December Newsletter – RPBBA

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy and full hearts. The day was warm enough I spotted my girls coming out of the hive for cleansing flights and even some foraging. It was a busy day in our home and with many chilly days passing, I enjoyed taking a break to watch the bees come and go. I hope your colonies are faring well this season.

December Meeting – A Holiday Potluck

In the place of our December meeting we will be having a holiday potluck.

7pm on Monday, December 13th

@Molly’s Blind Dog Brewing

     4515 W Hundred Rd, Chester, VA 23831

The brewery will be closed except for our group. The association will provide fried chicken, tableware, water, & soft drinks. Beer will be available for purchase at the brewery. We plan to have a white elephant gift exchange. To participate please bring a wrapped gift (under $20). Attendees are asked to RSVP and let us know what you plan to bring. To RSVP, go to SignUpGenius. Please leave the dish you intend to bring in a comment. The more the merrier. I hope to see you there! Add to Google Calendar

🐝 Study Group

The study group will not be meeting this month. Enjoy the holidays!

Club News – Board of Directors Results

The elections for the 2022 Board of Directors have concluded. A quorum was met. With all votes in favor and none opposed, please join me in saying congratulations to Dennis Marshall, Kyree Tanner, Stan Houk, Steve Syrett, and Rick McCormick for their election to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members with appointments for 2-year terms per our Bylaws. A full list of Board members, including those elected in 2020, is listed below.

  1. Michelle Clark
  2. Jody Conway
  3. Theo Hartmann
  4. Stan Houk
  5. Sherry Kelley
  6. Dennis Marshall
  7. Rick McCormick
  8. Steve Syrett
  9. Kyree Tanner

Thank you all for another successful year of elections. I’d like to give a special thanks to our outgoing Directors’ John Davis, Carla Park and Sam Rorabaugh for their time serving the club.

More Club News – 2022 Officers Announcement

The Board of Directors’ met on November 22nd over Zoom. 2022 Officers were discussed and selected. The following slate of Officers will be installed January 1st.

  • Stan Houk, President
  • Sherry Kelley, Vice President
  • Theo Hartmann, Treasurer
  • Don Osborne, Secretary
  • Michelle Clark, Communications
  • Jody Conway, Registered Agent

Another special thank you goes out to Steve Syrett for serving as club President for 3 years. If/when you see Steve, please give him a pat on the back.

ISO RPBBA Members Willing to Bee a Mentor

A Mentor’s purpose is to help other members with things like installing packages/nucs, in-hive help, capturing swarms or general questions.

It’s been a while since the club has renewed our list of willing Mentors. With the 2022 Beginner Beekeeping course currently open for enrollment, our Mentorship program is top of mind. If you are a RPBBA member and willing to bee a Mentor, please sign up here. You must be willing to have your contact information shared with other RPBBA members.

My goal is to create a current list of willing mentors, with their general location, to share with those ISO a Mentor near them.

🐝 2022 Beginner Beekeeping Course

Enrollment is open for the 2022 Beginning Beekeeping Course. Attendees will receive instruction on the basics of beekeeping, the various equipment including hive components and tools, diseases and pests, what to expect in the first year, how to purchase and install your bees, sources of pollen and nectar, and (weather permitting) a hands on field day in the club’s apiary.

Class dates will be Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 19, & Mar 5th alternating Saturday’s with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA. The course is $100 through Jan 8th and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 participants; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA.

For more information, including a signup form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

Bee Vocabulary – “Langstroth hive”

Langstroth hives are the most common hives used in North America. These hives are stacking rectangular boxes with removable frames for the bees to build comb in. Langstroth hives are customizable to the beekeeper’s preference and the colony’s needs. A Langstroth hive is typically placed on a hive stand and consists of a bottom board, entrance reducer, the hive body, honey super(s), an inner cover, and an outer hive cover.

Beekeepers in the News

Did you know the State Fair of Virginia included an Open Honey competition?

There are several categories including liquid honey, frame of honey, cut comb, chunky honey, creamed, granulated honey, beeswax, observation hive, & gadgets. The winners for this year’s fair are posted here. If this has sparked your mind to compete in next year’s State Fair, check out this year’s entry form to get an idea of what you might be jumping into.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Just a reminder: To maintain VSBA Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper certifications Public Service Credits should be completed and reported on or before December 15th annually.

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (December)

The bees are in a tight cluster now. Egg laying has halted. There will be flights on sunny days with temperatures over 50 degrees. Weeks after the winter solstice, the queen’s egg laying will recommence, but not this month.

The hive may consume 10-12 pounds of honey during this month, depending on the weather. Mild weather may actually cause more honey consumption due to increased movement.

You should stay out of the hive this month. Make sure the entrance and ventilation holes are not blocked. Make sure the mouse guard is not chewed through. Plug any large holes in the brood boxes to prevent drafts.

Read a good book on beekeeping; study the latest research reports on bee health. Review what worked well and what you might want to change next year. Request catalogs.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Holly in fruit, Wintersweet, Winter Tree Silhouettes

https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and bee active. You can join on our website. If you are a honeybee enthusiast looking to get started, check out the Beginner Beekeeping course. This is where I got my start. 😀

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the holiday party on Monday, December 13th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

A Few Mid-Month Updates – RPBBA

The Nature Center At Rockwood Park Is Officially Closed For Renovations

Please keep your eyes open for future meeting locations. For now, we have the North Courthouse Library reserved. However the library will only allow us to book so far in advance. This may affect our January meeting location. I will be posting updates in our newsletters.

