May 2022 Newsletter
Welcome to the New Newsletter
We have completely revised how the newsletter is delivered to you. Instead of the PDF that we have used for years, the newsletter is now this webpage on our website. In this format, we can now deliver a phone and tablet readable version.
Additionally, we have made it so logging into the site is no longer required. We would, however, like to remind everyone that the newsletter is a member benefit. Neither the link to it nor any of the content within is to be shared with the public.
Quintin Holmberg, Editor
There’s been a lot of sputtering weather between Winter’s grip and the inklings of Spring. I hope to soon shed my down jacket, sit outside and enjoy watching our bees bring in this season’s pollen. For those of you who just hived bees for the first time ever, congratulations! I hope it was a fantastic experience…. The beekeeper’s adrenaline rush! Along with your excitement, your skills will continue to grow as you become more steady, patient, and accustomed to planning and organizing your thoughts, equipment, and tools prior to each Hive Inspection. It does get easier and soon becomes second nature.
Our April speaker, Etienne Tardif, stimulated a lot of conversation and interest in overwintering techniques. I am sharing the link to his slides that he provided here.
Looking ahead…On Tuesday, May 10th we will ease into holding our first in-person/HYBRID meeting in over 2 years. By HYBRID, I mean you may opt to attend in-person, or remotely via zoom. While we have strived to deliver great beekeeping content throughout the pandemic via zoom, the full experience hasn’t been comparable to gathering together. Connecting and exchanging ideas and sharing conversations about beekeeping with other beekeepers has an incalculable value. Our meeting location (Ruttan Hall) will be the same as in pre-pandemic times. We will also hold a Hive Demo prior to the meeting. At this time, MASKS will be required for both the Hive Demo and the in-person meeting. No food will be served during the meeting until further notice. If you prefer to attend the hive demo and meeting via zoom, those links may be found within this newsletter. PLEASE NOTE: there are 2 separate links, one for the hive demo, and one for the meeting!! Please read all DETAILS regarding the Hive Demo and Member Meeting further on in the newsletter, directions, parking, and maps are included!
Please take a look at our calendar to see exciting upcoming events and wonderful volunteer opportunities. The PICNIC returns in August. There is a chance to volunteer at the State Fair in August. In October, we will hold our long-awaited BANQUET at the Minnesota Science Museum!
Thanks again to those of you who provided us with feedback via our survey and thank you to the Survey Committee for their great work in creating the survey and compiling the results.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone at our May meeting either in person or via zoom!
Better Beekeeping Through Education
5/10 @ 7 PM - Member meeting
- Honeybee Hygienic Behavior and Hygienic Testing
- Anne Marie Fauvel, Tech Transfer Team Coordinator, Bee Informed Partnership.
- Hybrid meeting. See info above.
- Mask required for in-person meeting.
6/14 @ 7 PM - Member meeting
- BIP and the Tech Transfer Team (TTT) Program.
- Matt Hoepfinger and/or Rob Snyder, California Tech Team Field Specialists.
- Youth Scholarship presentations
8/9 @ 6 PM - MHBA Picnic
- See announcement below.
8/25 - 5/9 - State Fair
- See volunteer needs below.
10/15 - Banquet
Minnesota Science Museum
Management, May 2022
As I write this (April 21) it is just above freezing, and the snow has not all melted yet. I think this year the season will be behind some. Of course, I have thought that before and somehow it caught up. Remember to make your management decisions based on the bees and the weather not the calendar.
Let me start with packages. Remember that even if it is too cold to take frames out (should be >50°F or 10°C) and check the hive you still need to check to be sure they have syrup and a pollen patty available. You can do this even if it is freezing.
You should have emerging brood 4 weeks after hiving the package. Up until then you may notice your colony dwindle. That is normal because some bees are dying and there are no replacements yet.
Based on the weather we have had it is probably a relatively small brood area. As brood emerges the queen will lay in those cells so the brood nest may still not expand for a couple of weeks. Then it will start to expand, and you need to be watching for the time to add a second box. Once you have checked and you know your queen is there (because you see brood), there is no reason to remove frames to look at them. With the cool weather, it is best to not remove any frames. If you do take a frame out to look (who can resist) do not keep it out long and for sure do not set it outside the colony. Check to see if they need more pollen substitute and keep the feeder filled and they will be fine. Even if they are bringing in pollen, you should have a pollen patty on unless they have a lot of stored pollen.
