Monday, December 22, 2014

Fake Honey - Everywhere!

quoted from article:
• 100% of Winnie the Pooh sold in Walmart had all pollen removed.
• 100% of honey from individual packets from KFC and McDonald's had all pollen removed.
• 77% of honey from big box stores like Costco, Sam's Club, and Target had no traces of pollen.
• 100% of honey from drugstores like Walgreen's and CVS Pharmacy had all the pollen filtered out.

continue to full article <link>

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

hmmm...not a bad idea and not a bad price....

for those of you who didn't or won't get around to making CANDY BOARDS for your hives, you have some options at HoneyBeeWare.  <link>  $15 initially for a FULL board - bring it back undamaged and exchange it for another full...$10 (you're saving $5 or paying a $5 deposit initially - however you want to look at it)

Friday, November 28, 2014

pricing your honey

<link>  you can dig around the national honey board's website too...there's usually a chart of honey prices - the pricing is updated monthly....and it shows RETAIL vs WHOLESALE averages.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

what da?!

beekeeper Fred just commented: I was putting on a few Bee Cozy's.  In several hives the cluster was at the top of the hive.  Seems like the bees never got the message to migrate to the bottom brood chamber and work upwards through the winter.  Hope this doesn't portend heavy winter losses again. 


....yup...ME TOO.  bees were in the top box when i last looked.  i'm HOPING that that's not REALLY where the CLUSTER IS. i'm hoping those were just "feeder" bees up there looking for a sugar bucket.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

marketing, marketing, marketing!

what's the saying about the "rule" of a successful business - location, location, location??.  BEEKEEPERS - THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!  marketing, marketing, marketing!  take a look at the marketing behind this <link> "fancy" honey and ask yourself a couple questions: what's the "per pound" cost of the honey? What is the buyers "perceived VALUE" of this fancy honey?  i'd bet they're not using this in a cake recipe...they're treating it like LIQUID GOLD that it is.

then look at your OWN honey....what is it's TRUE COST? (keeping in mind OUR cost of beekeeping is increasing all the while our stock decreases) what is it's VALUE?  i think it's good for all of us small producers to RETHINK...concentrate our marketing of our precious (and limited) commodity by it's VALUE and get beyond this "price per pound" thing we're hung-up on.

when i teach a class and we all take-up a honey stick - i remind the students that THEY ARE TASTING A MOMENT IN TIME.  never again will those bees, gather nectar from those flowers.  bees change, seasons change, environments change.

Monday, November 17, 2014

almonds...this EFFECTS us!

California's worst drought for more than a century is causing huge problems for farmers, who need a trillion gallons of water per year for their almond orchards alone.
<link>

Sleep Deprived Bees do Weirder Waggle Dance

<link>

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Make your OWN QUEENS come spring!

Please read this WELL-WRITTEN, SIMPLY-EXPLAINED article on "MAKING YOUR OWN QUEENS". <link>  This winter's challenge and "project" for you is to BUILD SOME NUCS for this purpose come spring.  A nice 5-frame hive (nuc) is PERFECT for this application.  If you're not much of a carpenter - you can buy a FOLD-N-GO NUC box from dadant <link>.  (I suggest getting several right away - they're CHEAP! and useful to have around).

IF I HAVE BUT ONE survivor come spring......this is what I'm going to do!  The only caveat is...the STRONG HIVE part :)

signup for BACKYARD BEES GIVEAWAY

i'll sign up for any opportunity at FREE BOOKS  ;)
<link>

Common Winter Beekeeping Problems: Pests and Diseases (and a new book)

winter beekeeping problems - article: <link>

these books look quite interesting <keeping bees in towns & cities> <rooftop keeper>



Monday, November 3, 2014

3# package installation

is it too early to get a little brush-up on installing those ($100+) packages???

our "marriage" to the almond INDUSTRY

a little rant via articles around the net....
• Why almonds are bad news for the environment <link>
• Fewer bees in US threaten almond crop <link>
• Are California almonds destroying the US bee supply? <link>
• Almond prices rocket due to honey bee shortage <link>
• California almonds keep down pollination fees <link>
• Paramount Farms buying out beekeepers? <link>
• 80,000+ beehives damage or dead <link>
• Beekeeping industry DOOMED <link>

Friday, October 31, 2014

nice beekeeping site

<link>

SIGN UP FOR USDA PROGRAM - BEE LOSS funding available

of course - i found out JUST TODAY - that TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY to apply for 2015.  so if you're going to sign-up...it will be for program year 2016.  something is better than nothing.

i'm attaching the PDF <link> of the program details.

there was ONLY ONE PERSON who applied in FDL county! (he found out at the last minute and got his appointment in this morning)....then he brought me the paperwork to post!

you have to call the FDL USDA and MAKE AN APPOINTMENT with DEB:
Fond du Lac Area Office 
W6529 Forest Avenue, Suite 200 
Fond du Lac, WI 54937 
Email: RD.FondduLac@wi.usda.gov 
Phone: (920) 907-2976 
FAX: (855) 715-8480

Beekeeping with a honeybee allergy!