🐝 Study Group – 11/15/2021 6:30pm @ the North Courthouse Road Library

Study Group: 11/15/2021 @ 6:30pm

North Courthouse Road Library – Meeting Room

325 Courthouse Rd

Richmond, VA 23236

Add to Google Calendar

Please note the location and time change above. The library closes at 8pm. To ensure our group has enough discuzzion time, we’ve adjusted the start time to 6:30pm. The study group will be in the library’s meeting room.

The study group is open to all members who want to learn. You are not required to take the exam to join. Come soak up some knowledge. The group will continue to go through the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide questions, provide answers, and discuss. Those interested to attend are encouraged to download the guide in advance and start working through the questions on their own.

Club News – Board of Directors Results

The elections for the 2022 Board of Directors have concluded. Results are in. Congratulations to Dennis, Steve, Stan, Rick, and Kyree for their election to the Board of Directors. Next up, the Board of Directors will meet to select Officers. Once Officers for 2022 have been selected, the announcement will be sent to the club membership.

Thank you all for another successful year of elections. I’d like to give a special thanks to our outgoing Directors’ John Davis, Carla Park and Sam Rorabaugh for their time serving the club.

Reminder: Volunteers Needed for 2022 Honeybee Festival

Just a quick reminder: Rick Beaudet, our 2022 Honeybee Festival coordinator, is looking for volunteers to help with planning. If you would like to be involved with the festival planning committee please contact Rick via email Richard.beaudet@honeywell.com.

Thank you all again!

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

🐝 2022 Beginner Beekeeping Course

The Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association (RPBBA) is holding their annual Beginning Beekeeping Course over 4 Saturdays from end of January to beginning of March.

Attendees will receive instruction on the basics of beekeeping, the various equipment including hive components and tools, diseases and pests, what to expect in the first year, how to purchase and install your bees, sources of pollen and nectar, and (weather permitting) a hands on field day in the club’s apiary.

Class dates will be Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 19, & Mar 5th alternating Saturday’s with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA.

The course is $100 through Jan 8th and $115 thereafter.
We are limited to 40 participants; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA.

For more information, including a sign-up form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!

Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

Winter Preparation in the Apiary

A workshop on WINTERIZING BEEHIVES will be held Tuesday, Nov 17, 2021 • 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM at Randolph Farm Pavilion, 4415 River Road, Petersburg, VA 23803

Topics will include opening a hive for inspection, pest identification and management, techniques to feed bees over the winter, and when and how to order honeybee nucs in preparation for the spring. Information received during the program will help attendees mitigate hive loss over the winter.

Information and registration is at https://www.ext.vsu.edu/events/2021/11/17/winterizing-beehives. For more information, contact Small Farm Outreach agent Tracy Porter at (804) 481-2566 or tporter@vsu.edu.

All attendees must bring a bee suit to wear during the hive inspection part of this workshop. No open toe shoes, wear light clothes and no perfume or cologne.

Click to download the below flyer SFOP+-+Winterizing+Beehives_Nov17.pdf

November Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello Beekeepers and Honeybee Enthusiasts!

If you have hives now, I hope they are going into the season healthy and with plenty of stores. As the average daily temperature drops, I’m noticing less activity outside my hives. On a few warmer days, I’ve opened my hives and supplemented the girls with food offerings. On my to-do list, I still plan to fill my top feeders with pine shavings to help soak up moisture in the hive and provide insulation.

November Meeting

Our November meeting will be on the 8th at 7pm in the Nature Center classroom. During the meeting we will be sharing a VSBA Presentation from Frank Linton entitled Observation Hives. Do you want to be a better beekeeper? Get an Observation Hive. There will be time for discussion following the presentation. Add to Google calendar Meeting begins at 7pm; doors open at 6:30pm. See you there!

RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation:

  • Not fully vaccinated: You should wear a mask in indoor public places.

  • Fully vaccinated: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

As of today, November 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed. [Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view]

Due to the soon to start renovation at the Nature Center, this will be the last meeting we are able to meet in the classroom. For future meetings, watch for details on location.

Club News – Board of Directors Nominations

Members Dennis Marshall, Steve Syrett, Stan Houk, Rick McCormick, and Kyree Tanner have been nominated, and willfully accepted, to serve on the Board of Directors of the Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association. Following this newsletter, a separate email will be sent to RPBBA members with a link to cast their vote. The Board asks that members approve the slate as shown. Please vote once for the slate of candidates. Voting will continue until midnight, Friday, November 12, 2021.

🐝 2022 Beginner Beekeeping Course

The Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association (RPBBA) is holding their annual Beginning Beekeeping Course over 4 Saturdays from end of January to beginning of March. Attendees will receive instruction on the basics of beekeeping, the various equipment including hive components and tools, diseases and pests, what to expect in the first year, how to purchase and install your bees, sources of pollen and nectar, and (weather permitting) a hands on field day in the club’s apiary. Class dates will be Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 19, & Mar 5th alternating Saturday’s with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA. The course is $100 through Jan 8th and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 participants; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA. For more information, including a signup form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

2022 Honeybee Festival

Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers is excited to announce that we will be once again having the Honeybee Festival in the Summer of 2022. We need to start planning and we need volunteers to work to plan the festival. If you would like to be involved with the festival planning committee please contact the festival coordinator, Rick Beaudet via email richard.beaudet@honeywell.com. Thank you.

Bee Vocabulary – “Apiculture”

This is the technical term for beekeeping or the maintenance of bee colonies. Beekeeping, as an industry, is also called Apiculture.

Beekeepers in the News

New Nectar: Could Artificial Pollen Make Life Sweeter For Bees?

After studying the honeybees used to pollinate almond trees for many years, Prof Geraldine Wright, a biologist at the University of Oxford, realised that unless this pollen substitute was actually tailored to the specific nutritional needs of a honeybee colony, colonies can fail altogether. If you missed the story, you can read it at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/28/new-nectar-could-artificial-pollen-make-life-sweeter-for-bees

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association member, Carla Park, is making headlines of her own. Following the Virginia State Beekeepers Association Fall conference in Smithfield, Carla brought back news: she is the new VSBA President!

