April 20, 2017—Jason Hallacher—Queen Rearing
February 16, 2017. Anne Harmond
January 19, 2017. Business Meeting and Nuc Program Presentation.
October 20, 2016 Dave Pugh, Bait Hives
September 15, 2016 Alex Hausrath, Mead Making
April Meeting 4/21/16 Anne Harmond Yes you can be a mentor!
- Has both kinds and doesn’t prefer one over the other.
- Development: 16th c. movement from appropriate tech to balanced beekeeping.
- Most throughout history was done using fixed comb hives. Providing a container and then bees will afix comb wherever they chose.
- Types of fixed comb hives, horizontal (a little more work to make-easier to cut out the comb than in the vertical), some made of wood (Can last up to 10 years) or clay (put a plug in the back end because that is where they will store the honey and easier to extract the honey without destroying the whole thing) and vertical (gums) (tree beekeeping-northern Europe, think Germany, where there are dense forests, mark trees as their property, cut part of tree to extract—has pretty much died out, but has made a bit of a comeback in recent years)
- Horizontal tend to be found in tropical, vertical in temperate zones perhaps because greater need for increased honey storage and need to conserve heat, less surface area exposed as roof that would allow for heat to escape
- Skeps: Can’t be managed realistic.
- Pros of fixed comb: easy to build-except may deplete large trees, inexpensive, “natural”
- Cons: difficult to harvest, no management possible, no disease inspection possible
- Eva Crane “In an area of movable comb hives, beekeeping with fixed-comb hives is anti-social.”
- Movable comb hives: earliest known use is from Greece. Round basket with flat tops sticks across that can be moved. George Wheeler documented it, but had probably been used for hundreds of years prior (1682)
- Wooden rectangular box design published in 1683 by J.A.(British naturalist) because then frames could be exchanged throughout the width of the box contrary to the round which could not
- Then for 100s of years. No change.
- Pros: easy construction from local materials, inexpensive, allows colony management, easier harvesting
- Cons: still requires cutting comb for management, comb typically is attached to sides. (When inspecting, limit yourself to the brood nest because it is lighter and don’t run the risk of honeycomb detaching itself after inspection).
- Langstroth, 1853 published about his hives. Didn’t publish a picture of his original design just like JA. Within 50 years became the standard.
- Jump from 1680 to 1960…need for a cheap and simple hive for managing colonies of African bees (Apis mellifiera scutellata)
- Why not Langstroth? They do allow for larger colonies, and give higher honey yields, but complex to build because of precision measures, expensive to build and maintain-needs to be high quality wood because will warp in the tropical heat and humidity, management involves taking apart the hive, which is problematic with defensive bees, not easily protected from predators (honey badger) As a result, need to hoist in the air, but hard to do with a Langstroth.
- Appropriate technology: as applied to developing countries: technological choice and application that is: small-scale, decentralized, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, locally controlled. It may be labor intensive.
- 1965 Penelope Papadopoulo, from Greece, experiments with the Grecian top-bar hive, constructed from local materials.
- Tredwell-Paterson hive built and looks identical to what we have today. Until 1982 they experimented, and were finally satisfied.
- 1967: Kenya Beekeeping Pilot Program
- 1971: Kenya-Canada Beekeeping Project yields Kenya Top-bar Hive, runs through 182 at University of Guelph.
- Most complex piece is the place where the bees attach the comb onto the bar, wedge-shaped.
- Top-bar hives in Africa: simple and inexpensive to build and maintain, easier to handle defensive bees, better adapted to harvesting cycle: allows harvesting of a few combs at a time, allows more wax harvesting, builds on familiarity with horizontal hives in tropical areas, can be suspended to be out of reach of enemies
- Top bar hives in the north: over the past 25 years have become more popular, i.e. Wyatt A. Mangum, one of the best resources on the subject.
- Why do it? The idea of it being more natural (PJ Chandler) or a better way to practice “balanced beekeeping” 2013.
- What does it offer: natural comb, bee-determined cell size, no foundation. (Small cell size doesn’t necessarily prevent varroa the way that it has claimed to do—look at feral colonies survival rates compared to managed bee survival rates) Berry, J. Bee Culture 2009; 11: 49-51.
