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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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Plastic Bee Cage and Package bee installation

The bees will be in a plastic bee cage. The bees need to be dumped out the end of the cage.

Installing package bees

Monday, March 20, 2017

Last Call for package bees

This is the last call for package bees.
The drop dead date is this Thursday, March 23rd, 12:00 noon.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cold Weather

There is going to be some unseasonably cold weather the next few days. It could be a colony killer. It may be a good idea to put a pail of syrup on the hive.
 If the colony can take it down, the bees will put the syrup around their brood. Having syrup around the brood will make it easy for the bees to survive this cold snap.
 If bees have to move a frame or two away from the brood to get honey, they may not be able to get enough honey to keep the brood warm and the colony may starve.
 The feeder will be above the colony and more than likely will not freeze. The heat of the colony should keep it liquid.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

WEI Beekeeping Class Rescheduled

A Year in the LIFE of BEES

Reschedule Start Date and REDUCED PRICES


Register by or before March 22 for Year-Long 9-month Beekeeping Class
First Class Sunday, March 26 1:00-4:00 and every 4th Sunday thereafter

Where: WEI Amador Hill Farm and Orchard
When:  First Class March 26, 1:00-4:00
Duration:  one class every 4th Sunday, March through November
Instructor:  Mike Mackiewicz
Registration:  Full Training $200; individual class $35

REGISTER HERE for entire 9-Month Training, first class March 26 and eight more training classes on the 4th Sunday of the month. Tuition:  $200

REGISTER HERE for single class  ($35 per class)

First Class March 26 (1:00-4:00):  Introduction to Beekeeping and Bee Hive Box Building. Hands-on: bring hammers, paintbrushes and your creativity.

We have rescheduled the beginning of WEI's new Bee Keeping Class
New Start Date: March 26.
Registration options:
Full Tuition for 9 classes: $20
Individual classes: $35
For questions about the curriculum, contact Mike 763-202-7235

For questions about registration, contact Jerry 651-583-0705
Check out our Website
Farm & Main Office: 15715 River Road, North Branch, MN 55056
(651) 583-0705

Monday, March 6, 2017

Planting for honey bees

Image result for sainfoin
A field of Sainfoin in bloom

If you are thinking on planting for a honey crop, consider Sainfoin. This is a legume. It grows well on marginal well drained soil. I do not think it would fare well on clay or wet areas. Planning for planting this should be done now. Locate the seed and figure out how you are going to plant it. Being it is a legume I would think that deer would also like it. Sainfoin may fit well in a deer food plot. It may be better than clover being it is tough and can reseed itself.
Here is an article that was in BeeCulture magazine two years ago.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Hours

March Hours:
Wednesday   Noon - 6 pm
Thursday       8 am - noon
Friday           Noon - 4 pm
Saturday        9 am - 3 pm
or by appointment.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Late winter hive work

Put the pollen patties right where the bees are. They need to be able to touch the patty. Leave the wax paper on both sides of the patty. Replace if the patty starts getting hard or moldy.
We are now turning the corner on winter and transitioning into spring. Right now there should be brood in a live hive. The queen should be laying. The amount of brood can vary widely from hive to hive. Several factors can influence this, available pollen in the hive, hive strength, room for queen to lay.
 Sometime this week, pollen patties can be put on the hive. Once pollen patties go on, they should be checked every ten days or so. If they are being consumed, replacements should be offered as needed. Do not let the colony run out of patties. This can set them back and brood could perish from lack of protein. A steady supply of pollen assures good hive development. Poor protein supply results in poor quality bees that will have shorter lives and improper glandular development.
 Natural pollen collection can be interrupted by an extended cool or wet weather. Keeping pollen patties on the hive assures always having a protein source for the bees. I leave pollen patties on the hive until the dandelions come out. Then the fruit bloom comes with fruit trees and ornamental flowering trees. After the fruit bloom there is usually a dearth of pollen. I normally put pollen patties back on from mid May until early June. Package bees will need pollen on the hive from the time they are installed into a hive, until early June.
 The introduction of pollen into the hive will kick the hive into more brood production. More brood means greater consumption of honey stores. 
 Feeding sugar syrup or ProSweet may be required to keep the colony alive.
A beekeeper needs to judge whether feeding is necessary. Lifting up the top box should give you a clue if feeding is required. If a groan is involved in the lifting process, there is probably enough food for now, in the top box. If the top box seems light, give the colony a pail of syrup.
 The problem that beekeepers run into is, overfeeding. This is a common problem with spring feeding. If a beekeeper feeds pail after pail of syrup on an overwintered colony, the bees will fill their hive with syrup. This will leave no place for the queen to lay and the hives population may suffer.
 When feeding package bees or when drawing out comb on new foundation, feeding needs to be constant until the comb is all drawn out.
 Not much else to do yet. Keep the winter covers on for another couple weeks.