Disclaimer:

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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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Be a State Fair Bee Interpreter - Sign up today


Beekeeper Steve talking bees with a civilian at the fair
Be a State Fair Bee Interpreter. Sign up by Saturday the 18th to get a free ticket to get into the State Fair. I can't say enough about this. Everyone who has done this has enjoyed doing it.
 All you do is sit on a stool with an observation hive and answer questions from the general public. Any new beekeepers is qualified to do this. Don't sell yourself short, any new beekeeper has the knowledge and expertise to interact with the general public. Most new beekeepers have the education and almost a full season of beekeeping under their belt. So you are the expert. Sign up, get into the fair for free, have a great time supporting the beekeeping industry.

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080f48a5a628a1fe3-beehoney2
Find an open slot on the schedule. Click on the sign up and submit button at the bottom and fill out the form for the shift you want. Submit the form and you will see your name on the shift you want.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pulling Honey off the hive

Here are a couple videos of how to pull honey off the hive.

Different items used for pulling honey:


Using a brush to remove supers:


Using a fume board to remove supers:

Friday, August 10, 2018

What is happening right now in the hive

Right now the nectar flow has grown very spotty. Some beekeepers are getting some nectar but,  I think most of us are done getting any more surplus honey.
Now we have to turn our attention to some pressing issues.
  • Mites, it is time to treat your bees NOW. It looks like the weather next week from Tuesday on should be acceptable weather to put on Formic Acid. Either Formic Pro or Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS). The longer we wait to put on mite treatments, the more mite issues can develop. When I say mite issues I mean, possible virus exposure, damaged bees and new larvae being weakened by the increased mite population. So what are you waiting for!
  • Feeding, if you inspect your colony and your top box is not full, the time to feed is now. If you are using Formic Acid to treat your hives, you cannot feed. But, once the formic is finished, feeding has to be put on the front burner.  If you did a reversal after mid June, and you put the top box on the bottom and when you did this the box was very heavy. That box was your winter honey. You need to put the heaviest brood box on top of the hive. Bees will not go down to get this honey and the bees will starve later on in the winter. By having the top box basically full of honey, insures that the bees will have enough food for winter. Feeding in late August and into early September is the right time to feed. Feeding is a nectar flow. A nectar flow spurs the queen to lay more eggs. The more brood in the colony means more mites in the colony.  Beekeepers want the hive to stop rearing brood by early October. By feeding late into September usually means that brood will be in the hive until late October or early November. If the feeding lasts into late October there may be brood in the colony into late November. More brood means more mites. Again, this is a problem. The late feeding leads to bees being heavily parisatized by mites and will likely not survive.
Now is the time to get a plan on mites and feeding. Delaying can lead to a negative outcome of winter hive survival.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Extractor Sale

We are taking pre orders for extractors
3 frame hand crank, same as in the video in the previous post.
3 frame hand crank
Regular price $425.95 Sale price $395.00
3 frame motorized
Regular price $749.95 Sale Price $695.00
9 - 18 hand crank
Regular  Price $799.95 Sale Price $699.95
9 - 18 motorized extractor
Regular price $1295.95 Sale Price $1095.00
Delivery should be by Aug 17th
All of the hand crank extractors can be updated to a motorized extractor by purchasing a motorized conversion kit at a later date.
We service all extactors that we sell. Any warranty work is done here.
If you buy extractors online, what would you do if you had to send it back for repair?
That is the advantage of buying local.


Monday, July 30, 2018

How to extract honey

Here is a video that we made last year on how to extract honey. This 3 frame extractor is the same extractor that we rent for $30.00 a day. We have four extractors available and we are taking reservations for them at this time. All of the equipment in this video is available at Nature's Nectar LLC. We can explain how to use the tools if you need more instruction than this video provides. We also sell extractors and will be having an extractor sale coming up the week of August 13th through the 18th. There will be significant savings. All our extractors are quality built. All warranties are serviced here. When you purchase extractors online, you may have to ship them back to whomever you bought them from for warranty work. Depending on the size of the extractor that can lead up to a lot of money. Plus you need to crate it up. Buying local in the long run will save you time and money.
Also, Nature's Nectar LLC will be closing early on Sat. August 4th at 1 pm. We will be open regular hours on Saturday August 11th. If you need anything you can always order it off our online store www.naturesnectaronline.com


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Putting On Formic This Week

I will be putting formic acid on my hives this week, no later than Wednesday. I was watching the weather this morning and the long term forecast calls for 90's coming back next weekend. I want to make sure I can get my mite treatment on before it gets hot again.
 There are several posts about mite treatments over the last week. Scroll down to see the older posts.

Friday, July 27, 2018

MAQS or Formic Pro and the nectar flow

Nature's Nectar LLC does carry both Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) and Formic Pro. We can show you how to put them on your colony and answer all of your mite treatment questions.
 FYI did you know Nature's Nectar LLC rents three frame extractors by the day? If you need to rent an extractor, we are taking reservations now.


 The nectar flow has slowed down for me quite a bit. I am not sure if it is over in the Stillwater area or there may be some late summer nectar ahead.
 I did see Goldenrod starting to bloom. Goldenrod will be very widespread when it peaks out usually in late August. What looks so promising of acres and acres of yellow flowering Goldenrod, more times than not, yields very little of a nectar flow. The bees do work it for the pollen and the nectar if it is present. For me, about every ten years I get a decent crop of nectar off of Goldenrod. You know you are getting Goldenrod nectar if you stand near your hives and the odor of wet sweat socks permeates the beeyard. This odor while it is a little stinky, does go away as the Goldenrod nectar ripens into honey. Goldenrod honey is actually quite tasty.
 As beekeepers we are naturally greedy and we want to get as much honey as we can. I think beekeepers need to resist that notion and plan on mite treatment and to make sure the hive has sufficient winter store of honey.
 Treating with formic acid forces the beekeeper to remove the top brood box to put the formic acid strips on. This removal of the top deep will clue in the beekeeper if there is enough honey for winter. Beekeepers like to see the top box basically full of honey. After the mite treatment beekeepers need to get serious about if they need to feed. Feeding cannot be done will formic acid is on the hive. So after the mite treatment is done, get any feeding done right away. Don't wait to feed. August turns into October before you know it and the next thing you know there is not enough food in the hive for winter.
 I will be talking about how to pull your honey off the hive and extracting your honey crop in my next few posts and videos, stay tuned. I have made many posts about mites, so scroll down and look at some older posts if you missed them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Other Mite Treatments

There are several mite treatments available to use. Some are better than others.
One thing I want to say if you have Saskatraz bees. Synthetic Chemical compounds should not be used for treating Saskatraz bees. Synthetic Chemical compounds would be ApiVar, Checkmite, Apistan.
 The synthetic miticides while initially lowering the mite populations, may in the future, lessen the Saskatraz bees ability to cope with new mite infestations. In other words if you have Saskatraz bees Formic Acid may be your best mite treatment option. Having said that here are some other mite treatment options, pro and cons.

