November 2014

11/24/14 WVBA Meeting

  1. General Minutes
    1. Richard passed around a few articles, including:
      1. Pollinator Task Force Backs Pesticide Reporting System, Capital Press
      2. Bee Breeding Breakthrough Could Ease CCD, Capital Press
      3. Food Facts: GMO’s Explained, Natural Choices magazine
    2. Natural Diet Helps Honey Bees Fend Off Pesticide Effects, Catch the Buzz
    3. Last article on a manufacturer in Switzerland that was responsible for a bee kill of 172 colonies, the chemicals Folpet was put in a container previously containing Fipronil (legal in US, but not Switzerland) without washing the container out.
    4. Richard also thanked Erma for the library, and getting all of the books back in again.
    5. Some beekeeping advise:
      1. With the cold snap, make sure to keep the circulation going in your hives.
      2. Mold is normal, and a strong hive will take care of it in spring. You can pop the lid up ¼” to give a bit more circulation.
      3. Don’t leave empty boxes out in the yard. It is better to bring them in, and you can avoid wax moth, and hopefully mice (you can use a mouse guard to further protect your hives).
      4. Mice will move into the bottom of boxes and destroy wax. Bees don’t sting them because they are clustered and won’t move around a lot.
    6. Q: What do you do if your cluster is small?
      1. If it is really small, you can condense the hive to one box, taking off most of the extra honey, and then feed it back in the spring.
    7. Q: What should you do with extra honey from a dead hive?
      1. You can feed it if other hives need food, or freeze it to feed in spring.
      2. Starvation is usually a problem in April after it was warmed up a little in March and then just rains and rains and rains. Make sure to keep the food coming at this time, as they will have started their brood production at this time.
    8. An audience member brought to attention the new documentary on Burt’s Bees called Burt’s Buzz. It is available on Netflix.  They thought it was very good.
    9. Governor’s Hives
      1. Since the Governor has been re-elected, they will stay another 4 years.
      2. A lady living in Bend near Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, complained about the bee hives there.
  2. Panel on Use of Hive Products: Mona Kanner – Soap
    1. Spin River Meadows, 2-4 hives
    2. Does not use centrifuge, instead drains honey out of frames after uncapping.
    3. Uses cappings with the honey that comes off with them in her soap.
    4. You need an acid and a base to make soap, if you have an oil based acid then you get ‘soponifying’ which is the process of making soap.
    5. Look up lye: oil ratio.
    6. Different oils give the soap different features.
      1. Honey and comb make a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal soap.
      2. Honey can coat the hands and acts as moisturizer.
      3. Goats milk also a great moisturizer.
    7. Equipment necessary for making soap:
      1. You will want separate tools from what you use in the kitchen, but you can make the soap in the kitchen. You can also make it outside, if you wish, but it is very useful to have a power source for blending.
      2. You can purchase all your tools at Goodwill for about $20.
        1. Stainless steel or glass bowls
        2. Wooden or silicon stirring utensils
        3. Candy thermometer
        4. Scale – can be bought at Costco or Harbor Freight. Best to get one that is digital and has a tare function.
        5. Molds – you can make them yourself out of wood, PVC pipe, etc. Make sure to line them with freezer or wax paper.  You can also buy molds, but you have to be careful of sticking.  To prevent sticking, let harden for 24 hours and then put in the freezer so that it will shrink enough to get it out of the molds.
        6. A guitar wire is good for cutting soap.
        7. Instruction books (each book will tell you something different), the best is ‘Soap Maker’s Workshop by Dr. Robert S. McDaniel and Katherine J. McDaniel (comes with a CD)
        8. Scents
    8.  Tips:
      1. Blending with an electric mixer speeds the process up a lot! (It will take 10 minutes, rather than hand stirring for….much longer)
      2. Heating will make everything mix together really nicely. Start with the item with the highest boiling point and then add ingredients in descending order of boiling points.
  3. Panel on Use of Hive Products: Todd Bartlem – Honey
    1. 7-8 hives
    2. He doesn’t pollinate, but lives up in the woods.
    3. He got about 260lbs last year and only about 80lbs this year.
    4. Todd uses the club’s extracting equipment (he says thank you to Bruce Roller)
    5. His extra honey, he sends to his business clients or gives to his sister at her Windermere office to sell to her customers. He then donates part of his profits to the Windermere Foundation.
