Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association
General meeting Minutes
May 20, 2019
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by president, Rich Farrier. He reminded us to not put Social Security numbers on the attendance form. He had recently returned from Disneyland where the foxglove plantings were covered with a large number of honey bees.
The swarm list, open to members only, was circulated again in case somebody missed a previous chance to get on the list.
News item 1: A local organic farmer would like to have a colony of bees on his place. There would be no pollination fee, just a location. If interested, contact Rich Farrier for details.
News item 2: We had a sugar update from Jim Blando. His company is holding a meeting tomorrow to determine whether or not they could donate the damaged sugar (bags torn) to the WVBA. A sugar list was circulated. Jim or Debbie will contact members when a sugar pick-up is imminent.
News item 3: Librarian, Debbie Blando, has all the books listed on the website. She will be including her contact information for those who would like to borrow materials.
News item 4: Todd Bartlem is purchasing in bulk Ultra Bee from Mann Lake. He took an informal poll and will sell the extra to members at 3# for $5 which is considerably less expensive than buying 1# at a time. Three pounds of Ultra Bee will make 7 pounds of patties. Todd, who lives up in the foothills, feeds 6# per colony in Aug-Sept.
News item 5: Terry Adams, in Dallas, has 6-8 nuc hives that he just made up with Mississippi queens, for $125 each.
News item 6: Kay Freund brought in an oxalic acid vaporizer that her family makes and sells. John Edwards at Hive and Garden has them in stock for $99.
News item 7: The club was able to donate $1000 to the OSU Honey Bee Research Lab from the extra funds from the nuc buy.
News item 8: The next meeting is the picnic at the Riverfront Park Pavilion on Monday evening June 24th, 7pm. The club provides pizza, water, and paper products. The rest of the meal is potluck. So bring salads and desserts, please.
- How can I get bees to reuse cappings wax? Per Dewey, “Bees won’t use it.”
- A package purchased from Coastal, when treated with oxalic acid, dropped 234 mites! Was this reasonable? No, this is not reasonable so Rich will talk to Coastal manager.
- What is a brood break? It’s a break in brood rearing when there is not capped brood and thus all mites are more vulnerable to treatments. Ideal spacing to minimize bee, (and thus mite), drifting is 100 feet.
- What is the maximum number of colonies to have in one location? For a backyard beekeeper, the fewer hives in one location, the more honey they will be able to produce. In a rural setting 24 colonies per location seems to be a good number.
- When should I test nucs for mites? Start testing in June, treat when threshold is reached. Rotate treatments used. See the Tools for Varroa Management for details on treatments to use and when and how to use them.
- How do I equalize colonies? The easy way is to switch locations between the strong and weak colonies in the middle of the day when the foragers are out. Another way is to pull some frames of brood and nurse bees from the strong to place in the weak colony.
- Have there been any swarms yet? Member is trying to attract bees to their Warre hive. Yes, there have been swarms. Possibly there aren’t any beekeepers around for swarms to originate from.
- When should I check from new queen in old colony and queen status in the swarm colony? Wait 10 days then check for eggs, if nothing, then check again at 14 days.
- Are there any liability issues with retrieving swarms from public property, such as a public park? The consensus was not to play Lone Ranger, but to have the police/fire fighters/park rangers involved at least to the extent that they request the removal of the swarm.
- How and why does one check the moisture level in honey? A refractometer is used to check moisture levels. It isn’t necessary for a backyard beekeeper who only extracts capped honey with just a few uncapped cells. The bees cap at the perfect moisture level.
Dewey Caron: “What is your May-June Plan to (re)-build healthy colonies?
Dewey filled us in with all sorts of interesting facts and figures from the recent survey. The WVBA overwinter colony loss was 40%. For complete details see PNW honey bee survey. Dewey will continue to analyze the data. He is focusing on feeding management to see what is working and what is not working.
Dewey’s motto was “feed to grow” and “divide to conquer”. March – April and even into May can be tricky months for bees because of the weather. It doesn’t take long for a large colony to starve. He talked through the ins and outs of spring feeding as well as making splits to control swarming. He also recommended testing monthly for mites June – September and then twice in October.
The meeting ended with a great raffle drawing.
Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.
Anna Ashby, WVBA Secretary
May 25, 2019