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 21, 2011

Open Christmas Eve

Nature's Nectar will be open 8 - am until noon on Sat Dec 24th.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nice Winter So Far

The winter has been great for the bees so far. Colonies have had very little stress from cold weather. Still no cold weather on the horizon. I am hoping for some snow for some insulation for when the cold finally shows.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter is coming

The weather coming next week is about to get our attention. High around 20 and lows hovering around zero. Now is the time to cover the hives and put on the moisture boards, if it hasn't been done yet. The following criteria is a summery of where we should be with the hive.
  • The hive has a young queen that has not been through a winter yet.
  • Hopefully everyone has 9 full frames of honey in their top box for winter stores.
  • A 1 " hole is drilled in the top box for winter exit.
  • Entrance reducer in with wide opening facing up.
  • The hives are protected from north and west, if this is a problem, hay bales can be stacked around 3 sides for a windbreak and a little more insulation.
  • Right now if you opened up the hive and took off the inner cover there should be no bees there. They should be down in the lower box. Maybe you can barely see them way down below the top frames. If bees are clustered under the inner cover there is not enough honey in the hive and they will more than likely not make it through the winter.
There is not much that can be done if the hive doesn't have enough food. If they are close to the proper amount, a candy board or sugar can be added to the top box that may save the day. Feeding syrup is difficult because bees can't get to the syrup, the syrup freezes, or the bees won't drink it because it is cold.
Bees can take on any subzero weather in Jan usually without any difficulties.
The danger period for colony survival is Feb. The queen will start laying by then and several days subzero weather in Feb can kill any colony if they are not on a frame of honey when it hits. The unlucky hive will starve even if honey is a frame away.
A quick peek in the hive before this type of weather hits, a beekeeper can move a frame of honey next to the cluster and possibly prevent the starvation.
For now the bees will be on their own. Hopefully the work we did in the fall will get them to spring and some well deserved pollen patties.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Making Creamed Honey

This is the time of year when I make creamed honey for my holiday gifts. I usually give creamed honey to relatives, co workers, and vendors that purchase honey from me during the year. This gift is always well received.
Creamed honey is easy to make but needs up to two weeks to set up so it is best to make it earlier than later.
Double click on the video for full screen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deer Hunting Tree Stands

This is the time of year to pick up a cheap tree stand. Deer hunting is over and the stands are on sale. These work great for swarm hives. Make sure it is big enough for a deep hive body.
Put up the tree stand in May. Take it down in Aug. I use hive staples to attach a bottom board to a deep hive body. Fill the box with frames. They should have foundation. Drawn comb is attractive to swarms but may fall victim to wax moths or hive beetle.
Set the tree stand at 7 - 8 feet above the ground and put the box on it.
Every time you visit the beeyard a quick glance at the entrance will tell you if a swarm has moved in. Swarms can easily be combined with a weak colony or let them build up and add frames of brood to any colony to increase their numbers.
If a swarm is in the box, care is needed to get it down. It may be heavy with honey. Safely take it down. Have some help to hold a ladder.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Honey bees drinking water

This video is from youtube. I like how you can see the bees drinking with their tongue. Also this is typical how bees find water and drink. The bees find water then tend to congregate in the same area in mass. Also There are two races of bees here. Carniolans and Italians.
A Carniolan flies into camera at :30 and at :46 there is a beach of Carniolans. They have a Grey color to their abdomen instead of Orange like the Italian.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Hours

The bee season has slowed down with the season.
My hours are changing a little. My day job has me working odd hours again and that has me home on Monday afternoons.
Our new hours:
Sat 9 - 2
Mon 2 - 6:30
or by appointment

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pileated Woodpeckers

photos by A J Moses
A fellow beekeeper made a suet feeder to attract Pileated Woodpeckers. He was successful and they came as a pair.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The bee season in review

The latest bee season was a tough year for beekeepers. Definitely testing long term beekeepers resolve.
Wintering success was pretty much average for many beekeepers.
Package bees across the whole country were delayed due to cold weather affecting the ability to breed queens. Queen breeders had good populations of bees but the weather did not accommodate. All the packages were delayed two weeks from their expected delivery dates. Queen deliveries for splits around the country also were delayed. I was fortunate that my supplier was able to give me queens for splits on schedule.
Cool weather persisted all spring. Many overwintered colonies were not able to build up to a dividable colony because of the cold. Hives could not expand their brood nests because they were in a tighter than normal cluster. This kept bee numbers down until into early June before many hives were ready to split.
Package bees while they came late, they were able to build up to a strong hives. There were some bumps in the road though. The cold weather delayed many sources of pollen. Most beekeepers stopped feeding pollen substitute by mid May. While this is a normal time line. This year was different. Pollen was in short supply until almost mid June. Some beekeepers had what they thought was queen failure in late May and early June. The problem was no pollen coming in and queens stopped laying. Putting pollen patties back on immediately fixed the queen problems. The bees gobbled up the patties with a vengeance.
Normally our main nectar flow starts around the third week of June. This year it came late. By this time overwintered colonies were getting big populations. Many were not divided because they were too weak. Now they were ready for the nectar flow. But the flow did not come until July.
So here was the setup. Strong overwintered colonies, old queens in the hives because they were not able to be divided. No nectar flow when the bees were ready. Result, the bees started to swarm, and boy did they swarm. There was also starvation of overwintered colonies. Beekeepers were caught off guard thinking that the nectar flow was going to start and did not watch there honey stores. Strong colonies dropped dead from starvation because of no nectar coming in and beekeepers not realizing what was happening.
Package bees on the other hand, once the pollen started coming in, had the time to build up because of the late flow.
The nectar flow started in July. For the most part there was no Basswood flow. My Basswood trees did not even bloom. The Basswood flow, if it flows, usually brings in large amounts of honey to most beekeepers.
The nectar flow that finally arrived was spotty to almost non existent. Many commercial beekeepers had terrible honey flows. Reports of hive averages of under 30 lbs per hive. Beekeepers in the east metro seemed to have a better season than the west metro and western MN. There were some beeyards that had good honey flows but most did not.
How did the bees react to the poor nectar flows? They swarmed.
I had swarm calls from the general public from late June into Sept. Some beekeepers had bees completely abscond. This usually happens when a hive thinks the outlook for survival is bleak and they pull up stakes for a fresh start.
This was probably a bad decision on their part but they did it anyway.
Then out of the blue Goldenrod starts to bloom. This was the first time in over ten years that I actually got Goldenrod honey. My beeyards smelled like wet sweat socks. That is how I knew the Goldenrod was flowing. The Goldenrod flow saved the butt of many of us for getting some excess honey and winter stores.
Even with the Goldenrod some beekeepers did not fill up their hives.
Winter food stores were not in the best shape in many colonies. Beekeepers had to feed early and often to get their hives in shape. Some colonies were eating the syrup as fast as it was coming in, making getting hives to winter weight a little more challenging.
Now it seems many beekeepers were reporting low mite loads and with that the outlook for wintering looks good. Most hives seem to have good populations. The beekeepers that were able to get adequate food stores into their hives should hopefully have good wintering success.
The long term weather outlook is more snow than average and cooler temperatures. If the deep snow comes early will be a good thing, the snow will cover the hives and give them an added blanket of insulation.
This past year was definitely a tough year to keep bees. I think many of us are looking for the year ahead and a "normal" beekeeping season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I have received 5 reports of bears tearing up colonies around northern Washington county in the last two days. Two might be the same bear but the rest were not.
The only thing that stops bears is an electric fence with six strands of wires. The bear that nailed my yard got through on a wire that had broken, I found out. I might have nailed it with my weed trimmer.
No electric or poorly maintained electric fence is an open invitation to a feast that is bankrolled by a beekeeper.
Anoka and northern Washington county is bear country according to the DNR.
Also as far south as Hudson on the Wisconsin side of the river.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

