April 2024 Newsletter

President’s Hive

On your mark, get set, GO! Beekeeping season has begun! Many of you will be receiving and installing new packages of bees this month. Fingers crossed that our weather cooperates for you.

Recently I came across some interesting facts (although I didn’t exactly verify each one) about the history of beekeeping:

  1. The first civilization to practice widespread, organized beekeeping was the ancient Egyptians, who began beekeeping around 2,500 BCE.
  2. Fermented honey, known as mead, was first produced in ancient China around 7,000 BCE, making it the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage.
  3. The ancient Greeks minted coins with bees on them.
  4. Still-edible, 3,000 year old honey was found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb when it was opened in 1922.
  5. The Magna Carta legalized the harvesting of wild honey by common folk.

Hopefully, future civilizations will have only good things to say about our beekeeping era. We are trying our darndest to ensure “better beekeeping through education.”

Here are some important things to know for this month:

April Member Meeting
Our April meeting will feature speakers Larry and Jan Hofman from the Hofman Historical Apiary in Janesville, MN. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016 for its state-level significance in the theme of agriculture. Established in 1907 the apiary has been under restoration over the past decade. Larry and Jan will be presenting a history of the site along with updates from the restoration and current status as an education facility on Tuesday, April 9th at 7:00 PM. Please join us at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus in Room 335 in Borlaug Hall. Treats served! Directions to the meeting are found elsewhere in this newsletter.

April Hive Demo
Our season of hive demonstrations begins this month. Prior to our 7:00 PM member meeting on April 9th, we will be having our first hive demo of the year at the Bee Lab at 5:45 PM. Veils are required in the bee lab yard. We encourage new beekeepers to attend hive demos, as they are an excellent source of “hands-on” education. Directions to the Bee Lab can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.

Members Only Facebook Page
All members are invited to join our private Facebook page. There are a few steps that you need to take in order to join. The page is a welcoming space for questions and sharing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MNHobbyBeekeepers

Donation Request
We have a door prize drawing at the conclusion of most in-person meetings. Please consider donating new or slightly used bee-related items (or other items of interest) for the drawing.

Kate Winsor
MHBA President

Better Beekeeping Through Education

Next Meeting
Larry Hofman
Hofman Historical Apiary

Tuesday, April 9th, 7:00 PM

Hybrid meeting:
In-Person: Borlaug Hall, Room 335
Via Zoom: Meeting Link

Hive Demo
Tuesday, April 9th 5:45 PM
Bee Lab Apiary

Click here for directions.

Upcoming Events


Larry Hofman of the Hofman Historical Apiary
History of the Hofman Historical Apiary from restoration to current state.

May Splits Demo and Pizza Party

Dr. Katie Lee
New Beekeeping in Northern Climates guidebook

Quintin Holmberg
Winter Prep Pattern


Annual Picnic

April 2024 Management

Spring is here at least according to the calendar. This is an exciting time with the bees. Don’t listen to the calendar, rather listen to the bees, and watch the weather. Today (3-25-24) as I write this, I am taking a break from plowing 6” of snow.

First, the wintered colonies. This is the time to add a pollen patty. Be sure the patty is next to the cluster so the bees can access the patty in the cold. Add more as they use it and replace it if it is dried or moldy. Do not feed sugar unless they are starving and then it is best to add frames of honey if you have it. Two frames of honey will last the colony for a while. When it is warmer, the bees will leave the cluster and bring in honey from the outer frames.

If it is above freezing it is safe to open the lid and put in a pollen patty. Do not remove frames or do reversals unless it is above 50°F (10°C). It is too early for reversals anyway.

Don’t be in a hurry to take the winter covers off. It is too early for that. The bees will be fine even if we get a “hot” day, say 50ºF (10°C). I leave the covers on at least until the end of April.

Perform inspections every 7-10 days. The goal is to be sure the bees have enough honey and feed them a pollen patty if they ate the previous one. You should have some pollen sub on the colony even if they have stored pollen or maybe even bringing in pollen. Last week there were reports of bees bringing in pollen. They may not have stored enough so a patty is insurance. REMEMBER the bees need to eat pollen to activate their glands that produce the brood food to feed to the larvae. If they run out of pollen the brood will die. It can still get cold and even freeze or we could have a few days of rain which will prevent them from going out to collect pollen.

It is time to do a partial reversal when the temperature starts to stay above 40ºF (4.5°C) at night and the bees have at least 4 frames of brood in the top box. A partial reversal is reversing the position of the top two boxes. Clean the bottom board if it is above 50ºF (10°C). Put the entrance reducer back in with the larger hole facing down. Be sure to look between the frames and shake out any dead bees that are stuck between the frames. Do not try to get the dead bees out of the cells. You will damage the comb and make more work for the bees rebuilding the comb than if you let them clean out the dead bees. Remember to keep the pollen patty touching the cluster. This may mean putting it between the two top boxes after a reversal.

If your colony is strong enough that the bees are halfway or more down into the middle box, do a modified reversal instead of a partial reversal. For this, put the middle box on the bottom, the top box in the middle and the bottom box on top. This keeps the brood nest together.

If you are hiving packages, hopefully they will come in mid-April. If we have cold and snow (what are the chances?) at the package time, see my website (http://z.umn.edu/Garygi) and get “Hiving a package if it is cold” for more information.

