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, July 27, 2009

The Silence of the Bees - about CCD on Public TV

There is a very good tv show on TPT about CCD.
It is a Nature series. The show is what is happening with the bees and CCD.
It has about two showings left. They are at odd times. Set your dvr's or tape them.

Sunday, July 26, 7:00 PM on Channel Image


Monday, July 27, 1:00 AM on Channel Image


Sunday, August 2, 12:00 PM on Channel Image

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Rain

I had a good soaking in Stillwater. My rain gauge said one inch fell. Hopefully this will keep the nectar flow going another two to three weeks.
Spotted Knapweed is blooming all over now. I still see white sweet clover although not as much as before. Purple Loosestrife should be blooming in swampy areas soon. Loosestrife honey has a nice flavor but the honey looks like new motor oil, it has a greenish hue.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nature's Nectar Hours

Nature's Nectar will be closed Wed - Fri. Open Sat regular hours.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Checking supers today

I was out checking supers today.
There are many of my hives with 6 supers on, some with three supers, some with one and some that are not doing very well.
I am going to combine the weak ones trying to salvage some colonies for winter.
The nectar flow is still going. We do need some rain. I am hearing many beekeepers with 3 - 6 supers on. Also reports of new beekeepers that started with a package on foundation have up to 3 deeps and two supers all drawn out and filled with honey.
My swarm hive that I caught and left in one deep. I added my third super today of foundation. It has filled and capped one super, the second super is about half full.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Honey and the comb

Terry McD has some thoughts of honey and the comb that holds the honey.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Swarming is going on again

I have been getting calls of hives swarming. This could be an indication the the nectar flow may be drying up in some areas. More than likely the lack of moisture is having a negative effect on the nectar flow.
Hopefully some rain is in the forecast for the upcoming week and we will see the flow intensify a bit.
I see the basswoods in Stillwater area are in full bloom and clover is still going on. Spotted Knapweed is about ready to bloom.

Terry Mc D's Hive is queenless

Terry checked her parent colony and it was queenless. It was hard to tell if they had swarmed and had made a new queen. By having two colonies she had another option to fall back on. By taking a frame of eggs from the queen right colony to the queenless colony she will be able to confirm if there is a queen present or not.
Checking the frame 4 days later she saw queen cells. This confirmed there was not a queen in the hive. Had she not seen queen cells we would have to assume that a queen is in there but not laying yet.
The next post shows here combining the hives.

Combining a queenless colony with another colony

Terry McD is combining a weak queenless colony with a queen right colony. The resulting colony should be a honey producing powerhouse that she should be on the lookout for swarm cells.
But it is the best way to combine colonies and there is usually no problem with acceptance and very little fighting.

American Foulbrood

I had a beekeeper stop by yesterday with a question. She says her two hives have performed poorly for the last two years and she could not figure out why.
She said she had a deep brood box in the back of her car. We went out and looked through the box. By the time I had pulled the third frame I knew she had American Foulbrood ( AFB ). After further inspection she had 6 of the 9 frames infected with AFB scale.
Both of her colonies had it. The weakest hive had very little bees left was a Carniolan. The stronger hive was a MN - Hyg and was fitting the bill as a disease resistant bee. It still had AFB but was coping with it better.
The solution she was going to follow was to burn all the frames and start over next year with new bees and new comb.
Treating the hive with TM or Tylan does nothing if we don't get rid of the AFB scale. It is the scale that is infectious, and failure to get rid of it does not fix the problem.
I asked her how she thought she got it. She said she didn't use any used equipment ( the most common way to get AFB ) or feed any store bought honey. The most likely scenario is that her bees robbed out a dead or dying colony that were near hers and brought the AFB tainted honey back to her hive. Sometimes the general public will see honey bees and put out honey to " help " them out with food. Honey can have AFB spores in it. That is why we never feed honey to our bees unless it is only our personal honey. AFB spores in honey has no effect on people at all and are not a concern.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bob Sitko Update

Bob continues to improve. He is at a rehab facility. His strength is getting better and is walking short distances.
At this time Bob is not taking phone calls or visitors.
Cards are deeply appreciated.
Bob Sitko
13042 N 10th St
Stillwater, MN

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Nectar Flow

The nectar flow appears to be booming. Flowering plants in the Stillwater area are everywhere.
I am seeing yellow and white sweet clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and many other wild flowers.
My Basswood trees will be blooming today or tomorrow.
Beekeepers need to stay on top of the nectar flow.
Keeping supers on ahead of the bees is very important. Failure to do this will leave the brood nest honey bound. Bees have a hoarding instinct, the more room they have the harder they will try to fill the supers. Not putting on enough supers can also cut the possible yield. Whenever a beekeeper checks the supers at the end of the season. If all of the supers are jammed packed with capped honey it is safe to say the beekeeper would have got more honey if the room would have been there.
I still have new beekeepers telling me that they won't be putting supers on because you won't get honey your first year. This year is different. If their deeps are drawn out, throw the supers on, the bees might give up a few supers of honey.
I have been getting reports of beekeepers with two to three supers full already. Many of these are beekeepers with a package started on drawn comb.

Friday, July 3, 2009