Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Organic Farming Conference in February

Here's a link to the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) website: http://www.mosesorganic.org/ They have a conference in LaCrosse - Feb 25 through Feb 27. Go to the website for more information or to reserve a spot.

There are a couple of bee-related talks by Eric Mader of the XERCES SOCIETY:

Plus lots of other INTERESTING talk about GMO's, Pesticides, Practices, Politics, oh my! It really looks like it has something for everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

ECWBA Newsletter

December 5, 2009
Holiday greetings to all of the ECWBA members,
December has settled upon us and now is the time every one is making preparations for the holiday season. However, I thought I'd send out a brief newsletter to keep everyone updated about the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association.
1. Here is the list of meeting dates for the new year, 2010:
January meeting: January 23, 2010, 9:30 am at Ripon Public Library.
February meeting: February 20, 2010, 9:30 am at Ripon Public Library.
March meeting: March 20, 2010, time and place is yet to be determined.
2. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:
January meeting: Review of beekeeping basics.
February meeting: Mite and disease control and prevention.
March meeting: Splitting spring colonies and making nucleus colonies.
May meeting: Another field day ???
3. Beekeeping seminar: Earl Jewett is working on putting together a seminar for the timeframe of January and February. Details of date, time, and place will be forthcoming in the next newsletter.
4. ECWBA library news: Andy Krueger will be purchasing some books for the new year. Most of the initial book purchases will be beginning beekeeper oriented.
5. Membership dues reminder: ECWBA membership dues for 2010 will remain at $15.00. Dues need to be paid by March, 2010, in order to continue receiving a newsletter and association communications.
Beekeeping Notes:
· As for 2009, if there is something you have not done yet for your bees, don't worry – it's too late.
· Start planning for 2010 – do you want to expand your beekeeping operation or just improve upon what you already have?
· Be good!!! – Santa Claus just might deliver some good beekeeping stuff!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all…
Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau
President, ECWBA
Telephone: 715-330-9969

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Telling the Bees

I recently came across a "folk" group from the UK - their name, "Telling the Bees" - REALLY nice music and they have a new cd available. They're a little hard to find in the states. Their BLOG: http://tellingthebees.blogspot.com Their website: http://www.tellingthebees.co.uk I found them on Amazon.com - but for download only. They're also available for download from Itunes.com On any of these sites, you can "listen" to some samples. The music (to me) - feels very "summery" and warm - the words wrap around the themes of nature. (reminds me of bees)

I did a little search regarding the legends and stories behind the theme, "Telling the Bees" and came up with some interesting tales.

I had heard/read of the practice of TELLING THE BEES, in that - when the beekeeper had died - "the bees must be told". I came across this story too, "One of the most important practices being the "heaving up" of the hives. This practice requires that on the day of the funeral as the funeral party is preparing to leave the house the hive and coffin are both "heaved" or lifted at the same moment."

There's also a "history" of the bees being SOULS DEPARTED. "Plato's doctrine of the transmigration of souls holds that the souls of sober quiet people, untinctured by philosophy come to life as bees."

And there are a multitude of stories involving a sleeping human - where the bee plays the role of "messenger" or "guide" to other realities. Perhaps providing them valuable information for use in their awakened state.

It's interesting to see the deep psychological connection humanity has with bees.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Late November

So - here we are late November....no snow yet (great lakes area). We've had a couple of cold weeks - then they seemed to warm - it's been hovering in the 40's to 50's.

The off-site hives are bundled up (wrapped with black tar paper with a couple of straw bales on the wind side). The hives in the Beehouse are enjoying the fact that i can move that front flap up and down for them! There have been some 50 degree days that they've been out in force - getting water from the bird bath, airing themselves out as well as carrying on with hive duties.

Everything of vegitation is brown and dry - no substantial pollen or nectar left for them. There's a small cluster of mustard greens and arugula that has managed to stay green through the frosts...and has some flowers yet - and they've found them! (note to self: leave a bigger patch of greens "go" for next year).

...back to the bee books and pictures of bees....thinking of warm summer days.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

From the South Lawn

From the New York Times, "From the South Lawn - a Sweet Smell of Honey"


For the first time in history, honey has been made on White House grounds. It's a bumper crop.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wisconsin Honey Producers Convention

Wisconsin Honey Producers Convention
Nov. 5 – 8, 09 Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites
3340 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, WI 54701

Thursday, November 5, 2009
3:00 p.m. Board Meeting
6:00 p.m. Board Dinner
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Introduction to Beekeeping – Doug Jensen, Dave Wolske, Tom Prescott
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Question and Answer with Doug Jensen, Dave Wolske, Tom Prescott
8:00 p.m. Budget Committee Meeting

Friday, November 6, 2009
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Exhibits Open
8:45 a.m. Sessions Open – Call to Order – President Tim Fulton
8:50 a.m. Welcome – Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce
8:55 a.m. Introduction of the Wisconsin Honey Queen and 2010 Queen Candidates
9:00 a.m. Dr. Sue Cobey - UC/Davis
The Benefits of Being Promiscuous
Mating behavior, genetic diversity, changes in the US honey bee gene pool.
10:00 a.m. Break
10:20 a.m. ABF Update – Lee Heine
10:30 a.m. State Fair Update
10:50 a.m. Randy Oliver
12:00 p.m. Luncheon (ticket required)
1:00 p.m. John Buhrow – Leinenkugel’s Brewery
Leinenkugel portfolio of Honey Weiss Biers
2:00 p.m. Liz Meils – DATCP Wisconsin State Apiarist
2:15 p.m. Richard Ericksrud – WC Freight – Transporting Bees
2:45 p.m. National Honey Board Update – Lee Heine
3:00 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. Business Meeting
5:30 p.m. Dinner on your own
6:30 p.m. Queen Candidate Presentations
6:35 p.m. Wisconsin Honey Queen Marketing Presentation
6:45 p.m. Special Entertainment – Howard Luedtke
8:00 p.m. Wisconsin Honey Queen Fund Auction
Auctioneer – Jerry Andrews (Andrews Auction)

