Monday, October 24, 2016


The WHPA annual meeting will be in Fond du Lac next week.  Open and read the following links for more information.


Here is a link to a blog written by a beekeeper in Stillwater Minnesota, which is about 100 miles north of Central Wisconsin.   Looks like he is also computer savvy.  In this posting he is writing about tasks for October and then has several short videos on: Oxalic Drip Application, Wintering Hives in Minnesota and Installing a Bee cozy.  In general a lot of useful information.  I will try to periodically visit this site and pass on items applicable to our locale.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Tired of Langstroth, Warre', and TopBar hives?  Here is something different.  Please note that I am not sure this hive complies with the state requirements that the hive should be easily inspected for various bee diseases.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


As many of you are aware Lee Hiene has retired from both Dadant and the package bee business.  He passed his package bee business to Tim Wilbanks.  Here is an email I received from Tim regarding spring 2017 packages.  As usual the ECWBA does not endorse any suppliers. Tim's email address is   The following is Tim's email.

Our family is excited to start the process of gearing up for the Spring 2017 package bee season.  We will continue to provide the great service and quality bees from Northern California that Lee Heine provided for so many years.

This email is to get an idea of how many packages, what size, and when you'd prefer to receive them this coming Spring.  It may seem early, but I'm currently receiving lots of orders and starting to compile the list. I'll do my very best to accommodate your preferences (e.g. 2lb. vs. 3lb., timeframe, Italians vs. Carnis, etc.).

Prices will not be finalized until after New Year's once pricing from the suppliers in CA is set, but you can put in your order and send your deposit ($10 per package) to my PO BOX listed below.  Once prices are set, I will let you know via email.  Payment in full is required by March 15th to avoid a log jam at pickup.  Of course, you will be able to add or subtract from your order with no penalties as long as there is still availability.  Deposits secure your order quantity and give you priority for preferred time frame for packages.  As I receive deposits, I'll update my records.   

Mail deposits to:
Heritage Honeybee, LLC
Tim Wilbanks
PO Box 117
Sullivan, WI  53178

We will no longer distribute packages from the Dadant store in Watertown, as Lee did.  Instead, my family is currently constructing our new home and building which will serve as the new pick up location for your bees.  It is located only a few miles off Interstate 94 at exit 275 between Johnson Creek and Oconomowoc.   
Pick up address will be:
N6007 Hillside Dr.,
Sullivan, WI  53178

Please feel free to contact me anytime; I am almost always available at:  319-321-2494 .

Tim Wilbanks
Heritage Honeybee, LLC
PO BOX 117
Sullivan, WI  53178

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Follow this link to read a paper published last year in Bee Culture on the Purdue Ankle Biter grooming bee.   This paper has more detailed data regarding the performance of this bee type in the field.  Several club members are now utilizing queens with the Ankle biter genes in their hives.  Any means of combating the varroa mite is needed.

Monday, October 10, 2016


This is a short book written by David Burns.  It is available as an E-book from Amazon for those of you that have a “Kindle” e-reader.  I was able to borrow a Kindle from my sister and read the book. 

Nothing you haven't heard before, but it summarizes in one place the necessary steps to get your bees through the winter.  It also explains the reasons for each step.

Here is what I gleaned from this book.
1)      The biggest cause of winter loss of hives is the varroa mites and the viruses it spreads.  If you don’t have year round mite monitoring and control you are doomed to have high winter losses. 
2)      You must have strong colonies in the late summer/early fall prior to the colony going into cluster.  Bees should be heavily present on every frame until cluster.
3)      He encouraged feeding in late summer and early fall of both sugar AND POLLEN (or POLLEN SUBSTITUTE) to encourage raising of fat winter bees. This is addition to fall feeding many beekeepers already do to top off the colony’s winter stores.
4)      Re-queening in late summer helps with raising large quantities of winter bees. 
5)      Other minor aids such as screened bottom boards, mouse guards, etc were discussed.
6)      He stated good beekeepers inspect their colonies every two weeks.    

So here we are getting ready to go into winter and I am reviewing in my mind where I may have slipped up.  I have treated for mites twice and plan to do it once more.  I can’t say all of my colonies are “strong”.  I did combine several, but based on this book I should have combined several more.  I did feed about half of my colonies (weaker ones and new colonies), but not the stronger ones.  Although I re-queened many colonies in late summer I can’t say I was following his recommendation. 

This year my late summer/ early fall preparation for winter was better than any previous year and I am hoping for higher winter survival.  Next year I will add in the feeding of pollen in the fall.