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.

Search This Blog

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hopguard II

Hopguard II is now available for sale in Minnesota

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Treating for Varroa

Now is the time to treat for Varroa. Always follow the instructions on the label. There are several products that can be used:
ApiGuard: Thymol Gel, package treats 5 colonies, shelf life is more than a year. Tin of thymol gel. The tin is placed on the top bars of the brood box. Honey must be removed before application. A 1-1/2" shim must be placed on top to raise the roof. Bees need to be able to get to the thymol gel and need the raised space to get the gel. Very safe easy to apply. Temperature critical. If it is to cool this will not work properly. Temperatures should be in the 70's and 80's. Treatment, one tin for two weeks then add another tin. leave both tins on for six weeks. The slide should be in on any screened bottom boards, all holes plugged and the main entrance left wide open.
 Hopguard II. beta acid made from the hops plant. 24 strips. Treats 12 two deep colonies. easy to use, supers can be left on while treating.
Treatment is two strips per deep. Strips are left in for 14 days. Use rubber gloves when handling. Approved for sale to Wisconsin residents, approval for use in Minnesota is coming very soon.
 ApiVar, active ingredient is Amitraz. This is a harder chemical than the previous treatments and may leave residue in the wax. Very effective. 10 strips per package. Treatment:  two strips per deep. Leave in for 6 weeks. Use rubber gloves when handling.
 Mite-Away Quick Strips. Formic Acid gel pads. Package treats 10 hives or 2 hive treatment package.Treatment, 2 gel pads per hive for seven days. Supers can be on the hive. Temperature critical. Do not use if temperatures are over 85 degrees for the first three days of application. A colony should not be disturbed three days before application. Read and follow all instructions. Use rubber gloves when handling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mite Away Quick Strips

Next week the temperatures will be perfect to treat colonies with Mite Away Quick Strips for Varroa. This weather doesn't happen very often in August so if you want to treat with Mite Away Quick Strips take advantage of the timing. The MAQS can be put on during a nectar flow with supers on.
It is a seven day treatment.
Here is a link to the United States application page with faq. Read them carefully because putting it on wrong can cause problems in the hive.
I will have them in stock on Saturday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Refractometer - Is the honey Grade A?

To sell honey it has the be Grade A.
Grade A honey is defined as: it has to taste like honey and the moisture has to be
18.6% water content or less.
 To find out the water content of honey it needs to be measured with an instrument called a refractometer. A refractometer takes a small sample of honey covering the lens of the instrument. Light passing through the instruments lens refracts the light and the result is read on a scale the user sees by looking through the eyepiece.
 My preference is a light reading refractometer with a thermometer for temperature compensation. It is accurate and easy to use. All refractometers need to by calibrated when new and periodically after that. Calibration is done with a sample of liquid that has a predetermined set point and adjustments are made to this scale.
 Some refractometers are digital, some are light reading. There are many scales of measurement in different industries. Beekeepers use a refactometer with a honey scale. With any instrument you get what you pay for. Refractometers range in price from $75 - $400.
 Here at Nature's Nectar LLC we check honey samples for free. Please no more than three samples at a time. Always bring a full container for a sample. The sample should be free of wax and we only need a thimble size for the sample.

Refractometer, the plastic cover is raised and honey is put on the purple lens

This is the scale inside the eye piece. This sample is reading 19.5%. There is a thermometer on the bottom of this instrument for temperature compensation. The thermometer read to take off 1% of the scale reading. So this sample of honey is 18.5% moisture content and is Grade A honey.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Extracting Workshop

We held our annual extracting workshop. The rain held off and it made for a successful event.
Large crowd for the workshop

Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko and beekeeper Mike Wybierla explain how to pull honey

Uncapping frames of honey for the extractor

Spinning out the frames in an extractor

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pulled some honey today

I pulled some honey today.
Used fume boards and honey robber. The warm afternoon made the honey robber work great.
I pulled 4 supers off two hives and there wasn't one bee in each of the supers I pulled.
Got a little careless and sprayed some on my glove. I now smell like a 300 herd dairy farm. But any of the fume board fumigants Honey Robber, Honey Bandit and Fishers Bee Quick work very well when it is 85 degrees out. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Goldenrod the last big flow - maybe

Goldenrod is starting to bloom across the metro. This is the last major event of the season. This nectar flow is never reliable but there is pollen available for the bees to add to their larder.
How do you know if there is nectar coming in? Go stand by your beehive and if the air is full of the odor of wet sweat socks it is an indication of fresh goldenrod nectar. Don't let the odor scare you, as the nectar ripens the odor goes away.
 The Goldenrod flow can be heavy. The hives are packed with bees, right now in many locations, the nectar flow has slowed down considerably. The bees are itching to go to work. In a perfect flow it is not unlikely to get two supers of honey.

Bees working the Goldenrod

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Methods of Pulling Honey

These are a couple ways to pull honey off a hive.
The day before you pull your honey go out to the hive and pull off the supers. This breaks open any bridge comb. The bridge comb is attached from box to box. Honey usually starts dripping from the open comb. By re-stacking each box 180 degrees from how they were on the hive. The bees will clean up any dripping honey. So when the supers are pulled the next day there should not be any honey dripping.

Brushing off the bees (double click on the video for full screen)

Using a fume board (double click on the video for full screen)
This video I am using Honey Robber and a fume board. Honey Robber works the best in my opinion with a fume board. I have also used Bee Quick and Honey Bandit. All of these products work well when it is 85 degrees or warmer.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Honey extractor

Nature's Nectar LLC rents 3 frame hand crank extractors for harvesting your honey crop. The extractors need to be reserved. $30.00 a day

Friday, August 8, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Annual Honey Extracting Workshop - Sunday, Aug 17th

Uncapping frames with a hot knife

Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko

 We will be having our annual extracting workshop on August 17th.
This is a hands on workshop. All attendees will be able to uncap honey frames with a hot knife and capping scratcher. The frames will then be put into a 3 frame hand extractor to spin out the honey. The honey will be filtered and put into a bottling pail. Everyone will be able to pour a bottle of honey to take home.
 Also Master Beekeeper Bob Sitko will demonstrate methods on how to pull honey off the hive.
 He will also talk about getting a hive ready for winter.
  •  Cost - Free
  • When - Sunday, August 17th
  • Where - Nature's Nectar LLC Honey house at our home
  • Time - 1 - 4 pm
  • RSVP mandatory - limited to 50 beekeepers. Please no children unless they are the beekeeper. If you have taken this before, please no repeats. 
This fills up very quickly, call or email the RSVP
Using the three frame extractor

Sunday, August 3, 2014

State Fair Registration Deadline

State Fair Registration Deadline: Monday, August 11th - 4:30 pm
Most liquid honey registered is considered white honey.
Light Amber is the color of weak tea.
Amber is the color of coffee.