Saturday, November 7, 2009
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Exhibits Open
9:00 a.m. Sessions Open – Announcements
9:05 a.m. Randy Oliver
10:00 a.m. Break
10:20 a.m. American Honey Princess – Allison Hull
10:30 a.m. Honey Queen Year in Review – 2009 Wisconsin Honey Queen Amy Roden
10:45 a.m. Dr. Sue Cobey UC/Davis
Stock Importation & Developing a Protocol for the International Exchange
of Honey Bee Germplasm.
Status of bee semen importations, methods of transport for semen & eggs,
performance of instrument inseminated queens.
12:00 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Kids N Bees Expo
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Rhona Amundson – skep making demonstration
1:00 p.m. Dr. Marla Spivak – University of Minnesota
University Minnesota Update: Propolis, Nosema, and the Hygienic Line
2:15 p.m. Sue Bee Honey Update – Doug Mammen
2:30 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. Dr. Jennifer Eddy – Eau Claire Family Practice – Medical treatment with Honey
6:00 p.m. Cocktail Hour
7:00 p.m. Banquet (ticket required)
9:00 p.m. Dance & Social – Entertainment by Brandon Larson (Premier Sound & Video)

Sunday, November 8, 2009
8:00 a.m. Executive Committee Meeting

Friday, October 23, 2009

for all you TECHY beekeepers

I've "discovered" the world of PODCASTING. Podcasting is AUDIO (and sometimes VIDEO as well) files you can essentially download from the internet to your COMPUTER or your IPOD, IPHONE, or BLACKBERRY or other handheld internet connected device.

These audio services - once "subscribed" to (FREE) - can be set to automatically download when a new "chapter" is available - THUS KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE ON ALL KINDS OF FREE INFORMATION!!!!

In my podcast search I came across a BEEKEEPING PODCAST! Turns out - it's also a blog. I'll put the link here and also add it into the sidebar for future reference. Check him you - this is a beekeeper from Kentucky.


Mason Bee/Orchard Bee House

Here's a little house I purchased for our NATIVE pollinators! Great Idea - they've used BAMBOO to provide some variety in hole size.

I will hang it among the apple trees in the spring.

It is available through AMAZON.com - search for Mason Bee House - about $15.

Book Review

"Sweetness and Light", "Bees in America", "Increase Essentials"

These three titles were my "homework" over vacation.

"Sweetness and Light" and "Bees in America" - generally follow the movement of bees from the time of colonization. The American habitat suited the spread of bees. America was covered with FOREST with OLD hollowed out trees. Bees that escaped from domestic hives easily found new homes. Interestingly, both books mention that the swarms of bees were harbingers to the Native Americans that "whiteman is coming". Evolution of beekeeping practices and new understanding/science of the bee is presented in both books. Unfortunately, you can also see the history of continual loss of bee habitat from the beginning. (Mankind cuts down the OLD trees/forest for his home, for his warmth and for his fields.) Another tidbit that I found interesting was the impact of war on bees - as hives were abandoned by their keepers (men marched off) and RATIONS! Some commercial keepers lost hives because they could not convince the government to give them extra rations for SUGAR to feed their bees. You can also appreciate the ongoing "struggle" between the popularity of sugar vs. honey in the household.

"Increase Essentials" - the title says it all. Again, the beginning of the book starts with a timeline analysis of continual LOSS of bee habitat (suburbia moves onto the pastureland, farmers plant crops that do nothing for bees - corn, soybeans, wheat, and urban areas BAN bees from their borders) and the LOSS OF BEEKEEPERS. The conclusion to this beginning chapter is that: BACKYARD/HOBBY BEEKEEPERS ARE VITAL to re-establish bee population & strength. This book has some interesting ideas and INSTRUCTION regarding ways to SPLIT hives, create NUCS, make queens....and OVERWINTERING nucs/weak colonies - so that you're ready to GO in the spring.

Sweetness and Light

"We have chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light." - Johnathan Swift (1667-1745)

Monday, October 12, 2009

an old-wive's tale?

Let's hope this one doesn't come true. Mom shared "a saying" with me today - that I'd not heard before. "It's said that a paper wasp will only build it's nest as high as the coming snow."

She'd called to find out "what to do" about a big paper wasp nest in a tree in their fenceline. To which, I asked - "is it bothering you? in the fenceline?" (well away from the house). Her answer from me was, "you don't have to do anything - they're still an important part of nature."

Then she shared this saying - stating that last years nest was 3 feet off the ground. THIS YEARS NEST IS 10 FEET OFF THE GROUND!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

...Talked to another beekeeper UP NORT

I met and talked with another beekeeper this past weekend in CABLE, Wisconsin - that's Northwest WI. Just a "dabbler" he called himself...with ONLY 50 HIVES!

He was singing the blues about having to restart EVERY ONE OF HIS 50 HIVES this spring to the tune of about $2,500.00. yes - that's right - he said he lost EVERY BEE IN EVERY BOX?! I asked him WHY????

He said his beeyard was about 25 miles from his home, so he doesn't really check them regularly. I asked him - dead bees IN the box? he said - no...dead bees all over the snow. so that means they tried to get OUT. he suspected, TRACHEAL MITES.

oh yeh... (I thought to myself - I get my head so full of "gotta treat for varroa" this time of year - I forgot about this "little issue" too!)

so - here it is - a "natural treatment" for tracheal mites. If you've got your honey off - GET THESE GREASE PATTIES ON:

Product: Vegetable Shortening (eg. Crisco™)

Ratio: One part vegetable shortening to 2 parts white granulated sugar. Patty size should be about one-half pound (size of a hamburger).

Exposure Time: Continuous (except during nectar flow). Replace as often as needed. Most effective during spring and autumn.

Location within the colony: On broodnest top bars.

Comments and Suggestions:

  1. Vegetable shortening appears to disrupt the life cycle of the tracheal mite, thus suppressing mite populations.
  2. Vegetable shortening patties are considered to be more effective in controlling mites than menthol. However, menthol is still useful.
(I also have a recipe version that shows a "couple of drops" of peppermint essential oil and a bit of ground mineral salt aka: deer block/cow lick block)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Moving Day

I moved the hives this morn to their new BEE HOUSE. The girls were well behaved on this cool morning. These are (2) 3 high hives (3 deeps). HOLY (*&%#^!!!) - the top box was HEAVY! It's full of honey - it's not only liquid gold only because of it's color and value - but it's WEIGHT too! I guess spring will tell if this experiment is going to work - more honey for them left in fall - less sugar-syrup feeding for me in the spring!?

The boxes are FULL of bees - all three levels - looks like the population is strong. I use SCREENED BOTTOM BOARDS with REMOVABLE STICKY BOARDS under....the mite situation was "worse" in one than then other. I scraped and "re-sticky'd" the board with vaseline....and used my new POWDERED SUGAR BLOWER to give them a dusting to encite grooming behavior. They don't particularly LIKE being powdered - (note to beekeeper) - save "powdering" as the LAST thing you do to the hives....

I'll powder again in a week, and again in a week. This will be my new "organic" method of mite control. Try to get rid of as many mites as possible for the winter months.