One last hurrah before hibernation

The bear came back with a vengeance. Beat up my bear fence.

Wintering preperations

Now the hives are fed and medicated I am waiting for the cold weather to hit before covering my bees. I usually wait until Thanksgiving weekend to cover the hives. If it is going to snow several inches before this time I will cover before the snow hits.
Wintering minimums,
  • The hive needs at least 9 frames of honey in the top box. Bees start the winter in the lower box and move up into the top box in Jan. They will not move down, the honey has to be on top of the bees.
  • There has to be at least 8 frames of bees. This means that when it cools down into the 40's, if you opened a hive there would be 8 frames of adhering bees on both sides of a frame.
  • The hives need a wind break. If the hives are not protected with trees on the north and west, hay bales can be stacked on three sides around the hive for wind protection. The hay can draw mice so mouseguards should be installed.
  • No partially filled supers should be left on top. The bees will move up into these in late winter, consume the honey and starve because they will not move back down to frames of honey that are still in the top deep.
  • Keep the grass short around the hives. This can help keep the mice away from the hive.
  • Moisture boards are a must to absorb moisture from the bees. The board absorbs the water vapor then evaporates it into the air away from the bees.
  • Entrance reducers should be in now with the wide opening exposed.
  • A top entrance needs to be provided for a winter exit. This will let the bees make cleansing flights in winter. Bees are not able to go down in the hive to use the summer entrance.
  • A black winter cover helps warm the hive on sunny days to help the bees move internally to a new frame of honey. It also is a windbreak to buffer the cold winds of winter.
Wintering bees is always a challenge. Doing the right steps can help increase the odds of colony survival. A colony that survives the winter usually can be divided in May and will produce much more honey than a package of bees.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I have received several reports of beekeepers getting hit by bears. Bears are on the move and looking for some easy food before hibernation. A beekeeper about a mile west of me had a bear trash several colonies and many supers of honey. Bear fences do work and they can save your bees. Thinking your dog or the hives are close to the house will stop the bear, just won't happen. They are persistent and will keep coming back.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The weather clock is ticking, Feed now or it may be to late

It is time to stop waiting and feed the bees if they need feeding. The weather is starting to cool as we move into fall. As the temperatures fall so will the ability to add winter stores to a colony of bees.
Colder weather also cools down the syrup on a hive. Bees don't like cold syrup and are reluctant to take it down. The bees also need time to turn 2:1 sugar water to honey and dehumidify the sugar syrup.
A colony needs about 9 frames of honey in the top box and around 4 frames of honey in the box under that for proper winter stores.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The big freeze

The freeze Minnesota just experienced while a relief to hay fever sufferers, did not help the beekeepers.
This was the first time in maybe 15 years I was getting a Golderod flow. The Goldenrod plants seemed very numerous and the blooms seemed very thick. The bees were working it and bringing in nectar and pollen. Two of my beeyards smelled like old sweatsocks. That would be Goldenrod nectar. The honey is a little darker than clover but it has a nice flavor.
The freezing temperature may have killed many nectar and pollen producing plants that would have helped round out the colonies with a little more free food and pollen before sustained cold weather takes over.
As a beekeeper I have to make sure that my colonies have ample stores now, while the bees will still take down syrup. The later in the season it gets, as it starts to cool down the bees seem reluctant to take down cold syrup. Also, feeding spurs brood production. The later feed is on the hive the later brood is in the colony. Feeding into late October means there will be brood in the colony almost until Thanksgiving. Having brood late in the season forces a colony to deplete their winter stores and increases Varroa population.
Feeding now will give them the time to fill up for the winter and if everything goes right, an overwintered colony to divide in the spring.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I pulled my honey today

The weather was hot so I knew it was time to pull my honey. I like to use the heat to my advantage. I use Honey Robber and fume boards to clear the bees out of the supers. Today the Honey Robber was working great. Put the fume board on and in about 7 minutes the top super and most of the time the one below it was free of bees. I pulled off about 45 supers. Some hives had all the supers full. I should have been a little more on top of it and added a super three weeks ago but I didn't have the time.
The flow around the Stillwater area was seems to be the best in the metro area after hearing stories from other beekeepers around the seven county metro area.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pulling honey and the weather

The next three days will be the best for pulling honey using fume boards and Honey Robber. Honey Robber works great when it is upper 80's. The bees leave the supers very quickly. I am pulling all of my honey tomorrow.
Later this week the highs are going to be around 60 degrees so I will try to feed as soon as the supers come off and the bees should take it down fast. Maybe I can get my fumigillan treated syrup done before the cold weather hits.
The cold weather will make some mite treatments not work very well. If is stays cool using Hopguard may be the better choice for mites because it is a contact strip and temperatures don't matter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

New fall hours

I have finished working my long days Woo-Hoo. That was a grind mid May to Sept 1. That is how I spent my summer I hope everyone had a great summer.
Now that I will be around more, my hours will be expanded a little bit more.
Sept - Oct hours
Monday-Wed-Fri - 4:30 - 7 pm, Sat 9 - 4 pm

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Change in Labor day hours

We will be closed labor day weekend. Fri - Monday
We will be open Thursday Sept 1st from 1 pm until 5:30 pm


I am sold out of ProSweet until after labor day.