Members who want to check out the announcement or obtain more information about the VSBA programs, can do so on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (November)

The cold weather has arrived and will send the bees into a cluster that is broken open only when the temperature inside the hive rises above 57 degrees. The bees take cleansing flights on warm days. The cluster moves very slowly into empty honey cells and toward food sources when temperatures inside the hive exceed 42 degrees.

This is the month to make certain of sufficient winter stores. On a warm day, heft the hive and add honey frames or supers to bring each hive up to 40 pounds of stored honey. It is probably too cold to feed syrup. If the summer and fall were drought-stricken, and you have a starvation problem, consider feeding a pollen substitute in the form of a patty.

Stay out of the hives in November unless there is an emergency. The queen should stop laying by the end of November. The population is steady, with a few bees lost each day.

Learn how to make candy boards and pollen patties in case they are needed in January and February. Order bee gifts for yourself and friends for the holidays. Take your long-suffering spouse out to dinner to say thank you for tolerating the bees all year. Store and organize extra equipment for the winter. Keep snow and ice from blocking entrances and ventilation holes in the hives. Reserve packages or nucleus hives for next April if not already done.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Elaeagnus, Holly in fruit, Bamboo, Abelia, Annuals, Perennials, Fall Foliage

https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website. If you are a honeybee enthusiast looking to get started, check out the Beginner Beekeeping course. This is where I got my start. 😀

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, November 8th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

October Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

It’s time for our October newsletter. The chilly air is starting to come through. Do you feel ready for Winter yet? For those who attended our panel discussion in September on prepping for Winter, I hope you feel comfortable and have all your questions answered. If anyone out there is still looking for guidance, the club is here with many smiling faces to help. The RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group (Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Group) is a great first start for those who use Facebook. You can also come out to a meeting or email us!

October Meeting

For our October meeting we will have a Honey and Beeswax Product Presentation. Backyard Beekeepers: you’ve got hives, and they’re producing. Do you know the products that can come from your hives? Honey is our 1st thought but there’s so much more. Come learn what products from the hive you could be making and selling to help pay for your hobby. Our meeting will be Monday, October 11th at 7pm in the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Doors will open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation:

  • Not fully vaccinated: You should wear a mask in indoor public places.

  • Fully vaccinated: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

As of today, October 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed. [Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view]

Club News – Nominations Needed

The club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. It is now the time of year to begin seating a new Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members per by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. 5 of the current members’ appointments are expiring at the end of this year. We need to nominate and elect 5 members to fill the upcoming vacancies.

The Board of Directors role is to select Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications) for next year, vote on club business, and oversee the functions of the club.

Following this newsletter, all RPBBA members will be emailed a link to our nomination form. Members may nominate themselves or other RPBBA members. Each person nominated will be contacted to confirm their interest & willingness to serve.

It’s been said once and I’ll repeat it. The Board of Directors is not an exclusive club of seasoned beekeepers. If you’re a new beekeeper or new RPBBA member, serving on the Board of Directors is a great way to meet club members, gain a mentor (or 8), and learn. Can you tell from the newsletter I’m a 2nd year beekeeper? I would bet you can’t. I have a lot of help thanks to the other Board members, past and present. Access to pro’s is an unspoken benefit to those who choose to serve.

Please consider volunteering or, if you are nominated, please consider serving. We need new ideas, new perspectives and can always use more energy from new people helping. Your involvement in the club continues to make RPBBA the best it can bee.

🐝 Study Group

The study group is open to all members who want to learn. You are not required to take the exam to join. Come soak up some knowledge. The study group will next meet Monday, October 18th at 7pm in the Nature Center. The group will continue to go through the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide questions, provide answers, and discuss. Those interested to attend are encouraged to download the guide in advance and start working through the questions on their own. Still not sure if it’s for you? Come sit in on a session; see what there is to learn about our favorite pollinators. Add to Google Calendar

Bee Vocabulary – “Super”

While we do find honey bees to be the heroes of the insect world, we are not referring to their super powers here. A “super” is a hive box used by the beekeeper to collect excess honey. Placed above the brood chamber, a healthy colony may fill several honey supers for the beekeeper in a single season.

Beekeepers in the News

See The World’s First ‘bee Hotel’, Buy A Hive Here And Become A Beekeeper

Become a beekeeper at this 5-star hotel exclusively for bees and bee-lovers.

Check out a short video about the hotel here: https://www.accuweather.com/en/videos/see-the-world%E2%80%99s-first-bee-hotel-buy-a-hive-here-and-become-a-beekeeper/Uk43vP5n?fbclid=IwAR1IXB5TvBfV5OI2JMZvaE9fEtP8QokpabvcpiW0pyohwd-z92q-Rwre9o0

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Reminder: VSBA Annual Meeting and Master Beekeeper Testing

The Fall VSBA meeting will be October 23-24th in Smithfield. This is also when testing for Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper certifications is completed. If you’re behind on your studying, consider coming to join the RPBBA Study Group mentioned above. Mark your calendar for the VSBA conference: Add to Google Calendar

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

Missing the VSBA Speaker Series This Month?

Check out the At Home Beekeeping Series. This is free distance learning over Zoom. Speakers include university researchers and extension specialists. Topics rotate monthly. For more information, including dates & how to join, check out the flyer here.

This Month in the Hive (October)

The bees are settling down for the winter. Varroa mites should be under control. The bees are reducing entrances and drafts with propolis and consolidating stored honey from the outer reaches of the hive to the center. The brood nest is about 8 inches across and egg laying has slowed to 200-300 per day. On cold nights, the cluster forms around the queen, and may remain tight until temperatures rise. Drones are gone by month end in almost all hives.