When checking the feeder be sure to smell it to make sure it is OK. The one advantage of the cool weather is the syrup does not go bad as fast, but if it smells bad or is moldy clean the pail and replace the syrup.
When the first box is at least 80% being used (you see bees on 8 of the 10 frames) add a second box. Move a frame (with nectar but no brood) from the bottom box to the center of the new box to draw the bees up. Evenly space out the nine remaining frames in the first box.
For your wintered colonies, as soon as the weather warms up (nights consistently above 40dF or 4°C) you can do reversals, clean the bottom boards and reverse the entrance reducer. At that time, you can do a partial or modified reversal. Be sure to not separate the brood at this time.
In the May 2020 newsletter, I did an extensive description of the reversals. If you need a refresher, go to the website mnbeekeepers.com and look up 2020 May newsletter for the Management. It is most important not to break up the brood nest.
If your colonies have no stored honey, you will have to feed them. BUT, do not feed them sugar
syrup yet if they do not need it. If they have 2 frames of honey, they are fine. It is best if you can give them frames of honey. You could even take some from another colony that has plenty. As the weather warms you can give them some feed to stimulate them to raise more brood. You don’t want to do that now because if the brood nest expands and then if it gets cold and they cannot keep all the brood warm it will die.
The divide is usually at the time of fruit tree bloom (typically May 15). This year may be a little later but keep an eye out on the environment. Remember we do the divide when we have at least eight frames of brood. Find the queen or do the trick with queen excluder so you know which box she is in. The trick is described in our Beekeeping in Northern Climates manual. (http://z.umn.edu/beemanual) The divide should have 4-5 frames of brood and all of the bees on those frames plus a frame or 2 of nectar and pollen. The parent colony should be left with at least 4 frames of brood and the old queen. If you have more than 8 frames of brood, leave the extra in the parent colony. Let the divide set for 12-24 hours so the old bees will fly back to the parent colony before you install the new queen. Have a feeder with light syrup on the divide to help them accept the new queen more readily. Introduce your queen using the slow-release method. The queen should have come in a cage with queen candy (not a marshmallow)
The parent colony has a queen that is laying so be sure the top box (of two boxes) contains at least a couple empty frames for her to lay eggs into. Also be sure you put two honey supers on the parent colony after you make the divide to provide extra room for all those old bees that are coming back. If you plan to winter the parent colony add a third deep instead of the supers.
A quick reminder about leaving frames out of the box. It is convenient and safer for the bees if you leave a frame out of the box while you manipulate the remaining frames. The frame that is out can be set on the end (not bottom) leaning against the hive or set in a frame holder or put in an empty box. It is best to leave out a frame of honey but if it is a frame with brood (especially larvae) be aware of things that will injure or kill it. First is sunlight which in hot weather can overheat it and even melt the wax. Second is the wind which can desiccate (dry out) the Larvae and kill it. Third is kicking it, that will smash the larvae and pupae and kill it. So, refrain from keeping a brood frame out of the hive. If you must keep a brood frame out the hive, keep it in the shade and protected from wind and feet.
When you are visiting your bees be sure to check the brood carefully and look for signs of disease. For new beekeepers, be sure to look at brood every time you go in the hive. You do not have to look at every frame but look at least a couple frames of brood. This gets you used to looking at healthy brood. If you see something different you may not know what the disease is if you get one but, you should know that it is not healthy and get help.
You should also test wintered colonies for varroa mites with the powder sugar test. Treat SOON if you have more than three mites per hundred bees. Be sure to look at the label for the treatment you are using so you know how far in advance you must treat before adding supers. Test for varroa again after treatment to be sure your treatment worked. For a poster on the powder sugar test for varroa go to z.umn.edu/freebee. You should continue to test monthly. Be aware that a higher percentage of mites than normal may be in the brood in early spring.
We will be having our first in person meeting this month. See details elsewhere in this newsletter. You will also be able to join by zoom. We will also have the first Hive Demo this month. It will be at 5:45-6:45 outside the Bee Lab before the meeting. You can also join the demo through Zoom. Note the Zoom link for the Hive Demo is different from the Zoom link for the meeting.
Finally, I encourage you to take part in the BIP winter loss survey. I wish they would change the name because you should enter your information even if you did not have any losses. If only those that lose colonies report the data will be biased. Visit beeinformed.org/take-survey to enter your success/loss in the survey! From there you can also see results from the survey.
