Friday, October 31, 2014

nice beekeeping site



of course - i found out JUST TODAY - that TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY to apply for 2015.  so if you're going to will be for program year 2016.  something is better than nothing.

i'm attaching the PDF <link> of the program details.

there was ONLY ONE PERSON who applied in FDL county! (he found out at the last minute and got his appointment in this morning)....then he brought me the paperwork to post!

you have to call the FDL USDA and MAKE AN APPOINTMENT with DEB:
Fond du Lac Area Office 
W6529 Forest Avenue, Suite 200 
Fond du Lac, WI 54937 
Phone: (920) 907-2976 
FAX: (855) 715-8480

Beekeeping with a honeybee allergy!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Trees for Bees

Winter is on its way.  Just like gardeners, beekeepers will be perusing their new 2015 catalogs.  Beekeepers typically look at new equipment to buy and assemble during the winter months.  Gardeners are looking at seed and tree catalogs.  Beekeepers should take a cue from the gardeners and also look at tree catalogs.  Everyone associates bees and flowers, but in reality much of the pollen and nectar gathered by bees is from trees. 
Planting trees for the bees is a long term proposition.  Unlike flowers which provide pollen and nectar within one (annuals) to two years (perennials), trees typically require several more years before flowering.  However, the reward for waiting is a larger source of pollen and nectar as the tree continues to grow each year.  In addition trees cool the environment, provide seeds, fruit or nuts for wildlife, and shelter for wildlife.  Trees, which grow vertically, provide more pollen and nectar than flowers on the same area of ground. 
So for next year think about planting a few bee beneficial trees.  Here are a few recommended native trees:
-American Basswood (also called a linden tree)—one of the best sources of pollen and nectar.  Old time beekeepers tried to locate their apiaries near basswood do to the heavy honey flow associated with this tree.   The Wisconsin DNR occasionally sells basswood seedlings.
-Black locust—A good source of late spring nectar
-Pussy willow—A good source of early spring pollen
-Littleleaf Linden-late summer blooming.  A good nectar source.
-Willow—Another source of spring pollen
-Sourwood—Blooms in early summer and is a good source of nectar and pollen
-Catalpa—blooms in late spring
-Southern Magnolia—although primarily known for their flowers  they are a good nectar source
-Tulip tree—Sometimes mistaken called a magnolia, it also is a good nectar source. 
-Redbud—Good spring pollen source
For more information on trees beneficial to bees do an internet search on the following titles:
--“10 Best North American Trees for Bees”
--“Plant Trees for Bees”
--Trees for Bees   This site is sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation and sells tree seedlings at a reasonable price.
So while you are snuggled inside during the cold winter weather think about planting a few bee friendly trees next spring.   ...Beekeeper, Fred


making MEAD

HONEY WINE: <link>

here in FDL, you can get some "wine making supplies" at NEEDSOME SUPPLIES and at THE CELLAR.  both on main street.  needsome is down, kiddie corner from goodwill/tuckers south.  needsome carries some of the more BASIC EQUIPMENT needed for brewing.  the cellar is mid-main, about 6th street? across from mazatlan mexican restaurant.  YOU'LL GET A TON more help and information from THE CELLAR guy.  he has books on wines (and beers).  if beer is more your thing - try making a HONEY beer....he has both KITS and separate ingredients.

i personally "love" the idea of fermentation.  fermented foods are AS OLD AS THE HILLS and good for you!  here's my motto; FERMENTATION HAPPENS.

when i harvest honey...i set aside all the UNCAPPED frames for extraction separately AT THE END.  i want to keep this honey SEPARATE in case it's "too wet".  honey that's "too wet" - will FERMENT - and could potentially "spoil" your bottled honey.  i promptly make this WET honey into MEAD.  i have two 5 gallon carboys bubbling away right now.  this years flavors are a WHITE GRAPE and a CRAN-APPLE. smells good in my store-room.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

beekeeping TSHIRTS


there are more beekeeper T's and GIFTS at: CAFEPRESS


For those of you footloose and fancy free with NOTHING to do this weekend (no one I know!)...KANSAS FAIR. (put on my Mother Earth News?)  click the link and look through the speakers - A COUPLE beekeeping things to pickup well as ALL THE OTHER TANTALIZING subjects!!!

Gosh - it's out of MY weekend plans...but I PUT IT ON MY CALENDAR FOR NEXT YEAR!  Topeka Kansas - Here We Come :)

a frosty morning

sides are on....canvas front coming down.  they're slowing down their intake on the sugar syrup buckets.  i want to get a powdered sugar/nosema treatment in this weekend yet. and one more before "the end".  recipe for powdered sugar/nosema on RECIPE page.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Everyone asks me about this.  I'll try to explain.

(1) "Wax Dumplings".  I stand at the kitchen sink with a light flow of WARM water - grab a handful of cappings and make "balls" under the warm water - kneading and squeezing the ball harder and harder. The warm water carries the honey away.  Squeeze and knead until it gets too hard to do so anymore - and move on to the next ball. You won't get all the honey out and it is not imperative to do so.  And this doesn't make a mess of the sink - don't worry about that.