- Foundationless argument: may contain pesticides and level of contamination may be decreased BUT not natural, brood combs are not harvested, so pesticide accumulation may affect brood. Can be done in a Langstroth hive not just in a top bar hive
February Meeting. February 18, 2016. Native Bee Friendly Plants
January Business Meeting
DIY Nematode Rearing for Small Hive Beetle Control—Izzy Hill 11/19/15
January 15, 2015 Business Meeting
Meeting opened at 6:32
Jason from the department of game and fishery. Lake Shenandoah. Proposal of pollinator garden along trails w/ informative signage. Would club be interested in sponsoring a sign or participating workdays? In total, four signs, club would do the pollinator sign—examples on interwebs. Very early stages—possibly not even this year. Club either pays for a sign and/or creates the wording for a sign. ~$500-$1000. Vote on wording: passed. Vote on $ donation toward sign: tabled until February. Jason will present at Feb meeting about sign.
Introduction of new members/visitors.
Mostly the same, but equipment is less due to not needing a club extractor. Need more for books, Christmas basket, meeting place fee b/c of additional meeting,
Speaker fee @ $1000 for Michael Bush. (April 18th, afternoon 1-4ish—should know by Feb meeting—look for meeting topics and decide)
Need quorum for Charity donations. Hold to Feb meeting.
Chicken or BBQ for the June picnic? Sue is calling for prices.
Went over speakers for 2015
Fairs—Augusta County Fair—have more volunteers. Fair goers requesting honey, but not secure and vendors at the fair are charged vendor fee. So if a volunteer wanted to bring their own, and sell it. Club honey?
Motion carries except for particular line items that need to carry over until Feb.
17 April 2014, Amanda Rose–Small Hive Beetle Controls
The use of nematodes as a control for small hive beetles.
- Nematodes are arthropods–they can be beneficial or damaging–used as a bio-control since the 1960s on things like Japanese Beetles and slugs.
- Small Hive Beetles are originally from South African and came to South America in a plant shipment and have worked their way north. They overwinter as a grub.
- Lifecycle: 1. Adult moves into a honeybee colony. 2. Build up their population within a hive. 3. Mates and lays eggs in the hive. 4. Larvae hatch in 2-3 days and then feed on honey, pollen, and brood. 5. Larvae leave the hive to finish metamorphosing into adults in the soil surrounding the hive.
- SHB are extremely destructive within a hive. They discolor honey with fecal matter, causing the honey to spoil, changing its flavor, and making it unsaleable.
- There are several kinds of traps used at the base of the hive that are effective for adults but not for the larval stage. Some chemical are being used as well.
- Using the nematodes as a biocontrol targets the SHB before it reaches its most destructive phase. The nematodes act by consuming the larvae.
- Amanda Rose has a three year grant to study nematodes, which began in 2012. She is testing 2 kinds of nematodes, H. indica and S. carpocapsae. The latter being a broad spectrum nematode that also attack white grubs and gnats. Heat and cold tolerant.
- Put into use by being injecting into a water can, watering the soil around a hive, and they will immediately seek out their hosts. They are not visible to the naked eye and are hard to monitor.
- Available to buy on the internet in packages for $35 and will treat 10 hives.
- No visitors.
- Earth Day was a success. RiverFest in Waynesboro is up next.
- Swarm/Removal lists have been updates.
- Club apaiary–hives look good despite a bear attack in Verona. Bill was able to make 2 splits in Bridgewater.
- June picnic is approaching and need number of people planning to attend.
- Planning on purchasing an extractor for club use.
- Treasurer’s Report.
- No unfinished business.
- Meeting adjourned at 8:21.
20 March 2014, Ann Harman–Reducing Stress for Honey Bees
Stress is a buzz word in our lives, but what are causes of stress for our honey bees?
- Clumsy or the meddlesome beekeeper (it can take several days to a week for a hive to recover from a beekeeper putting frames back in the incorrect order)
- Lack of pollen and nectar especially if raising brood. Need both to produce beebread. Some concern with pollen sources currently due to the snow and ice clobbering the skunk cabbage.
- Too many bees for available pasture. Bees will forage a 3 mile radius from their hive.