If you are hiving packages and forgot how to, then see the “Beekeeping in Northern Climates'' (https://beelab.umn.edu/manualsmanual or the sheet "Hiving a package” on my website (http://z.umn.edu/Garygi), or the poster 157b (https://beelab.umn.edu/posters) on the Bee Lab website. Keep the bees supplied with sugar syrup and pollen substitute until natural nectar and pollen are stored in the comb.

If you are hiving a package on frames from a dead out, start out in one box as you did with foundation. Provide one or two frames of honey on each side and the center filled with frames of drawn comb. If the frames have some honey and pollen that is good, but most of the frames should be empty. Even with any honey frames, I recommend that you provide 1:1 sugar syrup and pollen substitute for the first couple weeks on a new package.

Remember you are going to divide wintered colonies about May 15 so you should have a queen ordered.

Best of luck.

Reproduction of all or part of this article without the author’s permission is prohibited.


5 frame nucs - $170
Carniolan and Italian
Healthy strong varroa treated bees! Pick up around mid May in Prior lake.
     952 212 6853, Viktor

Equipment For Sale
New box of 20-9 3/8 frames with black foundation $40.  Almost new (used 3X) Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizer $85. Interested?  Email [email protected]

5 frame nucs, $180
Overwintered, hygienic, mite resistant bees.
Available late May or early June. Stacy, MN.

3 wood nuc hives for sale
Michael Palmer style, one new, 2 very lightly. 10-frame, medium boxes, 4 levels high.  $75 each
Twin Cities, 816-645-4421

Your Classified Here

Did you know your membership allows you to place classified ads in the MHBA Newsletter?

Click here for details.

Lloyd Street Bees
2024 03 Century of Discoveries

Garden Party Events 

Tim Naumann, a member of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association and an owner of Luce Line Brewing, is hosting two garden party events at Luce Line Brewing. All members and their guests are welcome.

Free Beer! Bring Your Own Shovel!

On two dates: May 4th and May 18th from Noon to 2pm each of the days, we will be planting a pollinator friendly wildflower garden on the brewery hill overlooking the Luce Line Bike Path. The Wildflowers and a keg of beer will be provided by Luce Line Brewing. The flowers were recently started, and if all goes well, we will have more than 1,000 perennial flowers available. The aim is to get a bunch of people together so that we minimize the holes to be dug per person and increase the time available to enjoy some brews together. This is not a black-tie event...wear your dungarees and comfortable clothes.

If you want to make a day of it: The brewery with its other activities is open from Noon until 10pm. The Luce Line Trail (Busiest in the State) is available to hike, bike or walk ...your destination might be Lake Bde Maka Ska, Eloise Wildflower Garden in Theodore Wirth Park, Cosmos Minnesota (the end of the line). You can also fish Parkers or Medicine Lake, or some other adventure. Clothes changing options available in the brewery restrooms if you wish.

More info about the Luce Line Trail can be found at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/luce_line/index.html

Luce Line Brewing's calendar of events can be found on its website www.lucelinebrewing.com.

By then, my two hives with Saskatraz queens will be set up on the roof of the brewery. I will give tours to those interested in taking a look. As a new beekeeper, I appreciate your advice and comments.


Tim Naumann
Luce Line Brewing Co.
12901 16th Ave N
Plymouth, MN 55441

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Email a photo to Gary Reuter at [email protected] before noon on the day of the member's meeting so he can project it on the screen during “Ask the Expert.” We will all learn from you what you see in your hive.


Online Resources

Please visit our website!
We continue to make updates and changes to our website. Recently, we reorganized the Education page.
Stay tuned for no-cost Community-based beekeeping classes & events in the new calendar:
If you are offering a class/event, you may submit the details to have it listed on our website:

Join Us On Facebook
Join our members only Facebook group:
This is a place for members to ask questions, share answers, share photos and videos, and socialize online.

MHBA Board Minutes
Please check the website for the latest, approved Board meeting minutes.

More Announcements

Membership Renewal
There are three ways to renew your membership today!

  1. Renew your membership online with a credit card (preferred).
  2. Mail the membership renewal form to our treasurer at the address provided
  3. Renew in person by bringing your completed form and check to the next meeting.

Our Renewal Form can be found at our Become a Member page:

Newsletter Submissions
The MHBA newsletter welcomes articles, photos, recipes, etc. from members. Please send them to the editor:
[email protected]

If an article is a reprint from another source, permission must be gained if required. The due date for newsletter submission is the 25th of the month for the next month's newsletter.

MHBA Board

Position Member
President Kate Winsor
Vice President Bill Thompson
Secretary Karen Voy
Treasurer Bob Hinschberger
Peg DeSanto
Willie Gabbard
Quintin Holmberg
Charlie Kundinger
Katie Lee, PhD. (appointed)
Michelle Maas
Betty Mortensen
Liz Pepin
Noel Pollen
Gary Reuter
Christine Shoemaker
Membership Steve Buck
Newsletter Editor Quintin Holmberg
Technology Committee Quintin Holmberg
Gary Reuter
Librarian Gail Dramen
Outreach Susan Bornstein
Ask Buzz JoAnne Sabin
Swarm Chasers Bob Sitko
Hospitality Mark & Cathy Lee
Banquet Jessica Minser

Get Involved

Make 2024 the year to get more involved in your club! To become a Community Outreach volunteer or a Swarm Chaser please complete and submit the appropriate form by visiting:

NOTE: The contents of this Newsletter are the sole property of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association (MHBA). NO REPUBLICATION OR USE in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, by any other person or entity without the prior express written permission from MHBA’s Board of Directors is permitted. MHBA may be contacted at [email protected]