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, October 31, 2016

New Bee Lab on the St Paul Campus

University of MN Bee Lab est.2016


Main Hallway - Freezers for experiments - to lab rooms

Observation hives room. The bees cannot see red. So a red light is dark to them

Work shop / Woodworking Tools

Hot room for honey supers before extracting. Heated floor with dehumidifier on the wall

40 frame Tangential Extractor. This type of extractor is very efficient. The extractor turns for only five minutes per cycle. A radial extractor by contrast, uses around a 15 minute cycle.

The honey leaves the extractor and flows into a clarifier that is below the floor. From the clarifier the honey is pumped through a bag filter, then into the honey bulk tank.

The bulk tank is piped to an E-Z Fill automatic bottler. This bottler fills a wide variety of bottle sizes. The E-Z fill can be set to fill any size bottle, filling the bottle precisely to the correct weight. The other tank to the rear of the pic is a wax melter.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Time for Oxalic Acid

Sometime in the next 7 to 10 days, is a good time to treat with oxalic acid. Pick a time of day when it is around 40 degrees at the time of treatment.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Bee Lab Grand Opening

The new bee lab is having a grand opening. Please come and tour the facility.
Bee Lab Grand Opening

Monday, October 24, 2016

Late October Commercial Beekeepers

In late October commercial beekeepers are finishing their work also. Many of them are preparing hives for shipment to warmer climates. Hives are moved to a central location. They are then loaded on to trucks, strapped down and covered with a net. A flat bed semi can haul 800 palletized single deep hives.
A pallet holds four one deep colonies

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Late October bee work

Not much happening in the hives at the moment. Beekeepers are waiting for a little cooler weather to do Oxalic Acid treatments. Looks like that is about a week away. To be effective, the temperatures should be around 40 - 42 degrees out.  The day can warm up later, but at time of treatment it should be around 40 degrees. At this temperature the bees will be in a harder cluster so the dribble and vaporizer methods will catch all the bees in one concentrated area. If it is warmer than 40 degrees, the bee cluster is looser and bees are more spread out. The treatment for the dribble method in warmer temperatures, is less effective.
Some beekeepers are still scrambling to get more feed into the hives before the temperatures cool down. The bees are still taking syrup.
 Too soon for covering hives but that time is coming soon.
A waiting game for most of us at the moment. But in the next 30 days we should all be done with our hives until February.

Friday, October 14, 2016

We now have ProSweet and whats going on in mid October

We are now back to our regular hours after being on vacation. If feeding still needs to be done, feed now with 2:1 sugar water or ProSweet, don't wait to feed. The weather is still warm enough for feeding and beekeepers need to take advantage of that before any permanent cool down moves in.
 Winter covers and moisture boards are the hot item with beekeepers at the moment. Still too early to cover the hives but with cold weather on the horizon, beekeepers are getting their supplies in order.
We are still waiting on receiving winter patty supplies. hopefully we should have them soon. Packaging of winter patties may be different than in years past. Nothing major, I will make a video if there is any big changes.
Still too warm for Oxalic acid treatments but that will be coming soon, so keep that in the back of your mind.
Entrance reducers should be on, mice are lurking in the tall grass, so let's keep the mice out before they think they have a new Holiday Inn.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Where we are at on the bee front for early October.

Welcome to October. Cooler weather is starting to creep in, and soon it will be the norm.
Everyone should have treated their hives with mite treatments by now. Feeding has been going on and should start slowing down as it gets cooler.
I have had a few customers discovering that they suddenly have very high mite counts in their colonies. This can come from a couple of factors.
1. The colonies had high mite counts in the brood cells when they initially treated and the desired mite mortality did not occur.
2. That their colonies were involved in robbing out a colony in thier immediate area from a beekeeper that did not treat for mites. The mites hopped on the robbing bees and viola, high mite infestation.
A treatment of Oxalic Acid at the right time should be able to take down the high mite load and hopefully keep the bees healthy.
Entrance reducers should be in place now. With the cooler weather, mice will start to want to move in for the winter. Entrance reducers can be put in with the larger opening.
Winter covers and Oxalic Acid treatments are on the horizon, but still about three weeks away, unless there is a drastic weather change. Like a foot of snow.
Oxalic Acid Dribble Method

Wintering Bees in Minnesota

Bee Cozy Winter Cover

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pesticide cuts drone sperm 39 percent


Last of the good feeding weather?

This next four or five days may be the last 70's we will see. Perfect feeding weather. End of next week has highs in the low 50's. As the temperatures cool, feeding slows down. The bees don't like cold syrup.
So take advantage of the weather and get the feeding done.
By this time, all colonies should have been treated for mites. The top box on a hive should be pretty much full of honey. 
Oh, by the way, happy October.