- Weather: too much rain, too little rain (feed them during drought because plants produce fewer flowers and less nectar), too warm at the wrong time, too cold at the wrong time (queen is laying workers now for the honey crop in May, and the cold right now will be detrimental)
- Bad location (damp and windy)
- Moving hives for pollination and honey
- Wax contamination
- Chalkbrood: a few cells are not a disaster. Signs of it include black or white mummified bees in front of hive. When observing this, check if hive is in a damp area and move. If it persists, change the comb. If it continues to persist, replace the queen.
- Viruses: there are up to 21 different ones that affect honey bees. Varroa is a vector. Best defense is to keep hives strong!
- Bacteria: European Foulbrood reports are up. American Foulbrood too.
- Critters: small hive beetles. Kent Williams, a Kentucky pollinator, has a solution, but you must do it to every hive, and you must follow the directions. Use a pressed paper coaster, the kind you’d find at a bar that absorbs condensation. Place one in each hive at the top of the brood chamber in the center. Put three drops of wintergreen oil on the coaster. It will repel the small hive beetle. Too much oil will repel the bees. Not putting them in each hive will drive them into the hive lacking a coaster. Replace them when the bees chew the coaster up or when there is very little of the wintergreen smell left. One of the problems beekeepers face with small hive beetles is that by opening up the hive it releases the small hive beetles from the propolis prisons the bees have created. The female beetles, when feeling threatened, will lay far more eggs. Chickens will eat the migrating hive beetle larvae.
- Bears are in every county in Virginia.
- If you want to prevent skunk damage, keep hives 12 to 15 inches off the ground.
- Incompetent queens. It is a worldwide issue and so far there are no answers. Supercedure is more rapid. Package queens are superceded in a few months. Within the US, it is possible that inbreeding is playing a role with a loss of genetic diversity.
- What can YOU do in response to all the stressors? Consider the issues. Make decisions! Take action!
- Upcoming events: RiverFest in Waynesboro on May 3rd from 10-4. Heritage Day at Grand Caverns on June 7 from 10-4. Email Sue if available to help volunteer!
- Club beeyard update: Verona bees looking strong and will split soon. Bridgewater bees have 3 surviving hives. Fred is still waiting to hear back from BRCC about possibly establishing a yard there.
- Treasurer’s report: plan on purchasing an extractor from Shane before June. Will be purchasing tent to be used for events by Earth Day.
- If interested in joining a committee, there are descriptions of them on the website.
- No new or actionable business.
20 February 2014, Garrett Moore–How to Crank Your Bees Up for Spring
The following are notes taken during Garrett Moore’s talk. Some of the bullet points are responses to questions. At the bottom of the section is an overview of what was brought up during the business meeting.
- If your bees are alive right now, then if the hive fails at this point, it is the beekeeper’s fault. The bees will not leave the brood that the queen has already started to lay, and the beekeepers is going to be much better off if he starts to feed sugar water. The sugar water will provide food in the immediate vicinity to the bees keeping the brood warm because they will not leave to get the honey that may be a few frames over. If you are finding bees in the with their abdomen sticking out of a cell that are dead, they are starving. By feeding the bees you are encouraging them to draw out their comb and promoting steady reproduction. If the bees suddenly lack nectar, they will shut down production, causing hive population to drop and be strained.
- By the 1st of March, Garrett recommends putting pollen patties on your hives. The queen has started to lay and this will help increase the resources available to the bees as the maples and willows have not started to bud out yet. This is a measure to be done cautiously since if applied too early, you may encourage the queen to be out on a mating flight earlier than other hives around her, decreasing the frequency she is able to mate.
- Garrett recommends that beekeepers have either a queen castle (he prefers 3-framed ones), or nucs on hand as the season starts up to deal with swarm cells being created in the hives. In April, as you start to see swarm cells, pull the frame it is one, check to make sure the existing queen is not on that frame, and add some bees from another frame to start a nuc or place in a queen castle. OR you can take the existing queen with some attendants and move her, and this will help curb swarming behavior.
- If you find a drone laying hive, shake the bees out of the hive. Requeening the hive will most likely be unsuccessful. The existing workers will find the newly introduced queen and kill her. Laying workers have taken over after a queen failure and you are not able to identify which ones have become laying workers. The laying workers are no longer able to fly and will not be able to return to the hive.
