Monday, December 23, 2013

Beekeeping Classes offered - beginners enroll by Jan 3, 2014!

Beekeeping classes offered through the UW Fond du Lac Extension Service:

Beginning Beekeeping Classes: (enroll by Jan 3, 2014)
Where: UW FOND DU LAC - Administration/Extension Building, room 205
When: 6:00 pm - 8:30 PM on January 8, February 19, and June 25
Subject: The beginner program covers "WHERE TO START and your hive's FIRST YEAR": getting equipment, getting bees.  We'll start with bee biology, hive management, and finish with honey extraction, marketing, and overwintering bees.  Many beekeeping resources will be offered. The classes are held early enough for beginners to order bees and prepare equipment for spring.

Intermediate Beekeeping Clinic: (enroll by March 25)
Where: UW FOND DU LAC - Administration/Extension building, room 205
When: March 29 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Subject: "THE SECOND YEAR and BEYOND".  The intermediate program is for people with some beekeeping experience and will focus on keeping hives healthy through integrated pest management, swarm management, and applying current research.  At least one year of beekeeping is a mandatory pre-requisite for the course.  Many beekeepers come to this class to brush-up on current beekeeping practices and techniques.
   (This class will run over lunch time.  There are many lunching opportunities very close to the campus - we will provide a list and directions.  Or you may opt to pack a lunch and enjoy the beautiful campus and chat with fellow keepers.)

TO ENROLL: pre-register by mail or in-person.  Registration will be limited to 40 people for each program. Make checks payable to UW-Extension and mail to: UWEX Beekeeping Program, 400 University Dr., Fond du Lac, WI  54935. For more information contact the Fond du Lac Co. UW-Extension office at 920-929-3171.

Beginning Beekeeping  (textbook: Beekeeping for Dummies, 2nd edition)
Individual (tuition, textbook, materials)  $46
Individual (tuition, materials only) for those who own the textbook  $30

Couple (tuition, one textbook, materials)  $62
  
Students: middle school-college (tuition, textbook, materials)   $22
Students (tuition, materials only) for those who own textbook   $6

Intermediate Beekeeping
(A minimum of one year beekeeping is mandatory pre-requisite)    

Individual (tuition, materials)  $28

Couple (tuition, materials)  $38


Student (tuition, materials)  $6

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What are your bees doing for Christmas?

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2013/12/15/winter-fraught-with-risks-for-honeybees-keepers.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-rogers/honeybees-home-and-the-holidays_b_4467461.html

Every beekeeper in this climate has their fingers crossed....

ECWBA Newsletter - December 2013

Greetings to the members of the ECWBA…

ECWBA in 2014
There has not been a meeting scheduled yet for 2014.  The target date for the first meeting is late January or early February.  Watch for a newsletter in early January just after the New Year for meeting information. Some changes were discussed and accepted for year 2014.  First, the schedule of meetings will be reduced from six meetings to four meetings per year.  Also, the membership dues will be reduced to $5.00. The ECWBA will not be sponsoring a beekeeping class in 2014 (as of yet).  If any experienced beekeepers are interested in setting up a class, the planning and scheduling would need to be started soon.  Please let us know if you are interested in facilitating a beekeeping class.
 
ECWBA Library
The ECWBA maintains a library from which members can check out beekeeping books.  Andy Krueger has been doing a great job as our association librarian.  If you have ECWBA books, please bring them back so we can keep those books circulating.  If you are exploring something new in beekeeping, the library probably has a book or DVD for you to check out.  This is a valuable resource – use it to your advantage!!!

Beekeeping Notes:
Start planning for 2014 – Winter is a good time to relax with a warm cup of hot chocolate and think about next year’s beekeeping.  If you have some experience, this could be the year to mentor a new beekeeper.  If you are new to beekeeping, search out those mentors.

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!!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Unique packaging

Concept: Honey - The Dieline - - http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2013/11/28/concept-honey.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=thedieline&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Monday, November 11, 2013

D's method of HIVE WRAPPING

THIS FIRST OF THE YEAR - rain snow mix has me thinking about beekeeping.  Here's my seasonal post on wrapping hives. I have holes drilled in my deeps and i use a HALF of a styrofoam bowl to give them a little "porch" as seen by the the C shaped crescent in the picture.  REMEMBER the WINTER POSITION of your inner cover hole is DOWN - this is not for the bees to escape...but rather for CONDENSATION to escape.  Condensation is a HUGE PROBLEM in the hive over winter...you must have a way for moisture to escape.  If you don't have one of those holes cut into your inner cover edge (i'm not talking about the one in the middle).....pry it open and slip some popsicle sticks in there.  (should be just a "crack" - not to let bees out or weather in).  It doesn't have to go all the way around - it could just be the front.

Some people sprinkle dry sugar on the inner cover - that will also help absorb moisture.  you might consider setting it on a paper plate or use some newspaper to make your spring SCRAPE easier/cleaner.  Be sure to leave the inner cover center hole open.  Worse case scenario - some sprinkled sugar could act as emergency food come spring.

In this method - if you don't have holes drilled in deeps...just make the front panel - one piece.
You could still stick something under the bottom of the flap...to give them a porch/overhang.


Monday, October 14, 2013

getting the bees ready for winter & menthol tracheal mite treatment link

I took (probably) the last look at the hives this weekend.  Everyone seemed to have good population.  I did the old HIVE BODY LIFT - to mentally assess their honey storage.  I "applied" their SECOND batch of sugar syrup (with honeybee healthy).  The first batch had a dose of fumagillin.