(2) Melt the "dumplings".  I have a "campfire" coffee pot. And I have a SIMMER sized burner on my gas stove that makes LESS of a flame!!  (some of you might not be able to get your stovetop heat that low)  How you do the melting part may depend on your heat source.  You want a SLOW steady heat.  You DO NOT want to get the melt "ROLLING".  NEVER TURN YOUR BACK on wax and flame!!!!  Some of you may have a DOUBLE BOILER.  Some may do this in a crockpot and ladle it out.  You NEED SOMETHING THAT WILL POUR decently.  What I like about my "campfire coffee pot is....look at picture #4 - it has a little built-in "sieve" - it holds back some of the GUNK.  (will explain that more later).  SO - I'M MELTING the balls over a VERY SMALL flame - as the liquid becomes visible around the edges (half way up the pot) - I start pouring.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ENTIRE batch to go liquid - you can keep pouring it off as it melts.

(3) Pour the liquid into styrofoam cups or bowls.

(4) Getting back to the GUNK.  As you keep pouring off the more "pure" wax - your concentration of GUNK (honey and propolis and beeparts) becomes more concentrated.  Just keep pouring off as much liquid as you can.  (That's where the built-in sieve comes in handy) The last couple pours - will be entirely GUNK - there's too little wax in it to even worry about - these pours will be thrown away. (yes - pour every last bit of GUNK out and into the styrofoam cups or bowls)  And wipe out your container while it's still warm with paper towels - be careful about HOT WAX - it will burn you in a second! (but it's easier to wipe out the containers when still warm - maybe use some rubber gloves to withstand the heat).

(5) When ENTIRELY cool (about 2 hours) - your wax will pull away from the sides of the syrofoam.  THE PURE WAX FLOATS TO THE TOP.  The bottom will mostly be honey...and it can be deceptively hot yet in the styrofoam. (I do this in the sink) Peel back the styrofoam to get your hands on the wax and pull it out - the liquid below is honey (DON'T consume this or give it to your bees - wash it down the sink!).  Again - you'll use WARM water to wash away the honey from the wax "cone".  Rub off some of the other impurities that collect on the bottom of the wax.  It's ok if it's a little brown with propolis.  If you don't want to use this "dirty" wax in your product - you can cut/scrape it off when you make something with it.

(6) THE CLEAN WAX - the final product.

Tips and Tricks.  Use COMET to help clean up wax from utensils.  Spread out NEWSPAPER on your surface for easy cleanup.  Use PAPER PLATES to "pour" over - then you can come back an peel up that good wax - waste not/want not.  Use PAPER TOWEL for wiping off the lip/edge from pouring.  In general - have PAPER TOWEL handy.  BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with hot wax - it will burn you in a second - pouring can sometimes splatter - keep pets and spouses/helpers at safe distances.  BE CAREFUL - wax is extremely flamable!  Don't pour around an open flame and don't get wax "rolling" and smoking hot!  MELT - don't cook!  YES - IT TAKES SOME TIME!  This batch probably took me 1.5 hours to melt down - it's THAT SLOW.  (DO NOT use any of those electric "hot water pots" - they're way too hot - too quick - and there's no way to regulate the heat - they are all or nothing heat sources)

Can you use a sieve?  Yes - but I don't think you need to - the WAX will separate out from the impurities all by itself.  Beeswax is REALLY STICKY...and you'll never use that sieve again - for anything other than this process if you do!

some little clips from around the internet

• Can't Sleep? Honey might do the trick! LINK
• Benefits of Honey LINK
• Honey & Cinnamon Remedies LINK

Thursday, October 9, 2014

removing bees from honey supers

another nice ARTICLE from mother earth news.

Fall Beekeeping

Cold nights (and days) start the bees going into CLUSTER.  Automatically, they tend to push the population DOWN to the bottom box - keeping their stored food above them.  COLD NIGHTS = SUGAR SYRUP BUCKETS.  They need to fill every nook and cranny of their boxes with food for winter.

My BIG HIVE - my BIG PRODUCER is GONE.  After harvest, she dwindled to "nothing"...and I suspect she was the origin of the late swarm.  The long and the short is - Big Hive was QUEENLESS and Swarm was QUEENLESS.  WHY this happens - who knows!  All of the populations were combined with other hives and equipment reduced by using the bee-escape board (maze).  I HIGHLY recommend a BUNCH of these boards (bee-escapes) for not only clearing supers for harvest - but they really make it easy to clear equipment ANYTIME of the year and for ANY OTHER reason.  I also use them to keep bees (and mice) OUT of equipment. I put one on the bottom and one on the top of my storage stacks - it also helps with ventilation.

The loss of my big producer has sent me on a QUEST to find out more about late season queenlessness and hive failure.  It has me wondering - HOW MANY HIVES ARE WE ACTUALLY LOSING IN THE FALL? - only to overwinter them - and blame their failure "on winter" come spring?

This weekend is pretty much the last look for me.  Their second thymol treatment comes out...and EACH OF THEM WILL BE CHECKED for QUEEN (or brood).  If I find any queenlessness - it's going to be a scramble to get those combined with queened hives. product

Bees Wrap
instead of plastic wrap....

Monday, October 6, 2014

you'll like this



i'm not much on clogging up my email INBOX with gunk...but this NEWSLETTER - I REALLY can follow the links to lots of good little "nature" tidbits - signup for:  MOTHER EARTH NEWSLETTER

Thursday, October 2, 2014

this makes sense

we all know that PESTICIDES kill bees - no brainer.
HERBICIDES and FUNGICIDES are NOT bee-safe either!  the bees are gathering in the pollens of all these sprayed crops...and taking that pollen home to feed babies.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICITY is building up in the hives - and they're succumbing. beekeepers - it's important to help keep the toxicity levels down in the hive....PRACTICE A FRAME MANAGEMENT SYSTEM - where you replace a percentage of foundation/wax in your hives ANNUALLY!