Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ECWBA Newsletter - April 20, 2013

1.  Here is the current list of meeting dates and places for 2013:
·         June 8, 2013, Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.  Field day at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield (see note below).  This is a change from the original announcement of June 15.
·         July13, 2013, Saturday morning at 9:30 am.  Meeting at extension office in Oshkosh (see note below).
·         September meeting to be determined.  Most likely in Ripon on September 14.
2.  June Field Day.  The field day this year will be held at Jeff Champeau’s bee yard in Oakfield.  There will be no formal meeting conducted.  Just come prepared to look at beehives in various stages of development.  This is a good opportunity for new beekeepers to see what established colonies look like.  Start time will be 1:00 pm.  Address and driving directions: N3415 Highway Y South, Oakfield, WI.  Oakfield is located about 10 miles southwest of Fond du Lac.  Take Highway Y (same as Oak Street) south out of Oakfield (past the old 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 have to be along the road.  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. There will be no rain date for this field day.
3.  July Meeting.  The July meeting of the ECWBA will be held at the Winnebago County UW Extension Office.  Meeting date and time is Saturday, July 13, at 9:30 am.  The address for the extension office is 625 East County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI.  Driving directions:  Take US Highway 41 north bound to the Highway 76 & Jackson Street exit.  Exit Hwy. 41 onto Jackson Street south.  Drive south on Jackson Street about a mile (or two) to Hwy Y at stop and go lights.  Turn left, travelling on Hwy. Y, and drive approximately a mile to address. The extension office is on the right side of the street, located in the James P. Coughlin Center building.  There will be meeting with a presentation focused on the summer and fall management of colonies for the newly established (first year) beekeeper.
Beekeeping Notes:
·         As of this writing, package bees are starting to arrive at the suppliers.  Some package bee orders have been delayed until the first week of May.
·         Due to the long and continuing winter and the absence of any resemblance of spring time weather, the new package bees will definitely have to be fed sugar syrup and pollen substitutes.  Feeding sugar syrup is especially necessary for new beekeepers installing bees into hives with only foundation in the frames.
·         Continue feeding overwintered hives until we see something on which the bees can forage.
·         If you apply any disease or mite controls in the spring, get what you need now and be prepared to apply the controls when necessary.  Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s directives on the label for the recommended dosage and application technique.  If you pick up bees at a beekeepers supply store, the suppliers usually have a good inventory of medications for controlling diseases and mites.
·         Don’t forget to take your shopping list along to the beekeeper supply store when you pick-up your package bees.  It is a good time to pick-up your extra supplies while you are there.
·         Attend the June 8th field day.  Jeff will be talking about his one brood chamber method of beekeeping.  This will also be a great opportunity for new beekeepers to get some “super”-vised hands-on experience.
I look forward to seeing you all at the June 8, 2013, field day.
Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Monday, April 22, 2013

4 out 5 survivors

4 out of 5 surviving the winter of 2012-2013.

Hind-site is always 20/20...
What happened to "Pandora" this year's dead hive (last year's MOTHER hive).

Sometime around harvest or after - I believe Pandora and her SISTER hive went queenless.  Why - don't know.  I've suspected these last years that this bee breed in my boxes likes to supersede in fall  (I've been splitting my survivor stock for three years now - my "original" stock going back to Bee-Weaver All Stars....six, seven years ago)  Is their queenlessness due to a supersedure gone wrong?

I caught Pandora's Sister's queenlessness last fall - and combined her boxes/workers with two other hives (one being this year's strong hive ...and the other one's not too bad either)

But Pandora went into winter as a queenless hive...and as a result....what do I find this spring?  Not a bee in the box.  The hive is packed full of honey and pollen - all three deeps.  Nicely cleaned out for me.  I set these frames aside for spits or starting another hive.  I'm hoping for at least one swarm catch this year.

As you can see - I have one REALLY STRONG hive coming out of winter (shown).  I've renamed this one "NASTY HIVE".  They're really really cranky, clingy - not in a friendly way.  The slightest movement or noise around them sets them off.  I'm really glad I saved this one for LAST when I cleaned out hives/bottom boards/hive body switched this weekend.  I split this hive - even though I had second thoughts about propagating "nasty" genes....

Everyone got cleaned out, switched, and pollen pattied (the first year I'm trying this).  one cluster is VERY small.  I put them back in the bottom position and took my best frames and made them a new top box to grow into.  I DID discover with this small cluster - they had a BAD NOSEMA outbreak sometime during the winter....I BURNED 10 of their frames.  Not that you have to burn nosema frames - I did because - I didn't want the spores on the equipment...and/or - I don't want them "getting back into it" - reinfecting themselves.  This cluster is going to get a small treatment of powdered sugar/fumagilinB.

ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING thing I found in cleaning.  I use - screened bottom boards.  Primarily around the perimeter of the screen/wood....PROPOLIS-ed COCOONS.  cocoons of wax moth?


From Mt.Calvary to St.Peter - still in the holyland...

The beehouse got WHEELS April 7.  We got to the hives early in the morn to wrap them to keep them inside, while their house was jacked-up and trailer-ed.  (We used white window sheers - breathable)  Pre-inspection showed that the east hive was VERY ACTIVE...lots of bees coming out to see what was going on.  (ha ha...they couldn't get us)

We secured the hives from sliding on the deck with some homemade "L" brackets...then we "leveled out" the top covers and lashed them all down with a 2 x 4 x 14 across the top - lashed it down with ratchet-ties.  We managed not to make too big of a mess out of the lawn...it was still COLD in the morning.

Here they are arriving at their new home....

Here they are in place.

All in all....went (surprisingly) SMOOTH.

BEE-ing a GOOD NEIGHBOR....madison hives