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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Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Many of us that started with new colonies are about to put our supers on. We are supposed to do a reversal right then, right.


 If the top box is heavy with honey, it is too late to do a reversal. The heavy box of honey will be the bees winter honey stores. If you put that heavy box on the bottom, the bees will tend to keep more brood in the upper boxes. Then as winter comes on and the bees need more food, their main food stores are in the bottom of the hive. The bees will not move down to get the honey in the winter and they will starve.
 One thing that could be done, is to go into the lower box and look for a frame of pollen. Take that frame of pollen, even if there is brood on the frame and put it in the center of the top box.
 Then in February, when the queen is ready to start laying, the bees can uncap the honey covering the pollen and they will have pollen for early spring, before pollen patties are on the hive.

Do I need a queen?

This is the time of year when a beekeeper discovers a hive with no eggs and the brood is only found in advanced stage (capped brood).  No eggs or young larvae.
 The hive is queenless, right?
 Many times this is not the case. What usually happens, the hive has swarmed and a new queen may be in the hopper but not laying yet.
 So here is the rub, if you just run out and purchase a queen and there is a virgin queen in the hive. The virgin queen will kill that queen you just plopped down some serious money on. Don't buy a queen and let them "fight it out", this does not work. In the mean time the nectar flow is on and the bees are filling the brood nest with nectar.
 Most newer beekeepers are in denial that their bees swarmed. One look at the door of the hive can tell you that the activity at the front door of the hive has diminished.
 So, how do you know what to do?
 This is where having at least two hives can give you a plan B. Take a frame of eggs from the queenrite colony. Place that frame in the top of the top brood box of the possible queenless hive, so it is easy to look at. This frame will do two things.
1. The presence of brood in the colony can prevent the colony from turning into laying workers if it truly is queenless.
2. Check this frame after about five days. If the bees are building queen cells, one can surmise the hive needs a queen. If the hive does not try to make queen cells, one would surmise that there is a queen in the hive and she should start laying in a couple of weeks.
 This time of year don't jump the gun on queen replacement. Patience wins the day.

Nectar flow looks like the real deal

Driving along Hwy 36 I can see yellow sweet clover blooming in large numbers. I also see the white sweet clover getting tall. The white sweet clover is not blooming yet, but should be blooming soon. White Sweet clover and Basswoods are usually the biggest producers of honey in our area.
 Some beekeepers on overwintered colonies already have two to three supers full of nectar on their hives.
 What do you do if you run out of supers? The options are, to purchase more supers or extract the honey once the bees cap it then put the supers back on the hive.
 If a colony is getting too tall with supers, you can take any full supers off and put the supers on a hive that is not producing much at the moment. The weaker hive will take care of the honey.
 How to put honey supers on: If all you have is new supers with no drawn comb, this strategy can work. I usually put the two supers on without a queen excluder. I check the progress in the supers about every four days. When I see the bees have made some comb and some nectar in the comb, I then put a queen excluder in.
 I put on supers on all my hives yesterday. I had about twelve new supers with frames and foundation. I took some older super frames that were drawn out already and put four of the drawn frames in each new box and put on queen excluders. The bees will easily move up as the nectar comes in.
 Honey supers should be put on the hives in pairs, two supers at a time. Supers with new foundation should always be put directly on top of the queen excluder, right above the top brood box. Supers with drawn comb can be simply be stacked on top of one another. Don't pull supers and leave them off the hive. The honey supers not being tended by bees will absorb moisture from the humidity in the air. The honey in unattended super boxes will have high moisture issues and may not be Grade A honey by the time you extract it.
 Get your supers on now. I did notice a big difference in my package bee population over the last week. They went from don't need supers, to get your supers on now, over the course of a week.
 Stay ahead of the bees, when the first super is full of nectar and the bees are working in the second super putting in nectar, that is the time to add two more supers. If the supers are new, put them under these two supers that are filling up. Another option would be putting one new super under the supers with nectar in them. Add a new super to the top of the stack. Once the bees are drawing out the bottom super and adding nectar, slip the top new super underneath the stack of supers, right above the top brood box.
 The honey is coming in now, get your supers on now, they payoff of all of our spring management of our colonies is now, put a smile on your face and pat yourself on the back for getting the bees to now.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Nectar Flow - Coming To A Hive Near You

Clover blooming in some lawns in downtown Stillwater this morning

My Basswood seed pods have opened and have exposed their unopened flower heads
There are more and more signs that the main nectar flow is on the horizon. In the southern midwest area's it could already be going. Around Stillwater there are many signs to show the flow is imminent.
 I was out walking this morning down by the river. I saw clover blooming on the lawns of some condo's in downtown Stillwater. More yellow sweet clover is blooming along Hwy 36. Large clusters of Birds Foot Trefoil are blooming also.
 My Basswood trees have opened their seed pods and the flower heads have dropped. The flowers have not opened yet. Maybe in 10 days to two weeks to open.
 Now is the time to get your supers on, if your hives are ready. You never know how intense the nectar flow will be. It may come on very strong and end quickly. It may start out slow that crank up to a higher level. It may start and last for several weeks.
 Supers go on two at a time. Check the hives once a week. A strong hive in a good nectar flow can take a new super with foundation, draw out the comb, fill the super with honey and cap the honey, all in one week. So stay ahead of the bees and you will be able to collect all the honey that the bees can give.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What's Blooming Today

I was on my morning walk and saw the Black Locust trees in full bloom.
Black Locust trees are a little late this year. Normally the bloom around late May

I saw Yellow Sweet Clover Blooming on Hwy 36 in Stillwater
Also, I have some Birds Foot Trefoil bloomimg in my beeyard. I helped a neighbor look at his bees yesterday and he had a couple of Red Clover heads blooming. The nectar flow will be coming soon. Supers should be on strong colonies now.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Bee Strategy: Swarm Control And Putting Swarm Back In The Hive It Came From

This video is from the same time as catching a swarm video.
  Moving hives for swarm control. Strong colonies are switched with weaker colonies to help eliminate swarming. Also, the swarm is reinstalled to the colony it came from.