<link>

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trees for Bees

Winter is on its way.  Just like gardeners, beekeepers will be perusing their new 2015 catalogs.  Beekeepers typically look at new equipment to buy and assemble during the winter months.  Gardeners are looking at seed and tree catalogs.  Beekeepers should take a cue from the gardeners and also look at tree catalogs.  Everyone associates bees and flowers, but in reality much of the pollen and nectar gathered by bees is from trees. 
Planting trees for the bees is a long term proposition.  Unlike flowers which provide pollen and nectar within one (annuals) to two years (perennials), trees typically require several more years before flowering.  However, the reward for waiting is a larger source of pollen and nectar as the tree continues to grow each year.  In addition trees cool the environment, provide seeds, fruit or nuts for wildlife, and shelter for wildlife.  Trees, which grow vertically, provide more pollen and nectar than flowers on the same area of ground. 
So for next year think about planting a few bee beneficial trees.  Here are a few recommended native trees:
-American Basswood (also called a linden tree)—one of the best sources of pollen and nectar.  Old time beekeepers tried to locate their apiaries near basswood do to the heavy honey flow associated with this tree.   The Wisconsin DNR occasionally sells basswood seedlings.
-Black locust—A good source of late spring nectar
-Pussy willow—A good source of early spring pollen
-Littleleaf Linden-late summer blooming.  A good nectar source.
-Willow—Another source of spring pollen
-Sourwood—Blooms in early summer and is a good source of nectar and pollen
-Catalpa—blooms in late spring
-Southern Magnolia—although primarily known for their flowers  they are a good nectar source
-Tulip tree—Sometimes mistaken called a magnolia, it also is a good nectar source. 
-Redbud—Good spring pollen source
 
For more information on trees beneficial to bees do an internet search on the following titles:
--“10 Best North American Trees for Bees”
--“Plant Trees for Bees”
--Trees for Bees   This site is sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation and sells tree seedlings at a reasonable price.
 
So while you are snuggled inside during the cold winter weather think about planting a few bee friendly trees next spring.   ...Beekeeper, Fred

 

making MEAD

HONEY WINE: <link>

here in FDL, you can get some "wine making supplies" at NEEDSOME SUPPLIES and at THE CELLAR.  both on main street.  needsome is down, kiddie corner from goodwill/tuckers south.  needsome carries some of the more BASIC EQUIPMENT needed for brewing.  the cellar is mid-main, about 6th street? across from mazatlan mexican restaurant.  YOU'LL GET A TON more help and information from THE CELLAR guy.  he has books on wines (and beers).  if beer is more your thing - try making a HONEY beer....he has both KITS and separate ingredients.

i personally "love" the idea of fermentation.  fermented foods are AS OLD AS THE HILLS and good for you!  here's my motto; FERMENTATION HAPPENS.

when i harvest honey...i set aside all the UNCAPPED frames for extraction separately AT THE END.  i want to keep this honey SEPARATE in case it's "too wet".  honey that's "too wet" - will FERMENT - and could potentially "spoil" your bottled honey.  i promptly make this WET honey into MEAD.  i have two 5 gallon carboys bubbling away right now.  this years flavors are a WHITE GRAPE and a CRAN-APPLE.  ...it smells good in my store-room.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

beekeeping TSHIRTS

(it says - I KEEP BEES - WHAT'S YOUR SUPERPOWER?): http://c2thefun.com/SuperBees

there are more beekeeper T's and GIFTS at: CAFEPRESS

KANSAS FAIR

For those of you footloose and fancy free with NOTHING to do this weekend (no one I know!)...KANSAS FAIR. (put on my Mother Earth News?)  click the link and look through the speakers - A COUPLE beekeeping things to pickup on....as well as ALL THE OTHER TANTALIZING subjects!!!

Gosh - it's out of MY weekend plans...but I PUT IT ON MY CALENDAR FOR NEXT YEAR!  Topeka Kansas - Here We Come :)

a frosty morning

sides are on....canvas front coming down.  they're slowing down their intake on the sugar syrup buckets.  i want to get a powdered sugar/nosema treatment in this weekend yet. and one more before "the end".  recipe for powdered sugar/nosema on RECIPE page.

Monday, October 13, 2014

(repost) 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!

some little clips from around the internet

• Can't Sleep? Honey might do the trick! LINK
• Benefits of Honey LINK
• Honey & Cinnamon Remedies LINK

Thursday, October 9, 2014

removing bees from honey supers

another nice ARTICLE from mother earth news.

Fall Beekeeping

Cold nights (and days) start the bees going into CLUSTER.  Automatically, they tend to push the population DOWN to the bottom box - keeping their stored food above them.  COLD NIGHTS = SUGAR SYRUP BUCKETS.  They need to fill every nook and cranny of their boxes with food for winter.

My BIG HIVE - my BIG PRODUCER is GONE.  After harvest, she dwindled to "nothing"...and I suspect she was the origin of the late swarm.  The long and the short is - Big Hive was QUEENLESS and Swarm was QUEENLESS.  WHY this happens - who knows!  All of the populations were combined with other hives and equipment reduced by using the bee-escape board (maze).  I HIGHLY recommend a BUNCH of these boards (bee-escapes) for not only clearing supers for harvest - but they really make it easy to clear equipment ANYTIME of the year and for ANY OTHER reason.  I also use them to keep bees (and mice) OUT of equipment. I put one on the bottom and one on the top of my storage stacks - it also helps with ventilation.

