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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Monday, March 30, 2020

Bee Pickup Information and Pickup Schedule


Bee Pick up Schedule for 2020: ****READ THIS WHOLE POST!****

The FIRST pick up is SOLD OUT.  We have some extra bees on the second pick up, so if you need bees, call ASAP to 651-242-2233 to place your order.  If you mail in the order you will be too late.  We will discontinue taking bee orders on April 1st for the second delivery.


Arrival dates for the first and second pick up are APRIL 7th – First Delivery and around April 10th - Second Delivery.  Please note, these could be subject to change.  Check this blog every day because the date can still change.  

Check the blog before coming to pick up.  The bees are scheduled to arrive sometime on these days. The arrival time is not known so please watch the blog for an announcement that we are ready to distribute packages. No bees will be distributed prior to announcement on blog. Do not come here before it is announced that the bees are ready to pick up. You will be asked to leave.  You are not allowed to park on the road and wait.

ADHERE TO THE PICK-UP SCHEDULE.  Due to COVID-19 we will have fewer workers on site, so it is even more important to follow the pickup schedule.  Please do not call and request to come at another time frame.  I know this maybe inconvenient, but we all need to work together to keep each other safe and keep this as seamless as possible.  This schedule is to keep traffic at a minimum and in doing so, there will be less people on site. 

UPON PICK UP DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE.  Give us your name, and we will place your bees in the vehicle for you.  This is for everyone’s safety.  Prepare ahead of time, legibly write the name of the person whose order is being picked up with black sharpie on a piece of paper and put it on your window.  This way, you can keep your window rolled up.  You can also write what additional items you are purchasing.  Do not hand cash or check to the people loading bees and product into your vehicle.  We have a separate crew designated to handle the money that will not be handling the product.  They will come to you.
The following will be items available for purchase when you pick up your bees.  These are cash and check only.  We will not accept credit cards.  If you use cash, BRING THE EXACT AMOUNT OF CASH so currency doesn’t need to be returned to you.  This is an additional safety measure so please comply.  These prices include sales tax so you can prepare prior to pick up.
$7.00 - 1 Gallon Feeder Pail
$6.00 – Feeder pail insulation
$5.00 – Queen Cage Holder
$9.00 – 2 pack pollen patties
$30.00 – 10 pack pollen patties
$80.00 – 40lb pollen patties
$35.00 – 2.5 gal Pro-Sweet
$55.00 – 5 gal Pro-Sweet

Pickup time will go by the first initial of your last name:  This year the alphabet will be spread out in TWO days.  This is due to Covid-19 as we will have fewer workers on site.

FIRST PICK UP TUESDAY April 7th & SECOND PICK UP April 11th - Pick up Schedule:

L       7:30 – 8:30
M      8:30 – 9:30
N-O   9:30 – 10:30
P       10:30 – 11:30
CREW LUNCH 11:30-12:30
R      12:30 - 1:30
S       1:30 - 2:30
T-V   2:30 - 3:30
W-Z  3:30 – 4:30
Open Time (If the schedule is not possible) 4:30 – 7pm


FIRST PICK UP WEDNESDAY April 8th & SECOND PICK UP April 12th - Pick up Schedule:

A       7:30 – 8:30
B        8:30 – 9:30
C        9:30 – 10:30
D-E    10:30 – 11:30
CREW LUNCH 11:30-12:30
F-G    12:30 - 1:30
H      1:30 - 2:30
I-J     2:30 - 3:30
K      3:30 – 4:30
Open Time (If the schedule is not possible) 4:30 – 7pm

The OAKDALE Store is CLOSED during bee pick up.  If you need equipment, please plan ahead and get those items picked up before the store is closed.








Sunday, March 29, 2020

Nature's Nectar LLC - First Delivery of Bees, Updated Again


Make a sign for your window on bee pickup day. We can get it ready for you easier. The price of all the items will be coming very soon

 Nature's Nectar LLC called to tell me that their first delivery of bees will be coming in sometime in the first week of April. Dates are not solid as of this morning. More information will be published later today or tomorrow morning.
 The second delivery of bees may follow soon after the first delivery.
Because of the COVID-19 we are trying to minimize exposure to our customers and our workers. When you pickup:
  • Stay in your car
  • Make a paper up written with a dark marker with your name and what else you want to purchase. Be ready to hold this up so we can see it.
  • Have exact cash or check with you. We would rather not have to give change back.
  • Make sure your vehicle is empty and cleaned out so the bees go in the vehicle quickly