It is unlikely that the frost will hold off enough to permit much nectar-gathering. In some years, the frost does not come until after October 10 and some gathering of nectar may occur. Asters, daisies, and goldenrod may provide substantial amounts of pollen for winter brood.

Watch for robbing on warm days. Wax moths work diligently to enter the hives at night and lay eggs until a hard frost kills the adult moths. Look for continued egg production and capped brood, as new bees are needed to keep the population strong for the winter.

Combine weak hives. Watch out for robbing this month. Finish feeding for the winter. Remove all honey supers not intended as a source of honey for the winter. Remove Apistan or other chemical strips if you used them, assuming you have had them in for 42 days. Attend your bee club meeting. Install mouse guards, after making sure there is no mouse inside the brood boxes. Reserve packages or nucleus hives for next April. Install the plastic insert on the bottom of the screened bottom board if you use screened bottom boards. If you use solid bottom boards, decide whether to reverse the boards to utilize the small entrance on the “winter” side of the bottom board.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

(Camillia) Tea, Osmanthus, Elaeagnus, Rose, Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus, Abelia, Fall Crocus, Sternbergia, Annuals and Perennials, Fall Foliage

https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website.

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, October 11th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

September Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello everyone,

During last month’s meeting Keith Tignor said, “The bees are prepping for Winter now. You are currently raising Winter bees.” As this newsletter comes, we’re on our last chance to treat varroa mites before Winter. Mid-September is too late. As for my hives, they’re finishing up dose 2 of the Apiguard trays next week and it’ll be time for me to do another mite inspection. I’m feeding 2:1 sugar syrup in a top feeder. I’m also working to spray down my extra frames for wax moths and store away for Winter.

September Meeting

We will have a September meeting on Monday, September 13th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. However, because it’s on the back of our picnic, the meeting will be structured differently. We will not have a speaker but rather a panel discussion. The topic will be Winter prep. Whether this will be your 1st Winter or you’re a seasoned beekeeper, this is good information to have. How can we raise strong bees to overwinter? What do we need to do to manage the space in the hive? How do we properly store equipment? Mark your calendar now for our meeting. Add to Google Calendar

RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation:

  • Not fully vaccinated: You should wear a mask in indoor public places.

  • Fully vaccinated: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

As of today, September 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed. [Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view]

Saturday, Sept 11th, RPBBA 2021 Picnic

If you have not already marked your calendar and RSVP’d for our 2021 picnic, now’s the time. Add to Google Calendar We hope all members and their families can join us. A flyer and RSVP will be emailed following this newsletter to RPBBA members. The association will provide fried chicken, soft drinks/water & tableware. Please bring

  1. A side to Share

  2. Lawn Chairs

  3. A Picnic Blanket

Grills will be set up in case anyone needs them. Alcohol is permitted (BYOB) but please keep in mind this is a family-style event. Fishing is allowed from the pond BYOP&B (bring your own pole & bait). If you’ve got other fun outdoor games like cornhole or horse shoes, bring ’em!

Call for Volunteers – Nominating Committee, Board of Directors, & Officers

Our club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. It’s the time of year to start the process of seating a new Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors is in need of volunteers to join a Nominating Committee. This committee should have at least 3 members. The purpose of the Nominating Committee is to identify and put forth a slate of candidates for election in October. If you are interested and willing to volunteer as a member of the nominating committee, please email rockwood.beekeepers@gmail.com.

The Board of Directors role is to select Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications) for next year, vote on club business, and oversee the functions of the club. A maximum of 9 members are permitted by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation to serve on the Board of Directors. Currently we have 5 Board members whose terms are expiring; we are looking to fill those seats which will become vacant at the end of the year.

If you wish to nominate someone else for the Board of Directors or even volunteer yourself, please send an email to rockwood.beekeepers@gmail.com. Each person nominated to serve will be contacted to confirm their interest & willingness to serve.

One of the things about serving on the Board of Directors or as an Officer of the club is the access you will have to experienced beekeepers. You do not have to be a seasoned beekeeper to help. I began my beekeeping journey in 2020 by enrolling in the Beginner Beekeeping course. I brought home my first 2 nucs in May 2020. Last Fall, I volunteered and was elected to the Board of Directors. I subsequently volunteered to handle the club communications. Looking back, I view my choice to serve as a great benefit for myself and my hives. I’ve found no shortage of members willing to chat, answer questions, help me with a swarm, borrow equipment, inspect my hives, extract my 1st season of honey. The list goes on; the pro-guidance I’ve received is an unspoken (till now, lol) and understated benefit. If you are interested in learning more about beekeeping, serving is an excellent way to do that.

Please consider volunteering or, if you are nominated, please consider serving. We need new ideas, new perspectives and can always use more energy from new people helping. Your involvement in the club helps make RPBBA the best it can bee.

Call for Volunteers – 2021 State Fair of Virginia

The Richmond Beekeepers Association will be sponsoring the Virginia Beekeepers Honey Booth. This year as in the past we will need volunteers from all of the bee associations to work the booth. The State Fair of VA runs for 10 days, starting Friday, September 24th thru Sunday, October 3rd. We will need volunteers to fill two shifts a day, first shift 10:00am to 4:00pm and second shift 4:00pm to close. The second shift will close Sunday thru Thursday at 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday at 10:00pm. The volunteer’s bee association will receive a portion of the profits made from the sale of honey and other products of the hive based on the number of shifts worked. This is a great way to earn money for your club and also meet other beekeepers from the central Virginia area.

