March 2024 Newsletter

President’s Hive

Dear Members,

Welcome to our new members! We hope that you will find this newsletter helpful and informative.

We had a successful and fun banquet and fundraising event in February, where we raised over $11,000 for the University of Minnesota Bee Lab! Thank you to everyone who participated in, donated to, and planned the banquet. A special THANK YOU to:

  • Jessica Minser - Banquet Chair
  • Gary Reuter - Auctioneer
  • Bob Hinschberger - Payment/Cashier
  • Susan Bornstein - Auction Items Collector
  • Michelle Maas & Allen Berg - Raffle
  • Mark and Cathy Lee - Dessert
  • Bill Thompson & Terry McDaniel - Honey Tasting Table
  • Peg DeSanto & Betty Mortenson - Greeters
  • Tom Minser & Ginger Reuter - Extra Help

With the banquet in the rearview mirror, our focus should now be on the rapidly approaching beekeeping season. It’s time to inventory your beekeeping tools, equipment, and supplies and I encourage everyone to shop locally. Please support our wonderful beekeeping businesses, advertisers, and donors.

Here are some important things to know for this month:

March Member Meeting

Our March member meeting will feature Albert Robertson, who will be speaking about Saskatraz queen breeding on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 PM. Please join us at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus in Room 335, Borlaug Hall. Treats served! Directions to the meeting are found elsewhere in this newsletter. If you are unable to attend in person, a Zoom link may also be elsewhere in the newsletter.

Library Reminder

Don’t forget to return any library items that you might have borrowed.

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
Albert Robertson
Saskatraz Queen Breeding

Tuesday, March 12th, 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

Albert Robertson
Saskatraz queen breeding

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

May Splits Demo and Pizza Party

2024-03-05 20_08_24-Outlook (PWA) - Mail - Q Holmberg - Outlook

March 2024 Management

The time has finally come to be able to work with the bees. May you all have stings that do not swell.

At this time of year, it is important to do your work depending on weather. If it is above freezing it is safe to lift the cover and take a peek. Do not remove frames or disturb the cluster unless the temperature is above 50ºF (10ºC).

The first inspection is just to see if the bees are alive and provide them with a pollen patty. The hope is there is still pollen in the hive for the bees to use. Giving them this pollen patty is insurance that they will have the protein they need to feed brood if there is none or it is too far outside the cluster for them to reach it. Give them a 4 - 8 oz. pollen patty. When you put the pollen patty in, slide it in from the side until it is against the cluster. If the cluster is not above the top frames, then put the pollen patty between the two top boxes next to the cluster. The pollen patty must be in contact with the cluster for them to be able to use it.

Check honey stores. If you left the bees enough honey last fall, they will be ok. If they have 2 full frames (or 4 half full frames) they should be fine. Just because the bees are in the top box does not mean they are out of honey. By looking down between the frames you should be able to see if the frames have honey in them.

If the colony is starving (not enough honey to last until your next inspection), then you have to feed them even though it is not ideal. The best feed at this time of year is frames of honey. If you had a colony that died with honey left, you can use it after you verify the colony did not die from the bacterial disease American foulbrood (AFB). Add any honey frames at the edge of the cluster. Do not put a cold frame of honey into the cluster of bees. You do not want to separate any of the brood this time of year and putting a cold frame of honey in the cluster takes a lot of heat from them. If I must feed honey, I like to add a box with honey to the top so the bees can move up naturally.

If you do not have any frames of honey, put dry sugar between the inner cover and the moisture board or a candy patty on top of the frames. Remember to only add sugar to the colony if absolutely necessary. Incoming sucrose can trigger the bees to start raising brood early. The bees need to keep the cluster warmer when brood is present, using more honey. They also have less space to store honey inside the cluster and will not leave the brood to move to more honey. So, feeding sugar this early is bad for them if they do not need it.

A couple weeks after your first inspection, go back and do the same thing again. Check the feed and give more pollen substitute if the bees ate most of the first one. If the first one is still there but moldy or dried out, remove it and give them a fresh piece. If they are not eating it may mean they have plenty of pollen in the frames. However, it is best to keep a pollen patty on in case they run out.

If they are dead, close up the boxes so mice and/or bees cannot get in. Of course, you do not want the mice to go in and destroy combs. You also do not want other bees robbing any honey when they start flying. If the colony died from a disease such as AFB, robbing bees can pick up disease spores with the honey and bring the disease back to their hive. Once you know the colony did not die from AFB, you can use the equipment and honey for a new package or divide. You can also use the honey to feed a live colony that made it through winter without enough food reserves.

Clean out any dead out equipment before it starts to thaw. The longer you wait, the more unpleasant it will be. When cleaning out dead bees, just brush away any bees between the frames. Do not try to get dead bees out of the cells. You will do more damage than good. Replace any frames that look bad. Try to replace brood nest frames every 3-5 years.


