Wednesday, December 5, 2012
1. This past year, 2012, went rather well. Thank-you to everybody that was involved in making the past year a success. We had some good guest speakers at our meetings speaking on various topics. We completed a beginner’s beekeeping class early in the year. Let’s keep the momentum of education going.
2. Some of the meeting dates and places for early 2013 have been scheduled in already. Here’s what developed so far:
Saturday, January 12, 2013, Ripon Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
Saturday, February 9, 2013, Fond du Lac Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
Saturday, March 9, 2013, tentative pending scheduling, Ripon Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
May and/or June, 2013 (another field day???)
July and September meetings to be determined.
3. At the January, 2013, meeting, the offices of vice-president and treasurer will be up for election. The positions are currently held by Denise Palkovich as Vice President and George Weigel as Treasurer. Both, Denise and George, have done a great job as ECWBA officers for their past two year terms. Here’s an opportunity to become directly involved with the ECWBA. Please consider running for either of these offices -- a little “electoral 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.
4. At the July and September meetings, the ECWBA established a committee for exploring the possibility of conducting a beginning beekeepers class. This is not a permanent committee – once the class is done, the committee will be terminated. The committee is tentatively moving forward with a class scheduled to start in early 2013. More information will be published in the newsletter as the class develops. Please encourage any new beekeepers that you know to attend this class. Watch for ads in local shopper newspapers.
Start planning for 2013 – 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.
On behalf of the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association, I would like wish all of you, your families and friends, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
Monday, October 8, 2012
I donned the new MESH beekeeping jacket and went for my first fall inspection and feeding. The day before I'd checked to see if all was well in the hives - if anyone was home. Looks like we'll be overwintering 5 hives this year. The population in one was FABULOUS....the others were GOOD and about equal. Now - I overwinter as 3 deeps...let me tell you once more how )(*@#)$*$ heavy those deeps are when they're full of honey!!!!!!
Before feeding them - I wanted a closer inspection without tearing them apart frame by frame....so I cracked them open - tipped the whole box and inspected top down and bottom up between the frames. Everything appeared as it should....the BROOD NEST is in the bottom box, a little into box two....and honey all above. The mass of bees were right in the middle frames where they should be.
I DID NOTE some wax moth "issues" in cleaning out the screened/sticky trap. There was some webbing. but webbing was not noted in between frames or in between boxes. I'm hoping it will be soon be cold enough to freeze them...and the bees will take care of the rest....they're population deems them able.
After inspection, I put the medicated (nosema) bucket on them...and crossed my fingers. as a three deep - they don't require xtra feeding - but I did want to get the meds in. The final touch to the hive was the entrance reducer. The VERY POPULATED hive didn't think this was a good idea (hammer and nails) They came pouring out the hive and freaked out the guy helping me (the new owner of the house). I said, "SMOKE 'EM - mommy don't play that game!" That ended THAT.
And finally - I put the sides of the BEEHOUSE on....and rolled down the canvas front to just above the hives.
My helper - who will no doubt be beekeeping himself soon...asked, "Do you do any beekeeping in the winter?" I said - sure - but not at the hive, it's a time for READING and REPAIRS (to equipment). Though - I do sometimes go to the hives with a stethoscope and listen for them....
If the QTY OF PROPOLIS is ANY INDICATION of the winter we're going to have...it's gonna be a "good one"....COLD or SNOWY - they couldn't tell me.
Monday, October 1, 2012
My new bee suits arrived...the last I'll probably ever buy. They won't shrink! This shows beekeeping TECHNOLOGY.it's 3 layers of mesh that allows air to flow through...but keeps stingers at a distance. It's definately heavier. I got one suit and one jacket....i got them a little too big....for guests. They feature velcro closures at wrists and ankles.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
here's what's "trending" in design:
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 9:30 am. Ripon Public Library, 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI. Meet in the Silver Creek Room (downstairs).
- Mentor list. If you are willing to mentor and help beginner beekeepers with question or assist them on-site, then sign up for this list with a description of what location or area where you can help.
- Swarm list. This is a list of beekeepers interested in capturing swarms. This list will be available for both ECWBA members and the general public to reference.
- Extractor list. Sign up on this list if you are willing to let beekeepers without extractors to use your extractor. The extractor owner and the one seeking to use the extractor will have to come to an agreement outside of the ECWBA as to terms for use of the extractor.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
here's a link to what's going on in beekeeping there.
do continue through the WHOLE post.