The little hornet/wasps are ANNOYING the bees this time of year - they like the sugar syrup as much as the bees do.  I closed down some of the entrances on the smaller hives....where they weren't able to GUARD THE GATE so to speak. (remember - I have holes drilled top and bottom deep - I closed as many top holes as I could.)  Those with big population were still hanging out in the holes - guarding - I left those open.

and SURPRISE SURPRISE...my "daughter hive" from a last years swarm hive.....they're REQUEENING!  I suspect this late season requeening or overwintering with two queens is the key to success in this climate.  I'm placing my bets on this hive. I'm planning on taking that queen rearing class over winter and this hive is "marked" in my mind for genetic "donation" come spring.  In my pre-class reading on queening....THE MARK of a feral hive bee is that THEY'RE SMALLER than the "norm" - because they've been living on their own comb for some number of genetic cycles.  THIS IS SURVIVOR STOCK.  The bees in this daughter hive are just that....smaller.

Bees are still finding pollen...but their sources are crashing fast.  I've got 8 hives going into winter - I buy (2) 25# bags of sugar at walmart at a time.  I estimate that I'll need 4 more bags to get them up to November or whenever it freezes....

Meanwhile - I came across this VERY NICE BLOG - check it out.  I have the link going to the MENTHOL PAPER TOWEL - TRACHEAL MITE treatment article.  I've done this - and it works good.  The bees want to remove the paper from the hive. http://beehivejournal.blogspot.com/2009/02/menthol-shop-towel-for-tracheal-mites.html

Saturday, September 21, 2013

How to clean-up your wax cappings

Everyone asks me about this.  I'll try to explain.

(1) "Wax Dumplings".  I stand at the kitchen sink with a light flow of WARM water - grab a handful of cappings and make "balls" under the warm water - kneading and squeezing the ball harder and harder. The warm water carries the honey away.  Squeeze and knead until it gets too hard to do so anymore - and move on to the next ball. You won't get all the honey out and it is not imperative to do so.  And this doesn't make a mess of the sink - don't worry about that.

(2) Melt the "dumplings".  I have a "campfire" coffee pot. And I have a SIMMER sized burner on my gas stove that makes LESS of a flame!!  (some of you might not be able to get your stovetop heat that low)  How you do the melting part may depend on your heat source.  You want a SLOW steady heat.  You DO NOT want to get the melt "ROLLING".  NEVER TURN YOUR BACK on wax and flame!!!!  Some of you may have a DOUBLE BOILER.  Some may do this in a crockpot and ladle it out.  You NEED SOMETHING THAT WILL POUR decently.  What I like about my "campfire coffee pot is....look at picture #4 - it has a little built-in "sieve" - it holds back some of the GUNK.  (will explain that more later).  SO - I'M MELTING the balls over a VERY SMALL flame - as the liquid becomes visible around the edges (half way up the pot) - I start pouring.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ENTIRE batch to go liquid - you can keep pouring it off as it melts.

(3) Pour the liquid into styrofoam cups or bowls.

(4) Getting back to the GUNK.  As you keep pouring off the more "pure" wax - your concentration of GUNK (honey and propolis and beeparts) becomes more concentrated.  Just keep pouring off as much liquid as you can.  (That's where the built-in sieve comes in handy) The last couple pours - will be entirely GUNK - there's too little wax in it to even worry about - these pours will be thrown away. (yes - pour every last bit of GUNK out and into the styrofoam cups or bowls)  And wipe out your container while it's still warm with paper towels - be careful about HOT WAX - it will burn you in a second! (but it's easier to wipe out the containers when still warm - maybe use some rubber gloves to withstand the heat).

(5) When ENTIRELY cool (about 2 hours) - your wax will pull away from the sides of the syrofoam.  THE PURE WAX FLOATS TO THE TOP.  The bottom will mostly be honey...and it can be deceptively hot yet in the styrofoam. (I do this in the sink) Peel back the styrofoam to get your hands on the wax and pull it out - the liquid below is honey (DON'T consume this or give it to your bees - wash it down the sink!).  Again - you'll use WARM water to wash away the honey from the wax "cone".  Rub off some of the other impurities that collect on the bottom of the wax.  It's ok if it's a little brown with propolis.  If you don't want to use this "dirty" wax in your product - you can cut/scrape it off when you make something with it.

(6) THE CLEAN WAX - the final product.

Tips and Tricks.  Use COMET to help clean up wax from utensils.  Spread out NEWSPAPER on your surface for easy cleanup.  Use PAPER PLATES to "pour" over - then you can come back an peel up that good wax - waste not/want not.  Use PAPER TOWEL for wiping off the lip/edge from pouring.  In general - have PAPER TOWEL handy.  BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with hot wax - it will burn you in a second - pouring can sometimes splatter - keep pets and spouses/helpers at safe distances.  BE CAREFUL - wax is extremely flamable!  Don't pour around an open flame and don't get wax "rolling" and smoking hot!  MELT - don't cook!  YES - IT TAKES SOME TIME!  This batch probably took me 1.5 hours to melt down - it's THAT SLOW.  (DO NOT use any of those electric "hot water pots" - they're way too hot - too quick - and there's no way to regulate the heat - they are all or nothing heat sources)

Can you use a sieve?  Yes - but I don't think you need to - the WAX will separate out from the impurities all by itself.  Beeswax is REALLY STICKY...and you'll never use that sieve again - for anything other than this process if you do!

