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, April 30, 2016

Open Sunday 3 pm - 4 pm

We will be open Sunday, May 1st,  3 pm - 4 pm for queen sales.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Queens Have Arrived

Queen will be shipped in a mini cage with a candy tube.
Queens have arrived, open noon - 6 pm today, Thursday.
I will be getting weekly shipments of queens through the month of May.
There will be a 5 queen limit this first week. If the demand turns out to be too strong I may have to lower the limit on the number of queens per purchase.
 If you don't get what you want, there will be another large shipment in a week.
I want to be fair to all my customers and make sure everyone has an opportunity to get a queen.

Monday, April 25, 2016

What is happening now on the bee front

Right now the second delivery beekeepers should be checking for queen acceptance (looking for eggs) in the next day or two.
 The spring is running about 7 - 10 days ahead of schedule. Dandelions are blooming everywhere around the metro area. Normally they bloom in the first week of May.

Wild Plums in bloom. They smell wonderful. I like just to stand and take in the fragrance and watch and listen to the bees working the plum flowers.

 I was driving down 94 this afternoon and noticed wild Plum trees starting to bloom. Plums are usually the first fruit trees to bloom. So the fruit bloom is coming on strong. Other fruit trees will be blooming soon. There will be widespread good quality pollen available wherever fruit trees are. The challenge will be cool temperatures and the bees being able to get out and pollinate.
The weather forecast is for cool temperatures. Tonight, lows in the 30's. I don't think we will see a frost, so good news to the fruit growers. This cooler weather may chill some brood on any outlying frames.
 When it gets cold the bees cluster will contract, this keeps the core of the colony warm. But sometimes the bees can pull off outside frames and the brood on the fringes can chill and die. So if you start seeing dead partially developed pupae in front of your hives in the next few days, you can guess this is what happened.
This cooler weather looks like it will be sticking around for the next 10 days or so. The bees may have a harder time getting out to collect pollen. The highs may be in the upper 50's and low 60's. But the window for pollen collection may only be a couple hours a day, if it is raining there may be no pollen collecting at all. Pollen patties should be on all colonies for the short term.
 After the fruit bloom is over, there is usually a dearth in pollen for two - three weeks. Pollen patties should be on during this time. The pollen patties will help keep colony populations increasing as the nectar flow approaches.
 Divides are happening as soon as queens are available. The cooler weather may slow divides down a bit. But over the next three weeks divides are the order for strong over wintered colonies. If a strong colony is not divided they will swarm for sure and that will negatively impact the hives honey collection.
Nature's Nectar LLC does buy divides if a beekeeper has had good wintering success and does not want any more colonies.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to do a divide

I have heard of swarming starting to happen. If you have strong overwintered colonies, swarm control measures should in effect. Going through the hive and looking for swarm cells. Remove the swarm cells before the bees swarm. If a hive swarms a beekeeper does not want that virgin queen to emerge from the cell. Right now in the upper midwest, the odds of a virgin queen getting properly mated are slim to none. If a virgin queen gets loose in the hive and you try to requeen the hive, the virgin queen will kill the queen you just paid $30.00 for every time. Don't let it get to that point, remove the swarm cells.
swarm cells on a frame
How to do a divide  Click this link for dividing a colony. It lays out the procedure of how to do a divide.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Add Supers? Dandelions are on the horizon

Dandelions, we love them.
Dandelions are starting to pop across the metro area. This is the first major nectar flow of the year. If you have a strong overwintered colony, you need to put supers on now. A strong colony that has not been divided is packed with bees and brood. Failure to put supers on can lead to a hive that is honey bound. All available cells will be full of honey and the queen will have no place to lay. This will affect the hives population in a negative way.
 It is not uncommon for a strong hive to fill two supers of honey from dandelions.
New supers without any drawn comb should be put on without a queen excluder. Check them every three days. Once the bees start making comb and putting in a little nectar on a couple frames, slip the queen excluder under the supers.


 Queens for divides will be here in a week.
 I do queens here right now for package bee acceptance problems.

What do eggs look like, New brood in frames

Frame of new comb and larvae from tiny to big

Frame with eggs and pollen. The pollen is the yellow stored in the cells. Nectar is on the top, you can see it shimmering in the cells. The eggs are white and very skinny in the center of the cells. Double click on the photo to full size it. You may have to look closely at the pic to see the eggs.