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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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Out of Queens

We are sold out of queens at the moment.
We will be getting more on Wednesday June 3rd

Friday, May 29, 2015


The swarm season has started. Strong over wintered colonies are the most susceptible to swarming. A package can swarm if the hive gets crowded.  Most of the field bees, the honey collectors, leave with the swarm. A look in the hive may look like nothing has happened because there still will be a large amount of bees in the hive. When a beekeeper looks in the hive during the day most of the field bees are out foraging and are not in the hive. So that is why it doesn't look like nothing has changed. Usually the hive when it swarms, will make very little excess honey.
 Starting in late May, a overwintered hive should be inspected every 7 days to look for swarm cells. The swarm cells should be cut out before they are capped.
 Normally when swarm cells are capped, the bees swarm at this time.
Swarm cells, usually on the bottom of a frame, but can be in other locations.
Strong over wintered colonies should be divided or the bees will divide themselves with a swarm.
 When beekeeper looks in their hive and sees capped swarm cells. Normally there will be no eggs or small larvae on any frames. This is an indicator that the hive has swarmed. Or if the beekeeper looks in the colony and sees very little brood and really can't find swarm cells, the first impulse is to purchase a new queen. The hive could have swarmed. Sometimes the bees tear down the swarm cells and leaves a beekeeper unsure of what has happened. If a new queen is put into the hive and there is a queen in the hive already, the new queen will be killed by the newly hatched queen.
 I think a good way to confirm what is happening is this: Take a frame of eggs and put it in the broodless hive. If the bees start making queen cells on the frames with eggs, we could surmise the hive has no queen. If the frame with eggs develops normally, the assumption is that a queen is present and has not started to lay yet

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Second box and what is coming next

Everyone who purchased bees from Nature's Nectar LLC on our April 11th and April 18th deliveries should be in their second box by now. If the bees have been stubborn and not drawn out the outer frames in the first box, but their population clearly has gotten bigger. I would put on the second box any way. Move a frame they are working with nectar and pollen in the frame, from the first box. up into the second box. As the bees draw frames in the second box, I would exchange the lower undrawn frames with drawn frames and slide drawn frames with no brood on them to the lower box. When the comb is all drawn out in a box you remove one frame and run nine frames in each deep box.
  If the bees are on new foundation the hive still needs to be fed sugar syrup until the bees have finished making comb on all the frames.
 The population in the hives should now be increasing rapidly. Brood will be emerging now daily.
 With the larger population the bees should be able to make comb faster and may use the sugar syrup at a little faster rate.
   The dandelion and fruit blooms are for the most part over with. Right now there is very little nectar out there for the bees to get. The next nectar flow will be Black Locust trees. They should start blooming soon. Hives with large populations may be able to get some honey from this blooming tree if the trees are in the hives foraging range. Make sure honey supers are on all overwintered colonies.
 Upcoming nectar flows: Alfalfa will be available around the first week of June with the first cutting of hay. Alfalfa usually produces more nectar with the second cutting of hay. That usually happens in early July.
 The main nectar flow in the Twin Cities usually begins around the third week of June. Earlier in southern Minnesota later in the northern part of the state.
 When a new hive has finished  drawing out their comb, a reversal is done. Bottom box is moved to the top. Then supers are put on at this time.
 When it is time to do this reversal and you find that the top box is very full and heavy with honey. It will be too late to do the reversal and the hive should be left the way it is and supers added.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Ted talk - The first 21 days of a bees life- From egg to emerging bee
Double click on the video for full screen

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Out of Queens until Wed.

We are sold out of queens.
We are getting another shipment in on Wed, May 27th
There will be  Carniolan's and Italian's marked and unmarked.

Post from the Honey Bee Club of Stillwater

Bees' beers a-brewin'!

Big news from Brewmaster Nic Grau at Maple Island Brewery, 225 Main St N, in Stillwater, MN. He has brewed a firkin (10 gallons) of Kolsch (a white German beer) with crushed rose hips and a pound of wildflower honey from Betsy, as well as a full 250 gallon batch of ESB - now known as "ESB-hive" with 60 pounds of honey from Jim and Wendy at Nature's Nectar. The firkin is about half gone as of 5/20/15 with great customer reviews. The ESB-hive is conditioning in the fermenter and will be available soon. Check the Maple Island website for its release date. No growlers of the Kolsch because it's a small batch, but consider sipping some honey infused local beers from Nic at Maple Island while you enjoy springtime along the St. Croix!
Cheers, from Betsy!  http://www.mapleislandbrewing.com

Link to Honey Bee Club of Stillwater Blog

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This cold blast and chilled brood

This last remnants of early spring is on its way out. The cold weather may have affected your colony. In the warm days preceding the cold snap the bees had expanded their brood area in the hive. Eggs and brood are becoming widespread. Most beekeepers should have their second boxes on by now. The cold may have caused the bees to go into a tighter cluster. This may have pulled them off some of the brood. It would not be surprising to see the bees in the up coming days hauling dead brood out of the hive. Or if you see some dying larvae in your hive it is not a disease. It is chilled brood. Chilled brood happens when the bees can't cover all of their brood in cold conditions. It also happens when beekeepers in early spring doing hive inspections, put their brood boxes on end instead of parallel with the ground. A cold breeze can whistle through the box and chill the brood in the frames. Keeping the box parallel with the ground helps prevent this from happening.
Chilled brood can set a colony back a little but the bees will recover soon.