Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - December 4, 2010

Holiday greetings to all of the ECWBA members,
December has settled upon us and now is the time every one is making preparations for the holiday season. However, I thought I’d send out a brief newsletter to keep everyone updated about the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association.

1. Here is the list of meeting dates for the new year, 2011:
* January meeting: January 15, 2011, 9:30 am, at Ripon Public Library.
* February meeting: February 12, 2011, time and place is yet to be determined, but Fond du Lac is the target area.
* March meeting: March 12, 2011, 9:30 am, at Ripon Public Library.
* May (or June) meeting: Field day. Date, time, and place are yet to be determined. Some members have requested that the field day be moved to the middle of June in order to observe colonies that have already transitioned to the honey production phase.

2. The topics for the first few meetings have been established. However, based on scheduling of guest speakers, specific speakers and topics have not yet been assigned to a specific meeting date. Some of the guest speakers and topics are the state bee inspector and a beekeeping equipment supply representative. These speakers are tentative based on their availability. A number of topics that the members wanted to hear about were discussed at a past meeting. Some members may be asked to give presentations about their beekeeping methods and operations.

3. This year, 2010, was the second year for the ECWBA. I think things went well and I am looking toward a successful year during 2011. I would like to thank every one that has become involved in the ECWBA. Your support and dedication has established the foundation for establishing a local beekeeping organization focused on beekeeper development. Let's sustain the momentum we've gained into a third successful year.

4. At the January, 2011, meeting, the offices of vice-president and treasurer will be up for election. The positions are currently held by Don Palkovich as Vice President and George Weigel as Treasurer. Both, Don and George, have done a great job as ECWBA officers for the past two years. Here’s an opportunity to be come directly involved with the ECWBA. Please consider running for either of these offices -- a little “electorial competition” would be great to see. If you have any questions about the election or about becoming an officer, please contact Jeff Champeau by phone or e-mail.

5. Remember to check our blog for the latest club postings or interesting commentary.
http://ourbeeblog.blogspot.com/

6. For next year, 2011, the membership dues payment period will be the first two months of the year. After that, membership privileges (voting at meetings and receiving a newsletter) will be withheld until dues are paid. Dues will remain at $15.00 for a yearly membership.

Beekeeping Notes:
Start planning for 2011 – Winter is a good time to relax with a warm cup of hot chocolate and think about next year’s beekeeping. Is this the year to attend an advanced beekeeping seminar? Or maybe a workshop to learn about queen rearing?

If you have some experience, this could be the year to mentor a new beekeeper. As for myself, 2011 is the year I’m going to back-off, slow down, and just really enjoy beekeeping.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all…
Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau
President, ECWBA
Telephone: 715-330-9969
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me. I’m sometimes hard to contact, but leave a message and I’ll call you back. Or e-mail me at jeff.champeau@yahoo.com.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

everything in bees....

check out http://www.cafepress.com/ for all things printed with BEES. shirts, mugs, bags, needsome things....and CALENDARS for the new year. just type in "bees" in the search area.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Beekeeping Courses

Attn: FOND DU LAC AREA beekeepers. Beekeeping courses for "beginners" through "experienced" will once again be held this winter through the UW-Fond du Lac Extension. Keep and eye out for the posting of classes and times.

Dane County Beekeepers Association is offering "fundamentals of beekeeping" at Warner Park Community Center in Madison, WI on Feb 5, 2011 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm - class fee: $60 - a two tier session; one for beginners, one for the next level. Call Jeanne Hansen @ 608-244-5094 or contact her via email: jeanniealabeannie@yahoo.com. A registration form can also be obtained here: www.wd8das.net/madbees/Dane_2001_Reg.pdf

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A comment - leads to a thought...

A comment at the WHPA - by Jerry Bromenschenk led me to a thought. He said that he'd been at bee yards ALL ACROSS the United States, etc, etc....and ONE YARD STOOD OUT IN HIS MIND.

How was their operation "different"?

They did ANNUAL BEES. In the fall - they brushed the bees into boxes (he wasn't real specific here)...and shipped them back to California. In Spring - they installed new California bee packages on EQUIPMENT THAT HAD BEEN "DORMANT" and "FROZEN" for 4 or more months.

He said what this did - was BREAK THE CYCLE (mites) 'cause the queen's got a break in laying...and the equipment was FROZEN - so the good old cold weather - "cleansed" it.

MY IMMEDIATE THOUGHT was....could this really be SUSTAINABLE? how many packages can California produce????

MY SECOND THOUGHT WAS....i've got "overwintered" empty equipment now (that i've got a few years in). so - when (if) the hives make it out of winter....WHY NOT TAKE THOSE SMALLER qtys of bees....and MOVE/BRUSH THEM INTO THAT OVERWINTERED equipment???? kinda like installing your OWN PACKAGE???

THUS....I THINK THIS IS 2011's EXPERIMENT. another "plus" i see here is the opportunity to get some "old foundation" out of the mix.

this might be ok for me in my backyard beekeeping situation - LOTSA WORK - for a big operator!!!

I'm now a MEMBER

I was greeted with an opportunity to hitch a ride with one of our members to: THE WISCONSIN HONEY PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION (WHPA) fall/winter convention at Manitowoc (topics as previously noted in blog)

WOW - I'M SOLD - what a GREAT OPPORTUNITY and EDUCATION our chapter offers it's members!!!!!

some TOPICS that stood out to me - 'cause I LIKE all this BIOTECH and BIOLOGY and SCIENCE and RESEARCH stuff.

Jerry Bromenschenk.....honing in on the CAUSE FOR CCD!!!
here's a link to his recently published article. the long and the short - it's the deadly combination of a latent virus with nosema...read on! again - it shows that our bees might be able to handle a single factor on it's own...but in combination - it becomes deadly.

another speaker, Dr. Marion Ellis - UN/ Lincoln...repeated the words of Paracelsus (1493 - 1541) over and over again...."The dose makes the poison." Taking an aspirin can help you feel better - taking a BOTTLE will make you feel really bad! (or dead) He talked about all the chemical exposures our bees deal with on a daily basis - from WHAT WE PUT INSIDE the hive and WHAT THEY GET OUTSIDE the hive...and how sometimes it's the COMBINATION (drug interaction) that kills. He touched on the importance of cycling out foundation - as wax is absorptive...and chemicals can be building up in there.

we also had Dr. Marla Spivak down from the Minnesota Bee Lab - updating us on the research going on there.

I was HAPPILY surprised by the QUALITY of the speakers, topics and by the "FORWARD-NESS" (Wisconsin's state motto is FORWARD) of their approach as an orgainization. They've introduced legislature that will impact the LABELING requirements in the state of Wisconsin. The long and the short here is....if it says, "HONEY" - IT BETTER BE HONEY INSIDE...PURE AND UNADULTERATED. (or it can COST you...don't mess around in Wisconsin!)

oh so much to catch up on!

first: catch this author interview - re: honeybee democracy

Monday
11/8/2010
8:00 AM

Joy Cardin - 101108C
When faced with tough decisions or life-or-death situations, there's a lot we can learn from them. After eight, Joy Cardin's guest describes the decision-making powers of the Honeybee. How they participate in fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building... and what we can learn from them.

Guest: Thomas D. Seeley, Professor of Biology, Cornell University. Beekeeper. Author, "Honeybee Democracy." http://wpr.org/r/?304

Friday, October 29, 2010

a must read...

HONEYBEE DEMOCRACY.

i just downloaded it for a read....it's EXCELLENT and i can see i'm going to have a hard time putting this one down!

i'm barely past the introduction and i've already gleaned a "new saying"......GO FORTH AND POLLINATE!