Monday, August 6, 2012
The MOTHER HIVE - which i'm SO HAPPY i took splits from early this year....is "dead". I put the clearing boards into the hives this weekend and did a little inspection (the clearing boards are the "bee mazes" that clear the supers of bees - readying them for harvest)
When I lifted the 3 supers off the mother hive (yes - they were at one time strong enough to make honey!)....I knew there was a problem...because I could SEE DOWN to the bottom board - through both the deeps.....very few bees.
So I immediately went to the HEART of the hive - the frames that SHOULD have brood activity on them....in both deeps - nothing but STORAGE ON ALL FRAMES - no brood anywhere. This hive has been queenless for SOME TIME.
I took the two deeps - full of FOOD...and a handful of bees....and SPLIT THEM between two other hives. In other words - I COMBINED using the newpaper method. These two other hives were splits from this hive earlier in the year...and they'll now overwinter as 3 DEEPS. Since the deeps from mother hive were full of honey/pollen....they'll have a head start on extra stored food for winter.
I really like overwintering as 3 deeps....it makes for an "easier split" come early spring....you'll have all kinds of extra drawn frames and food to FRANKEN SPLIT them :) By franken split - I'm referring to making splits or 10 frame "nucs" by grabbing frames/eggs from THIS hive and THAT hive to force them to make new queens....
I've also gone to 9 FRAMES in all my boxes.....I REALLY like that too! It makes inspection SO MUCH EASIER. There's WAY LESS BEE CRUSHING.
I'm harvesting next weekend. REALLY early for me! why? with how EARLY the season came - I'm afraid it might end early as well. The swallows have been packing up for 3 weeks now, geese are on the move...it's EARLY. With the draught - I want to get the honey off....WHILE THEY HAVE SOME RESOURCES LEFT.
There are other "wives tale" signs out there that we're in for a "BAD" winter....(by bad - does that mean snow or cold?)....the ASH TREES ARE LOADED with berries...and the bees have REALLY STUCK THE HIVES TOGETHER WITH PROPOLIS...is it a sign?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012
- Saturday, July 21, 2012, 9:30 am. Fond du Lac Public Library, 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. Downstairs in the Eugene McLane Room.
- Saturday, September 8, 2012, 9:30 am. Ripon Public Library, 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI. Meet in the Silver Creek Room (downstairs).
- 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.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
nothing really NEW here for us beekeepers...but a "reminder" how it's more important than ever to get your honey harvest off earlier...so you can treat hives...and get them STRONG for winter.
...this is a different twist. I can't help but wonder how we're messing with the bees when we put sugar or corn syrup buckets on them..... more and more - we're seeing "articles" how it's messing US up!
Monday, July 2, 2012
Hestia...my early split has just this last week...taken off. Activity at the door rivals the mother hive! I started hestia by robbing about 8 frames from Eoster, my 3 high, early this spring. They've made their own queen. Crossing my fingers that my survivor genetics keep going!
Thyme is a month old swarm hive.
Eos is a month behind hestia...a split from the mother hives SISTER hive.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I really do believe that BECAUSE I have honey bees....I have MORE NATURAL bees as well.
These SOUNDS of summer are what I miss in the winter......
Friday, May 25, 2012
I'm thinking....swarm hanging for 3 days - without food...should be getting hungry! MEANWHILE - a beekeeper student from this year's classes calls. HIS QUEEN IS DEAD. (a newly installed package).
I called him back the next day....after I confirmed the swarm was STILL HANGING... FREE BEES!
Wednesday morning, two beekeepers, a 12 foot ladder, and a home-fashioned catch box in hand....
We retrieved the bees and installed them into a box on top of the queenless box with a sheet of newspaper in between (just to slow them down from integrating - in case the queenless bees weren't ready to accept a new queen)......and we majorly crossed our fingers that the swarm queen was INTACT and NOT HARMED.
The news from this hive is....they're doing a PHENOMENAL job! Population is twice that of the other package hive installation (he started with two hives).
Interesting notes here....that swarm hung for 4 days....hung-over through some pretty cool nights and high winds. Were they just not capable of coming to a decision? Couldn't they find a suitable place? My friend said he's had at least 5 swarms in the last 5 years....he suspects they're issuing from a tree in his yard - though he can't see them (very large mature trees on the property)....he's a "natural beekeeper" ;)
About 3 weeks ago, I with the dog and cat were "minding our own business" over by the beehouse. The little black cat not knowing any better, jumped up and bumped against one of the hives. IMMEDIATELY two bees were lodged and frenzied in his collar!!! I jerked him off the platform...he ran, I ran, the dog ran toward the house.....with my gloves on - I tried CRUSHING the bees in his fur to get them to stop/prevent? stinging. I don't know if they got him - but I think they did. He was pretty wiped out for the rest of the day.
