February 2021 Meeting Minutes


FEBRUARY 22, 2021

Once more, the intrepid met in the Blando’s indoor horse arena. President Rich Farrier opened the meeting at 7:04 pm. There was a lot of discussion about the recent ice storm, the power outages, downed trees, and using generators.


1. Mark and Wendy are thinking about ordering Buckfast queens from Weaver Apiaries in Texas. If anybody would like to add to the order, the shipping costs can then be shared.

2. Rich brought to our attention, an article in Bee Culture’s Catch the Buzz titled, “Honey Bee Nosema Parasite Hijacks Iron”,. This is recent research coming from the Beltsville Honey Bee Lab. It explains why Nosema is so devastating for honey bees. This might open up new options for dealing with this parasite.

3. To eliminate moldy bee syrup, add 1 tsp of unscented bleach to 1 gallon of syrup.

4. Set out a mineral salt block for the bees to provide their minerals and salt so they are less inclined to find them in neighboring properties, becoming nuisances.

5. Debbie has a bee vac for sale as well as a ventilated bee suit. Contact her if you’re interested.

6. Bacillus thuringiensis aizawai or Bt aizawai, is now legal for beekeeper use against wax moths. It is sold under the name “B402” or “Certan”. Most bee suppliers are carrying it.

Rich then talked about spring inspections, what to look for and what to do.

  • Choose a day, probably within the next month, when the bees are flying and the temperature is close to 60.

  • Remove both boxes and clean the bottom board.

  • If there is no brood in the bottom box, reverse the order of the boxes and put it on top.

  • Look for evidence of queen rightness, i.e. eggs and larvae.

  • Look at the brood nest, is it solid or spotty? Read this article from Michigan State University, “Diagnosing and Treating American Foulbrood in Honey Bee Colonies” , beforehand to remind youself of what AFB looks like.

  • Do a mite check.

  • Check food stores, there should be some honey frames and stored pollen. Pay attention to the weather as an extended rainy season which keeps bees from flying also can starve them. On the other hand, feeding leads to early population build up which leads to swarming…it’s a vicious cycle. If you need to spring feed the ratio is 1:1

  • How is the population of worker bees? Bees covering 12 frames is a strong colony, covering 6 frames is obviously less strong, so you need to keep an eye on them. Ask yourself why they are not as strong and then look for answers. Probably best to start with a mite count.

  • Later instepctions when it is warmer, you can move frames of brood around to equalize colony size. But when one of the colonies is significantly smaller, look closer to determine why.

  • Always look for queen rightness.

  • Always look for AFB and EFB.

Swarm Prevention is tricky which is why spring feeding should be avoided if at all possible. Give the queen room to lay eggs. This can be accomplished by reversing hive bodies, as already stated. Or alternating some empty drawn comb frames between brood frames. This should only be done if there are enough worker bees to keep the brood warm. Another technique is to make splits, but these can’t be done too early as it needs to be about 68 degrees for the queen to take mating flights.

Honey Supers can go on as early as April 1st. Pay attention to the weather, if it’s warm, the forecast is favorable, and the bees are flying, it’s honey super time. Temeratures should be in the 60s and 70s. Early nectar sources are maple, black locust, and meadowfoam followed by blackberries.

Spring mite treatment options are Formic acid, (watch temperatures), Hopguard III, are the only ones to be used when honey supers are in place. ApiGuard, ApiLifeVar, and Apivar can be used when there are no honey supers. Oxalic acid is used during a broodless period NOT every 5 days like some social media folks are suggesting.

We wrapped up the meeting at 8:30. Next meeting is March 22 in the horse arena.

Respectfully submitted,

Anna Ashby, Secretary WVBA

February 27, 2021