Product Description (from amazon.com)

Honeybees make decisions collectively--and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problem of choosing and traveling to a new home, honeybees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building. In fact, as world-renowned animal behaviorist Thomas Seeley reveals, these incredible insects have much to teach us when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision making. A remarkable and richly illustrated account of scientific discovery, Honeybee Democracy brings together, for the first time, decades of Seeley's pioneering research to tell the amazing story of house hunting and democratic debate among the honeybees.

In the late spring and early summer, as a bee colony becomes overcrowded, a third of the hive stays behind and rears a new queen, while a swarm of thousands departs with the old queen to produce a daughter colony. Seeley describes how these bees evaluate potential nest sites, advertise their discoveries to one another, engage in open deliberation, choose a final site, and navigate together--as a swirling cloud of bees--to their new home. Seeley investigates how evolution has honed the decision-making methods of honeybees over millions of years, and he considers similarities between the ways that bee swarms and primate brains process information. He concludes that what works well for bees can also work well for people: any decision-making group should consist of individuals with shared interests and mutual respect, a leader's influence should be minimized, debate should be relied upon, diverse solutions should be sought, and the majority should be counted on for a dependable resolution.

An impressive exploration of animal behavior, Honeybee Democracy shows that decision-making groups, whether honeybee or human, can be smarter than even the smartest individuals in them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Stone that says something.


now here's a stone that tells you about these people and what they did/do in life: farmer-beekeepers. Rest in Peace Mr. Gelhar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wisconsin Honey Producers Fall Convention

November 4-7
WHPA Fall Convention


Where:
Holiday Inn
4601 Calumet Avenue
Manitiowoc, WI 54220
see map

Get your registration information
Get your schedule

Keynote Speakers:
Marion Ellis Nebraska
Jerry Bromenshank University of Montana

Convention Schedule:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

3:00 PM Board Meeting

6:00 PM Board Dinner

7-9:00 PM Watch video of how observation hive was installed at Lincoln Zoo in Manitowoc.

8:00 PM Budget Committee Meeting

Friday, November 5, 2010

8:00 AM Registration

8:30 AM Exhibits Open

8:45 AM Sessions Open - Call to Order by President, Tim Fulton

8:50 AM Introduction of the Wisconsin Honey Queen and 2010 Queen Canidates

9:00 AM Dr. Marion Ellis - UN/ Lincoln - Living With Varroa in Cold Climates

10:00 AM Break

10:20 AM ABF Update

10:30 AM State Fair Update

11:00 AM Paul Dietmann - DATCP, What the new Honey Law is all about

12:00 Noon Lunch ( ticket required)

1:00 PM Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk - UMontana/Missoula - Colony Collapse Disease and Nosema ceranae

2:00 PM Liz Meils - DATCP , Wisconsin State

2:30 PM Gary Reuter UM Minneapolis, How to make your own mead at home

3:15 PM Break

3:40 PM Business Meeting

5:30 PM Dinner on Your Own

6:30 PM Queen Canidate Presentation

6:35 PM Wisconsin Honey Queen Marketing Presentation

6:45 PM Mead Tasting, Bring your own home made mead to pass around for sampling by everyone

8:00 PM Wisconsin Honey Queen Fund Auction

Saturday, November 6, 2010

8:00 AM Registration

8:30 AM Exhibits Open

9:00 AM Sessions Open - Announcements

9:05 AM Jerry Bromenshenk UMontana/ Missoula - New Technologies For Bee Management

10:05 AM Break

10:30 AM American Honey Princess - Amy Roden

10:45 AM Honey Queen Year in Review - 2010 Wisconsin Honey Queen, Abigail Tracy

11:00 AM Dr. Marion Ellis UN/ Lincoln - Why Does Lavender Honey Sell for $16.00 a Pound

12:00 Noon Lunch on Your Own

1-3:00 PM Kids N Bees Expo

1:00 PM Dr. Marla Spivak or Gary Reuter UMinnesota - Update on their Bee Research

2:00 PM Dean Lapp - Lapp's Bee Supply - Setting up and Managing a Club Bee Yard

2:45 PM Break

3:00 PM Jessie Fritsch , Artist - Encaustic Beeswax Paintings, Hands on Demonstrations

6:00 PM Cocktail Hour

7:00 PM Banquet ( Ticket Required)

9:00 - 1:00 Entertainment - DJ Manuel Lopez - Dance and Socialing

Sunday, November 7, 2010

8:00 AM Executive Committee Meeting

Monday, October 11, 2010

late season nectar

This weekend was unseasonably warm and the bees were out enjoying the "second crop" of borage. Bees LOVE borage and it's a self-seeding annual that I "allow" to grow amongst the garden vegetables. After I tore out the potatoes....the borage started to fill in again and is now blooming. It likes the COOL weather too - so far it's surviving the light frosts....

We BURNED our grasslands this spring - which yielded a healthy crop of asters this fall (the burning must activate the seeds - or perhaps gives them room to grow up from the grass). I find that the aster nectar gives the hives a "sour" smell. The first year I noticed this - I thought - OH NO - FOULBROOD....it wasn't....it was just ASTERS....


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

oh and don't forget

make sure that each hive gets AT LEAST ONE batch of "MEDICATED" sugar syrup. fumagilin helps protect the bees against dysentery....a REAL PROBLEM for overwintering bees (remember - they're "holding it".

i think this is a good idea anyway - in that - SUGAR SYRUP is NO SUBSTITUTE for the REAL STUFF (nectar/honey) they store away. when their diet is switched to sugar syrup...and they come across and consume those sugar syrup cells during the winter - the lack of "true nutrients" might compromise their immune systems.

let them pack away some medicated cells for the winter.

WHO IS THIS?

i picked up the phone (at work) about 10:30 am one day last week...and this "WOMAN" was singing some german song...."EIN PROSIT"

i'm thinking....WHO the heck is this - i'm about to hang-up...

then it all came TOGETHER for me. i'd dropped a bottle of this year's MEAD off at my MOM'S house that morn!!! OH - IT'S MOM!!!! (this feigned drunken ein prosit thing is SO out of character for her)

anyway - she had to "report" the SUCCESS of this year's batch. she'd apparently enjoyed a sip and played her organ with "very light fingers" - she said :)

for honey producers - producing WET honey this year....TRY YOUR HAND AT MEAD...it's REALLY FUN! don't let your fermenting honey go to waste.

beekeepers BUZZ....

i'm hearing from A LOT of beekeepers that...the honey has a high MOISTURE/water content this year...YES - EVEN IF YOU HARVESTED ONLY CAPPED HONEY!

WHAT DO YOU DO if you suspect that SOMETHING is going on with this year's batch? - does it seem runny, is it cloudy? - and what if it's already IN BOTTLES???? you HAVE to evaporate the moisture out. too much moisture and your honey will FERMENT. you can take the caps off your GLASS bottles - put them on a "cookie" sheet/flat sheet and stick them in the oven at the lowest temp. and leave the door open a crack. if you used PLASTIC....you might have to go about pouring them all back into a larger container for warming - and pouring back....yes, a big sticky mess....

you might put a REFRACTOMETER on that "wish list" for Christmas......

in the future - if you suspect a "wet year".....you might want to put off extracting IMMEDIATELY. take your supers off - expose the boxes/comb to a FAN....or a dehumidifier for a week or so before extracting...