The loss of my big producer has sent me on a QUEST to find out more about late season queenlessness and hive failure.  It has me wondering - HOW MANY HIVES ARE WE ACTUALLY LOSING IN THE FALL? - only to overwinter them - and blame their failure "on winter" come spring?

This weekend is pretty much the last look for me.  Their second thymol treatment comes out...and EACH OF THEM WILL BE CHECKED for QUEEN (or brood).  If I find any queenlessness - it's going to be a scramble to get those combined with queened hives.

Interesting...new product

Bees Wrap
instead of plastic wrap....

Monday, October 6, 2014

you'll like this

article on GOLDENROD HONEY

from MOTHER EARTH NEWS

i'm not much on clogging up my email INBOX with gunk...but this NEWSLETTER - I REALLY ENJOY...you can follow the links to lots of good little "nature" tidbits - signup for:  MOTHER EARTH NEWSLETTER

Thursday, October 2, 2014

this makes sense

http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2013/07/30/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/

we all know that PESTICIDES kill bees - no brainer.
HERBICIDES and FUNGICIDES are NOT bee-safe either!  the bees are gathering in the pollens of all these sprayed crops...and taking that pollen home to feed babies.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICITY is building up in the hives - and they're succumbing. beekeepers - it's important to help keep the toxicity levels down in the hive....PRACTICE A FRAME MANAGEMENT SYSTEM - where you replace a percentage of foundation/wax in your hives ANNUALLY!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'M GOING TO JUST DO IT THIS YEAR!

I noted two "small" hives this morning.  Small enough that I'm questioning their survivability over winter.  They're NOT packing away the sugar syrup either!  I so far have always "kicked myself" IN THE SPRING for not trying overwintering small hives TOGETHER (yes - stacked on top of one another).  I'm going to tear into them and see what 'das going on...and combine them.  They're small enough that I might be able to franken-hive the frames to one box each hive - then newspaper combine them with a queen excluder.  They may not really like me and it might fail miserably....but if they're DOOMED anyway - I guess they could get it over with more quickly.  (see UPDATE in comment area)  my 150# producing hive has dwindled to NOTHING....she's being incorporated to another hive.

mite treatments for RUSSIANS

a note from FRED - russian beekeeper...
I contacted two of the Russian queen suppliers on their recommendations on treating Russian for varroa before winter.   
 
Coy's Honey Farms recommended treating for varroa if above the 5% infestation level.  Coy is the current President of the Russian Bee Breeders Association.  Unfortunately I don't know what 5% infestation means or how to test for it. 
 
Foley's recommended treating if ANY sign of varroa is present.   He stated that up to now he had never treated Russians for varroa, but mentioned that hive losses during last winter has made him want to err on the side of caution.  Foley's is located in Iowa and had similar winter conditions as ours. 
 
This seems to indicate a little backsliding on the excellent varroa resistance to which the Primorsky Russians have been attributed.  Think I will treat all my Russian hives with a 1/2 dose of formic acid (MAQS) as a precaution.    

noted.

i like early morning beekeeping - the bees don't.  (2 stings - both crawled up the pant leg...totally preventable!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Preparations

Once the honey supers are off...it's time to get the hives in shape for WINTER.  Get mite treatments on the hives as soon as possible - because the sooner it's DONE / OFF - the more time they have to "recover" from whatever you decide to put in there.  Of course all these treatments claim to be "bee safe"...but ANYTHING you put in the hives makes an impact on their cycle.  My treatment choice has been the APIGUARD / THYMOL again.  It requires temps over 59 degrees!  hmmm? the past couple of days haven't been there....and this treatment requires (2) trays over 4 weeks....so - if the temp goes bad - quick - I'll be OUT OF TEMP before you know it.

I notice some transparent bee debris on the sticky board (bee parts) with the thymol treatment - so I know it's hard on them.  I'm assuming it's dead young brood that they're pulling out.  And I also note some "behavioral" distress outside the hive....they seem a little "nasty" with each other outside.  I also noted - it did a JOB ON the hive beetle larvae...dried them right up.  I still see some remnant ADULT hive beetles - but it must get into the soft bodied larvae.  GOOD! 'cause my big hive was INFESTED with hive beetle!

As the populations are headed in the downward direction once again - think about getting ENTRANCE REDUCERS on them.  For three reasons: (1) when population is down - there are not as many guarding the entrances for wax moth or wasps, etc  (2) ms. mouse is looking for a warm place to hole-up for winter.  I've caught 5 mice in traps already.....they weren't INSIDE the hive - but they have a nice little nesting spot under the bottomboard. (3) helps keep a little warmth in the hive when it cools down.  Once again - I have a hive (the same hive as last year) MAKING THEIR OWN entrance reducer.  Someone please tell me HOW this works.  I KNOW FOR A FACT it is not the same queen aka genetics in this hive.....but once again they're propolising the ENTIRE BOTTOM ENTRANCE SHUT except for a half dozen holes.  bee memory?  hive memory?  surely there's not one bee in there that existed last year....and NO - there's not any propolis ledge to remind them (it's a different box)

SUGAR SYRUP BUCKET season!  My "mark" for when to put buckets on....40-something degree nights.  When it starts getting into that temperature zone....they start to cluster - and CONSUME FOOD rather than bring it in.


Monday, September 8, 2014

we're talking RUSSIANS....

At the beeclub meeting Saturday - we were discussing as a group - RUSSIANS (bees).  Club member Fred offered some good information - as he's familiar with them.