Reproduction of all or part of this article without the author’s permission is prohibited.
2022 Annual Picnic Save the Date!
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 6:00 pm, for our MHBA Picnic at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. This is a great opportunity to socialize and network with other beekeepers. A training session for State Fair honey extraction volunteers will be held at 7:00 pm. More information and details will be provided in future newsletters.
5 frame nucs - $150 . Carniolan, Italian established queens. Healthy, mites-treated bees! No prepayment required! Pick up mid-May, Prior Lake, MN. 952-212-6853, Viktor. Email: [email protected]
Retiring beekeeper with equipment looking for a new home. Three frame extractor, five gallon honey buckets, nuke hive set, solar electric fence battery, top feeder, common beekeeping equipment. For information, inquire at [email protected].
Assorted bee ware and equipment. Unfortunately Jerry Linser passed away April 24, so need to sell his 35+years of stuff. 651-429-6523.
State Fair Voluneers
Alex King here, MHBA Vice President and Superintendent of everyone’s favorite exhibit at the MN State Fair, The Bee & Honey Exhibit. We are hard at work getting ready for the 2022 fair and we have a few volunteer opportunities available to spend some time talking about bees. The first such opportunity is to be a volunteer as an interpreter of one of our observation hives. This volunteer position is on behalf of the MN State Fair. This is open to any beekeeper age 16 or older, and everyone is encouraged to volunteer, even if you are new to the hobby. Shifts for volunteer interpreters are three hours long but, anyone who has done it in the past will let you know that time flies! Your duties will include interacting with fairgoers, answering questions, and helping them find the queen. This is a great chance to talk about honeybees, share your experiences, and your apiary knowledge with visitors.
If you’re interested in signing up to be an exhibit interpreter, please visit this link. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f4ea9af22a5f85-beehoney1
The second volunteer opportunity is on behalf of the MHBA and is being headed up by Terry McDaniel, former MHBA President, and current Board Member. This would be for our honey extraction demos. These take place every day of the fair, four times per day, at 1 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm, and 5 pm. Each demo takes approximately 30 minutes to complete including a short Q&A session. You will demonstrate the process of uncapping honey with a hot knife and extracting in our manual extractor. Even if you have never extracted honey before, we encourage you to volunteer for this. Terry will be showing everyone where to go and how to extract at our Picnic in August so, make sure you can attend the picnic if you have never extracted before!
If you are interested in signing up to extract honey, please visit this link.
The fair also has opportunities during the Pre and Post Fair. Pre-fair duties include making the exhibit hall ready to go for the fair, taking in exhibitor entries, assisting with judging, and setting up displays after judging. Post fair is tearing it all down, cleaning up, and getting all the exhibits back to the people who entered them. If you want to get a good look into "Bee-Hind the Scenes", this is the opportunity for you! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f4ea9af22a5f85-beehind1
If you love to volunteer or simply love being at the fair, you can definitely sign up for both but, keep an eye on your time slots as Honey Extraction covers the two afternoon shifts on any given day.
Volunteers for either the Interpreter or Extraction Demos receive complimentary admission to the 2022 MN State Fair for the day they volunteered.
If you have any questions at all about either opportunity, feel free to shoot me or Terry an email.
Minnesota Honey Producers Association Habitat Hour with Dan Shaw
Our 2nd MHPA Habitat Hour webinar was held on May 4, 2022. Our speaker was Dan Shaw, the Senior Ecologist and Vegetation Specialist with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) Attendees learned how pollinators are being supported in Minnesota and opportunities to participate in these programs. We were happy to have 20 attendees online with us.
Here are some of the highlights of Dan’s presentation:
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) has an initiative to incorporate pollinator habitat into their agency programs. They have also generated information rich pollinator habitat guides: https://bwsr.state.mn.us/pollinator-toolbox-community-outreach, https://bwsr.state.mn.us/residential-pollinator-habitat and https://bwsr.state.mn.us/pollinator-habitat-guide.
There are numerous key BWSR/Pollinator Partner efforts that include: Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program/Easements (300,000 acres in easements); Wetland Programs; Cost-share Programs; Habitat Friendly Solar Programs; Lawns to Legumes Pilot Program; Pollinator and Beneficial Insect Strategic Habitat Program; State Seed Mixes, Guidance, Resiliency Resources (Pollinator Toolbox - Selecting Plants and Seed Mixes | MN Board of Water, Soil Resources (state.mn.us)) and Pollinator Mapping.