Supers being pilfered

I am hearing that many beekeeper colonies are light on honey. The bees in many of these colonies have been going up into the supers and removing the honey and bringing it down into the brood nest. Left with this behavior the bees will clean out the supers in short order and bring all of the honey down into the brood boxes. So some beekeepers are pulling their honey off before they have none left.
Some beekeepers I have talked to that have been feeding say that the bees have been emptying one gallon feeder pails in a little more than two days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I have a few colonies that are light on honey, some very light. The bees look healthy and all have strong populations. One colony has gone up into the supers and pulled all the honey down into the brood area because they were so light. Now is the time that I have to feed my light colonies.
I have been feeding ProSweet bee feed instead of sugar. Sugar has been going up in price. I see it in the $0.54 - $0.60 a lb range. That is around $30 for 50 lbs. ProSweet is selling for $32.00 a pail and I get a $7.50 food grade pail included in that price.
I have to mix heavy syrup by hand till it all liquefies. Then the bees have to take it down, dry it out, turn it to honey. With ProSweet, the bees take it down straight, no mixing. It goes right into the cells, no drying and that's it. 60 lbs of weight is added to a colony from one pail. ProSweet won't granulate and is a great fall feed when a beekeeper has to add food to a light colony.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scale hive update

My scale hive weighed 343 lbs today. Down a little from before. The nectar flow appears to have slowed down considerably.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Coverall bee suit sale

I have ten new coverall type bee suits. They are the helmet style. Helmets required and are not included.
Various sizes. $30.00 each

The State Fair - Why we do it?

Honey entries at the fair

This is the time of year when the honey is coming in and that the question of what to do with my honey?
Entering the State Fair is a great way to showcase the work you have done to learn the skills necessary to be a beekeeper. While we take this role lightly, when it comes down to it, there is a fair amount of time, money and an education tied up in beekeeping.
So I think we owe it to ourselves and the beekeeping industry to promote the craft by entering the fair.
Educating the general public about bees helps us garner public support for bee research, helps stop anti - beekeeping ordinances and helps sell honey.
The competition is not about winning or losing, it is all about promoting the bee industry.
There are many areas to enter, liquid honey, photographs, bears, and baked goods are the easiest to do. There are many other entries available. Take the time and enter some honey, your family and friends will look for it at the bee booth.
Here is the link for the Ag - Hort premium book. Read and follow the directions for each entry. There is a deadline for entries.

feeding colonies

I have a couple colonies that have finally caught up to having a good population. The trouble with them is that they have not put up enough honey to winter them. I don't want to wait until Sept to start feeding. Feeding stimulates brood rearing. Feeding early when the supers are off will make the hive shut down brood production earlier. This will leave the bees more honey to winter on. Late feeding with the added brood rearing may last into late Nov. The bees will consume much more future winter stores than if the bees were fed early.
As the nectar flows slow, bees will take syrup down very quickly. Late August usually a strong colony will empty a syrup pail in three days.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Extracting Workshop

We will be having our annual extracting workshop on Aug 14th. This is a hands on workshop open to 50 people. I will demonstrate how to extract and everyone will have the chance to try it on their own. Also Master beekeeper Bob Sitko will demonstrate methods of pulling honey and wintering of beehives.
What: Extracting workshop
When: Aug 14th 1 pm
Where: my honey house
RSPV is a must, the first fifty people. Call me to reserve a spot.
Please no small children, there will be bees present.
First timers only.

The flow

I have talked to several commercial and many hobby beekeepers about their nectar flow. Reports have been spotty flows. Some very good, some very bad. Poor nectar flows have been responsible for wide spread swarming that has been occurring across the state. One commercial beekeeper said he has never seen his hives with so little honey. Normally he is extracting by now but there is nothing in his supers. He also went on to say that he sat in a bee presentation a few years ago given by a college professor whose expertise was plants. The professor said whenever we have prolonged cold spring weather the plants that come up that summer will yield very poor nectar flows.
My Basswood trees had three flowers on them this summer. That was the extent of my basswood flow this year. While most of my hives have been doing quite well I seem to be the exception. Hopefully there may be a fall flow that can help get some honey in the supers for everyone.

Scale update

I checked the scale on Sun evening. 348 lbs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Scale update

The hive scale was at 315 lbs today. I added a super. It now weighs 330 lbs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

checked supers tonight

I checked supers in a few of my beeyards tonight. My first load bees had three supers mostly full. I added two supers each. The hay field in that beeyard was blooming and hopefully if it doesn't get cut I should easily get two more supers off of it.
My other bee yards were second load bees that got put in a week after they were delivered. Most are moving up into the supers and starting to put up some honey.
All of the population numbers were looking great.

Hours this week

Natures Nectar will be open Tues 4:00 to 8 pm. Closed Wed - Fri. Open Sat 1 -4.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hive Scale Update

I checked the hive scale tonight and it is up to an even 300 lbs.
There is still swarming going on. From over wintered colonies to packaged bee colonies. I am sure the heat and if the nectar shuts off for a while the bees can get that ramblin fever. My colonies are still bring in nectar at a good pace. I am hoping that this nectar flow has some legs to it and will hopefully last into August. The rain we have been getting has kept everything green. So the plant life is under no moisture shortage.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed is a noxious weed and should not be propagated. Having said that, this nectar producing weed is in full bloom around the metro area. This weed makes a butterscotch tasting honey. I do get many people asking for this type of honey.

Bees Hoarding Instinct

This is the time of the nectar flow I try to use the bees hoarding instinct to my advantage. This hoarding instinct is a survival trigger. They will do everything they can to save as much honey as possible. Putting extra supers on the hive gives the bees the incentive to fill them up. As the supers start filling up, the bees may slow down bringing in nectar as the available storage area decreases. Giving the bees more supers keeps the honey coming in if it is still available. If you go to your hive when you pull off the supers and they are all full, this usually means the bees would have filled more, given the opportunity.
Remember new supers with foundation are put under drawn out supers right on top of the queen excluder.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The flow update

I have been getting mixed news on the nectar flow. Some folks getting a huge crop and other not so much. The strange spring set us back but has given time for the package bees to develop nicely. There is still honey coming in to my hives in Stillwater. Hopefully the flow has picked up around the state.
My hive scale is up to 270 lbs as of tonight. The bees are hot and hanging outside the hive.