Catching a swarm

I got a call for assistance in catching a swarm. The swarm was in a Honeysuckle bush. Julie, the beekeeper was in her beeyard when it took off. The swarm was on the interior part of the Honeysuckle bush. The swarm was only three feet of the ground. Easy to get at, but not that easy to get to.
 The tarp or a sheet under the nuc box, makes it easier for the bees to crawl to into the nuc box after I shook them down off the branches and on to the ground. The tarp makes an easy trek for the bees instead of having to walk through a forest of grass and other plants.
 Julie asked me in the video if we should cut the branch off. My comment was no. The reason is, that for some reason the bees liked that branch. There may be future swarms that like that branch, low to the ground , easy to get to. If we cut off the branch the bees may not like what is left there and may decide that thirty feet up in a tree is better place to land from now on. So resist cutting off a branch on those low easy to get swarms.
 I do have a follow up video coming soon about how we put this swarm back in the hive it came from.

Two Queens in a hive

A beekeeper was doing a hive inspection on a split they had made. They had introduced a new marked queen into the split. The parent hive was queenrite. Some how another queen was in the same hive now. The abdomen on both queens was large, like they are both laying. This does happen occasionally, but usually the two queens are mother/daughter. The beekeeper just left it this way to see what would happen. Photo by K. Martins

Saturday, June 8, 2019

American Foulbrood On A Frame

This pic shows AFB scale in the cells of a brood frame
A beekeeper couple stopped by Nature's Nectar LLC on Friday. I have been helping out there this week. They said their hive has been performing badly for the last three years. So, they brought some brood frames in to look at. They purchased their equipment used. The ways to get American foulbrood is used equipment, robbing out a diseased colony or from feeding store bought honey.
 At a quick glance, I could see that their frames were loaded with American Foulbrood scale. The way to look for scale, is to hold the frame by the ears of the top bar. Tilt the bottom of the frame slightly away from you. Look at the bottom of the cells. The scale is always located on the bottom of the cell. If you looked straight into the cells you would not see the scale.
  In this picture above, the arrows are pointing at some cells that have scale in them. But, you can see many other cells that have scale in them. This scale is highly infectious, it does not go away and the bees cannot remove it. The only reliable method of treatment is high temperature therapy. A bonfire.
 After discussing options with the beekeepers and remedy their situation. The remedy is, to take their boxes that they are using and blacken the inside of the box with a torch. Direct contact with an open flame will kill AFB spores on contact. Then new frames and foundation are placed into the boxes. The bees are then shaken on to the new frames and foundation. A feeder pail is then placed on top of the colony. There is now a brood break to break the cycle of infection. The consumption of syrup will flush any remaining spores from the bees bodies. It would be nice to give this hive a couple treatments of Terramyacin. You need a prescription from a Veterinarian to get Terramyacin. By the time there is brood in the hive, the AFB spores should be gone.

Friday, June 7, 2019

AFB near Eau Claire, Wisconsin

AFB Rope Test - note the color, when the diseased larvae is a milk chocolate color is the best time to do the rope test. AFB will rope an inch of more.
A beekeeper who has 3 bee yards around the Eau Claire area, 1 near Eleva, and 1 near Foster - all in Wisconsin has confirmed cases of AFB in all 5 yards.  These areas are all about 60 miles east of Hudson, but people move bees around and it is good to know about. The beekeeper does not know where this came from. He is working on the problem and has been very honest of sharing his dilemma so other beekeepers in the area can be aware that this is happening.
 American Foulbrood is something that can sneak up on a beekeeper. Most beekeepers have never had AFB before and do not know what it looks like. The times that I have seen AFB is usually when a beekeeper calls me and tells me their hives keep dying by early fall. I have them bring me one of their brood boxes of a hive that died. A quick inspection by and experienced beekeeper can see the AFB scale in the cells on the frames.
 When I say experienced beekeeper, it is a beekeeper who has had AFB before and has fixed their hives. There are many long time beekeepers who have never had or experienced AFB. So, without getting burned by this disease, many beekeepers don't know what it looks like.
 Personally when I was a young beekeeper, I purchased some used equipment. Unbeknownst to me, The used equipment was full of American Foulbrood scale in the frames. After getting AFB in many of my hives and then fixing the aftermath of the disease, the life of hard knocks gave me the experience to identify the disease.
 Beekeepers tend to focus on an odor to troubleshoot for AFB. By the time and odor becomes an issue in the AFB hive, the AFB can become widespread in the hive and possibly have been spread to other hives. This is not an effective way to find AFB. AFB is a brood disease affecting older larvae. Young larvae will look fine. Older larvae will start to turn yellow. The larvae will start to darken to a milk chocolate color and turn to a gelatinous mass, that will flatten out into the bottom of the cell. The tongues of the diseased larvae usually sticks up in the cell off the bottom of the cell. This gelatinous mass will dry out and form a hard scale on the bottom of the cell. The scale is highly infectious. Bees do not have the ability to remove the scale. One frame of AFB scale has enough spores to infect every colony in North America. Millions of AFB spores could be in the scale on one frame. While this would never happen, I just wanted to mention the scope of possible infection. AFB scale is still infectious even after over one hundred years.
 When the larvae is in the chocolate color stage, that is the time when the rope test should be administered. Poking the larvae with a small twig and slowly pull it away from the larvae. If the goo pulls out in a rope that is over an inch long that is probably AFB. If it does not rope an inch or more, it would not be AFB.
 Normally American Foulbrood is not widespread. AFB usually gets spread from used equipment, bees robbing out a dying AFB colony, or from feeding store bought honey to your bees. There is a possibility that AFB spores could get into extracted honey. While this has no effects on humans, bees can come possibly down with the disease from store bought honey.
If your colony has larvae that is nice and pearly glistening white then your bees are fine. Whenever the larvae is discolored then there is a brood disease. The common brood diseases we see are chalkbrood (no treatment available), European Foulbrood Brood (Terramyacin treatment), The Crud (Terramycin treatment), American Foulbrood (remove diseased comb and burn frames, shake bees onto new equipment, treat with Terramyacin). If diseased AFB frames are not removed from the hive, the disease will start up again.
  Learning to spot a disease is part of being a good beekeeper. Sometimes you may need help identifying a disease and there are beekeepers out there willing to look at your frames. You need to go through a veternarian to get a prescription for Terramyacin.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Overwintered Hives Are Big Swarmers

While it is great to get honey off an overwintered hive in May, the downside come in June when swarming starts in earnest.
 The recent warm weather and more crowded conditions lay the ground work for swarming.
 The nectar flow from the dandelion and fruit bloom is waning with no other nectar flows imminent other than Black Locust trees. Black Locust trees should be blooming now in the south metro, coming soon to the whole lower part of MN and WI. But, I digress.
 Swarm management needs to be followed now, in all strong colonies. Checking for swarm cells every seven days. If you miss a swarm cell, the bees are gone.
 This hive swarmed today.
Bees can be sneaky during swarming time. This swarm cell is on the top bar of a hive I checked today.

