Friday, August 27, 2010

sticky board DEBRIS

archaeologists are in seventh-heaven when they discover a GARBAGE PIT - why? 'cause you can tell A LOT about people by their GARBAGE.

yet ANOTHER REASON to love a screened bottom board with a sticky trap....DEBRIS. you can learn a lot about what's going on in the hive by looking at the GARBAGE.

hmmm? what are these elongated - smaller than mouse poop "droppings" (the dark - almost black spots)???

WAX WORM DROPPINGS!!!! yup - confirmed - found her and SQUISHED her.

NORMAL hives would be able to fend off this intruder...but this was in my WEAK, queenless hive (that i've been waiting to (more or less) die down and do SOMETHING with when the supers are off the other hives) well - when i discovered this - i tore the hive apart (killed the big juicy intruder) and put the frames in full light. winter and a freeze should take care of other eggs in there - but that's a little way off yet. LIGHT deters them too - they prefer to do their evil in darkness. the handful of remaining bees will have to beg at another door.

it seems i caught it in time - there's very little damage on about 4 frames. i'll probably opt to replace the wax foundation on these....and give them a FLAME treatment with a propane torch (to kill anything in the nooks and crannies of the wood frame)

OTHER things i've noted by examining the sticky boards side by side:
* WHERE the cluster/activity is in the hive (location of debris)
* relative "population"/strength of the hive compared to other hives (amount of debris)

* the majority of the debris seems to be CAPPINGS (from brood)...lots of debris = lots of hatching?
* there's a fair bit of pollen at times - does it fall off when they're in-route to storage? if they're packing pollen - that's another good sign of brood needs....

Monday, August 23, 2010

ECWBA Newsletter - August 22, 2010

1. Last Meeting of 2010. The last meeting for the East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association is September 18, 2010. Start time is 9:30 am. We will meet at the Ripon Public Library downstairs in the Silver Creek Room. A short business meeting will be followed by an open discussion about this past summer’s production and also about over-wintering bees.

2. September Meeting Challenge!!! Here’s a little challenge for anyone planning to attend the September meeting. I would like each member to bring in an idea for a new and different topic to be presented or discussed during next year’s meeting presentations. Here’s your chance to help determine the topics you want to hear and learn about. Topics can be anything related to beekeeping.

3. Next year. The September meeting will be the last meeting for 2010. The first meeting of 2011 will be in January. Date, time, and place are to be determined. This year was the second 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 established the foundation for establishing a local organization focused on beekeeper development. Let's sustain the momentum we've gained into a third successful year.

4. Election, Election, Election!!! I know, I know…the last thing you want to hear about right now is another election!!! In 2011, the offices of vice-president and treasurer will be up for election. The positions are currently held by Don Palkovich as Vice President and George Weigel as Treasurer. Both, Don and George, have done a great job in their respective positions. Here’s an opportunity to be come directly involved with the ECWBA. Please consider running for either of these offices -- a little “electorial competition” would be great to see. If you are interested in being a candidate for one of these offices, please contact Jeff Champeau by phone or e-mail.

5. Internet Blog note. The blog has up-to-date information about the ECWBA and other beekeeping information and commentary.

6. Membership. For next year, 2011, 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. Dues will remain at $15.00 for a yearly membership.

7. Classified Advertising in the Newsletter. If any member has a beekeeping-related product, item, or service for which you would like to buy, trade, or sell, I can run an advertisement in the ECWBA newsletter. There will be no charge for this service for any member in good standing. I will run the ad for three months or until you request that the ad is discontinued. Any advertising that is considered inappropriate will not be published. You may send the ad-copy to Jeff Champeau by e-mail to or call me at 715-330-9969. Please be sure, at a minimum, to include: details about the product, item, or service; asking price; and your personal contact information.

Beekeeping Notes:

  • Be sure to manage your honey harvest to ensure enough honey remains on the hive for winter survival.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Start planning for the fall application of mite and disease controls. Also, plan for feeding bees if honey stores are inadequate.

If you have any questions, 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

Best of beekeeping,

Jeff Champeau

President, ECWBA

Telephone: 715-330-9969

Monday, August 16, 2010

IT'S ALIVE! (making mead)

i had a 5 gal sugar syrup pail full of "bee honey" from last year. it was "broken comb" and misc. honey scrapings that i set aside for "emergency feeding". i used some - but of course by this time - it's all crystallized into a solid state.

i melted/heated it all down - got the wax out separated from the honey....and ended up with 15# of honey...(10 to 15# is what you need for 5 gals of mead).

this years recipe is seasoned with orange zest and several "spice teas" (good earth, lemon zinger, etc)

technically - an "herbed or spiced" mead is called a METHEGLIN. (a fruit juice/honey combination is called a MELOMEL)

so - it's BUBBLY and ALIVE in it's "mash" state - in the crock. stir once/twice daily for 10 days.

ok - what is a swarm in AUGUST?

july - not worth a fly
august - A BUST?

recaptured a swarm (from one of my summer swarm hives) put them in a hive box SATURDAY...and RE-put them in a box SUNDAY. they did NOT want to stay. I gave them some "incentive" on sunday. i both SPRAYED the comb with sugar syrup....AND i gave them a SUGAR SYRUP BUCKET.

decisions - decisions. there's NO TIME for this swarm to make it. NO TIME for them to build comb and store enough food for winter.

i'm pretty sure i know which hive this came from - when i RE-HIVED them.....some seemingly wanted to drift back "home". knowing this.....i might put these two hives back together for winter. i could separate the two queen boxes with a queen excluder (and the whole newspaper method) - put the "honey" box above them......or....i could look for the "stronger" queen and pinch one.

need a quick queen?

If anyone needs a queen in short order, contact Greg Peyer. He has a good queen he would like to sell. Contact Greg directly at


the results of the poll (only TWO VOTED!) where are all of you? one for august - one for september.

the reason for the see how EARLY (or late) beekeepers were harvesting. the TREND has been heading for EARLIER (Late August) HARVESTS for northern beekeepers. in August - the bee population is starting it's decline and the varroa population is at it's peek....this is the time to get the honey off and start your FALL TREATMENTS for varroa if you really want to hit them hard before the winter.

i really had my harvest set for the last weekend of August - but then something came i had to push it to labor day weekend.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the "bitter" end?

the goldenrod has started blooming - next will be the purple asters....for me - that marks the "bitter end" of the nectar season. the goldenrod and aster honey will make the hives smell "sour" by month's end.

where has the summer gone? it seems i've had no "enjoyment" of the backyard - running from the mosquitoes! who knew it was going to rain every 3 or 4 days this year? it made for a HUGE CROP of "wisconsin's state bird - the mosquito". after i checked the hives this weekend - i opted to KEEP THE BEE SUIT ON harvest the garden!