The beehouse is going to be nice to work in - plenty of room for the beekeeper. A nice height for the bees to coming flying in - fully loaded. So of course - the reason behind this maddness is....I don't have to WRAP HIVES this winter! I'll just slide the side panels on....then - i can still "mess around" with the variable height of the front canvas - until it's time to completely shut them down. there's lots of ventilation and i'm expecting a dusting of snow inside - but it will keep the MAJORITY of winter off of them.

ONE of the beebooks that I'll be enjoying over our vaca....INCREASE ESSENTIALS, by Lawrence John Connor. So far - a peek at the first 3 chapters is EXACTLY the information I'll be looking for this spring....to fill up the rest of the spots in the beehouse with MORE HIVES.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is everyone done harvesting?

I'm anxious to hear how everyone's harvest went this year. I took less off the hives - left more for the bees this year (an extra deep or super). The honey seemed not quite as light as last years and seemed to have a bit of an "herb" flavor to it - a faint cross between dill and oregano!

The bee-house project is in place in the backyard - waiting to receive it's side panels. Steel and canvas have been ordered. Once all the "BANGING" and configuring are done, I'll move the two backyard hives onto the platform. (I'll put pictures up when it's done)

While moving, I'll take advantage of the hives being open (oh...they're going to be heavy!) - to treat them with a good dusting of powdered sugar - get them to go into GROOMING MODE one good time before winter, clean the sticky boards.....and take a peek at their winter stores and population.

I know they're not going to like being moved (about 10 feet/each)....after a couple of days of hanging out by the old hive - it seems they figure it out - whether or not they go home to the right hive - i don't know.

i noticed the smell of the hives "changing" this past week. It seems the goldenrod & aster nectar is a bit more bitter/sour...

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Honey - you're going to have to find a different spot! Last week I discovered these "nasties" (bald-faced/bold-faced hornets) hanging out in the evergreen behind my hive.

Now, now....wasps & hornets are still an important part of our environment and should not needlessly be killed....UNLESS, they're bothering and endangering activity close to them. And that - they ARE. They're VERY protective of their nest/territory - and they are RIGHT BEHIND my hive. So - we have a conflict.

They do NOT AS OF YET have a nest in the tree. They build their nice big paper nests in the spring. This is the time of year when the NEW QUEENS have been released and are looking for "sheltered" areas to OVERWINTER - so that they can build in the spring. My evergreens apparently fit the bill.

MY PLAN of ATTACK? Beesuit, maybe some smoke, lawnmower, and a BIG CANNING POT FULL OF BOILING WATER. I'm going to suit up and MOW under the tree - so I can see what I'm dealing with - she might have found a RODENT HOLE to overwinter in. Next - the BOILING WATER (it's a chemical free way to get rid of ant nests too!) If the mower doesn't get her - the boiling water will.....and my backup plan? ETHER (yes - starting fluid) - goes right into their breathing systems - evaporates and doesn't leave much chemical residue for my bees to find.

I'm just waiting for the day to warm up a little and for the dew in the grass to evaporate....

building a beehouse

We had this "flower display table" that we'd bought from home depot when they went out of business. Plus, we had all this "excess" lumber in the back of our shop from previous decking projects....so - it's being TRANSFORMED.

Transformed into a BEEHOUSE. I looked around on-line and found nothing regarding beehouse plans - so we're "winging it".

Essentially it's a DECK (about a foot off the ground) - with the framework above to attach ROLLED CANVAS COVERS (to drop the sides down in winter/bad weather). It will have a steel roof.

It will have LOTS of ventilation. Though you'd like to "protect" the bees from the severest of wind/snow....the hives must still have adequate ventilation (the cluster is breathing and releasing carbon dioxide). AND - you don't want it to be like Florida in there either. You'll still want the bees to enter a hibernation state - otherwise they'll be burning through their food stores early and they'd "think" it's nice out and try flying around mid-winter.

I'm figuring it will house 6 to 8 hives across - with lots of room for me to still work around them. There's plenty of height for me to stack hive bodies and supers. Now - I'll have to "expand my color palette" - and start painting the hive bodies other colors besides yellow - to help them identify their hives and prevent drifting.

You'll have to ask us at the next club meeting - "how we got this thing home!?!" Isn't there some saying about "painting yourself in a corner"? ha ha.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Request from our LIBRARIAN

ECWBA members - our newly appointed librarian Andy Krueger (ECWBA secretary) - has requested "lists of titles" of your favorite BEEKEEPING resources (books, dvds, videos, etc). She will be considering them as permanent additions to our LIBRARY. email: ericandandy@gmail.com or bring your list with you to the next meeting.

In the Right Place - At the Right Time

Fellow beekeepers - can you RESIST buying honey pots - when you find them? I just had to share this with you - it's a story of being in the right place at the right time. I was giving that beekeeping presentation at UWFDL Prairiefest - and they had that little "rummage sale area" outside.

NO WAY! 3 HONEY POTS!!! $1 each!!!

Handmade by "AL" (signature on the bottom)...whoever AL is...Thank You!

The Harvest

This is a LOVE/HATE time of year. I'm sad that the bee season will soon be over. I will hear and see them less - buzzing around the yard.

Of course, it's also exciting to "see how the girls did".

My hives didn't fare as well as last year - about half the honey. But remember - I'm experimenting with some "high hives"...which means the additional super or deep I have over the 2 bottom deeps....IS THEIRS - and THEY seem to be filling nicely. I'd rather they keep their winter stores.

I don't know what to expect of this coming winter - the season as a whole has been so DRAMATIC. They seemed to be sealing hives early - we'll have to wait and see if they know something that we don't.

The harvest at SUNSEED went well, and we had a good dozen of interested folks. Anything that I can do to "show-off" the girls and encourage EVERYONE to become a backyard beekeeper.... One point brought up - the DOCILE nature of honey bees - as I worked them without smoke. THE QUESTION: ZONING restrictions in communities - The ANSWER: KNOWLEDGE - and that knowledge getting into the minds of the people responsible for these restrictions. (Sunseed had to get a variance from the town of Mt. Calvary for their hives.)

I know town board meetings isn't probably topping the list of THINGS I WANT TO DO....but "if you always do what you always did - you always get what you always got." Change is coming.

ECWBA Newsletter - August 23, 2009

1. July meeting review. Establishing an affiliation with the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association (WHPA) was discussed. We discussed the previous workshop presented by Earl Jewett and the possibility of sponsoring another workshop is early 2010. Also, we talked about the establishment of a library. Andy Krueger, as ECWBA secretary, is the designated "librarian" to oversee the newly established library.