The State Fair of VA is located at Meadow Farm in Doswell, VA (just past Kings Dominion) in the Meadow Pavilion with other agriculture displays. Admission tickets will be sent to each volunteer for each day worked.

To sign up to work a shift or two you will need to

  1. Go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4ca9a72fa0ffcf8-honey

  2. Find day and time you would like to work and check the Sign Up box

  3. Click Submit and Sign Up at bottom of page

  4. Fill in your contact information

  5. Click on Sign Up Now

You will receive confirmation via email with the name of Nicholas Hayes.

If you would like to volunteer but do not feel comfortable with SignUpGenius you can call

  • Nicholas Hayes at 804-801-2197 (Nicholas may be in class , he will contact you as soon as he is free) or

  • Gay Stapleton at 804-672-8408 or email at rbrtstapleton@yahoo.com.

Just a reminder, if you would like to enter your honey, beeswax or beekeeping gadgets in the open honey competition the deadline to do so is September 3rd. Also, if you have extra honey you would like to sell at the State Fair of VA contact Bob Stapleton at 804-672-8408.

Bee Vocabulary – “Cluster”

In a cluster, a large number of bees cling together in a mass. With honey bees this usually occurs in 2 instances.

  1. A swarm of bees will cluster in a nearby tree or bush when first leaving the hive and before going to their new home.

  2. In Winter, the bee cluster allows the colony to conserve and generate heat. The Winter Cluster technique is how honey bees survive the cold temperatures.

Beekeepers in the News

Beekeeper Invents Trap to Tackle Asian Hornets

After he lost 35 hives to the Asian hornet, a traumatized French beekeeper knew he had to save his bees. He came up with a trap that stops the invasive species, but does no harm to bees or native hornets.

To find out more, and see his trap, you can watch a video here: https://www.reuters.com/video/watch/idPx2t?now=true

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Next up in the VSBA Speaker Series is Honey Crystallization & Defects with C. Marina Marchese. This talk will be September 23rd at 7pm on Zoom. A link to join the meeting can be found on this page.

Carla Marina Marchese is changing the way people think about honey, this designer turned beekeeper is best known as the visionary behind the beloved brand Red Bee Honey. During a former career as an international designer, Marina was invited to visit a neighbor’s apiary where her first taste of fresh honey would change the course of her life. She quit her job, built a beehive and wrangled some Italian honeybees to become a full – time beekeeper. It was on a visit to Italy that Marina stumbled upon a honey festival in Montalcino (coincidentally called The City of Honey). Compelled by the philosophy of terroir, Marina studied wine tasting in order to transfer those skills to honey tasting which led her to launch the Red Bee Brand. She returned to Italy to complete her formal education as a honey sensory expert, becoming the first US citizen to be accepted as a member of the Italian National Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey. In 2013, she founded the American Honey Tasting Society to bring the Italian program to the US.

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (September)

The hive population is dropping. The queen’s egg laying is significantly reduced, and the drones may begin to disappear at the end of this month. Nectar and pollen sources usually reappear after Labor Day. Frost may occur after September 20, and the bees will begin to cluster when the temperature inside the hive drops below 57 degrees.

Asters, daisies, ragweed, clovers, tickseed, and goldenrod may provide substantial sources of nectar if the month has adequate rainfall (4-6 inches) spread over the entire month. Strong hives may make 20 pounds of honey during September. (In some years, 30 pounds of production has been recorded in September.) In years with drought conditions, September can be disastrous for the hive, with the bees consuming the honey and pollen that should be saved for winter.

The brood nest may be about 10 inches across. The queen is active, but laying less than 400 eggs per day. At the end of the month (when colder weather is likely) the workers cease feeding the drones. A few drones will remain at the end of the month, but not many.

Feeding of syrup and pollen substitutes may be essential if the month is dry. In a good year, it may also be time to do that final harvest for the season. Remember to leave at least 40 pounds of honey for each hive to get through the winter. Remove the queen excluder if you left it on the hives after the harvest. Check on the queen. If you are going to use it, feed and medicate with Fumagillin in syrup to fight nosema towards the end of the month. (Only the first 2 gallons of syrup per hive are medicated if you are using it.) Add chemical mite treatments if you did not do so in August and if you are using those treatments.

Now is the time to use menthol crystals for tracheal mite control, if you are going to do so. Nighttime temperatures are cool enough, and daytime temperatures may fit the instructions. If it is dry, or you made up splits in July, feeding continues until the bees will take no more syrup.

Attend bee meetings and state and local fairs and festivals. Give honey to your bee neighbors, and make sure they understand how good the bees are for gardens, flowers, and the growing environment in general.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Osmanthus, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Abelia, Rose, Annuals, Perennials

https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and bee active. You can join on our website or come to a meeting!

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the picnic and the meeting this month on Sept 11th and Sept 13th.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

August Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

The summer dearth is here. The colony’s brood rate is decreasing and they’ll soon tire of feeding the drones. In a dry August, a hive may consume 10 pounds of stored honey. Although chances are lower, swarming can still occur so don’t start spacing out your inspections just yet.

As for my hives, I’m watching for “light” feeling boxes, sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the ground to help curb the small hive beetles, and will soon be mite checking. I’m beginning to think whether I will combine hives for winter to come. I have a weaker hive so I’ll likely end up combining it up with my stronger one later in the season.

📢 August Meeting

Our August meeting will be held Monday August 9th at 7pm in the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Keith Tignor is coming back to visit and speak with us. Keith is the State Apiarist and Central VA Region State Beekeeping Inspector. He will be talking with us this month about mite control. It’s now the time of year to know your mite count and what to do about it. We hope you all can join us for this important talk. Add to Google Calendar

RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. As of today, August 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed.

