WILLAMETTE VALLEY BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
SEPTEMBER 27, 2021
Meeting was held in the Blando’s indoor horse arena. President Rich Farrier was out recovering from an illness. Secretary Anna Ashby loosely organized the meeting and kept the beekeepers headed in the same general direction.
1. We do not know if or when we will be able to meet at Chemeketa Community College. In the meantime we are grateful to Jim and Debbie for the option of the horse arena.
2. Anna talk briefly about fall inspections. Choose a warm day, look at the brood pattern. It should be compact not spotty. If it is spotty it might be the bees just getting themselves organized as they are reducing the brood area or it could be American Foulbrood rearing its ugly head. Check them again in 1-2 weeks to see if the bees have sorted it out or if there is still a problem.
3. Terry Holm had a Varroa horror story. She is vigilant with her Varroa monitoring and control. A month ago she found 1 mite or 0 mites in her apiaries. Now she had 30 and 17 mites in her sample. Her lesson to all of us is treating once in August is no longer an option, keep testing monthly in September and October and treating if necessary. Because of our current cooler temperatures Terry said our treatment options are Formic acid or oxalic acid. The other treatments are not as effective at cooler temperatures.
4. Then we moved right into talking about waxmoths. They fly at night, lay eggs in cracks in the hive, which hatch into nasty wriggling larvae. The larvae feed on cocoon remains, cast skins, pollen, and honey. Anytime you have stored equipment take steps to prevent moth infestation. Control options include: freezing and bagging frames to prevent re-infestation, or stacking boxes of frames and using “Para-Moth” which is Para-dichlorobenzene (follow package directions), or spray frames with Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies Aizawai. This can be found under the trade name of BT402/Certan, or XenTari. We had sample packages of both the para-dichlorobenzene and Bt aizawai. Again, follow directions for use. After using control method of one’s choice store frames where they will receive light during the day. Terry has a storage rack in the loft of her barn, Anna stacks boxes of frames on end in the greenhouse so they receive light, Rich has a covered shed with a rack for his frames. It is important to periodically check frames to make sure waxmoths don’t sneak in under your radar!
5. Next we talked about alternative hives. First up was Debbie Blando to talk about her AZ hive and her experience thus far. This necessitated a field trip out to see the hive and shed in question. This generated a lot of interest and discussion. Debbie has worked out a few kinks, keeps a long bread knife handy to cut frames loose if the bees get to excited about using propolis or wax. The mite levels are similar to her current colonies in Langstroth equipment. She has been able to feed and to use mite treatments just fine.
Next Marshall Murray told us the saga of his yet-to-be-occupied top bar hives. He missed out on swarms this spring so has 3 colonies in standard Langstroth equipment, because local bees are typically sold in nucs on regular frames. But he has plans to get bees into the top bar equipment next year. Then Darla piped up that she also has an unused top bar hive. Since her top bar hive is the same width of a regular frame, she has placed some top-bars in her current colonies and hopes to convince the bees that it would be a great idea to pull comb from these different bars. The two beekeepers will continue to compare notes as the seasons progress.
Finally, Anna spoke a bit about her horizontal or long Langstroth hive. She likened it to a coffin on legs and not very elegant because she is a rough carpenter not a finish carpenter. She figures the bees will fill cracks with propolis and nobody will be any the wiser. She built the 2 hives from free plans from the internet from Leo Sharashkin’s website “Horizontal Hives”. The mite counts are similar to that of her other colonies which are in standard equipment. Her challenges have been using canvas as the inner cover. Each side of every frame was glued to the canvas with propolis which made a HUGE sticky mess during summer months inspections. She decided that she didn’t care if was healthier for the bees, it was healthier for her state of mind to eliminate that issue. So she has changed out the canvas for regular inner covers. The bees overwintered fine and she doesn’t have to lift anything heavier than the cover.
6. Value-added products from the hive, was the final topic of discussion. Anna had creamed honey for sampling. This can be sold for more money than liquid honey. Since it is already crystallized to your specifications, it doesn’t become the rock hard crystals of unsupervised crystallization. Darla was the only one of the group who had tried to make creamed honey. Unfortunately, she was not successful. She was unable to keep it at a cool enough temperature. Check out the internet or beekeeping books for specific details for making it.
Laura Evans, walked us through making candles and lotion bars. Most people seemed inclined to try making one or both of these products. We had a sample lotion bar for people to carve off a bit to try. (That way it wasn’t passed from hand to hand.) There was some discussion about not starting one’s house on fire while doing these projects, and how to remove the wax from your good bowl or pan which was accidentally used!
Terry Holm had a mystery honey for everyone to try. It was dark so guesses were all over the board. It turns out that it was pumpkin honey.
Meeting Adjourned 8:45.
Anna Ashby Secretary, WVBA
September 28, 2021