Monday, March 22, 2021

Who's worried about honey supers already?

With the tease of warm weather lately I'm sure many of us have been itching to get the cold behind us for the season. We're not completely out of the woods yet, but it's been hard to complain lately. We're reminded that in addition to everything else to worry about, swarm season is right around the corner. I have noticed an uptick in non-beekeepers talking about and asking about swarms in social media land, so hopefully some of our attempts to educate the public are working.

Speaking of attempts to educate, I was able to speak to the Noon Rotary club recently about beekeeping. In the shuffle of life lately I had forgotten about this commitment until almost the last minute, but thankfully I have a few presentations up my sleeve and I was able to dust one off for this. I talked about the state of honeybees and why they are beneficial as pollinators, some of the things affecting their jobs as pollinators for us and also touched on some of the amazing opportunities to get rich while keeping bees. I always believe in starting presentations with a joke, and that was what I went with.  Of course we all know the truth...  One of the highlights of this particular presentation was that both of our elected State Representatives (State Senator Dan Feyen and Assemblyman Jeremy Thiesfeldt) were in attendance.  Any time you can get a captive audience with your elected officials, it's a win. I hope it was educational for them. 

If you're one of the lucky beekeepers with bees that made it through winter you are probably starting to see some pollen coming into the hives.  Here's an interesting article on the benefits of pollen. I've personally never tried to harvest pollen from my bees, but may be something to try in the future.  If you've ever done it, leave us a comment about your experience.

And finally what blog post would be complete without mention of mites and treatments?  Hard to imagine. There has been a lot of discussion in the beekeeping world lately around the recent guidance for using oxalic acid as a mite treatment with honey supers on.  Regardless of your thoughts on the safety of oxalic acid, Dr. Meghan Milbrath from Michigan University reminds us that the treatment label is still the law of the land and you should follow the manufacturer recommendations when dealing with mite treatments.  That's probably good advice in most cases.  Read, understand and follow the labels on the products you use, and you should be in good shape.

Hopefully you got to check in on your bees recently and hopefully the news is good! Until next time.


Monday, March 15, 2021

Nothing in beekeeping is free

Not too often do free beekeeping classes come along, so take advantage while you can!

Click here for more info, while supplies last.

Monday, March 1, 2021

What happened to February? Let's try to catch up.

They say you're always busiest after committing to something. And so it goes, with a job schedule change and winter chores, before I knew it February was gone. We'll try to slip into a more consistent posting schedule going forward, because there's so much to discuss! 

Some think of beekeeping as an agricultural endeavor, some consider it just a hobby. Wherever you fall, here in Wisconsin the cold winter months are for planning. And if you are planning to keep bees this year, make sure to register your hives with FieldWatch.  Their BeeCheck program helps pesticide applicators and beekeepers communicate so we can all minimize the harmful effects pesticides have on our bees. It's a really easy process, I have my hives registered and I hope you will as well. It's important that we share information, and not just with other beekeepers.

We received a tip from a new member about a beekeeping museum, not too far for some of us, in Neosho WI called Honey Acres Thanks for the info! We always appreciate when beekeepers seek to educate the public about this fun craft. I wasn't aware of this before, but now I'm as intrigued as you are.

No matter what time of the year, if you can find good local classes on beekeeping, take advantage! Capital Bee Supply offers quite a wide range of options if you're just getting into bees, or even if you've had bees and still like to learn.  

And finally for today, some interesting research being done that seeks to identify hygienic traits in honey bees. What makes them clean cells to rid the hive of Varroa mites?  Click here to find out.  It's hard to not be excited about good research in this area.  More effective mite treatments would certainly make our lives as beekeepers much easier.

I assume by now you've renewed your club dues, so final reminder. Happy beekeeping!