Friday, July 20, 2018


Here in the area of ECWBA beekeepers we are entering what is commonly called the summer dearth as it pertains to the honey flow.  The sweet clover, trefoil, and flowering tree honey flows are now complete.   Probably 90% of the honey in your supers has been gathered.  From here on out the bees will consume any remaining nectar almost as fast as they gather it. 

Like in anything beekeeping related there are exceptions.  Alfalfa can still provide a honey flow if the neighboring farmer has not done his 2nd or 3rd cutting yet.  There are also two other exceptions.  Purple loosestrife and knapweed are two invasive plant species that will provide nectar in late July and August.  Purple loosestrife is spreading into marshes and other wet areas.  I have seen it in the Oshkosh and Berlin areas.  Knapweed is commonly found on roadsides.  Although good for honey bees, please DON’T plant these two invasive species.   However, the bees will happily gather the nectar.  After all, the honey bee is an invasive species too.  

The dearth also triggers a reduction in brood rearing in the bee hive.  Some beekeepers take advantage of this and apply mite treatments.  As the amount of brood declines the proportion of phoretic mites increases and this make the overall mite population more susceptible to treatment.  Please remember if your honey supers are still on the hive the only approved treatment is formic acid.  Treating now, in theory, helps the hive have lower mite loads prior to the time period when they begin raising the winter “fat body” bees.   Low mite loads will result in winter bees with lower virus and bacterial infection rates.

Some beekeepers choose to remove and extract their honey in early August.  This allows use of other mite treatments since the honey will not then be contaminated.   

The summer dearth will be eased by the appearance of fall flowers.  In our area these include asters, coneflowers and goldenrod.  In some years goldenrod can be a source of secondary honey flow.   Strong fall honey flows are usually very localized. 

Monday, July 16, 2018


Next Saturday, July 21st, is our regularly scheduled club meeting at 9:30AM at the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake.  There will be a general beekeeping discussion mainly pointed towards the upcoming honey harvest.  Also to be discussed is support of the ECWBA booth at the Green Lake County Fair.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


Here is a short article about the chemical basis that causes African bees and hybridized European honey bees to become so aggressive.  Follow the link.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


As a break from this summer's theme of mite control here is a short article about how the bee's gut bacteria species change depending on the age of the bee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


In conjunction with our theme of getting ECWBA beekeepers to control their mite populations I can offer you a link to Randy's recent article on controlling mites.  Please note that he is recommending 2 to 3 mite treatments for our area; a single fall treatment is not sufficient. .

Sunday, July 8, 2018


If you would like to contribute some mites to a University of Wisconsin-Stout research project follow this link.  This group is studying the distribution of the Serratia marcescens sicaria bacteria in the U.S.  SMS bacteria can also cause winter hive loss.  Last winter there was an article on SMS on this blog.  It is found throughout Wisconsin.


Beekeeper Gerard submitted this photo of a bee working milkweed.  So in addition to being important for Monarch butterflies the milkweed is a nectar producer for the honey bee.  Glancing around I am also noticing sweet clover, Dutch clover and trefoil are in bloom.