Impressive New Book

(2011) Classic Queen Rearing Compendium.  An impressive 2-inch thick collection of 7 books/authors. (and not cheap: $54/amazon)
• An overview of queen rearing, by Michael Bush
• Practical Queen Rearing, by Frank Pellet
• Scientific Queen Rearing, by G.M. Doolittle
• The Alley Method, by Henry Alley
• The Miller Method, by C.C. Miller
• Isaac Hopkins on Queen Rearing
• Queen Rearing Simplified, by Jay Smith
• Better Queens, by Jay Smith

I've only just started but I REALLY LIKE the line of thinking - and that is BUILDING GENETIC DIVERSITY.  Building a Better Bee - Building Survivor Stock.  This is going to cover old methods and thought...right up to the new methods.  Despite it's thickness...it reads quite quickly as you're going from author to author.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crystallized Honey IN CELLS!

yes...this happened to me.  While I was extracting this season - we came across some frames (~6 or so?) that had CRYSTALLIZED honey in them.  Nearest I can figure, the bees got into SOME (mystery) nectar source that crystallized on them.  It was interesting and not at all harmful to the batch - because even if some crystals escaped the cell in the extractor - they were filtered out in the final batch......I just wonder what FLOWER/source they got into?!

Queen rearing

I'm looking into taking a queen rearing class.  Lane Honey in Illinois offers classes in the spring.  Details for classes will be posted to their site closer to December.  Classes fill fast.  Its far enough into southern Illinois to get room reservations and make a weekend of it.  I'll try to remember to keep you posted.  http://www.honeybeesonline.com/

You keep asking

How many mites is too many mites? THIS IS! a mite every centimeter?  Heavy concentrations. I've never seen mite loads like this in the hives!  After the harvest I was showing a NEW-BEE  a drone...at random! The drone had 4 adult mites running around it.  GROSS!  did I say GROSS?!?!

I suspect something about the 5 queens I installed this summer...perhaps they're less hygienic about ridding themselves of mites.  I suspect this because, the old /natural queens are less infested.  I'm going to requeen again summer 2014.  I'm going to go for some BEE WEAVERS, OR MINNESOTAS, OR RUSSIANS.

My treatment choice is APIGUARD. They got their second tray yesterday.  I hate to do it, but they CANNOT go into winter with this amount of mites!

Make mead

When I harvest...I set aside all the 'questionable' frames for last.  Those frames that are not completely capped.  I got (2) 22# pails of WET honey (tested at 22 on the refractometer).  This honey became mead.  The recipe for 5 gals only calls for about 15#, but I have a problem following directions!

I made one batch with white grape concentrate, honey, ginger, lemon and lime juice and zest.   The other was dark grape, orange juice and zest, ginger.

I used to have to get wine/mead supplies from Minnesota (Midwest brewing supply or something like that), or Needsome Supplies in FDL carried some things.  But now there's a fully stocked brew supply in FDL on s main.  THE CELLAR. (Beer stuff too!) http://www.thecellarhomebrew.com/
My storeroom smells fantastic...my mead's a bubbling away!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wisconsin DATCP - register YOUR hive!

Ann Marie Ames from the Wisconsin DATCP brought some FABULOUS information to the beeclub meeting!  I'm headed to the website next to register MY HIVES. www.driftwatch.org.  Whether you have ONE hive or MANY...you're welcome to register.  I'll post the DATCP information permanently in the LIST tab.

Ann Marie was kind enough to bring us SIGNS to display our participation....however, she forgot the STEPSTAKES!  this is NOT a contrived sale...but as i'm "in the business" ...I DO SELL STEPSTAKES for those signs. You can stop by the shop (D'Signs Unlimited, W4559 Lakepark Drive, Fond du Lac  M-F 8-5)  there's a cheap one for $2 (beeclub members only)...or you can get a heavier one for $4.00.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter - August 2013

1.  Here is the information for the final meeting of 2013:  

·         September 14, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meet at the Ripon Public Library (Silver Creek Room).  Address is 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI.  See note below about the guest speaker scheduled for a presentation.

2.  September Meeting.  The September 14, 2013, meeting of the ECWBA will be at the Ripon Public Library.  Meeting start time is 9:30 am.  The special guest speaker will be Ann Marie Ames from the Wisconsin DATCP.  Ann Marie will give a presentation about the Drift Watch program that she oversees at the DATCP.  Drift Watch is a registration program for beekeepers and organic producers to help against pesticide damage and contamination.  It sounds like Ann Marie has a great program lined up for us.  This will be a timely and important presentation, so ECWBA members are encourage to bring a guest that is involved with beekeeping or organic production.

3.   The year 2014 is a few months away, but let’s plan ahead for the next year.  At the September meeting, we will try to establish a committee for a beginner’s beekeeping class for early 2014.  Also, please give some consideration to volunteering or seeking a nomination for one of the two officer positions that will be up for election in January 2014.  That will be the offices of secretary and of president.  The ECWBA needs to vary its leadership with new and different ideas in order to keep it a thriving organization.  If we cannot fill the officer board, an alternative would be to close the association.

4.  The ECWBA maintains a library from which members can check out beekeeping books.  Andy Krueger has been doing a great job as our association librarian. If you have ECWBA books, please bring them back so we can keep those books circulating.  If you are exploring something new in beekeeping, the library probably has a book or DVD for you to check out.  This is a valuable resource – use it to your advantage!!!

