Sunday, July 24, 2016


Honey that has been ultrafiltered in not considered honey by the USFDA.  75% of the honey sold in grocery stores has been ultrafiltered and is not honey.  Read this article and include these points in your sales pitch for your locally produced raw and unfiltered honey.  NOTE: The 200/400/600 micron mesh screens we use to remove wax and other small debris is not "ultrafiltering and does not remove pollen.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The Green Lake library demonstration for the summer school kids was on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

Patti and Mark Ingram and Jack Bremer made the presention. There was a power point and we brought in a hive, nuc, tools, extractor, capping container, observation hive, suits and gloves. During the question and answer session, teachers, parents, and students all had good questions. They were truly interested. At the end, everyone was able to examine and handle the beekeeping tools, try on the suits and gloves, and turn the extractor. It was an enjoyable time for everyone.

The ECWBA thanks these club members for a job well done.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

LIVE AND LET DIE ON YOUTUBE submitted by beekeeper Denise

Here is the live or let die philosophy in action.  EDITORS NOTE: Follow it at your own risk.  I know several beekeepers who have been wiped out several times.  Maybe the fact that they (the video speakers) slowly cut back on their treatments was the key.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


There will be a club meeting this Saturday, July 23rd, at 9:30 am in the Ripon Public Library on the lower level in the Silvercreek room.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Sorry for the lack of articles recently, but I have been busy raising queens. 

There are several ways to reduce varroa mites in your hives:
                -Drone brood removal
                -Interruption of the brood cycle
                -Screened bottom boards
                -Miticide treatments
                -Bee behavior changes through genetics

So far none of these methods by itself has been the silver bullet for controlling mites. 

Several groups have developed “improved” bees via genetic selection.  Minnesota Hygenic, Varroa Sensitive Hybrids (VSH), Russian and now Purdue Ankle Biters.  Basically all of these “improved” bees are designed to amplify natural grooming behaviors.  For example the VSH bees detect and remove pupae that are infected with varroa.  The Purdue Ankle Biter (AB)bee strain is a relatively new development and the bees actually bite off the varroa mite’s legs which results in the mite dying.  Through years of selection the biologists at Purdue University have intensified this trait so that the hive mite levels are significantly reduced.

Don’t expect the AB bee to be the silver bullet for varroa mite control.  Good mite monitoring and control are still recommended.  However, due to the lower mite counts in AB hives it is reported in initial field trials the AB hives have a higher winter survival.  The lower mite counts also result in a generally healthier hive and a bigger honey surplus.
So if you are contemplating re-queening your hive why not use a queen with superior genetics?

Additional information on the AB strain of bee can be found on the internet by doing a search for “Purdue Ankle Biters” or in the following publications. 

Bee Culture Magazine-Page 10 of the June 2016 issue and Page 41 of the April 2016 issue

American Bee Journal-Page 376 of the April 2016 issue

Beekeeper Fred purchased a Purdue Ankle Biter breeder queen this spring with the agreement that he must raise and get into the field 50 queens.  He has teamed with another queen raiser (beekeeper Jon) to ensure that this goal is met.  The idea is that these genetics will be spread throughout the Midwest and hopefully improve hive survival.  Open mated Ankle Biter queens should be available beginning about July 20th.  Beekeeper Fred will offer mated ankle biter queens to ECWBA club members for $25 each until he has recouped his investment to purchase the breeder queen.  After that the price will be $30 each.  Quantities are limited.  Beekeeper Fred and Jon are trying to raise about 20 queens per week.    Contact beekeeper Fred at 920-229-2204 or  or contact beekeeper Jon at 920-229-3046 or

Monday, July 4, 2016

Bee Camera

Here is a link to George Washington University's bee camera.  On my low speed internet connection it seems pretty docile.  Maybe if you have high speed internet you will be able to see activity.  Click on the title "Live Bee Camera".

Friday, July 1, 2016

Midsummer Inspection

With the start of July I felt it was time to do a midsummer inspection of all my hives.  I am about two thirds of the way through them.  It’s not an easy task because many of the hives have several heavy honey supers on them.  First things I look for is eggs and brood which signify the hive is queenright.  Even if I don’t visually see the queen I know she is present and OK if there are eggs.    I found three hives that had neither and had empty supercedure queen cells.  Surprisingly, I found these condition in hives that had been good performers; ie putting away 30 to 60 pounds of honey in the supers.  I will need to inspect these hives again in about two weeks to verify that the supercedure queen cells have allowed the hives to naturally requeen.  One of the three did requeen and I saw a small patch of new eggs.  If not, then I will need to take action and add a queen. 

While I have the honey supers off for the brood chamber inspection I take time to reposition the frames in each super.  Those on the outside are usually not filled to the extent of those in the center.   So I swap positions of the inner and outer frames.  By repositioning them I am able to get the bees to pack more honey in each super.   This makes the decapping process slightly easier when it gets around to be honey harvest time. 

I am also taking this opportunity to apply a half dose of miticide to knock the varroa mite population down.  Less mites means less transmission of various mite carried viruses.  Reducing the mite and virus load is important because soon the queen will begin laying the eggs for the workers that will become the overwintering bees.  Remember that it takes almost a month for these eggs to become workers. CAUTION: Not all miticides can be used when the honey supers are on.  READ the instructions on your miticide of choice.  MAQS and Oxalic acid can be applied when honey supers are on.
Finally, this inspection gets you thinking about what to do with the non performing hives.  Some hives for whatever reason just don’t build up and make surplus honey.  Now is the time to identify those hives.  If you requeen now there is a chance the colony will strengthen enough to make it through winter.