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, July 14, 2019

The true population of the hive

 A beekeeper from the east metro sent me these pictures. The question he had was, are the bearding bees foragers? It is 2am and 70 degrees, why are they bearding?
This pic was taken by a trail camera at 2:00am. Photo by M. Lai

This pic was taken at 9:00am. Now 82 degrees and no bearding. Photo by M. Lai

This is a great example of the true population of a hive. All the bees are home at night. Even at 70 degrees there is a large population in the hive. The populations are so big, the hive is crowded and the bees need to hang outside to keep cool. The hives are not attempting to swarm, they are just hot. Also, the bees are circulating air through the hive, dehumidifying the nectar collected from the previous day.
 Now the lower picture. This pic was taken at 9:00 am and 82 degrees, note very little bearding. What gives? Why no bearding, it is warmer then at night?
 The bees hanging out at night are foragers, or a combination of foragers and house bees. This top picture gives us the real strength of a strong colony. The lower picture shows us that the foragers are now out working. The colonies have a large forager population, and a large house bee population.
 How would I know this? The beekeeper has four to five supers on the hives. The bees are filling up the supers. He couldn't get to that level of honey production without having both large populations of foragers and house bees.
 When a hive has poor honey collection, it is because the population of foragers and/or house bees are not sufficient. The hive needs both classes of bees to put forth a good honey crop. A swarm (loss of foragers) a dead queen in late May and early June (low numbers of house bees during the nectar flow).
 The key to a big honey crop is a great nectar flow and a hive that is packed with bees. More bees means more honey. Keep the bees from swarming and the honey is in the bank.

Time to remove the welcome mat

photo by D. Imhoff
 My friend Dan lives in the Elk River area. He got a picture of a mama bear walking down his driveway yesterday. She also had a cub bear with her. Very rude of the bears to show up uninvited. Dan has not seen a bear in 25 years of keeping bees at his place. More and more we are seeing bears encroaching on the more populous part of the rural ring of the metro area.
 I always encourage beekeepers to put up a bear fence if they are in bear country. The main reason for this is, you can put up a bear fence now or put up a bear fence after the bear wrecks your hives and eats your bees. If it is after the bear shows up, now you are paying for your hives twice.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Need Honey?

Wendy and I are still in the honey business.
We sell:
60 lb pails of honey for $178.00 each
Bulk honey is $4.00 lb. 60 lbs of more it is $2.80 lb.
651-492-six five seven three

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The upcoming heat

My Basswood is in full bloom. The blossoms are very dense this year. I took this pic at 9:15 am this morning. The bees are working the blossoms early this morning because it is in the 70's already. If it was a cool morning the bees wouldn't be here yet. Warm days and warm nights gives the bees a full day to work flowers. The tree is literally buzzing and alive with bees. I can hear and see honeybees, bumblebees and other pollinators working the flowers..This tells me that the Basswood is putting up nectar for the bees.
At this time of year, hot weather helps the nectar flow. Basswoods produce the most nectar with warm days and warm nights. I walked outside this morning and went underneath my Basswood trees. They are in full bloom, I could just smell the pungent odor of the flowers. The bees were working the flowers at 8:30 pm last night.
 Basswood sometimes is a fickle honey flow. Beekeepers don't get large amounts every year. But, when Basswoods nectar flows heavy, beekeepers usually get big honey crops.
 The 10 day forecast has upper 80's to low 90's every day. Looks like rain possible one day out of ten.
 We have had ample moisture, now we just need occasional sip of water to keep everything green.
 Everyone should be getting a nectar flow by now. Check the supers once a week and stay ahead of the bees. Add two supers at a time.
 If you are a new beekeeper, put your supers on. Don't think you will not get honey your first year. I have had new beekeepers get four supers of honey off of package bees. The late start of the nectar flow has helped colonies build in strength increasing the likelihood of getting honey.
 A beekeepers showed me a picture of his hive on Tuesday. It was a package of bees with a Saskatraz queen on drawn comb. He has four supers very full of nectar and he just added two more supers.
 Stay ahead of the bees through the month of July. Having empty supers on the hive, spurs the bees on to fill the boxes. Bees have a hoarding instinct. By having empty boxes ahead of the bees, will make the bees work harder to fill the space with honey if there is honey to be had. If the bees don't have a place to put honey, they will stop collecting nectar.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Some Wildlife Pics

Nice Buck Deer In Velvet

Young Fawn With Mama In The Background
Wren Peeking Out Of Her Nest photo by W Kloek

Cedar Waxwing Eating Berries
I Believe This Is A Flycatcher Photo By W Kloek

Friday, July 5, 2019

Sweet Clover is blooming and the Strawberries are ripe

I noticed yesterday that White Sweet Clover is now blooming. I did see a large stand of white sweet clover in full bloom along 694.
 Also, my wife and I went to the Arboretum and saw the Basswoods were blooming.
So make sure at least two supers are on your hives.
The Strawberry picking was most excellent today. We were at the Berry Patch in Marine, right near Big Marine Park. Picked 20 lbs in 20 minutes. The berries were very big. Perfect size for making jam.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Fort McHenry - Happy Fourth of July

Fort McHenry is located in the bay protecting the city of Baltimore, Maryland.
During the war of 1812, September 13-14, 1814. British troops had landed and were approaching the city of Baltimore in force to raze the city.
 The citizens of Baltimore had a home militia. Citizens of Baltimore hastily built trenches to form a line to stop the advance of the British troops. You need to understand that at that time in history, the British soldier was the best and most experienced soldiers in the world. Many of these troops were involved with defeating Napoleon earlier in the year.
 For the British, their plan was to take the city by sailing their warships into Baltimore harbor to shell the city. Also the ground troops would move in and burn the city of Baltimore to the ground.
 Fort McHenry stood in the way of the plan. The British felt they could obliterate the fort and then move on the city.
Fort McHenry defenses
 A ship flying a flag of Truce approached the British ships. On board that ship was Attorney Francis Scott Key. He was sent to negotiate for release of a detained citizen.  His delegation was on the truce ship and witnessed the British shelling of the fort.
The massive shelling of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner.
After the shelling, the ships had depleted their ammunition and were forced to withdraw.
 The citizen militia challenged and stopped the British ground troops. The British General was killed during the battle.  
 Fort McHenry is a national shrine.
 The original flag is located at the Smithsonian museum. The flag of 1814 had 15 stars and 15 bars.

Raising the flag in the morning at Fort McHenry. Visitors are asked to help hold the flag as it is being raised.