Saturday, August 29, 2015


For those of you who have a high speed internet connection there is a Disney movie, Wings of Life, that has several interesting clips of bumble and honey bees.  I believe Netflix has the movie in their library.  For those of you without Netflix you can view this four minute short "The Beauty of Pollination Wings of Life.  Portions of it show honey bees in action along with other critters.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


The Green Lake Public Library is looking for someone to give a presentation about beekeeping in the near future.  I suspect the ECWBA has support material, such as the life cycle of the bee, etc for your use.  If you are interested please contact Jeff Champeau (club President) so he knows the library's request is being addressed.  Jeff will also make sure that several people don't respond.  Jeff also knows what support material is available for a presentation.  I will go out on a limb and offer a free club membership next year to the volunteer.  If you desire you could do the presentation with more than one person.   Here is the message from the library.


The Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake would love to have a member of your group (or, if you are all too busy or too shy, someone you could recommend) give a presentation on beekeeping for a general adult audience. Could you please poll your members and see if anyone would be interested and available in either September or October? 

Thanks very much. I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda DeNell, Director
Caestecker Public Library 
518 Hill Street
Green Lake, WI

MORE EVIDENCE AGAINST NEONICS??? submitted by Beekeeper Denise

Establishing a definite link between neonictnoid pesticides and honey bee losses has been slow and difficult.  This article documents additional evidence on their detrimental effect on bees.


Is it time to harvest your honey.  These link provide a little guidance on when to do it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Late Summer Dearth by beekeeper Fred

The honey flow for the year is essentially complete.   The prime nectar sources have now completed their bloom.  In our area these were yellow sweet, white sweet, ladino and Dutch clovers.  Trees that contribute to the honey flow are basswood, linden and black locust.   These trees completed their contribution in June. 

There are a few plants still in flower, but they are not large nectar sources.  At best the bees are just able to break even.  A walk through the fields shows alfalfa, trefoil, goldenrod/ragweed, Joe Pye weed and thistles doing their part to feed the bees.  Goldenrod occasionally gives a good honey flow.  Soybeans are also still in bloom. 

Asters, a fall blooming flower, will begin flowering soon.  However, in rural areas asters are usually not very abundant unless artificially planted.  Bees in urban areas will work this flower family in earnest.  As a side note: Goldenrod is classified as part of the aster family.

With the late summer nectar dearth under way you should be on the lookout for robbing.  For weaker hives a good preventative measure is to install the entrance reducer with the 5 inch opening in position.  

National Honeybee Day submitted by beekeeper Gerard

Like all things relating to honey bee care beekeepers could not agree on the date of  National Honey Bee Day.  Various sources list it on either August 15th or August 22nd.  Here are several links to websites describing the purpose of National Honeybee Day.!national-honey-bee-day/c1p4t

I am sure there are many other web articles about National Honeybee Day.  Umm, is it Honey Bee or Honeybee?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mother Earth News Fair Report by Beekeeper Gerard

Clubmember Gerard attended the Mother Earth News Fair last weekend in Milwaukee in order to listen to some of the bee related seminars.  If other clubmembers attended please feel free to send in your own report or put it in the comments area of this report.  Here is his report. 

"Kathy and I went to the Mother Earth News Fair today, but we were both a bit disappointed.  Mother Earth News Marketplace would be more apropos in our viewpoint.

There was a huge turnout of people, and vendors covering a lot of topics to do with independent and sustainable living, but not so much in what we were personally hoping for.  They did have speakers on different stages discussing a variety of sustainable living practices (like crop growing, canning, solar power), but I was only interested in bee related topics and the speaker I wanted to catch , Kim Flottum (editor of Bee Culture magazine), wasn't scheduled until 5:30 and we needed to get home earlier than that.  Kathy is a fiber artist (spinner, weaver, knitter, spindler, etc.) and had expectations of seeing fiber animals and a variety of fibers for sale.  We only saw three Corriedale sheep and two adult Alpacas with two crias, but virtually no raw or unspun fiber for sale.  We did see some Shetland roving, but at $2.50/ounce we considered that not for sale either.

I did meet Shane Gebauer, owner/general manager of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, and got to tell him that their free shipping on orders over $150.00 was appreciated, and his employee Cathy, and my Kathy, convinced me to purchase a ventilated bee jacket.  I told Cathy that I had looked at them in their catalog before ordering a standard cotton replacement jacket this past spring, but wasn't sure that I could trust a jacket having vent holes.  She said they had given a suit to a fulltime beekeeper "down south" to test for a year (many days, 12 - 16 hours/day in the bee suit) and that he had reported back that he had been very comfortable, received very few stings, and that the suit was the most durable he had ever owned.  So I'll see.  It should be cooler, but it feels odd, kind of like a foam.  But Cathy swore by it.