Monday, September 27, 2010

this is THE MONTH


it's TIME to get them ready for winter.

get any VARROA treatments in there/done (remember, chemical strips/trays/pads - whatever you decide have to be removed before the final wrap) - so give yourself enough time - count backwards! if you're "powdered sugar dusting"...you'll want to "hit them" a couple times...

get the WINTER RECIPE - SUGAR SYRUP on them.

and it's MOUSE time! they're looking for a nice warm place to hole-up for winter....get some "guards" on the entrances.

take a look around for any extra "shelter" materials or barriers you might offer your hives over winter....STRAW BALES?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

WHAT were they THINKING???

remember a couple blogs ago...what do you call a swarm in AUGUST? what i suspected was CONFIRMED today.

monday, we harvested the supers off the hives....VERY GOOD harvest by the way. the CLEARING BOARDS (bee mazes) that i got were WORTH $8 EVERYDAY - ANYDAY - ANYTIME. put those on 3 or 4 days before harvest and the bees clear the supers! WOW!!!

now...back to my suspicions...
i thought the august swarm issued from "HESTIA"....'cause when i hived them - some seemingly went back "home".

now that the supers are off and i could inspect things....HESTIA (the mother hive) was INDEED WITHOUT QUEEN. here's the question again: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? the swarm issued with the ONLY QUEEN?!???! there weren't any swarm cells or superscedure cells....NOTHING - NO CHANCE!

i verified the QUEEN was in the swarm have (not yet named). SO - HERE'S THE RESTACK (from the bottom board up). QUEEN DEEP, newspaper, queen excluder (even though they might still "know" each other? why take a chance), HESTIA bottom deep, HESTIA top deep...and covered.

when i get back home - i'm going to start this hive on sugar syrup. they had quite a bit in the HESTIA top deep...but the sugar syrup also gives them additional INCENTIVE to stay.

the population is not BAD....but it's going to be the "weakest" of all of them going in. (to winter)

Friday, August 27, 2010

sticky board DEBRIS

archaeologists are in seventh-heaven when they discover a GARBAGE PIT - why? 'cause you can tell A LOT about people by their GARBAGE.

yet ANOTHER REASON to love a screened bottom board with a sticky trap....DEBRIS. you can learn a lot about what's going on in the hive by looking at the GARBAGE.

hmmm? what are these elongated - smaller than mouse poop "droppings" (the dark - almost black spots)???

WAX WORM DROPPINGS!!!! yup - confirmed - found her and SQUISHED her.

NORMAL hives would be able to fend off this intruder...but this was in my WEAK, queenless hive (that i've been waiting to (more or less) die down and do SOMETHING with when the supers are off the other hives) well - when i discovered this - i tore the hive apart (killed the big juicy intruder) and put the frames in full light. winter and a freeze should take care of other eggs in there - but that's a little way off yet. LIGHT deters them too - they prefer to do their evil in darkness. the handful of remaining bees will have to beg at another door.

it seems i caught it in time - there's very little damage on about 4 frames. i'll probably opt to replace the wax foundation on these....and give them a FLAME treatment with a propane torch (to kill anything in the nooks and crannies of the wood frame)

OTHER things i've noted by examining the sticky boards side by side:
* WHERE the cluster/activity is in the hive (location of debris)
* relative "population"/strength of the hive compared to other hives (amount of debris)

* the majority of the debris seems to be CAPPINGS (from brood)...lots of debris = lots of hatching?
* there's a fair bit of pollen at times - does it fall off when they're in-route to storage? if they're packing pollen - that's another good sign of brood needs....

Monday, August 23, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - August 22, 2010

1. Last Meeting of 2010. The last meeting for the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association is September 18, 2010. Start time is 9:30 am. We will meet at the Ripon Public Library downstairs in the Silver Creek Room. A short business meeting will be followed by an open discussion about this past summer’s production and also about over-wintering bees.

2. September Meeting Challenge!!! Here’s a little challenge for anyone planning to attend the September meeting. I would like each member to bring in an idea for a new and different topic to be presented or discussed during next year’s meeting presentations. Here’s your chance to help determine the topics you want to hear and learn about. Topics can be anything related to beekeeping.

3. Next year. The September meeting will be the last meeting for 2010. The first meeting of 2011 will be in January. Date, time, and place are to be determined. This year was the second year for the organization. I think things went well and I am looking toward a successful year next year as well. I would like to thank every one that has become involved in the ECWBA. Your support and dedication has established the foundation for establishing a local organization focused on beekeeper development. Let's sustain the momentum we've gained into a third successful year.

4. Election, Election, Election!!! I know, I know…the last thing you want to hear about right now is another election!!! In 2011, the offices of vice-president and treasurer will be up for election. The positions are currently held by Don Palkovich as Vice President and George Weigel as Treasurer. Both, Don and George, have done a great job in their respective positions. Here’s an opportunity to be come directly involved with the ECWBA. Please consider running for either of these offices -- a little “electorial competition” would be great to see. If you are interested in being a candidate for one of these offices, please contact Jeff Champeau by phone or e-mail.

5. Internet Blog note. The blog has up-to-date information about the ECWBA and other beekeeping information and commentary.

6. Membership. For next year, 2011, the membership dues payment period will be the first two months of the year. After that, membership privileges (voting at meetings and receiving a newsletter) will be withheld until dues are paid. Dues will remain at $15.00 for a yearly membership.


7. Classified Advertising in the Newsletter. If any member has a beekeeping-related product, item, or service for which you would like to buy, trade, or sell, I can run an advertisement in the ECWBA newsletter. There will be no charge for this service for any member in good standing. I will run the ad for three months or until you request that the ad is discontinued. Any advertising that is considered inappropriate will not be published. You may send the ad-copy to Jeff Champeau by e-mail to jeff.champeau@yahoo.com or call me at 715-330-9969. Please be sure, at a minimum, to include: details about the product, item, or service; asking price; and your personal contact information.

Beekeeping Notes:

  • Be sure to manage your honey harvest to ensure enough honey remains on the hive for winter survival.
  • If you have harvested excess honey or other honey bee products, prepare a marketing plan. There are many farmers’ markets in the area. There are usually holiday craft shows later in the year through which you might be able to market your honey.
  • If you are new to beekeeping and you do not yet have a means of extracting honey, find an established beekeeper that is willing to help you with extracting your honey.
  • Start planning for the fall application of mite and disease controls. Also, plan for feeding bees if honey stores are inadequate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 715-330-9969. I’m sometimes hard to contact, but leave a message and I’ll call you back. Or e-mail me at jeff.champeau@yahoo.com.

Best of beekeeping,

Jeff Champeau

President, ECWBA

Telephone: 715-330-9969

Monday, August 16, 2010

IT'S ALIVE! (making mead)

i had a 5 gal sugar syrup pail full of "bee honey" from last year. it was "broken comb" and misc. honey scrapings that i set aside for "emergency feeding". i used some - but of course by this time - it's all crystallized into a solid state.

i melted/heated it all down - got the wax out separated from the honey....and ended up with 15# of honey...(10 to 15# is what you need for 5 gals of mead).

this years recipe is seasoned with orange zest and several "spice teas" (good earth, lemon zinger, etc)

technically - an "herbed or spiced" mead is called a METHEGLIN. (a fruit juice/honey combination is called a MELOMEL)

so - it's BUBBLY and ALIVE in it's "mash" state - in the crock. stir once/twice daily for 10 days.

ok - what is a swarm in AUGUST?

july - not worth a fly
august - A BUST?

recaptured a swarm (from one of my summer swarm hives) put them in a hive box SATURDAY...and RE-put them in a box SUNDAY. they did NOT want to stay. I gave them some "incentive" on sunday. i both SPRAYED the comb with sugar syrup....AND i gave them a SUGAR SYRUP BUCKET.

decisions - decisions. there's NO TIME for this swarm to make it. NO TIME for them to build comb and store enough food for winter.

i'm pretty sure i know which hive this came from - when i RE-HIVED them.....some seemingly wanted to drift back "home". knowing this.....i might put these two hives back together for winter. i could separate the two queen boxes with a queen excluder (and the whole newspaper method) - put the "honey" box above them......or....i could look for the "stronger" queen and pinch one.

need a quick queen?

