Friday, January 29, 2021

Pass the hot chocolate the Zoom class is starting

Well folks we're almost into February now and it's still cold and snowy but if you're anything like me you're already getting anxious to spend more time with the bees. Unfortunately for those of us in Wisconsin we really don't do our bees any favors opening hives at this time of year unless really necessary for feeding, etc.  Here's a handy chart to remind you that we have a little bit of down time yet:

But hey, chin up fellow beeks, there are still ways we can keep busy.  One of the interesting things to come out of our pandemic situation is the increase in online communication and learning.  Zoom, Ring, Teams, Skype... it's hard to have made it through the last year without at least one online meetup. Well now we have online beekeeping courses and meetups you can enjoy from the warm confines of your home.  Here's an upcoming online intro class/presentation/q&a put on by our neighboring beekeeping association in Sheboygan:

And finally, I'll leave you with some interesting work coming out of Penn State which is studying feral bee colonies for clues on how they handle pathogens and winter survival. I think observing and learning from real time natural evolution and adaptation is always a good thing. It's good to see resources being used for this type of research.

Feral colonies provide clues for enhancing honey bee tolerance to pathogens

Stay warm and stay safe and always remember to pay your dues.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Homework assignment: Come up with a Pest Management Plan

 There's an old saying in beekeeping that goes something like,

Remember, remember,

the pest management plan 

you came up with in January

Something like that... it'll come to me.  What we do know as beekeepers of the North is that winter provides us some down time to plan for the year ahead. And that means coming up with your pest management plan, and getting your supplies in order. When will you check for mites and what will you use to treat? When will you treat? What are the signs of other pests in our hives and what should we use to protect our hives? These are all things that we should be asking ourselves right now. The answers to these questions will form your pest management plan.

Luckily the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade & Consumer Protection helps us out by posting information on available treatment options here in Wisconsin (along with a lot of other great resources). If you're following along from another location, check with your local government on available options.

In Wisconsin we have a wide range of available treatment options for the evil Varroa mites, one of the most common pests we deal with (or should be dealing with!). As always, take some time and research the various options out there. We also want to make sure we are testing for mites so we know what our actual mite loads are. If you're not comfortable testing for mites on your own, or just need someone to show you how, feel free to reach out to the club. We're here to help others learn!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

New Blogmaster Intro

Hey y'all, Happy New Year from ECWBA and welcome to a new era for this blog. Fred has asked to take a much deserved break from the blogmaster duties, and he has been granted that wish, so I'll be slipping into the driver seat for the time being.  My name is Nick and I've been a beekeeper and member of ECWBA for a few years.  My wife, son and I have a small farm just west of Fond du Lac where we raise and grow whatever we can get our hands on.

We're blessed to be surrounded by hundreds of acres of free roving bovines (extra points if you get the music references 😏) on pasture that includes a fair amount of clover and alfalfa which of course the honey bees love.

I believe there are two truisms (at least) about beekeepers - we all do things a little differently and we love to share our knowledge. I learn new things about pollinators every day, and I also love sharing that knowledge. So together we'll learn! I'll share all the great info I can find, and some of my own experiences, and hopefully you'll share your experiences and knowledge as well.

I hope you enjoy the blog and feel free to share ideas for posts or your own experiences, either in the comment section or by clicking the Contacts tab under the top banner.  And make sure you pay your dues on time 😁💰