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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Friday, November 30, 2018

Think about package bee strategy

 Beekeeping is all strategy. The question to ask yourself, how can I get my hives to peak population at the start of the nectar flow? If you have a few hives with drawn comb there are things you can do to get your hive strength to a higher level.
 Here is a different strategy for you. Say for example you have four empty hives and you want to start the hives with 2 lb package bees. I am saying to get five 2 lb packages and start them all in one deep, or in nuc boxes. Then when it is time to add the second box, around May 5th to May 10th, take that fifth package and split it evenly between the four packages, add the bees to the second box of the four packages. Put the queen from the fifth package in a five frame nuc box.with a frame of bees. This will get all the packages an increase in hive strength. The extra bees will give the queen more bees to cover the frames for more brood. There should be two cycles of brood emerging after adding the bees and the start of the nectar flow. This strategy should give you a bigger hive population earlier than normal. Everything is timing of having peak or near peak population at the time of the start of the nectar flow. Our problem is that the nectar flow can vary by a week to ten days, So swarm control must be practiced.
 Now the economics, the extra 2 lb package will cost you $120.00. You are splitting the package between four hives. So, $30.00 per hive. If the new packages produce an extra five frames of honey, that is about 20 pounds of honey. @ $3.00 per lb. That would be $60.00 per hive. Now this is more than you paid for the extra package. You will also have an extra queen that is worth $35.00 is available for you to use if you need one.
 There are many ways to keep bees. Using well thought out strategy's before a new season starts, should give you a more successful season.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Velcro Winter Covers

My supplier finally got back to me about the rest of my Velcro winter cover order.
 He shipped the covers on Monday. I hope to have them by Friday.
Eight frame and five frame nuc velcro winter covers.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Making Creamed Honey

This is the time of year I make creamed honey for holiday gifts.
 Making creamed honey is easy to do. The science of creamed honey is simply the granulation of honey. Honey that granulates on its own usually results in a coarse, grainy texture. To create a smooth creamed honey we need purchase creamed honey from the grocery store and follow a process.
  Creamed honey is granulated honey, that through this process, fine granulation crystals of the store bought creamed are stirred into the warm honey. As the honey sets up, the crystals of the creamed honey will be replicated and the result will be smooth and creamy honey that is a spread. .
 The process is to take honey that is clear of granulation and warm it up to 95 degrees.  Then, stir in a commercially made creamed honey from the grocery store. One pound of creamed honey to ten pounds of honey. I usually make the creamed honey in 30 lb batches. I use 4 pounds of creamed honey in a 30 lb batch. This assures that there is ample creamed honey crystal to make sure the batch will turn out properly. Cool down the honey quickly by putting it outside for a couple hours. Stir it again the next day, then bottle. Always bottle one plastic tub. This way you can tell when your creamed honey is properly set by squeezing the sides of the plastic container. When the container feels firm, the creamed honey is ready.
 I like making cinnamon creamed honey. I mix 1/8 cup of powdered cinnamon per 10 lbs of honey. I mix the powdered cinnamon in a bowl with the liquid honey. This gets the cinnamon wet with honey then I stir it in with the large batch of honey. The next day it is common to have the cinnamon float to the surface of the batch of creamed honey. I usually stir the batch again then bottle it. I move the bottled creamed honey outside to cool it off. Then I will do a rotation of bring it inside, then a few hours outside for a few days. This will help keep the cinnamon suspended in the honey and not as likely to rise to the top of the bottle.
 To be ready for holiday gifts the creamed honey should be made by December 1st. It can take 14 days to set up. There is timing involved this year. Christmas is on a Tuesday so there will be a four day weekend for most folks. That makes Friday, December 21st the last day for sharing your creamed honey with coworkers if that is your goal. So, don't dawdle on making the creamed honey.