2. Next meeting. The next meeting of the ECWBA is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009. Meeting time is 9:30 am to 11:00 am. Meeting place is The Masonic Center in Fond du Lac. Address is 500 West Arndt Street. Here's how to get there: from West Johnson Street (Hwy. 23 West) turn north onto Hickory Street, from Hickory, turn west onto Arndt Street to address. There will be a discussion panel to discuss over-wintering practices and any other beekeeping topics.

3. Next year. The September meeting will be the last meeting for 2009. The first meeting of 2010 will be in January. Date, time, and place are to be determined. This year, 2009, was the charter year for the organization. I think things went well and I am looking toward a successful year next year as well. I would like to thank every one that has become involved in the ECWBA. Your support and dedication has set the foundation for establishing a local organization focused on beekeeper development. Let's sustain the momentum we've gained into a second successful year.

4. Membership. Being our first year as an organization, we established a good membership. Thank-you to every one that paid dues. For next year, the membership dues payment period will be the first two months of the year. After that, membership privileges (voting at meetings and receiving a newsletter) will be withheld until dues are paid. Currently, there are many people that are on the mailing list for the newsletter that have never attended a meeting or made contact with the association. I would like to eliminate the expense of sending out newsletters to non-members.

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

Best of beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau
President, ECWBA

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

honey harvest

When: Saturday, August 22, starting at 10 am
(raindate): August 27
Where: Sunseed Eco-Education Center, 110 Notre Dame Street, Mt. Calvary, WI 53057

The plan: I'll be harvesting honey from two hives at this site. Bees will be cleared from frames (outside) and honey will be extracted (inside).

The timing regarding such an activity is open ended because it depends on an element of nature....BEES. Harvest will not take place if it's raining (on either day) How long will it take? Don't know.

Light refreshments will be available - if you require something more substantial, bring a picnic lunch.

"Protection" from bees is ON YOUR OWN - whatever you require to feel comfortable. Bug Spray NOT ALLOWED.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Pictures from our Spring Field Day are uploaded to our webgallery (link is located in the sidebar "Our Bee Blog Pictures")

Friday, July 17, 2009

dealing with a queenless hive

This is where having additional hives is a great help!

Through all the swarming activity of May and June - I ended up with one queenless hive . Without a queen this hive will dwindle and die.

Over 4 weeks ago - I gave my queenless hive 2 frames of FRESH layed eggs. I exchanged the frames and let the hive "rest" for 3 weeks. 2 weeks for them to MAKE the queen - another week to leave "nature" be. Inspection 2 weeks ago revealed - "they forgot how to make a queen" or "something"??? who knows. Not one attempt was made to make a queen cell.

Once again - I robbed frames of EGGS from the donor hive....this time...one frame had the beginnings of a queen cell - with nice white royal jelly layed in the bottom.

Inspection is planned for this weekend. What will if find? I'm hoping they continued to nurture the queen cell. For a hive to REQUEEN in the fall is not a bad thing - as long as they do so before they start killing off the drones for winter (kinda need them yet). You'll start out in the spring with a nice fertile queen.

What if they failed, again? I'll seriously start making plans to get this hive down to 10 frames (one deep) and get them combined with another hive. (I have to make some determination as to the population numbers) It'd be better to do this sooner than later. It's going to mess up the strong hive for nectar/honey storage. I'm not being selfish here talking about MY honey - I'm talking about the honey storage THEY NEED for the winter. Remember - while these hives are "combining" they are 3 deeps high! (3 deeps that need to go back down to 2 for overwintering - and it's WHAT MONTH?) We've got about 3 months to get everyone and everything rearranged.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


i found a couple more blogs and websites to add to our list (they'll also be on the sidebar for future reference)

from WASHINGTON state: http://davesbeeadventure.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

are you a BEE SHAMAN?

there's a book out called, "The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters" by Simon Buxton

here's a little preview:

A Western Shamanic Tradition: The Path of Pollen

The cells of the Shamanic Way of the Bee comprise a Bee Master and his apprentice, alongside the Bee Mistress and her Mellisae, her female students and associates. There is no formal recruitment; rather members are mysteriously drawn to the tradition.

In the case of Simon Buxton, this first experience occurred at a young age, through a very serious illness that was averted by a neighbor who performed shamanic rites linked to his role as a beekeeper. Beekeeper and boy became firm friends following this incident, and through this friendship Simon Buxton learned the rudiments of beekeeping, skills which were to stand him in good stead as an adult drawn to the Shamanic Way of the Bee.

He became the final apprentice of a respected elder of the path of pollen, the enigmatic and charismatically wise Bridges. This path leads him through sometimes terrifyingly challenging experiences through which he learned of deep shamanic truths thanks to his close bond with the bees.

feels "weird" out there

i've noted some strange behavior in the hives...

i've got two hives (of 5) that are propolising the extra entrance holes shut. one hive has half the main entrance closed off.

is it our unseasonable, dramatic weather??? or do the bees know something about this winter that we don't?

Monday, June 29, 2009

that's about enough of that!

whew! it was an "interesting" May - trying to keep my bees in the boxes! my lunch hours consisted of going home an examining the evergreen trees that surround our property....looking for a ball of bees. i ended up with 5 swarms (from 2 hives) - caught all 5 of them. i made 1 new hive, used two to COMBINE with weak hives, and two decided not to stay...hmm???

swarms and requeening really puts the hive behind schedule (if HONEY is what you're after).

i started one "high hive" (3 deeps tall). this will be an interesting experiment. i used the newspaper method to combine two swarm boxes with two hives that didn't fair well over the winter.....i didn't bother to locate the weak queen - i let nature decide.

inspection of the combined hives: both hives are apparently busy and thriving - newspaper was all chewed out and they were one big happy family. in going through one of the hives....i heard PIPING (the virgin queen's call) after pulling frame by frame - something apparently "HAPPENED". there was a really nice capped brood pattern....then it all turned to drone brood. did she loose her fertility? or was she damaged in the fight for the new hive? well - the workers knew what was going on and cooked up some SUPERSCEDURE cells (different from swarm cells).

the very next day - i received a call about a swarm. it just seemed too coincidental...i suspect this was the old queen leaving with an entourage. to that i say - GOOD bye - leave me with a fresh new queen.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ECWBA Newsletter June 15, 2009

May’s meeting and field day. The May meeting went well despite a cool breezy day. The meeting was held and then the field day activities commenced. Jeff Champeau gave a short talk about some of the equipment he uses. Then the attending members donned their bee veils and we all took a look at some of the hives in Jeff’s bee yard. Both beginner and experienced beekeepers got involved in examining beehives in different stages of development. The Country Today, a statewide weekly agricultural newspaper, published a nice article about the field day activities.

