Disclaimer:

This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Longer Hours

Now open longer hours on Friday open noon - 6pm
Wed. noon - 6 pm
Thursday 8 am - 11:45
Friday noon - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm

Cold weather and Walk away splits

The cold weather we have had has put the bees into tighter clusters. With the contracting of the cluster of bees, there will probably be some brood mortality in some colonies. The earlier warm weather, let the bees expand their brood areas. Now with the colder weather, the bees may not be able to cover all the brood that the queen had laid. This uncovered brood will more than likely get chilled and die. Don't be surprised if you start seeing dead brood and or bees in front of the hive when the temperatures warm up. This will set the hive back a little but it won't hurt them in the long term.
 Walk away splits should not be done in this cooler weather. The cool weather may chill the brood that the covering bees have been shaken off of. A large number of brood could perish during the time it takes for the bees to reoccupy the split that has no bees covering and protecting the brood. Stick with a traditional split and there will be no problems.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The fruit bloom and dandelions

The fruit bloom and the dandelion bloom has begun across the metro area. Traveling to the south metro I saw many dandelions and flowering shrubs and crabs starting to bloom.
 My Wild Plums are just starting to show some life. But in St Paul Wild Plums were in full bloom.
 This current bloom will last around three weeks with Apple trees coming in around May 10 or so. This bloom is about a week earlier than normal. This is ice cream time for the bees. Wide spread nectar and quality pollen. If the weather is good the bees win, if the weather is cool and rainy the bees may miss some of the ice cream. Pollen patties should still be on colonies during this cool and rainy times. The bees are not able to forage right now and for much of the next week. Pollen is needed now because the hive is still moving forward in spite of the weather and beekeepers need to keep pollen available or the hive population may suffer.
 Strong overwintered colonies should have honey supers on NOW. Honey supers go on two at a time. It is not uncommon for strong colonies to get a super or two of honey during this time if the weather accommodates.
When this weather warms up a little, swarm control should be used on strong overwintered colonies. Many of the strong colonies are bursting with bees. Some warm weather may get swarm cells going in the hives.
 Divides are going on now and into the month of May. If you do not divide a strong colony, the bees will divide themselves, they WILL swarm.
If you don't want to run more colonies, Nature's Nectar LLC does buy divides.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

queens

The queens have arrived. I have a little prep to do. But I should be ready to sell by 12:30.
Limit on queens this week: 3 queens per car.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Closed May 6th - May 9th

Nature's Nectar LLC will be closed Saturday May 6th to May 9th.
Open on Wed May 10th. Plan your queen purchases accordingly.

3 lb packages-Check for Queen Acceptance Now


Sugar water in the top cells, pollen is the yellow in the cells, eggs are in the lower cells.
The beekeepers that purchased 3 lb packages should have a laying queen by Wednesday. Even though the weather is cool, you still need to check the hive for eggs. If you see eggs you know the queen has been accepted. If you don't see eggs and larvae in your hive, you may need a queen. While you are checking, you do not need to see the queen. If you see eggs then you are good. Close up the hive. Failure to check for queen acceptance may jeopardize the survival of the colony.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How to do a divide

A divide is when a strong overwintered colony is split into two hives. If strong overwintered colonies are not split, the hive will more than likely swarm. If the hive swarms, that colony will probably not yield an excess honey crop.
A divide can happen when a colony has eight frames of brood and bees. If you do not have that much brood yet, wait a week and check again. Make sure a queen is available when the divide is ready for a queen.
Steps to make a split:
  1. Divide eight frames of brood between two boxes on the hive. Brood is, frames containing eggs, larvae and capped brood. I like to mix up the brood types in the divide. This assures getting bees of all ages on the split frames.
  2. Put a queen excluder between the two boxes of brood. Wait four full days.
  3. After four full days, go into the hive and inspect the boxes where the brood frames have been placed. You are looking for eggs. Whichever box with the brood has eggs, then that is where your existing queen is. Leave the box with eggs called the Parent, and takeaway the other box. Put honey supers on the parent.
  4. Put the removed box with brood, called the divide, by itself in the bee yard. Put a feeder pail on the divide. There is better queen acceptance during a nectar flow. Approximately 24 hours later install the new queen using the slow release method, using a hard candy plug.
  5. Seven days later, check the divide for eggs. If it has eggs, the queen has been accepted. Now the divide is in a single box. It will remain this way for around a two weeks when another brood box is added. Add honey supers before the nectar flow starts, usually around mid June.