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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Monday, March 19, 2018

A little cool still

Our weather while warming up some and giving us some melting, is still cool enough to leave on our winter covers.
 Not much has changed on our hive routine at the moment. Pollen patties on, check food stores for proper food supplies. Feed syrup if necessary. Don't overfeed. The weather should improve as we get to the first of April.
 Looking ahead,  around the first of April to remove winter covers. Reversals should be able to be done around this time as well.
 Beekeepers are not doing much right now, the bees are doing it for us. The queen is busy on an early spring build up. The queens egg laying has been increasing all month. The pollen patties we are giving the bees and the increased egg laying, should bring beekeepers healthy spring divides in May.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Nuc's for sale

My buddy Brian has some nuc's for sale. Nuc's usually arrive in early May.
A nuc comes with four frames of bees with a laying queen.
It is about the same strength as a package of bees is, in early May. You take the four frames of bees and brood and put them in 10 frame equipment to start a hive.
Call 763-421-6644, leave a message and he will get back to you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Package bee delivery date update

Looks Like the delivery date is a little different than previously stated.
First delivery, all 2 lb packages - April 7th - 8th
Second delivery, all 3 lb packages - April 14th - 15th
We will now be open on Wednesday noon - 6pm

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring Mite Strategy

As colonies start their spring build up, once again mites are on the minds on most beekeepers.
 As colonies get more populated with the increased brood production, there is also increased mite production.
 Colonies should be treated for mites before divides are done in the month of May. It is better to treat the overwintered colony before doing a divide, than treating them after the divide is made. This is more costly for the beekeeper than if they would have treated before the divide.
Two different mite treatments are the best for spring treatments. Formic acid - Mite Away Quick Strips / Formic Pro or ApiVar.
 Mite Away Quick Strips and Formic Pro can be applied in late April or early May. Proper temperatures are needed to assure a good treatment is delivered. Colonies should have large populations when using formic acid. The vapors can be intense and could injure brood and possibly the queen. Colonies with smaller populations may not be able to split, formic acid treatments may have to be delayed until hive populations increase.
 If ApiVar is used for mite treaments, ApiVar should be put in the hive in late March, around March  20th. ApiVar is a 42 day treatment. The treatment will be complete by May 1st. ApiVar is an opaque strip treated with Amitraz. Two strips are put into the brood area. There is a possibility that the cluster may move during treatment and the strips will have to be relocated to where the cluster is located. ApiVar comes in 10 strip or 50 strip packages. The active ingredient is micro encapsulated on the strips.
 Having a plan for springtime mites will make healthy bees, healthy divides and good hive populations for the summer nectar flow.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

3 lb packages update

We picked up the mail today and there were over one hundred packages ordered.
If anyone wants a three lb. packages, you should call us directly. By the time the mail comes in another day or two we will be out of bees.

Tentative package bee delivery dates

Bee Delivery Truck
These are the tentative bee delivery dates. The dates may change due to weather. But at this time these are the dates we are planning on.

2 lb packages first delivery, April 7th - 8th

3 lb packages second delivery, April 14th - 15th

We will be publishing a pick up schedule when we are near the delivery date. 

Right now we are still selling 3 lb packages but they are going fast. If you need bees you better do it very soon. We have about 10% left to sell.
We are sold out of 2 lb packages.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Package Bee Update

We are sold out of 2 lb packages.
We are still taking orders for 3 lb packages.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

It is pollen (yes) and feeding (maybe) time

It is almost time to put on pollen patties. Anytime starting this weekend should be OK. Always put the patty where the bees are. The bees need to be touching it. They will not travel much of a distance to get it. A strong overwintered colony should get a full patty and may eat it all in ten days. Once pollen patties are put on the hive they need to be replaced before they are all gone. The bees will increase brood production and they will need the pollen.
 A strong overwintered colony may use three to four full pollen patties. Possibly more than that if the spring season is wetter than normal, keeping the bees in the hive. Plus, a pollen patty should be placed on a hive around mid May because the fruit bloom may be over and there may be no large amounts of pollen available until early June.
 If the bees have not moved up into the top box, the pollen then needs to go between the boxes where the main cluster is. If this is the case you may want to put pollen on top of both boxes.
 Feeding syrup. Feeding can be done now only if the bees need it.  Feed 1:1 sugar syrup or ProSweet syrup. Do not overfeed. The bees will plug the hive with syrup if the beekeeper keeps feeding pail after pail of syrup. This will leave no place for the queen to lay. and will impact the hives population.
 Lift up the top box off the hive a few inches above the hive to feel the weight. If it feels light, feed, if it feels heavy, don't feed.
 I wouldn't pull frames yet and look at the brood. A little cool for that.
 When looking at your hive as the patties go on. The population should have about four frames of bees. Carniolans may have three frames of bees. Anyting less than this population may mean you colony is too weak and may not build up to a viable colony without an addition of bees. If you have multiple hives, a frame of brood can be added to this weak colony later in March. Then add another frame of brood in early April. A reassessment will then be needed to see if the hive needs more brood later in April.
 If there is only two frames of bees in a hive right now, I would call the colony dead. This is because this hive will never build up to a good population probably until late summer. This type of hive will be a total liability. It will never put up enough food for winter and the beekeeper will need to feed it all of its winter stores. This weak colony may be compromised by mites and may fizzle out by the month of May leaving the beekeeper with nothing.
 It would be best to shake out this weak hive in the snow and start again with a new package of bees.
 This can be troublesome to some beekeepers, but this is farming and to be successful at farming, sometimes the herd has to be culled.