Thursday, July 31, 2014

ECWBA JULY Newsletter

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2014
• Location is Ripon Public Library, Silver Creek Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.
• Location will be the Fond du Lac Public Library, downstairs in the McLain Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.

August and September Meetings
Both the August and September will be open discussion formats.  There will be short business meetings with discussion following.  Probable topics will include summer and fall mite control, honey harvesting, honey marketing, winter preparation, etc.

ECWBA Library
The ECWBA maintains a library from which members can check out beekeeping books.  Andy Krueger has been doing a great job as our association librarian.  If you have ECWBA books, please bring them back so we can keep those books circulating.  If you are exploring something new in beekeeping, the library probably has a book or DVD for you to check out.  This is a valuable resource – use it to your advantage!!!

Beekeeping Notes:
• This year’s honey harvest is almost here.  Arrange for extracting equipment, comb honey handling equipment, storage containers (small jars up to 5 gal. pails), etc.
• Start thinking about fall and winter.  Develop a plan for overwintering to include fall feeding, medications, and hive covers.

Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau

Sunday, July 13, 2014

BIG PROBLEM in the "beehouse" tonight

My BIG PROBLEM was that I'm not BIG ENOUGH! I have two hives that are now 5 SUPERS HIGH...and every box is FULL and HEAVY!!!!!  Since I super on the bottom...I had to take them all off and restack.  Down works by gravity - but UP???!  By the time I got to # 5 (on top)...I had NO MORE LIFTING POWER!  There I was standing with a 50/75# sticky box of bees (and a husband in the house that doesn't go anywhere near the girls!)....  I grabbed what I had available - a cement block which made me about 8 inches taller.  (and all the while I'm balancing on it - I'm thinking - don't twist an ankle! or fall off!)

If these hives go for another super - I'm going to have to take a ladder out there.  Better yet - I'm going to call a beekeeper friend.

....and of course while I was "keeping" - I'm eyeing the other hives and determining their "futures" for FALL/WINTER.  My early season split isn't doing well.  They requeen, and requeen....they've dwindled to about 1 deep of bees.  By the eggs and larvae - they have a new queen....but I see they're feeding supersedure cells.  Even though they're small, I don't want to give up on them.  If they supersede late - they might try going into winter with both queens. (I've had hives do this before).  (to get them through - I'm eyeing this up for overwintering on top of it's mother hive)  These are the TINY BEES (I'm thinking they're truly FERAL bees and I'd like to keep their genetic line...)

DON'T GIVE UP TOO SOON is the lesson of the year. Of the 4 (of 8) that came out of winter this year, ATHENA was the smallest surviving cluster.  And she's ONE OF THE BEST HIVES THIS SEASON (5 supers)  and NASTY HIVE who's made it through 4/5? winters? - has great population (she's superceded/requeened) - but she has NO INTEREST in making honey for me this year.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Strawberry Jam with HONEY instead of sugar!!!

Strawberry Jam
Makes 7 half-pints

•  6 cups strawberries
• 1 box powdered pectin
• 2 cups honey
• 1/4 cup lemon juice

Mash berries, add pectin, stir well to dissolve. Bring to boil. Stir in honey & lemon juice. Bring to 9 degrees F above boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, seal, and hot water bath for 15 minutes.