March 20 Meeting Highlights

Mar 23, 2017 by

Pre-meeting package install:

Several beekeepers converged on the CIBA apiary to observe and ask questions at Matt Fearnow installed a package of bees.  In spite rain earlier in the day and a nip in the air all went well. Spraying the bees with sugar water (about a 50:50 mix) helps calm the bees and makes it more difficult for them to fly. Another reminder: be sure to pull the plug on the candy-end of the queen cage and place the cage such that hive bees can access the queen through the screen.

There are two common methods for installing packages: Pouring the bees into the brood box, and setting the open package into the hive body after removing frames.

It is VERY important to feed package bees (50:50). – Keep it up until bees are foraging on their own and largely ignoring the feed.

Mat and Tim also demonstrated the most effective way to get a smoker lit and keep it going. (Get a good fire going in the bottom then add damper material above this. On should always test the smoke-temperature agains one’s wrist to be sure the smoke is not too hot.)

Formal meeting highlights

Several new persons were present – Welcome!

Initial discussion included:

  • Bee School Recap.
    • Newly developed breakout sessions for new-beekeepers were very popular.
    • The number of dealers was amazing
    • Breakout sessions covered a variety of topics and were well attended
    • All who attended agreed it was time and money well spent.
  • Packages and nucs are still available, but orders need to be placed soon.
    • Just a fewBurdell Bee Nucs available. Delivery date not set but likely early to mid-April.
  • Bees continue to bring in pollen. This is a great stimulus for egg-laying and brood development. Drones are among the earliest to be reared.
  • The equipment assembly workshop on March 11 was well attended and beekeepers new and experienced were able to assemble and wire frames, put in foundation, assemble boxes
  • Planting flowers for honey bees and other pollinators: Remember to use plants that will bloom July, August and September. Various milkweed species, Allium, Asters, Sunflowers. Bee Balm and others


Mat again demonstrated package install methods – this time without the bees! 🙂

  • Remember to feed and keep feeding
  • Check on queen in about a week.

Tim  went over basic steps for installing nucs. We were reminded that a nuc is an established functioning colony. They will build up faster than a package. Nucs also should be fed for best results.

David Hocutt brought in a hive scale rescued from his early beekeeping days in North Carolina. Keeping track of hive-weight is one good method for monitoring hive activity. — As always David wove a fascinating tale about his early beekeeping and the value of

Jerry went over the basics for establishing swarm traps. Much of his commentary was based on Dr. Tom Seeley’s research as presented in The Honey Bee Democracy.

Next meeting is Monday, April 17. — See you there.



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