Monday, September 15, 2014

July and August meeting recaps

Busy summers make for poor blogging.  Here is a recap of the July and August Honey Bee Club of Stillwater meetings.

Queen Discussions

  • There was some thought regarding whether queens started from an egg in the hive make a better queen than one introduced into the hive.
  • Queen cells in the middle of the hive are more viable than at the bottom.
  • Are the best queens bred for genetic diversity rather than specific traits?  
We need healthy queens!

  • Is the demand for bees decreasing queen quality?  It may take a while to catch up with this demand.
  • The consensus on how along to keep a queen is a maximum of two years.  

Words of Wisdom:  
Never buy anyone's final round of queens.

Mite Control Discussions

  • There was some talk that you can treat later if you have Italians, since they keep laying eggs regardless of weather in the later summer, as opposed to Russians and Carniolans who stop laying by a certain time.  
  • Drone combs work well for mite control.
  • The powdered sugar method does not work.  
  • For general bee health, it is crucial to replace foundation every 2-3 years.

Honey collection

Several methods were discussed on how to get the bees of honey supers.  

  •      Simple shaking and brushing
  •      Bee Blower
  •      Leaf blower (careful with this!)
  •      Fume Board
  •      Bee Escape (this blogger's favorite)
Once you collect that honey, make sure it is dry enough.  It needs to be no more than 18.6% moisture to last without fermenting and to be considered Grade A Honey.  Keep it in a dry, warm place, maybe with a dehumidifier running for a few days and check moisture level with a refractometer.  You can also bring a small sample to Nature's Nectar and they will test it for you.  

7/16 Swarm catcher report:  One call per day for the last 60 days.

Our next meeting will be on September 15 and will feature Chris Schad from the Southeastern Minnesota Beekeepers Association to discuss small scale prairie planting.  

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