The Russian Bee seminar is October 25-26 in Medina, Ohio. A good description on Russian bees can be found at: www.russianbee.com   then click on "Info" in header and then click on "Primorsky Russians" in side column. Club members should read this prior to purchasing Russian Queens. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Swarm in September is worth....

...you fill in the blank?  "To hive or not to hive" that swarm in September....?  I grabbed 'em.  My thinking is their chances (though EXTREMELY SLIM)...are better with me than in the wild...or wherever they decided to take up residence.  Besides the fact that they're probably a swarm from one of my hives anyway. ?!?!

Late swarms like this are EXTREMELY PRECARIOUS for both mother and daughter!  There's so little time for either of them to get their home in order and pantry filled before winter.  I cross my fingers and hope they know best....

Honey harvest was down from last year in overall quantity - however UP considering only TWO HIVES were producing!!!  last year, 4 hives made about 100# each.  this year, 2 hives made 150# each.

Supers are cleaned up and off the hives.  MEDICATION is in!  APIGUARD was my choice again this year.  (I have screened bottom boards with "sticky" boards for monitoring).  All year long, the varroa mite load was LOW - until about 30 days ago....the two big hives producing had the MOST (probably because of the most population) Keep in mind when the bee inspector came and did the mite test this summer - one of these very hives got a big old ZERO MITES in the check.  I think this shows that...the mites become an "issue" in the fall - so again - very important to get mite loads down before winter.  I'm also noting "comparatively" (from sticky board debris)....THE RUSSIAN hive is "naturally" very low in mites.

ALSO - the two biggest hives have a HIVE BEETLE PROBLEM.  The strongest hive is the worst.  PERHAPS another good reason to keep a screened bottom board and REMOVABLE sticky board....I can slide out the sticky board and scrape off hive beetle larvae.  It's so bad - I should probably clean every other day.  I don't know if the larvae just "naturally" falls to the bottom?  or they like all the debris that settles to the bottom?  I can't even imagine what it would be like in a regular non-screened bottom board situation...you'd have to dismantle the hive to get them out....  (and you wouldn't know until it's a real mess)

so I'll be "monitoring" the apiguard for two weeks.  I noticed last year that "it's hard on the bees".  There were some dead adults being removed this morning.  AND...translucent bee parts will start appearing in the debris.  I really HATE putting "things" into the hives, but equally - they can't carry that mite load into winter.   ...which brings me to a potential topic for discussion: FALL REQUEENING.  any time you get a break in the brood cycle - you get a break in the mite cycle....

Monday, August 18, 2014

ECWBA newsletter - August

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2014
• September 6, 2014
Location will be the Fond du Lac Public Library, downstairs in the McLain Room.
Start time is 9:30 am.

September Meetings
The September meeting will be an open discussion format.  There will be a short business meeting with discussion following.  Probable topics will include fall mite control, honey harvesting, honey marketing, winter preparation, etc.

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:
• Early fall is the recommended time for mite treatments.  Early September, just after the honey harvest, is a good time to apply miticides.  Read application directions and apply those mite treatments in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
• Start thinking about fall and winter.  Develop a plan for overwintering to include fall feeding, medications, and winter hive covers.

Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ECWBA JULY Newsletter

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2014
• Location is Ripon Public Library, Silver Creek Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.
• Location will be the Fond du Lac Public Library, downstairs in the McLain Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.

August and September Meetings
Both the August and September will be open discussion formats.  There will be short business meetings with discussion following.  Probable topics will include summer and fall mite control, honey harvesting, honey marketing, winter preparation, etc.

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:
• This year’s honey harvest is almost here.  Arrange for extracting equipment, comb honey handling equipment, storage containers (small jars up to 5 gal. pails), etc.
• Start thinking about fall and winter.  Develop a plan for overwintering to include fall feeding, medications, and hive covers.

Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BIG PROBLEM in the "beehouse" tonight

My BIG PROBLEM was that I'm not BIG ENOUGH! I have two hives that are now 5 SUPERS HIGH...and every box is FULL and HEAVY!!!!!  Since I super on the bottom...I had to take them all off and restack.  Down works by gravity - but UP???!  By the time I got to # 5 (on top)...I had NO MORE LIFTING POWER!  There I was standing with a 50/75# sticky box of bees (and a husband in the house that doesn't go anywhere near the girls!)....  I grabbed what I had available - a cement block which made me about 8 inches taller.  (and all the while I'm balancing on it - I'm thinking - don't twist an ankle! or fall off!)

If these hives go for another super - I'm going to have to take a ladder out there.  Better yet - I'm going to call a beekeeper friend.

....and of course while I was "keeping" - I'm eyeing the other hives and determining their "futures" for FALL/WINTER.  My early season split isn't doing well.  They requeen, and requeen....they've dwindled to about 1 deep of bees.  By the eggs and larvae - they have a new queen....but I see they're feeding supersedure cells.  Even though they're small, I don't want to give up on them.  If they supersede late - they might try going into winter with both queens. (I've had hives do this before).  (to get them through - I'm eyeing this up for overwintering on top of it's mother hive)  These are the TINY BEES (I'm thinking they're truly FERAL bees and I'd like to keep their genetic line...)