5.  Special request from an ECWBA member:  Larry Beuthin, with the assistance of Mary Montag, has located a house with a colony of honeybees in it. Larry would like some help with removing the bees and invites our membership to participate in the removal process.  He would also like to possibly video the process for a future presentation.  The house is located just north of Markesan.  Larry would like to get this accomplished sometime around Labor Day.  If you are interested in helping Larry and Mary with this colony removal project, please contact Larry at 920-398-3580.

Beekeeping Notes:

·         It looks like the honey crop is a good one this year.  We will take a quick and informal survey of members in attendance at the September meeting about honey crop yields.

·         If you have not developed a plan for honey extracting yet, you’re running a bit behind.  Either buy an extracting unit (or system) or team up with an existing beekeeper that can provide you with an extracting service.

·         Also, plan how you will store the honey harvest.  There can sometimes be a shortage of jars at this time of the year as everyone scrambles to obtain containers.

·         Don’t forget – The ECWBA has two refractometers for measuring the moisture content of honey.  One refractometer is kept with the library for check out.  The other one is in Fond du Lac with Denise Palkovich.  Contact Denise at 920-922-7487 or see her note on the ECWBA website for use of the refractometer.

I look forward to seeing you all at the last meeting of 2013, on September 14, at the Ripon Library.

Best of Beekeeping,

Jeff Champeau

Thursday, August 22, 2013

use a refractometer to be sure...

Use a refractometer to be sure where your moisture content is in your honey harvest.  Honey that has too much moisture (over 20%) will ferment.  Fermentation is fine if you're going to make honey wine...but it's not appealing for your customer.

FOR CLUB MEMBERS - you have the privilege of using one of the two club refractometers.  One is located at: D'Signs Unlimited, W4559 Lakepark Drive, Fond du Lac.  M-F 8am-5pm (call ahead: 920-922-7487).  and one circulates with the library.

To ready your batch for sampling - you probably want to give your bucket a stir so you get an average...when you feel it's combined, you only need to bring in about 1/8 tsp.  The test takes SECONDS.

phenomenal numbers

For me...this was the best harvest EVER.  I harvested on the 18th - it was an all day affair.  (and still have to go back for the cleanup) I'll be labeling 300# of honey - from 4 hives.

I REALLY TAKE A GOOD LOOK after harvest - "evaluating" hives for winter.  Check mite loads!  My mite loads all spring and summer were very "light" (I use the sticky board/screened bottom board)  Though I don't actually take a COUNT - I look at the sticky boards comparatively.  AFTER HARVEST...I checked my mite load.....HEAVY!!!!! did I say HEAVY!!!???  wow - I've not seen a load like this before in the hives.  For the FIRST TIME EVER - I've applied API-GUARD (the thymol tray)

After they settle down from harvest - I need to get back in there and make sure each deep has a SHALLOW frame for the drone cut-out (which I also did this year) - but the hives weren't real consistent as to where and when I had a "short" in the box.  I also need to LABEL THEM (mark them)  I'm happy with the drone cutout method.

WHOOFDA...are there BEES!!!  The populations of the hives are PHENOMENAL.  I requeened 5 hives in July (bred and tested queens)...that probably helped.  Even though the nights have been chilly at times...the hives are ready for another population boom (capped brood).  Probably their last big batch before they start decreasing.

I'm going to be overwintering as 2 deeps and a super this year.  I've overwintered them with 3 deeps in the past - but then in the spring - I end up with too many honey frames.  I prefer giving them a little extra space after harvest to fill (the super)....it means less feeding for me come spring.  I often found that come spring - in a two deep system - the bees were AT THE INNER cover when I took my first peeks.  I bought a whole set of "separate" supers for this purpose - they'll be marked as HIVE SUPERS - they won't be used for harvest-able honey.

so - What have I heard out there?  I've been hearing "LAZY CARNIES".  More than a couple beekeepers got a package of Italians and a package of Carnies for comparison.  The Italians are "going to town" - producing honey for first year hives....and the Carnies....lazy, going nowhere. ...we could all be deceived by the lazy carnies - they tend to overwinter as smaller populations - and require less resources over winter.  This is "farming" - of course we'll cross our fingers, hoping all the hives make it through - but you might be surprised by the outcomes.  (don't make any bets on bees!)

I've also heard it's "SWARM YEAR".  I think we've had enough rain at the right time to keep nectar in the flowers and keep resources spread out.  Divide and Go Forth - Resources are Abundant. (unfortunately - its the loss of NATURAL BEE HABITAT (old trees/holes) for the swarm to settle into....means their destination is a house, barn, GROCERY STORE.....mailbox....

I've also heard "POOR PACKAGE QUEENS".  As probably everyone heard or experienced - packages were late again this year - and in short supply.  Many complained that packages were "duds".  A dud package = dud queen (perhaps a poorly bred queen).  IT'S ALL ABOUT THE QUEEN.  This is a frustrating topic for a first year beekeeper who just wants to get a hive started - and has NOTHING to compare to.  ....we might have to look more into getting BRED and TESTED queens into our hives via requeening.  (a tested queen - is one that is allowed by the producer to lay a pattern - if this queen doesn't fill a decent amount of cells....she's not sold.)

