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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Friday, August 28, 2015

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic Acid is a recently approved mite treatment for Varroa Destructor. Oxalic Acid is a late October mite treatment used when no brood is present in the hive.
The mite treatment calander goes like this:
 Treat for Varroa in August or early Sept. Use Miteaway Quick Strips, ApiGuard or ApiVar strips. These mite treatments have good results. Then in late October treat with Oxalic Acid. The late treatment will kill any mites that have reinfested the hive during the robbing period of September and early October. When bees try to rob honey during those times, mites can hop off the robber bees and then reinfest your treated colonies and you may get a high level of mites again.
 If you wait to treat past the August to early September treatment window the bees will be getting damaged by Varroa. The longer you wait to treat, the more damage Varroa does to the bees. Waiting to treat in October, your bees may be so far gone they will die over the course of the winter.
How to apply Oxalic Acid. This is a great article from Randy Oliver at his website: Oxalic Acid Dribble Method
 Randy's bees are in California so after reading his article you need to form your own conclusions of how effective it would be in northern climates.
 The dribble method may not be an option if it is cold in late October. You may not to want to get your bees wet.
The other method is the Vaporizer Method.

Nature's Nectar LLC does now carry the Varrox Vaporizers. The vaporizers are widely used in Europe. The following video is put out by the Varrox manufacturer. Double click on the video for full screen.

Varrox Vaporizer

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye weed is blooming around the metro. A pollinator and honeybee favorite.
I have seen it blooming on the Brown Creek State Trail in Stillwater
Joe Pye Weed photo by D. Ulvenes

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Goldenrod the last flow?

Goldenrod is blooming around the metro area. I am not sure if there is a flow there or not. I see my bees have robbing behavior and not really on any Goldenrod. Robbing behavior happens when there is no nectar flow. Maybe as the week progresses the Goldenrod will still produce some nectar. Maybe the Goldenrod is producing nectar in your locale.
 You know if you are getting Goldenrod honey if the hive has an odor of wet sweat socks. The odor is temporary, as soon as the honey ripens the wet sweat sock odor goes away.
 This nectar flow is the last major flow of the season, The only other big possible flow a beekeeper may get is an uncut alfalfa field.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mite Treatments

Miteaway Quick Strips MAQS( Formic Acid):
Miteaway quick strips are a 7 day mite treatment. They cannot be put on if the temperature is over 84 degrees for the first three days of treatment. Honey supers can still be on the hive. The new label now says, to stay upwind of treatment strips.  Rubber gloves must be used when handling the strips. Water should be with you in case of eye contact, water is used for flushing  purposes.
MAQS are sold in 2 hive, 10 hive and 25 hive treatment packs. It does not keep. Purchase only what you need.
Always read and follow the manufacturers label instructions when using MAQS.

Mite Away Quick Strips

Apiguard (Thymol Gel): 
Apiguard is a 30 day mite treatment. Supers must be off the hive. The odor of the thymol will damage any honey in the supers with its strong odor. The thymol gel is packaged in foil tins. Peeling back the cover exposes the thymol gel. One foil pack is put on the hive for 15 days then another tin for 15 days.  A wooden frame is needed to lift the hive box 3/4" so the bees can have access to the tin. Apiguard needs to be put on as early as possible in late summer. As the daily temperatures cool into the 60's Apiguard becomes less effective. Available in 5 hive treatment packs, 10 tins per package. It keeps for two years.  Always read and follow the manufacturers label instructions when using Apiguard.

Apiguard application instructions

ApiVar ( Amitraz):
ApiVar is a strip that carries the miticide Amitraz. The treatment is two strips per brood box. Supers must be removed when using ApiVar. Rubber gloves are used when handling this ApiVar strips. Apivar is a contact strip. The bees must come in contact with the strip. This is a 6 week treatment. ApiVar comes in a ten strip or 50 strip foil package. Always read and follow the manufacturers label instructions when using Apivar.

Apivar Application Instructions

All of these treatments are effective against Varroa Destructor.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hive Light On Winter Stores?

Mass feeding in late summer is easy. Three one gallon feeder pails right on the frames.

Three one gallon feeder pails covered with a deep. In late summer the bees will empty the three pails in about five days.
This time of year a beekeeper needs to check the hive for winter stores. If the colony had swarmed earlier in the summer, the hive might have missed the nectar flow and need some feeding. Waiting to feed later in the fall does have some pitfalls. If it cools off, the bees won't take the feed very well. Feeding spurs brood production. Normally, it is best to get the brood production to stop by late October. By feeding late, there may be brood in a colony past Thanksgiving. Having brood in a colony late, increases food consumption and colonies can starve easier in late winter.
 Right now the top brood box on a hive should pretty much be full of honey. If your colony does not have a full box of honey, feeding should start now. Don't wait to feed. Remove your supers.
 The bees will take feed very well right now. I would move full frames of honey to the outside of the top box and empty frames to the center. The bees will fill up the center frames easier that way. Feed heavy syrup 2:1 sugar and water or feed ProSweet bee feed.
  On the other hand, if your hive swarmed and all of your brood area is full of honey. You may need to extract out a few of the frames in the bottom box so the queen has room to lay.