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"'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....

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!