July 2024 Newsletter

President’s Hive

Happy Summer! Honey season is upon us. Here are some interesting facts about honey:

  1. Honey is 25% sweeter than sugar.
  2. Dark honey typically has more antioxidant properties than light honey.
  3. A healthy bee colony can create 60-100 pounds of honey each year.
  4. Ancient Egyptians used honey as a means of paying taxes (wouldn’t that be nice!).
  5. A single bee will produce only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  6. The average American consumes about 1.3 pounds of honey each year.

Here are some important things to know for this month:

July Member Meeting
Our monthly member meeting on Tuesday, July 9th will feature Quintin Holmberg, who will share his winter prep pattern with us. We will also review how to use the USDA Lab Kit. Please join us at 7:00 PM 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. (Hive Demo prior to the meeting.)

Annual Potluck Picnic
The annual potluck picnic is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. More information about the picnic is in this newsletter.

Help! Banquet Chair Needed
Our 2025 banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 1st at the Keller Golf Course in Maplewood. We are looking for someone who would like to serve as our banquet chair. Lots of support and guidance will be provided by the Board and last year’s chairperson. Please reach out to [email protected] if you are interested in taking on this volunteer position. Duties include communicating with the caterer, advertising the event in the newsletter and on Facebook, coordinating the silent and live auction, securing dessert, and decor. Many tasks could be delegated. If you have a friend that would like to serve as co-chair, that could be fun!

State Fair - Volunteer Opportunity
Each year at the State Fair, the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association secures volunteers to demonstrate how to extract honey. The extraction demos take roughly 15 minutes and occur four times a day at 1pm, 2pm, 4pm and 5pm. Two volunteers are needed per day. More information about this volunteer opportunity can be found 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

Library Materials
Don’t forget to return your borrowed materials from our library!


  • Gary Reuter and Jessica Helgen for leading our hive demonstrations. 
  • Susan Bornstein and Tom LeMay for organizing our outreach and education kits.
  • Cathy and Mark Lee for providing our meeting treats.
  • Gail Dramen for managing our library.
  • Bob Sitko for fielding swarm phone calls.
  • Quintin Holmberg for editing our newsletter and keeping our website current.
  • Steve Buck for coordinating membership.
  • JoAnne Sabin for answering Ask Buzz questions.
  • And to ALL our wonderful MHBA Board Member

Kate Winsor
MHBA President

Better Beekeeping Through Education

Next Meeting
Quintin Holmberg
Winter Prep Pattern

Tuesday, July 9th, 7:00 PM

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

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

Click here for directions.

Upcoming Events

Quintin Holmberg
Winter Prep Pattern


Annual Picnic


Trevor Bawden
Bee Exchange


Andrew Cote
Honey & Venom – Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper


Annual Member Meeting

July 2024 Management

July has arrived. This is the traditional major nectar flow for my area (MN Twin cities). You should see basswood, sweet clover, birdsfoot trefoil, White Dutch, alfalfa and many others.

During the honey flow, your colonies with supers should always have the equivalent of 2 empty supers on them. A strong colony with a good nectar flow can easily fill 2 supers in a week. Make sure they have room to store it. They will not fill supers in your garage or shed.

If you have 3 deeps on the divides or packages and they have started to seal honey on the top 2” of the frames in the top deep; they can probably have supers now also. When there is a good nectar flow on you need to have plenty of space for them to store honey. If not, the bees will fill the brood nest with honey and there will be no room for brood. This causes two major problems. 1) the bees will decide to swarm. 2) the bees will not be able to raise a good population of bees for winter.

If your bees read the books this should be the end of swarm season. You can limit checks into the brood nest to once a month for a quick check and test the varroa levels. Continue to check every 7-10 days to see if they need supers. I decided to not check a few weeks ago because it had rained every day. When I checked the supers were full.

Since we are moving into hot weather be sure the bees can cool their hive. Be sure the entrance reducer is out, and they have access to water. On very hot days you may see large numbers of bees hanging on the front of the box. This is normal, they just need to get some of the bees out so they can circulate air to better cool the hive. Do not open the top in hopes of helping them out with cooling the hive. You will only mess up their ability to circulate air within the colony. Bees cool the hive by spreading water around the hive and circulating air by standing at the entrance and fan their wings. You may see bees on one side of the entrance fanning in and the other side fanning out.

Some colonies may refuse to go into the supers through the queen excluder. When this happens spray some sugar syrup in the supers or if you have it, take some burr comb from the colony below and spread it on the foundation in the supers to attract them up there and/or remove the excluder for a couple days. When they start going into the supers make sure the queen is not in the supers then put the queen excluder back on. Once they must go through the queen excluder to get back to the brood nest, they will find it is not so bad and will go back and forth. They may just be not going up there because there is not enough of a nectar flow that they need the space.

If you want to extract your honey, now BE SURE the moisture is below 18.6% BEFORE extracting it. This does not mean it all has to be low. You may have some uncapped honey that is high but if there is enough capped honey that is low it should all even out.

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


Your Classified Here

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

Click here for details.

2024 Annual Picnic Save the Date!

Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 13, 2024, at 6:00 pm, for our MHBA Picnic at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. This is a great opportunity to socialize and network with other members. A training session for State Fair honey extraction volunteers will be at 7:00 pm. If you have any questions, please reach out to Christine Shoemaker at [email protected].
2024 MHBA Picnic Flyer - July Newsletter

State Fair

Volunteer at the State Fair! Thursday, August 22 - Monday, September 2

August is right around the corner, and with it, the Minnesota State Fair! Here are 3 exciting volunteer opportunities that give you the ability to score free admission tickets for every day you volunteer.

  • The first opportunity is on behalf of the Minnesota State Fair. As an Interpretive Volunteer, you have a seat near an observation hive in front of the honey island. Fair goers are curious about honey bees and they ask you simple, basic questions. If this is your first year of beekeeping, we make sure you will have everything you need to be a successful interpreter! It's a great way to spread your love of honey bees. The shifts are three hours and previous volunteers say the time absolutely flys by. Sign up early, as the slots fill up fast. Sign up HERE.
  • The second volunteer opportunity is on behalf of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association. These volunteers will demonstrate how to extract honey. The extraction demos take roughly 15 minutes and occur 4 times a day at 1pm, 2pm, 4pm, and 5pm. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at the fair. Two volunteers are needed each day. Even if you have never extracted honey before, we teach everyone how to demonstrate this at our members picnic, Tuesday, August 13th. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up HERE.
  • Finally, also on behalf of the State Fair, there are a variety of Bee-hind the Scenes volunteer opportunities both prior to and after the fair. Bee-hind the scenes duties may include intaking entries for the various competitions, assisting judges of honey, food, or artwork, and setting up the exhibit hall prior to the fair. For more information on these opportunities including a detailed run-down of each day, please click HERE.



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 Michelle Maas
Treasurer Bob Hinschberger
Peg DeSanto
Willie Gabbard
Quintin Holmberg
Charlie Kundinger
Katie Lee, PhD. (appointed)
Karen Voy
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]