Monday, February 21, 2011

Article: Centerville Considers Bee Ordinance

According to this Star-Tribune article, another Minnesota community considers a bee ordinance.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Article: Beekeeping Alternatives

Beekeeping Alternatives: Top-bar Hives, Warré Hives and Natural Approaches to Honey Bees

Article: EU Beekeepers Stage Win Against GM Crop Producers

The EU's highest court may classify honey containing traces of genetically modified material as "food produced" from modified plants. Such a ruling may enable beekeepers with hives close to GM crops to seek damages.
from an article in Deutsche Welle.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter's Been Tough

I was just speaking to my friend and fellow beekeeper, Chris, about our honeybees. He has experienced the same losses as I have, ending up with one hive as I did. Anecdotally, our experiences are pretty similar to many in the area. One person in the know stated that close to 90% of the hives have been lost. The general consensus says that last year's heavy rains has much to do with it.

I've just called B and B and ordered two more hives.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Minnesota Winter is Beekeeper's Ally

I believe Kirk Webster said that it would be more beneficial to see the varroa mite as a beekeeper's ally than as an enemy. The varroa mite "selects" the survivor hives for the bee breeder, allowing the most adaptable bees to survive. I am trying to see Minnesota winters in much the same fashion, as only one of my hives has survived thus far.

In some sense, my survival rate ( one out of seven) does not surprise me. The two top bar colonies went into August with little stores and no amount of feeding seemed to help. The Metpropolis hive was never very strong throughout the season. I was hoping that the two hives I developed from my own mating nucs would survive but they never quite built up either. Surviving the winter depends on building up during the summer and the constant rain during last summer kept that from happening. The surviving hive this winter was also the strongest last summer and the hive with the most surplus honey in the fall. The survival rate is somewhat predictable then.

Friday, I will call B & B Honey Farm and order two more packages. I will use my surviving hive to start one or two others. Hopefully, if this year's weather cooperates, this survivor hive can produce some real solid stock.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Video: February Thaw

February Thaw and the bees are out II
Uploaded by WesBeek. - Watch funny animal videos.

I guess this is both good and bad news. It was over 40 degrees F in Winona today and at least one hive (Bee Glad...) showed a great deal of activity at the top entrance. In the next few days I will have to decide whether to order two more packages or will I increase solely through this hive.

February Thaw and the bees are out I
Uploaded by WesBeek. - Explore other animal videos.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Article: Learn the Art and Craft of Beekeeping Online

This online workshop will be hosted By June Stoyer and conducted by Philip Chandler, bee expert and host of The Barefoot Beekeeper.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Order Two Packages From B and B

I failed to record that I ordered two packages of Hygienic Italian bees for the spring from B and B Honey Farm. These will go to replacing the bees in the two top bar hives which I am sure are dead.

I have spent much of the winter recovering from surgery but, on those days when I can, I have been building 5 frame wooden nucs for spring expansion. I was not impressed by the cardboard nucs I used last year. Those I have left will be used for transport and any sales I have.

Beelandia Will Need Work in the Spring!

The roof of the large boarding house next door to Beelandia produced snow dams this winter that has damage the fence around Beelandia in two places. One area may just need a little straightening but the second section needs a whole new fence panel. Fortunately, none of the hives were damaged. Let us hope there is little snow the rest of winter/early spring.