April 2024 Meeting Minutes

April 23rd


Rich called the meeting to order at 7:11

Rich gave a recap of Bee Day.  It was Saturday at Debbie’s house.  All the queens were found and marked except for one or two queenless hives.   John mentioned that a split was made.

Rich thanked everyone that came to Bee Day and announced that there is a new roster.

He said the mail chimp account has been updated, as well as the swarm list.

Rich passed attendance around as well as the swarm list sign-up sheet. Only members can be on the swarm list.

Rich recommended that you limit your city range on the swarm list so everyone gets a chance.

He passed around post cards that can be passed around locally so community members know about the swarm list.

Rich mentioned a show on OPB about raptors.  It featured the oriental honey buzzard that attacks Asian giant hornet nests.  The raptor also attacks exposed honey bee nests in Taiwan.  The raptor has special shaped feathers to prevent stings, a chemical that covers the feather and a membrane that covers the eyes to protect against stings.  

Rich mentioned Elaine’s article in ABJ as well as Charles Linder’s article and Randy Oliver’s article about extended release thymol blocks.  

In Bee Culture they had an article about pesticides being in beeswax, including the wax on purchased foundation.  Jeremy asked what the pesticides are and Rich said they include Roundup and neocintonoids.  He assumes there must be miticides as well.

Rich mentioned that there are some essential oils that may be helpful against viruses and bacteria.  These oils could be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to shop towels.  The essential oils include oregano, thyme, cinnamon bark, lemon grass, manuka and eucalyptus.  A club member mentioned that Bob Bennie has a YouTube video about these essential oils.  

Rich opened the floor up for questions.  

This year’s queen color is green. Elaine mentioned a pneumonic device to know which queen color to use–Will You Raise Good Bees. White, yellow, red, green, blue.  

A round mosquito killing zapper device was mentioned and it was asked if that affects bees.  It is probably not a concern.

A discussion was started about heading off to collect swarms.  What questions do you need to ask before you head out.

Are they honeybees? 

Get a picture

Is it really a swarm (or just a lot of foragers)

How big is it?

How high off the ground? Do they have a ladder? Jeremy recommends doubling the height of whatever they say.

How long has it been there?

Do they want to keep the bees or do you want them taken away?

Safety concerns?

Is it on their property?

Did they call anyone else?

Have they been sprayed with anything? 

Rich mentioned a former club member that caught his own swarm on a neighboring property, it ended in a lawsuit and the beekeeper quitting beekeeping.
Things to take with you.

A box, like a nuc box, or bigger.  Rich mentioned a swarm he caught that filled three deep boxes, Debbie had one that filled four boxes.  It is speculated that it was several swarms that joined together queenless.

Rich said there is a law from the 1800s that says once the bees fly away they are no longer yours.

Plastic totes and cardboard boxes also work, as well as buckets.

A jacket or suit and gloves, a brush, clippers, a piece of old comb.

A good technique for tricky swarms in arbor vita is to place a box with old comb as close as possible to the swarm and the bees will often times climb in.

Terry recommended using a bit of swam commander.

Some swarms are not worth messing with—too high or tricky cut outs

Rich said that in his experience only 25% of swarms will overwinter. Oftentimes you do not know how old the queen is.

One club member asked about diseases in swarms, it was speculated that it is similar to what we find in our colonies.

7:55 break time

8:13 Meeting called to order.  

Anna presented “life in the bee hive,” Photos by WVBA members.

First photo was of Helen’s hive checking on winter feed stores in February.  The photo shows a strong cluster of bees with sugar on top.

Second photo was mite frass deadout frame.

Third photo was of pollen and brood, a typical frame in spring.

Next photo was of a too small winter cluster that got too cold and could not move to food stores

Next picture was of a starved double nuc

Then Terry’s thriving bees on Easter.

Next was Helen’s bees in April with close up of eggs and larva. And one featuring a queen and a drone in mid April.

Next photos of Bob’s drone frame removal as a non-chemical means of varroa control.

Then a recent photo of Anna’s bees with capped brood and emerged boos and queen.

Then a close up a frame with two eggs in one cell, and eager queen.

Then a swarm capture from last week.  Anna saw the swarm issue and walked around with a frame with swarm commander sprayed on it.   She waved it around and then put it in a box about 15 feet from where the swarm originated.  

Terry has a colony with a super already full and capped.

Anna asked the group to take pictures of problems and interesting occurrences to build up our personal club library and email them her.

Rich showed a from a colony that had too much pollen.  Rich asked what you can do with that, someone recommended freezing it.  Rich said colonies sometimes get pollen bound when the queen is not so good.

Rich said he would quickly go over splits.  Also, what to do if you don’t want more colonies? One option is to make splits, and sell them.  Another option is to equalize hives, by taking brood from strong and giving to weak.  

Some choose to let the colony swarm.  One member has a colony that swarmed 5 times and just dwindled away.

Rich says he saw a colony with 8 queens in one hive.  He says he has witnesses.

Trying to stop swarming is trying to stop nature.

There is a good video to watch on YouTube about the Demaree method.  It is at NHBKA  training Demaree method.

Rich demoed how to do a simple walk away split just by removing one box.  You then need to check which box did not have a queen and recommended installing a mated queen.

Another way to make a split if you don’t know where the queen is to shake all the bees off of enough frames to fill a box then separate from the other box with a queen excluder.  The nurse bees will not abandon brood so just check in 45 minutes or later and you will know which box the queen is in.  

Someone asked where to get a mated queen. Rich said it is hard to find mated queens this time of year.  He suggested check with Jeremy.  Queens will be easy to get later, like mid May or June.  

Terry says she takes her queen and four frames to make a swarm control split.

Jeremy asked when is the best time to take out swarm cells to make a split.  Rich says it becomes difficult to stop swarming once the cell has been fed royal jelly. Rich says the best quality queens will come from a big strong colony so that the queen is really well nourished.  

Nathan asked about clipping wings. Rich says he likes a clipped wing, just catch the edge of one wing so as not to hurt the queen, then the colony cannot swarm, until the virgin queens come out and swarm.  

Nathan mentioned a volunteer is needed for AgFest on Saturday. 

Raffle prize time.

Meeting adjourned at 9:02

Submitted By Elaine Timm