Oh Oh, capped swarm cell. The odds are very high if you see capped swarm cells the bees have already boogied. You don't necessarily want to kill capped swarm cells. You may need them to make a queen. You can take a frame with a swarm cell and the adhering bees and move it into a nuc box for an extra queen.

I helped a beekeeper today with her swarm. She saw the bees swarm and land inside a honeysuckle bush. The bees were about three feet off the ground. Easy to get to. We caught the swarm and we put it back into the hive they came from. There were some steps we had to go through. The beekeeper and I made a video. I will try to get it out soon.

Overwintered hives are big honey makers

Dan from the Northwest metro has a strong overwintered colony. He has been stacking supers on the hive as they fill up. He claims that the dandelions around his hives seem especially heavy this year. The honey is from dandelions and the fruit bloom.
Wow, four supers full already. That is a great nectar flow. If your supers are still in the garage, look what you are missing. Dan runs medium supers for brood boxes. You can see the queen excluder on top of the third super. Photo by Dan.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Crisis Averted

I went out to my single hives to look for swarm cells. add a second box and increase the size of the entrance reducer.
 It was 87 degrees on Saturday so any strong hive was more than likely hanging out on the front porch.
 It was cooler on Sunday morning when I went to address my hot hives, all of the bees had moved back into the single deeps. There were no bees outside other than the foragers coming and going at the entrance.
 When I went through the colonies there were many queen cups and one or two full blown uncapped swarm cells. I removed all the drone brood on the bottom of the frames. Then I checked to make sure that any queen cup or swarm cell was squashed. A second deep was added and the frame feeder was filled up with ProSweet. The new deep was 10 frames of Max Draw foundation. I moved my frame feeder to the top box for easier filling and a new half a pollen patty was given to each colony. Even my three overwintered colony got a half a pollen patty.

What a difference a day makes. The day before it was 87 degrees and the bees were clustered outside the hive. The crowded conditions made them move outside. The next morning it is cool and all the bees had moved back inside.

I checked the hive for swarm cells. There was one active swarm cell with egg and royal jelly. I removed all of this drone comb and the queen cups.

I added a second box. I am using a cap and ladder feeder and my syrup of choice is ProSweet syrup. The entrance reducer was increased to the large opening and a frame that was being worked on was taken from the lower box and put into the second box. I have some splits to do later in the week. I will be taking frames of brood and adding it to all of these four colonies. This will bolster their numbers and get the hives ready for the nectar flow later in June.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Three of the four colonies of bees need another box ASAP

The hives are in one deep. The hot temperatures today show that the colonies need a second box. The hives need to be gone through looking for swarm cells then add another box right away.
 This is what a crowded hot hive looks like. A swarm in the making.

Filling supers on overwintered colonies

Overwintered colonies have been bringing in nectar from the dandelion and fruit bloom. A beekeeper asked me why are the bees not putting nectar in her supers. I asked some questions and here are my relies:
  • Did the hive swarm? If a colony swarms the nectar collection of a colony is diminished considerably. She says the hive did not swarm because she still has a marked queen and has been checking for swarm cells.
  • Is the hive strong? She said it was strong. So the capability to get nectar is there.
  • Was the top brood box heavy with honey? She said no, the top brood box was not heavy with honey before she put on the supers.
  • After our conversation this is what she observed: The bees had not put nectar up into the supers. But what she did notice that the top box was filling up with nectar.
  • The investigation of no nectar in the supers ended up being this: The bees were bringing in nectar. The bees will fill their top brood box with honey first before they put anything into the honey supers. The nectar being stored in the top box will be the hives winter honey. When the top box is filling up, at that time the bees will move up into the supers. Sometimes the bees may not fill supers until the main nectar flow in late June. But the colony will be ahead of the nectar collection. The top box is filled up so the only place to keep more honey is in the supers.
  • Now she has to practice swarm control until the main nectar flow is going.
  • The next nectar flow will be Black Locust trees. They normally bloom in late May. But the Black Locust blooms may be delayed a few days this year. It appears our area is behind from a normal spring. Bees can get a very good honey crop of these trees. So, if you have Black Locust trees near your hives, get your supers on any overwintered colonies.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Caught a swarm last night

Swarming is happening right now. The warm weather is making colonies explode with bees. Colonies that two weeks ago looked a little weak, have increased their populations and have added to over crowding in the hive. This over crowding is made worse with the warm temperatures and has put swarming into high gear on overwintered colonies.
 Beekeepers should be looking for swarm cells. What do swarm cells look like? Click Here. Uncapped swarm cells should be removed. If capped swarm cells are found, the bees could have already swarmed, so capped cells should not be removed. That can be the hive's replacement queen.
 If you can get a new queen to purchase, the hive recovers much quickly by removing the swarm cells and installing a new queen. But, you need to make sure you are queenless first. No eggs in the hive can be an indicator plus much less activity at the entrance. This decrease activity usually means you have much less field bees in the hive. It is the field bees that leave in a swarm.
 If you find swarm cells in a hive, it also works well to move the frame with the a cell and adhering bees on the frame, into a five frame nuc box. The swarm cell will hatch and fly out to mate. You may have a new queen that you can use if needed, in about three weeks.
 My wife got a call last night of a swarm at a farm about a mile from us. She took a nuc box down and set it next to the swarm. The swarm was on a short pine tree about four feet tall. So it was right next to the nuc entrance. I got home an hour later and we both went down to see if the bees had moved in.
 The bees had not moved in and needed some encouragement. I put the open nuc box under the swarm, removed a couple frames. Bent the tree slightly and gave the tree a shake. About 80% of the swarm fell into the nuc box. I then put the frames and cover back in the hive. There were many bees on the ground. I put the nuc right next to the mass of bees on the ground. The bees on the ground just started to march right into the nuc. I will pick them up this morning by 6:30 am.
Easy swarm to catch

We started with a two high nuc, because bees usually will not move into a single nuc box on their own. The cavity size is too small. But they will move into two nuc boxes. In this case, I removed the second box and shook the bees into the single nuc. This worked great. I will move the hive to a new location and put a feeder pail on the hive. Hopefully they will stay. This nuc box worked great. I have a permanent entrance cleat closing the main entrance and the box is attached to the bottom board with hive staples.. I added a steel disc for the entrance. I drilled a 1-7/8" hole for the entrance. When I go get the nuc, I close the wheel to the ventilation setting and easily move the bees.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bear in the hood

I got a trail camera pic of this bear. It was about 30 yards from my house. This is bear country.
 Bear fence is still working. About two weeks ago I did go and checked all my bear fences. They all needed maintenance.  They were all functioning properly after the check. Good thing, because the aftermath of a bear visit is usually not pretty.