[Source: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view]

Saturday, Sept 11th, RPBBA 2021 Picnic

If you have not already marked your calendar for our 2021 picnic, now’s the time. Add to Google Calendar We hope all members and their families can join us. A flyer and RSVP will be emailed following this newsletter to RPBBA members. The association will provide fried chicken, soft drinks/water & tableware. Please bring

  1. A side to share

  2. Lawn Chairs

  3. A Picnic Blanket

Grills will be set up in case anyone needs them. Alcohol is permitted (BYOB) but please keep in mind this is a family-style event. Fishing is allowed from the pond BYOP&B (bring your own pole & bait). If you’ve got other fun outdoor games like cornhole or horse shoes, bring ’em!

Beehive Distribution Program

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering their Beehive Distribution Program again this year. The time is NOW to apply. Applications for the Beehive Distribution Program can be submitted any time July 20 – August 4, 2021. Applications that were submitted in previous years will not carry over to the current Program. In addition, applications from previous years cannot be resubmitted. Recipients of beehive units will be selected at random from accepted applications.

For more information, including how to apply, visit https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-beehive-distribution-program.shtml.

National Honey Bee Day

Did you know National Honey Bee Day was coming up? It’s Saturday, August 21st. National Honey Bee Day is an awareness day to celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to humans’ everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species. Mark your Calendar and spread the word!

Bee Vocabulary – “bee metamorphosis”

the three stages through which a bee passes before reaching maturity: egg, larva, and pupa. During the pupal stage, large fat reserves are used to transform both the internal and external anatomy of the bee.

Beekeepers in the News

7-year-old Pennsylvania Beekeeper Has Hive With 50,000 Bees

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa – A 7-year-old is the legal owner of his own bee apiary and one of the youngest members of the Lancaster County Beekeepers Society.

To read more and check out his 10-frame mediums, visit https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/7-year-old-pennsylvania-beekeeper-has-hive-with-50000-bees/SXORB2RPJNEZ3O26G7URC4S7EI/.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The Virginia State Beekeepers Association speaker series continues August 5th at 7pm with Tim Schuler’s Mite Control Program presentation. Tim worked over 20 years with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as the former New Jersey State Apiarist. He started keeping bees young in a small Philadelphia suburb. In 1991, Tim started Schuler’s Bees, a side business managing hundreds of colonies, providing pollination services to local farmers, and producing honey. In 2016 he was awarded the Divelbiss award by the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) for his effort in beekeeping education. Tim is a down-to-earth, engaging, and persuasive speaker, especially when it comes to managing varroa in colonies. Add to Google Calendar

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (August)

The colony’s brood growth rate is slowing down. Drones are still around, but the workers will soon lose interest in feeding them. Outside activity slows down as the nectar flow decreases and stops. Much of the flight activity is water-gathering, pollen collection, and orientation of new bees. On hot evenings and nights, the bees may drape the front of the hive, making them especially vulnerable to skunks.

Smartweed, ironweed, Joe Pye weed, milkweed, thistles, heartsease, chicory, clethra, pepperbush, dandelion, blueweed, and some asters and daisies may provide a small nectar flow. Clovers, soybeans, alfalfa, sunflowers, and common vetch continue to offer nectar, but there are few concentrated plantings of these cultivated crops in Northern Virginia. Cucumbers, melons, carrots, and pumpkins need honeybees for pollination this month. Net honey production is unlikely in August due to heat and drought. The hive may consume 10 pounds of stored honey or syrup during a dry August.

Watch for a failing queen, especially a queen that is more than 1 year of age. Egg laying should continue at the rate of 400-500 eggs per day, and the brood nest should be at least 14 inches across. Watch for wasps and hornets attacking the hives to steal away live bees for the purpose of feeding their brood. If you may have harvested too much of the hive’s honey, examine the hive to make certain there is at least 10 pounds of capped honey before you go on vacation.

There is not much chance of swarming this month. Do not expend much energy catching a swarm that escapes in August, as it will not build up enough to survive the winter. Watch out for robbing. Re-queening of all hives with queens from the prior year is done in this month or in early September. Queens may be a little less expensive this time of year, especially if they were reserved in April or May. Watch for wax moths and small hive beetles; ruthlessly combine hives that are too weak to defend against them now. Take losses now, rather than in the winter.

The bees that are born in August will have to carry the hive through the early winter. Make certain that the hive has enough pollen and honey to generously feed new brood. Skinny August bees will not make it to February.

Many chemical mite treatments should be applied in early August, if they are going to be used. Carefully read the instructions and consider the temperature forecast before any treatment is applied, however. Honeybees may not be able to tolerate harsh chemical treatments combined with high temperatures. However, it is also not wise to allow Varroa mites to parasitize the bees that you hope will carry the hive into early winter.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Crepe Myrtle, Rose, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Abelia, Annuals, Perennials

[From https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/]

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website or come to a meeting! We love seeing fresh faces.

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, August 9th at 7pm in the Nature Center!

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group

July Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

Welcome to July. I hope your colonies are doing well.

Summer is upon us. Continue inspections of your hives to make sure your colonies are healthy. The bees may manage to store honey this month, but they may eat more than they collect. As resources become more sparse, watch for robbing activity at the entrances; take steps to deter robbing as needed. Pay special attention for boxes that begin to feel lightweight. The varroa mite is increasing its population at the expense of the bees; it will require some type of treatment or management, soon.

📢 July Meeting

Our July meeting will be held Monday, July 12h at 7pm at the Nature Center. We will be sharing a presentation entitled Game of Drones by Julia Mahood. Honey bee drones are the Rodney Dangerfields of the bee world, they (often) get no respect! Learn all about the amazing drones and their mysterious drone congregation areas. Julia Mahood is a Georgia Master Beekeeper who has been keeping bees since 2004. She created the citizen science website MapMyDca.com to gather data on drone congregation areas. Julia is passionate about education and teaches beekeeping in Georgia prisons and is active in her local and state bee organizations. Add to Google Calendar

RPBBA does intend to follow CDC recommendations. For all in-person meetings, attendee’s need to be prepared to provide proof of vaccination or wear a mask. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed.

