General Meeting Minutes 4/22/19

Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

General Meeting Minutes

April 22, 2019

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 by President Richard Farrier. He reminded us to fill out the form from the college that allowed the club to continue free use of the class room with all its fancy gadgets.

News item 1: Ag Fest is Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, at the fairgrounds. The club has a booth and observation hive. Bees are needed for the ob. Hive. Sign-up sheet was circulated.

News item 2: First swarm of the season that Rich knows about was April 25th in south Salem. The club has a swarm catch listing open to members. Sign-up sheet was circulated with the caution to print legibly.

News item 3: Nuc pick up will be at Chemeketa Community College, green parking lot, Saturday, April 27, 8:30am-9:15am. Be prompt because Rich needs to leave to get to bee day.

News item 4: WVBA bee day is also Saturday, April 27, 10:00 – 1-ish. It is held at Steven Coffman Farms, 2775 Ballard Rd, Dallas. We will cover smoker lighting and care, Varroa sampling, and hive inspections. Bring bee suit and gloves.

News item 5: Rich has a pollination request for Salem area for an unspecified amount of colonies to be placed in a local orchard. See Rich for details.

News item 6: Catch the Buzz from Bee Culture had an article 4/22/19, WSU Researcher Licenses Pollen Suspension while Continuing Electrostatic Research about Matt Whiting, a horticulturist at WSU Extension in Prosser, WA who is trying to develop a mechanical electrostatic pollination sprayer, artificially pollinating fruit trees in lieu of honey bees. So far it hasn’t been super successful. See the link for more details.

News item 7: The three colonies of honey bees that live on a portion of Notre-Dame’s roof, survived the recent devastating fire. Here is a link to the article Honey Bees Survive Notre-Dame fire.

News item 8: Rich brought in an all plastic, 5-frame Nuc box, known as a Pro-Nuc box. Dadant lists it for $15.95 + shipping. Mann Lake also lists it for $15.95 + shipping. Blue Sky Bee Supply price is normally $17.95 but currently on sale for $14.95 unless you order 100+, when the price drops to $12.95 each. Apparently they are popular.

Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

General Meeting Minutes

April 22, 2019


  • How long after removing Apivar strip before supering? 2 weeks.
  • Two equally sized colonies, one bringing in lots of pollen the other not, why? Union Bees!
  • 5 package of bees, 4 superseded their queen, 1 swarmed, why? This is a common issue; most likely the queen was not well mated.
  • Should bees bee fed now? Not unless they are weak. Colonies should have 12-14 frames of brood this time of year.
  • What to do with a top box full of honey and bottom box full of brood? Remove some frames of honey in the middle of the box to give the queen space to lay and replace with empty drawn comb. If from a healthy hive, feed honey to a weaker colony or freeze it for later use, or extract if miticides were not used while it was in place.
  • Bees prefer upper entrance to lower entrance, why? Bottom board might be dirty, dreary, disgusting, or bees simply like upper entrance. There is no problem with this.
  • How to get rid of what is probably “sugar ants” making nest on top of inner cover? Suggestions ranged from lots of cinnamon, to Terro bait stations, to Tanglefoot on hive stand legs. The take home message was to persevere until ants are gone.
  • Is there chalkbrood in the Willamette Valley? Yes, Chalkbrood is caused by a fungus. The symptoms appear during times of stress. Increase hive ventilation, place hives is a warmer area or face them south, replace heavily infected comb with fresh comb or foundation, feed, possibly requeen.

Procedures for installing nucs into 8 frame equipment. If using drawn comb, add the 2nd deep right away and place the division board feeder in the top box. If using foundation only, one can start with a single deep with feeder and 2 frames of foundation. It will not take bees long to draw these, so be prepared to add 2nd deep within a week or two.

Varroa treatments while honey supers are on are limited to FormicPro, Mite-Away-Quick strips, HopGuard II, and oxalic acid vapor.

We are hearing positive reviews from various commercial beekeepers about Pro-DFM and Super-DFM which are probiotics for honey bees. They are touted to increase winter survival, decrease incidences of chalkbrood, and improve bee gut health.

Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

General Meeting Minutes

April 22, 2019

We then, for the first time, had the pleasure of using the wonderful AV system in the room to watch a video from Michigan State University Keep Bees Alive site called, Why did my Bees Die? The presenter, Dr. Meghan Milbrath did a marvelous job of describing what she is seeing over and over in autopsying dead outs.


  1. The colony was big and looked healthy in the fall
  2. A lot of honey is left in the top supers
  3. The cluster is now small, maybe the size of a softball
  4. Near or just below the cluster is a patch of spotty brood – some fully capped, and some with bees dying on emergence (heads facing out, tongues sticking out).
  5. If you look closely in the cells around the brood, you will see white crystals stuck to the cell walls, looking like someone sprinkled coarse salt in the brood nest.

AND 6. You don’t have records showing that varroa was under control. Sound familiar?

We see this classic set of symptoms over and over in the states with a period of winter stress. A big colony seems to just shrink down and disappear. Many people want to use the term colony collapse for this type of death, and while collapse is a good descriptor of what happens, this is not true colony collapse disorder. This is death by Varroa Associated Viruses.” (From her handout by the same name.)

This video is the first in a 3-part series. We strongly recommend watch the other two videos. This is the year that we are going to keep our bees alive.

Whomever won a raffle coupon from Maryann Beirne for a Clerodendrum Trichotomum, ( Harlequin Glorybower), please contact Maryann by Thursday to dig your tree.

Final note, Ken Lambert started a Facebook page for the club. Look for “Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association” and request to join. It is off to a great start. It can be another go-to place for WVBA information.

Next meeting is Monday, May 20th.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:00. Respectfully submitted, Anna Ashby, WVBA Secretary, 04/23/19.