Friday, January 26, 2018


Here is a short list of package bee suppliers and their price for a 3 pound package.  Three are "loca" suppliers and one is mail order.  Most suppliers offer other options such as 2 pound packages, queenless packages, and quantity discounts.   Quantity discounts typically start above 10 or more packages.  Combine your order with friends or others in the club to get a quantity discount.   This list is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but just to give you an idea of the range of prices this year.  Remember the ECWBA does not endorse any bee supplier.

Because of these prices make sure any of your hives that are still alive won't run out of food in the final 2 months of winter.

Hertitage HoneyBee-phone 319-321-2494
$126 per package

Sweet Mountain Farm-phone 920-847-2337
$200 per nuc-Russian queens only

HoneyBeeWare-phone 920-779-3019
$145 per package

Kelly Beekeeping-phone 800-233-2899
$131.50 to $146 per package plus shipping

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Last year this blog posted an article about Saskatraz bee line developed in Canada.  At that time the only source was from Olivarez Bees in California.  I saw the following new article in the Natures Nectar blog about the Saskatraz extolling their benefits.  Whether this article is truthful or advertising hyperbole is up for you to decide.  Note that the Natures Nectar company is a distributor for Olivarez.
To be fair I should report that I did purchase 3 Saskatraz queens last year from Olivarez.  One superceded immediately.  The other two have so far survived this winter.  Since these three were all used in startup hives in late May I did not get any honey harvest from them.

I believe that HoneyBeeWare also is an Olivarez distributor.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Beekeepers Fred and Gerard are both seeing signs of Nosema in some of their hives this winter.  I don't know about Gerard, but I didn't add any Fumigilan during my fall feeding.  Fumigilan kills/controls the Nosema apis bacteria.  Nosema apis bacteria are present in all hives all year long, but can overwhelm the bees during winter.  The following photos demonstrate the symptoms of a Nosema infection.

To try to save the situation I have added a little Fumigilan to my sugar bricks.  Time will tell.  Next fall I will again be adding Fumigilan to my fall feeding sugar syrup.
Bee diarrhea by winter entrance

 Spotted landing board
Spotted landing board.  Note dead bees in front of hive.  Also note the entrance reducer is purposely installed upside down to prevent dead bees from blocking entrance.


The March 17, 2018 club meeting will be partially devoted to a seminar by a central Wisconsin aerial sprayer.   This talk, by Daemon Reabe, will discuss the importance of aerial spraying to Wisconsin agriculture, the different chemicals applied and methods aerial sprayers use to mitigate any drift that may harm honey bees.  This meeting is open to the public and other bee clubs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Grandpa Jack is vacationing in warm Arizona.  While taking a hike he encountered this warning sign.   Arizona bees have been Africanized and you must be wary.

Monday, January 22, 2018


Follow this link to a report on tests by University of Illinois that shows bees prefer fungicide laced sugar water over plain sugar water.   The fungicides then increase the lethality of other pesticides.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Capital Bee Supply of Colombus, Wisconsin will be hosting two beekeeping classes this year.  For the beginner there will be a 4 day class spread through the spring and summer beginning March 4th.  These classes will be held in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Cost is $100.

For the 2nd year beekeeper there will be a more advanced 1 day class held on February 18th.  This class will be held in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  Cost is $60.

If interested or in need of more details go to the Capital Bee Supply web site.  Click on the "services" page and then scroll down to the 2018 class offerings.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Here is an article describing a potential new mite treatment using lithium chloride.  Of course it will take many years for this chemical to be evaluated and get approval for use.

Monday, January 15, 2018

CLUB MEETING, January 20th

This Saturday, January 20th, at 9:30AM will be the first club meeting of 2018.  All meetings this year are scheduled to be held at the Caestecker Library in Green Lake, Wisconsin. 

Annual dues of $10 can be submitted at the meeting or by sending them to either the club secretary.  

Elections for the posts of President and Secretary will be held.  If interested in serving in either of these offices please make your interest know.  The non-elected post of the club blogmaster is also open to an interested clubmember.

The State Bee Inspector will give a short presentation followed by other topics brought up by the meeting attendees.


Follow this link:

So if you have a sore throat this winter think honey!

Friday, January 12, 2018


The club honey extractor has been delivered to its new location at the Rushford Winery.  The extractor is mounted to a plastic pallet so that it can easily be moved to a storage location when not in use.  Included with the extractor is a decapping tank, staging table plus to sets of sieves.  Next summer a on location training session will be held at the winery for those who may want to take advantage of this club perk.  Thanks to Al and Fred for doing the initial setup.

 Extractor on pallet
 Decapping tank and staging table
 Another view
Honey buckets in position

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Here is information on a local beekeeping class for beginners.  Graduation from this class is accepted by the city of Fond du Lac if you want to raise bees within the Fond du Lac city limits.

Parts 1 and 2 of the class will be held at the Fond du Lac Skyport, 260 S. Rolling Meadows Dr., Fond du Lac.  Class date is February 3rd, 8:30AM to 3PM.  Cost is $70.

Part 3 is a field day to be held at D's Apiary on July 7th.

The class size is limited to 20 people maximum.  You must sign up by January 31st.

To sign up contact Denise at 920-922-7487 or

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


In central Wisconsin last summer's weird weather has left many hives short on winter stores.  to prevent winter starvation we ask ourselves the question "when is it too cold to open the hive".  Here is your answer.

Monday, January 1, 2018


The past 10 days of below zero temperatures has put our central Wisconsin bees under a good deal of stress.  Any hives infected with a lot of varroa mites and the associated viruses will have had a tough time coping do to a lower bee population and smaller cluster size.   My records from previous years show the demise of most hives occurs after a below 0 F cold snap.  After the many below zero nights in the last ten days it was with a good bit of trepidation that I went out and checked on the status of my hives.  Listening with a stethoscope through the upper winter entrance (also acts as a moisture vent) I hoped to hear the comforting hum of the bee cluster warming themselves. 

Prior to this cold snap my hive survival was at an excellent 94%.  After this 10 day cold snap the survival rate has dropped to 88% with the demise of several more hives.   It looks like another 3 or 4 below zero nights yet to go before a slight warmup. 

In the next few days I will be checking each hive.  This involves a quick removal of the outer and inner covers to assess their food situation.  I try to do this on a windless day.   I fully expect the bee cluster will have moved from the lower to the upper brood chamber in all hives.   I will add additional emergency food (sugar discs) to any hives that look in need.  Total time the hive is open is usually less than 30 seconds.   I will be repeating this procedure every two weeks until spring.   Although I don’t like the thought, I suspect I will have further losses yet this winter. 

Here are a few other tidbits about my apiary as of today.

-Survival of Ankle Biter hives is 100% so far.  10 of 11 hives are 1st year queens. 

-Survival of Saskatraz hives is also 100% so far.  All 1st year queens.

-Russian hives are at 85%.  All but one Russian hives lost had 2nd year queens.

-Survival of package queen (California Italians?) hives is 67%.  All 1st year queens.

-Wrapped hive survival is at 84%, while unwrapped hives are at 91%. 

At this point, other than the occasional addition of emergency food, beekeeping is pretty much a waiting game until warmer weather arrives in March.   Cold weather adapted queens seem to do better in our Wisconsin weather.