Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

TYPICAL SPRING PICTURE submitted by beekeeper Gerard

Here is a common situation in spring.  Bees in search of pollen are raiding bird feeders and seed piles.  They take the dust back to the hive.  Whether it is of benefit to the bees is questionable since most of this is very low in proteins or other food value.

                                                       I count seven (7) bees.


During the past weekend with its unusually warm weather I hope you took the opportunity to inspect your apiary on the condition of your bees.  If you have deadouts to replace or are expanding here is a short listing of area bee package suppliers. 2017 package prices are up slightly from last year.   The order of this listing is purely arbitrary.  I am sure there are other Wisconsin package and nuc suppliers. Sometimes if you pool with other beekeepers for a large quantity buy you can get a discount and save on pickup costs. 

ECWBA makes no endorsements of any suppliers. 

Heritage Honeybee LLC (bought Lee Hiene’s package business)-319-321-2494

Dadant & Sons in Watertown, Wi.-contact Brian Lox at 920-261-5363

HoneyBeeWare    Greenville, Wi.
$135 per 3lb package

Fleet Farm-Appleton, Green Bay, Plymouth, Stevens Point only.
$133.50 per 3lb package      Order by Feb 28th

Kelly Beekeeping-ships via USPS Priority mail to your local Post Office
Italians-$128.50      Russians-$133.50  Shipping is extra

Henry’s-Redgranite, Wi.    John Piechowski  920-566-2855  5 frame nucs

MIKSABEES@Gmail.com or call 1-352-348-4002

Hansen Honey Farm, 3279 US-8, Rhinelander, Wi.  54501  715-369-0383
Hansenhoneyfarm.com/t/bees and queens

Sweet Mountain Farm-see ECWBA web site

Craigslist listings
Jim 920-550-9536   3lb package $120  Italian or Carniolan

Josh  in Sarona, Wi.   715-651-6600   Nucs $135   

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Follow the link to read an article about the effects of this early warm weather on your bees.  The main point is feed them if low on winter stores, but do NOT promote brood rearing this early.  The article is the second article from the top of the Nature's Nectar blog.


Friday, February 17, 2017

HIVE CHECK by beekeeper Jack

Hive check – Friday, February 17, 2017.  52 degrees and sunny.

The previous statement, pretty much says it all, doesn’t it ?  We as beekeepers have been waiting for a day like this and certainly the bees have been waiting. 
There’s a certain satisfaction when you enter the bee yard on a day like that.  The air is humming with activity and the fronts of many of the hives are covered with bees.  For the most part anyway.
Hopefully all of you felt this way on Friday.  There are those survivors and those that did not.

I’ll walk you through my apiary and let you know what I found.

Having been gone for the most part of last  August, I did not get to do my mite treatments when I had originally planned them.  I vaporize with oxalic acid and have had decent success with that. 
So,  treatments took place over a three week period in September.  Beekeeper Fred warned us last October to not trust the earlier treatments, since he had found a much higher mite count later in the season than you want.  So, October I treated again and was surprised at the mite count that I had on the sticky boards.

My winter prep is to leave enough honey on the hive, reduce the entrances, and put a super on top with screened side vents, with a screened bottom, filled with wood shavings and on top a 1 inch piece of Styrofoam under the telescoping cover.  The plans for the ventilation box were found at   Strathconabeekeepers  website

I use all 8 frame equipment and go into winter with a combination of three deeps, or a combination of mediums and deeps that equal the same size as three deeps.

Last winter (2015-2016) I went into spring with 7 out of 9 living and flying.  This year, so far, I have 6 out of 9 living and flying and looking quite strong.  Their honey stores are still quite well stocked and I have started feeding AP23 patties to a couple of hives.  It’s still a long ways to spring and weather can happen in Wisconsin at any time.
Two of the dead outs can be attributed to mites.  They have the characteristic trait of leaving behind their feces on the face of the comb.  The third one looks like they went into winter with a small cluster and no brood found.  I did not re-queen last fall and feel that this was a fatal mistake.
Being a farmer, there is always next year,  and next year will always be better than last year.

Hoping that you find only pleasant surprises this spring.


We are having a few nice warm days.  For hives in the direct sun the bees are out doing voiding flights.  Did you notice all the gold spots in the snow?  Some hives may not be flying.  Some of mine wrapped with Bee Cozies are not flying.  I assume the Bee Cozy is insulting the hive from the warming effects of the sun.

Also although your hives may have lots of flight activity they are NOT getting ready to swarm.  This is because swarming requires four things; none of which exist right now.
1) Large population
2) A replacement queen being raised
3) Drones available to mate with the queen
4) A strong pollen and honey flow.


At least in Canada the government health organization has recognized some neonictides are damaging to honey bees.  But like all government organizations they move sloooowly and only propose to discontinue use over 3 to 5 years.  So far nothing out of the US EPA.