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

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Pollinators - the movie

This is an opportunity to watch the movie on the silver screen, The Pollinators.
A great movie that shows the scope of beekeeping and pollination. Most civilians have no idea of the commercial beekeeping industry in North America. This movie shows the scale of what some commercial beekeepers do to keep bees.
The movie will be shown at Marcus Theaters in Oakdale.
You need to reserve tickets: follow the link below,
Monday, Dec 16th, 6:30 pm
The Pollinators - movie trailer

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Last chance for Oxalic Acid?

The high on Saturday is supposed to be 40 degrees. If you haven't treated your hive with Oxalic Acid, this may be your last opportunity to do it.
 Purchasing the right Oxalic Acid is imperative. Liquid Oxalic Acid is the wrong product to use. The proper Oxalic Acid to use is a white powder.
 Mixing the proper dose of Oxalic Acid powder with sugar water gives you the solution to treat your colonies.
 Nature's Nectar LLC does have the proper Oxalic Acid for the last mite treatment of the year.
 The road construction is pretty much over with on Hadley Ave. The access to Nature's Nectar LLC is now directly open off of Hwy. 36.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Commercial beekeeper moving bees

A commercial beekeeper I know is getting ready to move his bees to Texas. He tries to hold the bees here as long as he can. If the bees get moved too soon and it is warm in Texas, the bees tend to eat too much of their food stores. It works out best if it is cool in Texas when the bees arrive.
 Right now in Texas, the temperatures are in the low 50's with freezing temperatures at night. The cool temperatures keep the bees from flying and picking up Varroa from other beekeepers.
 Most of the hives are in singles. There should be enough food in the hives until late December or early January feeding. Pollen patties will be put on in late January to stimulate colonies for brood production. Dividing colonies will happen sometime in late February.
 When commercial beekeepers split their hives in February in Texas, they move one frame of brood and bees into a single hive box. A queen cell is added with an unmated queen, ready to emerge in a day or two after putting the queen cell in the hive. The queen will fly and get mated in about ten days after emerging from the queen cell. The queen starts laying a week or so later. This divide, which is too small if doing it in Minnesota, will build up over the next couple months. As the temperatures warm up, the brood nest will be able to expand. The goal is to have five to eight frames of brood when the bees will be shipped back to Minnesota. Many pitfalls can happen that a commercial beekeeper has to deal with, unmated queens, weak colonies, starvation of colonies, varroa mites.
 But if everything works out, 400 colonies can turn into 1000 colonies by early May.
Pallatized hives with four hives per pallet

A flatbed semi truck can haul 800 pallatized single deep colonies

Friday, October 25, 2019

Different Winter Covers For Wintering Your Bees

Using a cardboard cover

Using a Bee Cozy cover

Using a Velcro Wrap cover

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Foam floating on top of honey

Whenever beekeepers bottle honey, foam can be an issue. Air bubbles in honey makes the honey unattractive. Air bubbles come from the agitation of honey when pouring into a container or from extracting. With time, the container of honey will clear up, as all the air bubbles rise to the surface. When the bubbles hit the surface of the honey, the bubbles form a layer of white foam.
 Next time you go to the grocery store, look at the top of the containers of honey on the shelf. You will see foam on the top of the honey in the jar.
 This small amount of foam is a result of moving the honey from a large container and the agitation of the honey as it fills the smaller bottle.
 Hobby beekeepers keep their stored honey in 5 gallon pails or in larger honey bottlers. The surface of honey in the pail or bottler will accumulate foam. This foam can be troublesome when bottling the last bit of honey.
 When pouring the last few jars of honey, large amounts of foam will go into the bottles. It can be many bottles end up with a large amount of foam. This results in unattractive honey.
 What can be done to stop this foam issue? A beekeeper can skim the foam off. That can be very time consuming, messy and wasteful of good honey.
 What works well, is to use Cling wrap or Saran wrap. Tear a sheet off and lay it on the foam, on top of the honey surface. You may have to tap the wrap down so it is in contact with the foam. Have a trash container next to you. Peel the wrap back, most of the foam will be on the wrap. It is not perfect, but it does seem to get rid of 90% of the foam as the wrap comes off the surface of the honey.
This is my 300 lb honey bottler. On top of the honey, floats a layer of foam. I have laid Cling Wrap on top of the foam. 

Peeling back the wrap, you can see the foam cling to the wrap.

Peeling back the wrap shows a much less foam. The amount of honey being wasted is very small.

The result of the Cling Wrap. Almost foam free.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Last Call For Feeding

This looks like maybe the last weekend for feeding. Bees will take the feed down on warm days. As it cools off, the bees become more reluctant to take down syrup if the syrup gets cold. Plus, the feed is usually up on the top brood box. This time of year the bees cluster under the top brood box. As it stays cold the bees will stay in cluster and not move to the top of the hive to retrieve syrup.
Get the feeding done now. The clock is ticking.