DON'T GIVE UP TOO SOON is the lesson of the year. Of the 4 (of 8) that came out of winter this year, ATHENA was the smallest surviving cluster.  And she's ONE OF THE BEST HIVES THIS SEASON (5 supers)  and NASTY HIVE who's made it through 4/5? winters? - has great population (she's superceded/requeened) - but she has NO INTEREST in making honey for me this year.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Strawberry Jam with HONEY instead of sugar!!!

Strawberry Jam
Makes 7 half-pints

•  6 cups strawberries
• 1 box powdered pectin
• 2 cups honey
• 1/4 cup lemon juice

Mash berries, add pectin, stir well to dissolve. Bring to boil. Stir in honey & lemon juice. Bring to 9 degrees F above boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, seal, and hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Swarm Prevention by Demaree Method

OH MY!??!!  I'm feeling ENLIGHTENED!  What if I told you - you could PREVENT SWARMING and thereby MAINTAIN YOUR HONEY PRODUCTION!??!  and/or - you could raise a queen to split/replace - without slowing your hive down?!!?

I'm thinking of "tearing" into one of my hives right now to try this!  (more for the queen production part than the swarm prevention part)

read it / print it / KEEP it!
http://countryrubes.com/images/Swarm_Prevention_By_Demaree_Method.pdf

Monday, June 16, 2014

russian queen cells

member, beekeeper FRED is raising Russian queens in small quantities.  Russians are reputed to be resistant to both tracheal and varroa mites. He is an amateur at this endeavor, but will eventually be selling any surplus mated queens for a nominal price to cover his costs.  If interested email him at:  fredransome@aol.com 

Keeping Neonics out of your Garden...

here's a nice "brochure" from the XERCES society - download and print for future reference:
keeping neonics out of the garden

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

a DIRECT LINK to USDA BEE RESEARCH PAGE

http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-45-33-00

browse around in there - you can really get into some good articles, like:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jul09/mites0709.htm
I WANT a MITE LURE/TRAP!  article was from 2009. FIVE YEARS AGO, what's holding back this line of thought???

Monday, June 9, 2014

queen rearing class...OHIO

http://blog.beeculture.com/index.php/queen-rearing-class/

link: tell the FDA what you think about honey laundering

http://act.foodandwaterwatch.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=40521&em_id=33821.0


meet-up with the bee inspector

Wow!  It was great, having the bee inspector at the field day.  Thanks Craig!  Craig did a "show n tell" - doing the powdered sugar roll for VARROA MITE.  He also pulled some drone brood from cells to take a look for VARROA.  He talked about what he's seen so far this year - our "winter for the record books"....getting packages up and running....lots of "bee stuff".  Some good questions arose about NOSEMA - and a discussion about the "NEW" NOSEMA.  I'm personally rethinking the fall sugar syrup/fumagilin treatment.  Craig's method of treatment is a DRY recipe - and it made a lot more sense to me as far as getting the DOSE right - and DIRECTLY to the bees when they need it.  He mentioned about how it's been shown that fumagilin taken in sugar syrup in the fall and stored for winter - breaks down. Meaning it's EFFICACY is questionable.

CRAIG'S RECIPE (and people who were there - please correct me if this is wrong!):  2 Cups POWDERED SUGAR, 10 tsp FUMAGILIN B.  (shaken and stirred up and stored away someplace dry - AND LABELED!  you do not want to accidentally use this for frosting!!!!)  THE DOSE: 1/8 cup sprinkled directly on top of the cluster!

ANY DAY OVER THE LATE FALL/WINTER/EARLY SPRING MONTHS, when you get high 30's, 40's - a bright sunny day - when you can QUICKLY CRACK THE HIVE OPEN...you treat (and get out quickly)

So my preparations for this fall - add this powdered sugar recipe to my STASH of bee stuff....along with sugar cakes.  I'll likely still put fumagilin in the SPRING sugar syrup, because I like to also give them some HONEY B HEALTHY.

Another GREAT IDEA brought up was to MOVE RECIPES...to a RECIPE TAB.  Which I'll work on.

homemade pesticide link

http://tipnut.com/natural-pesticides/
great collection!  and easy to PRINT OUT.....

Monday, June 2, 2014

What's up SUGAR CAKES?

http://www.honeybeesuite.com/candy-board-feeders-for-honey-bees/
http://www.gardenfork.tv/sugar-cake-recipe-for-honeybees

i know it's CRAZY to be thinking about this now...but I'm thinking NOW IS THE TIME
to stock up on "containers" at goodwill and rummage sales, etc.

instead of making HEAVY sugar boards - make SUGAR CAKES.  I've recently seen some examples of sugar cakes that were probably poured in a BREAD PAN or an 8 x 8 PAN. You could really pour these into ANY container - but remember - you need to POUR SHALLOW - so you have the right depth for your spacers.  The one gal uses a cooking spray for release - the example I saw was poured into a WAX PAPER LINED container - wax paper still intact upon extraction.  Which I think would be a good thing to keep your "cakes" separate and ready-to-apply.

And by all means - GOOGLE - "sugar board" recipes - there are a TON out there.

here's a youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD-dwW7ryAA

Beekeeper Fred is WEIGHING his hive....



I have placed a hive on an old baggage scale.  This will permit me to measure the hive weight change daily.  Thus I should be able to identify the dates of the major honey flows in my area.  Bees enter and exit the indoor hive via two PVC pipes plumbed through the honey house wall. 