 Formic Acid, organic, ingredient formic acid, fumigant
  • Pro, organic treatment, will not leave deposits in the wax, inexpensive, unused strips store well for a year, short treatment window 14 days, good mite efficacy, supers can be on, 2 hive, 10 hive or 25 hive treatment packs
  • Con: Temperature dependent, has a temperature window to work properly, may injure some open brood, a fragile queen may be killed, especially when treating at the upper temperature limits.
http://nodglobal.com/formic-pro/

ApiVar: synthetic miticide, ingredient, Amitraz, direct contact strip
  • Pro: works well on Italians and Carniolans, easy to apply plastic strips, Works at all temperatures,  
  • Con: expensive, 42 day treatment, may leave wax residue, some resistance being reported, strips have to be in contact with the bee cluster to work, supers must be off, unused strips do not store well, 10 strip or 50 strip package. 2 strips used per deep of bees, up to 4 strips needed per hive treatment
http://www.apivar.co.nz/FAQs.htm#FAQ%207

ApiGuard: ingredient Thymol gel, fumigant
  • Pro: works well, easy to apply tins
  • Con: 30 day treatment, two tins 15 days apart, temperature dependent, a 3/4" shim need to be used for bee space for bee access, supers must be off, needs to be applied in the upper Midwest by no later than mid August because if it cools off in September it may not be effective. Need to purchase 10 tins (five hive treatments)
https://www.dadant.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Apiguard-QA.pdf

Checkmite and Apistan have shown mite resistance to these products

When to treat for mites - It is all about the timing

 I like to treat my bees for mites usually around mid August. My mite treatment of choice is Formic Acid. There are two types of Formic Acid, Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) or Formic Pro. They are both formic acid but their application is slightly different. Formic Pro and MAQS are both made by the same manufacturer.  MAQS has a shelf life of about 6 months, while Formic Pro has a shelf life of two years. Expired MAQS should never be used because the delivery method has been compromised. Expired MAQS when applied will give 100% formic acid, the intensity of the vapors may injure the colony.
 Formic Acid should not be applied if the daytime temperatures are over 85 degrees for the first three days of treatment. This is a fumigant, the slide of a screen bottom board should be in while treating.
 Formic Acid is considered an organic mite treatment and can be applied with the honey supers on.
 But, sometimes the weather is too hot to put on the Formic Acid treatment. I have the mite treatment ready to use by end of July. So I watch the weather in August, if there is a window of three days of the 70's in early August, I will treat. By waiting until mid August, then a beekeeper thinks about treating, the weather can get too hot and stay there for several weeks. Sometimes not cooling off until the first week of Sept. Beekeepers need to get Formic on their hives sometime during the month of August. So watching the weather and long term forecasts is what I do. 
Here is a couple of manufacturers video's of using Formic Acid. Always follow the manufacturers label instructions when applying any miticide:

Formic Pro:




MAQS:




Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mite Treatments


From Scientific Beekeeping.com
Mite treatments will be the hot topic for all beekeepers very soon. Look at the graph above about the bee and mite population and the timeline. The Varroa population lags the bee population, up until early September. Then the mite population keeps increasing as the bee population goes down. This high infestation of mites damages the bees physically and also exposing honeybees to viruses. This high infestation of mites is what kills honeybee colonies.   Beekeepers need to stop this rising mite population during the month of August before the Varroa population explodes. Looking at the graph one can see there is a sharp rise in the month of August in the mite population. Treating colonies in September in many cases is too late. The bees may be so damaged by the rising mite population that they cannot recover.
 Starting in late August, and into fall, the new bees emerging will be winter bees. Winter bees have a different physiology than summer bees, they have more fat deposits to handle the rigors of winter better than summer bees could. Winter bees will live for 6 months. Winter bees need to emerge out of the cells as mite free as possible. Winter bees weakened by being parisitized by mites stand a tough time for long term survival. Winter bees emerging healthy with very low mite counts, have a great chance at winter survival. Overwintered colonies usually make much more honey than a new colony.
 For ALL beekeepers, treating colonies in August is the time to do it. If you are a beekeeper that kills your colonies off every year and get new bees in the spring, YOU need to treat for mites as well. Failure to treat for mites at the proper time can affect your neighbors overwintering success. Be a good neighbor and treat all colonies in August.



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Stay tuned

I will be making several posts over the next week about pulling honey, extracting honey, and mite treatments, how to put them on and mite treatment options. So stay tuned. Scroll down on the posts, or you may miss some of them.

I have to say this was the winner

This pic is a testament of the quality of bees from Olivarez Honey Bees. Keep the hives from swarming and the result is usually positive.
Seven colonies with forty supers on. The two on the right were overwintered colonies. The others were splits or new packages. He is extracting today. Eleven Supers on the hive on the far right. If all the forty supers were full, that would be about 1600 lbs of honey. Carniolan Queens.                                                    Located in Pine City area / Photo T. Hinze

Saskatraz before and now

Here is a pic of how a hive can change in about four months time
These were all 2 lb package of Saskatraz started in early April. Through the cold and snow that we had for the first time in Twenty years. The packages were all installed on drawn comb. Why spend the extra money on a nuc. These Saskatraz queens really go to work. Located in the east metro.
About four months ago / photo by N. Gores

Now / Photo by N. Gores

Thursday, July 19, 2018

More Saskatraz Hives

Here are a couple Saskatraz hives with their heavy supers
Saskatraz package hive from the western suburbs, Buffalo area. / photo by D. Casey

Saskatraz Hives from the Stillwater area. Left / - Overwintered Saskatraz Parent, / middle - the divide / Right - 3 lb Package with Saskatraz queen / Photo by G. Gehrman
Saskatraz packages - two full supers and the third is 2/3rds full / photo M. Thorp


What's blooming

As the white sweet clover starts to wane, more flowers are coming online. Late summer perennials are coming out. Also some weeds are blooming right now. Purple Loosestrife can takeover a swampy marsh and crowd out native plants.
Purple Loosestrife and Spotted Knapweed are both noxious weed. They should never be propagated. But as long as they are there the bees will work them.
 Purple loosestrife honey has a greenish hue. It looks like new motor oil.
 Spotted Knapweed has a buttery flavor. Both honeys are of very good flavor.
Spotted Knapweed
Purple Loosestrife

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Great Saskatraz Hive

This is a pic of a Saskatraz hive. That is one huge honey crop in the making.
This is a result of a great queen, big hive population and no swarming.This was from a package of bees from this year.
photo by M. Hergott