In closing - I don't know if anyone else sees it....but it seems like the year end flowers - are here...and it seems like it's crashing fast.  It's drying up out there.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter JULY

1.  Here is the information for the two final meetings of 2013:  
  •  July 13, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meeting at extension office in Oshkosh (see note below). 
  • September 14, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meet at the Ripon Public Library (Silver Creek Room).  Address is 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI.  See note below about the guest speaker scheduled for a presentation.
  
2.  July Meeting.  The July meeting of the ECWBA will be held at the Winnebago County UW Extension Office.  Meeting date and time is Saturday, July 13, at 9:30 am.  The address for the extension office is 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI.  Driving directions:  Take US Highway 41 north bound to the Highway 76 & Jackson Street exit.  Exit Hwy. 41 onto Jackson Street south.  Drive south on Jackson Street about a mile (or two) to Hwy Y at stop and go lights.  Turn left, travelling on Hwy. Y, and drive approximately a mile to address.  The extension office is on the right side of the street, located in the James P. Coughlin Center building.  There will be a meeting with a presentation focused on the summer and fall management of colonies for the newly established (first year) beekeeper.
  
3.  September Meeting.  The September, 2013, meeting of the ECWBA will be at the Ripon Public Library.  Meeting start time is 9:30 am.  The special guest speaker will be Ann Marie Ames from the Wisconsin DATCP.  Ann Marie will give a presentation about the Drift Watch program that she oversees at the DATCP.  Drift Watch is a registration program for beekeepers and organic producers to help against pesticide damage and contamination.  It sounds like Ann Marie has a great program lined up for us.  This will be a timely and important presentation, so ECWBA members are encourage to bring a guest that is involved with beekeeping or organic production.  Here is a summary of the program sent from Ann Marie:
  
“Make your bees and sensitive crops visible to help keep them safe. Register your hives or commercial vineyards, orchards, pastures or gardens on DriftWatch.org.  DriftWatch uses the Google Maps ™ interface to record the locations of sensitive crops including grapes, bees, fruit trees, organically raised produce and certified organic properties. The map is one tool applicators can use to take necessary steps to prevent pesticide drift. The more producers who register fields in the program, the more useful the map is to applicators.  The program is intended for commercial producers, with the exception of bees. Beekeepers of any size are encouraged to register their bees on DriftWatch.org.  If you already have a DriftWatch account, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection encourages you to log on to check your account for accuracy – if you are moving your bees this year, remember to move them on DriftWatch.org.   If you are not already participating in DriftWatch, now is a great time to register. To log on to your existing account or to create a new account, visit http://wisconsin.agriculture.purdue.edu/. If you have questions or need help submitting a field, contact Wisconsin DriftWatch coordinator Ann Marie Ames at 608-224-4504 or email her at AnnMarie.Ames@Wisconsin.gov.”
  
4.   The year 2014 is still six months away, but let’s plan ahead for the next year.  At the July and September meetings, we will again try to establish a committee for a beginner’s beekeeping class for early 2014.  Also, please give some consideration to volunteering or seeking a nomination for one of the two officer positions that will be up for election in January 2014.  The ECWBA needs to vary its leadership with new and different ideas in order to keep it a thriving organization.
    
5.  The ECWBA maintains a library from which members can check out beekeeping books.  Andy Krueger has been doing a great job as our association librarian.  If you have ECWBA books, please bring them back so we can keep those books circulating.  If you are exploring something new in beekeeping, the library probably has a book or DVD for you to check out.  This is a valuable resource – use it to your advantage!!!
  
Beekeeping Notes:
  • In spite of its late start, spring came on rather quickly.  It looks like the honey crop should be a good one. Be ready add supers for the accumulating honey.
  • Develop a plan for honey extracting.  Either buy an extracting unit (or system) or team up with an existing beekeeper that can provide you with an extracting service.
  • Also, plan how you will store the honey harvest.  There can sometimes be shortage of jars at this time of the year as everyone scrambles to obtain containers.
  
I look forward to seeing you all at the July 13, 2013, meeting in Oshkosh.
  
Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Friday, June 14, 2013

FREE-BEES....bee ready!

it's SWARM SEASON - it's your chance for FREE-BEES!

ok - a CHALLENGE for you - fellow beekeepers...have you made yourself a SWARM CATCHING BOX?  The one previous to this one (shown) - I made from a nice heavy duty PRINTER BOX.  (and it's served it's days well...but I've been THINKING about "improvements" every time I've used it.)

Now - some beekeepers might pull-up with an open bed truck...and just catch the swarm directly into a prepared 10 frame hive (with the bottom board probably NAILED in place - for non-slippage).  and this method is perfectly fine for those with TRUCKS :)

However - I find that I like a little more ENCLOSURE of the bees - when I have to use the CAR.

My preferred box is a nice big - heavy walled kind...WITH A LID.  even if it's without LID - you could use a SHEET too.  I make my "catch" into this box and make a quick get-away home to HIVE THEM FOR REAL.  I guess we could call this the TWO SHAKE method :).

My previous box was big enough to catch the swarm WITH or WITHOUT a 10-frame box inside.  Yes - I could set a 10 frame deep inside (with frames)...but I found that this SLID AROUND in there and would crush bees. It also made it pretty HEAVY.  Heavy is fine on the ground...but balancing on a ladder?  In doing a couple catches with or without frames inside - I decided that I think the bees DO LIKE something to hang onto.  With the frames inside (either drawn out or not - doesn't matter) bees CLING to the frames.  Without the frames - they're pouring up the sides of the box.