The Heat Blast

This week will be a blistering week for beekeepers. As beekeepers venturing out, looking at bees in a bee suit for a long time can be dangerous. Heat stroke kills more people a year than all other weather related deaths combined.
A beekeeper friend of mine has a business associate that was cutting trees down on that 102 degree day a month ago. The guy did not follow hot weather rules of drinking enough water and slow down a bit. The last I heard he came down with heat stroke and had been in the hospital for three weeks. There is a possibility that he may have brain damage.
So in this hot weather slow down, drink plenty of water and minimize trips to the bee yard. It is not worth serious injury that can impact your family.
How do the bees cope? In this hot weather the bees are collecting water and placing it in the hive and fanning on the entrance cooling down the hive. Beekeepers try to thing like bees and provide extra ventilation. Does this help a hive? While I have not seen research on this, there is a possibility this can cause a negative effect. The extra ventilation can possibly disrupt the air currents in a colony and the hive may not be able to cool or dehumidify nectar as it ripens effectively.
When it is hot, bees will congregate, sometimes in great numbers on the front of the hive. This is normal behavior. Honey production may fall off. Nectar producing plants sometimes stop producing nectar during high heat conditions. Bees themselves may become highly defensive if a hive is dug into. Swarming may increase also during this time.
For myself if I have to go out it is to check on supers. Quick checks under the cover and always use a smoker. Add supers if needed then back into the truck and the A/C.

Friday, July 15, 2011

hive scale update

The hive scale for Thurs evening July 14 was 258 lbs

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Typical day at the farmers market

This is a country music song that illustrates sales at a typical farmers market.
There is an ad at the start. Blake Shelton - Honey Bee (song and video)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hive scale update

I added two supers on Sunday. The hive now has two deeps and 5 supers.
It then had a combined weight of 225 lbs.
Since Sunday it has gone up 11 lbs to 236 lbs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The flow

This coming weeks weather is going to be perfect for honey collection. The bees will be out working and bringing in nectar. Beekeepers need to stay ahead of the bees. Put on supers two at a time. Check hives weekly to see if more supers are needed.
Drawing comb? Put new supers with foundation on top of the brood nest. Bees reluctant to move up into the supers with a queen excluder? Remove the excluder, when the bees start drawing out the super and putting up some nectar, put the excluder back on. Don't trap the queen up in the supers, look for eggs before the hive is closed up.
Just because a beekeeper has a package, supers must go on. Bees can move swiftly to fill up supers. Without supers the bees may fill up the colony with honey, leaving no place for the queen to lay. The hives population will suffer and decline. The hive will not be able to winter.
This is the time of year that the beekeepers have spent months working for. Hopefully the bees will accommodate with a bumper crop of honey.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover
I drove down to Chaska today. On the way back I was looking at all the White Sweet Clover blooming along the roadside in the ditch. It is interesting to note that I saw it in Edina two days ago. Driving up 494 I followed the bloom to Woodbury. All of a sudden it stopped. I did not see any more on the north side of 94 as of yet.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My honey flow update

Checked the scale tonight 199 lbs. It was 185 lbs on Wed evening it went up another 14 lbs in two days.
Driving around I have seen the explosion of flowers in my drive from Stillwater to Edina.
Birds Foot Trefoil, Vetch, Sumac. Also one of the major nectar producers in this part of the state is White Sweet Clover. It has just started blooming in Edina and I expect to see this all around the metro by next weekend.
What a difference a week makes. A week ago some beekeepers hives were starving and this week we need to put on more supers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I have a nectar flow finally

The hive scale is now at 185 lbs. That is up from Sunday at 174 lbs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How long does it take for a Bear to go through a fence?

About 4 minutes.

The bear was unsuccessful as the inner fence was electrified.
Photos by R. Clevenger

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hungry bees

Hungry bees eating at a hummingbird feeder
When this happens there is usually no nectar available
I checked my hive scale today. The hive has lost two lbs from last Sunday. 174 lbs.


I had some questions from beekeepers about some colonies not building up. I think what many people are missing is the question Is there pollen in the hive?
A beekeeper stopped by and told me he fed some pollen patties last week and the bees were all over them. No pollen in a hive can make a queen stop laying. I had mostly dead outs in my colonies and there was ample pollen to start my colonies. I still had pollen patties on into late May but did not replenish any. There was still pollen in the colonies last time I checked. I would be checking for this if a colony was not building up.

Hopguard and Miteaway Quick Strips

I have posted two videos about the two new mitecides. Both of these products can by used during the nectar flow. Knowing the miteload of the colony before treatment will tell the beekeeper to treat or not.
Method of testing mite infestation numbers poster 168


This is the video by the Hopguard manufacturer. Remember to read and follow all directions on the products label. Always wear the proper personal protective equipment.

Mite Away Quick Strips

This is the video of how to put in Mite Away Quick Strips from NOD Apiary Products.

NOD website info: http://www.miteaway.com/html/what_is_maqs.php

A beekeeper needs to read the complete label on the product and follow the proper installation method and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.


This colony unfortunately has starved. They consumed their stores of honey and the flow has not started yet for many of us. In a normal season this would not have happened. It appears many beekeepers are getting caught off guard to their colonies starving out.

I have talked to several beekeepers about their hives not building up. As the conversation continued a common thread emerged. They had stopped feeding.
Two of the beekeepers had a lot of brood but there was no new comb being built. Also the nectar that was in the second box was gone. I told them that they are on the verge of starvation. The big nectar flow has not arrived for most beekeepers and we have to watch the food stores. Another beekeeper after some discussion had his new package swarm. They were in two deeps with two drawn frames in the top box. No nectar coming in, rainy conditions, a forlorn outlook for the hive. Swarming to them was a good prospect for bluer horizons. The bees are into survival so when conditions are bleak they will react.
Feeding is a must when drawing foundation. The feeding schedule is feed until the comb is drawn or the nectar flow starts and the bees stop taking syrup. On drawn comb colonies, it is imperative that enough food is available. It is also important not to overfeed but two frames of capped honey in a colony is a good number to maintain leading up to the nectar flow.
The cold weather we have experienced has caused the bees to cluster. The bees are trying to keep the brood warm and getting to honey stores in a colony becomes a little more difficult. The spring build up this year has been tough for many beekeepers. Hives have been having problems expanding the brood nest. Populations have suffered and many colonies have not been able to build to a strong hive. Hopefully some 80's will come by next week for a sustained period.


