Sunday, August 19, 2018

FREE BEEKEEPING CLASSES

Heritage Honeybees has notified ECWBA that they will be offering free beekeeping classes this fall.  This would be ideal for someone interested in starting beekeeping next spring.  See info below.  NOTE: ECWBA endorses no suppliers or their products.   Also, ECWBA does not know if this class would qualify for Fond du Lac's class requirement.

We now have registration links posted on our website (www.heritagehoneybee.com) under the "Classes" tab for our free 3-part beekeeping class.  The class is designed for the beginner up to the veteran beekeeper and will cover:
  • bee biology
  • equipment
  • package/nuc installation
  • colony growth and development
  • pest/disease management
  • honey/wax harvesting
  • winter preparation
  • and more....
We are offering the same 3-part class on two separate schedules.  Choose one of the following when registering on the website:

Thursdays from 9am-4pm on Sept. 13th, 20th and 27th
or
Saturdays from 9am-4pm on Sept. 15th, 22nd, and 29th
 
We will provide coffee, tea, water.  Please bring a sack lunch.  Class registration will close once the class size reaches 40 for each series of dates.
Pass this along to anyone you know who is interested in becoming a beekeeper or wants to learn more.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Emergency Queens

This article indicates that bees do not always raise emergency queens from eggs containing a high commonality with their own genetics.

https://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-the-majority-of-emergency-queens-are-raised-from-sub-families-not-as-previously-suspect-supersisters/

To me this is not so surprising.  Everyone knows the queens mates with multiple drones.  Also research has indicated the sperm do not readily mix.  Therefore at any given time the nurse bees that would be raising an emergency queen probably have difficulty finding eggs with both the right genetics and also of the right age (0 to 1 days after hatching) to raise into a new queen.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

FALL FEEDING


Many beekeepers feed their hives during the late summer and early fall to improve the chances of winter survival.  Most beekeepers use a 2 parts sugar to 1 part water solution for the feeding.  Either cane sugar or beet sugar are acceptable.  GMO (genetically modified) beet sugar has been found to have NO adverse effect on the bees.   Other beekeepers use fructose (corn syrup).  Fructose syrup is more expensive, but its sugar concentration is higher and it therefore takes the bees less time to process the fructose up to honey sugar concentration levels.  Remember the bees must dry nectar and any other food until it is roughly 82% sugar and 18% water to avoid fermentation.   

Experienced beekeepers can tell by the heft of the upper brood chamber whether feeding is necessary.  The upper brood chamber should weigh about 90 pounds in order for the bees to have sufficient stores to make it through winter.  Spending $10 on sugar in the fall can prevent starvation and the need to buy a $125 package of bees in the spring.   Commercial beekeepers simply feed all hives to minimize losses. 

Feeding the bees in the fall is like another nectar flow.  The bees will naturally respond to a nectar flow and begin to raise more brood.  More brood means more MITES!  Mite control philosophy has been evolving and now recommends fall feeding be accomplished in late August and early September.   Delaying feeding to late September or early October gives the mites an extended period to raise mite brood and results in higher mite populations throughout the winter months.  Mite control recommendations now suggest mite treatments be applied in early to mid-August to give the winter/fat bees the best chance to be virus free.  Continuing to feed into October simply gives the mites a longer time to rebuild their populations prior to the naturally occurring bee brood break, which limits mite population growth. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

STATISTICS

Here a bunch of statistics about hive losses from the USDA.  Again the primary reason listed for losses in varroa.

https://www.deltafarmpress.com/usda/9-points-honey-bee-colonies-report

Friday, August 3, 2018

ECWBA OUTREACH AT GREEN LAKE COUNTY FREE FAIR

This week the ECWBA has had a booth at the Green Lake County Free Fair.  Like all public events there were periods of boredom and of hectic activity.  Thank you to all club members that put in a little time supporting this activity.  There is still time to put in an appearance.  As a minimum its a good place to discuss beekeeping questions with your fellow beekeepers.

 Al manning the booth during a slack period. 
 Side view.  The observation hive was a hit again this year. 
 Al explaining the activities going on in the observation hive to a number of small children.  
The queen and her court.  The kids were excellent in quickly spotting the queen.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

FORMIC ACID MITE TREATMENTS

One down side of formic acid treatments is that they should be used when temperatures are less than 85 degrees F.    Sometimes this temperature window is hard to find during the ideal mite treatment time of the month of August.  The coming 10 days are predicted to remain below the 85F limit in the ECWBA area.  If you are planning to use formic acid treatments now would be a good time to apply them.