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Weather and the nectar flow

The nectar flow is booming for most beekeepers. Many beekeepers reporting that they have two or more supers with honey in the boxes.
 The upcoming week looks perfect for honey collection. Hot days and warm nights. Days and nights like this, get the nectar to flow, usually at a greater rate than if the highs are only in the 70's.
 Swarming is still going on. I have had several calls from beekeepers trying to collect their bees that are now up in a tree.
 When checking for swarm cells, all the boxes need to be looked at. If only one brood box is checked, there is no point on checking. Queens are being pushed down into the bottom brood box now as the top brood box fills with honey. This is what beekeepers want to see. Their top brood box full of honey for winter.
 Stay ahead of the bees. If there is two supers on a hive and both of them have honey in them, it is time to put on two more supers. This nectar flow looks like it has a long way to go. It would not surprise me if many beekeepers get four supers of honey or more.
If you are not getting much honey right now:
  • Your bees may have swarmed
  • You had queens issues sometime in the spring
  • Poor population of bees in the hive due to a brood disease
  • Poor nectar flow where your bees are located 
  • You have put the same supers on for a couple years and the bees never made wax on the foundation. Now the foundation is no longer attractive to the bees, the beeswax odor is gone. The foundation should be replaced with new.
Now is the payoff for all of the hard work we have done to get our bees to this point. We have endured cold weather, blizzards, cold spring. All of this is now old news. The honey flow is on, now lets enjoy the show.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What's Blooming


Basswood / Linden Tree - photo N. Gores
 Basswood trees can produce a tremendous amount of nectar if the conditions are right. Basswood like hot days and warm nights to produce a good nectar flow. It does not produce every year. Last year we got Basswood honey, with the hot weather we are experiancing right now,  I am optimistic that we will have another good Basswood Flow.
Sumac - photo by N. Gores
 Sumac does produce nectar and the bees do work it. The honey tends to be in the reddish color.
Thistle -  Photo by N. Gores
Thistle is blooming everywhere right now. This is also a decent nectar plant that the bees work. 
White Dutch Clover - Photo N. Gores

Birdsfoot Trefoil and Daisy - Photo by N. Gores

Brood box tip

As this honey flow progresses, beekeepers need to think about wintering your bees. Wintering your bees means the top brood box being mostly full of honey.
 Over the next couple weeks, a beekeeper should examine the top brood box. Honey frames that are on the outside edges of the box, never get filled with honey very well. Beekeepers find themselves feeding syrup later in the season to bolster honey stores. By feeding syrup, this is a nectar flow, the queen lays when there is a nectar flow. With this new brood, mite production will continue to increase. Sometimes feeding is done very late and brood is then in the hive into November. This late brood in a colony and increased mite load can have a bad outcome for winter survival.
 Taking the time to go out, remove your supers. Look in your top box. Full frames of honey that are in the middle of the top box should be moved to the outside frames and the outside frames should be moved to the center of the top box. The bees will now be much more likely to fill the middle frames with honey. This should get you the honey you need for most of the winter stores and cut down on the fall feeding.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Honey Flow Update

I was out checking my hives this morning. It was mildly brutal in a bee suit.
 But I had put some Formic Pro on four days ago on some overwintered colonies. I decided to remove the formic strips this morning before it the day warmed up to the projected near 100 degrees. The bees were not bearding at all yet this morning, but I was concerned that two strips of formic pro, at these high temperatures, may cause me some queen and or brood loss. So I am going to call my shortened mite treatment good for now and I will treat the hives again in early August. The treatment was on at some elevated temperatures so I am sure it did have an effect on the mite level. I will do a mite check next week to see where the hive is at for mite count.
 The nectar flow is on. I do have nectar in most of my supers right now. Two of my overwintered colonies looked like they have swarmed, so the honey was a little lighter than expected in their supers.
 I have been hearing reports from several beekeepers that they have one or two supers 70% full of nectar and they were getting ready to add two more supers.
 There is white sweet clover blooming everywhere around the state right now. Driving around I see it in full bloom in huge stands in the ditches of roadways.
Summer perennials should start blooming soon.
Here is Paul's current hive scale pic. You can see that there has been a spike in honey weight. Looks like 8 - 10 lbs increase yesterday.
 If you look at the black line on the graph, that is hive weight. You can see that over the last two days it has seen a definite sharp rise.
So, if you have not put your supers on, do so now. It also looks like comb honey frames could be put in the hive now also.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

AFB

 A beekeeper from the Hudson area brought me a frame to look at last week. He suspected something was going on in with his hive. After looking at the frame, I discovered American Foulbrood (AFB) scale in the cells of the frame.
 I have seen many frames of AFB over the years so the diagnosis was easy. I could see the scale on the bottom of the cells. The larvae had died and turned to a gel that sinks to the bottom of the cell. This gelatinous material will desiccate (dry out) and turn to a hard scale on the bottom of the cell. I did not do a rope test, because there was no active larvae  to test from on the frame.The AFB scale is highly infectious when accessed directly by the bees, such as if they robbed the AFB hive of all their honey and ingested a large number of AFB spores.
 We also checked the AFB scale with a black light. AFB scale lights up to a bright green color when hit with a black light. The brighter the black light the better if glows. So if you purchase a black light, don't cheap out, the black lights with a higher number of led's work better. This one has worked for me Black Light
 So, how did they get the AFB?
 The beekeeper has been very careful over the years, buying only new equipment and never buying nuc's. There is always a possibility of getting AFB if you purchase nuc's. The AFB scale can be on used frames in the nuc. This is why package bees are usually a safer bet.
 Did his hive rob a weak neighbors colony that was weak or dying of AFB? Was the neighbors hive dead from last year and they did not put bees in the hive and the bees robbed out the honey? Most of the time hobbyists do not even know they have AFB. They buy new bees every year and by August their bees are dead. If your bees are weak and being depleted of bees right now, if you don't have an explanation for the reason, look for AFB in the frames.
 Is someone in the Hudson neighborhood feeding store purchased honey to the bees? Some civilians will see honeybees and feed them store bought honey, thinking they are helping out the bees. Giving store bought honey to your bees, can be a way to give AFB to your bees. Is someone feeding honey to hummingbirds? The bees can be robbing this feeder. Somewhere near this beekeeper is the source of the AFB. This Hudson beekeeper is going to have to be vigilant checking their hives for AFB. There is a possibility they could get reinfected if the source is not discovered.
 The beekeeper also contacted a vet for a prescription for an antibiotic. The bees will be removed of the drawn comb and will be shaken onto new frames and new foundation. An antibiotic regimen is probably a good idea. The brood break and the delay of larvae at the start, feeding syrup to flush the AFB spores out of the bees bodies, and the antibiotics will get the bees off to a fresh start.
 I do have a frame of AFB comb. Anyone that wants to see it, can stop by my shop to see it.
 AFB is not widespread. I see it every year from beekeepers bringing me frames to look at, but a few beekeepers do discover it in their hives. Normally, beekeepers get it from used equipment. Before you use used equipment, it is best to have it looked at by a competent beekeeper.
 Having an undiagnosed source for AFB can be troubling.
 It is important to be on the lookout for AFB in your hives. Discolored larvae is a red flag that something is happening to your brood. It does not mean you have AFB, but paying attention to what is happening in the hive is key to staying ahead of any possible trouble.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Nectar Flow Update