Friday, March 27, 2020

What I should be doing with my bees



 Right now the overwintered colonies are on their spring time build up. Not a huge amount of work to do today. But pretty soon our workload will be increasing.
In the short term winter covers can still be on. We will have a warm day it looks like on Monday. But then it cools off a bit. I look at the extended forecast and I think by April 10th the winter covers could be removed.
 We should now be starting weekly inspections. We will be looking at food stores. If a hive has three frames of honey in the same box the bees are in, that should be enough food for easily two weeks. Usually a lift of the box will tell us by the weight of the box, if the hive needs to be fed or not.
 Pollen patties should be checked weekly to see if more are needed. Beekeepers need to stay on top of the pollen patties. We don't want the patties to run out before placing another one on the hive.
 On Monday it is supposed to be warm out. A hive could be knocked down and we can do some spring cleaning. When breaking down a colony in the spring, do not put a box up on end. If there is a breeze, the wind can whistle through the box. The brood may get chilled and die. So keep the brood boxes parallel to the ground. I usually turn my telescoping cover upside down and put a brood box across the wooden edges of the cover while I am working on the hive.  
  The bottom board may be full of debris, when the hive is broke down, bring a box out with you, clean of the bottom board into the debris box. The dead bees have a lot of nitrogen in their carcasses. Dumping them in the bee yard will give the weeds more energy to grow and may attract critters. Dump the debris away from the beeyard.
  Total food assessment can be done at this time. Each box can be judged for weight. A frame or two of honey can be moved to the box where the bees are if needed. But, don't give the bees too many frames of honey. The queen should have five or six of relatively empty frames to lay on. There will be some minor nectar flows going on before the dandelions bloom, so the bees will bring in some nectar. There will not be enough nectar coming in to sustain a strong colony. So watch the food stores. Feed syrup if needed, do not over feed.
 If the overwintered colony is strong a reversal could be done at this time. If the colony is weak, it maybe too early to reverse. A reversal will give the bees an opportunity to expand their brood nest.
Reverse like this:
On a three deep colony, boxes are numbered.
Existing              Reversed
1    top                      3 bottom
2    middle                1 top
3    bottom                2 middle
Two deep reversal is simple:
1                               2
2                               1
Keep a pollen patty on the box where the bees are, you can put a 1/2 a pollen patty on the top box after the reversal.
The winter cover can go back on for the short term.
Colonies are building, doing reversals and keeping pollen on will increase hive populations. This will bring give us a strong colony when we can do a divide. Divides usually happen in May, or when we have eight frames of brood and bees. 
 Last remark, beekeepers cannot do a walk away split reliably in MN or WI until early June. Drone populations are not large enough for proper mating until around June 10th.
 Trying to make your own queen in the month of May is usually a waste of good brood.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Package Bees - Order now

If you need package bees you need to order NOW. Do not send in anymore mail orders. Call them directly. 651-242-2233

Treating for Mites this time of year

Apivar comes in a foil pack. 10 strips to a pack.

Some beekeepers are thinking mite treatment as we are coming into spring. Normally overwintered colonies should be treated for mites before spring divides happen in May.
 Right now it is too cold for using Formic Acid. Plus, when using Formic Acid in the spring, care is needed that the Formic Acid is not applied to a weak colony. Look at and follow the directions from the manufacturer whenever using any mite treatment.
 This time of year, Apivar mite treatment can be applied to any colony. Apivar can be used in cool spring temperatures and will not harm the colony. Apivar is a 42 day treatment. If you are planning spring divides, Apivar should be put on the hive sometime in the next week. This puts the mite treatment being finished by mid May. Perfect timing for doing a divide.
 The strips are put into the brood box where the bees are. Being it is cool, the strips have to be located in the main cluster of bees. If this cluster moves later during the treatment, the strips may have to be re-positioned. Once the foil package is opened, the strips are active and need to be used.
Apivar FAQ
Here is a YouTube video from the manufacturer:


Monday, March 23, 2020

Installing Package Bees

Here is a couple video's of installing package bees. The first one is with wooden package bee cages. The second one is using plastic package bee cages. Some beekeepers may be getting their bees in wooden cages. Nature's Nectar LLC will be getting their bees in plastic cages. The only difference between the two cages is how the bees are removed from the cage. Double click on video for full screen.
Because of the lack of bee meetings, if you have any questions about these video's please comment on their YouTube page and I will answer your questions.




Friday, March 20, 2020

Bee Delivery Update from Nature's Nectar LLC


With the breaking news of COVID-19 constantly developing, I wanted to reach out and provide an update about the bee pick up and how we are approaching the situation at Nature’s Nectar, LLC.  Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life.
First and foremost, our hearts go out to anyone who's been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. Our thoughts are especially with those who are sick, to whom we extend our heartfelt wishes for a full recovery. And we're truly inspired by the selfless healthcare workers around the world who are on the front lines working tirelessly to care for people in need.
In regard to the Bee pick up.  At this time, we do not have the pick-up dates.  We will communicate that information as soon as it’s available.  Some things to make note of when you come on site for bee pick up.
·      YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE.  Give us your name, and we will place your bees in the vehicle for you. 
·      ADHERE TO THE PICK-UP SCHEDULE.  We create this schedule to keep traffic at a minimum and in doing so, there will be less people on site.  Again, do not get out of your vehicle.
·      BEE PICK UP LOCATION: 14185 Square Lake Trail, N. Stillwater, MN 55082
The following will be items available for purchase when you pick up your bees.  These are cash and check only.  If you use cash, please try to bring the exact amount so currency doesn’t need to be exchanged.  These prices include sales tax so you can prepare prior to pick up.
$7.00 - 1 Gallon Feeder Pail
$6.00 – Feeder pail insulation
$5.00 – Queen Cage Holder
$9.00 – 2 pack pollen patties
$30.00 – 10 pack pollen patties
$80.00 – 40lb pollen patties
$35.00 – 2.5 gal Pro-Sweet
$55.00 – 5 gal Pro-Sweet

We have an amazing group of volunteers that assist us with the bee pick up.  We want to reassure you that we are taking steps to protect the health and safety of our volunteers, you our customers and the community we serve.

Our store in Oakdale will continue to be open to serve our customers.  We will be wearing masks and gloves to protect our customers and ourselves.  Please consider taking precautions as well if you decide to come into the store. 

Thank you for your continued support.  We appreciate you very much!

Sincerely,
Tom & Jessica Minser
651-242-2233
tom@naturesnectaronline.com