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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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cold coming back next weekend

With the cold weather coming back next weekend. I am out checking hives and putting on winter patties. This hive is Carniolans. They winter a smaller cluster. There was about three frames of bees. For Carniolans three frames of bees this time of year is fine. Carniolans just explode in population and I expect them to do fine. Three frames of bees for an Italian colony this time of year is on the weak side. A weak Italian hive with three frames of bees, should build up ok but they may not be able to divide.
I added two winter patties to this colony. I will be able to feed it and add pollen patties in about two weeks. I placed the patties right where the bees are so they can touch the patties.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fake Pollen

On the first warm days in the spring, bees can be seen in bird feeders or on saw dust. The bees collect dust off of the bird seed and saw dust and pick it up as pollen. It is not pollen.
 Beekeepers need to be careful sawing treated lumber in early spring, the bees can possibly bring back the treated lumber dust back to the hive. Treated lumber offers protection from insects in the treatment. This dust can possibly kill a colony.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The warm weather

This warm weather is energizing beekeepers to go out and put pollen patties on their hives and start feeding syrup. It may be a good idea to hold back for a couple weeks.
 This is Minnesota, the upper midwest, winter has a way of showing up again. Feeding syrup and pollen, early, can get the queen laying brood at a greater amount than normal for this time of year. If the weather stays warm, a hive could get overpopulated too early and the hive may be swarming by mid April, before queens are available. If the brood population increases drastically in a hive, a cold snap could jeopardize the survival of the colony.
It may be bad to stimulate the hive to get the bees rockin and rollin. Maybe a more prudent approach is called for.
What can you do right now. You can check the food in the top box. Lift the box to make sure it is still heavy with honey. A frame or two of honey can be moved  from another hive or from the lower part of the hive to bolster stores in the top box. Put the honey near the main cluster, do not put it in the main cluster. If the hive is low on food and the survival of the colony is in doubt, feeding syrup is the option. Better to feed than risk the bees starving.
Other than that, not much else should be done.
Pollen patties go on around March 1st, feeding can begin then also.
The forecast for next week has possible big snow storm in the forecast.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Added Hours

Now open:
Wednesday------ Noon - 6 pm
 Friday----------- Noon - 4 pm
Saturday--------- 9 am - 3 pm

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why did my bees die

This is a post from last year. It was published by Meghan Milbrath from Michigan State. If your bees died, does it fit one of these scenario's?

Do a mite check once a month May through October and one week after a mite treatment to see if the mite treatment worked.
How to do a mite check

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tentative Bee Delivery dates

The tentative delivery dates are:
2 lb packages April 3rd
3 lb packages April 17th

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Time to check the bees this weekend

This weekend it will be warm enough to check the hives to see if they are alive or dead. You need to check. You are not letting "the heat out of the hive". We put package bees in a hive when it is in the 30's.
 Bee suppliers start filling up with bee orders and checking now will make sure you can get a bee order in.
 Don’t pull frames. You are looking to make sure there is capped honey near the cluster of bees. If you don’t see bees on top of the top box, look down deep between the frames and see if the bees are there. If you only see a frame or two of bees on top, there is a possibility that the whole cluster has not moved up yet from the lower box. If you are unsure, remove the winter cover and break the top box loose. Teeter the top box back and look between the two boxes. If you see no bees and you only had two frames up on top, I would order a new package of bees because that hive is going nowhere. If there is a big cluster under the top box, try to determine that there is honey near the cluster. The queen should be laying now and the bees can't move away from the brood. Also, if you tip that top box back, you should be able to tell if the box is heavy with honey. Right now you want to see at least three frames full of honey in the top box.
Here is a YouTube video I made about checking a hive in February.