July meeting. The July meeting is scheduled for July 18th at the Ripon Public Library. Meeting time is 9:30 am to 11:00 am. The Ripon Public Library is located at 120 Jefferson Street in Ripon, WI.

Meeting conflicts. The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association has changed the date of their meeting from July 11th to July 18th. So, that creates a conflict with our scheduled meeting which we originally scheduled on the 18th just to avoid overlapping meetings on the 11th. The East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association will maintain its originally scheduled meeting on July 18th. For those of you interested in attending the WHPA meeting, you would still be able to attend the afternoon session of the WHPA meeting in Redgranite, WI.

September meeting. The September meeting is scheduled for September 19, 2009. Meeting time will be 9:30 am to 11:00 am. The meeting place is yet to be determined, but the Fond du Lac area is the target area. Meeting location will be announced at the July meeting and published in the newsletter.

Beekeeping Notes:

Despite a somewhat cool and rainy spring, the bees are off to a decent start. We are coming to the end of the May - June swarming season. Remember, swarming is the honeybees’ natural tendency to replicate colonies. Giving each colony additional space by adding supers helps to suppress the swarming tendency.

Be sure to have plenty of supers on hand for the BIG nectar flow. If you run short of supers, here’s a couple of options: buy some more supers, or extract the full supers and return them to the hive (these are called “wet” supers).

For the new beekeepers, start planning the honey harvest. If you plan for a liquid honey harvest, start shopping for extracting equipment. Or find an existing beekeeper that will help you out with extracting.

You may want to buy honey jars in advance. When there is a big honey crop, sometimes the suppliers run short of jars.

Start thinking about fall pest treatments and over-wintering strategies.

Best of beekeeping, Jeff ChampeauPresident, ECWBA

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Honey has "gone bad"

No....it's just chrystallized. here's a link to "why does honey chrystallize"?

here's a link to the national honey board's "honey hotline" page. print a couple of these off when you go to sell your honey...educate your honey buyer.


Honey is the bees' ENERGY - it's a complex carbohydrate. The make-up of honey is about 38.5% Fructose, 31% Glucose, 17% Water, and the remaining is Maltose, Sucrose, with traces of vitamins and minerals.

If you heat honey past 120 degrees - you've pasteurized it.

Honey tends to absorb smells & moisture - keep it sealed. Optimal conditions are in a dark, sealed container at 35 to 50 degrees.

Acacia & Tupelo honey is the only honey that doesn't crystallize.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ECWBA July meeting

Even thought the WHPA changed their date and now conflicts with our scheduled meeting - we will continue to hold our meeting on the 18th. The meeting will be, as usual ,at the Ripon Library.

WHPA summer meeting

WHPA (Wisconsin Honey Producers Association) Summer Meeting
8:30 am to 3:30 pm - July 18 ***PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE***
Where: Redgranite Lions Hall, 145 Dearborn St, Redgranite, WI

8:30 Registration
9:00 Welcome Wally Nass
9:10 Honey Queen Report – Mary Kettlewell and
9:20 Amy Roden
9:30 John Talbert – experiences in his beekeeping mentoring program and his own beekeeping experiences
10:30 Break and door prizes
10:45 Wisconsin Department of Ag
11:00 Badger Bee Jolene Hoefs or Tim Fulton
11:15 Crop Report Dan
11:30 State Fair Report Nick Thill
12 Lunch
:50 Door Prizes
1:00 John Talbert membership in an organization and ABF update
2:00 Dale Wolf Beekeeping in East Timor by Indonesia
2:30 Door Prizes and Business Meeting
*** Executive Bard Meeting to Follow

fun things to do with wax

someone at the last "bee school" had asked me for the source of LIP BALM stuff - here it is. Balm FLAVORS, TUBES, CONTAINERS.... www.lipbalmtubes.com

the nice LIGHT COLORED/WHITE CAPPING WAX is perfect for making balms, cremes, ointments. for a firm lip balm your ratio will be about 1:2 solids to liquids. if you're looking for a softer creme, increase the liquid (oil). you can use sweet almond oil, castor oil, avocado oil, or olive oil...

some fun things to add: cocoa butter, vitamin e, essential oils - lavendar, peppermint, etc.

and if you want to SWEETEN the lip balm...hmmmm???....add HONEY!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Drones - the lazy bums

Sometimes I get the feeling this is a common misconception: "Drones are just lazy bums - mating with the queen". No. Drones in a hive do not USUALLY mate with their own queen (sister) because they drift from hive to hive (I suppose there's room for an "oops"). Mating occurs in DRONE CONGREGATION AREAS - well away from the nest and high off the ground, out of site. Your virgin queen mates this one time - with SEVERAL (12-15) drones. She stores the sperm in her spermatheca and she SELECTIVELY lays either "fertilized eggs" (female workers) or "unfertilized eggs" (drones). If you watch your hive - you'll see that drones are departing the hive along with other workers - usually to return in the afternoon.

If by chance a drone would mate with his sister - a spotty brood pattern would likely result - it's not entirely understood if it's from a higher mortality rate of larvae and thereby removal by nurse bees.

Drones are an important part of the bee life cycle - not so important in YOUR hive...but important to OTHER hives.


'tis the season when hives are cooking-up queens for swarming.  Swarming - nature's way of dividing the hive.  Good for the bees (go forth and multiply)....bad for the beekeeper interested in honey production (half your workforce disappears).

oh, how you learn and grow with your bees and your beekeeping hobby/habit...

I've "hived" 4 swarms in 3 days.  My Own!  I've got single deeps of bees all over the backyard - had to make an emergency run to the bee supplier for more"hardware".

As this is my third year as a keeper, having a LITTLE history...I can look at some of my methods/goals/objectives/preconceptions that have come and GONE.  As a first year - I had my "nose" in the box WAY TOO MUCH.  My second year goal was, "the bees know more about beekeeping than I do - interfere less".  My third year (THIS YEAR)......my goal is SWARM PREVENTION and understanding.

I've been reading some "alternative thought" about swarm prevention....and this is my CURRENT thought & question.  I had two whopping big hives come through winter with VERY little die off.  I thought that I "kept ahead" of the mother hive by splitting it early - but swarm cells were ALREADY created by the time I got to it (May 1!)....I really don't want to be cutting out perfectly good, natural queens.....how can I prevent SWARM CELL creation - how can I "get to" the bees BEFORE they even THINK about splitting?

