Tuesday, November 29, 2016


This link provides a path to a series of videos about beekeeping in northern climates such as Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Monday, November 28, 2016


Here is a link to the Northern Bee Network.  This is a web site that lists suppliers of northern bred queens and nucs.  The concept behind this list is that northern bred queens will likely be more winter hardy.  I will add this link into the supplier list in this blog.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016


This is a reminder there will be a club meeting on December 3rd at 9:30 AM in the Silver Creek Room at the Ripon Public Library.

There will be a general discussion about about meeting topics and public outreach for 2017.  In addition members are encouraged to bring any bee related crafts they participate in for an informal show and tell.  For example candle making, soap making, lip balms, honey related foods or drinks, hand made beehive equipment, etc.  There is a rumor that Gerard will be bringing homemade baklava!  

Friday, November 18, 2016


After reading the varroa mite articles in the Nature's Nectar blog and seeing sticky board pictures sent in by beekeepers Gerard and Grandpa Jack I decided to do another mite check on one of my hives.  I chose to utilize a sticky board so I could directly compare with the pictures from those three sources.  
So Wednesday I slipped a sticky board into Hive U.  This hive has a Ankle Biter queen.  I had previously treated the hive with MAQS in mid-August and again in mid-September and mid-October with oxalic vapor.  I was not expecting to see many mites.  When I removed the sticky board 24 hours after another oxalic vapor treatment I counted 19 mites.  
                                                                   Mites are circled.

So now for a big question.  Are 19 mites good or bad?  I had absolutely no idea. Gerard indicated this was much lower than what he had seen from his hive.  Like most beekeepers I was not able to find a handy go/no go recommendation for the method I used.  The closest I found were limits ranging from 12 to 50 mites for a "natural" mite fall onto a sticky board in 24 hours.  "Natural" mite fall occurs from mites dying and dropping or being groomed and dropping or just losing their grasp on a bee and dropping.  I could not find a limit for my accelerated method which used oxalic vapor.  

In a beehive at this time of year the population is slowly declining.  Right now I am guessing the population is in the 20,000 to 30,000 range.  I've seen recommendations that mite infestation levels should be in the 1 to 5% max level.  A 1% level means there are about 300 mites on 30,000 bees.  Oxalic acid vapor is reputed to kill 95% of the mites on bees (not those on capped brood).  95% of 300 is 285.  So potentially on a "good" 1% hive I could kill 285 mites.  From this I am making the inference that my 19 mite fall in 24 hours is "GOOD".  Since I have treated all my hives in a similar manner I am feeling good about my chances for good winter survival.  It looks like the snow may start flying next week so my outdoor beekeeping is done until spring other than periodic checks tosee if the hives are still humming.  Stay tuned.   

PS-you probably saw that I treated my hives with 2 different natural acid compounds; MAQS (formic acid) and oxalic acid.  MAQS is reported to be able to penetrate the brood cell and kill juvenile mites. MAQS is also reputed to have a higher potential for killing the queen; therefore I was hesitant to apply it more than one time.  MAQS also needs warmer temperatures to be effective.  Oxalic acid can be used at lower temperatures; down to 40F.  However, oxalic acid does not penetrate into the brood cells. It is most effective after the queen has stopped laying and all capped brood has emerged.  I had also just received the oxalic vapor tool and was playing with it.     

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2017 Beekeeping Classes

Here is information on one possible source for beekeeping classes.  As always the ECWBA does not endorse people or products.  These classes are held in the Madison area.  When the Editor hears of additional classes they will be posted on the blog.

Learn to Keep Bees!   Beekeeping Classes  2017

Cost: $50, additional family members $25 each.

Beginners Class   Repeats on Jan 21,  Feb 18,  Mar 11,  April 8,  May 6
For those with no experience at all in beekeeping, we will touch on everything you need to know for your first year:

 -Elementary bee biology                         - What to do about swarming?
- What about the neighbors?    -  Splitting a hive, or moving it
- Equipment and protective gear              - Pests and diseases
- Installing your first package  - Harvesting your Honey with Tips on Selling
- Inspecting your hive                             - Preparing for winter

This is a lecture style class with props galore!  Handle everything in sight, taste some pollen, sample honeys.  Plenty of time for questions. 

Second Step Class  will be held March 18, 2017

For those who have already kept bees one year, and now find themselves with many additional questions, and a feeling there is more to know, we will cover the following topics and more as requested by you:

- Bee Behavior                                                        - Splitting Hives/Making Increase
- Equipment beyond the basics                                - Swarm Capture
- Inspecting                                                             - Pests and Disease Treatment
- Queens                                                                  - Preparing for winter                             

Registration includes:

-Full day class 9 am - 4 pm                                           -Class Handouts
-Morning Coffee (Please bring your own lunch)          -Catalogues
-Bakery with Honey                                                      -Sample Journals
-Membership in the Dane Co. Beekeeper's Association -Honey Recipes

You may purchase artisan honey, hand dipped candles, and several other products.  Bring change.
Rich Schneider of  Capital Bee Supply will be on hand with woodenware and equipment for sale.

Classes will be held at the       Lyman Anderson Building
                                                5201 Fen Oak Dr.
                                                Madison, WI 53718

To Register, send 1.) name   2.) address   3.) phone number   4.) e-mail address
5.) date and name of desired session and   6.) check or money order made out to:

          Jeanne Hansen                     For further information or questions, contact:
          824 Jacobson Ave.                                               Jeanne Hansen   608-244-5094
          Madison, WI 53714                                    jeanniealabeannie@yahoo.com

Mentoring   in the Apiary, on an individual basis, by appointment,   $20 for a 2-hour session.

!!*!!*!!  If you mail a check and don't get a receipt, please contact me  !!*!!*!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Here is nice write-up about how once mite free colonies get re-infested.  Thank your neighbors within a mile radius.


Saturday, November 12, 2016


This article is about beekeeping and bee winter survival in Ireland.  However, it also cites some European studies regarding queens.  The two most applicable to Wisconsin are:

1) Locally raised queens have a longer survival than purchased queens; an average of 83 days longer.

2) It is better from a winter survival standpoint to re-queen in mid-summer.  Re-queening during late summer or early fall is not as successful in getting the hive through winter.