If anyone needs a queen in short order, contact Greg Peyer. He has a good queen he would like to sell. Contact Greg directly at gregpeyer@hotmail.com

poll

the results of the poll (only TWO VOTED!) where are all of you? one for august - one for september.

the reason for the poll....to see how EARLY (or late) beekeepers were harvesting. the TREND has been heading for EARLIER (Late August) HARVESTS for northern beekeepers. in August - the bee population is starting it's decline and the varroa population is at it's peek....this is the time to get the honey off and start your FALL TREATMENTS for varroa if you really want to hit them hard before the winter.

i really had my harvest set for the last weekend of August - but then something came up....so i had to push it to labor day weekend.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the "bitter" end?

the goldenrod has started blooming - next will be the purple asters....for me - that marks the "bitter end" of the nectar season. the goldenrod and aster honey will make the hives smell "sour" by month's end.

where has the summer gone? it seems i've had no "enjoyment" of the backyard - running from the mosquitoes! who knew it was going to rain every 3 or 4 days this year? it made for a HUGE CROP of "wisconsin's state bird - the mosquito". after i checked the hives this weekend - i opted to KEEP THE BEE SUIT ON ...to harvest the garden!


Monday, July 12, 2010

blondies


here's a picture of the blondies.... some bee providers are trying to BREED this trait and offer them for sale. it's just a recessive color trait - they're ITALIANS at heart. i haven't seen this queen yet...but supposedly that's one ADVANTAGE of this bee...the queen has a big yellow abdomen and she's EASY to spot!

i'm really happy with the resulting COMBINATION of this swarm with the queenless hive. i checked them this weekend and ALL IS WELL.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Build a Bee Vac

aren't you just WISHING you had a Bee Vac? #1 on your Christmas list this year? when you're browsing the internet next time...search for: BEE VAC

there are some INGENIOUS plans out there for do-it-yourselfers! sounds like a great winter project. i see some real creativity...home-made boxes, coleman coolers, styrofoam coolers....

here's a link to wet your whistle.

some of our friend-bloggers on the sidebar are showing-off their versions and it looks like they're having GREAT FUN - SUCKING BEES OUT OF UNIQUE PLACES!

superscedure

what are the bees TELLING YOU - before you even crack open the box?

superscedure - the replacement of your queen - without the SWARM/splitting....i think i just ran across an article in one of the bee periodicals regarding such. it seemed to indicate that hives that supersceded queens in the late-summer/fall - had better overwintering survivability.

saturday - i checked all 8 hives. beyond the other "issues" going on in the beehouse....one hive stood out....

IN ATTITUDE! i quietly pulled off the top cover....and as soon as i made the SLIGHTEST little "cracking" sound of the inner cover....BUTTS UP AND STINGERS OUT! without flying in my face...they're body language was telling me to GO AWAY! i asked them - "what are you so defensive about?" my guess was that they're cooking-up a new queen....

i was just asked this question,,,

question: I didn't think that bees would hang around if there was no queen. Guess i was wrong. What happened to your queens?

my answer and thoughts...

i think if it's a NEW hive (like a newly installed package or swarm - say in the case of a new package - the queen arrives dead and it takes too long to get a new one)...they'll move on - maybe get "absorbed" into other hives? but seemingly when they go queenless mid-summer like this - there's not much they can do but STORE in-excess. as a beekeeper - i can't really BUY a queen at this late stage (nor would they have time for population buildup for winter anyway)

as to what happened?...they probably went queenless in the "swarming". when a hive SWARMS - it's splitting the population aka "go forth and multiply". the swarm leaves with the OLD QUEEN (old reliable) ...meanwhile the hive has VIRGIN QUEENS either hatched or about to hatch. that VIRGIN QUEEN still needs to be MATED to lay eggs.....and it's precarious - she may fly out and not make it back for some reason (eaten by a bird, taken out by machinery or car)....or she might make it back and accidentally go into the wrong hive which would mean her death.

as a beekeeper i've tried (in the past) to give a mid-summer queenless hive a couple frames of EGGS from another hive (they have to have a 3 day or less old egg to MAKE THEIR OWN QUEEN) and? they JUST DON'T....it's almost like they've forgetten how....(maybe they sense the lack of time?) sometimes this lack of a queen can "stimulate" a WORKER to lay eggs...which of course are INFERTILE....leading the hive to become full of DRONE (male bees - layed from infertile eggs)

- the best thing to do is to probably combine remaining populations with another hive for winter.....

Monday, June 28, 2010

i didn't know i'd be beekeeping today

2:22 pm - swarm phone call; 2:30 mobilization; 2:55 onsite; 4:15 hived.

WOW - a nice 5 pounder or more! (remember your packages are "3 pounds")...there were way more bees than that in this swarm.

and they're CORDOVANS (blonde/light colored bees)...some of them are so light - their legs are this translucent red/orange (strawberry blonde?)...it's "strange" (your first thought is...what's wrong with them?)

one of the girls got me as soon as i shook them into the box - which leads me to believe that this swarm was hanging for awhile. i think they get CRANKIER the longer they hang. did the unceremonious SHAKE into the cardboard box technique.

when i got them home, i put them on top of a hive that i KNOW is queenless. so here's the configuration... queenless hive on the bottom (i got them down to one box - due to them being queenless...and population loss - i could rearrange frames to do that - frames with some bees left are left outside the hive yet...they'll migrate) (i suppose you could use a CLEARING CHEMICAL (bee quick) - like what you use to clear supers to get them down in the box if you had to). put a SINGLE layer of newspaper on top of the bottom box. put a queen excluder in. put the empty box on top - add your swarm (like installing a package) it will take them some time to chew out the newspaper and MELD the hive smells...meanwhile protecting your queen behind the excluder. in 10 days or so...i'll check the top (swarm) box and see if there are any signs of queen. when i think everyone will be "so happy together"...remove the excluder.

a short ditty on queenless hives. i have ANOTHER queenless hive in the bunch. and i could tell when i popped the inside cover....how? population - lack there of. i said...IS ANYONE HOME??? then i lifted the top box. YUP - QUEENLESS. how could i tell? THE WEIGHT. the buggers are storing HONEY in perfectly good LAYING CELLS. why? - i suppose they're doing something rather than nothing - they'll continue to STORE pollen and honey...and into cells that would normally be brood. the box should not be that ladened with honey this time of year! so to cut to the chase - i went STRAIGHT into the brood area and pulled a frame, then another. NOTHING going on there.....lots of nectar and pollen.... (if i don't catch another swarm for this hive...i'm thinking of combining them with another hive - what i don't like about this hive is the number of DRONE - laying worker? i'll have to inspect closer)

so - back to the swarm hive. what might happen if the swarm is queen-right....with the excluder between these two boxes - i might end up with my brood chamber in the top box...and the storage in the bottom box (cause - STORAGE is what queenless hives do). so - again in 10 days or so...if things look good - i might switch the hive bodies. (hindsite being 20/20 - i suppose i could install the swarm into a blank bottom box and put the weaker/queenless hive on top. configuration paper/excluder remains - no need for a switch later)

i'm happy so far with the swarms i've combined. i've got 2 swarm hives with supers on them already. as i don't much expect anything from "first year hives" - they're beyond my expectations.

i've said it before - but i think i'll mention it again. one thing i've learned from last year's swarm season is...HAVE ENOUGH EQUIPMENT ON HAND FOR NEXT YEAR'S SWARM SEASON!

