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, July 23, 2016

Hive Scale

Paul from Warner Nature Center shared this hive scale photo. The yellow line is the honey weight. You can see the hive weight increased from about 110 lbs on 6/29 to around 150 lbs on 7/7. Notice the rise and fall of the hive weight everyday. As the bees bring in nectar, the bees fan the hive to evaporate water in the nectar. The weight of the hive changes daily until the supers are filled out. The weight then stays pretty much constant after that. Maybe falling slightly. Paul explains that it was not for a lack of nectar flow. The supers were all full and the bees stopped collecting. He was aware of the supers being full.
Scale hive at Warner Nature Center from 6/29 through 7/14

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MN Raised Queens For Sale, Available Now

Warner Nature Center has a limited number of Minnesota bred queens available for sale.  These queens are second generation Minnesota bred queens that have survived the winter.  They were naturally bred approximately three weeks ago and are laying eggs.  The queens have already been marked (white) and are available for $35.00.  To arrange for delivery either call or email:
Paul Liedl

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hot Weather, Hot in the Hive, Cool at Nature's Nectar LLC

FYI: We have installed air conditioning in our sales room.

This hive was overcrowded earlier in the year. But it is a good pic for a hot hive. The hive is hot and bees are hanging outside

How does the hot weather affect the bees?
When it gets really hot, the bees will hang out on the front of the hive. This is normal.
  Inside the hive it is packed with bees. Bees are hanging on and covering the frames. With the large population of bees it is hard to cool the hive. To compensate for the heat, collection of water increases. Water is placed throughout the hive and the bees will fan their wings to create air currents. The air currents evaporate the water and have a cooling effect similar to a swamp cooler that are used in the drier western states for air conditioning. The weather that is coming has high heat and humidity. The high humidity make evaporating the water in the hive more difficult and the cooling effect from evaporating the water is not as great. So to help cool the hive, bees will move out of the hive to reduce crowding on the frames. The bees can cover the front of the hive, cluster under the front of the bottom board, and/or cluster underneath the front edge of the telescoping cover.
Taking measures like lifting covers can make cooling the hive harder. Bees set up air currents in the hive by fanning. Creating a large opening may make it harder for the bees to cool the hive.
When the temperatures cool of the bees will move back inside.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's Blooming on the Browns Creek Trail

My wife and I went for a walk down the Browns Creek Trail in Stillwater this morning. We went a few miles, beautiful morning for a walk. Breezy plus no bugs. We were looking at all the flowers blooming. Many summer flowers in full bloom or some coming on strong in early stages of bloom. Take Manning Ave to McKusick Road. head east to Neal Ave. Take Neal Ave South about one block. There is a large parking area there and a Stillwater park with a big kid play structure.  We got on the trail and headed west. It is about a mile to the Manning Ave Bridge. I am being descriptive because they are working on a new subdivision of 55 homes. At that point it is a perfect place if you have any tykes that like trucks and big equipment to safely view the construction from an elevated viewpoint. But I did take some pics of what is blooming that was my true focus, not the loss of pollinator habitat.
Bee Balm at my house. This is a great pollinator plant. Also used by butterflies and Humming birds

At the MN Hobby beekeepers on Tuesday night. An hour before the meeting two U of MN scientists Gary and Mike go thru colonies and explain what is going on. They answered questions and demonstrated mite testing. The over wintered colonies they tested all had high mite counts. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what is happening in a bee hive.

Queen Ann's Lace (big white flower ) I did not see any bees working it. Yellow  flower is Birds Foot Trefoil, purple flower is Spotted Knapweed

White Sweet Clover and Rudbeckia is the yellow flower

Sumac and Rudbeckia

Goldenrod in bloom already. We just saw one plant. Normally it is widespread in August



There goes the neighborhood

Monday, July 11, 2016

Checked my bees today

I checked my bees today. Just looking for conditions of supers. Several of my hives have four supers on them a couple have five. A few have two with nothing going on in the supers. These hives must have swarmed.
 Most of my hives were packages this year. The best producing colonies are the overwintered colonies.
 Bees have a hoarding instinct. Keep ahead of the bees with empty supers. If there is an empty box on the hive the bees will try to fill it. If the bees fill up the supers and the nectar flow is still going on, they may just stop collecting nectar. Because there in no where to put it. If you pull off partially full supers at the end of the season you can say you got everthing the bees could collect. If all the supers are full when you pull them off a hive, you probably could have gotten more honey.
At this time the nectar flow is still going on.
 Driving around Stillwater, I have seen a new batch of White Sweet Clover starting to bloom.
Spotted Knapweed is also blooming around the Stillwater area as I am sure it is blooming across the metro area. Spotted Knapweed is a noxious weed that should not be propagated. But the weed does produce some nice honey.
Spotted Knapweed can be confused with Thistle, but on close inspection it easy to tell the difference.
Spotted Knapweed Flower

Spotted Knapweed plant

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) is asking bee keepers to let them know where their hives are located so they can mark them on field maps and avoid them when treating for adult mosquitoes. MMCD is aware that beekeepers sometimes move their hives to more productive locations, so they’re asking beekeepers to keep in touch. MMCD will work to avoid your hives regardless of where you place them.

Also, the folks at MMCD aren’t the only ones who use insecticides that have the potential to affect bees. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider voluntarily registering your hive location with Driftwatch, a free service that lets bee keepers communicate with registered pesticide applicators of all stripes. Start here if you want to register your bees with Driftwatch. https://driftwatch.org/