Monday, May 27, 2019


If you need a queen from Nature's Nectar LLC , they can be purchased anytime, by appointment. 651-242-2233

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bee Strategy

 I put some packages in five frame nuc boxes on bee pick up day. I knew I couldn't get them where I wanted them to go because of the road to my bee yard was too wet.
 For bee strategy, putting package bees in nucs works well if it is cold out or the hives will be moving to a new location.
 Some beekeepers from the northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Can put package bees in nucs, leave the bees down in the southern part of the state. When the weather warms up, the beekeepers can retrieve the nucs and put them in 10 frame equipment at their northern beeyards.

What is happening in the hive right now

Package bees: The package bee populations are finally on the upswing. There has been new bees emerging and this will continue now everyday. With the added population, there will be more bodies for expanding the brood nest. Colonies with new foundation will be seeing a slight uptick in comb production.
 When the bees are working on eight of the ten frames it will be time to add a second box. When adding the second box, take a frame of honey and pollen that the bees are working on and move it up to the top box, do not move brood. Spread out the frames in the lower box evenly and run nine frames in the lower box. Move the feeder pail up on top of the second box. Continue to feed syrup. The bees will not draw out foundation without feeding them. If you do not feed, the hives population will not grow. Keep pollen patties on your hives.
 If package bees are on drawn comb, if you say to yourself, "boy there is a lot of bees in here", time to add your second box.
 Overwintered colonies:
overwintered colonies are building fast. Divides have been happening and beekeepers will continue to do divides over the next two weeks, if their hives are ready. Remember, to do a divide, you need eight frames of brood and bees. Sometimes, a colony comes out of winter with a low bee population. These weak colonies cannot be divided and may never be able to divide, but still should continue to build up. Right now an overwintered colony should have at least six frames of brood. If your colony is weak and you have another strong colony, there are two things you can do to help the weak colony.
 A beekeeper can add a frame of capped brood into the brood area of the weak colony. This will give the colony a boost in bees, to increase their numbers. As a hive gets more bees, the bees can cover more brood and the hive can expand their brood area. Maybe add another frame of capped brood in about 7-10 days.
 Another strategy a beekeeper can do if they have a strong overwintered colony and a weak colony. During the heat of the day, switch the two colonies. Break down the hives. Move the strong colony to the weak colonies location and move the weak colony to where the strong colony is. This will have an immediate impact. The field bees fly out to forage and come back to where they think they live. The weak colony gets a large increase in field bees. The strong colony gets weaker with much less field bees.
 This strategy also works for swarm control. If you see swarm cells in a colony. Go through the colony and remove all the swarm cells. Then switch the colony with the swarm cells with a weaker colony. Now the colony that wants to swarm has lost all their field bees and usually will give up their swarming desire. The weaker colony will get much stronger and may have to be monitored for swarm cells.
 Honey supers should be on all strong overwintered colonies right now.
 With the rainy weather we are having, pollen patties should be on all colonies right now. The rainy weather may limit a hives ability to forage. A colony can deplete their stored pollen after a few days. Brood can perish if there is no pollen in the hive. Pollen patties are cheap and is insurance to keep the colony moving forward.
 The fruit bloom is on right now and will continue for about another ten days or so, depending on your locale. After the fruit bloom is over, there will be a period of two to three weeks when there may be a dearth of pollen. So keep a half a pollen patty on your hive until around mid June.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Busy day at the bird feeders

I received a monocular for Christmas this year. The monocular attaches to a cell phone. You line up the hole with your phone camera. While it is not a professional picture, they turn out ok. The birds were at the feeders today.
I also had Orioles and hummingbirds. The two Red Fox that came through while I was looking at the birds. Then a couple deer decided to walk on by. It was quite a day for being so cool and dreary.
Scarlet Tanager

Indigo Bunting

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Two Red Fox - from about 40 yards with the monocular

Scarlet Tanager and Indigo Bunting. The closeup pics were with the monocular with the birds on these feeders. This pic was from my porch window with my phone.

Monocular with cell phone adapter

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to do a divide

 May is the time for divides. Strong overwintered colonies should be divided or they will more than likely swarm. If your bees swarm, the likelihood of getting any surplus honey off the colony that swarmed, is very low. Just because your colony overwintered does not mean you can divide it.
 Dividing a colony of bees can happen when you have eight frames of brood and bees in your hive. The definition of brood is frames of bees covered both sides with bees and each of the eight frames has eggs, open larvae, or capped brood. The eight frames of brood is the total needed to divide. The frames of brood will be spread out throughout the colony. Example, if you are in a two or three deep colony you may have five frames of brood in the top box, three frames of bees in the lower box. You equalize the brood out between two boxes. Because when the divide happens you never know where the queen is.
 This is a link to Gary's from the Univ of MN homepage. He describes how to divide.
How to do a divide

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Dandelion nectar flow

Beekeepers with strong overwintered colonies should be putting supers on their hives right now. A strong colony can possibly put up one to two supers of Dandelion nectar or nectar from the fruit bloom. If you don't put supers on, a strong hive can fill their brood boxes up with nectar and the queen will have no place to lay eggs. The hive will be honey bound.