I have two queens left. This will be the end of my queens for 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hours this week

This week due to my day job and farmers markets our hours are as follows
Wed 4 - 8 pm
Friday 4 -8 pm
Sat 1 - 4 pm

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This weather is swarm weather

The rainy weather is a swarm cooker. A strong colony cramped inside a hive is really thinking "We think it is time to leave". Not much nectar coming in + crowded hive = swarm. When the weather breaks it is important to look for swarm cells.
I still don't have much nectar coming in. The nectar flow is taking its time of kicking into gear. The nectar flow will turn the swarm cooker on to low heat so I hope it starts soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Honey for breakfast

My daughter was recently in Singapore. At the breakfast buffet they had a frame of honey. It looks like they scratched open part of the frame and let it drip into a catch tray that went to a bowl. Very nice presentation. A unique way to serve honey that would be very popular with the breakfast crowd.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hive Scale

I have added a sure fire way to know if there is a nectar flow going on. It is a platform scale. These are simple to use and should help take the guess work out of how the hive is performing.
The hive weight on Sunday June 12th was 170 lbs. Today the hive weight is 176 lbs. There is nectar in the supers. I know that the hive has a nectar flow going on.

Yellow Sweet Clover

I see Yellow Sweet Clover has exploded in the ditches around 494 and the airport. This type of clover, I have been told, doesn't produce much excess nectar in the twin cities area. This is because it is too humid here. But this is a major honey crop west of here as it is a drier climate. But it is good to look at the clover blooms and see if the bees are working them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Honey Supers

I am going out today to put honey supers on all my colonies. Some of them aren't quite ready yet but better to put them on early than late. The package bees from the first load have built up very nice, the second load is a little behind but I anticipate they should all be ready to make some honey when the nectar flow starts.
The thing that catches many beekeepers by surprise is how quick a hive can put up honey and draw comb. Waiting for the bees to draw out the first box took a month. Then the second box took around three weeks. But now there is getting to be a good population. When a beekeeper adds a third box, this box can be drawn out in ten days. If there is a strong population and a strong nectar flow a hive can easily fill a super, drawn out and capped in a week. So it is important to be ahead of the bees.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New bee viruses?

This is from msnbc.

Bob Sitko on channel 4 news

This morning, Bill Hudson, reporter, from WCCO TV, was over to shoot a segment on Allergies and Honey in my bee yard.
It will be broadcast this Thursday night ( June 9) on the 10pm news.
Probably will be a short segment so if you miss it, it will be on their website.
Bob Sitko

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Black Locust

I was driving around Stillwater today and noticed the Black Locust trees in full bloom. This is a reminder to check any strong hive for the need to put on honey supers.

Hot hive

photo by Todd King
A beekeeper e-mailed me this photo of an over-wintered hive. It was taken on a hot day last week. The over-wintered colony is on the right, a package from the first load is in the middle, a dead out on the end. He is planning on switching the hives with each other, over-wintered position with the package position. The over -wintered colony will get weaker and the package will get stronger. He also plans to move two or three frames of brood from the overwintered to the package. This is a good strategy, he will end up with two strong colonies right before the nectar flow. Swarming is still a concern but it is less likely.
The grass is cut and this helps keep down swarming.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Swarm Cells

This is what typical swarms cells look like. Peanut shaped, usually on the bottom of a frame but not always. When the queen cells are capped, the bees swarm with the old queen. This is why the 10 day swarm cell inspection is important. With this schedule swarm cells can be scraped off before they are capped. If the bees swarm and there are just queen cells hanging there, installing a new queen will get the bees going again much faster than waiting for a queen to be mated and start laying eggs.
Notice the cells with the cappings sticking out away from the frame. Those are capped drone cells.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hot hives

The heat has one of the two colonies behind my house hanging outside the hive in large numbers. The entrance reducers were still in. These were first load bees and starting to get a good population. With the upcoming 90's forecast for next week the swarm season is about to begin in earnest. Hot days, crowded hives, tall grass in front of the hive. All of these will contribute to swarming behavior. The best thing to do is remove entrance reducers in the stronger hives, keep the grass cut, ease overcrowding of over wintered colony by divides or by switching colony positions with a weak colony. Also begin a every 10 day regimen of looking for swarm cells. Remember a no more than 10 day schedule. A longer time between checking will make swarming very likely.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

checked a bee yard

I checked a bee yard on Sat evening. I haven't been there since I checked for queen acceptance. I started with 3 lb - Hygienic Italians on the first load, I put them in on April 26th. They are all on drawn comb and there was no honey in the frames when I installed them. I fed all of them a gallon of Pro-Sweet syrup when I put them in. Being I have been swamped with the second load of bees, selling queens and my day job working long hours, also the weather has been bad when I wanted to check them. I thought they may have starved on me. Lucky for me they all looked great. The Pro-Sweet syrup is more concentrated than regular 1:1 sugar syrup and I know that saved my bacon. The dandelion and fruit bloom covered me until yesterday. I added a second box to all of them and they needed it. I also checked for swarm cells and found none. I added a pail of Pro-Sweet syrup, hopefully this will cover me for 10 days. I will check their food supplies then. They may need one more pail to get me to the main nectar flow. The queens in this yard are Hygienic Italians. I know all of the queens work well and anyone can lead to success, but I usually prefer Carniolans for their gentle behavior. I know the Hygienic Italians will put away the most amount of honey, but I do find Carniolans for the most part are the gentlest breed out there.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where are we at in the honey season

The cool spring has really set back our traditional season. This season as of now seems about two weeks behind. My dandelions were two weeks behind. I still have some blooming even now. The apple orchard down the road from me is in full bloom. Normally the fruit bloom is around May 15th in our area and here it is almost June. Many hives have been a little slow to build up early because the cool weather prevented the bees from expanding the brood cluster. The bees had to hold tight to cover 4 frames for example instead of doing 6 frames. This held back the numbers of bees in a colony that only now, for many beekeepers, have finally turned the corner and are really only now getting a good population.
Divides have been postponed due to low numbers of bees. Now what will happen? The nectar flow more than likely will be delayed. Maybe two weeks. That will start the major nectar flow starting more towards July 1st. The hive populations will be ready early, possibly before the flow starts.
Now the fruit bloom is on the wane there will be a dearth of available nectar until hay starts blooming. After the hay crop is in there will be nothing until clover starts the flow. I think this may be a big swarming season. Beekeepers will have to be vigilant on checking for swarming behavior in their colonies and applying proper management to get to the nectar flow with all of our bees.
Having this large population when the flow hits should give all beekeepers a great crop of honey this season.

Friday, May 27, 2011

hours Memeorial weekend

We are open Sat 9 - 3 this weekend. Closed Sun and Mon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adding a second box

All of my colonies I installed from the April 23rd delivery are ready for their second box. The ones I have started on foundation and have been feeding syrup to draw foundation, have 80 % of the comb drawn out. I take one of the outside frames that the bees are working on and move it up to the second box. This bait frame will make the bees move up into the second box that has just foundation in, faster. I will now run 9 frames, evenly spaced out, in the bottom box and 10 frames in the second box. I also change the entrance reducer to the larger opening. The feeder pail is moved up on top of the second box. I continue to feed syrup to keep the bees in a nectar flow until all the frames are drawn out. I know if I stop feeding, the bees will not draw out the foundation.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dividing the easy way?