A key initiative since 2019 is the Lawns to Legumes program. Numerous partners participate in operating the Lawns to Legumes program including Blue Thumb and the UMN Bee Lab There are 3 components of this program that include: Public Education and Outreach Campaign; Individual Landowner Support; and Demonstration Neighborhoods. The program supports 4 Types of planting including the smaller Native Pocket Plantings, Beneficial Trees and/or Shrubs, Pollinator Lawns and Pollinator Meadows
Beekeepers can support pollinators in partnership with BWSR in many ways:
- The program needs volunteer coaches (https://bluethumb.org/lawns-to-legumes/coaching-information/);
- You can plant and then map your Lawns to Legumes pollinator project! Map Your Pollinator Project – Blue Thumb;
- Share resources about Lawns to Legumes https://bwsr.state.mn.us/l2l.
- Help track the rusty patch bumble bee on www.BumbleBeeWatch.org or iNaturalist;
- Follow and share @MNBWSR on social media #Lawns2Legumes.
Please save the date for future MHPA Habitat Hours. Registration information will be posted on the MHPA website in the summer (http://minnesotahoneyproducers.com/)
Wednesday, October 5th, 6:30pm-7:30pm- Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda, University of Tennessee Extension
Wednesday, November 2nd, 6:30pm-7:30pm- Dr. Katie Lee, Minnesota Extension
2022 Survey Results
Thank you to the 89 members for taking the time to take the survey!
As you can see by the first question, we are a varied group from first-year to highly experienced beekeepers. The board has a challenging job of serving such a wide variety of members. The majority of you have been satisfied with the structure and quality of the meetings. We are delighted to know this! We do our best to hire a variety of keynote speakers. Sometimes it is a review and refreshing for our experienced beekeepers and other speakers teach us what we need to be aware of through science, current research, and updates to the world of beekeeping. Out of 500 members, this is a wonderful assessment considering the pandemic has changed our familiar ways of meeting. Two years of new members have not yet had the experience of attending the observation demos or have been able to be in a room full of beekeepers conversing about colony health. I am elated to know that 82% of you read the monthly newsletter and are still very interested in management.
Thank you to the members who want to be mentors, get involved with the board, help with educational outreach, and would like more information about volunteer opportunities. If you have not been contacted yet by a committee member of the category you were interested, email our president Susan Bornstein at [email protected] or myself at [email protected] and one of us can get you in contact with a person to assist you.
The full survey results can be found here.
Longtime respected MHBA member Jerry Linser 82, passed away the morning of April 24th after a short hospitalization. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Jerry and his wife Mary Anne took their first beekeeping short course at the U of M in 1982 or, possibly earlier, Mary Anne told me. It was the era of Dr. Basil Furgala leading the association. Jerry and Mary Anne were active MHBA members and served on the board for several years. Jerry, a retired math teacher at Mahtomedi loved talking to people about the wonders of honeybees. He did a multitude of school presentations and kept up to 20 colonies in different places. Mary Anne assisted in all this but let Jerry do the heavy lifting. He sold his honey products at the farmer's market in White Bear Lake for many years. Linser especially liked teaching the little kids and usually brought an observation hive to show them the real thing.
Jerry's youngest high school-age grandson, Owen Linser, helped with the last few colonies in the backyard. Some of you have met Owen as he attended several meetings before Covid with his grandpa. Jerry was always willing to mentor other beekeepers. He was one of my go-to elders when I had questions during the break at the monthly meetings.
He will be sorely missed by his family and fellow beekeepers. Mary Anne mentioned that he probably had no enemies, other beekeepers may have been envious of his winnings of the MN State Fair sweepstakes for so many years. Other than that, he was friendly, approachable, and very giving of his experience and knowledge of beekeeping.
I found this article from July 2011 where Jerry Linser had a few things to say while at the White Bear Lake Farmers Market.
Cards can be sent to Mary Anne Linser at 10317 Jody Ave N, Stillwater, MN 55082
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Stay tuned for no-cost Community-based beekeeping classes & events in the new calendar:
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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||Alex King|
|Technology Committee||Quintin Holmberg|
|Newsletter Editor||Quintin Holmberg|
|Katie Lee, PhD. (appointed)|
Make 2022 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]