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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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Still Some State Fair Volunteer Openings

Here's a link to the signup page if you'd like to re-check the schedule:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0544aaa92aa2ff2-beehoney

There's also a signup page for helping after the fair.  If you're available, I could really use the help on those days, as we take down exhibits and put everything away for next year:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0544aaa92aa2ff2-prefair

I've attached a document with some basic information about honey bees and beekeeping, including answers to many of the questions we're frequently asked.  Read it if you're interested.  You're not expected to memorize any of this.  Your experience with beekeeping is all the information you'll need.

If you have questions or need anything, email me at dschaaf@gmail.com or call during the fair at (651) 642-2307.

Thanks again for supporting the Bee & Honey Show and the MN State Fair.  See you soon!

David Schaaf
Superintendent, Bee & Honey Department

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What's happening in the hive right now

The nectar flow for most of us is over. Some beekeepers are getting some late summer honey. It is very spotty. A few beekeepers are getting some Goldenrod nectar but they are the exception not the rule.
 Mite treatments are being put on hives right now. Bees emerging now, until brood rearing stops, are our winter bees. Winter bees live through the entire winter and are not replaced be any new bees. We want the winter bees as mite free as possible for increasing the odds of over-wintering success.
 The current cooler weather is appealing to beekeepers putting on Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS). The vapors of MAQS are a little less intense when it is in the 70's and the product still works well. When the temps are in the low 80's for the first couple days, there can be some bee and brood mortality. It usually is not much of a problem. But if it gets too warm there is a possibility that a queen can get zapped.
  Other mite treatments are not as intense, but their treatment time take longer. ApiGuard is a one month treatment and ApiVar is a six week treatment.
But the common theme here to get in your head (to the tune of it's all about the bass)  It's all about the mites, bout the mites, bout the mites.
Colonies not heavy with winter stores should be fed now. Don't wait to feed.
Fall feeding is heavy syrup. 2:1 sugar water, 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. The other feed to use is ProSweet. ProSweet is just like honey. The bees take it down and put it in the cells and they are done. Sugar water the bees have to dehumidify it to convert it to honey.
There is some work to do now with our colonies, September is a week away.

Monday, August 22, 2016

40 frame extractor

40 frame radial extractor

40 frame radial reel
A friend of mine has this extractor for sale. He wants $1000.00
It is stainless steel homemade extractor. It is operated with an AC motor.
For it to operate the best, it could use a DC motor and a speed controller. If you are good with tools and understand how to put those items on, this extractor this may be for you. A speed controller costs around $1000. I am not sure about a DC motor.
Call or Text Mike if you are interested 507-202-8861

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mite Treatments Now


Image result for varroa
This larvae has a high Varroa count. The rest of the brood in this colony will be just as bad. Varroa weakens the bees immune system and will kill a colony.
Beekeepers around the Midwest are treating their bees for Varroa mites. The time to treat for mites is over the next two weeks. If the treatments are put on a colony too late, the bees may not survive the winter. Bees that emerge from now until October are winter bees. Winter bees need to be as mite free as possible to be able to handle the rigors of our extreme winters.
 In the hive as time goes on, Varroa populations can increase dramatically. What starts as a relatively low population of mites in early August, can explode exponentially by late Sept or early October. Hives with high Varroa populations may look great in early October, but when the beekeeper comes back to wrap the colony for winter only to discover all the bees are gone. This is one symptom of Varroa. Late season absconding.
 Bees have around fifteen different viruses that lay dormant in their bodies. High mite loads cause these dormant viruses to come out. Bees are dramatically weakened by high mite loads and if the bees do not abscond in fall they will usually succumb to a virus in late winter.
By doing a mite treatment now and following up with a mite treatment of Oxalic Acid in late October will greatly increase the health and survival  of a colony of bees. Some beekeepers want to use Oxalic Acid all the time. Too many treatments of Oxalic Acid on bees can kill them. The pic above illustrates a high Varroa infestation in the brood cells. Oxalic Acid has no effect on mites in cells. That is why Oxalic Acid only works well in late October when there is no brood in the colony and all the mites are on the bees themselves.
Mite treatments to use during August are Mite Away Quick Strips, ApiGuard, or ApiVar. I have a previous post a week or so ago explaining these mite treatments in detail.
 Beekeepers that don't treat their bees are part of the problem. Their bees have high mite loads and will infest their neighbors hive with their mites. Be a good neighbor and treat your colonies now.
 The daily temperatures after Wednesday in the upcoming week looks perfect for Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) treatments.

Goldenrod pollen for sure, nectar maybe

Field of Goldenrod photo by D. Krueger
Goldenrod is blooming all over the metro area. There are many varieties of Goldenrod. Prairie Restorations claim there are over 45 varieties in Minnesota.
Only a few varieties form huge fields of flowers. Tall, Missouri, and Canada Varieties spread to form large colonies of flowers.
 The nectar flow off Goldenrod is very spotty and unpredictable. When Goldenrod nectar does flow, it can be a decent nectar flow and the bees can put up a super or two of nectar. You know you are getting Goldenrod nectar in your hive by standing next to your hive. If your hive stinks like wet sweat socks you know that the Goldenrod is producing nectar. The stink is only temporary. As the Goldenrod nectar ripens and turns to honey, the odor goes away. The honey does have a subtle but distinctive flavor.
 Goldenrod is one of the last large pollen sources for the bees of the season and they will pack the pollen away.