🐝 Study Group

The study group is open to all members who want to learn. You are not required to take the exam to join; come soak up some knowledge. They will next meet Monday, July 19th at 7pm at the Nature Center. The group will continue to go through the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide questions, provide answers, and discuss. Those interested to attend are encouraged to download the guide in advance and start working through the questions on their own. Still not sure if it’s for you? Come sit in on a session; see what there is to learn about our favorite pollinators.

auahAm2gGUcWDib3V0HMjh6bXSvSmHCF5ohhdtl0B-4H4DNBkrE6dw7125GJ3TAOiir7rVTsvkcL_MxKAoF8kD_zPpYcCpXP4O1Hg-E2Rk8K1Qm7KGjE-xbZG0QH5YgJ7NsYEnpb Save the Date for our RPBBA 2021 Picnic

The board has set a date for our 2021 picnic! Please mark your calendar now for Saturday, September 11th. More information to come as the date nears.

Bee Vocabulary – “Bearding”

When bees congregate on the outside of the hive, usually on the front side. Done to keep the temperature inside the hive down, usually on hot days or when the hive is overcrowded with bees and/or honey stores.

Beekeepers in the News

Honeybee Forage Map

Looking for blooms to help the honeybees during the dearth but don’t know which plants are best? NASA has created a map and divided it into forage regions. You can find out when certain plants begin and end blooming for your region. NASA even highlights whether or not the plant species is considered a very important nectar source within the state and region. To check it out, go here: https://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The Virginia State Beekeepers Association speaker series continues July 21st at 7pm with a presentation from Petra Ahnert titled, Collecting and Using Propolis and Pollen. Petra is best known for authoring the books Beeswax Alchemy and Beehive Alchemy. She runs a small artisan soap, body care, and candle company. She is also a small-scale beekeeper. The bees serve as inspiration not only for her products, but life as well. More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (July)

On hot and humid nights, you may see a curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive. Swarming is still possible, but it becomes less likely as the month advances. The Varroa parasitic mite continues to increase its population at the expense of the bees, and it will require some type of treatment or management soon. The bees continue to raise 3,000-5,000 replacement bees per week in July, and may consume a larger amount of honey and pollen than is collected if the month is dry. The stronger hive populations will peak at 50,000-60,000 worker bees.

Late June and July are harvest times for the Northern Virginia beekeeper. After supers and frames are removed for extraction, the best practice is to return the supers and frames to the hives for cleanup. The bees may manage to store 5 pounds or more of honey during July, but they will eat more than they collect if the month is dry. Continue inspections of the hive to make sure the hive is healthy. Catalpa, bee bee tree, linden, milkweed, butterfly weed, horsemint, fireweed, and globe thistle will bloom. Heartsease and smartweed bloom this month, starting in damp bottomlands. Cucumber, melons, some soybean varieties, sunflowers, some vetches, verbena, and clover will supply supplemental nectar or pollen, where cultivated. If you can find a field of alfalfa, soybean, or buckwheat in bloom, these plants are major nectar sources and produce distinctive honey flavors.

Watch for bees fanning droplets of water to cool the hive. Especially around the harvest, watch for robbing activity near the entrance. Look for a falloff in egg production, as the brood nest shrinks gradually down to about 60-75% of its peak size.

Make sure the water source for the bees is clean and accessible. Harvest honey. Return wet supers to the hives. After the supers are cleaned of honey by the bees, remove excess supers and stack them with moth-repellent PDB crystals. Watch for signs of robbing and take steps to discourage robbing if it starts. Select perfect frames of comb for honey competitions. Attend the club picnic. Learn how to filter and bottle honey for the most competitive local and state fair honey judging. Decide if, when and how you are going to treat for Varroa. Order any supplies or equipment that you need for mite treatments.

If you are going to make splits to overwinter, the first half of July is the last time to do it. You will need to be prepared to feed any split during the dry months of July and August. About half the time, you will need to feed splits in September and October as well.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Crepe Myrtle, Rose, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Buddleia, Rose of Sharon, Abelia

[From https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/]

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website or come to a meeting! We love seeing fresh faces.

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, July 12th at 7pm at the Nature Center!

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!
Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

June Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

We have a lot of news this month we are excited to share. This month’s newsletter is full of information and plans to come! Without further adieu,

Hh1pQvZirWJaajAP9pGN0DhVkcvgwPwPyV8_dAtGyvHj28Vr0ffrC1hDHiOstaTL68ObwEOKImkSW9q1z_Ps9jU82QmxsrMoWn8c9oYwXEb8Kn55zMcEcFjOOJipGtZLZ2chPYsFClub News

The Nature Center at Rockwood Park is open and we are ecstatic to be able to resume meetings in-person. Like everywhere around us, RPBBA does have to adapt to the changing times and keep Covid-19 safety in mind for all. It is important to note the clubs insurance policy no longer provides coverage for virus or bacteria related illness’. RPBBA does intend to follow CDC recommendations. For all in-person meetings, attendee’s need to be prepared to provide proof of vaccination or wear a mask. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed.