This beekeeper purchased two queens from me to do divides on his overwintered colonies. When he got to his bee yard he saw this swarm in a buckthorn tree. It is a beauty, about 5 lbs of bees.

Luckily he was able to get it off the tree and into a deep. Notice the quilt on the ground. When a swarm is shook into a box. Having a sheet or something similar underneath the box, makes it easy for any spill over bees an easy access into the hive. The bees march right in. The first time I did this I was amazed how easy it was. Photos by Scott Holisky.
Thanks for the photos Scott. He was able to do his divides and his hives are doing great.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A new bridge

This is a pic of the new bridge over the gateway trail just south of me. The bridge came from Koochiching county.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why divide?

This is why I divide my strong over wintered hives. I did get a call from a beekeeper that wanted a queen. The later e-mail came with a picture of a swarm and a cancel the queen request. Over crowding or an old queen are big factors in swarming behaviors.
A hive that swarms is unlikely to produce excess honey for the beekeeper to extract.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Check the hive for queen acceptence

The bee front is getting back to normal. The change is deliveries has made me not blog very much so everyone was up to speed on the delivery date change. The bees are all seem to be doing great and I have been hearing very high rates of acceptance. All of the beekeepers on this last load it is important to check for eggs now to make sure the queen has been accepted.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Closed on Fri and Sat.

We will be closed on Fri, May 13th and Sat, May 14th.
We will be open Sunday May 15th, 9 am - 3 pm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cage Return

This beekeeper damaged her cage and will not be getting her cage deposit back.

Returning cages: They have to be my style of cage, no others will be accepted.
Remove and discard all feeder cans and queen cages. Make sure cages are clean with no debris inside. Any torn screens or broken boxes will not be accepted.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

On bee day

On bee day. Due to the number of people picking up bees. We will only be selling pollen patties $3.50 each, syrup $32.00 5 gallon pail, feeder pails $4.50 each and fumigillan .5 gm $19.00. Prices include applicable tax. Most of the transaction happening will be outside, so I will not be taking credit cards.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pick up schedule for the second load May 3rd and 4th

Check this blog every day to look for updates. This is the second load. The second load pick up is Tues May 3rd and May 4th.
This is the schedule for picking up on Tues and Wed May 3rd and 4th. I have to spread out the pick ups through out the day. There are 400 beekeepers picking up and if everyone came at once, there would be a wait time of several hours. This way works well and I hope to be able to move folks through here with no longer than a 5 minute wait.
Beekeepers driving long distances of over 75 miles come when you have to.
Please try to stick with the schedule.
I realize some folk can't get off work and we will do everything we can to help everyone speed through this.
We will go by the first initial of your last name
orders over 20 packages - 7 am - 8 am if you like.

Z - T --- 7:30 - 8:30 am
S - R --- 8:30 - 9:30 am
Q - O -- 9:30 - 10:30 am
N - M -- 10:30 - 11:30 am
L - K --- 11:30 - 12:30 pm
J - H --- 12:30 - 1:30 pm
G- E ---- 1:30 - 2:30 pm
D - A --- 2:30 - 3:30 pm
everyone else - 3:30 - 7 pm
Remember there is no rush to put the bees in, after 5 pm until a 1/2 hour before sunset works best.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Second load update - Delivery date has changed

The delivery date on the second load is going to be sooner than expected.
I am trying to pin down the exact date and will update when I know.
It looks like maybe Tuesday May 3rd or Wed May 4th delivery.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The package is in, now what

Various stages of brood from young to almost ready to cap.

Eggs about a day old. Tough to see with the white on white contrast.
Note the pollen stored above the brood and the nectar glistening in the cells above the pollen.

The packages are in so now I am going to wait about 10 days to check for queen acceptance. This next check is the most important part to the success of the hive. I will be looking for a nice frame of eggs laid by the queen. There should be a concentric pattern hitting most of the cells. If there is no eggs I will close it up and check again in four days. If I don't see them then it is time for a queen and the hive did not accept the first one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bees are in

The bees are here. They are first come first served today. They are ready to go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Turn into the marked driveway

Turn into this driveway marked with the sign to keep the traffic flow flowing the same way.
Be careful on the road it does get busy.

Map to Nature's Nectar

Here is a link to my website for a map to Nature's Nectar.
click on the map, type in info for driving directions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First Load Update

I talked to Ray Olivarez today my supplier. The bees will be leaving Calif. tomorrow evening. I expect them sometime on Thurs. I will update with approximate time when I know it. The pick up schedule in the previous post will apply to Friday and Sat. With Friday being Good Friday many beekeepers may be off their day jobs and I don't want to be swamped with 100 people at 11 am. This may cause a long wait and I try to get people out of here in about 5 minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pick up schedule for the first load

Check this blog every day to look for updates. This is the first load. The second load pick up is May 7th.
This is the schedule for picking up on Friday and Saturday April 23rd. I have to spread out the pick ups through out the day. There are 400 beekeepers picking up and if everyone came at once, there would be a wait time of several hours. This way works well and I hope to be able to move folks through here with no longer than a 5 minute wait.
Beekeepers driving long distances of over 75 miles come when you have to.
Please try to stick with the schedule.
I realize some folk can't get off work and we will do everything we can to help everyone speed through this.
We will go by the first initial of your last name
orders over 20 packages - 7 am - 8 am if you like.