The data has been compiling since 4/22/2014

Click to view spreadsheet:  File update: 6/16/2014

ECWBA newsletter May 31

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2014
• June 7, 2014.  Start time is 2:00 pm.  Location is at Denise Palkovich’s apiary.  See “field day” note below for meeting details.
• August 2, 2014.  Location is Ripon Public Library, Silver Creek Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.
• September, 2014.  Location will be Fond du Lac.  Date and time to be determined.

June Field Day
This year’s field day will be hosted by Denise Palkovich at her apiary on June 7, 2014.  We will get started at 2:00 pm.  Unless something comes up, there is not a formal meeting to take place, just a few announcements.  Denise will show us her beehives.  Then at about 3:00 pm, Craig Petros, the State Apiary Inspector, will arrive to demonstrate his process of inspecting beehives for the state.

Address and Driving directions:  Address is:  N7928 County Road WH, Fond du Lac.  To drive there:  On the east side of Fond du Lac, travel north on Highway 151.  There is a stop light at the intersection of Hwy. 151 and Hwy. WH.  Turn and travel east on WH from off of Hwy. 151.  Go up and around the corner staying on WH. Denise will try to post a sign out front.  (Denise has already posted a map on the ECWBA website - under the PLACES tab.)

FULL BEEKEEPING ATTIRE is REQUIRED if you're going to participate in the beekeeping.  It's not a bad idea to bring a chair for yourself as well.


Beeswax Wanted
Mary Rechek is looking for beeswax for some craft projects.  If you have extra beeswax, you can work out the details with Mary by e-mail at  rechek@epi.ophth.wisc.edu .

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:
• This is prime swarm season.  Give the honey bees plenty of room in the way of an extra brood chamber or added supers.  Splitting colonies also helps to prevent swarms.
• Summer has come along quickly this year.  And so, the nectar flow in on.  Be prepared with plenty of supers ready to go to capture the harvest.
• Also, start planning in advance about how you will handle the honey harvest this year.  Arrange for extracting equipment, comb honey handling equipment, storage containers (small jars up to 5 gal. pails), etc.


Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Monday, May 19, 2014

there's some re-queening going on

Did a major run-down of all the hives in the yard this weekend.  MY STRONG (swarm/survivor) HIVE (persephone) got SPLIT.  As I suspected, a hive with this much population - didn't waist any time making some swarm cells.  NOT MANY, maybe 4. (maybe the cold nights slowed them a little) TWO NICE CAPPED swarm cells went into the daughter hive....one for sure, second just in case. (I'll let them figure it out)  In no time, the daughter should be up and running.  Just keeping an eye on these two still wanting to swarm....and if I catch 'em - they're going right back into their box.  I gave both mother and daughter some previously worked frames, but also some foundation to work....and a sugar syrup bucket (to keep their interest inside the hive?)

You know!  it's beekeeping - it's ALL AN EXPERIMENT!  x-ing my finger and toes.

And EOSTRE aka "NASTY HIVE".  she wasn't TOO bad this time...but I soon discovered why.  THEY'RE busy SUPERSEDING.  This is still a really nice sized population - probably #2 in rank.  I'm going to keep them as a 2.5 high all this summer (2 deeps and a super) - see if I can't build up a whopping big hive.  I'm going to keep HIVE BODY SWITCHING this one.  As soon as she gets to the top - i'm going to put her back on the bottom (the queen).

Every hive is ready for a population boom....LOTS of capped brood at every level.  DRONE BROOD CUTS on all.  (and interestingly - I have one hive that's not interested in building drone brood on the bottom of my short frame - it built regular brood cells!)

very happy



I'm VERY happy with the RUSSIAN PACKAGES FROM WALTER T KELLY.  It's revived my interest in getting packages in the mail.  They arrived a DAY EARLY! and most importantly - in good condition.  They said they ship on Saturdays - that's 2 days in the postal system from Kentucky.

For a while there - it was harder to find producers that would ship to this ZONE.  I'd do this again.

The ability to get different genetics into the area appeals to me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

home-made weed killer

perhaps a "less chemical" option for around the yard....and a lot less $ than the store bought options:
1 Gallon VINEGAR
2 Cups EPSON SALTS
1/4 C DAWN (or liquid dish soap)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

isn't this FANTASTIC?

Jesse's going to try her hand a SPLITTING!  wow!!!

Our first upper 70's today...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ready for the Season

From left to right: ATHENA, THYME, PERSEPHONE, (PANDORA, EOS) and EOSTRE.  Winter loss: 50%.

Everyone is in their "refreshed" boxes.  I'd like to say, WOW - what a job this does on the "sticky propolis problem" in the hive! It sure makes the beekeeping much easier - much less PRYING out frames - much less bee crushing.  And like I indicated in an earlier article....you get to have a REALLY GOOD LOOK at every frame as they're moved over.

ATHENA, the only west facing hive has come out of winter relatively SMALL...but they're ready for a population explosion.  For it's size, it has 2 to 3 full frames of capped brood.  Good laying pattern - full frames.

THYME, I believe had a bit of nosema coming out of winter.  Comparatively, the population is better than ATHENA....but the capped brood patterns are small among the frames.  It's not "spotty" - as in a poor layer.....she's just not covering the frames from side to side, top to bottom.  It could be that with our cold nights (still)...the queen is just laying enough - relative to the resources available.