...happy hiving.

i think it matters WHERE you get stung

...as to your reaction....

i'm the type that manifests "allergic" reactions on the inside of my wrists or the inside of my knees...in the form of small itchy bumps.

well...SHE GOT ME - right on the inside of my wrist today (hiving a swarm). it was an interesting chain reaction as the toxin went through. almost immediately - the sting i got in the arch of my foot 2 weeks ago started itching again - though it's been fine for a week +! all my mosquito bites started to itch...then i noticed small itchy bumps on the other wrist as if in sympathy for the other.

i think i'd rather take a hit in the finger...stings there seemingly stay within the joint.

a bath in benedryl should do the trick!

(update - day after) you know those dolls with the really "fat" arms with the little "dimples" in the elbow and hands. that's what my arm looks like today. man - where she got me must have been like INTRAVENOUS for me. i wonder now if i should have tried sucking out the venom...like a snake bite. it looks weird not having an elbow!

ECWBA Newsletter - June, 2010

June 26, 2010

1. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the remainder of 2010:
July meeting: July 17, 2010. 9:30 am. Fond du Lac County Library.
September meeting: September 18, 2010. 9:30 am. Ripon Public Library.

2. Presentation Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:
July meeting: Andy Krueger will talk about her beekeeping operation and incorporate information about her Master Gardener skills.
September meeting: To be determined.

3. July Meeting. The July, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the Fond du Lac County Library. The library’s address is: 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. To get there, take Main Street (north or south) to Sheboygan Street. Take Sheboygan Street east one block to Portland Street. Turn right (south) on to Portland and go about a half block to the library’s parking lot located on the east side of Portland Street.

4. WHPA Summer Meeting. For those of you who are interested in checking out the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, the WHPA will be holding its summer meeting on Saturday, July 10, 2010. This meeting will be at the Lion’s Hall in Redgranite, WI. The featured guest speaker is Dave Mendes, a nationally known honey producer and package bee and queen producer. There is a $15.00 registration fee which includes lunch.

5. Internet Blog note. Our blog has a NEW look. The blog has up-to-date information about the ECWBA and other beekeeping information. There are links from the blog to the club photo gallery as well as a discussion group. Let's hear from you! If you'd like to post something - forward the info on to Jeff or Denise. Take your time and enjoy the links to OTHER BEEKEEPERS from the site - it's always interesting to see into the life of other keepers.


Beekeeping Notes:
* Before things get going too fast this summer, this would be a good time to check on your honey gathering supplies and equipment. Will you need more honey supers? Queen excluders? Bee escapes? Jars and bottles for honey? Start planning ahead.
* Be sure to have plenty of supers on hand for the BIG nectar flow. If you run short of supers, here’s a couple of options: buy some more supers, or extract the full supers and return them to the hive (these are called “wet” supers).
* For the new beekeepers, start planning the honey harvest. If you plan for a liquid honey harvest, start shopping for extracting equipment. Or find an existing beekeeper that will help you out with extracting.
* You may want to buy honey jars in advance. When there is a big honey crop, sometimes the suppliers run short of jars.
* Start thinking about fall pest treatments and over-wintering strategies.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 715-330-9969. I’m sometimes hard to contact, but leave a message and I’ll call you back. Or e-mail me at jeff.champeau@yahoo.com.

Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau - President, ECWBA - Telephone: 715-330-9969

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

note to myself:


note to myself: beginning beekeepers "season" with the bees starts with the arrival of the bees in APRIL. beekeepers with hives coming out of winter - the "season" starts in MARCH! AS SOON AS you can get in there and get them sugar syrup &/or pollen &/or treatments and hive body switches - you need to get ready for the POPULATION EXPLOSION coming with APRIL's FIRST BLOSSOMS. May seemingly comes around and you're mentally ready for spring and beekeeping...and it's TOO LATE - the bees are already AHEAD OF YOU!

lost count

there was only going to be 6 hives in the beehouse - MAXIMUM!....there's two more hives in another row behind these you DON'T see!

SWARM season. so many - i lost count. i believe i caught them all. swarms that were too small to make it on their own....i COMBINED with other swarms! i'm sure they didn't like it...but i didn't like them swarming either! ok - i gave them a "little break-in time"...when i combined them - i put a sheet of newspaper on top of the hive below...a queen excluder - then the new box on top. i figured they'd have some time to chew out the newspaper and COMBINE the smells...then i removed the queen excluder after about a week/10 days...and let nature take it's course.

one of my boxes - i believe - went queenless in the swarming!...or she was out on her nuptuals? (inspection revealed good population - no sign of any eggs/larvae)...anyway - that hive got a swarm queen (i hope)

as members from our club might remember - we found quite a few swarm cells in the 3 high hive - which we split. did the split - not make them swarm? NO! i believe both hives swarmed anyway.

which leads to the question....(even IF you do everything right - which i didn't do)...but YOU GAVE THEM ALL THE ROOM IN THE WORLD and THEY SWARMED ANYWAY!??? what happened? all i can say to that is....they're still WILD ANIMALS - they're going to do what they want.

i talked to a fellow beekeeper at the west bend farmer's market (150 hives and 150 of his son-in-laws hives)....he said LOTS OF SWARMS too!! our friend in canada says - LOTS OF SWARMS.

i know those beekeepers out for honey production view swarms as HALF OF THE WORKFORCE LEAVING...but i view swarms as....STRONG HIVES SPLITTING. and it's GOOD for the bees - IF YOU CATCH THEM! remember, the survivability of swarm in the wild is only about 20%....probably due to the fact they pick a bad spot, or they can't "get it together" before winter with enough population and food, and/or they receive no treatment for varroa & weaken.

one thing i learned from last year's swarm season. make sure you have enough spare boxes and equipment for next year's swarm season!

i'm making a concerted effort to WORK MY BEE-SEASON backwards this year - with my HARVEST DAY already planned. that being the "final date" in mind - i'm working out and planning varroa treatments and possible combinations. i REALLY don't want to go into winter with 8 hives or more....i'm watching to see - which hives will i combine? i'm considering overwintering some HIVES ON TOP OF HIVES (this year's experiment). after harvest - i would put newspaper on top of the "strong hive"....add a queen excluder....and overwinter them that way. will they gain from the warmth/population of each other? HEALTHY hives of course - don't want to infect my "mother hive" with some disease.... in the spring - you should be able to "re-split" the hive...in theory.... hmmm? (i'm squinting - thinking)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moved Home!

the swarm MOVED BACK HOME!??? the blank hive is blank again. ....i'll probably catch them in the act again today...going home for lunch.

Monday, May 24, 2010

walked right past it.

SWARM....the now 2 high (3 high)....i walked right past it. they were conveniently hanging on the elm by the bench (in front of the hives). used my uncapping tank/tub...shook them in....took them over and dumped them into the now occupied BLANK hive.

...sure hope that foundation comes sooooonnnn!

Field Day Photos

Photos are posted at the picasa gallery (link on the right sidebar)

Field Day at the "beehouse"




Field day at the "beehouse"...we sure had a nice day for it! You know how it is....YOU JUST GET TOO BUSY sometimes!? ...(naughty beekeeper)...i admit, i've not been in the hives since early April and the hive body switch....(naughty beekeeper)

We examined my 3-high (3 deeps) hive.....as i "wanted" out of this experiment....IT WAS WHOPPING FULL OF BEES! at EVERY level! We found capped brood in 2 levels - solid frames....we also found a good half-dozen of swarm cells....and what didn't we find??? eggs and larvae. THIS HIVE IS IN SWARM MODE...the queen has ceased laying - in her attempt to slim down for the flight.

What did we do? we SPLIT it. we took one layer and started a new hive....we made sure we grabbed two frames (with swarm cells/new queens) and put it in the new split...MADE SURE the existing queen wasn't on these two frames!