One line of alternative thought is keeping the bees in 2.5 boxes(2 deeps & a super) - or 3 deeps!  Why do we think they MUST stay in 2 boxes?  If they want more room for brood production - why not give it to them?  Another thought process is the practice called, CHECKERBOARDING....which is alternating BROOD frames with EMPTY/honey frames. According to the practitioners of checkerboarding - it actually increases the hives brood production and "storing" desire - they get the feeling of much more "space" in the hive.

Honey production is a "by-product" of my hobby.  I can see where a honey producer might think - adding another deep - that's a lot of honey/storage that "I don't harvest".  But if you have MORE BEES - bees that don't leave - more workers = more honey....happy bees.

Going into the winter months with ALOT of bees is a good thing too.  Remember - the larger the cluster - the more likely they'll survive - they can more readily maintain the warmth of the cluster and MOVE for food resources....and with 3 boxes of food reserves?  When I "popped the top" of these two hives in April - the clusters were AT THE INSIDE COVER.

Hind-site being 20/20.  In the cases of my hives coming through winter as strong as they did.....they should have received another box after I did my hive body switch (putting the bottom "empty/eaten" frames on top of them).

Practitioners of "HIGH BEEHIVES (3 boxes) with a combination of the practice of CHECKERBOARDING" have reported that hives NATURALLY SUPERCEDE queens in the spring.  A much more CALM and natural way of the hive maintaining their OWN production.

The bees know more about beekeeping than we do - that's for SURE!  In the case of these two hives - I'm throwing out "MY NEED of 2 deeps" - I'm going to give these bees more space.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

An excellent point brought up at our Field Day....Practice "picking up your queen" with DRONES. Drones don't have a stinger - so you can handle them painlessly.

There may be a day when you need to handle your queen:
  1. Putting her "away" for safe keeping while you're seriously messing with the hive.
  2. Grabbing her and making sure she "goes in the right box" if you're splitting hives.
  3. Grabbing her to "do away" with her

Queen Cells

My two backyard hives came through winter GANG BUSTERS this year. I noted a "slowing" of pollen the last couple of weeks...and last weekend's check confirms they're making queen cells - and LOTS of them! Swarm and Supercedure. Hive one was split last weekend. Hive two will be split as soon as I put together some empty frames (or I'm hoping to catch them if they swarm).

I opted to use an empty DEEP as my "nuc" for hive one's split. Yesterday, during the inspection of hive 3 (the new hive), I heard PIPING! (that's the newly emerged queen's "rally call") THAT WAS WAY COOL.

Here's a youtube link I found - where you can hear an example of PIPING. (looks like this guy was cutting queen cells out - there's a bunch of them in his box)

Thank you Jeff

A BIG THANKS to Jeff for letting us in his beeyard to explore and learn. This was our bee club "meeting" for the month - a FIELD day - and it was well received. We all got to see and compare the progress of newly installed packages, a queenless hive, a captured swarm hive, and last years overwintered hives. Jeff showed us his technique of POWDERED SUGARING a hive to check for mites. It was interesting the little WHITE bees emerging...and the change in the sound of the hive. Destroying drone brood was discussed - the freezing method, the cutting out method, etc - as a matter of mite control. Jeff briefly explained his technique of creating NUC hives as well.


Monday, May 11, 2009

To "queen exclude" or not

Queen excluders - AKA: honey excluders. As a "newbee" beekeeper, I bought into the queen excluder idea my first year. Well of course the thing that "NEVER HAPPENS" happened....my first year package bees swarmed. I thought I was keeping ahead of them - I felt they had plenty of space.....but apparently THEY THOUGHT this excluder was a ROOF overhead.

I don't use them anymore. Oh, but what about the queen laying eggs in your supers!??? It happens, but rarely and when it does it's a FEW. The queen doesn't like to travel over capped honey. This a simple check - make sure your frames in the top box, have honey on the tops (and the brood is below).

And so what??? if there are a couple of bees brought-up in the supers? by the time honey harvest rolls around - these bees will likely be hatched out....and the tendency of the workers is to keep that queen down in the deeps.

Of course this subject is a little different if we're talking about CUT COMB vs. extracted. The brood cells will be darkened and not real appealing to the consumer....

To me, the trade-off is a HANDFULL of "darkened/brood cells" or a hive BURSTING with workers and honey. (the excluder also slows the workers down in getting honey into the supers)

my opinion....Queen excluders = Honey excluders = Swarm inducers.

Keeping Ahead of the Hive

When do I stop feeding the bees? When they stop taking it. Take a look around you....are there flowers in bloom? flowering trees? dandelions? If there's other resources for them, it's time.

When is it time to SUPER? Remember the "feeling" of SPACE is very important - STAY AHEAD OF YOUR BEES.

If you haven't already - you should consider the spring time hive body switch - which will put the "empty" lighter frames on top (these are the frames they ate-up over the winter)

According to one beekeeper - give your hive bodies a "heft" test - lift....heavy? Is the hive BURSTING with bees? - top deep box frames covered with bees? ....SUPER

Tis the season - drones are "made" and hives are making queen cells....

Friday, May 1, 2009

Essential Oils

Follow this link to review which natural oils may help keep bees healthy.


To the Beekeeper - the Dandelion is a FLOWER.

Home-made Dormant Oil Spray

(I'm sorry that I'm a little late in getting this out - apple trees are beginning to come out of dormancy - but file this away for future reference)

There are likely many of us who maintain a couple of apple trees (or keep hives at orchards) and are weary of spraying because of our bees. Dormant oil spray is used kill overwintering insects or insect eggs. It is meant to be sprayed at 2 week intervals when the tree is DORMANT (before buds form/open) (I also spray around the base of the tree and the ground surrounding)

The recipes for homemade dormant oil spray I've come across must have been written for an ORCHARD! Here's a scaled down version to treat 3 or 4 trees.

2 Cups of Mineral Oil
2 oz of Oil Based Soap (granular)
1 Cup Water
Boil all of these together and mix well. Further dilute: 1 part to 20 parts water and use immediately (cooled of course). ingredients separate quickly.

Mineral oil can be found at Walmart/Fleet Farm (around the pharmacy/health area). Oil Based Soap is like "Ivory Snow" - though I couldn't find it in a granular form.....I found something similar called "ECOS" in the natural foods section of Festival Foods.


The girls have actually been taking in pollen for some time now. The first pollens available to them in the season is from trees.

A quick glance as I passed this hive revealed bees covered from tip to tail in YELLOW! So thick with pollen that I couldn't see any stripes - and I thought there was something wrong with them.

Much can be learned about your hive by observing from the outside. Bees incoming with pollen...means BROOD. Pollen is the bees protein - it's body builder. Nectar/Honey is the bees carbohydrate - it's energy.