PERSEPHONE is PHENOMENAL.  If there were flowers (nectar)....this hive would be ready to SUPER!  JAM PACKED FULL OF BEES and brood.  My concern for this hive is just trying to "stay ahead" of it - as far as it's propensity to "feel out of room" and make swarm cells.  My (in the back of my mind) desire is to SPLIT THIS HIVE for it's genetics....BUT....we're so far behind already this season.  If I split - it will be next weekend when the two packages are due (pandora, and eos).  A split in the second weekend of May - will mean (potential - it's always a big IF) a naturally requeened hive the second weekend in JUNE.  JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, ~SEPTEMBER.....is this enough time for these two hives to recover in population to get through the coming winter?   ...and then there's always a chance for a "blow-out" - when the queenless hive doesn't requeen.  Also - Persephone got ANOTHER hive body switch - empty frames/cells, put back on top....to encourage the continuance of egg laying.

PANDORA and EOS are awaiting their packages.  2 Russian packages from Walter T Kelly this year.  Trying something different.

And last but not least, EOSTRE.  Eostre is coming out of her 4th or 5th winter....and she's as NASTY AS EVER.  (and population wise - she's as PHENOMENAL as ever)  There's just really something different about these bees.  Last year - I pinched the queen and requeened her with a "Miksa Banded Italian".  All I can figure is they promptly killed her and requeened with their own - because nothing in their temperament changed.  These bees are STICKY!  and FAST MOVING!.  As soon as you pop the top...you've got 20 to 30 bees on your veil....and they're all in STING mode.  Last fall - this hive propolised shut the entire front entrance along the bottom except for a couple holes.  WHO DOES THAT?  Whatever they are....they're consistently making it through winter....ahhh....to split or not to split.....do I really want to DEAL with this behavior?  This is always the hive that I save for last...and have to stand, stare and get my courage up before approaching - they really are that nasty.

Other beekeeping notes:  Noted: newly emerged drones.  I DO the "drone cutout" for mite control...but decided to let them keep a couple hatches of drones this early spring for requeening purposes.  I'm not only thinking of my own hives - but other area hives that might be requeening.  Remember, your beekeeping practices don't just apply to your hives.  Bees are a social insect with a "3 mile distance radius" - you're part of a beekeeping community.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spoiled Bees

My bees are spoiled.  I like to try to help them keep clean.  I haven't had a hive leave me yet! (bad reference to CCD - beekeeper humor)  These boxes, bottom boards, and covers are cycling through for WASHING, SCRAPING, PAINTING...and most importantly SCORCHING.  I'll take a propane torch to the insides of these....doesn't hurt - I guess the theory is to burn out any nosema spores, etc.

I have one hive left on the "beehouse" deck to change over to "fresh" outsides.  Then I have plenty of fresh equipment for the two packages coming in the mail...and swarm catch or two.

Moving all the frames into "new" boxes also lets you leave behind a lot of the old boxes sticky propolis "issues".  And it lets you get a real good look at every frame as they go into the new box.

UPDATE your hives on driftwatch

Another season is upon us....for those of you NOT REGISTERED - please consider it.  For those of you REGISTERED - don't forget to update: https://driftwatch.org/

It might not seem that programs like this have a lot of TEETH at this point - but the more (accurate) DATA entering their system, the better.  It will help them and US in the long run.  INFORMATION IS POWER.  If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.

don't forget to call the post office if you're getting bees in the mail.

I just made MY call to the POST OFFICE.  Anyone getting packages in the mail should do this.  They'll want you to come and pick-up your bees when they arrive and they'll need your phone number.  My fond du lac postal person was surprised at how many names and numbers he has "on the board" this year for bees - he asked me "what was going on?".  "Good" was my reply.  I think it's a good thing for people to be trying some different breeds - some different genetic stock maybe.  So - with that - LET'S HOPE THAT EVERYONE'S MAILED BEES ARRIVE HEALTHY and HEARTY :)  Good Luck Everyone!

LOL! I think I've seen it ALL now.....

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/meet-boneco-beekeeping-donkey/story?id=23521201

beekeepers really are interesting folks!

Friday, April 25, 2014

RESOURCE!

I found a NEW RESOURCE for WOODWARE.  PARISH's BEE FARM - James Parish.  W2631 State Road 16 - Columbus.  920-382-4922.  HE MAKES everything HIMSELF.  I just saw the quality (another beekeeper stopped by with his stuff)...it's very nice.  Give him a call and price the parts out...

(rumor has it) according to the beekeeper that stopped by,  that he also makes his own nucs, etc...and is messing around with some queen rearing!  we'll have to find out MORE about mr. parish :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

ECWBA Newsletter March 29, 2014

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2014
• June 7, 2014.  Start time is 2:00 pm.  Location is at Denise Palkovich’s apiary.  See “field day” note below for meeting details.
• August, 2014.  Location will be Ripon.  Date and time to be determined.
• September, 2014.  Location will be Fond du Lac.  Date and time to be determined.

June Field Day
This year’s field day will be hosted by Denise Palkovich at her apiary on June 7, 2014.  We will get started at 2:00 pm.  Unless something comes up, there is not a formal meeting to take place, just a few announcements.  Denise will show us her beehives.  Then at about 3:00 pm, Craig Petros, the State Apiary Inspector, will arrive to demonstrate his process of inspecting beehives for the state.
Address and Driving directions:  Address is:  N7928 County Road WH, Fond du Lac.  To drive there:  On the east side of Fond du Lac, travel north on Highway 151.  There is a stop light at the intersection of Hwy. 151 and Hwy. WH.  Turn and travel east on WH from off of Hwy. 151.  Go up and around the corner staying on WH (toward St. Peter).  If you pass the nice pond on the left side, you just missed the driveway.  Denise will try to post a sign out front.  (a map has already been posted ECWBA website - under the PLACES tab)

Memberships for 2014
The membership dues have been reduced to $5.00 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.

Officer Election at February meeting
Thank-you to Patti Ingram for accepting the position of secretary as an officer of the ECWBA.  Andy Krueger has served us well as secretary for the past five years.  Andy will continue as the association’s librarian.  As secretary, Patti will record and maintain the minutes of the association’s meetings.

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:
Prepare to start feeding sugar syrup in mid to late March once the daytime temperatures are in the 40’s and above. Continue feeding overwintered hives until we see something on which the bees can forage.
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.  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 frame. 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.


Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

APRIL 14...and SNOW....one for the journals

the beehouse is back to a SHUT-DOWN state - panels BACK ON...and canvas BACK DOWN....oy.  extra boxes and parts came to work with me today. they're in for maintenance and painting.  (WEATHER PERMITTING) these hives will get the CLEAN boxes soon.  i will take each frame out one by one and place them into the "revived" box....it REALLY gives me a chance to go through EVERY FRAME...  then these boxes (and bottom boards, etc) will come in for maintenance and painting.

Monday, April 7, 2014

weather BREAKING ...finally!!!

this weekend was definitely a good time to get some "first of the season" beekeeping done. clean-up deadout hives, sort through frames, (i make a "to burn" pile - i just don't mess around with any nosema staining), shake out and pull out dead bees, get some of the exterior parts in shape for painting.

and for the SURVIVORS - first of all - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!.  get a good assessment of population, if the queen is laying / brood, and do a HIVE BODY SWITCH.

your survivor hives should have some brood by now...small amounts, given the lack of resources and cool temps yet.  if you get the opportunity to really GET INTO the frames - now is the time (when your population is lower) to MARK (in your mind at least) any frames that you'll want to cycle out....and get ready to throw some new foundation in within the next week or so, and do any rearranging.  keep in mind - DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THE BROOD AREA - don't break them apart....the nights are still cold and they have to be able to keep babies warm.

if any of you are going to throw some "super" frames into "deeps" for DRONE CUT OUT this season - get those ready (marked).  for those of you keeping all supers and no deeps - you'll have to alter a couple of super frames.  like in the picture -only your frame is shorter.  note: in the picture how these cutout frames are marked.


beekeeper wanted - waupaca area

http://appleton.craigslist.org/wan/4411183893.html

beekeeping supplies at FLEET FARM!!!

there are BASIC items, not a lot of selection - but i think it's interesting that they're making an attempt:
http://view.s6.exacttarget.com/?j=fec710727260047a&m=fe9713707567077873&ls=fe32157075670d7e701c70&l=ff311270756c&s=fe56167374660c74721d&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe6515777061067e7614&r=0

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WHY???WHY???? WHY?

wondering WHY?  that's the BIG QUESTION for northern beekeepers this time of year, eh?

here's a link on HOW TO AUTOPSY A DEAD HIVE:
http://www.beverlybees.com/how-to-autopsy-a-honey-bee-colony/

here's a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MjYFlXwKQs

Monday, March 10, 2014

Holy cats!

I heard them long before I saw them... They're very happy to be out!!!  all the little SPECS in the picture are bees FLYING.

SUGAR SYRUP BUCKETS ARE ON!

made the first buckets of sugar syrup with NOSEMA TREATMENT.  40's today - they're already out at 9:30 am.  the sides are open and the canvas is 1/4 up on the beehouse.  one hive has nosema...bad.  i'm glad to be able to get them MEDICATED EARLY!!!!  7 of 8 still going.....

Monday, March 3, 2014

beekeeper FRED - IS COUNTING!

after POLAR VORTEX #5 (March 3, 2014)
10 of 22 surviving. Lost one Russian since last check.
* 5 of 9 (55%) Russians are surviving.  One is very weak (hard baseball size) and probably won't make it.
* 5 of 13 (38%) of package/Buckfast are surviving.  Several sound weak.
All of my hives were started early May or early June.  Article in Bee Journal stated that in New York packages started in early May can barely put enough honey away for winter. With this tough winter and the late start its not surprising survival is low. Need warmer weather quickly!

i've posted the FRED's MARCH HIGHLIGHTS from the hives in the COMMENTARY SECTION - take a look there.

Fred's OBSERVATIONS AS OF APRIL 7
"Restacked Hives A and Q"
Hive A - a RUSSIAN queen was out of cluster and flying vigorously
Hive Q - a PACKAGE queen was still in cluster, only 2 bees flying.
***looks like the RUSSIAN STOCK gets moving at colder temps...

(***added) Fred's observations as of April 20
One more package hive just petered out.
FINAL COUNT: 44% of Russians survived; 15% of package queens survived
ADDED feed pails to the two surviving hives and to the two 100% Russian hives
to stimulate them.