So - the DESIGN changes I made in my new box.  First off - I built this one from scratch - from a product I have at work called COROPLAST - (corrogated plastic)...so I could get the dimensions I wanted inside to HANG THE FRAMES.  I used the thicker 1/4"...which I believe you can purchase something similar at a Menards/Fleet Farm as a 4 x 8 sheet (1 sheet is enough for your box and lid). A VELCRO lid - easier to get on quick without crushing bees.  An optional use VELCRO TRAP DOOR with ramp on the bottom for bees to march in from ground level.  A securable/expandable area inside to hang frames from, and ventilation in the cover.  Besides the one sheet of coroplast, I used duct tape, a very sticky double sided tape, a utility knife, straight edge, measuring tape, and adhesive velcro hook & loop and some window screen.  No nails or glue or power equipment required.  A HINT if you're working with a product like coroplast.  "score and bend".  When you make the main box bends from base to walls - don't cut all the way through - score and bend it.  Jot down your measurements and make yourself a small scale prototype on paper...so you know where to cut and where to score/bend.

You could mess around with the dimensions.  This box is big enough for a LARGE swarm....looking at it in it's DONE state....it could have been less than 31.5" long.

FIELD DAY SUCCESS

Jeff Champagne - our President - hosted a field day at his apiary in Oakfield this past weekend.  A complete success.  Everyone is commenting that they learned so much through the HANDS-ON approach.  There's nothing like EXPERIENCE as a teacher ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter - May 25

1.  Here is the current list of meeting dates and places for 2013: 
  • June 8, 2013, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.  Field day at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield (see note below).  This is a change from the original announcement of June 15.
     
  • July13, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meeting at extension office in Oshkosh (see note below).
     
  • September meeting to be determined.  Most likely in Ripon on September 14.

2.  June Field Day.  The field day this year will be held at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield.  There will be no formal meeting conducted.  Just come prepared to look at beehives in various stages of development.  This is a good opportunity for new beekeepers to see what established colonies look like.  Start time will be 1:00 pm.  Address and driving directions: N3415 Highway Y South, Oakfield, WI.  Oakfield is located about 10 miles southwest of Fond du Lac.  Take Highway Y (same as Oak Street) south out of Oakfield (past the old Belle Reynolds School) for about a half a mile.  The place is on the east side of Highway Y between River Road and Highway F.  Some parking is available in the driveway – overflow parking will have to be along the road.  Please bring your own hat & bee veil, gloves, coveralls, strings or something to tie off pants legs, or anything else you think you might need to feel comfortable working around bees.  There will be no rain date for this field day.

3.  July Meeting.  The July meeting of the ECWBA will be held at the Winnebago County UW Extension Office.  Meeting date and time is Saturday, July 13, at 9:30 am.  The address for the extension office is 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI.  Driving directions:  Take US Highway 41 north bound to the Highway 76 & Jackson Street exit.  Exit Hwy. 41 onto Jackson Street south.  Drive south on Jackson Street about a mile (or two) to Hwy Y at stop and go lights.  Turn left, traveling on Hwy. Y, and drive approximately a mile to address.  The extension office is on the right side of the street, located in the James P. Coughlin Center building.  There will be a meeting with a presentation focused on the summer and fall management of colonies for the newly established (first year) beekeeper.

4.   This issue of the ECWBA newsletter is mainly a reminder of the upcoming field day and the July meeting.  At the July and September meetings we will again try to establish a committee for a beginner’s beekeeping class for early 2014.  I was contacted by a representative from the Wisconsin DATCP about using a registration list to assist beekeepers in the prevention of pesticide spray damage.  Hopefully, this representative will be able to give a presentation at the September meeting or at one of the meetings in the spring.

Beekeeping Notes:

  • Queens!  If you plan to split surviving colonies, develop a plan for additional queens – Are you going to purchase queens?  Are you going to raise your own queens?
     
  • In spite of its late start, spring is coming on fast now.  Be ready for swarming to start and be prepared to add supers to provide plenty of room for the increasing bee populations.
     
  • Attend the June 8th field day.  Jeff will be talking about his one brood chamber method of beekeeping.  This will also be a great opportunity for new beekeepers to get some “super”-vised hands-on experience.

I look forward to seeing you all at the June 8, 2013, field day.

Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Madison Bees

http://www.channel3000.com/news/beekeeping-not-just-for-rural-areas-anymore/-/1648/20396116/-/y4kg97z/-/index.html

Monday, May 13, 2013

check these out

Barbara...a CANADIAN beekeeper - coming out of winter - all 15 hives survived!  that's http://thebeejournal.blogspot.com/2013/05/geared-up-and-going-strong.html

and THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!  developing hearty "local" stock that survives winter.
http://www.npr.org/2013/05/12/183266512/for-year-round-buzz-beekeepers-fast-forward-Darwinism

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter - April 20, 2013

 
1.  Here is the current list of meeting dates and places for 2013:
·         June 8, 2013, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.  Field day at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield (see note below).  This is a change from the original announcement of June 15.
·         July13, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meeting at extension office in Oshkosh (see note below).
·         September meeting to be determined.  Most likely in Ripon on September 14.
 