What happened after everyone left? The (now) 2 high hive with the queen - was doing some serous BEARDING outside the hive....they're gearing up, i'm afraid.
We also left a couple of swarm cells in the "mother" hive in case of this exodus. remember, the old queen leaves...and if we'd not left SOME swarm cells - this hive could potentially go queenless.
i just hope i can catch them in the act today! (gotta go home for "lunch")

HINDSITE 20/20. this hive was AMAZING in it's population. the beekeeper should have done another HIVE BODY SWITCH 3/4 weeks ago!...and SUPER'd IT!

MY EXPERIMENT....i really wanted to see how many bees i could "get" in a box. with this queen and all the capped brood....i could have made a 4 high hive!
....need to build frames!...more wax foundation on the way!!! i hope it's in the mail today!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Swarm in May

The first 70 plus day of the year. 72 degrees at 10 am in fact....FEELS like a SWARM DAY!


It being a Proverb, that a Swarm of Bees in May is worth a Cow and a Bottle [bundle] of Hay, whereas a Swarm in July is not worth a Fly.
[1655 S. Hartlib Reformed Commonwealth of Bees 26]
The Proverb says, ‘A Swarm in May is worth a Load of Hay’.
[1710 Tusser Redivivus May 11]
‘A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly’—for it is then too late‥to store up‥honey before the flowers begin to fade.
[1879 R. Jefferies Wild Life in Southern County vii.]
As she reminded the children: A swarm in May's worth a rick of hay; And a swarm in June's worth a silver spoon; while A swarm in July isn't worth a fly.
[1945 F. Thompson Lark Rise v.]
A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay, A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon, A swarm of bees in July is worth not a fly. On that basis, a swarm of bees now would be worth a milking cow, but I won't be joining it to one of my colonies.
[1985 D. Foster Dog Rock ii.]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - APRIL

1. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the remainder of 2010:

* May meeting: May 22, 2010. Start time is at 1:00 pm. This will be the field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard (see below for further information and directions).
* July meeting: July 17, 2010. 9:30 am. Fond du Lac County Library.
* September meeting: September 18, 2010. 9:30 am. Ripon Public Library.

2. Presentation Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:
* May meeting: Field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard – look at beehives and Denise’s beekeeping operation.
* July and September meetings: To be determined.

3. May Meeting. The May, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the bee yard of Denise Palkovich. Start time is 1:00 pm. To get there, take State Highway 23 east out of Fond du Lac (Hwy. 23 is Johnson St. in Fond du Lac). Turn left onto Log Tavern Road (which is the first road after County Highway W). Take Log Tavern Road north to Pit Road. Take a right onto Pit Road and an almost immediate left turn to address of the bee yard by the brown ranch style house. The address is W1575 Pit Road, Mt. Calvary, WI.

* Attention: This is a field day, so bring your own bee veil, bee suit, gloves, etc., for safe and comfortable work around bees.
* The rain date for the May meeting is June 5, 2010. The place and time is the same.

4. July Meeting. The July, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the Fond du Lac County Library. The library’s address is: 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. To get there, take Main Street (north or south) to Sheboygan Street. Take Sheboygan Street east one block to Portland Street. Turn right (south) on to Portland and go about a half block to the library’s parking lot located on the east side of Portland Street.


Beekeeping Notes:
* If you use any medications for the control of diseases (nosema, American foul brood, mites, etc.) now is the time to obtain those. Study and learn how to properly to use those medication. Poorly applied medications can do more harm than good!
* Before things get going too fast in the spring and summer, this would be a good time to check on your honey gathering supplies and equipment. Will you need more honey supers? Queen excluders? Bee escapes? Jars and bottles for honey? Start planning ahead.

If you have any questions, especially about the May meeting, please feel free to call me at 715-330-9969. I’m sometimes hard to contact, but leave a message and I’ll call you back. Or e-mail me at jeff.champeau@yahoo.com.

Best of beekeeping, Jeff Champeau - President, ECWBA
Telephone: 715-330-9969

Monday, April 26, 2010

installing - the NON-SHAKE method


I TRIED THIS! This was an article in Feb/March issue of Bee Culture Magazine (don't remember which)...they called it the KELLY (non-shake) METHOD of installation.

BASICALLY - you're hanging the queen cage (replace cork with marshmallow - you don't want her out just yet) in the box with the 10 frames you've prepared. they suggested a rubber band wrapped around the frame...i just used a thumb tack and stuck it through the queen cage tab and into the top bar. HANG HER "OFFSIDES"! (don't want syrup drowning her!)

place the opened package in an EMPTY bottom box...and the bees will migrate to the frames. the next day or two - take your EMPTY PACKAGE BOX out! (obviously?...take the bottom box out too) your finished hive configuration is the 10 frames on the bottom board, the inner cover and your covered syrup bucket.

ADVANTAGES? MANY MANY LESS BEES flying about!!!! they suggested in the article - this method could be used in the rain...and I'LL ATTEST to that. I didn't have rain - but I had a heck of a wind.

THINGS I LEARNED and/or SUGGEST? when you replace the cork with the marshmallow...don't use a CRUSTY old marshmallow....grab a nice soft piece from the inside...and DON'T STUFF IT FULL!!! you only need to keep her in there long enough to configure the hive.

I myself...was without marshmallow. so - i had to leave the cork in place 'till i got back (day 2) to remove the package. When I removed the bottom box and package - I removed the queen (in cage) I then popped the cork and let her MOSEY into the entrance. I have to say - she took her DARN SWEET TIME! and in ONE installation....SHE ESCAPED!.....before I knew it - I saw her disappearing under the deck board!! luckily - I can both SEE and REACH under there. I grabbed her and stuck her naughtiness into the hive. I CAN ONLY SAY....if you are leery about handling the queen PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE ON DRONES!!!! they can't hurt you and you can get a feel of having that little buzzing body in your fingers.....I PRACTICED when I installed...

DISADVANTAGE? ....you need that "extra" empty deep/brood box...but remember - you can use two empty supers to cover your syrup bucket too!

well wishes for George - our treasurer

For those who would like to send GEORGE WEIGEL, our treasurer, well-wishes as he embarks on his chemotherapy treatment at Frodert.... visit: http://www.caringbridge.org type in: "georgeweigel" I'm sure he'd rather be out - playing with BEES!

Monday, March 29, 2010

HOME-MADE Dormant Oil Spray for Fruit Trees

For those beekeepers with fruit trees....make your own dormant oil spray....for treatment...NOW!

Dormant oil spray is a non-toxic material that can be sprayed on trees and shrubs in the fall after leaf drop or in spring before leaves/blossoms appear. It smothers overwintering bug eggs before they have a chance to hatch. Apply in temperatures 40 degrees, plus. Apply weekly 'till leaf formation.

BIG recipe:
1 gallon of mineral oil (can be found at walmart/fleet farm in the health/pharmacy area)
1 pound of oil based soap (this is a powdered "baby" laundry soap...flake form)
1/2 gallon water

REAL LIFE recipe:
1/8 gallon (2 cups) mineral oil
1/8 lb. (2 oz) oil based soap
1/16 gallon (1 cup) water

Directions: BOIL all these together and mix well. DILUTION RATE IS: 1 part to 20 parts water (so even the "small batch" makes a lot). This mix must be used quickly as it separates.

Non-toxic commercial off-the-shelf products are also available under the trade names: "Dormant Oil Spray" and "Oil-Away Supreme Insecticidal Soap". Oil Away is made from cottonseed oil.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wisconsin honey to stay pure and sweet

By Jill Blocker
March 22, 2010

Wisconsin residents with a sweet tooth for honey will only get the pure, bee-made stuff, thanks to a new law raising honey standards in the state.

