March 2024 Meeting Minutes


March 25th, 2024

7:03 Rich Called the meeting to order

He announced the attendance list and the swarm list.

He assured everyone that the lists are not made public or sold.

Rich said that he had sent out an email about Andy’s hives for sale (which have all been sold) but the newer club members did not get the email.

Jan P. Donated a bunch of bee equipment.  Rich is gonna clean it up before he brings it in to hand it out.

Thad Starr is going out of business.  He had a bee business located out of Pleasant Hill.

Rich is considering banking queens at home to provide queens for the club. But it is labor intensive and may be financially iffy.

Jeremy is considering doing monthly queen orders in May June and July. Thad will still have a few queens through May.
John Edwards will also have queens.

If you sign up for swarm list, please list general area you will travel to for swarm, if you will do cutouts or if you charge for fuel.

Bee Day! April 20th is bee day.  It is going to be at Debbie Blando’s place in Dallas.  The address is 15175 Oakdale Road.

It starts at 10AM rain or (hopefully) shine.  Bring your bee gear!

Laura says pants over boots, Rich disagrees.  He also recommends wearing a full suit when moving full size colonies.

There is an opportunity to give a lesson to kids about bees.  Contact Rich for details.  It is to a home school group.

Dewey is back from Bolivia.  He announced the PNWhoneybee survey.  It is live at

He will announce it on the website.  You can input your data through the month of April.  Survey should take no more than five minutes.  This is the 15th year of the colony.

It was asked what a deadout in November is considered.  It is a considered a winter loss.

Dewey also announced that he has a deadout Taskforce to necropsy lost colonies.  There is a Thursday night zoom session and a Saturday in the hive workshop at PUB in Portland from 12 to 2.

Dewey also announced that Elaine has an article in the current issue of American Bee Journal.

Rich Announced the guest speaker, John Edwards from Hive and Garden in West Linn.

John mentioned how remarkable and unusual it is how long Rich has been heading the club.

Hive and Garden was originally started by John as Ruhl bee supply.  It was then sold to Brushy Mountain which crashed and now is Hive and Garden.

John began his presentation by saying that we only manage a few of the factors that affect colony survival.

Old school hive protection is a tree colony with a thick thermal mass, capturing infrared radiation (heat from the sun), round shape is great for thermal protection.

Then comes Lorenzo Langstroth. He recommended hive ventilation, saying that a hive can be ventilated in a cold area and survive as long as it does not get wet.  But he also said that a traditional straw and mud skep provided a lot of protection.

Colony Temperature is determined by the head gained vs the heat lost.

Heat is transferred by

Conduction through materials,

Convection through air


Small colonies produce less heat and moisture than large colonies, as the cluster shrinks, the ability to sustain enough heat drops nonlinearly.

as the cluster shrinks the mantle becomes more dense. This strategy works until the colony gets too small.

Derek Mitchell published a paper suggesting that clustering is a matter of survival.  He developed a mathematical model about heat transfer and loss.  He says that clustering is stressful and it is better to have a lot of insulation so the colony is not forced to cluster.

One method to insulate is to wrap in tar paper.  This blocks exterior moisture and wind chill.  It is a passive solar heater with low thermal resistance.  Even a brief window of sunshine allows enough thermal gain to break cluster and allow bees to do house cleaning, perhaps move to a better food source within the hive.

A slightly more modern approach to insulating the exterior of a hive body is to use pink foam board.

Having An upper entrance or ventilation allows heat and moisture to drain out from the colony.

The styrofoam can block the solar gain.

Another option is reflective foil.  This reflects the radiated heat away.  It needs a gap to work properly, and is a poor conductive insulated.

There is a product available called the NOD bee cozy.  It is an effective insulator, but vulnerable to small animal damage.

Top Insulation: Condensate or Ventilate? A false dichotomy

One approach is to fully insulate the hive.  This will retain colony heat, provide water for the colony, block solar radiation.

A second approach is to insulate the top with permeable insulation..  This reduces excess moisture.

John’s preferred method is to use a Vivaldi board with a burlap bag filled with wood shavings and insulate the sided with 3mm black corrugated polypropylene. The corrugate does not provide much insulation but it is a barrier against moisture and a windshield and provides passive solar heating. On a sunny day this can add as much as 30 degrees.

Super high density polystyrene hives are on the market.

They have six times more insulation vs wood hives, higher thermal stability, wind and moisture break, durable but negligible solar gain.

In California bees go from almonds into cold storage to conserve food and reduce swarming.

Rich announced break at 8:24

8:39 meeting called back to order

Rich said that people brought in their neat gadgets for show and tell. There was a frame jig, a long hive, a cool hive stand. Rich can do 1,000 frames per hour with his jig.  He also had a frame breaker to set supers on top of to pop all the frames up out of the box.

There are also DIY robbing screens.

John brought A different kind of bottom board “an innie not an outie.”  It provides better weather protection and makes it more difficult for robbers to infiltrate. He also had a setup for making comb  honey in mason jars.

He has a double screen board used for swarm prevention and make a “soft” split.

Rich went over what needs to happen in April — watch for swarming and feed. Consider supers next month if colonies are strong enough, consider reversing hive bodies.  Check the bottoms of the frames in the top box for swarms.

Maples are starting to bloom.

8:55 prize drawing