Comb being built and nectar being stored in the new frame and foundation. Bees draw out the frame and fill from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame. Photo by Paul J.
Paul has a good amount filled in one super and the bees are moving into the second super.
I have been polling beekeepers coming in to our bee supply store. There is a consensus that there is a nectar flow going on. Most beekeepers in southern half of MN and WI should be experiencing a nectar flow. It may be a little slow but as the temperatures heat up later this week, 90's in the forecast, the nectar should be increasing.
 It can be a little confusing to some beekeepers. No honey in the supers yet. I think you need to consider that the bees should fill up the top deep box first before the honey super. This honey in the top brood box will be the hives winter honey.
 At this stage of the season I think we are no longer doing reversals. If you have your supers on, and you should right now, if they are new foundation, I would leave the queen excluder off. Check the supers every five days, when the bees start making comb and storing a little nectar in the new comb, then put the excluder on.
 Supers go on two at a time. If the supers have drawn comb, they can just be stacked on top of one another. If the supers are new foundation, new supers should be placed directly above the brood boxes. Example, say you have two supers of drawn comb, the bees fill them up. Now you need to add two more, but they are new foundation. The full supers should be taken off the hive, the two new supers go on, then the full supers replaced on top of the new supers. The reason for this is that if the new supers with foundation were put on top of the drawn comb supers, the bees may not do anything with them.
 Check your supers weekly. Bees can draw out, fill with honey and cap with wax a super of honey in one week. Stay ahead of the bees with weekly super checks. Add supers as needed.
Here is Paul's latest hive scale update:
You can clearly see an upward trend of honey weight. Starting on the 21st.
Click on the pic for full screen.

Local beekeepers saves the day at MPR

Local beekeeper and MN Hobby Beekeeper member saved the day by picking up a swarm near MPR in St Paul.
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/06/22/bee-swarm-downtown-st-paul

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

July Queens For Nucs


Five Frame Nucs in April Picture by Adrian Quiney
I have been getting a lot of interest for queens in July for making up nucs for overwintering.. I am exploring a possibility of queens delivered here July 11th.  The queen prices will be less than the spring queens were. I don't have the numbers yet. I just wanted to throw this out there to see if there is any interest.
If you are interested in any queens delivered here on July 11th. Get a hold of me please.
 The queens available will be Carniolans, Italians and Saskatraz. Marked or unmarked.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Milkweed

Milkweed

I have Milkweed blooming next to my house. It a little ahead of the Milkweed in Wendy's Pollinator garden. The flowers have a nice fragrance. Milkweed is a great pollinator plant.

White Sweet Clover - It is Game On

White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover
I saw my first white sweet clover blooming plant today on Hwy 36. This is the premier honey plant for most of us. It will be becoming widespread over the next two weeks. If it is producing nectar and our weather is accommodating, we should be in for a good honey crop.
 Colonies are building up to good populations, swarming this year has been less than normal. Probably due to the cool spring. Although, I have heard of some swarming in the last couple days. Keep doing swarm control management. Once the nectar flow hits at a good rate, the swarming impulse should lessen considerably.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Scale Hive

This is the scale hive graph from Paul's scale hive. http://www.paulsapiary.com
This is an overwintered Saskatraz queen hive. The hive added about 80 lbs of honey from May 17 until June 16th. The bulk of the honey from about May 20th until around June 6th. After June 6th the hive has put on about 6 lbs. of honey. Which at the moment, there is no indication that a major honey flow has started yet. The scale is on an upward trend, so we will see if it starts rising in the very near future.
  The bulk of the honey corresponded with the blooming of Black Locust trees. Paul said he has never got so much honey in the spring before. The Saskatraz queen built up very well coming out of winter and he was able to reap the reward.


Bear sighting


Bear sighting in Afton area. 42nd and Odell Ave S.
Why do I need a bear fence? There are no bears in Afton. Pic by D.Viramontes

Friday, June 15, 2018

Remove entrance reducers now

The hot weather has made the bees in this nuc beard out on to the front of the hive.

Entrance reducers should be removed now from the entrance of colonies because of the heat. The bees will be able to more effectively cool the hive with the reducers out.The warm weather may get swarming going in strong colonies. Beekeepers should still be doing doing swarm prevention in their management practices.
 Seeing bees bearding or covering the front of the hive during hot weather is normal behavior. The bees may even be outside overnight when it is weather like we are experiencing right now. By Monday it will be cooler and the bees will be back inside the hive again.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pollen Patties online sale only

Ultra Bee Pollen Patties are on closeout.
5 patties for $10.00. That is 50% off the normal price.
Online sales only. Limited quantity.
https://www.naturesnectaronline.com/

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

AFB - American Foulbrood Disease

I have heard of three cases of American Foulbrood (AFB) today.
Two cases in Minneapolis and one in Lake Elmo.
The incident in Lake Elmo was a hive with all equipment purchased new. The beekeeper was an experienced beekeeper and the bees more than likely robbed out an infected colony.
The Mpls AFB, I believe was on used equipment.
 Purchasing used equipment while sometimes you can save money, there is the pitfall of equipment with AFB scale. Early on in my beekeeping career I purchased used equipment. The beekeeper said hive equipment was good and he never had any problems with disease.  Well, his equipment was full of AFB scale and I quickly had a major AFB problem in my beekeeping outfit. I will say that experience is the best teacher. My experience in this AFB fiasco did educate me about buying used equipment and I quickly learned of what AFB scale looks like in the frame. Since that incident, I have discovered many AFB infected frames that beekeepers have brought to me to check out.
  AFB infected larvae will start to discolor, turning a yellowish color, then will darken to a milk chocolate color. The larvae will turn gelatinous and sink to the bottom of the cell it is in. You will see the larvae laying flat on the bottom of the cell. The tongue of the bee may be sticking up in the cell. As the larvae desiccates (dries out) the larvae forms a hard scale on the bottom of the cell. This scale is highly infectious and contains over 2 billion of infectious AFB spores. That is just one cell. Imagine a frame of a couple hundred cells of AFB scale. The cappings of the larvae cells will have a shrunken appearance and the cappings may be perforated will small holes. Beekeepers always think they will smell the foulbrood. The odor only gets pronounced when there is a large infection in the colony.
 As more larvae die, the colony will get weaker. While the colony still will try to carry out its normal function of foraging for honey and pollen. As the colony weakens it is more susceptible to being overcome and robbed of its honey stores. Normally, colonies will get robbed out in the spring or late summer, when there is not a nectar flow. Some honey in the AFB hive may have been stored in cells with AFB scale. Now the infected honey is brought back to a healthy colony.  The healthy colony now has a good chance of getting AFB.
 The trick with AFB, is knowing that you have it before it gets out of hand. Looking at your larvae and making sure it is pearly white. If the larvae is any color other than pearly white, you have a brood issue. There could be many reasons for discolored brood, chilled brood in the early Spring, AFB, European Foulbrood (EFB), Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS), The Crud, these are the most common. The only thing that makes AFB different, is that when the larvae is in the milk chocolate color stage, the larvae will rope out with a toothpick or small stick. To do this, a small stick, toothpick , or matchstick is punctured into the milk chocolate colored diseased larvae. The wooden instrument is slowly drawn away from the larvae. The goo attached to the wood will start to string out. If it is AFB, the string of goo will be an inch or more before it detaches from the stick. If it does not rope an inch or more, it is not AFB.
The treatment for AFB is shaking all the bees on new foundation. Feeding the bees syrup for them to draw out the comb will flush out the AFB spores out of their bodies. When the bees start feeding the new brood in the hive on the new foundation, the AFB spores should be gone. A treatment also with Terramycin will get the bees off to a good start. Terramycin can only be purchased with a prescription from a Veterinarian. Getting rid of the infected frames is imperative. That is where the problem lies. Infected comb.
 AFB spores are long lasting. They have an active infectious life of well over 50 years. The Univ of MN took some AFB spores from some frames they had that I think were over seventy years old. They purposely infected some colonies trying to see if the AFB was still infectious. All of the colonies came down with AFB.     The infected old frames have to be burned. The boxes can be reused but the inside of the boxes should be blackened with a torch. The only thing that kills AFB spores is a direct flame over 1000 degrees or irradiating the scale with radiation at an irradiation facility. I think there is an irradiation facility in the Chicago, IL. area.
Here is a link that accurately talks about all aspects of AFB:
http://beeaware.org.au/archive-pest/american-foulbrood/#ad-image-0

