WILLAMETTE VALLEY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
JUNE 27, 2022
7:09 President Rich Farrier opened the meeting. He was a bit late because he had spent the previous 24 hours replacing his well pump. Fortunately, he was able to get water back flowing.
He welcomed everyone, then released the hungry beekeepers to enjoy the many potluck dishes.
7:58 Rich thank everyone for the great meal. Mona and Laura brought the pizza and baked chicken. Terry brought the beverages. Everyone else brought sides or desserts to share.
A beekeeper is retiring and wants to sell used 10-frame boxes with new plastic frames. See Nathan for more information.
Rich is receiving as many swarm calls about bumblebees as he is about legitimate honey bee swarm calls.
Debbie received 4 swarm calls just today. She passed them off to other beekeepers at the meeting willing to retrieve them.
Question on how to move a colony. 1. Can move it 3 feet a day until reaching new location. 2. Or can move it several miles away for 2 weeks then move it back. 3. Or just move it to the new location then stuff the entrances with grass so the bees have to remove the grass first. They will then re-orient themselves, (no doubt grumbling about the bad housekeeping the whole time!) Move the bees at night, otherwise returning foragers become GRUMPY and attack any moving thing.
Question on water for bees. Bees will travel as far for water as they will for nectar and pollen. However, as responsible beekeepers we need to provide water source(s) for them. We can entice them by adding some mineral salt to the water.
Question on preventing ankle stings. Wear rubber boots and tuck in pants. Can also rubber band pants legs. Practice working the bees with gentle motions to reduce their agitation.
Question on care of colony after it has swarmed. Wait 2 weeks before checking for eggs from the new queen. If you don’t see any, check again in 1 week. If there are no signs of a queen by 4 weeks, re-queen the colony by using a nuc.
Question on cut-out protocol. Explain to the owner that to remove the bees will necessitate you cutting into their wall. You will not fix it. They are responsible for hiring a contractor to repair the damage and caulking any holes that allowed the bees entrance. Charge for the service of cut-outs. It will take several hours of your time and its messy. Going rates range from $50-$75/hour with a 2-3 hour minimum.
Rich’s tips for finding queens.
- Only smoke the top of the colony, under the cover, not the entrance. (Entrance smoking causes bees to move into upper boxes.
- Use a little smoke as possible as smoking causes the queen to run around.
- Remove a frame but look at the side of the exposed frame still in the hive. Naturally this takes either young eyes or lots of experience.
- Look at the frame in your hands looking for the odd movement pattern of a queen, or for her shiny thorax. Take a long view trying to see the entire side of the frame at once rather than trying to focus on small areas while the bees are scurrying around.
- If you can’t find her remove a frame from the middle of the brood nest, shake all the bees from it. Do the same with a brood frame from a different colony. Then swap frames and close up the hive. Go back to the colony in about 45 minutes and re-open the hive. There is a high probability that the queen will be on the foreign frame searching for the foreign queen to destroy her.
- Mark the queen if at all possible as it makes it much easier to see her.
- Practice marking drones to gain confidence in marking queens.
We then raffled off 2 “QueenSpotting” books by Hilary Kearney.
Meeting adjourned at 8:52pm.
Anna Ashby, Secretary
June 30, 2022