I also complimented Cathy on the new veil I had gotten with the jacket.  It's a round zip on veil, and feels more durable than the zip on dome veil that I replaced several times due to tearing.  She said she has been using her round veil for 7 years now and it's held up perfectly, even to her kids walking on it.  So far I'm impressed with mine, and it's been tested on a couple of hot, humid afternoons!

I didn't see any other bee equipment vendors on site, but I did run into some Patz family members, of Patz Maple and Honey Farms in Pound, Wisconsin, and picked up some encapsulated propolis to save on shipping.  I've been purchasing it from them online for years, and it was nice to meet Clifford (founder) and his grandson in person.  They had several honey varietals for sale, and I told Clifford that I had recently extracted some honey that initially tastes like peaches and then morphs into a mint flavor.  He told me about a 120 acre patch of mint where he sites hives and gets purple pollen and honey with a hint of mint.  I told him I was offering my batch to friends and family only, to which he smiled and asked "See any mint on the table?".  

So there were a couple of bright spots in the day, but it felt more like a farmers market than a fair.  But in fairness (no pun intended), Mother Earth News is about a whole lot more than bees and fiber art.  There were talks on animal husbandry, living off the land, planting and growing crops in the country and in urban settings, food preservation, solar power, electric cars, seed saving, and the list goes on.  So we're glad we went, but we hope that it grows to include more things that truly make up a fair in the future.  Could've gone for Bloomin' Onion and an elephant ear.  :) "

Thank you for your report Gerard.  Clubmember participation in this blog is greatly appreciated.  Viewpoints of others make the blog more club oriented and less the viewpoint of the editor.  Clubmembers keep the articles coming!  Anytime you find sometime interesting you can email it to "".  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

13 Fascinating Facts about Bees submitted by Beekeeper Denise

Here are 13 interesting facts about bees.

SUMMER QUEEN LOSSES by beekeeper Fred

The summer is drawing to a close and I have been looking at my hive records.  I was pleased with my hive survival rate last winter, when I only lost about 18% of my hives.   This spring I began a program of apiary expansion with purchasing of new queens, raising queens, plus the purchase of a few packages.  This effort went very well and most new hives look to be winter ready without the need for heavy feeding.  Each package made a respectable honey crop.  No losses were detected with these first year queens.

However, the record of my over-wintered hives is more checkered.  Over the spring and summer about one quarter of the over-wintered hives have gone queenless.  This was mainly detected during weekly inspections, but also in a few cases by a decline of flight activity.  The losses have occurred across all queen types (Italian, Carni and Russian).  All were second year queens.  Also, I had to dispatch a 3rd year queen, which either turned into a drone layer or her pheromones were not strong enough to prevent laying workers.   The combined winter and summer losses point to a continued poor overall survival situation.

These summer losses seem to be the norm throughout the country.  See the article link below, which was written back in 2013.   Also, as a raiser of queens I have received numerous panic calls from beekeepers with queenless hives.  What is the experience of other club members?  Do any members conduct yearly queen replacement in the fall?  What is your experience with summer queen losses?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

ARE HONEYBEES IN TROUBLE OR NOT submitted by beekeeper Denise

This link provides two items.  The first is an informative discussion on the topic of  "Are Honeybees in Trouble or Not".  At the end of the discussion is a link to the American Beekeeping Federation website.  This website will be hosting four (4) webinars beginning in mid-August.  The topics are:

1) Know your mite load-it will discuss three methods for monitoring mite loads
2) Primetime with Honeybees-Parts I
3) Primetime with Honeybees-Part II
4) Primetime with Honeybees-Part III

If you have high speed internet connections you can listen and interact with the seminar presenters.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I came across an interesting short article in the August issue of American Bee Journal.  The article indicated that varroa mites have a lower tolerance to heat than honey bees.  Using this information a European has invented a hive which utilizes solar energy to raise the hive temperature above the level which the mites can tolerate.  After several hours at the elevated temperature the mites in the hive are killed; both those in brood or attached to bees.  The bees are unharmed.  At this point the thermosolar hive is in low volume production.  The inventor is trying to get crowd funding to expand the production.  For more information go to the following link:

Whether this will become another arrow in the anti-varroa arsenal only time will tell.