What's happening in the hives

Here is is May 12th and in the outskirts of Stillwater, dandelions are just starting to make an appearance. Normally Dandelions appear here around May 1st. The spring has been cool and has held back the early flowers. Natural pollen has been later than normal. By now we should be seeing the fruit bloom, Flowering Crabs, Fruit trees and other spring flowering plants which have been currently delayed.
 I am sure if your locale is in the Twin Cities metro area and points south, dandelions and the fruit bloom has already started. The fruit bloom should be moving into high gear this week. The temperatures should be in the 70's.
 My colonies have been a little slow of building up. The cool weather has made it harder for the bees to expand their brood nest. Some colonies are coming along nicely, but some others are a little weak. Over the next week I will add some brood and/or switch colonies.
 Switching colonies and adding some brood is a great way to fix a weak colony.
Adding brood: I have a strong hive that I will be able to divide. I plan to make a divide. Leave the divide queenless overnight, then the next day, add the divide to the top of the weak colony using the newspaper method.
 The newspaper method works the best for combining colonies. I take one sheet of newspaper and lay it on top of the weak colony. I take my hive tool and push it into the newspaper creating a slit about and 1-1/2" long. Not a hole, just a slit. This gives the bees a starting place to chew open a hole and slowly get used to each other. I then add my queenless divide on top of the newspaper. It takes about a week for the bees to chew a big hole in the newspaper.
 You can take a frame of capped brood from a strong colony, shake the adhering bees off, be careful, look for the queen on that frame before you shake the bees off. Take the frame of brood and put it in the main cluster of bees in the weak colony, or new package of bees. Just add one frame of brood, a weak colony may not have enough bees to cover more than one frame. In about 10 days do it again. This influx of bees will quickly turn around a weak colony.
 Switching colonies: I have a couple colonies that just need some more bees to get rocking. This is a really easy may to equalize colony strength. Just take strong hive A and weak hive B. Move hive A to hive B location. Move hive B to hive A location. What happens is the field bees fly out to forage, then come back to where they think they live. Now, the weak hive gets more field bees and gets stronger. The strong hive gets weaker. This method can also be used for swarm control.
 Package bees are building up. Beekeepers should have inspected their package bee colonies for queen acceptance. If you see eggs, you are good. If you are drawing out new foundation, you need to keep feeding syrup. Syrup should be on these colonies until around mid June or until the foundation is finished.
 The second box is usually added when the colonies have been drawing foundation on eight of the 10 frames. That takes about a month from installation.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Treating for mites

If you did a mite check and found two or more mites, treatment with a miticide is on the agenda. The miticide of choice is formic acid. Either Formic Pro or Mite Away Qwik Strips (MAQS). They both use formic acid as their active ingredient. The applications are a little different from each other.
Follow the directions on the label. Don't use expired strips. Expired strips delivery system gets compromised from age and using expired strips may injure your colony,
 Best to treat a colony before doing a divide. Do not treat a weak colony with formic acid.

MAQS application video

Formic Pro Application video:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Queens For Thursday May 9th - Delayed Until Noon

 Nature's Nectar LLC told me today that the queens that will be available on Thursday May 9th, will not be available until noon. Slight shipping delay from UPS.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Check for mites in overwintered colonies

Now is the time beekeepers with overwintered colonies should check for mites. There has been brood in the colonies since February and the mite numbers can be increasing. Checking for mites can give the beekeeper the ability to assess whether to treat the colonies or not.
 If you don't check for mites, and it turns out they are currently high numbers of mites right now in a colony, the colony can possibly perish by early July.
 It is easy to check for mites. The more times you do it, the easier it gets.
 Package bees should be checked for mites starting June 1st.
Mite checks should be performed once a month until October 1st.
 Mite test kits can be purchased at Nature's Nectar LLC.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

More Queens Coming On Thursday May 9th

Nature's Nectar LLC will be getting a fresh shipment of Queens on Thursday, May 9th.
 Carniolan, Italian, Saskatraz marked and unmarked.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Check for eggs now

Everyone that put in package bees, need to check their bees now for queen acceptance. If you do not see eggs or larvae on the frames your queen probably has not been accepted and you need a new queen. Right now the larvae should be easy to see because they will getting big. There should be eggs and larvae on a couple sides of frames by now. The first delivery beekeepers maybe even be starting to see some capped larvae. If you do not check for queen acceptance and your hive is queenless, the hive will die because they cannot make a new queen for themselves.

Not the greatest egg pics. The bottom pic does show a typical frame. Eggs in the lower two thirds of the frame. The dark multi colored muddy looking substance in the cells is stored pollen. You can also see glistening nectar in the top cells of the frame.

How do honeybees get their jobs

This is a good video on the breakdown of jobs that honeybees do at different times in their life.
See the Varroa mite on the back of a drone at 1:12 of the video.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Driving to Nature's Nectar LLC

This is a video of driving to Nature's Nectar LLC. There is some road construction right now on Hwy 36 in Oakdale. Some of the detours are confusing. You can enter off of Hwy 36. There was a new access created and is on eastbound 36. You can exit and enter Hwy 36 eastbound off of this new access.

Check for queen acceptance

New packages should be checked for queen acceptance. What a beekeeper needs to do is to go into the hive and look for eggs. When you see eggs or small larvae, we can assume the bees have accepted the queen and the hive will move forward. If you do not see eggs or small larvae there is a possibility that your queen was not accepted, or the queen was killed during the installation of the package. It can take up to twelve days for a queen to start laying. Sometimes new beekeepers cannot see eggs. But when the larvae start growing, they are easy to see. Beekeepers want to see a nice egg laying pattern. The queen should be laying in a large concentric pattern, hitting most of the cells. A spotty brood laying pattern could be an indicator of a poor queen
 A hive that is queenless, needs a new queen right away. Failure to check for queen acceptance or not getting a new queen in the hive right away (if needed) can possibly lead to hive failure.

This is the stage of larval growth. From egg to capped brood

Monday, April 29, 2019

2019 Queens - Available May 2nd

Italian Queen in upper left part of this pic

Nature's Nectar LLC will have queens available starting May 2nd
Plus, new extended hours. Now open Sunday 11:00 am - 3 pm.
Queens, Carniolan, Italian and Saskatraz marked and unmarked
$35.00 unmarked
$37.00 marked
Saskatraz add $2.00 to these prices
Cash or Check only please.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Second Delivery Has Arrived

The second delivery of bees have arrived and we are ready for beekeepers.
Today, Monday pickup will be first come first served. We will be here until 7 pm.
Tuesday will be by the pickup schedule posted a couple posts below.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The second delivery of bees

The second delivery of bees will be arriving sometime on Monday.
I will post when they are available for pickup. Pickup on Monday will be first come first served.
On Tuesday we will pick up to the schedule.

 Tuesday, April 23rd - Second Delivery We will be here Tuesday and Wednesday for pickup

The bees may be delivered on Monday. We will post if they are here

Please stick to the pickup 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. There is no hurry to get the bees in. Best time to put the bees in the hive is around 6 pm.