June Meeting

Our June meeting will be held Monday, June 14th at 7pm at the Nature Center. John Davis will continue our study into swarming. We will further discuss the behaviors within the hive to look for signs the bees are preparing to swarm. Swarming season is not over. Learn more why removing queen cells is not a good swarm prevention. Following John’s presentation, we will allow time for open discuzzion. Add to Calendar

🐝 Study Group

The study group will next meet Monday, June 21st at 7pm at the Nature Center. The group will continue to go through the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide questions, provide answers, and discuss. Those interested to attend are encouraged to download the guide in advance and start working through the questions on their own. Still not sure if it’s for you? Come sit in on a session; see what there is to learn about our favorite pollinators.

24Lu6s_P6-EkW44YocvFKVQVND8QoJgVxEbzMPGEKHj75Pz1Are9C8HhOmqQAAzgweF0Zc6W3QzrKaLuTT0dGefFkq11TtMOEyiehk-LxP88NbpqOYxr0373O4MPwJ9uQ9j372bV Save the Date for our RPBBA 2021 Picnic

The board has set a date for our 2021 picnic! Please mark your calendar now for Saturday, September 11th. More information to come as the date nears.

RPBBA Membership Fees

July 1st will mark 1 year since RPBBA has sent renewal invoices. Our treasurer will begin to send renewal notices to those members coming due. As previous, membership is $15 per family per year.

Bee Vocabulary – “Dearth”

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily honey bee vocabulary. However to a honey bee, a dearth is a shortage of nectar-producing flowers. A lack of nectar can happen at any time during the growing season but it is more common in mid to late Summer. Remember, you may see blooms but that does not guarantee that nectar is inside. Check the hives food stores periodically; consider feeding if needed.

Beekeepers in the News

Angelina Jolie Embraces Bees—and Female Beekeepers as Environmental Guardians

National Geographic teamed up with superstar and activist Angelina Jolie to raise awareness of bee conservation and empower women beekeepers around the world. To read the full story, go here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/bee-conservation-women-entrepreneurs-angelina-jolie

Would You Bee-lieve It? Two Honeybees Work Together To Lift The Top Off A Bottle Of Fanta

To see their teamwork in action, go here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9616351/Two-honeybees-work-lift-bottle-Fanta.html

In other news, the Bumblebee Jamboree is on for 2021 during National Pollinator Week, June 21-27th at Maymont.. This is a free event hosted by Chesterfield County Cooperative Extension Volunteer Master Gardeners. Follow the Pollinator Path at Maymont by taking a self-guided stroll through the Children’s Farm. Mark your calendar now and bring the kids out! https://linktr.ee/BBJ2021 for more information.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The Virginia State Beekeepers Association is will return June 16th at 7pm with a presentation from Jennifer Homes titled Honey- Extracted, Creamed, and Comb – From Harvest to Preparation for the Honey Show. Mark your calendar now.

More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

This Month in the Hive (June)

Hives that haven’t swarmed will be boiling with bees. The brood nest will extend across two supers. The population of the strongest hives exceeds 50,000 workers. The queen’s rate of egg laying may drop a little this month. The queen is moving around the brood nest, laying eggs in cells that have been cleaned from prior use.

Sumac, clovers, strawberries, wild blackberries, speedwell, linden trees, chestnut, chokeberry, huckleberry, grape, holly, blackhaw, honeysuckle,and many ornamentals will provide nectar flows. June is generally a good month for honey production in Northern Virginia, but most of the nectar flows are over by the end of the month. A strong hive may cap as much as 30-40 pounds of honey in June, if good nectar flows are nearby and moisture is sustained in the soil. If soil moisture persists into July, you may want to plan on a small second harvest later in the summer.

Heat can be a serious challenge for the hive at this time. Look for bees bringing in water and placing it around the hive to evaporate for the cooling effect. Watch for swarm cells. Watch for wax moths, ants, mice and small hive beetles attacking the combs. If a hive is so weak in June that it can not defend itself against beetles, ants or moths, then you should consider combining it with a much stronger hive.

Watch for supers above the queen excluder where all the center frames in the super are full of capped honey. Move the full center frames to the outside edges of the super, and move less full frames to the center. This will assist the bees to fill and cap all the frames completely.

Inspect the hives weekly to make certain the hives are healthy and the queen is doing her job. You do not need to see a queen if you see a good pattern of eggs, wet larvae (or “worms”) and capped brood. Supers full of honey may be removed at any time you are prepared to begin extraction or keep them in the freezer. (You do not want to store supers of honey for more than a day or two at room temperature, due to ants, spiders, wax moths, and dust.)

Make sure your bees have a source of water within 200 feet of the hive. You may increase your hives by splitting strong colonies after the harvest. There is a slight chance of a need to add more honey supers this month. Keep watching for swarming which may still occur.

Decide if your hives are going to have an upper entrance. If so, you may want to drill a 1 inch circular hole in a super (not close to a handle), which hole can be guarded by the bees in summer and plugged with a cork during the winter. Some beekeepers screen over the hand hole in the inner cover, and then prop up the hive cover slightly to provide ventilation, but not enough to permit access to rodents and large insects.

Confirm queen orders for July hive splits.

[From https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

1st Week: Magnolia, Tree Lilac, Rhododendron, Azalea, Nandina, Smoke Tree, Rose, Waterlily, Daylily, Yucca, Annuals, Perennials, European Linden, Mock Orange, Weigelia, Laburnum, Calycanthus, Abelia

2nd Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimose, Rose, Azalea, Nandina, Hydrangea, Sourwood, Waerlily, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa, Tree Lilac, Abelia, Calycanthus

3rd Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimosa, Sourwood, Rose, Azalea, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa

4th Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimosa, Sourwood, Rose, Azalea, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa

[From https://maymont.org/explore/gardens/whats-in-bloom/]

Final Word

That’s all for this month! If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website.

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Monday, June 14th at 7pm at the Nature Center!

Michelle Clark

Communications 🐝

Like us on Facebook!

Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

Keep up with what RPBBA is doing, see Calendar of Events!

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