Diluted or fake forms of the sweet, sticky substance labeled as honey is far too common, said Tim Fulton, president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, in the Kenosha News. He petitioned state Rep. Peter Baraca, D-Kenosha, to create a legal definition of honey to weed out imposters.

Some honey products include additives and can include no bee-produced content at all, said Fulton, according to the News.

“Corn and rice syrups are cheap, and anyone could put in any amount of that and still call it honey and do it legally,” he said. “Honey should be a product that comes from bees.”

The fake honey also hurts real honey producers’ business. Real honey can cost double of what imitation or blended products are sold for.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the law last week, requiring the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to develop honey standards, according to the Times. The bill prohibits labeling a product as Wisconsin-certified honey or implying that a product is Wisconsin-certified honey when it contains additives or other ingredients. Honey at grocery stores and farmers’ markets are also affected by the new law.

The law provides standards consistent with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius, which says honey is bee-produced and without additives.

Diluted or blended honey products could be sold with appropriate labels established by the department.

“We’re not trying to ban people from selling products,” Baraca said. “We’re trying to get truth in advertising and give a competitive edge to our honey producers.”

In July, Florida became the first state to require “all-natural” honey sold in the state to be free of additives, chemicals or adulterants (any substance that alters the purity of honey). If honey sold in Florida is found to contain additives, sellers must cease sales of the altered product within state lines. Failure to comply can result in a $500 fine per violation.

There are no federal honey standards, but Fulton said U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have said they would consider a nationwide standard if enough states pass honey-regulation laws.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Website for keeping track of hives!

Check this out! this website offers tools to keep track of your hives, installation, inspections, etc....for those of you with 6 hives or less - it's FREE.

http://www.beetight.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

50's this week

was EVERYONE out checking bees this weekend!?!? in the shelter of the beehouse - i actually performed my "spring cleaning" and "hive body switch" on the two backyard hives. one is THRIVING and the other...alive.

from the strong hive - i brushed....maybe a couple thousand dead bees from the bottom board....very few. the cluster had made it into the middle of deep number two (this is a three deep hive....i'm experimenting) and had small areas of brood. deep number two was examined and placed on the bottom board (hive body switch). deep number one is now deep number two. it was still somewhat full of bees on some empty frames....these frames i kept in relative vertical position for the "cluster" (try not to break the cluster)....frames that were somewhat empty and empty of bees - i "checkerboarded" with honey frames.

"checkerboarding" is sometimes also called "nectar management". it's essentially re-arranging and alternating frames - one empty/one honey/one empty/one honey/etc. (WITHOUT breaking the cluster!!!)

deep number three was also checkerboarded with honey and some empty frames. the method behind this madness is to "give the bees room". this particular bee (feral by now) seemingly goes through a really strong SPRING BUILDUP....if i don't break up all the honey frames - they'll feel "honeybound" and swarm. what i've read on nectar managment, indicates that by alternating frames as this - the cluster and bees utilize more of the box.

...and getting back to the "alive" box. maybe a few thousand bees is all that's left!....and the queen (saw her - she was easy to find as they were guarding/protecting her). hindsight being 20/20....SOMETHING went on with this hive already last fall. i think it was taking a population dive at that time already. i had a queen issue with that hive mid-summer - maybe they requeened late. i got them down to one box....kept the cluster frames together in the corner and did what i could to remove icky frames and bees. ....likely won't make it through the remaining cool nights. didn't want to combine them with the strong hive...don't want to transfer any disease if that was the issue....i wish i had a nuc box - they might fare better in there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

new...discussion group link added

i will add a ECWBA discussion group link to the sidebar. beekeepers - use this are to discuss and ask questions about beekeeping or meeting material. http://groups.google.com/group/ecwba

ECWBA Newsletter

1. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the remainder of 2010:

* March meeting: March 20, 2010, 9:30 am to 11:00 am at the Fond du Lac Public Library (click on the event calendar link at the bottom for directions/map).
* May meeting: May 22, 2010. Start time is at 1:00 pm. This will be the field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard (see below for further information and directions).
* July meeting: July 17, 2010. Place to be determined.
* September meeting: September 18, 2010. Place to be determined.

2. Meeting Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:

* March meeting: Package bee installation, splitting over-wintered colonies, and making nucleus colonies.
* May meeting: Field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard – look at beehives and Denise’s beekeeping operation.
* July and September meetings: To be determined.

3. March Meeting. The March, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the Fond du Lac County Library. The library’s address is: 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. To get there, take Main Street (north or south) to Sheboygan Street. Take Sheboygan Street east one block to Portland Street. Turn left (south) on to Portland and go about a half block to the library’s parking lot located on the east side of Portland Street.

4. May Meeting. The May, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the bee yard of Denise Palkovich. Start time is 1:00 pm. To get there, take State Highway 23 east out of Fond du Lac (Hwy. 23 is Johnson St. in Fond du Lac). Turn left onto Log Tavern Road (which is the first road after County Highway W). Take Log Tavern Road north to Pit Road. Take a right onto Pit Road and an almost immediate left turn to address of the bee yard by the brown ranch style house. The address is W1575 Pit Road, Mt. Calvary, WI. (click on event calendar link for directions/map)

* Attention: This is a field day, so bring your own bee veil, bee suit, gloves, etc., for safe and comfortable work around bees.
* The rain date for the May meeting is June 5, 2010. The place and time is the same.

5. Membership dues reminder. ECWBA membership dues for 2010 will remain at $15.00. Dues need to be paid by end of March, 2010, in order to continue receiving a newsletter and association communications.


Beekeeping Notes:

* Spring is definitely on the way. The bees have already begun to break cluster and go on their cleansing flights. This means it will soon be spring feeding time. Be prepared to feed sugar syrup and pollen supplements or substitutes.
* If you do use any medications for the control of diseases (nosema, American foul brood, mites, etc.) now is the time to obtain those. Study and learn how to properly to use those medication. Poorly applied medications can do more harm than good!
* Before things get going too fast in the spring and summer, this would be a good time to check on your honey gathering supplies and equipment. Will you need more honey supers? Queen excluders? Bee escapes? Jars and bottles for honey? Start planning ahead.

Best of beekeeping, Jeff Champeau, President, ECWBA, Telephone: 715-330-9969

P.S. You may send membership dues to the association’s treasurer or president at one of the following addresses: George Weigel, 268 Peters Ave., Fond du Lac, WI 54935 or Jeff Champeau, 145 N. Wisconsin Street, Berlin, WI 54923. Make checks payable to: East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association. A membership card will be returned to you promptly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Southeastern District Meeting - WHPA

Where: Ashippun Fire Department
in Ashippun (south of Honey Acres) on County Hwy O - 1 block west of Hwy 67

When: 10 AM

Agenda:
Mark Gilberts, Over wintering and his success
Lee Heine, Honey Bill
Craig Petros, Colony Collapse
Mary Kettlewell, WHPA Honey Queen program
Abby Tracy, WHPA Honey Queen
Anna Kettlewell, ABF Convention
Potluck at noon

Less Invasive Beekeeping

Anarchy Apiaries (yes - that's their name) poses an interesting rational for top bar beekeeping. http://anarchyapiaires.org/hivetools/node/32 (skip down to the top bar hives and small cell beekeeping if you wish to focus on those topics.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

out with the old and IN WITH THE NEW

...a VERY interesting article in December's BEE CULTURE magazine regarding possible drug interaction going on inside the hive - between APISTAN and CHECKMITE. Not that we'd put BOTH inside the hive at once....but over the years - maybe we've made a "switch" in treatments in our apiary? WAX IS ABSORBANT - it's absorbing all those "additives" we put in the hives PLUS the stuff they bring in from the field. (The study also showed that even cleaned and re-processed wax used in making foundation still showed traces of these chemicals in it.)

