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, November 17, 2017

Making Creamed Honey

This is my making creamed honey video. I post it every year just before Thanksgiving.
 Creamed honey is liquid honey that is processed by mixing warm liquid honey with a starter seed of creamed honey purchased from a grocery store.
 After the honey and seed are combined and bottled, it takes about two weeks to firm up. (The creamed honey needs to be bottled in a wide mouth jar, so the contents can be removed with a butter knife). So give yourself time for it to get ready before gifting it.
The creamed honey spreads like butter, but it is all honey.
 What happens is,  the seed  which is finely ground crystallized honey. Will start to replicate the fine crystals. Over the two week period, all the honey will crystallize by replicating the fine crystals. This leads to a nice smooth texture. Normally when honey crystallizes the texture is very course. But by mixing in the fine crystals of the seed, the process controls the replication to the fine crystals.
 Creamed honey is easy to do. It makes great holiday gifts. Your family and friends will be amazed at this wonderful treat.
 The honey used has to be liquid with no granulation crystals in it. Sometimes the honey needs to be warmed up before making creamed honey to make sure it is clear of crystals.
 If making a small batch, say 10 lbs or so. Honey can be put into a gallon pail and put in a water bath in a crock pot. Heating on low brings the temperature to around 125 degrees. This usually will clear up the crystals. Make sure it is clear by gently stirring a time or two to make sure no crystals are on the bottom of the pail. Remove it from the heat when it appears ready. Wait for it to cool down to about 95 degrees before adding the seed. Too hot and the seed may melt, it is granulated honey after all. Too cool and the seed will not be properly mixed into the honey.
 After the seed is mixed in and the honey is milky in color throughout the mixture. Set it outside for a quick cool down to keep the crystals from melting.
Here is the video:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Last week for Oxalic Acid

 The weather is warming up. The upcoming week looks good for any Oxalic Acid treatment.  Oxalic acid is applied when it is 40 degrees. I have been harping a lot about the Oxalic Acid treatment. I firmly believe that this treatment can improve the odds of successfully overwintering your hives. Here is a re-post of the dribble method YouTube video.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What are beekeepers doing right now

This has been a cold week for beekeepers. Many beekeepers wanted to do Oxalic Acid treatments but it has been a little to cold to do it. The next couple days will be also too cold.
It looks like next week some heat returns with highs in the 40's again. Several days look good for applying the Oxalic Acid.
The dribble method should be done at 40 degrees.
 Covering hives with winter covers is progressing. Many beekeepers are putting on winter patties or a candy board on when putting "the hives to bed".
 New beekeepers who are running hives next year and their hives are in bear country, still have time to put tee posts in the ground for a bear fence. Best to put the posts and ground rods in now, before the ground freezes. The rest of the fence can be installed at your leisure. Sometimes the ground is still frozen in early April. This can leave a hive unprotected at a time when bears are waking up from hibernation with an empty stomach.
 Cold weather is coming soon, another few days next week to finish mite treatments and then the bottom can fall out of the thermometer anytime after that.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Deer Pics

With deer hunting coming this weekend. I wanted to give the hunters something to shoot for. Most of these pics were near one of my beeyards. I don't hunt, but I like looking at wild things with a trail camera.
Looking for love

A doe pic was one minute before when this pic was taken.
The big bucks normally only travel at night. The rut brings out a more careless behavior. Looking for love.  Looks like a 10 point buck. Trophy size.

This guy must have been fighting. One side of the antlers is gone

Monday, October 30, 2017

This week, oxalic acid and covering hives

Looking at the weather in the future looks pretty much of the same. Highs in the 40's at best.
 Feeding colonies is pretty much over. When it gets cold like this, the bees are in a tighter cluster usually in the box below the feeder. This is too far away from the cluster, so feeders may go untouched. Hopefully everyone was able to get their hives heavy with feed before the weather turned south.
 If you go out and look at your hive when it is 40 degrees and look underneath the inner cover at the top box. There should not be any bees on the top bars. If there is a large cluster of bees on top under the inner cover, your hive may not have enough winter stores in the hive for the winter stores.
 This week is a good week for Oxalic Acid treatments. Try to pick a day when it is not real windy. The magic number for the temperature at time of treatment is 40 degrees. Oxalic acid treatments should be done soon. It looks like this week and next week look ok for temperatures. After that it may be too cold to do it.
 Free Oxalic Acid samples are available from Nature's Nectar LLC. The sample of Oxalic Acid, is enough to treat 5 colonies
 We do have Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizers on sale right now. Regularly $165.00 now $145.00. They are the best quality vaporizers on the the market.
 Hives can be covered anytime now. I don't think we will see anymore 60 degree weather. Winter patties can be put on also, when covering the bees.
 A little work left to do on the bee front, then it is time to relax and reflect on the year. New beekeepers started the season with a nervous amount of knowledge. The season progressed and so did the new beekeepers. From package bees to winter covers. A whole season of bees pretty much over.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wintering a beehive in the upper midwest

These are two videos of different winter covers and how to install them on the hive.
 Winter covers can be put on anytime after November first.
I usually put my covers on around Thanksgiving. But I watch the weather also. If there is going to be several inches of snow, I will run out and cover the hives.
A top entrance is imperative for wintering. If you don't have one, drill a 1" hole like in my previous post.
Wintering a hive, needs at least 8 frames of bees. Meaning at around 45 degrees, the bees would be covering both sides of 8 frames. I say 45 degrees because at that temperature the bees are more concentrated in the hive to get a more accurate judgement on the population strength.
 The other winter parameters are a young queen that has not gone through a winter yet. The top box should have eight full frames of honey with the ninth frame partially full, locate this frame in the center of the box. Put two winter patties on the top bars of the top box for emergency late winter feed.
 If your honey is under the cluster of bees like in the bottom box. The bees will not go down in the winter. They will end up starving. Also, do not leave any partially filled boxes on top of the hive. The bees may move up into this box, remember what I just said? The bees will not move down. Many new beekeepers do leave partially filled boxes on top, not realizing they are making a potential bad situation.
 This is one of the last chores for winter. Then the bees are on their own. A properly prepared hive with a low mite count, has a good chance at winter survival.

Cardboard Snug Fit

Bee Cozy

Winter Patties

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Queenless hive?

I had a customer call me looking for a queen. She went through her hive and could not find any brood. In a panic she was looking for a queen.
 After a short conversation about queen types, I learned she had a Carniolan queen. Carniolans shut down brood rearing in early fall. Right now if you looked in a Carniolan hive you should be broodless.
 If a hive is being fed syrup, that is a nectar flow and there more than likely brood in a colony that is being fed or was fed in the last two weeks or so.
 Italian queens will have brood into November. Especially if they have been fed.
 I have gone into Italian hives on Thanksgiving weekend and have found brood in the hive.
 All of this ties together about mites. Feeding should be done early so a hive can be broodless for the Oxalic Acid treatment. This beekeeper with the broodless Carniolan hive, will be able to get an excellent treatment of Oxalic Acid and it should prove to be very effective.
 Late feeders, who will have brood in the colony ( I am still feeding three colonies myself) the Oxalic Acid treatment may be a little less effective because of capped brood in the hive. But the treatment is still of great value and is worth doing.