Author Archives: Carl Fisher

Introduction to Beekeeping – Basics For Someone New to Bees

The Brown County Beekeeping Association is happy to present INTRODUCTION TO BEEKEEPING again this year.Learn the essentials of beginning beekeeping !! As with all things COVID, the 2021 class will be a different than previous years. There are two virtual classes (2 hours each) and one in-person, at-the-hive two hour class.

When:
January 9th, 2021 — 9:00am to 11:00pm (virtual via Zoom)
February 13th, 2021 — 9:00am to 11:00am (virtual via Zoom)
and May 29th, 2021 (at the hive, location TBD)
Online Registration:     Click here
How Much: $50 for an individual, $40 for additional family members
What: An understanding of: Continue reading

Preparing for Winter

At the September club meeting, which was held both in person (socially distanced) and virtually, Richard Schneider from Capital Bee Supply was our remote guest speaker. He did an excellent job presenting the steps beekeepers can take to get ready for our Wisconsin winters. Capital Bee Supply is a Wisconsin based company out of Columbus, WI. The YouTube presentation is presented below. It is 57 minutes in length.

If you would like to see these presentations live or in person you should consider joining the club.

Bees and Bears

A club member sent us pictures of his hives encounter with a bear. He found frames in various places around yard. He was able to put the hive back together and hopes the queen made it. Here is his quote: “Had to hunt down a few pieces in the brush.  Found the spot where the bear laid down to suck up his spoils.    Probably at least ¾ of the honey is still there, just some grass and dead bugs on it.  Which means he’ll likely be back for more.  I’m hoping the bees gave him enough incentive to stay away, which is probably why he didn’t destroy everything in sight.”

Bears knocked the hive off its stand. Luckily the propolis held the boxes together or maybe the bear got scared off before tearing into the boxes.
The hive was strapped down and the bear was still able to knock it off the stand.
The bear carried some of the equipment into the woods. Fortunately most of the equipment was not damaged.
The hive put back together with most of the bees intact. An electric fence is the next step.

Entrance Reducers

The officers of the club have received several questions from new beekeepers about removal of entrance reducers. They put the entrance reducers on when they installed their new bees, as they were instructed. Now they want to know when to remove them. Click here from more information.

Mite Management

At the May 2020 meeting of the club April Kustov, Wisconsin State Apiary Inspector joined our meeting via Zoom to present Mite Management. The video is over an hour long but is very comprehensive about mite management and treatments.

In the video April refers to different mite treatments and the Wisconsin recommended treatments. Here is the sheet to which she refers. If you would like the Power Point presentation click here. You will need Power Point to view the slides.

Baggie Feeding

During one of the club’s virtual meetings about installing and feeding nucs and packages the question came up about feeding using a zip top bag. No one in the meeting had any feedback so Carl Fisher has done some internet research and come up with the following.

  • A very cost effective way to feed the bees. No extra equipment to buy except for zip top bags and a sharp knife but you probably already have those.
  • Most folks use a gallon zip top freezer bag. Don’t see any reason a quart size wouldn’t work.
  • Mix sugar water just like you would for other types of feeders. One part water to one part sugar (or 2 x 2).
  • Fill the bag half way with the sugar solution.
  • Gently lay the bag directly on top of the frames taking care not to smash your bees.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice several one inch slits in the bag so the bees have access to the mixture. Don’t press too hard when cutting or you will have a sugary mess.
  • Place a spacer on the hive.
  • Replace the inner and outer covers.

Installing a Nuc and Package

Join Brown County Beekeepers Association President Dave Elsen and Vice President Julie Mazzoleni as they demonstrate how to install a nuc and a package of new honey bees. They also take questions from club members on lots of related topics to include feeding the new bees. The presentation is an hour long but well worth it.

Powdered Sugar Mite Test

During the April 15, 2020 virtual club meeting the subject of performing a sugar roll to check mite load came up. The Minnesota Bee Squad does a lot of good work in the area of mite testing and controls. The only issue with this video, in the club’s opinion, is the person is only wearing head protection. She is not wearing gloves or arm protection. The club always recommends taking the level of personal protection you are comfortable with.

Honey Extraction Kit

Survey Results

A survey was taken during the November 2019 club meeting asking members to prioritize the purchase of potential items by ranking up to five items from 1 (highest priority) to 5. There were eleven items suggested for potential purchase. The club also voted to allocate up to $1,000 to purchase the top ranked items.

We then added up all of the “votes” an item received and divided the sum by the number of votes. A combination of votes and average score resulted in the following rankings.

RAnkItemVotesAvg Score
1Infrared Camera122.08
2Honey Extracting Kit112.27
3Bee Education Posters93.33
4Hive Scale82.25
5Candle / Wax Molds83.88
6Frame Assembly Jig64.0
7Dovetail Jig54.0
8BCBA Medallions54.4
9Laptop Computer12.0
10Printer13.0
11Polariscope14.0

As of March 2020 the club has purchased the Infrared Camera and the Honey Extracting Kit items. Both are currently available to rent for club members.

March Bee Management in NE Wisconsin

Our March meeting was cancelled where the topic for discussion was going to be “Spring Management Before Dandelions Bloom”. Here is a 3 minute video by Dave Elsen on that subject.

Learn about spring management before dandelions bloom for Northeast Wisconsin.