Monday, March 29, 2010

HOME-MADE Dormant Oil Spray for Fruit Trees

For those beekeepers with fruit trees....make your own dormant oil spray....for treatment...NOW!

Dormant oil spray is a non-toxic material that can be sprayed on trees and shrubs in the fall after leaf drop or in spring before leaves/blossoms appear. It smothers overwintering bug eggs before they have a chance to hatch. Apply in temperatures 40 degrees, plus. Apply weekly 'till leaf formation.

BIG recipe:
1 gallon of mineral oil (can be found at walmart/fleet farm in the health/pharmacy area)
1 pound of oil based soap (this is a powdered "baby" laundry soap...flake form)
1/2 gallon water

REAL LIFE recipe:
1/8 gallon (2 cups) mineral oil
1/8 lb. (2 oz) oil based soap
1/16 gallon (1 cup) water

Directions: BOIL all these together and mix well. DILUTION RATE IS: 1 part to 20 parts water (so even the "small batch" makes a lot). This mix must be used quickly as it separates.

Non-toxic commercial off-the-shelf products are also available under the trade names: "Dormant Oil Spray" and "Oil-Away Supreme Insecticidal Soap". Oil Away is made from cottonseed oil.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wisconsin honey to stay pure and sweet

By Jill Blocker
March 22, 2010

Wisconsin residents with a sweet tooth for honey will only get the pure, bee-made stuff, thanks to a new law raising honey standards in the state.

Diluted or fake forms of the sweet, sticky substance labeled as honey is far too common, said Tim Fulton, president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, in the Kenosha News. He petitioned state Rep. Peter Baraca, D-Kenosha, to create a legal definition of honey to weed out imposters.

Some honey products include additives and can include no bee-produced content at all, said Fulton, according to the News.

“Corn and rice syrups are cheap, and anyone could put in any amount of that and still call it honey and do it legally,” he said. “Honey should be a product that comes from bees.”

The fake honey also hurts real honey producers’ business. Real honey can cost double of what imitation or blended products are sold for.

Gov. Jim Doyle signed the law last week, requiring the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to develop honey standards, according to the Times. The bill prohibits labeling a product as Wisconsin-certified honey or implying that a product is Wisconsin-certified honey when it contains additives or other ingredients. Honey at grocery stores and farmers’ markets are also affected by the new law.

The law provides standards consistent with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius, which says honey is bee-produced and without additives.

Diluted or blended honey products could be sold with appropriate labels established by the department.

“We’re not trying to ban people from selling products,” Baraca said. “We’re trying to get truth in advertising and give a competitive edge to our honey producers.”

In July, Florida became the first state to require “all-natural” honey sold in the state to be free of additives, chemicals or adulterants (any substance that alters the purity of honey). If honey sold in Florida is found to contain additives, sellers must cease sales of the altered product within state lines. Failure to comply can result in a $500 fine per violation.

There are no federal honey standards, but Fulton said U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have said they would consider a nationwide standard if enough states pass honey-regulation laws.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Website for keeping track of hives!

Check this out! this website offers tools to keep track of your hives, installation, inspections, etc....for those of you with 6 hives or less - it's FREE.

Monday, March 15, 2010

50's this week

was EVERYONE out checking bees this weekend!?!? in the shelter of the beehouse - i actually performed my "spring cleaning" and "hive body switch" on the two backyard hives. one is THRIVING and the other...alive.

from the strong hive - i brushed....maybe a couple thousand dead bees from the bottom board....very few. the cluster had made it into the middle of deep number two (this is a three deep hive....i'm experimenting) and had small areas of brood. deep number two was examined and placed on the bottom board (hive body switch). deep number one is now deep number two. it was still somewhat full of bees on some empty frames....these frames i kept in relative vertical position for the "cluster" (try not to break the cluster)....frames that were somewhat empty and empty of bees - i "checkerboarded" with honey frames.

"checkerboarding" is sometimes also called "nectar management". it's essentially re-arranging and alternating frames - one empty/one honey/one empty/one honey/etc. (WITHOUT breaking the cluster!!!)

deep number three was also checkerboarded with honey and some empty frames. the method behind this madness is to "give the bees room". this particular bee (feral by now) seemingly goes through a really strong SPRING BUILDUP....if i don't break up all the honey frames - they'll feel "honeybound" and swarm. what i've read on nectar managment, indicates that by alternating frames as this - the cluster and bees utilize more of the box.

