Wednesday, January 28, 2015

great book for kids

A teacher friend of mine just told me last night that the 3rd grade (fond du lac) is reading through a MYSTERY book - "The Mystery of the Disappearing Honeybees, by Bo Grayson".  (this is the first book i've NOT found to be available on amazon).  Sounds like it's pretty accurate - and it's asking the same questions and pointing in the same directions as WE ARE....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Have you registered?  or have you UPDATED your data yet?  it's important to keep the data FRESH in these things : DRIFTWATCH

Also - REMINDER - register with FDL FSA for HIVE LOSS.  As i understand it - though this is 2014's "form"...the program is continuing. take a look at the form...and get yourself down to the FDL FSA office - you may be eligible for some HELP ($) RESTOCKING (packages) in 2016.  you have to be enrolled in the program the PRIOR YEAR to qualify.  If you apply this year - you'll be eligible to claim losses in 2016.   FSA FDL BEE PROGRAM

Monday, January 26, 2015

Looking back: 2014 - Looking forward: 2015

Looking back: 2014....I had 6 hives "on the deck" all summer long.  Only two HUGE / MASSIVE / UNBELIEVABLE producers.  The other four just PUTTZED ALONG all summer (how do you spell PUTTZED ?)  I chalked it up to WHO KNOWS what goes on in bee brains.  After harvest, the largest hive dwindled to NOTHING - lost the queen - and remaining population was combined with other hives...WHO KNOWS?!?!  The other producer went WAY DOWN in population and strength...but held on.  Lost one more hive last fall - it was having a hard time - apparently struggling to requeen. OVERALL: 4 hives are in overwintering status.

Looking forward: 2015....I'm planning a genetic change...  I'm not entirely happy with package choices.  I'm GOING RUSSIAN.  I have four Russian Queens ordered from COY.  Due for arrival end of May.  Plan A: if I have any surviving hives....I'm planning on using them / splitting them to "serve" my russian queens.  Plan B: if I don't have sufficient population to split, I'm planning a split/population infusion from another beekeeper (Miksa).  I have FOUR NUC boxes ready for this purpose. My thinking: starting these queens in 5 frames requires less equipment, workforce...and they're easier to keep an eye on.  I've gotten one word of caution from another Russian keeper...."they'll fill your nuc box PRONTO - keep an eye out."

Of course - it's beekeeping...and a lot of FINGER CROSSING and experimentation.

beekeeping tshirt FOR FUN!


ECWBA Newsletter January 2015

ECWBA Meeting Schedule 2015
February 21, 2015.  Location will be the Ripon Public Library, downstairs in the Silver Creek Room.  Start time is 9:30 am.
April 11, 2015 (???).  Location will probably be Fond du Lac.
May/June 2015.  Field day?  Location to be determined.
September, 2015.  Location will probably be Ripon.

February 2015 Meeting
The February meeting will be an open discussion format.  There will be a short business meeting with discussion following.  Probable topics will include getting started for beginners, spring survival, ordering bees, etc.

Memberships for 2015
The membership dues are $5.00 for a one year membership.  One membership entitles the member(s) to receive the newsletter, to vote on officer elections and organizational business issues, and to hold a position as an officer.  A membership may include more than one person (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child, etc.), but only one newsletter will be sent out and only one vote may be cast per membership.

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:
Secure an order of package bees or nucs for spring delivery.  It’s best to order early to assure that you’ll be able to get bees.
Now is a good time to plan and purchase equipment for 2015.  This gives you plenty of time to assemble and paint any new hive components.
Best of Beekeeping,
Jeff Champeau ECWBA President

Monday, January 5, 2015


I don't even know how it's possible... But this book (on fermentation) has THE BEST EXPLANATIONS of honey (mead), pollen, propolis, royal jelly, wax, bee far as what it is and it's properties, how the bees make it... The most in depth information over all the books on my shelves (about bees!)... which is many!!! and in 40 pages - one chapter.  This author believes that MEAD is the oldest fermented brew. Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Herrod Buhner.

here's a little ditty about royal jelly....

"Whereas honey, propolis, and bee pollen all differ from location to location and country to country, no differences have been found in the royal jelly produced by bee throughout the world.  Moisture content is about 66%, protein 12.5%, fat 5.5%, carbohydrate 12.5% and 4.5% of the content of royal jelly has not been identified.  Due to the high moisture and nutritive content of royal jelly, it should be an excellent medium for bacterial growth, but it is not - neither in the hive nor out.  One compound of royal jelly that might explain this is 10-hydroxy-2-deconoic acid, which possesses strong antibacterial and antifungal activity and makes up 2 to 3 percent of royal jelly....."

and it goes on and on....  basically the book is going down the road of YOU ARE WHAT YOU (EAT) DRINK...that the "VALUE" of substances in our food and drink come through and aid our health and immunity.

Florida NUCS available?

We all know PACKAGES are going to be over the $100 mark this spring.  Is a NUC a viable option at or about the same price?  Andy Miksa - "local" / Florida commercial beekeeper has expressed some interest in putting together NUCS for interested local beekeepers and bringing them up with him this spring.  He has a "base" established in the Mt. Calvary area.  If you're interested in exploring this as an OPTION - contact him directly at or 352-348-4002.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Russian Queens

Several club members expressed interest in "Russian" queens.  Member - Beekeeper Fred will be raising Russian queens this year again, but probably won't have laying queens until late June unless its a warm spring.   If you want an early start, procurement of Russian queens from a southern supplier is recommended.  Here are a few sources:     Charges $35 each for small quantities.  Availability as early as mid April.      Charges $36 each for less than 10.  Mid April availability.  This is an Iowa producer.  Charges $30 each.  Availability in June.  This site also has a good write up on Russian bees.