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June Meetings
and Events

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June 16 & 17
VSBA Summer Meeting

 

June 20th
Monthly Meeting

 

 

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July Meetings
and Events

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July 18th
Monthy Meeting

 

 

 

 

Follow the "Upcoming Events" or "Latest News" link under the Main Menu for more information.

 

 

 

NewBees Corner

 

Information listed here is for the new beekeepers looking for new information and guidance on beekeeping and beekeeping chores:

 

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Well the chances for colder weather are finnally behind us and the bees are busy. There are many things in bloom now and more to come. With all these resources the bees are ready to reproduce, SWARM! I've been doing my best to quell that desire by opening the brood nest and practicing nectar management but in some cases it just isn't enough. So if I see evidence of swarming: queen cups with eggs or larva visible or even capped queen cells. What do you do?

Here are some links for you to follow that give some practical advise. First is Michael Bush on why seeing queen cells isn't so bad and what to do and not to do. The second is a 22 page read that does a great job of explaining what could be going on in your hive. The pages that mimic Michael's answer are 13 & 14. There Are Queen Cells In My Hive-What Should I Do?. Lastly, here's a link to how you might transplant them to a queenless colony or make a nuc. Fat Beeman doesn't wear a veil, you should! Fat Beeman never says "it is my opinion" so take heed!  Queen Cell Transplant

The hive manipulations to consider as the nectar flow is on are "Opening the Broodnest" and "Nectar Management 101". If opening/expanding the brood nest I would caution to start slowly as you become familiar with the technique and get more aggressive later in April and May. Here we go!

Finally, so you have your new nuc or package bees, how do you grow them? Here's a link to a presentation of how to grow your bees into 3 boxes:Growing Nucs

 

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Last week I helped a club member find and remove the queen in a colony that had swarm cells, I worked on the James River and saw an Osprey investigating a nest site, fruit trees were budding and many ornamentals are in bloom, in my home yard I inspected a colony in a 10 frame deep with 8 frames of brood.... This weekend I'm sitting by the wood stove wondering what will survive and if they have the hindsight to ponder "WHAT WAS I THINKING?" There is no way to stop the weather, we can only look ahead and try and do what we can. In Florida an orchard owner may turn on the sprinklers to keep the buds from freezing or maybe light smudge pots, my trees are on their own. I heard of a swarm being caught last week, will that queen cell survive, will the queen get an opportunity for a mating flight, will there be drones to mate with? It is way early in the year and 35 or more days before last frost is forecast for our area. That hive will be doctored up in the weeks ahead when success or failure can be determined. This appears to be a year when those colonies that are a bit slower may win the race. Keep an eye on the forecast and be cautious in your hive manipulations, don't do too much too early! Some colonies may suffer chilled brood as they have to cluster and abandon edges of the brood nest. You'll get to see how hygienic your colonies are. Make sure they have stores close as there are still night time temps in the 30's. The forecast for the next 15 days has 13 days with a chance of rain. If there are drones will they fly, will that queen get a chance to fly? Be cautious when considering making splits. Hang in there, Spring is coming even though you may think it is here already!

 

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So winter is coming and we have these roller coaster days of warm and cold temperatures to deal with. Average temperature for this time of year is 61°, believe it or not! Our coldest days come in January and February. Night time temps are in the mid 40's so the bees are clustering at night and active in the day. But what do they have to feed on? Probably and most unfortunately they are eating up all their winter stores! You need to feed in winter but winter feeding is different. Best to feed liquid on the warm days, 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) and then have sugar feed on for the colder days. You can put sugar feed on and then feed liquid when the weatherman calls for a warm spell. Make your liquid feed up fresh or keep it warm, bees will take to 70° syrup better than 50° syrup. Take the liquid off once the temperature drops again as the bees might not take it and a leaking container would be the end of the colony.

Did you know an inner cover has two sides? A shallow summer side that maintains bee space and a deeper winter side that allows for fondant or sugar candy to be placed on the top bars available to the cluster. Here are some links to follow for making winter feed for your colonies. This first method requires cooking and I have used it with great success. To use it, follow this link. Something I've read is that the vinegar is essential to add in the heating process as it aids in breaking down the cane sugar into the sugars that are in honey, fructose and glucose as well as raising the acidity level closer to natural honey.

A second method requires no cooking but letting the moisture evaporate out leaving a solid block. Here are links to two similar methods. I have not used these recipes as yet but have heard some have used them successfully. To use them follow this link for 1 or this link for 2. There is also information on the number 2 site for using the "Mountain Camp" method of feeding dry sugar. I prefer to make my feed in advance and then apply it to the hive but that's beekeeping, each of us has our own preference.

 

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