Z - T --- 7:30 - 8:30 am
S - R --- 8:30 - 9:30 am
Q - O -- 9:30 - 10:30 am
N - M -- 10:30 - 11:30 am
L - K --- 11:30 - 12:30 pm
J - H --- 12:30 - 1:30 pm
G- E ---- 1:30 - 2:30 pm
D - A --- 2:30 - 3:30 pm
everyone else - 3:30 - 7 pm
Remember there is no rush to put the bees in, after 5 pm until a 1/2 hour before sunset works best.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Installing Package Bees

Double click on video for full screen. press escape to get back to smaller screen

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I talked to Ray my bee supplier

I talked to Ray from Olivarez Honey Bees tonight. He says they have been having excellent mating weather and the queens are looking great.
They will be shaking packages daily for the next four weeks. The loads coming to Nature's Nectar will still be on the tentative dates first load April 23rd and the second on May 7th. They may come a little early so it is important to follow the blog to be current on updates. The mated queens availability will be catching up but unfortunately there are not many bee trucks for transporting packages. The delivery trucks will be running 24/7 for a month. The drivers are really going to earn their money.
Being he added 10,000 more mating nucs, my queen deliveries look like they will remain on schedule. My first queen shipments should be here the last week of April with weekly shipment through the month of May

A note about the loads of bees

As I have said the two loads of are going to be two weeks late. I also have orders sitting here that I have not processed from up to two weeks ago. I should be done with them by Sunday. If you have sent me a bee order don't worry as I have included everyone in my package bee count.
I have been watching the weather in Chico, California and they have been having very good queen mating weather.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Due to Weather the Bee Deliveries Have Been Delayed

I was called by my bee supplier Ray Olivarz today. The weather in Chico California has been cold and rainy for the last three weeks. Weather like this in northern Calif has never been this cold and wet in his memory. The weather has provided poor queen rearing conditions. All of the queen and package bee suppliers in Calif. are suffering from the same conditions. This may also impact queens being sold for divisions.
Because of this, the bee pick up date will be delayed TWO weeks for each load.
New tentative dates:
First Load ....... April 23rd
Second Load ... May 7th
The quality of the packages and queens is very important to us and please know that we appreciate your patience in this matter.
This is what has been happening in California.
The weather has been raining and the temperatures have been under 60 degrees for the highs. Proper queen mating occurs at temperatures over 60 degrees.
The bee supplier has been setting out 35,ooo mating nucs. With all of this, the present mating attempts has been unsuccessful. They graft queen cells every other day through the season. The queen cells take 14 days to mature to put into the mating nucs and the queen breeder has to hope for proper weather conditions when the queen cells are ready to go. The cells develop in finishing colonies and on day 14 they are ready to put into mating nucs. The queens emerge in the mating nucs. They are able to fly and go on mating flights after about 5 days.
The weather now is finally turning around with temperatures rising into the 70's. The shaking of packages normally starts on March 28 for his first load leaving Calif. (Nature's Nectar is the second and fourth load) now the shaking will start on the 10th of April. So basically they are two weeks behind.
While we will do everything we can to provide the queen that you ordered the bee supplier says there is a possibility that the queen that you ordered may be a different queen. Be assured though, that all queens in the packages will be properly mated.
Mother Nature has been challenging this year all around the country.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why I have held off feeding

The colonies I have checked that were alive looked pretty good. A couple were low on food stores. I bolstered the light ones with frames of honey from a nearby dead out. This time of year feeding with syrup isn't recommended. Obviously, if a hive needs food and there is no other option then the syrup pail goes on. When a colony has very little food this time of year feed syrup.
The reason feeding now is not preferred, is the dicey weather that happens this time of year.
Feeding syrup kicks the hive into high gear. The syrup is a nectar flow and brood rearing will accelerate. If the weather turns cold like it is supposed to at the end of this coming week. The queen may lay a couple frames more of brood. With the cold weather, the cluster of bees may contract off some of the brood and the brood will get chilled and die. This can set back development of the colony for the spring build up.
With some luck there will be a good turn around on the weather front and the bees will be in good shape for May divides.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weak Hive

I do have a weak colony. Two frames of bees, it does have some brood so it seems queenrite. If there is no brood, I look for the queen. I know that it is too weak to be a honey producing colony. It may build up to a strong colony by August but it may be a liability if I have to feed it large amounts of syrup in late summer.
The best thing to do is bolster it with a 2 lb package of bees.
All I do is start the package in a box as normal. During this time hopefully the weak colony has got a little better. When it is time to add a second box to the package, sometime in May. I go into the weak colony a find the queen and dispose of her. The weak hive is then left queenless overnight. The next day a sheet of newspaper with a tiny slit in the paper is put on top of the package. The weak colony is then put on top of the package on the newspaper. The bees will slowly chew through the paper and unite the two colonies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First Load of Bees Sold Out

I have sold out my first load of bees. I have several order forms that have the first load checked. I am sorry but you will now be on the second load or if you want to cancel, please call me

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Package bees

I talked to my bee supplier from California today. He told me as of now everything is still on schedule. They have been getting good queen mating weather. Dodging some rain but he claims they have been getting good mating results.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cleansing flights

photo by John Fetrow
Note the brown spots. This is normal. This is NOT nosema.

This time of year when we have some of the first warm weather the bees will storm out of the hive on cleansing flights. If that happens to coincide with your trip to the beeyard then your bee suit may be a little stained.
Nosema is defecation in the colony all over the frames and running down the front of the hive's top entrance hole.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Bees

I finally trudged out to a bee yard to see what is alive and not. I did have some loss in this bee yard, but some are alive as well. I put pollen patties on the live ones. I checked the stores on the live ones by lifting up the top box to determine honey weight. I almost threw one over my head anticipating a bit of a grunt in the lifting process. It was very light and starvation was imminent.
Some of my dead outs must have died in the first week of Feb with the week of below zero weather. There was honey in the hive but the bees had their heads in the cells with their butts looking out at me. This was the look of classic starvation. There was some brood in the cluster and the bees died trying to keep it warm.
I moved some frames of honey to the live hives that needed it. I did not bring syrup with me and really don't want to feed right now unless I have to. But if the bees need food and all I can give them is syrup, then syrup it is. If I feed syrup this time of year I give them a heavy syrup. I don't want to lose the bees at this stage of winter.
I have left the winter covers on for now and will remove them if the weather is on a warming trend that looks like it is here to stay. The sun is stronger now and will start to beat up the boxes and melt the wax coating. I usually always take off the covering by April first.
This week the snow will be gone by Saturday and I should be able to look at the rest of my colonies. I still have time to get packages if I have to replace dead outs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pollen Patties

I love this picture. I threw this patty on a strong over wintered colony in March of 2007. The bees were instantly on it. You can see them on the edge of the patty getting the pollen substitute that they need so bad.

