WILLAMETTE VALLEY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
MAY 24, 2021
Once again we had the privilege of meeting in Jim and Debbie Blando’s horse arena. As the weather improves, so does the attendance!
President Rich Farrier opened the meeting at 7:05. He listed the benefits of being a member of the WVBA. 1. Can be on our swarm list. 2. Have use of the club’s 6-frame extractor. 3. Be able to borrow books from the club library.
When receiving a swarm call, ask some questions before dashing out the door. 1. Where is the swarm? 2. How large is it? 3. How long has it been there? 4. Ask them to send you photos. 5. Ask them to not call anybody else or you might have a wasted trip.
Our annual picnic is back! Next meeting at the Blando’s will be the picnic. Come prepared to enjoy a less formal setting, good pizza, and lots of talking with fellow beekeepers.
Dewey Caron reported on the 2020-21 PNW winter loss survey for the WVBA. All the details can be found here.
22 members reported for a loss of 29% which was the 2nd lowest in the state!
86% of the colonies are kept in Langstroth hives.
75% of colonies that started as packages did not survive the winter.
35% is the club’s loss average over the past 8 years. We’re moving in the right direction.
Current nectar producing blooms are radish seed fields, meadowfoam, and caneberries.
Questions: What to do with a mean colony. Split it. When the new queen is laying, pinch the old mean queen, if the bees are still mean, then recombine the 2 colonies. Or you can split the colony and requeen both halves with purchased queens.
What to do if unable to immediately install a new queen? Place her cage in a colony to keep her warm and fed for a few days. Then move her to her new home as soon as you can.
There was a bear sighting out of Yamhill. Also Steven Cauffman lost a colony to a bear. If you live where you might have a bear visitor, install an electric fence around your apiary before the bears know about your bees.
Terry Holm had more details on queen marking and Varroa testing. She uses this fancy one-handed queen catcher tube from Mann Lake which she really likes. It works better than the less expensive version.
When testing for Varroa, look for the queen after bees are shaken into the dish tub.
The treatment threshold is 1-2%. Never more than 9 mites per sample.
Treat for Varroa the re-test. Don’t forget this final step.
Anna Ashby spoke briefly on making nucs after the blackberry flow with plans to overwinter them if they are not needed to fix any queen related problems. Having 1 or 2 nucs on hand can solve most any problem.
Anna handed out copies of an article from May ABJ “Need a Queen? Try the Hopkins Method”.
We also discussed a Varroa testing schedule. It is far easier to prevent mite buildup than it is to get the mites under control after they have gone out of control.
Dewey pointed out that Formic acid is more caustic than Oxalic acid. Use it with caution. Oxalic acid is only effective when there is little to no brood.
Rich talked about some swarm control management techniques.
- Cage the queen to create a brood break. This is tough on the queen.
- Remove any queen cells. Need to shake the frames to look for cells.
- Reverse brood boxes. Kind of labor intensive and thus not friendly to one’s back.
- Put a Western with foundation as the bottom box, which will give the young bees something to do (draw comb) and get them out of the congested brood nest.
- Keep a swarm box read with a frame of old drawn comb
- Swarm commander works.
- Have swarm bait hives installed early in season.
Meeting was dismissed at 8:45.
Anna Ashby, Secretary WVBA
June 12, 2021