October 2015

WVBA Meeting – October 26, 2015

  1. General Minutes
    1. Next meeting will be November 23 in Rm 115 of Building 9.  No meeting in December.
    2. At the State Fair, Rich spoke with a sunflower grower from North Dakota. He said that they use neonicotinoids on his sunflower crop.  For more information on this subject, Scientific Beekeeping published an article called “Neonicotinoids:  Trying to Make Sense of the Science – Part 2”.   This article was also first published in the American Bee Journal, September, 2012.
    3. Someone asked for a hand out on start-up costs for beekeeping. WVBA has one, but Rich thought the prices might be a bit out of date.
    4. Rich asked how much interest there would be in doing bulk/pallet orders to Ruhl Bee Supply for discounted prices? WVBA could possibly keep part of the discount as a fund raising project.
    5. Some definitions were discussed.
      1. Local Honey – your county and may include counties that border your county.
      2. Sieved Honey – takes the bees knees out
      3. Filtered Honey – usually heated and filtered through a cloth filter under pressure.  This gets all pollen and most everything else out of the honey.
      4. Organic Honey – must control everything the bees are feeding on in a 2-5 mile radius.  Oregon is not currently certifying any beekeepers as organic.
      5. Natural Honey – most beekeepers fall into this category.
    6. Someone discovered their bees producing red honey.  They figured out they are in close proximity to the maraschino cherry plant.
  2. Winterizing
    1. Remove any Apivar or medication strips.
    2. Clean out any liquid feeders – they won’t feed much on this anymore. Plus you don’t want this moisture in there.
    3. Feed candy or fondant. Can also mix ½ drivert sugar and ½ granulated sugar.  Baker’s sugar also works and is less expensive.
    4. Check on your stored boxes and frames for Para-Moth crystals for wax moth control every month. They do disappear.
    5. Cover your hives with plywood or roofing material. You do need air circulation through your hives though.  Make sure your winter lids are on.  Can put burlap or towels in the top hive to pull out moisture but you must swap these for dry ones every month.
    6. Take off entrance reducers. Yellow jackets should not be flying anymore.  May want mouse guards on.
    7. Be very careful if you are moving your hives not to break the cluster. They have a hard time reforming the cluster when it is cold.
    8. This is a good time to make candles and holiday gifts. Honey jars with ribbon make great gifts.
    9. Should not have any extra boxes on your hives. This is just space the bees have to keep warm.
    10. Take out pollen patties and grease patties.
  3. Mead Making by Jeffrey Mocniak from Ruhl Bee Supply
    1. Mead is yeast+water+sugar(honey)=alcohol.  But different ingredients and amounts of ingredients will change the flavor of the mead.  Can add fruit, roots, or herbs.  Some people may add sulphites, he doesn’t. This whole process should be an experiment in what your taste buds prefer.
    2. Equipment you need: bottle brush, racking cane, siphon, big spoon, gravity gauge, air lock with cork, plastic hose, sieve, and a carboy or container to make it in.  You may want this made of glass as it is best to finish the mead in glass.  Ruhl sells these supplies, as well as Homebrew Heaven on 12th Street in Salem.  May cost $100 -$150 to get started.  Will need bottles and corks.  Corks are age related (Some last 1 year, others last longer).
    3. Before you add the yeast, measure the sugar content with the gravity gauge. Different yeasts will change the flavor and characteristics.  Can use wild yeast from fruit or air.  If you use fruit, add a pectin enzyme to break down the pectin and clarify the mead.  Often Jeffrey uses high alcohol tolerant yeast.  You want very active yeast especially in the beginning so it powers out the other natural yeasts that may be present.   You can use champagne yeast.  Mead can get to 18% alcohol, but most will be about 12-13%.
    4. Good honeys to use are clover, alfalfa, blackberry, meadow foam, and buckwheat. Can cook the honey or use raw.  He has experimented with prickly pear, white thistle, and star thistle.
    5. You will want to stir all your ingredients after one week because it does need oxygen in the beginning. You don’t want the oxygen at the end.
    6. In 4-6 weeks the sugars should be done. Then you want to put it in a carboy for about 6 months.  Some meads can be aged a year, some 3-5 years.  When you are aging it, the temperature shouldn’t get below 65 degrees.  Don’t add all your fruit at the beginning, it gases out.  Good to add it part way through the process.
    7. The finishing process can change flavor.  16 pounds of honey and four gallons of water should make one gallon of mead.  At the end, you will have sediment on the bottom which you will want to settle before you bottle it.  Can filter if you wish.
    8. Recommends reading books and watching videos. WVBA even has some books in their library.
    9. Keep a brew log and jot down your process so you can repeat it if you like what you made.
    10. If you have further questions, email Jeffrey: aboregional@yahoo.com.