June 2023 Newsletter
After the seemingly endless winter it appears that we have jumped headlong into summer. The nectar is flowing and the bees are swarming! Every year I speculate on when I will get my first call about bees taking up residence in someone’s house, and every year it seems to end up being right around the end of May. This year, my first relocation took place on May 24th. I’ve taken several other calls of scout bee activity as well over the past week. There is always a possibility of a swarm, whether you are running an overwintered colony or a brand new package! Keep an eye on your bees regularly, look for swarm and supersedure cells in your colonies, and make sure they have the right amount of available space. Some beekeepers unfortunately don’t realize that the bees are backfilling the brood nest with nectar and pollen, another sign of swarming, until it is too late, and potentially a costly situation to a homeowner in the vicinity by having their bees moving in. Lets all do our part to minimize swarming, sometimes this is as easy as getting supers on at the right time, or adding another brood box. Other times you may need to split your colony to bleed some strength off, this is a great opportunity for a walk away split to a nuc box and raise a back-up queen in the process. If you absolutely need to split and are already maxed out on the hives you either want to have or are permitted to have, reach out to your fellow association members during meetings or on the Facebook group, I’m certain you will find many takers!
At our May member meeting we had a great time learning how to split hives, and eat lots of delicious pizza in the process! It was so good to socialize with everyone! For our upcoming meeting June 13th, we will be back in Borlaug Hall with a Hybrid zoom meeting featuring our guest speaker Garett Slater, who will be giving his presentation “Drones and their role within the hive”, this is sure to be an interesting talk and I’m definitely looking forward to it!.
Just as June justifies jumping for joy when warm weather winds its way across acres of abundant annuals and perennials, perused by people and pollinators. Be ever eager, equipped and ready to stack supers and stop swarms!
Banquet Chair Needed
We are in need of a Banquet Chair to lead our Annual Banquet efforts. The Annual Banquet is an event where we directly raise funds for the Bee Lab. The Banquet has become a tradition of our association and, as a first-time attendee last year, I can attest that it is worth the effort.
You will not be alone in these efforts. The whole of the Board of Directors will be here to support you and assist in the implementation of the arrangements you make.
Please contact Alex King at [email protected] for details.
Better Beekeeping Through Education
The Forgotten Sex: The Importance of Drones for Colony Health
Tuesday, June 13th, 7:00 PM
In-Person: Borlaug Hall, Room 335
Via Zoom: Meeting Link
Tuesday, Jun 13th, 5:45 PM
In-Person: Research Apiary
Click here for directions.
Learn about entering our fabulous honey into the State Fair!
23 June Management
The season is well underway. You should have divides made from the overwintered colonies. Your packages should be doing well. You should check your mite levels monthly. If you are considering treatment be sure to read the label to see if you can leave supers on during treatment and how long to wait till you can put them on again.
Many of you that have come through winter with strong colonies are worried about swarming. Strong colonies should have been divided and your parent colonies (colonies with the older queen) should have either the third deep added or have two deeps and at least two supers. For strong colonies, rotate the deep boxes every week to keep stored nectar below the brood nest and add more supers if needed. Rotating the brood nest helps to discourage swarming.
How do you know if you should add a second or third box? The next box goes on when the colony is using 70-80% of the previous box. If you started on foundation, it is easier because if they have drawn out seven or eight frames then you add the next box. On drawn comb you need to look at the comb to see if the bees are using it. It does not matter if they are using it for nectar, pollen, or brood. If they are using the comb for something, it counts. When adding another brood box, be sure to move a frame with honey with no brood from a lower box up to the new box. This is to draw the bees into the new box. Once the comb is drawn, there should be nine frames equally spaced in the box.
When your divides or packages are using 80% of the third box you should do a full reversal. If we have a strong honey flow, which I am hoping for, it is easy for the bees to fill that third box with honey before you notice and do a reversal. If the third box is more than half full of honey do not do this reversal, just add supers.
The most important thing in the coming months is to keep the equivalent of two empty supers; 18 medium frames on honey-producing colonies at all times. As the bees fill up the supers, add more empty supers. If you do not provide extra room and the bees start to put honey in the brood nest, the colony may swarm. During a big nectar flow, a strong colony can fill two supers in a week. This is the reason for always having an equivalent of two empty supers on a colony.