Sunday, June 10, 2018

I have a nectar flow

I checked all my hives today. My package bees that I put in on my May 7th delivery, 6 were on drawn comb and needed a second box. They were very crowded and probably needed a box a week ago. I have three packages that I started on foundation. They are probably a week behind the hives with drawn comb.
 My overwintered colonies are packed with bees. I had no swarm cells. All of my overwintered colonies got two supers put on top of them. They did need them as they have been bringing in nectar.
How do you know there is a nectar flow?
My deep boxes have drawn comb and the comb is on the dark side. Notice the white comb attached to the darker burr comb.

The dark burr comb has new white comb. Whenever the bees add comb to anywhere in the hive, it will be white in color during a nectar flow. So I knew at a glance that this hive was bringing in nectar recently.

Nectar Flow

In my travels I am always looking for what is blooming. Driving down hwy 36 and 694, east of St Paul, I am seeing widespread yellow sweet clover and birdsfoot trefoil in bloom. My yard is full of blooming white dutch clover. Red Clover is blooming in the ditches of a new roundabout north of 36.
 The conclusion is, that most of us are experiencing or will soon be experiencing a nectar flow. Supers should be on colonies now.
  If the deep hive boxes are finished or close to being finished drawing comb, supers should be on new colonies. Supers should always be put on a colony when the colonies are ready for them. Failure to put on supers will possibly make the bees fill the whole hive with honey. This honey bound hive will leave no place for the queen to lay. With no place to lay eggs, the population will suffer and the hive may not survive the upcoming winter because of not enough bees.
 The nectar flow can start with a huge intensity. A medium super that is just foundation can be drawn out, filled with nectar and capped in one week. That is why we always put supers on two at a time.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sold Out Of Queens For 2018

We are sold out of queens for 2018.
If you are in need of a queen(s).
Contact: Olivarez Honey Bees
877-865-0298
Carniolan, Italian and Saskatraz marked or unmarked

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What I am doing now with my hives

The nectar flow will be starting soon. I have some final prep work to do in the next few days.
 My over wintered colonies: I will be going through the hives looking for swarm cells and removing any uncapped swarm cells. If the top box is not real heavy with honey, I will do a reversal. If the top box is quite heavy, I will leave it on top and not do a reversal. My honey supers are on.
 My package bee colonies: I have a few package bee colonies from my April delivery of bees. All my deep boxes have drawn comb and I am not drawing out foundation. The bees have built up very well and there is several frames of capped brood ready to emerge. This will be perfect timing for the hive to have large amounts of house bees to deal with the new nectar coming in. If the top box is not heavy with honey, I will do a final reversal. If the top box is heavy with honey, I will leave it on top. Uncapped Swarm cells will be removed. I will be putting on my honey supers.
 I do have late packages from my May 7th delivery, so they are a little behind. They have just had their second box put on top. ProSweet is still on the hive and feeding will continue until all my foundation is drawn out.  I am using Quick Draw foundation in the frames. Quick Draw foundation is yellow RiteCell foundation. The foundation has three times the beeswax on the foundation than the Black RiteCell foundation. The bees draw this foundation out faster and better than the black foundation. Quick Draw foundation costs more because of the added beeswax, but I feel it gives me an edge for quicker frame comb building.
 In both of my beeyards I have a couple of undivided overwintered colonies. The overwintered colonies are getting huge so I need to cut them back a little bit to prevent them from swarming. I did not divide them because I knew I was going to remove brood from them.  I will take a few frames of brood from these strong colonies and add a frame of capped brood to a few of my late packages. This should give them a little jump start to increase my late package population before the nectar flow.
 The nectar flow is coming soon.
If you are drawing out new foundation, keep feeding.
If you are done drawing out foundation or very close to finishing the comb, do a reversal. Do not do a reversal if your top deep box is heavy with honey. Put two honey supers on. If the supers are new foundation, leave the queen excluder off. Check the supers weekly. When you see comb being built and some nectar on a frame or two, then put your excluder underneath the supers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Yellow sweet clover and White Dutch Clover blooming

yellow sweet clover


White Dutch Sweet Clover
I have White Dutch Sweet Clover starting to bloom in my yard. I saw Yellow Sweet Clover blooming on Hwy. 494.
The nectar flow is coming soon.
The old wives tale is that the main nectar flow starts ten days after the first clover bloom. That puts it around mid June for the Stillwater area. A little sooner in the Rochester area, a little later St Cloud and points north.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Queens

I have about 60 queens left.
I will not be getting anymore for 2018.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Birds Foot Trefoil

Birds Foot Trefoil is blooming across the metro area. Birds Foot Trefoil is a legume. It is a short plant. Bees do like it.
You can usually see it next to roadways. It does get planted on roadsides on both state and county roads.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018

A great laying Queen

Nice frame of capped brood

Great frame of capped brood. The queens has laid in a tight pattern hitting most of the cells. A line of Drones on the bottom of the frame. Some capped honey at the top of the frame and a narrow band of pollen separating the two.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Black Locust Trees Are Blooming


Black Locust trees are blooming right now across the metro area. This can be very good nectar flow if you have some Black Locust trees near your colonies. Black Locust honey is a light colored honey with a great flavor.
  Strong overwintered colonies should have two honey supers on right now. The supers should be checked every five days during this nectar flow. If the hive fills one super and has nectar in the second super, two more supers should be added. Stay ahead of the bees or they will pack the brood nest with honey.
 Unfortunately, package bees and nucs are still too low in population to get a crop of honey from Black Locust. But the package bee populations are getting larger. Everyone that has put in package bees should have their second boxes on by now. Package bees still need to be fed if they are still making comb. With the increasing population of bees, the making of comb will be speeding along at a faster rate.
 Colonies are changing everyday. Populations are on the rise. The main nectar  is on the horizon.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Hot Weather and Late May Happenings

