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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Saturday, May 19, 2018


This bear took out three colonies up in the North Branch area.
The beekeeper put up an electric fence that should solve the problem

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Queen Delivery

Our queens have arrived today Wednesday, May 16th.
Open today noon - 6 pm
Friday noon - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm

Doing a Spring Divide

This is a Link to Gary's homepage. It is a great description on how to do a divide.
How to do a divide on an overwintered colony

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What is happening now in the hive

Wild Plums

Package Bees:
 Package bees are starting to build up. New bees should be emerging and the hive populations should be growing. Beekeepers who started their packages a month ago, should have their second box on now. When adding the second box, the entrance reducer should be increased to the bigger opening. If the hive is on foundation, feeding of syrup must continue so the bees can continue to make wax on the new foundation. Failure to feed, will delay the expansion of the hive and wax will not be constructed and the hive population will suffer. Pollen patties should still be on package bee colonies until around mid June.
 Package bees on drawn comb should be fed as needed. If there are several frames of honey from last season in the hive, say two to three full frames of honey in each box, no syrup is needed. Pollen patties should be offered for the next month.
Overwintered Colonies:
Overwintered colonies may be in several different situations. Some colonies are getting ready to swarm and should be divided. Some colonies are not quite ready to divide today, but will be ready to divide within the next week or so. Some colonies are too weak to divide and will not be able to divide this year but should still be able to build up for the nectar flow. The weak colonies should have at least four frames of bees and brood right now. Any thing less than this really needs a frame of brood added to the colony, to increase the hives population. Pollen patties should be offered to the bees. I usually put 1/2 a patty on the hives until about early June. This guarantees that the hive has pollen for the brood no matter what the weather is.
The bloom in May:
The spring flowers and fruit bloom is about 10 to 14 days behind schedule.
Right now dandelions are blooming everywhere. They are just getting going and should be more numbers blooming this week with the warm sunny weather. Strong Overwintered colonies should have supers on the hives right now. There is an opportunity of one or two supers of Dandelion honey. The fruit bloom is just starting to happen. Wild plums are blooming and the bees love the pollen offered. If you have some Wild Plums, they are usually form into a thicket. Take some time and stand in the flowering Plum trees, experience the sweet smell of the blossoms and watch the pollinators work the flowers.
 Right now is ice cream time for the bees. Especially in the urban and suburb areas. Dandelions, flowering crab trees, all variety of fruit trees, flowering shrubs are or will be blooming soon. There will be pollen available everywhere, some nectar from many sources. The huge variety of pollen should be able to give the bees a wide variety of protein and a balanced diet, to aid in the hives buildup of brood and bees.
This pollen and nectar flow should last about three weeks. After that there may be two weeks of very little pollen coming in until early to mid June. Pollen patties should be on during this pollen dearth.
 The weather is getting better, pollen is getting better, hives are getting better, the season if finally moving forward and everything is creeping towards the main nectar flow that will probably will start in late June or early July. It may be sooner if we get a period of unseasonal warm temperatures.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wed, May 9th - Queens

We have received our shipment of queens.
Open today Wednesday, noon - 6pm

Adding a second box

Some beekeepers may be ready to add a second box to their packages.
 Don't get hung up on the thought that the bees have not finished the outside frames. The bees never finish the outside frames unless you move it.  Switch out the outside frame with a frame that does not have brood on it, just nectar and / or pollen.
 When you add a second box, take a frame the bees are working on, that has pollen and nectar on both sides. Move that frame into the middle of the second box. This will bait the bees to move to the upper box. You will now have nine frames in the bottom box. Space the frames out evenly and run nine frames in the bottom box. If you are drawing out new foundation move the feeder pail to above the second box. If you don't have a deep box to cover the feeder pail, use two empty supers. Continue to feed until the bees have finished drawing comb.
If you look at the bees and and think to yourself, wow there is a lot of bees in here. Then add your second box.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Pick up schedule for May 7th - The bees have arrived

The bees have arrived.

Here is a pick up schedule. There are 150 beekeepers coming and I have to spread them out in an orderly fashion. Remember, to put your bees in after 6 pm and don't forget to seal off the entrance. With the warm temperatures, if the bees can get out too early, they may abscond. Keep the bees cool, like in your basement until you are ready to install them. Feed them a couple times by spraying the screen with sugar water.

Pickup schedule:
We will go by the first letter of your last name.

9:00 am    Z - S
10:00 am  R - N
11:00 am  M - J
noon - lunch
1:00 PM   I - D
2:00 PM   C - A
3:00 PM open time to 6 PM