Making Creamed Honey

Friday, November 23, 2018

9-18 Motorized Extractors Sale Price

We are taking orders for 9-18 motorized extractors $1025.00 cash or check only.
You save $270.95 off of catalog price.
In store sale.
It usually takes about a week to get.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Closing Out all extractors

We are closing out all remaining extractors in stock.
We have two new in the box three frame hand crank extractors $369.00 each, cash or check.
Also, our three frame hand crank rental extractors $300.00 each, cash or check.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Forever Green Project from the Univ of MN

I attended the MN Hobby Beekeepers monthly meeting tonight. The guest speaker was Dr Don Wyse. He gave a presentation of a project that he and his research team from the U of MN is working on, called Forever Green.
 Forever Green is a plan to change the farm landscape from what it is today, a two crop (corn and soybeans) to a multi crop diversified landscape that promotes harvest-able cover crops. These cover crops will change the landscape with more economic opportunities for farmers, better soil conservation, better and safer water quality, more pollinator forage, and better protection of our natural resources.
 What this means for beekeepers. Less pesticide use, more bee forage ( the potential could be millions of acres), cleaner water for the bees. The landscape could change from beekeepers, at the present most beekeepers are staying away from corn and soybean fields. With the Forever Green project. beekeepers may start actively looking for corn and soybean fields for larger nectar sources. Some of these plant cover crops bloom at times of the year when bees need forage that may not be widely available.  One of the plants for example, Pennycress, blooms in April. Imagine large farm fields blooming in April when bees are looking for pollen and nectar sources.
 This initiative is supported by large food manufacturers such as General Mills and  Pepsico to name a few. General Mills has committed to lower their carbon usage by 30%. They need this type of ag initiative to help achieve this goal.
Here is a couple links for more information:
Forever Green https://www.forevergreen.umn.edu/
 New Crops Hold Economic Promise 
 Here the website explains strategy and plant types
A brief YouTube Video about the project:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Cold Weather Moving In

The weather is going south for the short term. It would be a good idea to cover your hives now. It is going to turn windy with below normal temperatures.
Bees can handle cold with no problem. It is the cold wind that bites into a colony.
The cold weather was a surprise for most of us.  Many beekeepers have not treated with Oxalic Acid yet. Rainy weather on the weekends have cut into our treatment timing. Feeding with this cold weather may be impossible. The bees will be clustered off the feed and will more than likely not taking not taking syrup.
 It looks like late next week the temps may get into the 40's again, so hopefully the weather gives us a break for a few days so we can finish up our late fall bee work.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Nature's Nectar LLC has gone solar

We have been concerned for a long time about the environment.
Global warming, the huge die off of insects and mammals from the planet. This is our part to help make the world a better place. We set up a solar system that should cover most of our electric consumption.
 The system is a 16.5 kilo watt system. This means the system can generate a peak performance of 16.5 kw per hour in a full midday sun. Solar systems start generating electricity when sunlight hits the panels. The wattage may be low in the morning, then peak midday, and moving lower as the sun goes down in the afternoon.
 Our solar system is grid tied. This means whatever solar that we are not using, the power goes back to the grid and we will get a credit from Xcel energy on our bill. So far after a month of being turned on, we have generated over 1200 kw of power. Not bad for the short days and a cloudy October.
 If you are thinking of a solar system, now is the time to consider it. Right now there is a 30% federal tax credit available for systems installed through 2019. In my case, Xcel energy also pays me $1300.00 per year for 10 years for the renewable energy credits. These two payments will cover half the cost of my system. Plus my electrical bill will be pretty much non existent.
 If you are interested in something like this, or want to see the system, you are welcome to stop by or call me for more information.
This is the company that did the install:
or contact Jeff for more info: jeff.wiberg@allenergysolar.com>

Friday, November 2, 2018

10 frame velcro covers are in

We did receive our shipment of 10 frame Velcro Covers.

Treat Now With Oxalic Acid

Now is the time to finish up with Oxalic Acid if you haven't done it yet. The weather over the next few days is ok for applying Oxalic Acid. Beekeepers that need to apply the dribble method, should have temperatures at about forty degrees at the time of treatment.
 As we get into later next week the weather starts cooling off into the 30's for daily high temperatures, and the window for the dribble method will be closing.
 The vaporizer is a little more forgiving on temperatures, meaning that a hive can be vaporized when it is in the high 30's and the high forties at the time of treatment. The nice thing about the vaporizer is that the hive does not have to be opened. But, the entrance has to be open to slip in the vaporizer.
 Anytime after the Oxalic Acid treatments, winter covers can be put on the hives.