Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015


Its surprising that even in Africa there is a worry about the decline in bee population.  Here is an article discussing about how industrialized farming results in a decrease in the diversity of bee food and affects the health of the bees.


Monday, October 19, 2015


The time to feed your hives with liquids in preparation for winter is essentially at an end.   There are several reasons for this.
      1)      With temperatures below 57F for much of the day the bees will be in cluster in order to maintain temperature.  They typically won’t go far from the cluster to feed.   Each day there is only a short window when the hive temperature is warm enough for the bees to be active.  It’s not like midsummer when the bees are working 24 hours per day.
      2)      The internal hive temperature essentially matches the air temperature outside of the hive.  At these cooler temperatures the bees will not be able to evaporate the water from the liquid feed (usually sugar water) to keep it from spoiling.

       3)      The temperature of the liquid feed also cools to the outside air temperature.  The bees typically will not feed from cold liquids.

       4)      With the bees in cluster, an external Boardman type feeder essentially becomes useless since the bees won’t  break cluster to feed from it.  Also you chance breakage of the feeder if ice forms inside.   
       5)      It can be dangerous to use an internal plastic feeder because if the liquid freezes the feeder may split and drench the bees with cold liquid.  This is a death sentence for the wet bees.

The next best thing you can do now is to provide your bees with some type of winter emergency feed, which should be added later.  When the cluster eats its way to the top of the hive the cluster will warm and eat food provided at the top, but only for a very short distance away from the cluster where the cluster heat still warms the bees and food.   Alternate methods of winter feeding will be discussed in a future article. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015


On Saturday, October 17th, the club president, Jeff Champeau, presented a short beekeeping overview to a variety of attendees.  The 15 attendees were from Berlin, Princeton and Green Lake.  The attendees included current beekeepers, past beekeepers thinking of starting again, those considering getting into the hobby and a few participants just interested in bees.  The overview provided presentations on three beekeeping topics; beekeeping equipment, the life cycle of the queen workers and drones, and a beekeepers tasks for a period of one year.  All attendee questions were answered.  Although scheduled for an hour duration the questions resulted in the presentation continuing for roughly 2 1/4 hours.  These small venues are good for public education and beekeeper recruiting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Getting Started with Honey Bees and Beekeeping

Date and Time:  Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 10:00 am.

Place:  Caestecker Library, Green Lake, WI

Title and Subject of Presentation:  Getting Started with Honey Bees and Beekeeping.  The talk will include discussion of the current  state of honey bees, honey bee biology, beekeeping equipment, and getting a hive started in the spring.  The presentation will be about an hour long with about a half hour for questions.

This will be open to the public for attendance.  ECWBA members are encouraged to attend to provide a variety of perspectives regarding beekeeping.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Neonics especially hard on Queens? Revised

Here is another article citing research that confirms neonictinoid pesticides are especially hard on queen bees.  This article is mostly fluff without a lot of detail.  I will try to dig into the research further.


More details are available.  The results are in text and graphic form.  It shows that queens exposed to neonics had a 34% survival reduction compared to normal bees.  Maybe that's why I lost so many queens during the summer season.  To see the report scroll down in the above link.  Click on the report "10.1038/SREP14621".  For some reason I couldn't link up to this report any other way.

These articles mentioned two neonictinides; clothianidin and thiamethoxam.    Clothianidin is used on corn seed.  Not sure what the prime use of thiamethoxam.

Friday, October 9, 2015

WAX MOTHS by beekeeper Fred

After beekeeping for 6 years I have seen my first case of a mild wax moth infestation.  I didn’t see any wax moths but did see the wax moth larvae.  I think I was lucky in that the infestation was rather small.  They appeared to have gained a foot hold in a hive that was in decline.  The hive appears to have been queenless, which the beekeeper (ie. Me) did not detect.  The hive had also been robbed out.  The sudden decline in flight activity alerted me that something was amiss.   The hive had done a good job through the honey flow, filling one deep and one medium.  Being lazy I quit the biweekly inspections due to the difficulty of moving the full deep.  If I had done so I would have detected the decline in time to re-queen the hive.  

At any rate the wax moth(s) was able to gain entrance into the hive and lay eggs which progressed to the larvae stage.  In total I found about 6 cocooned larvae and may 10 more active larvae.  I removed all larvae and cocoons.  Cold weather will kill any I have missed.  There are no bees remaining in the hive to keep the larvae warm.   See the photos below for pictures of the larvae and cocoons. 

I haven’t seen any larvae or cocoons in any other active hives, so conclude that a strong hive quickly ejects a wax moth trying to enter the hive to lay eggs. 

                                           Batch of cocoons and one larvae in corner of box
                                Larvae silk. Also, look at comb bees built when I left out a frame.

                                                                    Several larvae.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


The USDA is again offering aid to farmers and landowners for the planting of bee forage.  This year another $4 million is being offered.  The $4 million however is spread over 5 states.  To receive the money requires the filling out the usual government paperwork and submitting to potential government inspections.   If interested see the link below.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

AUCTION OPPORTUNITY submitted by beekeeper Vicki

Vicki reports there is an auction near Waukau this Sunday, the 11th.  One item being offered is a beehive with bees and miscellaneous equipment.  Vicki checked it out for the auctioneer and indicated the hive is active and full of honey.  According the auctioneer the owner had died last spring and the hive has been unattended since then.

Location: 2209 County Road M just off of Highway 91
Time: 9:00AM this Sunday, the 11th

ECWBA does not endorse any product.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Some new research may indicate that royal jelly is not the only factor in creating a queen instead of a worker.  Read the article via the link below.


Friday, October 2, 2015


The queen is the major determinant of the honey bee colony performance.  Her genetics influence how the colony does in honey gathering, hive population, mite resistance, etc.  Some beekeepers feel bees acclimatized to regional or local conditions also influence the winter survival of the colony.  

To that end I have put together a list of queen suppliers from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.  This list probably does not list all “local” suppliers, but gives you a start.  I have not purchased queens from all of those listed, so cannot speak to the quality of the queens or level of service.   ECWBA does not endorse any supplier or product. 

Also, please note that queen bee suppliers in the Midwest region can not start raising queens until mid to late April, so mated queens may not be available until late May or early June.  This listing will be put into the RESOURCES section of the blog for your future reference.

Jon Polcyn-Lone Oak Apiary of Montello, Wi.
TYPE: Open mated VSH Italian and VSH Carniolan
AVAILABILITY: June thru August
Telephone: 920-229-3046

Sweet Mountain Farm on Washington Island
TYPE: Local Russian Nucleus Colonies and Queens
AVAILABILITY: see website for availability
Website: www.sweetmountainfarm.com
Telephone: 920-847-2337 (emails preferred)

Fred Ransome-Flying Squirrel Apiary of Princeton, Wi.
TYPE: Open mated USDA Russian
AVAILABILITY: June thru August
TELEPHONE: 920-229-2204


Golden Ridge Honey Farm
TYPE: USDA Russian
TELEPHONE: 563-547-4222

AVAILABILITY: June thru August
TELEPHONE: 515-991-4666


BBHONEY of Houston, Minnesota
TYPE: Minnesota Hygenic and Hygenic Italian
EMAIL:  www.bbhoneyfarms.com
TELEPHONE: 507-896-3955

NATURE’s NECTAR LLC  of Stillwater, Minnesota
TYPE: Carniolan, Italian and Minnesota Hygenic


Rhodes Bee Farm
TYPE: Carniolan, Italian Minnesota Hygenic, Buckfast Cross, Grey Mountain (caucasian) cross

TELEPHONE: 231-245-3039