It is time to put on pollen patties. The weather is on the upswing and there is brood in the colonies. Pollen patties are an important spring food supplement that will make a colony prosper.
Good quality pollen substitute gives the bees protein that will not be available until the early spring pollen sources become available. Natural pollen in the spring is all weather dependent. So it is important for the beekeeper to have a protein source on the hive at all times. This protein helps the hive produce strong,healthy bees. It also promotes proper physical development of the bees.
Without this the bees will have a shorter life span, shorter foraging ability, poor gland development that leads to poor quality Royal Jelly production. Not producing good quality and ample amounts of Royal Jelly impacts the entire health and quality of the hive.
Pollen patties go on where the bees are, right next to the cluster. If the bees are still in a lower box, the patty has to go underneath the top box. Normally the bees have moved up into the top box and the pollen patty lays on the top bars under the inner cover.
A note on feeding syrup. I avoid feeding syrup until early April unless there is no feed in the hive. Feeding syrup gets brood rearing going into high gear. If it gets cold and the cluster contracts, the bees will not be able to keep all the brood warm. Some of the brood will get chilled and die and actually set the colony back in their spring build up time line.
Pollen substitute is well worth the money. It will help build a population up so a May divide is in the future.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Movie - Queen of the Sun

This is a new movie coming out Spring 2011.
Double click on the movie for full screen.

I forwarded this e-mail about the movie Queen of the Sun

Here is an up coming event we and the Bee Lab received about an upcoming event:
I am writing you again because i strongly feel that your members will be very interested in this film, and we would greatly appreciate any help you can give to promote it.
We're proud to announce that the new award-winning grass-roots feature documentary "Queen of The Sun: What are the bees telling us?" is being released nationally around the country. Queen of The Sun will be holding it's Minnesota Theatrical Premiere at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis, starting March 4th. I am writing because we deeply believe in the work the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers is doing, and would like to invite you to partner with Queen of The Sun to help raise awareness of the bee crisis. Check out our NEWLY RELEASED trailer.
For the past half-decade, we've faced the alarming reality that bees have been dying out in massive numbers in the U.S. Queen of the Sun is a profound, alternative look at this global honeybee crisis from Taggart Siegel, award-winning director of the grass-roots hit The Real Dirt on Farmer John.
The Real Dirt on Farmer John was supported by a global-network of organizations striving to bring farming back to local communities. Queen of The Sun is also supported by a global community and advocates restoring sustainable agriculture, eliminating the use of pesticides, preventing genetically modified seeds, protecting habitats and restoring a culture in balance with nature.
We would like to invite you to partner with our non-profit, Collective Eye, to support the release of Queen of The Sun in your area and share this important, hopeful and inspiring message to your members and friends. We believe that with your support Queen of The Sun will help educate and inspire people to make positive changes for the environment and their community. (WWW.QUEENOFTHESUN.COM)
With our successful grass-roots theatrical release in Portland, Oregon the community came out, supported by local organizations that rallied behind the film. These organizations bolstered their membership by setting up booths at screenings with information about their activities, introducing the film on select nights, and publicizing the film's release in creative ways such as on their own e-mail newsletters, blogs, websites and facebook pages and in turn it brought awareness to the bee crisis.
Here are a few ways that Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers can be involved:
• Build & inspire community by helping spread the word about the Theatrical Run of "Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?" through newsletters, facebook, twitter, and any other social media.
• Invite viewers to take action by setting up a table with information about Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers in the theater lobby for before and after screenings and grow your membership.
• Introduce the film on a select night or nights.
• Add us to the upcoming events in your website.
• Sponsor an ad in the local paper that promotes both your organization and Queen of The Sun.
Below is our poster, a press release, and a few short blurbs which can be shared and used for promotional use. Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns or insights!
We would be very honored to partner with the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers and look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Warm Regards,
Hannah Apricot
"Queen Of The Sun"
Outreach Coordinator
Collective Eye, Inc.
(503) 232-5345
Hello Everyone at the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association,
I am following up to an email my colleague Alex had sent last week regarding an upcoming film screening/event of QUEEN OF THE SUN: WHAT ARE THE BEES TELLING US? (Tuesday, March 1 @ 7pm). We'd like to know if you or someone from your group would like to attend the screening to talk with the audience about issues raised in the film, your organization, and the state of hobby beekeeping in Minnesota.
As part of the new Sustainability Film Series 2011--a collaborative series with the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum and The Institute on the Environment of films and panel discussions designed to generate awareness, conversation and debate around current issues in sustainability--we will be showing QUEEN OF THE SUN: WHAT ARE THE BEES TELLING US? on Tuesday, March 1st at 7pm at The Film Society at St. Anthony Main Theater (115 SE Main St, Minneapolis, 55414) and also Friday, March 4 thru Thursday, March 9th.
Also, as a non-profit film exhibitor we rely on grassroots marketing to get the word out on our events. With this in mind, we'd like to ask you to pass on a note about the screening to anyone who might be interested in your group or otherwise.
I look forward to learning your disposition toward this opportunity and would be happy discuss this further. You can reach me at this email or by calling 612-331-7563.
Information on all of the participant movies and the panel discussions of the Sustainability Film Series 2011 can be found at http://www.mspfilmsociety.org/sustainability
Kind Regards,
Jesse Bishop
Programming Coordinator
The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul/MFA Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (April 14-May 5, 2011)
125 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN USA 55414
t: 612-331-7563 | f: 612-378-7750
m: 858-334-3814 | e: jesse@mspfilmsociety.org
About the film:
In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. His prediction has come true with Colony Collapse Disorder, where bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. In an alarming inquiry into the insights behind Steiner's prediction Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? examines the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and philosophers. On a pilgrimage around the world, the film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, highlighting how our historic and sacred relationship with bees has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices.
Featuring Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Gunther Hauk and beekeepers from around the world, this engaging, alarming and ultimately uplifting film weaves together a dramatic story that uncovers the problems and solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.
From: Jerome Rossi
Membership Chairman
Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association
9701 10th St NE
Saint Michael, MN 55376-9210
Tel: (763)497-0845
Fax: (763)450-3850

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Almond Trees are blooming

Mating nuc's for queen cells. Many queen producers have thousands of these mini nuc's spread around the countryside near their drone rearing colonies.

Pollination hives in Almond Grove

The Almond trees are blooming in northern California.
What does that mean for midwest beekeepers?
The large quantity of fresh pollen coming into a hive starts bee colonies into high gear producing drones in large numbers. A high drone population is needed for proper queen breeding. When queens are mated they will mate with 8 - 10 drones. If they mate with fewer than this number they may run out of semen and become a drone layer sooner than normal. weather and a high drone population is the key for good queens.
Warm weather is crucial now for queen mating.
Queens usually fly out in the afternoon to be mated. Temperatures in the low 60's is the minimum temperature for successful mating. Cold weather can impact queen delivery to beekeepers and is always the risk bee farmers live with every year.
Queen breeders in California will start grafting larvae for queen production any day now. The demand for queens for a spring delivery is huge in the northern states. California queen breeders make tens of thousands of queens to help satisfy the demand. Most queen producers are sold out of queens before mid December.