Lack of pollen inflow can mean a couple of things:
  • Remember, that the queen slows laying and stops all together in preparation for swarming (this is a good thing - you have lots of bees in the box!). Check the hive for swarm/queen cells. Remove ALL queen cells and or create a "false swarm" (consult your favorite bee book for details). or SPLIT the hive - ideally - you want the queen in one box and the new queen cells in the other.....if you're unsure - check both soon after for eggs to verify which box the queen is in.
  • Something has happened to your queen or she's failing miserably. Check for her. Check for eggs (no eggs = no queen). If you have a spotty brood pattern and/or a lot of drone brood, the queen's fertility is failing - this hive will fail. Replace her. If it's too late to purchase a queen, and you still have sufficient workers to make one, give them a frame of eggs from another hive. If this colony is otherwise healthy and it's getting late in the season - you may want to plan on combining it with another hive before winter (you'll have to pinch the weak queen - if she exists). Your goal is to go into the cold months with strong & populated hives - population increases their chance of survival.
  • Disease. Check the hive for signs of disease with your bee book in hand. Treat if neccessary. Don't combine colonies weakened by disease with healthy hives. Nature may take it's course with this hive.

Beekeeping Class Well Received

The first part (of two) meetings went well. Over 50 people joined-in for the evening - our room was changed to accommodate the numbers.

An interesting question that I will quickly comment upon - because it's very relevant to NOW:

Spring Feeding - why and what ratio? Use the 2 parts water to 1 part sugar/fructose mixture in Spring. This thinner mixture simulates "nectar flow" and will get your queen stimulated to laying more eggs. When you start feeding - don't stop. Keep feeding until they don't take it anymore.

(the 1 to 1 ratio is used in the fall. This thicker mixture requires less evaporation and is easier on the bees to store for the coming winter)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Newsletter - April 15, 2009

1. It’s official!!! We are now formally known as the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association. This decision was made by vote of the general membership at the March meeting. Thanks to everyone that suggested names for our organization.

2. Last meeting. Denise Palkovich started out the meeting with an update on the association’s internet blog along with an explanation of creating a website. For old business, the above organizational name was established. For new business, dates and times were established for the next two meetings (see below). Earl Jewett briefed us on his beekeeping presentation at the Fond du Lac Public Library. Jeff Champeau presented a demonstration on installing package bees.

3. Since the last meeting… Earl Jewett has set up a beekeeping workshop. This is scheduled for April 30th and May 7th for 3 hours each night. This is being co-sponsored by the UW-Extension service and the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association. Proceeds from the workshop will come back to the association as a fund raiser. For details, check the attached press release at the end of this newsletter.

4. Next meeting. The next meeting will be Saturday, May 16, 2009, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. This will be a field day. This meeting and field day will take place at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard which is at Jeff’s parents’ place near Oakfield, WI. Here’s the exact address: N3415 Highway Y South, Oakfield, WI. Here are the driving directions: Oakfield is located about 10 miles southwest of Fond du Lac. Take Highway Y (same as Oak Street) south out of Oakfield (past 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 be along the road. There will be a short meeting followed by a “hands-on” opportunity to explore some beehives. 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. If you need any of these items, both Lapp’s in Reeseville and Dadant’s near Watertown carries a good selection of beekeeper wear. The rain date for this meeting and field day will be Saturday, May 23, 2009.

5. July meeting. The July meeting is scheduled for July 18, 2009. Start time is 9:30 am. The meeting will be at the Ripon Public Library, 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI. A short business meeting will be conducted first, then a presentation. Presentation topic is yet to be determined.

Beekeeping Notes:
* You should be already feeding sugar syrup to hives that survived the winter and to any package bees that you installed this spring.
* Ditto the above for pollen patties (substitute pollen).
* Prepare for new package bee arrivals by assembling any required equipment and selecting new sites.
* Remember for site selection, the hives should have southern or eastern exposure with a western or northern wind break.
* If you are going to need supers for the honey harvest, now is the time to purchase and assemble the supers and honeycomb frames.

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

Happy Beekeeping,

Jeff Champeau
President, E.C.W.B.A.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

beehives at the white house

A couple of links suggested

a couple of links suggested by the program this morning. i will add them to the right bar for future reference as well. one thing mentioned was the "development of POLLINATOR GARDENS" - perhaps this is a "small way" you can get your neighbors and friends to participate in your beekeeping habit, by letting them know which varieties of plants and flowers contribute to the pollination ecosystem .

i currently plant borage (which is an annual - but reseeds itself from year to year). bees ABSOLUTELY love borage. i plant it right in the garden amongst the other vegetables. the veggies are for me - the borage is for them. (and you can eat borage - the leaf tastes a little like cucumber....if you can "get past" the fuzzy leaves.)



CCD discussed on WPR this morning

4/15/09 9:00 am.....A VERY interesting program this morning on Wisconsin Public Radio: Kathleen Dunn: Gene Purcell in for Kathleen Dunn - It's mysteriously wiped out large numbers of the bees that pollinate our crops. After nine, Gene Purcell and his guests discuss Colony Collapse Disorder in bee populations... Guests:- Diana Cox-Foster, professor of entomology, Pennsylvania State University.

http://www.wpr.org/search/ (type in BEES)

it will take them a bit (a couple of hours) to get a "LISTEN TO AUDIO" link. when it's available - come back and check it out!

Friday, April 10, 2009

what do other beekeepers do?

if you haven't already....go to the side bar of this blog and "visit some other bee blogs". haven't you wondered about what beekeepers do in CANADA? or how do bees fare in the Carolinas? whether it's for fun or you're in need of some technical bit of information - it's all out there on the information superhighway.

Time change/update for next meeting

The time for our May meeting (the field day) scheduled on the calendar should be 1:00 pm for a one and a half to two hour event. It's best to check bees in the afternoon. Don't forget your Hat/Veil, overalls, gloves - whatever you need to feel comfortable.

