Monthly Archives: April 2013

On Friday, April 19 we picked up the package of bees we'd ordered. It included 3000 bees and one queen in a separate cage. It was cold with occasional snow flurries interspersed with rain, much too cold to install the bees. Saturday was spent installing bees. The weather was warmer, mid 50's, and sunny. For the past few months I've read books, magazine articles, watched DVD's and learned about bee keeping. In preparation, we tried a dry run to make sure we were prepared.  By far the most comprehensive, easy to follow, step by step guide, was in Beekeeping For Dummies .

The night before we picked up the bees we made sugar water and added Honey B Healthy. This will be their feed until all the frames of foundation are drawn into comb and there's evidence that they're taking in nectar.

The queen cage was placed in between the center frames with a mini marshmallow plugging the cage opening. In a few days she'll eat it and escape. By that time the other bees will recognize her pheromones and accept her as their queen. If she hasn't escaped the cage within a few days we'll release her into the hive.

After the bees and frames were sprayed with sugar water Keith began shaking the box of bees into the hive. There were still a few stragglers clinging to the screen box so we placed it outside the hive, eventually the majority of the stragglers moved inside. The entrance reducer was put into place to help to control the temperature and prevent robber bees from entering the hive (no worries of robber bees yet, it's too cold).

The installation was a success, no one got stung and the bees were content.  Watching them come and go from the hive has been fascinating. Hopefully the weather will break and nectar and pollen will be plentiful soon.







Agent Orange Corn

Dow AgriSciences announced the launch of Enlist corn which is resistant to 2,4-D. Dow expects the first sales of Enlist corn in 2013 with a planting date of 2014.

Shared Links

Our customers are the best! They're informed, educated and always willing to share. Here are some links they've sent us....

The Best and Worst States for Eating Locally

Where does Iowa rank? How about California? You might be pleasantly surprised with the results. Kudos, Cameo thanks for the link!

GMO Awareness

  Wow! This is the eye opening history of  Monsanto. Thanks for sharing Dave!

dark_honey_bee_hembergerSave the Bees!

I had an epiphany. There are so many things I want to learn about and experience so what am I waiting for? One of them is bee keeping. For years I've been fascinated by bees. I've studied them, researched apiary science, and formed ideas and opinions on how to best care for them. This information hasn't been put to the test yet. Next week my first package of bees, 3000 of them plus one mid-west bred dark queen will be shipped to the farm. Dark queens are said to be calmer and more resistant to disease. The hive's are built, soon to be painted when it stops raining.

One hive seems reasonable to start with, but by late June we'll have a couple more ready in case of a swarm. There's never been an agricultural challenge that I haven't embraced with confidence until now. Caring for chickens, hogs, cattle, sheep, and goats hasn't intimidated me but bees are far more complicated. They're fragile in the ecosystem, susceptible to toxins, mites, and environmental issues; plus, they sting. My goal isn't to harvest honey, I'll let the bees keep it for the first two seasons. It's the perfect food for them. Many bee keepers harvest the honey and then feed sugar syrup or corn syrup to the hive throughout the winter. To me it seems logical that the bees convert nectar and pollen into honey, the perfect food for the hive. They should benefit from their labor by living off of it. Good nutrition for the hive might improve disease resistance and strengthen the hive enough to overcome veroa mites, colony collapse disorder (CCD), nosema, and a myriad of other threats.

In the '1990's French researchers were alarmed by the disappearance of billions of bees. Their study targeted a link between colony collapse disorder (CCD) and the neonicotinoid insecticide, Imidacloprid created by Bayer. Neonicotinoids are chemically related to nicotine which works as a nerve agent destroying the central nervous system of insects. It's used in treating soils, seeds, vegetables, fruits, berry and nut crops.  They are the most widely used insecticide in the world. Since 2008 seed treatments using neonicotinoids have been banned in France, Germany, and Italy.



One of the biggest threats to honey bee health is neonicotinoid's used to treat seeds. Lawn and garden products are full of this pesticide. PLEASE read labels carefully.  Buy organic if possible or environmental friendly, less harmful items. If you're buying seed make sure it's untreated. Below is a list of product names indicating they contain neonicotinoids. Print and take it with you to the garden center. Let's save the bees!

Don't buy products with these ingredients; clothianidin, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, nitenpyram, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, these are all neonicotinoids.
Ingredient lists may include these brand names;  Actara, Platinum, Helix, Cruiser, Adage, Meridian, Centric, Flagship, Poncho, Titan, Clutch, Belay, Arena, Confidor, Merit, Admire, Ledgend, Pravado, Encore, Goucho, Premise, Assail, Intruder, Adjust and Calypso