...and getting back to the "alive" box. maybe a few thousand bees is all that's left!....and the queen (saw her - she was easy to find as they were guarding/protecting her). hindsight being 20/20....SOMETHING went on with this hive already last fall. i think it was taking a population dive at that time already. i had a queen issue with that hive mid-summer - maybe they requeened late. i got them down to one box....kept the cluster frames together in the corner and did what i could to remove icky frames and bees. ....likely won't make it through the remaining cool nights. didn't want to combine them with the strong hive...don't want to transfer any disease if that was the issue....i wish i had a nuc box - they might fare better in there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

new...discussion group link added

i will add a ECWBA discussion group link to the sidebar. beekeepers - use this are to discuss and ask questions about beekeeping or meeting material.

ECWBA Newsletter

1. Meetings. Here is the list of meeting dates for the remainder of 2010:

* March meeting: March 20, 2010, 9:30 am to 11:00 am at the Fond du Lac Public Library (click on the event calendar link at the bottom for directions/map).
* May meeting: May 22, 2010. Start time is at 1:00 pm. This will be the field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard (see below for further information and directions).
* July meeting: July 17, 2010. Place to be determined.
* September meeting: September 18, 2010. Place to be determined.

2. Meeting Topics. Here are the discussion topics to be covered at the meetings:

* March meeting: Package bee installation, splitting over-wintered colonies, and making nucleus colonies.
* May meeting: Field day at Denise Palkovich’s bee yard – look at beehives and Denise’s beekeeping operation.
* July and September meetings: To be determined.

3. March Meeting. The March, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the Fond du Lac County Library. The library’s address is: 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. To get there, take Main Street (north or south) to Sheboygan Street. Take Sheboygan Street east one block to Portland Street. Turn left (south) on to Portland and go about a half block to the library’s parking lot located on the east side of Portland Street.

4. May Meeting. The May, 2010, ECWBA meeting will be at the bee yard of Denise Palkovich. Start time is 1:00 pm. To get there, take State Highway 23 east out of Fond du Lac (Hwy. 23 is Johnson St. in Fond du Lac). Turn left onto Log Tavern Road (which is the first road after County Highway W). Take Log Tavern Road north to Pit Road. Take a right onto Pit Road and an almost immediate left turn to address of the bee yard by the brown ranch style house. The address is W1575 Pit Road, Mt. Calvary, WI. (click on event calendar link for directions/map)

* Attention: This is a field day, so bring your own bee veil, bee suit, gloves, etc., for safe and comfortable work around bees.
* The rain date for the May meeting is June 5, 2010. The place and time is the same.

5. Membership dues reminder. ECWBA membership dues for 2010 will remain at $15.00. Dues need to be paid by end of March, 2010, in order to continue receiving a newsletter and association communications.

Beekeeping Notes:

* Spring is definitely on the way. The bees have already begun to break cluster and go on their cleansing flights. This means it will soon be spring feeding time. Be prepared to feed sugar syrup and pollen supplements or substitutes.
* If you do use any medications for the control of diseases (nosema, American foul brood, mites, etc.) now is the time to obtain those. Study and learn how to properly to use those medication. Poorly applied medications can do more harm than good!
* Before things get going too fast in the spring and summer, this would be a good time to check on your honey gathering supplies and equipment. Will you need more honey supers? Queen excluders? Bee escapes? Jars and bottles for honey? Start planning ahead.

Best of beekeeping, Jeff Champeau, President, ECWBA, Telephone: 715-330-9969

P.S. You may send membership dues to the association’s treasurer or president at one of the following addresses: George Weigel, 268 Peters Ave., Fond du Lac, WI 54935 or Jeff Champeau, 145 N. Wisconsin Street, Berlin, WI 54923. Make checks payable to: East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association. A membership card will be returned to you promptly.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Southeastern District Meeting - WHPA

Where: Ashippun Fire Department
in Ashippun (south of Honey Acres) on County Hwy O - 1 block west of Hwy 67

When: 10 AM

Mark Gilberts, Over wintering and his success
Lee Heine, Honey Bill
Craig Petros, Colony Collapse
Mary Kettlewell, WHPA Honey Queen program
Abby Tracy, WHPA Honey Queen
Anna Kettlewell, ABF Convention
Potluck at noon

Less Invasive Beekeeping

Anarchy Apiaries (yes - that's their name) poses an interesting rational for top bar beekeeping. (skip down to the top bar hives and small cell beekeeping if you wish to focus on those topics.)