February 2024 Newsletter

President’s Hive

Dear Members,

Here’s a lovely poem to help settle your mind about the overwintering bees in your apiary.

Winter Bees
A poem by Joyce Sidman (reprinted with author’s permission)

From Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold © 2014 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

We are an ancient tribe,
a hardy scrum.
Born with eyelash legs
and tinsel wings,we are nothing on our own.
Together, we are One.

We scaled a million blooms
to reap the summer’s glow.
Now, in the merciless cold
we share each morsel of heat,
each honeyed crumb.
We cram to a sizzling ball
to warm our queen, our heart, our home.

Alone we would falter and drop,
a dot on the canvas of snow.
Together, we boil, we teem, we hum.

Deep in the winter hive,
we burn like a golden sun.


Here are some important things to know for this month:

MHBA Banquet is Saturday, February 10th, Keller Golf Course in Maplewood
A reminder for those of you who registered for our MHBA Banquet and Fundraising Auction: Please consider bringing items for our live and silent auctions. Don’t forget to bring your favorite honey for the honey tasting station. This will be a fun evening of socializing with beekeepers.

February Member Meeting
We will start our year of member meetings with speaker Nathalie Girard from Bee Mindful, who will teach us about Horizontal Top-Bar hives on Tuesday, February 13th 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.

New Board Member
At the January meeting, the Board of Directors appointed Noel Pollen to fill the vacant seat on the board. This is a one year appointment. Welcome Noel!\

Library Reminder
Don’t forget to return your library items that you might have borrowed in November.

Kate Winsor
MHBA President

Better Beekeeping Through Education

Next Meeting
Nathalie Girard of Bee Mindful
Horizontal Frame Beekeeping

Tuesday, February 13th, 7:00 PM

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

Hive Demo
No Hive Demo

Click here for directions.

Upcoming Events

MHBA Banquet
Keller Golf Course, Maplewood

Social Hour begins at 5 PM

Nathalie Girard of Bee Mindful
Horizontal Frame Beekeeping


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


Running low on honey, we have buckets of raw single source available.

 3# PACKAGES & 5 FRAME NUCS for sale

For more information, call Fieldstone Apiaries
612-979-8213 or email [email protected]

Your Classified Here

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

Click here for details.

February 2024 Management

There is really nothing to do to the colonies right now. It may be useful to just check to see if they are alive. Please resist the urge to open them up. If you just have to go check, then listen in or use the heat sensing camera. You can also lift the moisture board and peek through the hole in the inner cover.

If you see some dead bees in the snow around the hive 2-50 feet away, this is normal. They are bees that decided to come out and fly for whatever reason, usually for a cleansing flight (to defecate) and it was colder than they thought. Bees are not able to keep their body temperature up if it is too cold. This is common and should not be something to be concerned about.

Refrain from adding sucrose to your bees at this time. Adding candy boards, winter patties or dry sugar this time should only be done if they absolutely need it. If they have a couple frames of honey, they are OK. Adding sucrose will stimulate excess brood rearing. The extra brood will require them to make more heat, thus use more honey. In addition, the brood takes up space in the cluster that could be used for honey storage and if it gets cold and they cannot move the cluster (which they now won’t do because they don’t want to leave the brood) they can starve even with honey outside the cluster.

Toward the end of February or the first of March give them a pollen patty (6-8 oz). This is especially important if you did not get a full reversal done last spring/summer.  Do this on a day that the temperature is above 45ºF. When you put the pollen patty in be sure it is in contact with the cluster so they can get to it even on a cold day. If the bees are up between the frames and the inner cover, you can put it up there. If the cluster is between 2 boxes, do not put it between the cluster and divide the cluster. This will make it harder for the bees to regulate temperature. Place it off to one side but in contact with the cluster between the 2 boxes.

If you find they are dead seal up the holes in the boxes to keep out mice and robbers. Bring it in to clean it out or wait until the weather warms. When you try to clean it when it is cold you do a lot of damage to the wax comb.

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


A Message About Attendance on Zoom

We are pleased to offer our monthly meetings via Zoom for those of you who cannot attend in person.

Virtual meetings have become a common and essential way of communicating. However, they also come with various technical challenges. They are inevitable and unavoidable.

We have a few members who are knowledgeable about the Zoom platform and are able to assist when difficulties arise; however, keep in mind that they are volunteers, and managing technical platforms is not their day job. If you have Zoom technical skills, please consider volunteering to help at our meetings!

To avoid disruptions during the meeting, we will be keeping our virtual attendees on mute. Should you have any questions or concerns during the meeting, please put them in the chat.

Thanks in advance for bearing with us during any inconveniences.

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 Gabberd
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]