is attached to their pollen baskets on their rear legs.
There is pollen coming in right now. Hives are limited on collecting pollen by cool temperatures and rain. If it is cool in the early part of the day, sometimes pollen collection is limited to just a few hours a day. Rainy days keeps the bees in the hive.
Strong colonies use quite a bit of pollen this time of year. Keeping pollen patties on through the month of May assures proper nutrition for the spring brood build up.
 By not providing the needed nutrition can hurt the overall quality of the bees. When bees don't get the proper pollen during their development, the resulting bee, can have a shorter life spans and their glands may not develop properly.
 I always keep a pollen patty on my hives. As the calendar moves into May, a half a pollen patty sits on the top bars of my hives. I check them weekly and replace as needed. The weather is always hard to predict but I want healthy bees as we move towards the June nectar flow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Package Bee Cages

We do not want the plastic bee cages or the wooden queen cages back. Please recycle them.
The plastic cages are a recycler number 5. Not all recycler's take number 5.

Friday, April 14, 2017

3 lb Package Bee Pickup Schedule

  • Read this whole Post.  

    Please stick to the pickup schedule below.

The feeder cans are low on feed. You need install the bees right away, or spray the cage with syrup several times a day. Shake the package and listen for the slosh of syrup in the can. If you don't hear liquid sloshing around, then the feeder can is empty.
 Sunday, April 16th and Monday, 17th pick up day:
Sunday and Monday will be the main pick up days and we will follow the schedule below: 

 Please Stick To The Pick Up Schedule Below.

 If everyone came at once there would be several hours wait to get your bees. With the schedule, everyone is spread out through the day, no one is here more than five minutes.
If you live over 100 miles away come when you can.

  Pickup time will go by the first initial of your last name:

N - R  7:30 - 8:30am
S        8:30 - 9:30am
T - Z   9:30 - 10:30am
A - B  10:30 - 11:30am
Crew Lunch 11:30am - 12:30pm
C - D  12:30 - 1:30pm
E - G  1:30 - 2:30pm
H - J   2:30 - 3:30pm
K - M  3:30 - 4:30pm
Open Time (if the schedule time is not possible)  4:30 - 7 pm

The store is closed during bee pick up. We will sell:
Pollen Patties 2 packs ............. $9.00
Pollen Patties 10 patties ......... $37.00
Pollen Patties 40 lbs .............. $80.00
Feeder Pails ............................ $7.00

Sales tax is included in the pricing.
We will not take credit or debit cards because we are working outside and will have no way to process the card. 

If you have never been here before,  here are two videos of what the road looks like one mile from our house.
If you are coming from the south:

If you are coming from the north:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

3 lb Package bee update 4/13 - 7am

I think the bees will be delivered sometime this weekend. I do not know when at this time. It all depends on when the truck leaves California and the weather along the route. The bee supplier is working in between rain storms loading up the package bee cages.
I know this is Easter weekend and many people may be out of town. The pickup days will also go into early next week.
 But if you are around, watch for updates.
I will be publishing a pickup schedule, giving you a time to pickup, going by the first initial of your last name. For this to work, I need you to pickup with the schedule. There are 800 beekeepers on this delivery and pickups needs to be spread out through the day.
There should be solid pickup dates and a pickup schedule published by Friday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hive Check one full week after installation

A week after installation the hive needs to be checked for queen acceptance. We are looking to see eggs in the newly drawn comb. If you don't see eggs after 7 days, check again after 10 full days from the time of putting the bees in.
Failure to check for queen acceptance may put your colony in peril. If for some reason your queen was killed or was injured when installing the bees, you may be queenless and the hive will not survive without a queen.
Double Click on the pic for a bigger view. You can see the white eggs in the back of the cells. The eggs are coming out straight at you. The yellow stuff in the cells is pollen. The glistening liquid at the top of the frame is nectar (sugar syrup).
This is the video of the first inspection looking for eggs.