- In regard to queen castles: They are easy to construct, especially the three framed boxes. When using a queen castle, if there are a lot of bees on the “porch” it is time to nuc or hive them up. The tendency of queen castle is for the different sections to develop unevenly. Bees tend to do better when they are crowded because there is less room to maintain. By placing a swarm or swarm cells in a queen castle or a nuc, increases their chances of thriving within a short period of time and needing to be moved to a larger space.
- When do you stop making nucs? Garrett doesn’t really stop throughout the season. In June, most hives have stopped producing swarm cells, so he makes them less frequently during the summer.
- How do you feed a queen castle? Drill a hole through the lid, particularly effective with the migratory lids, and use a honey bear to feed through the hole. It does have the disadvantage of being affected by the heat, so to combat that, put the honey bear on in the evening and the bees will use up the feed by the morning.
- Do you leave the entrances to nucs open after they are made? Yes. He occasionally blocks them with screens as they are moved to a new yard, which ideally will be six miles away from the yard that they have been made in.
- What if only backyard beekeeping and can’t move new nucs six miles away? Put the newly made nuc in the place of a stronger hive to catch foragers to strengthen the nuc. Or turn the entrance because theis will force bees to shift jobs to meet their immediate needs.
- How do you deal with stronger hives robbing nucs? Place an entrance reducer on the nuc, but there is a lot to be said for the survival of the fittest.
- If removing a group of bees from a queen castle into a nuc, what happens to the bees left behind? Bees will find a new home. The beekeeper can open up the partition so the left behind foragers can into a remaining group of bees in the queen castle, or if you are starting a new group in the space, they will just join that group.
- When do you take honey off your hives? 15 August at the latest. If you are going it mid to late September, you are not allowing enough time to treat for mites, put pollen patties on. Don’t miss the goldenrod flow! Have to stimulate the hive to prep it for winter.
- European foul-brood cycle? Garrett is seeing more EFB in his hives but it is no where near as contagious as AFB. Seen in brood that is about to be capped over, but dies with tongues out. If you see a lot of it, call Keith Tingor.
- When is a bee-yard considered at maximum capacity? The most hives Garrett recommends is having about twelve strong hives with a few nucs in it.
- Need more people to sign up for snack!
- Membership dues for state and local association due at the March meeting.
- Budget that was passed in January is available to view online.
- Possibility of shifting venues from BRCC to a larger location in the area is going to be explored.
- How do we want to develop the beeyard?
21 November 2013, Marcel Durieux–The Bees of Nyungwe Forest
- The Christmas party time has changed to start at 1 pm instead of 2 pm on 14 December at the Stuarts Draft Rescue Squad building. There is a parade that will finish in the lot across from the building so it may be wise to be gone by 5 pm at the very latest. Bring a side dish and it is optional to bring a honey dessert for the contest. Please remember to RSVP to Sue and let her know if you are bringing a child under the age of 12 to the party.
- The treasurer’s report was given. We have a balance of $6,224.47 without the profits earned from the state meeting. It should increase by $1,000 once those are added in.
- No legislation to report on.
- No new business introduced.
- Floor opened for nominations for elections. Motion to vote for all nominees listed on the ballot. Motion seconded. Motion passed. Vote to reelect all current board members. Vote passes.
- Please sign up to bring snacks to the meetings. February and March are still open.
- Motion to adjourn. Motion seconded. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned.
17 October 2013, Ann Harman–Bees Around the World
- Reminder that the VA state meeting is to take place on 9 November at Blue Ridge Community College. Registration is from 8-9am. We need at least 10 volunteers to help serve lunch.
- Please remember to contribute items to the Christmas basket. Dodge will collect items at the state meeting, at the November meeting, and finally, at the December dinner. Don’t forget to turn in two identical items and turn in the money from your raffle tickets.
- The Christmas Dinner is on December 14 at the Stuarts Draft Rescue Squad.
- New club banner was displayed.
- Introduced the possibility of using funds to buy a tent to be used for events, but did not vote.
- The nominating committee reported that all existing board members have agreed to serve a second term. Elections will be held in November.
- There is no existing legislation to report on currently.
- Please send either Bill or Sue information to post on the website if desired.
- Bee removal list contact details to be posted on website. Sue will be asking permission from the swarm removal list to do the same.
- Motion to adjourn meeting. Motion seconded. Meeting adjourned.
- Next meeting to be held on Thursday, 21 November, 2013 at Tinkling Springs Presbyterian Church at 6:30.