  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 Oakdale Bee Supply store is closed during bee pick up. 
We will sell at the bee pickup:
Cash or Check Only = No Credit or Debit Cards
Pollen Patties 2 packs ............. $9.00
Pollen Patties 10 patties ......... $35.00
Pollen Patties 40 lbs .............. $75.00
Feeder Pails ............................. $7.00
ProSweet................................  $47.00

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.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Bees Have Arrived

The first delivery has arrived and we are ready to pass them out.
Open today until 7 pm.
Today Friday, is first come first served. The pickup schedule will be for Saturday.
With this sunny warm weather don't forget to fill the entrance with grass to hold the bees in the hive overnight. Failure to do this may lead to absconding.
The best time to put in the bees is 6 pm

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Video to New Pickup Location

The bee Pickup will be at 14185 Square Lake Trail, Stillwater, MN  55082
It is located about five miles north and east of the old pickup location.
This is a video of from the old location to the new. I say in the video I am heading south, I meant to say north. Or look at from about 5:30 on.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bee Pickup Schedule For Sat. April 20th and Tues. April 23rd

  • Bee Pick up will be at a new location this year:
  • 14185 Square Lake Trail N  Stillwater, MN  55082


     Read this whole Post.  

    Pickup Schedule for Saturday April 20th and Tuesday April 23rd.

    April 20th - First Delivery We will be here Sat, Sunday and Monday for pickup

    The bees may be delivered sometime on Friday We will post if they are here.

    April 23rd - Second Delivery We will be here Tuesday and Wednesday for pickup

    The bees may be delivered on Monday. We will post if they are here

    Please stick to the pickup 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. There is no hurry to get the bees in. Best time to put the bees in the hive is around 6 pm.

  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 Oakdale Bee Supply store is closed during bee pick up. 
We will sell at the bee pickup:
Cash or Check Only = No Credit or Debit Cards
Pollen Patties 2 packs ............. $9.00
Pollen Patties 10 patties ......... $35.00
Pollen Patties 40 lbs .............. $75.00
Feeder Pails ............................. $7.00
ProSweet................................  $47.00

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.

Lets look at a brood pic

This is a nice frame of brood with a Saskatraz queen. Taken today. Hive is packed with bees. Did a reversal a week ago and has added a third deep because the bees are crowded. This is a great queen. Brood pattern is a large Oval. Queen hitting most of the holes. Everyone wants a frame like this in mid April. The bees in the background show the hive has plenty of bees.

Photo by M. Lai

Monday, April 15, 2019

Apiary Certificate for Wisconsin Beekeepers

This year the State of Wisconsin wants beekeepers that import bees into the state to provide them with that information.
This is the link to the webpage. There is a link to an importing bees to Wisconsin form in the page.

This is the Health Certificate for 2019

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bee Delivery Update 4/11/2019

This the latest on bee deliveries
First delivery, Saturday April 20th
Second Delivery, Tuesday April 23rd
We will be publishing a pickup schedule. It will go by the first initial of your last name. Everyone will have an hour block of time to pick up their bees. If you can't make that time there will be a late afternoon slot open for everyone.
 There is no hurry to put the bees in. Usually around 6 pm is the best time to put them in.
If you want to see all of our you tube videos on how to put the bees in here is a link to our YouTube page. Bee Video's
Or these videos:
Installing bees using plastic bee buss cages
The bee pickup will be at Tom and Jessy Minsers home north of Stillwater.
Their address is: 14185 Square Lake Trail N. Stillwater, MN 55082

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Package Bee Delivery Update 4/10/2019

I talked with Ray Olivarez today. This is what is happening with the bee deliveries.
The first delivery:
 The bees should be here on Saturday April 20th. There is a possibility they may show up sometime on the 19th. But that is to be determined.
The second delivery:
 The second delivery will be right behind the first. The bees may be here possibly around the 22nd of April. This date is not solid, but I wanted to get it out there. If all this happens, the deliveries will be coming fast, one right after another.
I will update this blog if there are any changes or more information. Being these deliveries may be coming close together, please check this blog daily for updates.

Installing Package Bees

This is one of my old video's about installing package bees. It is a little out of date because now all of the bee cages are plastic instead of wood. This video is with wood cages. But all the rest of the video is solid and rings true today.
I will follow this one up with the plastic cage install tomorrow.
Double  Click on the video for full screen

I do like installing the queen  using a rubber band to hold the cage on the frame. That will be in tomorrows video. Or you can see all my videos by clicking the link for our YouTube channel in the upper right corner of this blog. You can't see the link on a phone without switching to web version.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

package bee update update 4/9/2019

 I talked to Ray Olivarez this afternoon. Looks like the first delivery may be sometime within the next 10 - 14 days or so. I don't want to publish a hard date because a few things need to be firmed up first. But, on the other hand, I want to make sure our bee customers are being given as much information as I can give at the moment so they can make a plan. There is a possibility that this first delivery may come on or around Easter.
I will be talking with Ray again tomorrow and hopefully things will get a clearer picture.

Monday, April 8, 2019

package bee update 4/8/2019

I did post a date today.
Just got off the phone with Ray Olivarez and he says he had to back off that date.
He wants to make sure everything is perfect before he commits to a date. It may be a couple more days or shortly after Easter.
I will talk to him tomorrow, Tuesday and there maybe a more accurate date.
I don't mean to be indecisive, I want to get a date out to everyone right away so beekeepers can make a plan. but lets watch what develops in the next few days.
I will update this post on Tuesday.

Bees in Grain and bird feeders

This time of year on the first warm days of spring, bees will look for pollen. Sometimes there is no pollen yet. Bees will go to forage on anything that may give them something to feed their brood. Bees will go to corn bins, bird feeders and even saw dust. They will collect the dust off of these and bring it back to the hive. A beekeeper may think that this is pollen coming in, but it is not. There is some pollen coming in in many locales, but not everywhere.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Package Bee Update 4/5/2019

Nothing new to report as of today. We hope to get some delivery dates very soon. 
 As soon as I know something concrete I will post it.
Everyone getting bees from Nature's Nectar LLC should be ready for bees by April 14th. Meaning, you should have purchased your bee equipment, the hive should be all painted and set out in the beeyard by then. 
 Nature's Nectar LLC has a very good selection of bee supplies and equipment right now at their Oakdale store. Their prices are the lowest in the area. Call or email them for a quote.
 If you need to put up a bear fence, do it now if the frost is out at your location.
Bear Fence Design  a bear fencer should put out 2 joules of power.