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


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]

IN NEED of Help!

I'm a Brooklyn Park beekeeper looking for support and assistance to keep up to 8 hives at residential home.  I completed the "Beekeeping in Northern Climates Short Course" 2011. I have not kept bees since 2014

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to tend to the bees as they need to be property cared for.  I'm looking for YOUR expertise and care to maintain all facets of the hives.  I have 2-3 full hive sets and you can bring more here, if you desire.  All permits have been approved by the city.  We have lots of perennial garden beds, a large garden, fruit trees, along with a large prairie at River Park about 1/2 mile from our home.   If you like gardening, we can supply you with some organic veggies on each of your visits.

Negotiable stipend to be paid to cover your time, fuel, and equipment costs.  I'm just looking for a little honey as well.

Please contact Jason Pruett at 612-272-7201 or [email protected] to connect.

Looking forward to your help!   🙂


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

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

MHBA Outreach & Education

The public's fascination with honey bees and beekeepers is very much in demand just now! There are numerous opportunities for beekeeping volunteer(s) to interact with the public and provide information about bee biology, pollination, beekeeping, honey production, etc. If you enjoyed speaking with the public at the State Fair, you will love volunteering for these experiences!

Here is a list of upcoming events that need volunteers:

  1. EDEN PRAIRIE ECO EXPO April 20, 2024 (start time is 10:00AM)- can participate 2-4 hours as available.
  2. Mahtomedi - RITE of Spring (Really Into The Earth)- April 20, 2024 - 10:00AM -1:00PM
  3. Ramsey, MN - New Creations Child Care and Learning Center - May 21, 2024
  4. Arbor Day (April 27, 2024, 12- 3:00PM) in Maple Grove, MN - 1-2 volunteers
  5. WATERFEST (June 1, 2024, 11:00AM- 4:00PM) Lake Phalen Park - 3-4 volunteers
  6. Brainerd Lakes Youth Expo - Crow Wing County Fairgrounds (JUNE 15 - time TBD) - 2 volunteers

To become a volunteer:

  1. You must be a MHBA member
  2. Log on to
  3. Select "Get Involved" from the gray bar menu at the top of the home page
  4. Click on "Become a Community Outreach Educator".
  5. Complete the form and press submit

We have numerous teaching aids that may be checked out when volunteering for a specific event:

  • MHBA logo tablecloth
  • Demonstration hive (you provide the bees)
  • Multiple laminated posters depicting: honey bee development, honey bee caste system, Queens, drones, workers, an overview of beekeeping throughout the year.
  • A deep hive box with instructional photo frames,
  • various types of honey
  • a block of wax
  • hive tool, brush, smoker, & a beekeeping suit.
  • Free standing, weighted tent for outdoor venues

To volunteer, or for more information about these events, please contact me at the email below. To avoid communication going to SPAM, please add my name and email address to your email address book.

Thank you!

Susan Bornstein
[email protected]

2024 03 Century of Discoveries

Youth Scholarship Program

The Youth Scholarship program was started in 2007 and including this year we have 50 youths that have started beekeeping. In this program we provide the bees, equipment, UofM class and a mentor.

This year we have 6 Youth Scholarship recipients. They are Benjamin Yang, Joe Hoffman, Emma Miller, Katia Erickson, Audrey McCollough and Giovani Merriman.

The MHBA budget provides funds for 2 scholarships each year. Through the generous donations of the following, we can have more. Those making donations are Miller Manufacturing (Little Giant), Natures Nectar, University of Minnesota, and Mann Lake. Thanks to those that have donated.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please go on and click on “Get Involved” and fill out the form. If you have questions email [email protected].

Beekeeping in Northern Climates Short Course

Board members and volunteers spoke with potential new MHBA members
Board members and volunteers spoke with potential new MHBA members
MHBA's information table at the U of M "Beekeeping in Northern Climates" class in February
MHBA's information table at the U of M "Beekeeping in Northern Climates" class in February

Members Learn about Horizontal Top-Bar Beekeeping at February Meeting

Submitted by Bill Thompson

MHBA February speaker Nathalie B., originally from France and currently residing in Driftwood TX, provided our membership an overview of utilizing horizontal top-bar hives in managing honey bees. She is the founder and owner of Bee Mindful. She is a proponent of using top-bar hives as a natural approach in beekeeping by limiting use of treatments and forgoing pesticides to nurture more resilient and healthy bees. The presentation included information on the differences between various hive management strategies and the pros and cons of utilizing top-bar hives.

Members can reach out to Nathalie B. by email [email protected] to obtain a PDF of the presentation. Please provide your name, email, and reference the Feb. 13th MHBA presentation. For those hands-on beekeepers, construction plans for top-bar hives are available here

Additional questions can be submitted under the DON'T BEE A STRANGER ... ASK YOUR QUESTIONS! at the bottom of the Bee Mindful home page

2024 Banquet Pictures

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]