The hot weather is upon us.
 Strong overwintered colonies should have their entrance reducers out. The hot weather may drive some bee out of the hive and they may be covering the front of the hive. The bees are hot and they try to cool themselves by hanging outside. This is normal behavior. After this hot spell, all beekeepers should go through their colonies and look for swarm cells. The heat may spur development of swarm cells. A quick check may keep the bees at home. If the top box has eggs in the box, do a reversal. Moving the queen down on overwintered colonies will give the queen more spaces to lay. Put your supers on if they are not on already.
 April Package bee colonies should all have their second box on by now. Package bee populations should be increasing and the frames will look more crowded. If drawing foundation, keep feeding syrup. When the bees have finished 80% of the second box and you are not going to add a third deep, remove one the frames and run nine frames, Do a reversal. Top box to bottom, bottom box to top. Put your supers on.
 If you are going to run three deep boxes, when the bees have finished 80% of second box, remove a honey and pollen frame that the bees are working on. Space out the nine frames evenly in the second box. Add the third deep, put the honey and pollen frame in the center of the third deep box. Keep the feed on, if you don't have a deep box to cover the feeder pail, use two supers. The populations are getting bigger, so there are more bees to to work faster. The bees may be able to draw out the third box in about ten days. When the bees have finished 80% of the top box, do a reversal. Top box to bottom, bottom box to top.
If the bees are delayed in finishing the top box in either a two or three deep box, if it gets past June 20th, do not do a reversal. If the top box is very heavy with nectar, that is the winter honey for the bees. It will be too late for a reversal. Put your supers on.
 Late May is a time of pollen dearth. The fruit bloom is almost over, if not over in your locale. I think in Duluth and northern MN it is underway right now. But for the metro area,  pollen availability will start to be much more sporadic. Pollen patties should be offered to the bees. They don't need full patties, a third to a half of a patty will give the bees a pollen option if they need it. Checking the pollen patty weekly and replace as needed.
 This pollen dearth may last until around mid June. By then we should start seeing more early summer flowers coming out.
 There will not be much nectar coming in for now either. Colonies should be checked weekly for honey stores. It can be as simple as lifting the hive boxes up. If one hive boxes feels heavy, there should be enough honey stores. If the boxes feel light, feeding should be done right away. It would be a sad day if the colonies starved at this stage of the season.
 Hives a building up, The nectar flow is about a month away. Keep the bees at home and there may be a big crop of honey in your future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hot weather coming, I mean swarming weather coming

Swarming on strong overwintered colonies is about to rear its ugly head. If you have a strong overwintered colony, swarm control measures should be in full practice. It is supposed to be in the 90's this weekend, and overcrowding and a hot hive is a fast we to get your bees up in a tree. The fruit bloom is winding down, so the nectar flow is going away. If you have a swarm trap or a single deep hive, now is the time to get it out and to an elevated position to hopefully catch a swarm. I would say by late next week, swarms will be reported in large numbers.
 Need bees? Contact Bob the swarm coordinator from the MN Hobby beekeepers association.
https://www.mnbeekeepers.com/help/honey-bee-swarms/
If you have a swarm on an easy to get at, low hanging branch. Don't cut the branch off. The bees for some reason liked this location and future swarms may go to this same branch. If you remove the branch, maybe swarms in the future will like the branch that is 20 feet in the air.

Why do bees swarm

Beekeepers are always wondering why their bees swarm. If we look at the causes it becomes easier to minimize the swarming behavior.
Reasons:
  • Old queen. A queen that has been through one winter is looked as an old queen to a colony of bees. Swarming is nature's way of replacing the old queen with a new queen. The odds of a colony making it through the next winter is greatly enhanced if there is a new young queen in the hive. The odds of a swarm making it through the winter is usually not very good in MN. Requeening an overwintered colony lessens this swarming impulse.
  • Heat/Overcrowding. An over wintered colony is always subject to overcrowding. Dividing a colony helps keep the numbers of bees more manageable. A strong colony is the ticket to a big honey crop. So swarm control management practices need to be employed. Keeping grass down in front of hives so the bees can cool their hives easier. Removing entrance reducers for better air flow. Giving bees more room. Boxes with foundation is not considered room. Bees usually will not occupy foundation boxes in large numbers unless they are being fed or a nectar flow is on. Drawn comb is considered room. Overcrowding can happen in any colony of bees if it is not being managed properly.
  • No nectar flow. Large colonies with no nectar flow can swarm at anytime. A bad nectar year kicks up swarming to a higher level. It is like the bees think they will not survive and leave for possible a better chance of survival.
  • Mites/Absconding. High level of Varroa causes absconding of a colony. This usually happens in late fall but can happen on an overwintered colony with a high mite count. Example, A colony inspected in early October may look great but a return inspection in mid October may reveal an empty hive with not a single bee in the hive. Treating for Varroa in mid August and again in late October, will usually prevent this from happening.
 Management practices of looking for swarm cell in colonies once a week starting in late May and through the month of June will help prevent swarming. Cutting out swarm cells before they are capped is proper management. Once a swarm cell is capped the colony usually swarms. Removing capped swarm cells will eliminate any queens from coming back into the hive. A new queen would need to be purchased to get a queen into the hive. Buying a new queen is usually a better fix than letting a hive make their own queen. A purchased queen will give a colony eggs in 10 to 14 days, and emerging brood in another 21 days, foraging bees in another 22 days. For a total of about 53 days before nectar can be collected from the purchased queen. During this time, there should have been brood in the colony when the bees swarmed, and the bees from this brood, would be emerging and foraging in both the purchased and swarm queen scenarios.
 The swarm cell queen emerges from the swarm cell 6 days after the hive has swarmed, 7 days until the queen can fly, 7 days to get mated, another 7 days before she starts laying.  So that puts new eggs in the hive around 30 days after the colony has swarmed. Another 21 days before new bees start to emerge. Another 22 days before the bees from the swarm cell queen can fly and start to forage. That is a total of about 70 days before nectar collection will start up again. If that happened today that would put starting to collect nectar at late July. The nectar flow will be starting to wane by then. The beekeeper would have to feed this colony a large part of its winter stores. Another negative. So the fix is to stop swarming.
  Colonies that have swarm cells can easily be fixed by cutting out all the uncapped swarm cells, then switch the colony's location with a weaker colony. This removes the large field force from the strong hive and gives them to a weaker colony. This removes the swarming impulse from the strong hive.
Example: Hive A is very strong and is making swarm cells. Hive B is a weaker hive or a new package of bees. Move the entire colony, put Hive A where Hive B is and put Hive B where hive A is. The field bees fly out and then return to the hive where the were before. Hive A gets weaker now with a smaller field force and loses the desire to swarm. Hive B gets stronger with the larger amount of field bees. Hive B now may make more honey than Hive A and it may have an increased risk of swarming.
 Swarming is always a challenging time of year but employing good management practices will keep the bees at home instead of in a tree somewhere.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bear

