April 2017
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If you are preparing to take the plunge and become a beekeeper but just have some doubts, please take a moment to view this presentation. Created by one of our club members, Evan Davies, it may help you make the decision, is beekeeping something I am able to do?

This presentation is usually presented by CBA at numerous locations December through February. Check out the Latest News and the Upcoming Events to find a location near you.

Come on out and see what the "buzz" is all about!

Right Click and select "Save Target As" to download this presentation.

Often new beekeepers are looking for a reference manual or text to become familiar with all the aspects of beekeeping. There are many out there but this one from the University of Pennsylvania is FREE:

 

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Free On-line pdf version is downloaded with this link.

Mentor Program
Any new beekeeper will benefit from having a mentor. The Colonial Beekeepers has a Mentor Program that attempts to pair up new beekeepers with club members that are local to them. If you are a club member and would like to participate in this program please contact Ron Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 757-865-7641. Follow this link to read more about the Mentor Program.

What about the Beehive Grant Fund?
To read the guidelines and requirements for qualification under the Beehive Grant Program follow this link.

Equipment Needed To Get Started
Hi, I'm Pete Ostrowski, former president of Colonial Beekeepers Association and here is a list of items that I would presently recommend to get started in beekeeping. Many suppliers provide Beginning Beekeeping Kits but as it often is with kits you get some stuff you'll not need or could be replaced by better. Remember, ask 7 beekeepers a question and get 7 different answers. These choices are my opinion only. Researching these items between different suppliers or kits may reduce costs. I've updated this list in fall 2012 using Mann Lake as a supplier as they have FREE shipping for orders of over $100. You can download this info on a spreadsheet by clicking here. This spreadsheet has been updated in Fall 2015 with information and comparitive pricing from 3 suppliers: Mann Lake, Hampton Apiaries and Dadant. Also note that some of the pictures below are from suppliers other than Mann Lake but the products will be similar. Mann Lake just didn’t have good pictures to copy….

Another great option is contacting our local Beekeeping Equipment Supplier, Andy Westrich. Andy is a distributor for BeeLine Apiaries, Maxant and most recently Dadant. You can find his contact info here.

There are some assumptions that I’ll be making while compiling this list:

I am going to list products making the assumption that two hives are going to be started. It is a recommended practice to start with two so that comparisons will indicate to the new beekeeper if problems are present.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with all medium supers for building the hive so all equipment is interchangeable.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper has elected to go with 10 frame equipment.

I am going to assume that the new beekeeper wants to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with the new colonies.

OK, let’s get ready to hive some bees:

1. An Instruction Manual - you'll want to have a reference manual and this one is basic and has much good information.
BM-150 Starting Right With Bees $9.95

Starting Right With Bees

2. Telescoping covers and inner covers - the roof and ceiling of the hive.
WW-301 10 Frame Telescoping Cover With Inner Cover 1 - 4 $27.95 X 2 = $55.90

Telescoping covers and inner covers

3. Screened Bottom Board(IPM) - the floor of the hive.
WW-685 10 Frame Varroa Trap With Drawer 1-4 EACH $26.95 x 2 = $53.90

Screened Bottom Board

4. Entrance Reducer - reduces the size of the front door until the bees are established and able to defend their colony with a full size entrance.
WW-355 10 Frame Entrance Reducer $1.50 x 2 = $3.00

Entrance Reducer

5. Medium Supers (10 each) - the walls of the hive. (These can be bought in two separate buys to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all ten of these supers.)
WW-605_b 6 5/8" (16.83 cm) Unassembled 10 Frame Hive Body Commercial Grade Supers - Bulk $11.50 x 10 = $115.00

Medium Supers

6. Medium Frames (100 each) - these are like rooms within the hive. They will hold the comb. 10 frames are required for each super.
FR-912 6 1/4" (15.88 cm) Unassembled Select Frames - Wedged Top & Groove Bottom - Case of 100 $79.00

Medium Frames

7. Small Cell Foundation (IPM) - This provides the template for the bees to build comb. One sheet per frame is normally used. (These also can be bought in two separate buys as mentioned above to reduce initial costs and shipping as the colony will take time to use all this foundation.)
FN-230 5 5/8" x 16 3/4" (14.29 cm x 42.55 cm) Small Cell Wired With Hooks $10.95 x 10 = $109.50

Small Cell Foundation

8. Feeder - it will be necessary to feed sugar water to a new colony to assist it in establishing itself. There are many feeder styles but for starting out I’d suggest just using a quart jar with a feeder lid on top of the inner cover. Another option might be a hive top feeder like this.
FD-110 10 Frame Top Feeder w/ Super $19.95 x 2 = $39.90

9. Smoker - it is a good practice to use smoke when you inspect your bees. It calms and disorientates them so they are easier to work. You can buy fuel but grass clipping, pine straw and other items work well and are free.
HD-555 4" x 7" (10.16 cm x 17.8 cm) Smoker With Guard $34.95

Smoker

10. Hive Tool - will not be necessary in the beginning but as the bees establish the hive and propolize, the tool assists in separating the components. I recommend the hook-end type tool.
HD-620 10 1/2" Frame Lifter and Scraper $9.95

Hive Tool

11. Protective Clothing - a veil is the minimum protection required (you don’t want to get stung in the eye!) regardless of what you’ve seen or heard. I like this jacket veil combination and suggest some bib type overalls to wear along with it. For more protection a coverall is the way to go! (fit should be loose, nothing skin tight in the bee yard!)
CV-420 Economy Hooded Jacket $52.95

Hooded Jacket
CV-315 Economy Hooded Suit X Large $74.50

Coverall

12. Gloves - many suggest starting without gloves or transition to going without gloves but regardless you’ll want a pair to have in your kit. I suggest the non-ventilated type as there is not much ventilation and you can get stung through the screen. Another way to go is with a yellow dishwashing glove or nitrile gloves.
CL-158 Large Meyer Gloves $21.95

Deluxe Gloves

13. Additional Nice To Have Items:
HD-650 Frame Perch $19.95

Frame Perch

HD-630 Standard Frame Grip $16.95

Frame Grip

HD-660 Bee Brush $4.95

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SUMMARY
Note that these are 2012 prices

  • $9.95 Manual
  • $55.90 Inner & Telescoping Covers
  • $53.90 Screened Bottom Boards
  • $3.00 Entrance Reducers
  • $115.00 Medium Supers
  • $79.00 Medium Frames
  • $109.50 Small Cell Foundation
  • $39.90 Hive Top Feeders
  • $34.95 Smoker
  • $9.95 Hive Tool
  • $52.95 Jacket & Veil Combo
  • $21.95 Gloves
  • $578.60 TOTAL less items #13
  • $19.95 Frame Perch
  • $8.95 Frame Grip
  • $4.95 Bee Brush
  • $612.45 TOTAL for all items
  • Shipping costs are not included as Mann Lake has FREE shipping.

 

 

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April Meetings
and Events

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April 6th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Session 4)

 

April 13th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Bonus Session 5, Woodenware)

 

April 18th
Monthy Meeting 

 

April 29th
Beginning Beekeeping
(Yard Day) 

 

 

 

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May Meetings
and Events

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May 16th
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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