June 2024 Newsletter

President’s Hive

Continuing with the theme of honey bee facts, here are some interesting tidbits about bee behaviors:

  1. On a single foraging trip, a worker bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers.
  2. A single bee can carry up to 35% of their body weight in pollen.
  3. Bees navigate using the sun as we would a compass, and because they can see polarized light, are able to find their way even on cloudy days.
  4. Honey bees are so obsessed with cleanliness that most will leave the hive when they know it’s time to die, to avoid contaminating brood and food stocks.
  5. Honey bees do sleep! But when they sleep, how deeply, and for how long depends on their age and role within the hive.

Here are some important things to know for this month:

June Member Meeting
Our monthly member meeting on June 11th will feature Dr. Katie Lee, who will walk us through the new Beekeeping in Northern Climates guidebook. We will also hear about our club’s Outreach and Education kits, and 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.

Save the Date - August 13th Picnic
The annual picnic is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. More information about the picnic is in the newsletter.

Pollinator Week
This year, Pollinator Week is celebrated June 17-23. Pollinator Week is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health that was initiated and is managed by Pollinator Partnership. It is a time to raise awareness for pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. For more information visit https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week

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!

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!

Better Beekeeping Through Education

Next Meeting
Dr. Katie Lee
Beekeeping in Northern Climates guidebook

Tuesday, June 11th, 7:00 PM

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

Hive Demo
Tuesday, June 11th 5:45 PM
Bee Lab Apiary

Click here for directions.

Upcoming Events

Dr. Katie Lee
New Beekeeping in Northern Climates guidebook

Quintin Holmberg
Winter Prep Pattern


Annual Picnic


Member Meeting
2024-06-05 14_50_52-June 2024 Newsletter – MN Hobby Beekeepers

June 2024 Management

The season is well under way. 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 have supers on during treatment or how long until you can put them on and watch the temperature considerations.

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 3rd deep added or have 2 deeps and at least 2 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 7 or 8 frames then you add the next box. On drawn comb you need to look in the comb to see if the bees are using the comb or you can look down the “seams”. If the seams are full of bees, they are using the frame. It does not matter if the bees are using the comb 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 and no brood up from a lower box to the new box. This is to draw the bees into the new box. Once the comb is drawn, there should be 9 frames equally spaced in the box.

When your divides or packages are using 80% of the 3rd box you should do a full reversal. If we are having a strong honey flow (which I hope for) it is easy for the bees to fill that 3rd 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 and just add supers.

The most important thing in the coming months is to keep the equivalent of 2 empty supers (18 medium frames) on honey producing colonies at all times. As the bees fill up the supers, add more. If you do not provide room and the bees need to put honey in the brood nest, then the colony may swarm. During a big nectar flow a strong colony can fill 2 supers in a week. This is the reason for always having the equivalent of 2 empty supers on the colony.

For the rest of the early honey flow, you should do reversals on 2 deep colonies and look for swarm cells every 7-10 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 the swarm) 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 2 or 3 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 (preferably drawn comb but foundation if that is all you have) 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 use. 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. 



Equipment For Sale

18/9 Frame Mann Lake Motorized Radial Extractor. Purchased new in 2009, works great, in good condition, pictures available $1000. 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.

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. More information and details will be provided in future newsletters.
2024 MHBA Picnic Flyer - June Newsletter

Outreach & Education Update

We have had so many wonderful requests for presenters and speakers this spring!

Many thanks to MHBA Outreach volunteers who shared their experience and wealth of knowledge with the public. We appreciate the time and commitment these individuals have provided on honey bee information, and beekeeping education.

Thank you to the following volunteers:

Paul Eger, Christine Shoemaker, Michelle Maas, Tom LeMay, JoAnne Sabin, Quintin Holmberg.

Looking ahead, we have already filled several events in June:

  • Waterfest - Lake Phalen
  • Moorhead Public Library
  • Brainerd Lakes Crowing County Fairgrounds
  • Sally Manzara Nature Center

The following events are still in need of volunteers:

  • July 28- Deaf Equity Community Gathering - St. Paul
  • August 11- Pollinator Festival- St. Paul
  • August 13 - New Horizon Academy- Bloomington

If you would like to volunteer and are not already on our volunteer roster, please complete and submit the following form so you can stay up to date with MHBA Outreach Education volunteer opportunities.

  • Login to mnbeekeepers.com
  • Select “Get Involved” from the Menu at the top of the homepage
  • Select “Become a Community Outreach Educator”

MHBA receives requests, related to bees and beekeeping, from all over the metro area and beyond. These requests come from schools, community organizations and community events.  We wish we could accommodate everyone! After all, we like to spread the word and share our enthusiasm about honey bees! Here’s how it works: The Community Outreach Coordinator receives a request and matches the requestor’s needs with the interests and talents of our volunteer educators. The basic information about the presentation is then forwarded to volunteers with the best fit (i.e., in terms of location, interest, audience age, and educator’s availability, etc.).  At this point, it is up to the volunteer to reply to the Community Outreach Coordinator if they are interested in the request. If that’s you, then the Community Outreach Coordinator puts you directly in contact with the requestor to organize the details of the presentation. It’s fun, it’s educational and it’s rewarding!  Come join us! For additional information, please email Susan Bornstein, MHBA Community Outreach Coordinator at [email protected], or call 651-324-1696. Please complete the form below to add your name to our list of volunteer educators. Thank you!


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]