2.  June Field Day.  The field day this year will be held at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield.  There will be no formal meeting conducted.  Just come prepared to look at beehives in various stages of development.  This is a good opportunity for new beekeepers to see what established colonies look like.  Start time will be 1:00 pm.  Address and driving directions: N3415 Highway Y South, Oakfield, WI.  Oakfield is located about 10 miles southwest of Fond du Lac.  Take Highway Y (same as Oak Street) south out of Oakfield (past the old Belle Reynolds School) for about a half a mile.  The place is on the east side of Highway Y between River Road and Highway F.  Some parking is available in the driveway – overflow parking will have to be along the road.  Please bring your own hat & bee veil, gloves, coveralls, strings or something to tie off pants legs, or anything else you think you might need to feel comfortable working around bees. There will be no rain date for this field day.
3.  July Meeting.  The July meeting of the ECWBA will be held at the Winnebago County UW Extension Office.  Meeting date and time is Saturday, July 13, at 9:30 am.  The address for the extension office is 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI.  Driving directions:  Take US Highway 41 north bound to the Highway 76 & Jackson Street exit.  Exit Hwy. 41 onto Jackson Street south.  Drive south on Jackson Street about a mile (or two) to Hwy Y at stop and go lights.  Turn left, travelling on Hwy. Y, and drive approximately a mile to address. The extension office is on the right side of the street, located in the James P. Coughlin Center building.  There will be meeting with a presentation focused on the summer and fall management of colonies for the newly established (first year) beekeeper.
 
Beekeeping Notes:
·         As of this writing, package bees are starting to arrive at the suppliers.  Some package bee orders have been delayed until the first week of May.
·         Due to the long and continuing winter and the absence of any resemblance of spring time weather, the new package bees will definitely have to be fed sugar syrup and pollen substitutes.  Feeding sugar syrup is especially necessary for new beekeepers installing bees into hives with only foundation in the frames.
·         Continue feeding overwintered hives until we see something on which the bees can forage.
·         If you apply any disease or mite controls in the spring, get what you need now and be prepared to apply the controls when necessary.  Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s directives on the label for the recommended dosage and application technique.  If you pick up bees at a beekeepers supply store, the suppliers usually have a good inventory of medications for controlling diseases and mites.
·         Don’t forget to take your shopping list along to the beekeeper supply store when you pick-up your package bees.  It is a good time to pick-up your extra supplies while you are there.
·         Attend the June 8th field day.  Jeff will be talking about his one brood chamber method of beekeeping.  This will also be a great opportunity for new beekeepers to get some “super”-vised hands-on experience.
 
I look forward to seeing you all at the June 8, 2013, field day.
 
Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Monday, April 22, 2013

4 out 5 survivors

4 out of 5 surviving the winter of 2012-2013.

Hind-site is always 20/20...
What happened to "Pandora" this year's dead hive (last year's MOTHER hive).

Sometime around harvest or after - I believe Pandora and her SISTER hive went queenless.  Why - don't know.  I've suspected these last years that this bee breed in my boxes likes to supersede in fall  (I've been splitting my survivor stock for three years now - my "original" stock going back to Bee-Weaver All Stars....six, seven years ago)  Is their queenlessness due to a supersedure gone wrong?

I caught Pandora's Sister's queenlessness last fall - and combined her boxes/workers with two other hives (one being this year's strong hive ...and the other one's not too bad either)

But Pandora went into winter as a queenless hive...and as a result....what do I find this spring?  Not a bee in the box.  The hive is packed full of honey and pollen - all three deeps.  Nicely cleaned out for me.  I set these frames aside for spits or starting another hive.  I'm hoping for at least one swarm catch this year.

As you can see - I have one REALLY STRONG hive coming out of winter (shown).  I've renamed this one "NASTY HIVE".  They're really really cranky, clingy - not in a friendly way.  The slightest movement or noise around them sets them off.  I'm really glad I saved this one for LAST when I cleaned out hives/bottom boards/hive body switched this weekend.  I split this hive - even though I had second thoughts about propagating "nasty" genes....

Everyone got cleaned out, switched, and pollen pattied (the first year I'm trying this).  one cluster is VERY small.  I put them back in the bottom position and took my best frames and made them a new top box to grow into.  I DID discover with this small cluster - they had a BAD NOSEMA outbreak sometime during the winter....I BURNED 10 of their frames.  Not that you have to burn nosema frames - I did because - I didn't want the spores on the equipment...and/or - I don't want them "getting back into it" - reinfecting themselves.  This cluster is going to get a small treatment of powdered sugar/fumagilinB.

ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING thing I found in cleaning.  I use - screened bottom boards.  Primarily around the perimeter of the screen/wood....PROPOLIS-ed COCOONS.  cocoons of wax moth?

Bees MOVED

From Mt.Calvary to St.Peter - still in the holyland...

The beehouse got WHEELS April 7.  We got to the hives early in the morn to wrap them to keep them inside, while their house was jacked-up and trailer-ed.  (We used white window sheers - breathable)  Pre-inspection showed that the east hive was VERY ACTIVE...lots of bees coming out to see what was going on.  (ha ha...they couldn't get us)

We secured the hives from sliding on the deck with some homemade "L" brackets...then we "leveled out" the top covers and lashed them all down with a 2 x 4 x 14 across the top - lashed it down with ratchet-ties.  We managed not to make too big of a mess out of the lawn...it was still COLD in the morning.

Here they are arriving at their new home....










Here they are in place.









All in all....went (surprisingly) SMOOTH.