This bear took out three colonies up in the North Branch area.
The beekeeper put up an electric fence that should solve the problem

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Doing a Spring Divide

This is a Link to Gary's homepage. It is a great description on how to do a divide.
How to do a divide on an overwintered colony

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What is happening now in the hive

Wild Plums

Package Bees:
 Package bees are starting to build up. New bees should be emerging and the hive populations should be growing. Beekeepers who started their packages a month ago, should have their second box on now. When adding the second box, the entrance reducer should be increased to the bigger opening. If the hive is on foundation, feeding of syrup must continue so the bees can continue to make wax on the new foundation. Failure to feed, will delay the expansion of the hive and wax will not be constructed and the hive population will suffer. Pollen patties should still be on package bee colonies until around mid June.
 Package bees on drawn comb should be fed as needed. If there are several frames of honey from last season in the hive, say two to three full frames of honey in each box, no syrup is needed. Pollen patties should be offered for the next month.
Overwintered Colonies:
Overwintered colonies may be in several different situations. Some colonies are getting ready to swarm and should be divided. Some colonies are not quite ready to divide today, but will be ready to divide within the next week or so. Some colonies are too weak to divide and will not be able to divide this year but should still be able to build up for the nectar flow. The weak colonies should have at least four frames of bees and brood right now. Any thing less than this really needs a frame of brood added to the colony, to increase the hives population. Pollen patties should be offered to the bees. I usually put 1/2 a patty on the hives until about early June. This guarantees that the hive has pollen for the brood no matter what the weather is.
The bloom in May:
The spring flowers and fruit bloom is about 10 to 14 days behind schedule.
Right now dandelions are blooming everywhere. They are just getting going and should be more numbers blooming this week with the warm sunny weather. Strong Overwintered colonies should have supers on the hives right now. There is an opportunity of one or two supers of Dandelion honey. The fruit bloom is just starting to happen. Wild plums are blooming and the bees love the pollen offered. If you have some Wild Plums, they are usually form into a thicket. Take some time and stand in the flowering Plum trees, experience the sweet smell of the blossoms and watch the pollinators work the flowers.
 Right now is ice cream time for the bees. Especially in the urban and suburb areas. Dandelions, flowering crab trees, all variety of fruit trees, flowering shrubs are or will be blooming soon. There will be pollen available everywhere, some nectar from many sources. The huge variety of pollen should be able to give the bees a wide variety of protein and a balanced diet, to aid in the hives buildup of brood and bees.
This pollen and nectar flow should last about three weeks. After that there may be two weeks of very little pollen coming in until early to mid June. Pollen patties should be on during this pollen dearth.
 The weather is getting better, pollen is getting better, hives are getting better, the season if finally moving forward and everything is creeping towards the main nectar flow that will probably will start in late June or early July. It may be sooner if we get a period of unseasonal warm temperatures.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wed, May 9th - Queens

We have received our shipment of queens.
Open today Wednesday, noon - 6pm

Adding a second box

Some beekeepers may be ready to add a second box to their packages.
 Don't get hung up on the thought that the bees have not finished the outside frames. The bees never finish the outside frames unless you move it.  Switch out the outside frame with a frame that does not have brood on it, just nectar and / or pollen.
 When you add a second box, take a frame the bees are working on, that has pollen and nectar on both sides. Move that frame into the middle of the second box. This will bait the bees to move to the upper box. You will now have nine frames in the bottom box. Space the frames out evenly and run nine frames in the bottom box. If you are drawing out new foundation move the feeder pail to above the second box. If you don't have a deep box to cover the feeder pail, use two empty supers. Continue to feed until the bees have finished drawing comb.
If you look at the bees and and think to yourself, wow there is a lot of bees in here. Then add your second box.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Pick up schedule for May 7th - The bees have arrived


The bees have arrived.

Here is a pick up schedule. There are 150 beekeepers coming and I have to spread them out in an orderly fashion. Remember, to put your bees in after 6 pm and don't forget to seal off the entrance. With the warm temperatures, if the bees can get out too early, they may abscond. Keep the bees cool, like in your basement until you are ready to install them. Feed them a couple times by spraying the screen with sugar water.

Pickup schedule:
We will go by the first letter of your last name.

9:00 am    Z - S
10:00 am  R - N
11:00 am  M - J
noon - lunch
1:00 PM   I - D
2:00 PM   C - A
3:00 PM open time to 6 PM

Friday, May 4, 2018

Package bee install with wooden cages

This is my older video of installing package bees that come in wooden cages.
I think Monday's package bees will come in wooden cages.

Package Bee Delivery May 7th update

I talked to my package bee delivery guy today. He told me he will not be loaded until tomorrow, Saturday. With that timing, it looks like Sunday will not be a pickup day and we are looking at Monday, May 7th for the bee pick up day.
 I will publish a post tomorrow after he is on the road and I should have a more accurate arrival time. 

Queens today Friday May 4th

I have about 20 queens left to sell for this week. I have a few promised out to beekeepers. I do not think I will have any left for Saturday. I will be getting a big shipment of queens again on this coming Wednesday, May 9th, with weekly shipments of new queens through the month of May.
We are open today noon - 6 pm

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Queens


We will be getting a shipment of queens sometime today between 10:30 and 4:30. I do not know when. When the queens arrive I will post on this blog.
These are the queen prices for this year.
Carniolan and Italian queens.
$32.00 unmarked
$34.00 marked

Saskatraz queens
$34.00 unmarked
$36.00 marked

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Hive checks and queen availability

Check for queen laying eggs:
 By now everyone should have checked their bees. The check should have been for a laying queens. This is for packages and overwintered colonies. The queen has to be laying for the hive to move forward.
 Don't assume the queen is good. Beekeepers who do this will find a hive so depleted of bees that it will not continue to function. Beekeepers need to look.
Divides:
 To do a divide you need eight frames of brood and bees to do a divide. If you don't have this, you need to wait until you do.
  Some colonies coming out of winter with maybe four frames of bees right now, probably will never be able to split. Doing a split late say after the second week of  June, is not advisable. The late splits will weaken the parent colony and it will not produce much honey. the split at that point will not produce any honey and will have to be fed most of its winter stores.
 Walk away splits should not be done this year in the month of May. The late spring and the delay of natural pollen will have many hives with low drone populations. Natural pollen started coming in a week ago for the first time. It is the inflow of natural pollen that spurs a colony to raise large drone populations. Even if the bees started raising drones in large numbers, say by today. It will be near the end of May before we get any emerging drones. Then it will take a while before they can fly and are sexually mature. This may put us into the first two weeks of June. Getting a queen properly mated will be difficult at best. Doing a walk away split or thinking that the bees will just make a queen, may prove to be a waste of good brood or the hive will get so depleted of bees that it may turn to laying workers or perish.
Queens:
 We will be getting our first shipment of queens this week. This first shipment will be not be a large number of queens, about 150 queens. They will go fast. Then for the next month we will be getting weekly shipments of queens. The queen shipments should arrive sometime on Wednesdays.
The cool spring:
 With this cool spring, everything is behind. The dandelions should be blooming about right now for most if us. It may be we won't see dandelions in large numbers for 10 days yet. The fruit bloom that normally hits by mid May will probably show up in the later part of May. This all can change if we get warmer than average days. Splits that usually happen in early May will now be more likely after May 10th.
 All of the delays because of the weather should also affect the nectar flow. If we have normal temperature from now on, the nectar flow may not start until early July. This will give package bees, nucs and weak colonies time to develop. Swarm control will have to be in place for strong colonies. The delay in the nectar flow may put many strong colonies up into a tree.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Queens

We are out of queens other than the few that I promised to beekeepers today.
Our next shipment of queens will be on this coming Wednesday, May 2nd.