For the rest of the early honey flow, you should do reversals and look for swarm cells every seven to ten days and add more supers as they are needed. Remember to keep empty supers on so the bees have a place to put the honey that is coming in.
If a colony has swarmed, here’s hoping you caught it, then leave the remaining bees alone and they will work it out.
If you see swarm cells and you confirm the queen is still there, meaning they have not swarmed yet, then you need to take action if you want to prevent swarming. First, remove all the swarm cells from the colony. If you want to make a nuc, then remove a frame with swarm queen cells and bees along with another frame with bees and brood. Put those two frames in a nuc box with a honey frame and a couple empty frames. Don’t put the queen in the nuc. Then put empty frames in the parent colony to replace the frames you removed. To be sure you remove all of the queen cells from the colony, you may have to shake the bees off the frames to see the cells better. Remember: the bees do not read the books so the swarm queen cells are not only on the bottoms of the frames. If you don’t make a nuc, then you can take two or three frames of bees and brood, not the queen or queen cells, and put them into a divide, a package, or a weaker colony that can use some help. Put empty frames in the parent colony to replace the removed frames.
You should be checking your varroa mite levels monthly. Record the results. If you have varroa now you cannot treat with some chemicals until the honey flow is over. There are now some treatments that can be used with supers on: read the label. BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE LABEL for any product. You can also use the drone brood removal method to keep the number of varroa down. Plan on taking your supers off early and treating late summer.
Reproduction of all or part of this article without the author’s permission is prohibited.
"The Cavity Compromise"
by Adrian Quiney now available on Amazon, in person ($19), or by mail ($24) contact the author at [email protected]
Larry Olson, 651-202-7011
Five Frame Nucs Availalbe
Five frame Nucleus hives of Carniolan bees available early June. Located in south Minneapolis. Call or text James: 763-742-0898. $140.
US Grade A, 5-gallon pails ready to bottle $230 per pail clover/basswood 651-492-6573 Jim Thanks Jim Kloek 651-492-6573
Ben Ziegler from the UMN Bee Lab is working on an apiary beautification project. Some members have already contributed their time to put in the raised beds - thank you! If any MHBA member has a green thumb and would like to get a little dirty putting plants into the raised bees, come meet behind the Bee Lab (1634 Gortner Ave, St. Paul MN 55113) in the apiary at 4:30 pm on Tuesday 6/13 before Gary's demo & the member meeting.
Katie Lee, PhD
State Fair Volunteers Needed
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 each of you volunteer, which means you can eat three extra pronto pups with the saved cash!
The first of the three 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. I encourgae you to sign up early, the slots fill up fast. For more info on the Interpretive Volunteers Click Here!
The second volunteer opportunity is on behalf of the MN Hobby Beekeepers Association. These volunteers will be demonstrating 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. It takes two volunteers per day. Even if you have never extracted honey before, we teach everyone how to demonstrate this at our members picnic, August 8th. For more info on volunteering for extraction demos click here to sign up.
The third volunteer opportunity lets you see “how the sausage gets made” at the State Fair. Bee-Hind the Scenes! There are a variety of volunteer options both prior to the fair and after the fair. 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, click here.
Field Trip To Adrian Quiney's Apiary
One Frame Two Different Styles
May 9th split demo and pizza party photo story
By Terry McDaniel
A nice group of members for the divide demo.
Everybody can help.
Gary explains some details.
There was lots of pizza and lots of socializing in the bee lab garage.
"Ask the Expert" part of the meeting and one of our new scholarship students Finley and my very first scholarship mentees Harri from 2018 giving us the peace sign. It's nIce to know scholarship recipients are still keeping honey bees and coming to our meetings. We all have something to teach each other.
More photos from Kate Winsor ...
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.
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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:
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The MHBA newsletter welcomes articles, photos, recipes, etc. from members. Please send them to the editor:
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.
|Vice President||Kate Winsor|
|Past President||Susan Bornstein|
|Technology Committee||Quintin Holmberg|
|Newsletter Editor||Quintin Holmberg|
|Katie Lee, PhD. (appointed)|
Make 2023 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]