Also about this time - 3 weeks ago. I thought to myself - I don't like they way the hives SMELL. They smelled like DIRTY SOCKS....immediately I started searching around the books and the web for foulbrood info. I was wondering if that's why they were "sensitive". What was disconcerting to me about their behavior was that they FOLLOWED US ALL THE WAY TO THE HOUSE - behavior SO UNLIKE honey bees....they usually give up sooner.
LAST EVENING - I FINALLY "tackled" my troubled hives. I was DREADING it - putting it off. I invited another beekeeper - just to keep the smoke going.
TURNS OUT...we had NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! and of course - they were DOCILE and back to being their lovely selves. ????? no stings....
The 4th and 5th boxes in the pic were 3 highs....we'll call them the MOTHER HIVES.
WHAT WE FOUND......swarm cells GALORE! opened & capped If I had to guess....20...25...30???? We had virgin-queens hatching from their cells as soon as we'd cut them out! How many DIDN'T we see/find????
WHAT WE DIDN'T FIND....foulbrood - capped brood looked as pretty as ever.
CONCLUSION....They were cranky from the swarm cell/requeening situation. The "dirty sock" smell must just be whatever pollen/nectar source they're bringing in. In the fall - GOLDENROD & ASTERs make the hives smell foul. We did note the EXCEEDINGLY BRIGHT YELLOW debris/pollen on the sticky board/screened bottom board.
RE: SPLITS. We did what I call: FRANKEN SPLITS. We robbed frames full of bees and swarm cells from "whichever" hive/box and made them nice new nests.
So - will these hives still swarm? maybe. maybe even probably - extra equipment on standby:) Could we/should we have made more splits? COULD have!
MAY THE BEST QUEEN REIGN.... it's nature.
Monday, May 14, 2012
This ezine is also available online at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
If you want to increase your chances of getting some FREEBEES :) You'll want a nice big cardboard box with a cover ready (for transport)....and some extra boxes w/ frames, bottom board, covers, etc....READY TO GO. Be sure to SPEAK UP at the bee club meetings if you're WANTING swarm calls...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
ok - they're saying....the higher the bee flys...the less gravity...the more "error" in the waggle dance? i don't know if i buy it....probably just a geometry error...or the sun is in their eyes :)
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
W2348 Short Rd Chilton, WI 53014
Monday, April 9, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
i burned a bunch of frames last night. i had one hive get into a wax moth situation "late" in the year. (the result was that the bees left this hive! to where? no swarm - by attrition - i think they probably moved next door) i left the frames sit out and get exposed to FREEZING temperatures this winter...but - what freezing temperatures?.
i was in a THROW AWAY MOOD last night and just made up my mind for the EASE and relatively CHEAP COST of building new frames.....in the wheelbarrow they went....and out to the fire pit.
wax moths are GROSS...what a mess.
SO - while i was at it....i went through other "old boxes" of frames i had around...and OUT WITH THE BLACKENED FOUNDATION TOO! (i kept only a few of the VERY BEST LOOKING of these). a comment made by our state of wisconsin bee inspector was ringing in my ears...."THE HEALTHIEST BEES I SEE - ARE ON NEW FOUNDATION - IN NEW EQUIPMENT". as this is the 5th season for some of these frames....out with the "environmental buildup".
now...I CAN'T WAIT to split the hives - i've got all kinds of "clean" equipment to install them in. i've been just holding off for the TEMPERATURES....it's still getting cold at night. i don't want to do too much messing around with brood nests! i think i've decided on what TYPE of split i'm going to do. i'm going to FRANKEN-SPLIT them...into a single deep. FRANKEN split is that i'm going to take the "material" from the split from "whichever" hives. (AFTER locating and securing the queens of course). it's like starting with your own package (minus a queen - i'm going to let them make one). if i get into them and there's not enough material to steel yet...i'm going to have my two chamber nuc on hand. i modified a standard deep last year - into (2) 5 frame nucs.
i'm also going to go down to 9 frames in every box. i want more "room". AND as long as i'm messing around with frames. i'm going to install SUPER FRAMES in positions 3 and 7 - yes.....they'll be short!...the bees will make DRONE COMB on the bottom of these...and i'll start my DRONE TRAPPING this year. that's the "removal" of drone comb - to prevent varroa buildup.
big experimentation going on in the beeyard this year!
Monday, April 2, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The old saying has got me thinking... WHAT IS A SWARM IN APRIL WORTH?