Queen Piping by B. Chaplinski


Monday, April 23, 2018

Queens

I do have a few queens available for emergencies and for package bee purchasers who are having queen acceptance issues.
The first shipment of queens will be starting next week. I will be getting weekly shipments of queens through the month of May.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Overwintered colonies

Overwintered colonies should be looked at now. Remove the winter cover and stow away until fall. The hive can be broke down to clean off the debris that is on the bottom board. This can be quite a bit, bring a box with you and put the debris in the box. Discard properly later.
 Give the hive a reversal as I described in a previous post. Check the egg laying pattern of the queen. Sometimes it is not uncommon to find that you are queenless and a new queen should be installed as soon as possible.
 If the queen looks good make sure there is a pollen patty on the top bars of every box. This makes sure that pollen is available to the bees on any level of the hive. It does not have to be a full patty, a 1/3 to 1/2 patty works. Replace as needed. There is natural pollen just starting to come in right now. But the bees have more than likely ransacked their stored up pollen, so pollen patties should be in place for a few weeks.

Looking at your package bees

By now all the package beekeepers should have their bees outside. The bees should be flying today and possibly bringing in some new found pollen.
 All package beekeepers should be looking at their bees 7 to 10 days after hiving the bees and looking for eggs. Seeing eggs in the hive is an indication that the queen has been accepted. Not seeing eggs in the cells is an indication that the queen has not been accepted for some reason and a new queen should be installed into the hive.
This pic shows all stages of egg, larvae and large larvae that is close to start capping. All the whitish liquid is royal jelly.
upper left is the egg, then incremental larvae growing, finally capped brood

Friday, April 20, 2018

Package bees

I will be getting 300 - 3 lb packages. Any of my customers that lost their bees during this unprecedented cold weather will be given the opportunity to purchase first. I am sorry you lost your bees but this is farming. Any farmer can lose their crop due to frost, too much rain, too little rain, hail, locusts and mites. We all roll the dice when we do farming activities. You need to call or email me today if possible so I can have a number to reserve.
 If anyone is thinking about ordering, do not mail me an order form. I may be sold out of these by tomorrow and the mail won't be here until Tuesday. Call or email me. I will answer the phone the best I can. Leave a message if I don't pick up, say your phone number twice. If my voicemail box gets full, email me what you want.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Put your bees out

The weather is gorgeous. Put your bees out. Best to carry them to their spot. Set them down. Open them up about two hours later. The bees will be pouring out of the open entrance right away. Best to open them up in the afternoon when it is warmer and they can fly and return.
 When package bees come to me, there is always loose bees on the outside of many of the cages. We collect them when it is cool and put them in a nuc box. If it is warm out when the bees come, we cannot collect them because they fly away.
 I took one of the nuc boxes outside last night, because it needed a queen. I couldn't open it up in my garage as the bees would have poured out in the garage. When I opened them up outside, fifteen minutes later, the bees poured out of the nuc. They settled down a short time later and I put the queen in. It was cooler out last night and I know some of the bees did not return. So releasing them when it is in the upper 50's should be warm enough for them to return.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Overwintered Hive update plus first check for 2 lb packages

Sorry my posting has been pretty lean during these two bee deliveries. The weather for bees has been terrible. The cold weather has made package bees installation more challenging. But, it looks like the weather is going the right direction and beekeepers that had to install their bees in warmer locations should be able to move them outside by Sunday. Long term weather outlook looks like no more deep freeze.
 Overwintered colonies are slowly moving forward. Strong colonies should be on schedule for a reversal, finally, this weekend. Weak colonies may not be able to reverse quite yet.
 To do a reversal on an overwintered colony, three deep hive. Bottom box to top and the top and middle box move straight down.
Like this: Box number
1
2
3
ends up
3
1
2
On a two deep hive, self explanatory, switch the two boxes.
 We should see pollen coming into the hives this week. Pollen patties should still be in place on over wintered colonies. Pollen this time of year can be a little unreliable due to cool weather. 
 Beekeepers that installed two pound packages will be able to check their hives this weekend for queen acceptance. The first check is for eggs. If you see eggs in a nice concentric pattern, with the queen hitting most of the open cells, then the queen should be good. Failure to do a check for queen acceptance can lead to problems. If the bees did not accept the queen, a new queen needs to be installed right away. Failure to put a queen in right away can lead to laying workers and possibly a failed hive.
Here is a video:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Getting more packages - Update

I am getting more 3 lb packages. Italian or Carniolan. You may not have a choice. It will be one or the other. Delivery date of May 7th.
 I start taking orders on Friday of this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Monday pick up schedule - Please Read The Entire Post

 Many people have picked up their bees. There are about 250 people left to pick up. The bees need to be picked up tomorrow, Monday. The feeder cans are getting light so it is your responsibility to pick them up on Monday. I have a few exceptions that I am working with. The Monday pickup schedule has been modified to fit the whole alphabet. Please stick to the pick up schedule. We have to spread this out over the whole day to be able to help everyone in a speedy manor.

Monday, April 16th pickup schedule
M - O  7:30 - 8:30am
P - R       8:30 - 9:30am
S   9:30 - 10:30am
T - V  10:30 - 11:30am
Crew Lunch 11:30am - 12:30pm
W - Z  12:30 - 1:30pm
A - B   1:30 - 2:30pm
C - D   2:30 - 3:30pm
E - G  3:30 - 4:30pm
H - L and Open Time (if the above time is not possible)  4:30 - 7 pm

Sunday pick up

We are all plowed out and ready for customers starting at 7:30 am to 7 pm.
I think with the snow and everyone's situation is different on being able to get down their street. Today's pickup will be wide open, no schedule. First come first served. The bees need to be picked up soon,
We will be here today, Sunday or tomorrow, Monday.
There will be a crew lunch from 11:30 - 12:30. Please no customers then.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

If you want to pick up bees today

If anyone wants to pick up bees today. Please call for an appointment. 651-439-8793. We will be scheduling appointments on the quarter hour slots. e.g. 9 am -  9:15 - 9:30 etc.
I need appointments so I don't have 100 people here at once.
We will schedule from 9 am to 2 pm. Then snow is supposed to pick up again.
Plan your route with the existing road conditions to best meet your time.