 When we get a delivery date there may be very short notice before the first delivery arrives, so don't get caught off guard. There may be no more than a seven day notice that the first delivery is coming.
 Everything may happen very quickly. Olivarez Honey Bees tries their best to stay on schedule. So once things start moving, be ready.
 We will begin posting video's on how to install package bees soon. All of the pickup information, location of pickup, pickup schedule and everything involved with the deliveries will be coming at a fast clip. So stay tuned to the blog and try to check it everyday if you can.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Checked a bee yard today

I finally was able to get to this beeyard on a four wheeler today. I have been nervous because the battery for the bear fence was not there. I put on a fully charged battery and the bear fence is on. The bear fence I have really packs a wallop.
 I looked at all my hives. I wintered seven hives in this yard. Six of them made it. Actually all of the six looked great. I put pollen patties on everyone and fed syrup and moved a few frames of honey around. I will leave the winter covers on for another week. When I go out a give them their first reversal, I will remove all the covers then.
 So I lost one colony out of 10 that I wintered. The plan is to run more hives this coming season. I actually heeded my own advise this year. I did all the mite treatments at the proper time and the bees were all heavy with honey going into winter.

You can see winter covers on seven hives. One did not make it.

All six of them looked like this. Packed with bees. They should give me some great splits in May.

Nosema, a late winter killer

This video is about a deadout colony that quickly came from a strong overwintered colony to a very weak colony in a matter of a few weeks. The symptoms make it look like Nosema.
  Nosema is a late winter disease that can cause the demise of a colony. Nosema is a stress related disease and causes bee diarrhea in a colony. The stress is caused by winter related issues. Mites can sometimes be a contributing factor. Beekeepers used to treat for Nosema using Fumigillan, an antibiotic, mixed in syrup. It is no longer available for sale.
Life without Fumigillan

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Package Bee Update 4/2/2019

I talked to our bee supplier Ray Olivarez today. He did say that they have been caging queens. So they have been getting some queen mating done, even with the tough weather. The weather in the near term is improving in his area where he is doing queen mating. He is hoping to get some type of delivery schedule together soon. Probably after this weekend. So with any luck there may be a delivery date in our future.
 I will update again as soon as I know anything.
The 14 day outlook for weather is much improved from what we have been seeing. With partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures at the mid to end of the forecast.
Orland, California 14 day forecast

Monday, April 1, 2019

Bee Strategy: Easy Way To Draw Comb In April

The bee strategy is: by adding a new box of frames with foundation on this strong overwintered colony. The bees will draw out the foundation because I am feeding them syrup. The queen will move up and start laying on the new comb. After a couple weeks, as the daily temperatures warm up, I will remove the bottom box. I will use the bottom box for package bees that come at the end of April. This will give me an advantage of starting package bees on drawn out comb. The package bees will increase their population quicker because the queen has the whole box of already drawn comb to work with.
  If I had started the package bees on the new foundation, the population of bees would grow slower. As I only have about 7500 bees in a 3 lb package of bees working on the foundation.
 Using a strong overwintered colony to draw out the new foundation, I will have probably 15,000 bees working on it today. As the population grows in the overwintered hive, there will be more workers to make comb on the frames. The bees should have this new box drawn out in about three weeks.

Doing a Reversal on an Overwintered Colony

Sometime over the next week, reversals should be done on strong overwintered colonies. The temperatures are warming up, with 60's forecast for later in the week. Reversals are needed to expand the brood nest. By doing a reversal, the queen will move through the colony more efficiently. On strong overwintered colonies, after this first reversal, whenever you see eggs in the top box, do another reversal. A beekeeper may do two or three reversals before a divide is made on the colony in May. At the same time as reversals, clean the bottom board off on all colonies, weak or strong.
 Weak colonies with two or three frames of bees should not be reversed at this time. When the colonies are weak like this, the bottom box should be removed and the hive should just be in one deep at the moment. This will make the hive easier to keep warm compared to a two deep hive. If a beekeeper has another strong colony, it would be helpful to take a frame of brood sometime later in April and add it to the weak colony. This little increase in brood can turn around a weak colony and it will start increasing the bee population almost immediately. The extra bees will aide in covering more brood, this will give the queen a better opportunity to increase egg laying.
 New Package bees are reversed usually only once in June.
 The first reversal on a three deep colony should go like this. The three deeps are numbered to keep it straight in this example.
1  should end up with  3
2                                   1
3                                   2
After this first reversal on a three deep hive setup, any new reversals will be switch the bottom box with the top box.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bee Delivery Update

We still do not have any solid bee delivery dates. We did publish some dates when we were told that the bees were going to be delayed two weeks. Since that time, our bee supplier has not given us any firm dates.
 It has been raining every eight out of ten days in California. With this rainy conditions queen breeding cannot be accomplished. This constant rainy weather has never happened before in twenty years.  So at this time, all bee delivery dates are to be determined.
 All of the queen and package bee suppliers on the west coast are in the same predicament. All we can do is hope for drier weather in sunny California.
Orland California 10 day forecast

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spring is coming

I was out for a walk on the Browns Creek State Trail today with the dog. I noticed some pussy willows budding out. Pussy willows are one of the first pollen sources for pollinators. The buds should open soon exposing some pollen for the bees. Many times it is too cold for bees to get this first taste of spring. But it will be in the 60's tomorrow and I am sure somewhere around the upper midwest, pussy willow will be handing out pollen.
 Even with the pollen coming soon. Pollen patties should stay on the hives. Providing the needed protein for brood development.
Pussy Willows

Large Stand of Pussy Willow

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spring Chores

Today, Saturday is going to be a beautiful day. The temperature is supposed to be in the 50's. A hive on a warm day like this, can be broken down and the bottom board can be cleaned off. Debris from the winter usually covers the bottom board with dead bees, wax cappings and other hive debris.
 Bring a box with to scrape the debris into.
 The hive can be assessed on their food stores. Just feel the weight of the top box. The bees should be in the top box right now. If the box feels heavy then you should not have to feed. If it feels light, feed syrup. Do not over feed. This can hurt brood production if the hive is full of syrup.
 It is a little too early to do a reversal. Reversals usually happen around April 1st. Even then beekeepers need to look at the future weather. We would like to see temperatures being steady in the upper forties to low fifties for highs during the day for doing reversals.
 If you break down the hive today, restack it the same way it was when you took it apart. The moisture board can be removed for the season. With freezing temperatures going away, the moisture board is no longer needed.
 The winter cover can stay on for another week or so. Depending on where you live. some parts of MN and WI still have plenty of snow on the ground and may experience cold nights.
 If you can't break down the hive today it is not a big deal. But, the hive should be visited and food stores should be looked at. Pollen patties should be on right now and 1:1 sugar syrup or ProSweet syrup should be fed as needed.
 Put the pollen patties right on the bees. If the bees are occupying two boxes, put the pollen patties on the top bars on both boxes.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bad weather persisting in California