BEE-ing a GOOD NEIGHBOR....madison hives

http://madisonnorth.channel3000.com/news/environment/112142-living-next-door-bees-pitfalls-and-perks

Friday, March 1, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter February

1.  Here is the current list of meeting dates and places for 2013:
  • Saturday, March 9, 2013, Ripon Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am. Address is 120 Jefferson Street in Ripon.  Meeting is in the Silver Creek Room downstairs.  After a business meeting, we will discuss the many various ways of preventing and controlling pests and diseases.
  • May and/or June, 2013 (another field day???)
  • July and September meetings to be determined.
2.  Welcome to all new members who have come on board.  We have many new members as a result of the Beginners’ Beekeeping Class in Oshkosh.  Thank-you to the current members who have renewed their memberships.
 
3.  The election for the offices of vice-president and treasurer that should have been held in January has been postponed.  So, at the March, 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.  Andy Krueger, along with her committee, has done a great job establishing a beginners’ beekeeping class.  This class is already half complete.  The students have showed great interest in learning beekeeping and are asking many good questions.  Please welcome these new beekeepers into the ECWBA.
 
4.  The new year also brings with it membership renewal time.  The membership dues will remain $15.00 for a one year membership.  One membership entitles the member(s) to receive the newsletter, to vote on officer elections and organizational business issues, and to hold a position as an officer.  A membership may include more than one person (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child, etc.), but only one newsletter will be sent out and only one vote may be cast per membership.
 
 
 
Beekeeping Notes:
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 2013.  This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.
Once it warms up (it usually does eventually), take a peek at existing over-wintered hives.  Feed some emergency granulated sugar if the bees are running short of stored honey.
Prepare to start feeding sugar syrup in mid to late March once the daytime temperatures are in the 40’s and above.
Clean dead bees out of dead over-wintered hives.  Dead bees start to rot and create a real mess if not cleaned out in a timely manner.
If this year is your first foray into beekeeping, find a mentor.
 
I look forward to seeing you all at the March 9th ECWBA meeting in Ripon.
 
Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter BLAHS?

WELL THEN - DREAM OF BEES!  IT'S WARM SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD :)  It's the time of the year to catch up on your reading - Books, Magazines, and On-line Research.  THERE ARE CLASSES being held in your area.  If you're not close to ECWBA...a quick internet search for "wisconsin bee clubs" or "beekeeping classes wisconsin" will get you there.  INFORMATION IS POWER.

ECWBA Newsletter Jan 27, 2013

1.  Some of the meeting dates and places for early 2013 have been scheduled in already.  Here’s what developed so far:  
  • Saturday, February 9, 2013, Fond du Lac Public Library (Eugene McLane Room), 32 Sheboygan St., Fond du Lac, WI, 9:30 to 11:00 am.  Craig Petros, one of the state apiary inspectors, will be the guest speaker.  Matt LaForge, the new Dadant branch manager will also be attending our meeting.
  • Saturday, March 9, 2013, Ripon Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
  • May and/or June, 2013 (another field day???)
  • July and September meetings to be determined.
  
2.  The election for the offices of vice-president and treasurer that should have been held in January has been postponed.  So, at the March, 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.
  
3.  Andy Krueger, along with her committee, has been doing a great job establishing a beginners’ beekeeping class.  This class is intended for anyone interested in getting started with honey bees and will focus on fundamental beekeeping skills. 
 
This class will meet for four Thursday nights:
February 7, February 21, March 7 and March 21
Class time is 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Class will meet at the James P. Coughlin Center, 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI 54901.  Tuition is $50.00 which includes an information packet, a book, and a one year membership in ECWBA.  A secondary participant may attend with the primary participant for an extra $25.00, but does not include the information packet, et al. For information and registration, contact Andy at 920-379-9840.
  
4.  The new year also brings with it membership renewal time.  The membership dues will remain $15.00 for a one year membership.  One membership entitles the member(s) to receive the newsletter, to vote on officer elections and organizational business issues, and to hold a position as an officer.  A membership may include more than one person (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child, etc.), but only one newsletter will be sent out and only one vote may be cast per membership.
  
Beekeeping Notes:
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 2013.  This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.
  
Best of Beekeeping, Jeff Champeau

Monday, January 7, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter - January

1.  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 (Silver Creek Room), 120 Jefferson St., Ripon, WI, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
  • Saturday, February 9, 2013, Fond du Lac Public Library (Eugene McLane Room), 32 Sheboygan St., Fond du Lac, WI, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
  • Saturday, March 9, 2013, Ripon Public Library, 9:30 to 11:00 am.
  • May and/or June, 2013 (another field day???)
  • July and September meetings to be determined.
2.  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.

3.  Andy Krueger, along with her committee, has been doing a great job establishing a beginners’ beekeeping class.  This class is intended for anyone interested in getting started with honey bees and will focus on fundamental beekeeping skills.  This class will meet for four Thursday nights; February 7, February 21, March 7 and March 21.  Class time is 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  Class will meet at the James P. Coughlin Center, 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI 54901.  Tuition is $50.00 which includes an information packet, a book, and a one year membership in ECWBA.  A secondary participant may attend with the primary participant for an extra $25.00, but does not include the information packet, et al. For information and registration, contact Andy at 920-379-9840.

4.  The new year also brings with it membership renewal time.  The membership dues will remain $15.00 for a one year membership.  One membership entitles the member(s) to receive the newsletter, to vote on officer elections and organizational business issues, and to hold a position as an officer.  A membership may include more than one person (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child, etc.), but only one newsletter will be sent out and only one vote may be cast per membership.


Beekeeping Notes:
Plan for 2013 – 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 2013.  This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.

On behalf of the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association, I would like wish all of you, your families and friends, a Happy New Year!!!

Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau