Friday, June 24, 2016


Out in the country roadside flowers can be a valuable forage resource for your honey bees.  Now if we could just get the road crews to stop mowing them down!

                                     Daylilies; actually I've never seen the bees working them
 Bird'sfoot trefoil; a perennial legume; bees love it.  Planted for erosion control along new roads
                                               Queen Anne's Lace; never seen a bee on it
                                      Crown vetch; a perennial legume often planted on roadsides
                                                                     Common thistle
                        Hairy vetch; a perennial; however only worked by bumble bees; not honey bees
                              Yellow and white sweet clover; a self seeding biennial; bees love it
                                                                     Staghorn sumac
                                                  Pansy's; never seen a honey bee on it

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mite Migration??

Not a lot of new information in the article, but there is a neat photo of mites in the bottom of a brood cell.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

QUEENRIGHT? by beekeeper Fred

The honeyflow in east central Wisconsin has been in progress for weeks now.  Your hives are probably growing in height as you add honey supers.  With the honey supers in place most beekeepers are reluctant to remove them to conduct a hive inspection.  Its a lot of heavy lifting to remove and replace the honey supers.  So we get lazy and stop inspection the hive for a laying queen; thinking I will get around to it when I remove the honey in the fall.  This is when disaster strikes. 

Just last week I discovered another queenless hive.  The bees had been busy filling the two honey supers and I neglected my duty to do a periodic hive inspection.  Too slowly I recognized they had stopped filling the supers.  A little investigation quickly revealed the hive to be queenless.  If I had conducted the periodic inspections as I had originally planned in the spring I would have noted the queenless condition up to a month ago.   

So do to my neglect I have lost the possibility of getting a honey crop from this hive.  Hopefully by re-queening it now the hive will be able to strengthen itself enough to be ready for winter.  

So after mentally kicking myself I have resolved that on July 1st I will inspect all of my hives.  I will use this opportunity to verify that there is eggs and larvae in each hives.  I will also at this time do a midsummer treatment for mites.  Yes, it is a lot of work destacking and restacking a hive but the effort is worth it.   

Current recommendations are to do a midsummer mite knockdown just before the bees begin raising the winter bees.  This will reduce the mites and associated mite born viruses thus resulting in healthier winter bees.  A mite treatment is also recommended after the honey harvest in August/September.  

If you are planning on re-queening prior to winter now is a good time to locate a queen supplier and getting your queens on order.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

JUNE DAIRY DAY'S PARADE submitted by beekeeper Patti

Ready for the Markesan June Dairy Day's Parade! People were excited to get information handed out to them about honey and were interested in knowing where they could purchase it. Some even talked about how there was a shortage of bees and speculated why. The observation hive was a hit as people pointed excitedly and made comments about the real bees inside as we passed by. A very hot day but a lot of fun.

                             Clubmembers Mark and Paul with our "no expenses spared" parade float
                                                            Patti is behind the camera

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Walking through the fields I see alsike, dutch, and sweet clover are in bloom.  Alfalfa has already undergone its first cutting.  So the bees are packing nectar away big time for the winter.  Of course there is always a wide variation in the honey gathering capabilities of different hives.

                             Overwintered Russian hive-5 super bodies and still going strong
                                                 Wish there were more like this one
                         This year's packages are just beginning to put honey into the 1st honey super

Sunday, June 5, 2016


The June 4th 2016 ECWBA Field Day has come and gone.  The day started out with a little very light rain, but things cleared up from starting time to when we adjourned.   Highlights were:

1     We demonstrated use of MAQS and an oxalic vaporizer.   We were showing the” live and let die” beekeepers how easy it is to treat for varroa mites.  We also discussed the current recommendation to treat 2 to 3 times per season.
2    Our new President, Gerard, lead a team of new beekeepers through standard hive inspection techniques.  Things covered were looking for the presence of a laying queen, how to determine if a hive has laying workers, the difference in swarm and supercedure queen cells, release of a newly introduced queen, and hive reversal.

3    Fred and Jon lead a second group through the process of raising queens.  Most of the attendees decided it’s worth the money to purchase a queen rather than working through the queen raising process. 

4    The club’s new observation hive had its first outing.  The hive is only booked for 2 weekends so far this summer.  Any club member is welcome to use it.  The only caveat is that you must populate it with you own bees.  We figure if you are using your own bees you will be much more careful and not let the hive overheat or starve if the bees are left in too long.
Attendance was about 20 beekeepers; split evenly between club members and walk-ins.
Here are a few pictures.

                                           The new club observation hive for public events
                                          The queen (marked with white dot) and her court

Friday, June 3, 2016

Breaking the brood cycle as a means of mite control submitted by beekeeper Jon

The link below provides an interesting way to control mite numbers.  Although this may control mites it also probably will reduce your honey harvest since the raising of brood is also interrupted for a number of weeks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

SWARMS submitted by beekeeper Jack

If you have built swarm boxes and placed them around an area that you think will yield a swarm, keep a watchful eye on them in the next couple of weeks.

The black locust trees are in full bloom and the honey bees love the abundant nectar that they provide.  

Presently the hives are booming with activity and its surprising how fast they are filling honey supers.
If your neighboring beekeeper has underestimated the honey flow, space within the hive can become a problem and hopefully you can become a benefactor of that problem.

Yesterday I caught my first swarm in one of my Green Lake swarm boxes.   Swarm box number two  is also getting a good look from several dozen scout bees.

If you are having any luck at catching those free swarms, let the group know.  We all love a good deal !