In reading the article it made me VERY AWARE how important it is to implement some type of SYSTEM for cycling out "old foundation" on a REGULAR basis.

The president of our club, Jeff Champeau, uses a simple SHARPIE MARKER to mark the YEAR THE FRAME WAS INSTALLED into the hive. Anything showing a date 5 years prior gets pulled out and replaced. It's about 2 frames per deep - place the new "blank" foundation in positions 2 and 9 for drawing out. 2 frames per box means he's cycling out 20% of the frames on an annual basis.

As my hives are approaching year 3 and 4, I need to think about implementing this - THIS spring, but I think I'm going to go for a 3 year cycle...we're doing your best as a beekeepers from allowing things to build up to toxic levels in there. Healthy bees!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - Jan 29, 2010

1. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the start of 2010:

* February meeting: February 20, 2010, 9:30 am at Ripon Public Library.
* March meeting: March 20, 2010, time and place is yet to be determined.

2. Meeting Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:

* February meeting: Mite and disease control and prevention.
* March meeting: Splitting spring colonies and making nucleus colonies.
* May meeting: Another field day ??? Anybody interested in sponsoring this ???

4. Membership dues reminder. ECWBA membership dues for 2010 will remain at $15.00. Dues need to be paid by end of March, 2010, in order to continue receiving a newsletter and association communications.

5. Spring Bee Orders: Listed below are some suppliers of package bees and nucs (nucleus colonies). The ECWBA does not specifically endorse any one of these sources. These sources are known for quality bees.

* Lee Heine, Watertown, WI, 920-261-5363. He has 2# & 3# packages available in April.
* Lapp’s Bee Supply, Reeseville, WI, 800-321-1960. Lapp’s has 2# & 3# packages available in April.
* John & Sheri Kohn of Honey Glow Farm, Owen, WI, 715-229-4766. Kohn’s have 2# and 3# packages available in April. They also have nucs available in late April and early May.
* Chris Hansen of Hansen Honey Farm, Rhinelander, WI, 715-369-0383. Three pound packages due in Rhinelander on or around April 23.
* Chris & Becky Werner of Indian Summer Honey Farm, Germantown, WI, 262-242-6569. Werner’s handle nucs, but not packages.

A LINK FOR ORDER FORMS has been posted in the blog preceding this one - for some of the above bee vendors. You may download any of the forms from the blog for more information about each vendor.

6. Group Package Bee Order and Pick-up. Ed Curran from the Brandon area plans to order package bees from Lee Heine for a late April pick-up. He has volunteered to coordinate a group purchase for package bees. If you are interested in participating and would like more information, feel free to give Ed a call at one of the following numbers: Home—920-346-5295, or cell—920-948-5395.

Beekeeping Notes:

* Plan for 2010 – do you want to expand your beekeeping operation or just improve upon what you already have?
* Secure an order of package bees or nucs for spring delivery. It’s best to order early to assure that you’ll be able to get bees.
* Now is a good time to plan and purchase equipment for 2010. This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.
* Register for and plan to attend a beekeeping class sometime this spring.

Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau
President, ECWBA
Telephone: 715-330-9969

P.S. You may send membership dues to the association’s treasurer or president at one of the following address: George Weigel, 268 S. Peters Ave., Fond du Lac, WI 54935 or Jeff Champeau, 145 N. Wisconsin St., Berlin, WI 54923

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bee Order Forms

here's a link that will open/download a PDF of BEE order forms for this years PACKAGES/NUCS:
ORDER FORMS 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

HUGE response - alternate times offered

Due to the HUGE response on the beekeeping classes (67 people at the first class). We're SPLITTING the class to two alternate class times - so that we can have a smaller more interactice experience in a smaller room.

Session 2 - Feb. 3
Session 2 (alternate) - Feb. 8
Session 3 - March 3
Session 3 (alternate) - March 8

Classes will be held in Rm. 205/206 - Administrative Extension Bldg. That's UP THE STEPS when you enter the main doors. For those of you who need a lift - the elevator is just on the other side of the doors - right from the lobby.

Monday, January 18, 2010

News from the North

Our Canadian beekeeper friend has a couple of new on-line resources. I'll also update the links on the sidebar: bee-magic blogbee-magic website

Monday, January 11, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - Jan 9, 2010

1. Beekeeping workshop: Earl Jewett has put together a beginning beekeeping workshop. There will be three sessions to the workshop on the following dates: Wednesday, January 20, 2010; Wednesday, February 3, 2010; and Wednesday, March 3, 2010. Workshop time is 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. The workshop location is the UW Fond du Lac Administration & Extension Building, room 205. The cost is $30.00 per person or $50.00 per couple. For information and registration, call 920-929-3171. See below for complete program info. (NOTE: Previous publications have shown Feb. 2 as the second class, the correct date is Feb. 3.)

2. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the start of 2010:
• January meeting: January 23, 2010, 9:30 am at Ripon Public Library.
• February meeting: February 20, 2010, 9:30 am at Ripon Public Library.
• March meeting: March 20, 2010, time and place is yet to be determined.

3. Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:
• January meeting: Review of beekeeping basics.
• February meeting: Mite and disease control and prevention.
• March meeting: Splitting spring colonies and making nucleus colonies.
• May meeting: Another field day ??? Anybody interested in sponsoring this ???

4. Internet Blog note. Denise Palkovich has been doing an excellent job of keeping the organizational blog up and running. The blog has up-to-date information about the ECWBA and other beekeeping information. The blog is on the internet at http://ourbeeblog.blogspot.com/

5. Membership dues reminder. ECWBA membership dues for 2010 will remain at $15.00. Dues need to be paid by end of March, 2010, in order to continue receiving a newsletter and association communications.

Beekeeping Notes:
• Start planning for 2010 – do you want to expand your beekeeping operation or just improve upon what you already have?
• Now is a good time to plan and purchase equipment for 2010. This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.
• Register for and plan to attend a beekeeping class sometime this spring.

Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau
President, ECWBA
Telephone: 715-330-9969


Introduction to Beekeeping Program Offered
Individuals interested in pursuing beekeeping as a hobby or side business venture are encouraged to attend a six-hour "Beekeeping 101" program being offered this winter. Classes will be held at UW-Fond du Lac in room 205. Classes will be held from 6:30-9:00 PM on January 20, February 3, and March 3.

The classes are being taught by local beekeepers Earl Jewett and Hank Miller. Hank received the 2009 Educational Award from the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association in recognition of his mentoring of many young 4H beekeepers. Participants will learn about bee biology, beekeeping equipment, hive management, honey extraction and marketing, overwintering bees, and beekeeping resources. The class will be held early enough for beginners to order bees and prepare equipment for spring.

The program is co-sponsored by the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association and UW-Extension. The cost to attend the three programs is $30 per person or $50 per couple. Checks should be made payable to the East Central WI Beekeepers Assn. and mailed to: UW-Extension Beekeeping Program, 400 University Dr., Fond du Lac, WI 54935. Pre-registration by Monday, January 18 is required. For more information contact the Fond du Lac Co. UW-Extension office at 920-929-3171.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sun = Bees



The sun was packing some POWER today...and the girls knew it.

A visit to the beehouse shows that the hives are high and dry and well ventilated. Some were flying around inside there or hanging out by the entrances - they're protected - as long as they don't venture out into the WHITE stuff. There was a nice, comforting HUMMMMMM coming from the boxes.

I can hardly wait to try my hand at splitting hives this spring...fill-up some of that empty space :))

Saturday, January 2, 2010

fun website

go to http://www.helpthehoneybees.com

what a fun website to explore with kids! (good for BIG kids too...yes you.)