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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Sunday, August 25, 2019


 When to feed? If you went out to your hive today and your top brood box is not full of honey, you need to feed right away. Or, if you have finished your mite treatments and do not have enough winter stores, you need to feed now.
 Our weather right now has been on the cool side. Weather sometimes gets in a trend. The trend at the moment is on the cool side. I have looked at long term fall weather forecasts. The forecast is for cooler weather, with colder weather as we move into late October and November.
 When it gets cool, the bees do not take syrup very well. If your hive needs more winter stores, feeding NOW is the best strategy.
 For winter stores the top brood box needs 8 full frames of honey and one partially filled frame (located in the center of the top box). The brood box under the top box should have four frames of honey, two frames on either side of the box.
 When we feed we need to feed fast and hard. Feeding needs to get done as fast as we can do it. The longer we feed the more mites can be produced. So it is in our best interest to get feeding done.
 I call it feeding hard. Getting as much syrup as we can in the fastest time frame. Don't feed with one feeder pail, use three feeder pails. There is 40,000 bees in the hive and they can empty feeder pails in a couple days. A hive top feeder may be a better choice. A hive top feeder holds four gallons. The screened access the bees use to get the syrup, lets hundreds of bees feed at the same time. You don't need a hive top feeder for every hive. Feed one hive, then move it to another hive.
 The syrup being fed is 2:1 sugar syrup, two parts sugar to one part water. The bees then have to dehumidify the syrup and turn it to honey. This takes time. When it is cold, sometimes it is hard for the bees to finish the syrup.
 ProSweet in my opinion is the best feed. The bees don't have to convert it to honey. The bees put it in the comb and they are done with it. Nature's Nectar LLC offers the best deal on ProSweet.
Fall feeding using three pails, resting directly on the frames. It is warm out and we do not have to put the pails on the inner cover.

You can see the three pails fit. The bees will empty the pails in about 3-4 days.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Mite Treatments

Now is the time to get mite treatments on. Mite Away Quick Strips or Formic Pro can both be safely used right now. The temperatures are perfect to use them. It is supposed to be in the 70's in the up coming week.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pulling Honey

Pulling Honey using a bee brush

Pulling Honey using Honey Robber

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What's blooming now late in the season?

It is getting late in the flowering plant realm. A few plants that are blooming are Goldenrod, Purple Loosestrife and Spotted Knapweed. I must have a nectar flow going on around me. The nectar flow had stopped about 10 days ago at my locale, but it has started up again. How do I know this?
 I had my shipping container open all day today. I have one super in the container that is wet with honey. The super in the container did not have one robber bee in there all day today. So the bees are finding something.
 The nectar will start getting spotty now. Some beekeepers will be getting some nectar, other beekeepers may be seeing a slowing down in nectar production. Honey can be pulled and extracted anytime now. If you already treated for mites you can leave your supers on for a while yet. Beekeepers who have not treated for mites should get that on the front burner. The long term forecast according to WCCO morning weather guy is a 40% chance of above normal temperatures from the 18th to the 24th of August. Mite treatments (Formic Acid) may be too warm to use.
You can see the Goldenrod blooming at the back of the photo. The yellow blossoms are just coming out in the foreground.
Purple Loostrife is a noxious weed that should not be propagated. But if it is there, the bees work it.

Spotted Knapweed is another noxious weed. It puts out an excellent honey.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Miners to Beekeepers

An interesting program in West Virginia trying to help former miners from the coal industry. The coal industry has been devastated with unemployment that went deep into the West Virginia economy. It isn't just the coal miners, it is also all the non miners that supported the mining operations. So the unemployment is much more than just the miners.
 This beekeeping program maybe can help the people of West Virginia.
At the end of the video, is a hot knife uncapper. You can see hoses hooked up to the knives. Hot water is pumped through the knives. The combination of heat and vibrating knives, uncap the frames of honey.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Whats happening to the nectar flow

The nectar flow had stopped in my locale around 10 days ago. I could see bees robbing. Since then, the robbing has stopped as the nectar flow was going again. I don't think the bees are putting up a lot of honey, but there is something out there still for them.
 White and Yellow sweet clover have waned and are pretty much done. The late summer flowers are in play right now. Purple Loosestrife, Spotted Knapweed, Joe Pyeweed. There are other perennials blooming that are giving up some nectar. We should see Goldenrod blooming soon. So there still be some nectar still to be had.
I wouldn't put anymore supers on if the bees are still capping honey in the current supers that are already on the hive.
 In the big picture the honey season is over for many of us. Beekeepers need to switch their attention to mite treatments. Don't wait too long to do mite treatments. Mites can start damaging your bees soon. Later next week the temperatures look good for using Formic Acid. I have made a post about this a couple posts ago. By waiting too long to treat for mite can put your colony in peril for winter survival. Please look at that post if you are considering Formic Acid as a mite treatment.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Be a beekeeper interpreter at the state fair

Beekeeper interpreter talking to civilians about the beekeeping craft. He has an observation hive at the ready for showing off the marked queen.
The Honey and Beekeeping display at the MN state fair is looking for volunteers.
 The MN State Fair has one of the best honey displays in the country. To make all this happen beekeepers help to talk to the general public about beekeeping. My wife and I have done this for many years. We always have a great time sharing our beekeeping knowledge with the general public.
 To be a interpreter, you do not have to be a entomologist. Most new beekeepers have much more knowledge than the general public. Most of the questions are very easy to answer. Like where is the queen, how long does a bee live, how much honey do you get, do you get stung often etc. If for some reason you don't know the answer, there will be someone there that can answer the question, and you point to the other interpreter and say that person can answer that question. But most first year beekeepers are very competent to do this.
 Everyone gets a three hour shift. You will be mailed a free ticket to get into the fair for each interpreter that signs up. There will be a stool to sit at and most interpreters will have an observation hive to work with. Most civilians want to see the queen. All the queens are marked so they are easy to find.
 This is the link to the sign up genius. You can see every day of the fair and what times are available for a volunteer shift.
 Most beekeepers who do this stint at the fair have a great time and have a great experience.  Sharing our craft with the public helps the whole beekeeping industry.