May 2017
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We need your help!!

We are in search of enthusiastic members who are willing to donate some of their time and energy to help us spread the good news about bees and all things bee related. We are in specific need of folks who are willing to write articles for the local papers and / or provide nice high resolution photos of their bees doing ‘bee things.’ We also need help spreading the good word about bees at the many local events (McDonalds Nursery Outdoor Show, Hampton Master Gardeners plant sales at Bluebird Gap Farm for example) that the CBA attends.

If you want to write, but don’t know what to write, we can give you a topic. If you already have an idea about which you want to write, or want to provide some ideas for topics, we’ll gladly go over it with you. Articles will be non-technical and written with the average lay person in mind. Any/all articles will be reviewed and edited prior to submission.

Here is the overview of what is required for an article:

* The column should be between 450-600 words, written for lay people, and include a photo that you either have rights to or permission to use. If it is not your photo, be sure to include who gets credit and that we have permission to use it. I cannot overstate this enough. The paper is very squirrelly about this.

* The photo should be high resolution (smart phone photos are good enough) and in jpg format. We need nice close ups of bees doing bee things!! The paper has no good stock photos from which to pull.

* A byline is included – 1 line biography of whatever you want to say about yourself, so be sure to include that. Or I get to make it up!

Please contact:

Carolyn Kutzer-Lovedahl at 757-435-0797 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (put ‘bee club/articles’ in the subject line) with your ideas/suggestions,


Sue & Jim Webb at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for questions regarding volunteering at events

Picture taken by Wendy at Pete's yard

Here are some ideas for articles –
(If you want to do one of these, tell me so I can let you know if it still available and put your name on it. Or if you have another idea, tell me that, too, so I can keep track.)

  • -how to behave around bees
  • -kids and bees- (personal experiences)
  • - a beekeepers year (by season)
  • -what’s it take to make that jar of honey from the bee’s perspective – this one and the next one could be a two part article--
  • -what’s it take to make that jar of honey from the beekeeper’s perspective/ honey extraction
  • -life lessons learned from honey bees
  • -normal reaction vs. allergic reaction to bee stings – Linda, this one is yours
  • - honey and why it is good for allergies
  • - ***swarming*** – what it is, when does it happen, who to call, etc. - THIS SHOULD BE THE VERY NEXT ONE TO GO OUT, I THINK**** I would like to see one of you folks who have taken swarm calls put this one together, please!*****
  • - most valuable plants for bees- a 4 season review – this probably would be better broken down into several articles.
  • - most valuable perennials for bees/ other pollinators
  • -most valuable trees for bees/ other pollinators
  • -most valuable bulbs/annuals for bees/ other pollinators
  • -pesticides and bees/ pollinators – there are a multitude of ways to go with this one
  • -good bugs versus bad bugs
  • -how bees see/ native plants/ favorite colors
  • -why native plants are better for our bees (and other pollinators)
  • -summary of websites with helpful info re pollinators/ bees
  • -difference between honey bees, native bees, wasps, yellow jackets –looks, behavior, where/how they live
  • -what does bee pasture/ bee forage mean
  • - different qualities of pollen/ nectar for bees – bee nutrition!
  • -how bees communicate
  • -fun facts about bees
  • -Colony Collapse Disorder

These are a some of the ideas I have had/ been suggested. It’s a good start but still a relatively short list.
Thanks again for your ideas and input! I will keep you posted as things progress.



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June 16 & 17
VSBA Summer Meeting


June 20th
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July 18th
Monthy Meeting





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NewBees Corner


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




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




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!




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.