    6. He buys jars from Mann Lake, and then prints labels using his inkjet printer of full sheet sticker paper.
    7. Todd mails using $5 priority mail boxes. Very small, but perfect for honey.
    8. On a good year, he can break even on beekeeping costs by selling his honey.
    9. He prices his small jars at $6.50-$7.00, and his large jars at $11.00-$12.00
  4. Panel on Use of Hive Products: Jean Hunter – Hanna’s Honey
    1. Hanna’s Honey buys honey from local beekeepers, then bottles it and sells it around Oregon.
    2. You can also sell honeystix or very small jars. Nature’s Kick will make honeystix (they have a 5 gallon minimum if you bring your honey to them).   They have a facility on 45th street in Salem.
    3. Places to sell:
      1. Farmers’ markets
      2. Bazaars
      3. Offices
      4. Consignment shops
    4. Be careful not to over-price.
    5. The online food handlers’ course is handy, so that you are aware of the food safety laws. It’s only $10.
    6. Selling your honey also promotes other local people who sell honey.
    7. You want your honey to look nice (including nice labels, etc.) and not to be crystallized. Make sure to keep your standards up, as it reflects on whole honey market.
    8. You can heat your honey up to 108° and still pass it as raw.
    9. You can either sell personally, or through a packer, but often a packer will not want honey extracted in an unlicensed facility.
    10. Make sure your jars aren’t sticky before you sell them!!
    11. If you overheat your honey, you can still sell it as Baker’s honey.
    12. Straining honey will get rid of bee legs and wings as well as crystals, to prevent it from crystallizing quickly.
  5. Panel on Use of Hive Products: Richard Farrier – Legal Aspects of Selling Honey
    1. Label: “This honey comes from the nectar of….”
    2. Most say that if you heat your honey higher than 108° then it is no longer raw.
    3. As long as 30% of your honey is what you label it as, then you are okay. There are testing facilities around Oregon and at Texas A&M.
    4. If you go to, that is the site of the National Honey Board, you can find honey testing facilities near you.
    5. Also label: “sieved, not filtered”.
      1. No legal standards yet for these terms, but roughly they mean that you have removed the bee legs and wings, but left the pollen.
      2. George Hansen – with the American Beekeeping Federation – is working on establishing standards for these.
    6. Licensing for Selling (ORS 616.680)
      1. You don’t need to be licensed to sell honey, but you need to be licensed to extract. Small beekeepers are able to avoid this under the Farm Direct Marketed Agricultural Products Law.
      2. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance covers it.
      3. You can look online for this law.
  6. Todd Bartlem – Making Sugar Boards
    1. If you are worried about your bees starving in the spring, make them a sugar board! It also absorbs moisture better than wood.
    2. Make/buy a frame that is 2-3” tall made with ¼” screen or a plastic queen excluder on the bottom.
    3. Make a 5/8” hole in the front.
    4. Put a layer of tissue paper/newspaper on screen – this ensures the sugar doesn’t just fall straight through the screen.
    5. Don’t block the front hole. It is a good source of ventilation.  You can put two small blocks of wood to cover it while you fill it with honey, and then remove them later.
    6. Recipe (for a 10 frame hive, you can cut in half or 2/3 for a 5 frame nuc):
      1. 36.5 cups sugar (16lbs)
      2. 1 cup water
      3. 2 cups real apple cider vinegar (5% acidic) – Don’t use apple cider Flavored vinegar!!
      4. 2 tsp citric acid (optional)
    7. Mix altogether. No cooking needed.
    8. Let sit in a cool-ish room for 1-2 weeks, or until it is rock solid.
    9. Put right above the brood chamber, so that the heat the bees produce softens it slightly.
    10. Bees will not haul this out, thinking it is trash, and you can use any extra to make syrup in the spring.
    11. Todd uses Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar – it’s organic and raw.
    12. Put spacers inside on top of frames to prevent squishing bees when you put it in.
    13. Nucs will usually finish the whole things. Hives sometimes will, but others will just eat the center.