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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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dunn County Beekeeping Class

The Dunn County Beekeepers and the UW Extension will host an "Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping" workshop from 8am to 4pm on Feb 16 in Menomonie. Cost is $48 per person and $8 for each additional family member.
Fee includes lunch. Mitchel and Fran Wayne attended this workshop last year and found it very good. Registration deadline is Jan 3. For more information call 715-232-1636 This should be helpful if you know of anyone who is
just getting started in Beekeeping.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What is happening right now in a hive

I have had a few calls of some concerned beekeepers about their hives. So to help with that here is some background of what is happening in the hive.
Right now the bees should have no brood in the hive. The bees are in the lower box of a two deep colony and the middle box of a 3 deep colony. If a beekeeper opened their colony right now and looked at the top box there should be no bees present. But if you peered down deep you might be able to see the cluster in the lower box. If a colony has a large amount of stores the bees may be down deep and the only way to know they are there is to rap the side of the hive and listen.
The snow we have received is a bonus for helping to winter the bees. It should provide a little more insulation.
It is not uncommon to see some bees flying out of the hive and dying in the snow in front of the colony. This will go on all winter. The hive started winter with 50,000 bees. If by March 1 there is 20,000 left, that would be considered a nice overwintered colony. So 30,000 bees have to die and go somewhere. That somewhere is either the bottom board or in the snow in front of the hive.
In late winter after the snow is melting back some the snow in front of the colony, it will be covered with dead bees. This is normal.
I did have a beekeeper in yesterday and said his bees were dying in droves and dwindling down to nothing. Could be a virus at work there.
Frost at the entrance of the top entrance hole on a cold day is a sign that the bees are alive and the vapor of their respiration is frosting up the hole. Again this is normal.
It is best to leave the bees alone and check them in Feb to see if they are alive.

Slide show by Jerry Linser

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The blizzard blast

All the snow we have received should be a good thing. The snow should cover most of the bee hives and insulate them against the bitter windchill that will follow this storm. The bitter wind that drives into a colony really seems to have a negative effect on the bees. Some natural insulation will help.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bee Classes

Now is a good time to sign up for a bee class. They can fill up fast. Having a good foundation of beekeeping knowledge helps for success.
University of Minnesota March 12 - 13, 2011:

Backyard Beekeeping taught by Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko
8-Thursday nights starting Feb 10 - March 31st.