Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association
September 28, 2020
This in-person meeting of the WVBA was held at Jim and Debbie Blando’s horse arena.
The meeting was opened at 7:09 by President Rich Farrier. Mites and wildfires dominated the conversation. The smoke from fires caused the bees to mostly stay home and queens to slow egg laying. At least one member’s home and honey bee colonies were destroyed in one of the many fires.
Most of the beekeepers present had been checking on mite levels. For some, they had the best numbers they have ever had. For other beekeepers, they had high numbers; whatever the case, keep a sharp eye on the mite levels and check again mid October.
Rich brought up the American Bee Journal article by Randy Oliver, in which he describes using Dawn Ultra dishwashing liquid as a mite wash liquid, if you can’t find any 91% rubbing alcohol. The ratio is 1-2 tablespoons of Dawn to 1 gallon of water. Here’s the link, https://www.ctbees.org/post/no-alcohol-mite-wash as posted on the Connecticut Beekeepers Association website.
As an alternative to an alcohol or Dawn wash, the powdered sugar shake is an option. Here’s a pdf from Michigan State University and University of Maryland on the “Powdered Sugar Roll Test”. Here’s the link, https://www.beelab.umn.edu/sites/beelab.umn.edu/files/varroa_brochure_final_print_2.23.17.pdf. The key to success is consistency in application. Always shake or roll the same for every hive.
Rich and Anna both took advantage of a Mann Lake sale item this summer, the Hambly Queen Dial. Anna likes it because she doesn’t have to think and calculate. It is a wonderful tool to let you know when that queen should have emerged, when she takes mating flights, and when you can expect to see eggs. You can also purchase it from Kelley Beekeeping Supplies. They are not threatened by wildfires so are more likely to ship in a timely manner. Link here: https://www.kelleybees.com/hambly-queen-dial.html.
We should have been feeding bees 2:1 syrup if the hive is light on stores. If the syrup tends to grow mold, take the time to carefully wash the feeder, feed in smaller quantities, and add 1 tsp of bleach to 1 gal of syrup, as per Jerry Hayes in a 2015 ABJ Classroom answer, https://americanbeejournal.com/the-classroom-march-2015/#:~:text=Many%20times%20a%20teaspoon%20of,other%20organisms%20in%20sugar%20syrup. We have until mid-October to feed liquid syrup. After that, the nights are too cool and the bees have a hard time evaporating the excess moisture.
Also feed protein substitute patties. Purchase either the dry powder and mix with 2:1 syrup or the pre-made patties.
If you have weak colonies going into fall, if their mite levels are low, and there are no visible signs of disease, combine with another colony, preferably a smaller colony to give them a boost in numbers.
The Oregon State Beekeepers Association fall conference is on-line this year. It the dates are Saturday October 24, Sunday October 25, Wednesday October 28, Wednesday November 4, Wednesday November 11, and Saturday November 14. The cost for all of this is $50. The link is here: https://orsba.org/2020-fall-conference/.
We raffled off a conference registration.
Meeting ended by 8:30.
September 30, 2020