The weather in California has stayed ugly. For the short term, the forecast is for rain for eight of the next ten days. This will possibly impact the package bee delivery dates. While it is still too soon to be 100% sure of any more delays, a change in the weather is needed for some more seasonal weather patterns. We just want to inform our customers of what is going on.
 What we have always said is, that this is farming and farming is at the mercy of the weather. Let's be positive and hope this rain goes away for a few weeks.
Orland California 10 day weather forecast
California is officially out of their seven year drought.
Queen Mating. This is what we need the warm weather for.
A queen may be mated by as many as 10 drones. This will give her a lifetime supply of sperm so she can fertilize eggs. A poor mated queen may only be mated with one or two drones. A poorly mated queen may run out of sperm in a short period of time and will lose the ability to fertilize eggs and will become a drone layer.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Pollinator Friendly Lawns

The legislature is contemplating subsidies for bee friendly lawns. Read all about it. Story in the Star Tribune.
Bee Friendly Lawns

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sold out of package bees for 2019

Nature's Nectar LLC is sold out of package bees for 2019.
If you need package bees, Mann Lake LTD out of Hackensack, MN is still taking orders for bees. 1-800-880-7694 Call Mon - Fri 8am - 4:30pm
Pickup is in Hackensack sometime in early May.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Almost out of bees

 Do not mail order any more order forms.
Nature's Nectar LLC phone number 651-242-2233

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Where are we at in the bee season

I think now would be a good time to feed a pail of syrup and a pollen patty.
It is too cold to use a hive top feeder. The bees would be challenged to get to the syrup in a hive top feeder and at this point in the season, may be a bad choice for a feeder. A pail feeder goes right on top of the inner cover and most beekeepers bees are in the top box, right under the inner cover. The feeder pail is right above the cluster and should not freeze. The warmth of the cluster should keep any feeder pail from freezing.
 In about a week or so it is a good idea to go out and break the top box loose and lift it up a few inches above the box below it. This will give you an idea how much food is in the top box. If the box is heavy, do not feed anymore syrup. If the box is light, give the bees another pail of syrup. Anything in between, is a judgement call.
 One thing to remember, do not feed pail after pail of syrup. The bees will take down all the syrup that is offered. The bees will fill up the brood area with syrup and the queen will have no place to lay eggs and the population will dwindle.
 Feed syrup as needed. If you look at your bees and they are still down deep in the hive and the top box is full of honey still, feeding probably is not needed.
 Putting pollen on the hive is also going on right now. There is brood in the colonies right now. Pollen patties are needed to assure there is protein available for proper brood development. If there is no pollen available for the brood, the bees may cannibalize the young larvae and the hive's overall population will suffer with low brood numbers.
 Pollen patties need to be placed right where the bees are. Usually it is on the top bars of the top box. Put the pollen patty right on top of the bees. Don't block the inner cover hole for access to the feeder pail.
 If the bees are in both the top box and the box underneath, put a pollen patty on top of both boxes.
 Beekeepers who have overwintered five frame nuc boxes should be moving them into ten frame equipment very soon if their population is booming. Weak nucs can stay in the nucs for the short term.
 Beekeepers have had some pain getting going this season. Snow has made it tough to get to our hives. The weather will be getting better, forties are on the horizon as we move towards April.
 The next big thing on the horizon is a reversal coming around early April.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Bees Going Fast

Nature's Nectar LLC is down to about 20% of their bees left to sell. If you want to order bees, do it NOW.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

It is time

 I think it is time to feed the bees. The temperatures are on the upswing. If the bees are alive, we would hate to lose them now.
 A feeder pail of 1:1 sugar water or ProSweet, on top of the inner cover and a pollen patty on the top bars of the top box, right where the bees are. Your bees may not have any available pollen under the honey that they have been eating. Adding a pollen patty will give the bees the protein they need for some serious brood rearing. A full patty is needed. A strong colony may eat the whole patty in 10 days.
 A feeder on top of the colony is unlikely to freeze. The heat from the cluster should keep it liquid. If you are concerned about this, go buy a Styrofoam minnow bucket that will cover the pail and fit inside a deep box. Nature's Nectar LLC does have minnow buckets in their new Oakdale store.
 I know it is tough to get to the bees, but this weekend we may get more heavy snow. It may make it more difficult to get out to the beeyard for another week.
 The temperatures are beginning to moderate into the 30's and the bees are working in the hive. We need to give them a hand to expand the brood area.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Bee Detective Busting Hive Thieves

Here is a bee cop. He looks for stolen colonies of bees in Butte County, California. Thieves steal colonies of bees that have been brought into the Almond orchards. A colony of bees can fetch upwards of $250.00 for a pollination fee. Imagine stealing 1000 colonies, that have a potential payoff of $250,000.00. This large dollar amount make breaking the law very attractive to some.
The Bee Cop

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Package Bees 2019 will be delayed

I talked to our bee supplier, Ray Olivarez, (he is in Orland, California) today. He told me due to their cold and rainy weather our bees will be delayed two weeks. So at the moment, we are looking at delivery dates of around the 21st of April for the first delivery and the 27th of April for the second delivery. These dates are NOT solid dates and they may still change. All of the queen suppliers on the west coast are in this same predicament.
 Here is the 10 day weather outlook for Orland California. You can see the temperatures warming up later in the forecast.
Orland California 10 day forecast
 The cold and rainy weather has held back the Almond trees from blooming at their normal time. They are starting to bloom now. There are several varieties of Almond trees with different blooming time frames, such as early and late blooming types of Almond trees.
 The bees need the Almond trees to bloom to gather fresh pollen. It is this large influx of pollen that spurs on bee colonies to make drones. The queen producers in California need the large drone populations to properly mate with the new virgin queens that will be produced. The virgin queens need at least 60 degree weather, to go out on their mating flights. So you can see many things have to click right for queens to be produced in large numbers.
 Here is a video of the Almond trees in California.