Introduction to Beekeeping Program Offered

written by:
Crops and Soils Agent
UW Extension - Fond du Lac County

Introduction to Beekeeping Program Offered
Individuals interested in pursuing beekeeping as a hobby or side business venture are encouraged to attend a six-hour "Introduction to Beekeeping" program being offered on April 30 and May 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Classes will be held at UW-Fond du Lac in room 205/206 of the Administration Extension Building.
The classes are being taught by local beekeepers Earl Jewett and Hank Miller. Participants will learn about bee biology, beekeeping equipment, hive management, honey extraction and marketing, overwintering bees, and beekeeping resources.
The program is sponsored by the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association and UW-Extension. The cost to attend the program is $8 per person. Checks should be made payable to the East Central WI Beekeepers Assn. and mailed to: UW-Extension Beekeeping Program, 400 University Dr., Fond du Lac, WI 54935. Pre-registration by Monday, April 27 is required. For more information contact the Fond du Lac Co. UW-Extension office at 920-929-3171.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

on WPT

this In Wisconsin show is re-broadcast Sunday 4-4:30 PM

Honey Study

April 02, 2009

Some 24 million people in the United States cope with issues of managing diabetes. One of the most difficult problems affects about 15% of patients – sores that won’t heal. Dr. Jennifer Eddy at UW Health’s Family Medicine Clinic in Eau Claire is running a double blind clinical trial using honey to treat these foot sores. We have an update this week on Jay Burrow’s… who could have faced amputation of his foot.
If you’d like to find out more about the clinical trial call (715) 855-5683.

More info:

Today, an alternative treatment based on a remedy used since antiquity is getting increased attention -- smearing wounds with honey.

Manuka Honey, a medicinal honey harvested from beekeepers in New Zealand, is now being marketed for application on wounds. In June, Health Canada approved it under the brand name Medihoney for use as a wound dressing and antimicrobial. In July, the Food and Drug Administration cleared it for use in wounds and burns in the U.S.

The effects of treating wounds with honey have been noted mostly in anecdotal reports and case histories, making it hard for scientists to know whether the remedy compares favorably with standard wound dressings such as hydrogels, silver-impregnated gauzes or topical antibiotics.

But in recent years, larger studies have shown promising results, and more are underway.

"In the last few years, a lot of good science has been done in the area," says Shona Blair, a microbiologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, who studies the antibacterial properties of honey.

Chronic wounds -- most commonly diabetic foot ulcers but also burn wounds, venous pressure ulcers, arterial leg ulcers and bedsores -- are a growing medical problem. An estimated 3 million people in the U.S. suffer from pressure ulcers, or bedsores. Each year, an estimated 100,000 diabetics will lose a limb through amputation, mostly as a result of nonhealing wounds. With diabetes on the rise, doctors expect to see a lot more diabetic foot ulcers.

Acute wounds are usually treated by keeping them moist and sterile, which promotes the innate wound-healing ability of the body. But in patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes, a small crack in the skin often fails to heal and can develop into a chronic wound.

Such a wound runs a great risk of becoming infected, which in turn reduces the chance of healing -- a vicious cycle that can lead to severe infection, even down to the bone. Chronic wounds are sometimes treated surgically, by removing dead skin to promote healing. Patients are also treated with off-loading orthotic shoes to prevent applying pressure on the wound, but these are cumbersome and rarely efficiently used.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

bee activity & temperature

(in Fahrenheit) 45 degrees - Immobile; 50 degrees - Unable to Fly; 57 degrees - Clustering Starts; Brood Nest - 95 degrees. The general realm of activity - 50 to 110 degrees - this may not be outside temperature, rather the bee's body temperature.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the thermology of wintering honeybees

this is a link to a very technical study of overwintering hives. if you can manage to get through it - it really gives you some insight as to how the cluster reacts to temperature changes throughout the winter. The long and the short of the article seems to indicate that strong, populated hives are more likely to survive because they can move for resources (food) and maintain temperature. http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/thermology/techbulletin1429.htm

Monday, March 16, 2009

50 plus degrees in wisconsin

a sure sign of spring arriving in wisconsin....this hive is BURSTING with healthy bees....and they just couldn't wait to get out and try their wings! they were curiously flying around the backyard by 9 am....a little too close for comfort around hair, and eyes, and ears.

Spring maintenance on this hive revealed VERY FEW dead bees on the bottom board. Hive bodies were switched.

If things continue to go well with this hive - it's a definite candidate for SPLITTING. with this many bees in the box already, they will soon feel crowded and likely swarm. AND - it's proven itself through 2 winters - save these genetics!

This hive is solitary and in full sun. It get's "wrapped" in black tarpaper over the winter and straw bales on the west and east sides for a wind break. Here it's shown unwrapped, and the bales will remain for a little longer yet (well - they're frozen to the ground for one thing...)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Honey Laundering

A simple internet search for "honey laundering" brings up lots of interesting articles like this one:

Beekeeping Notes:

  • Purchase and assemble equipment for the upcoming year.
  • Make any last minute orders for package bees.
  • 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.

Next meeting date and time

This organization’s next meeting will be at 9:30 am on March 21, 2009. This is a change from the original schedule. The location is the same – Ripon Public Library, 120 Jefferson Street, Ripon, WI. The library is located one block behind the city building.

WHPA Southeastern District Meeting

The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association Southeastern District meeting is on Saturday, March 14, 2009. The WHPA has generously extended an invitation to the members of this organization to attend their meeting and check out what the WHPA has to offer. This meeting does include a potluck lunch. So if you attend, please bring a dish to pass and your own tableware (plates, flatware, etc.). Attendees are asked to donate a small fee to cover the cost of the hall rental. Here’s the location: Ashippun Fire Dept., New Ashippun, WI. The fire hall is located one block west off of State Hwy 67 on County Hwy O. Doors open at 9:30 am. Agenda includes: Over-wintering report, making honey, WI Dept. of Ag beekeeping update, mentoring youth, making divides, honey “laundering”, and a business meeting.

Friday, February 27, 2009

What should we call ourselves?

We want something that describes our regional area and yet is "search able" and easy for interested parties to join us...
  • (Fox) Valley Beekeepers Association
  • Dairyland Beekeepers Association
  • Mid-Wisconsin Beekeepers
  • East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers (Association)
  • East Central Beekeepers of Wisconsin
  • Ripon Area Beekeepers
  • Beekeepers of East Central Wisconsin

A Nice Big BUMBLE BEE on Vervain

The Old Saying

You put 10 beekeepers in a room and you come out with 11 answers. It's all good - that's at least 10 new ideas!!!

February 14th Meeting, Ripon

Officers are elected and duties discussed. Membership dues are collected ($15 gets you one vote). We debate about what to call ourselves! (the biggest hindrance being that we don't want to call ourselves something that already exists) More research required.

Jeff, president - brought an empty hive box to show everyone the basic parts and stacking of a hive.

NEXT MEETING: March 21, 2009

New Beekeepers Association Forming

Jeff Champeau runs an ad in local newspapers - inquiring as to the interest of starting a local beekeepers association. The response was very good. Organizational Meeting held at the Ripon Library, January 17th - attended by 23 people.

  1. The establishment of a formal organization with board members/officers
  2. The timing and structure of future meetings
  3. Membership Fees
  4. The organization's name