February Newsletter RPBBA

Hello beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts,

February is a busy month full of events for Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers. We have the Beginner Beekeeping Class meeting twice this month, Honey Bee Festival planning, our monthly meeting with Dr. Zac Lamas, and the Study Group all happening in February!

🐝 2023 Beginner Beekeeping Course

The first session of the 2023 Beginner Beekeeping Course was chock-full of information (and people). It truly was “like drinking from a firehose”. For those of you in the class, don’t stress, there are plenty of people and resources to support you on your beekeeping journey.

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The next session will be held on Saturday, February 11th at 9am at Dandelion Springs Apiary. The address for Dandelion Springs is:

11011 Beaver Bridge Rd

Chesterfield, VA 23838

The course is full and registration is closed. For those enrolled, if you do not have your calendar marked already, you can Add to Google Calendar now. The class meets twice this month, Saturday, February 11th and 25th.

As a reminder, RPBBA practices reciprocity with the Huguenot Beekeeping Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA. Both clubs offer the same course on alternating Saturday’s.

2023 Honey Bee Festival Planning

Planning has begun and the date has been set for June 24th at Rockwood Park. We are finalizing team leads and then we ask for volunteers. As you know, we will need a lot of volunteers to make the HBF a success! Beeeeeeee prepared to get involved, it’s great fun!

February Meeting

This month our meeting will be held in conjunction with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association @7pm at the Powhatan Village Building Auditorium located at 3910 Old Buckingham Road, Powhatan, VA 23139. Dr. Zac Lamas will discuss Varroa Mites. This is a presentation that you do not want to miss.

Add to Google Calendar

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VSBA Master Beekeeping Study Group

The study group will be held on Feb 21st at the Chesterfield Library located at 325 Courthouse Road at 6:30pm.

For those who have never checked it out, the study group is a great way for RPBBA members to further their beekeeping knowledge. Several members are studying for the annual VSBA Apprentice and Journeyman exams. However, there is no requirement for attendees to pursue certification. The study group is open to all members who want to learn. During the study group sessions, questions from the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide are posed for the group to discuss and answer together. There is much to learn during open discussion with our peers!

Those interested to attend are encouraged to download the guide in advance and start working through the questions on their own. Add to Google Calendar

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Have You Reserved Your Bees For 2023?

Whether you’re a 1st time beekeeper, or looking to replace a colony that didn’t make it through Winter, there are resources for you to source live bees locally.

For those looking to purchase Nucs, Packages or Queen’s check out our 2023 Resources* The time is now to start reserving your order(s).

*This is simply a list of local suppliers; RPBBA does not endorse or give preference. Buyers are encouraged to do their own research before making their decision to purchase from any supplier.

Bee Vocabulary – “Pheromones”

Did you know that the Queen gives off pheromones to prevent workers from developing ovaries?!

The queen regulates the goings-on of the colony by emitting chemical blends (pheromones) from her mandibular glands (saclike glands located inside the head above the base of the mandible). The queen’s pheromones are often called the ‘queen signal’. The queen signal is a primer pheromone that keeps the colony in homeostasis (e.g. worker cohesion, inhibition of worker reproduction, and stimulation of worker activities).

When the queen is weak or dies, the low/no pheromonal signal drives workers to rear new queens. If there’s no young brood present in the colony, the workers become disorganized, stop doing their tasks and begin laying unfertilized eggs. The colony becomes unclean and more susceptible to diseases and prey. The hive population dwindles and in most cases, is doomed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Beekeepers in the News

Gene DiSalvo and Rick McCormick buzzed into the Anna Julia Cooper School (AJCS) at the end of January to speak with students about the importance of bees. AJCS is a K-8, independent, faith-based, full-tuition scholarship school serving students from limited financial resources in Richmond’s East End.

Rick led 50 minute sessions with Kindergarten, First Grade, Sixth Grade girls and Sixth Grade boys classes. The informal learning discussions featured lots of questions back and forth from both Rick and the students. The students were fully engaged and even the classroom teachers commented about what they were learning about bees! Rick was assisted in these discussions by Buzz, his loyal hand puppet, and Gene DiSalvo, who coordinated these sessions with the AJCS staff.

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AJCS requested that Rick and his bees return to the school in the Springtime. The school is also interested in getting support with their school garden. RPBBA is happy to help them with a Pollinator Garden Starter pack! It’s great to have beekeepers that are also Master Gardeners 🙂

Hollee Freeman gave a presentation to close to 200 people at Creative Mornings Richmond where she talked about finding sanctuary when working with bees.

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Thanks to everyone who talks with individuals, as well as, in small and large groups about beekeeping. Every little bit helps people understand the importance of honeybees in our ecosystem and just may encourage folks to become part of the beekeeping community or become bee-friendly in their gardens.

This Month in the Hive (February)

The cluster is still tight on most days. The cluster will break and move on days where the temperature exceeds 57 degrees in the hive. The queen remains in the cluster, and as the days lengthen, she will begin to lay a few more eggs each day. At this point, there are still no drones in the hive and workers will take cleansing flights on mild days.

As the cluster remains centered around the small brood nest, it will migrate upward as the lowest rows of capped brood hatch. The cluster will not quickly move up into new areas of honey after the brood nest forms, and mild days are important to the bees’ ability to move honey/pollen toward the cluster.

Around mid-February, maples begin to blossom and supply nectar and fresh pollen that are extraordinarily valuable to the growth of the hive. The maple blossom continues through mid-March. In areas of higher elevation, the maple blossoms start and end 7-14 days later. The bees will consume about 20 pounds of honey stores and nectar from maples. Alders may bloom in some locations and provide valuable variety in pollen proteins.

Tip: On a day that exceeds 55 degrees, open the hive and quickly check for sufficient food supplies, signs of disease, and to see if the queen is laying. Place a pollen patty near (but not directly on top of) the brood nest. More colonies are probably lost during this time of year than during all other winter months. A colony that is rearing brood will consume about 7 pounds of honey and nectar per week, and if the weather turns bad, a colony with small food reserves can quickly starve to death. Never allow the food stores to drop below 15 pounds. If they have less than 15 pounds of honey, start feeding stored honey or thick sugar syrup (one part sugar to one part water.) Remember, once you start feeding, you need to continue feeding until the bees no longer consume the syrup, or until the end of April.

Consider whether to sign up for that “Advanced Beekeeper Course.” Attend bee club meetings and get equipment ready for spring. At this time of year, you may be advised to “reverse” the brood boxes on a hive with two brood boxes. It is too early in the year to perform this task with safety, so delay this task until you are confident that warmer weather has arrived. The first week of February may be a good time to add a pollen patty or candy board to a hive that is raising brood. If you enter the hive, you may consider moving a frame of honey from the outside of the hive to an area much closer to the brood nest. Do not place a frame of frozen honey immediately adjacent to the brood nest, however.

Decide now how you are going to deal with the issue of swarms in April, May and June. Read and study the options, and seek advice. Prepare a bait hive now if you are going to use it later in the spring. If you are going to use more equipment to hold queen cells and deal with swarms, then take steps to obtain that equipment. https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Wintersweet, Witch Hazel, Conifers, Holly in Fruit

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

With February full of events,we will probably see a lot of each other!

Don’t forget to check out our Calendar of Events to keep up to date.

Hollee Freeman
Communications 🐝

Check us out at rockwoodbeekeepers.com!
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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RPBBA – January Newsletter

Subj: January Newsletter – RPBBA

Happy New Year beekeepers!

Top of mind for beekeepers is–how did the bees do with the sudden cold snap we had a couple of weeks ago? Hopefully everyone’s bees are hanging in there! In the event that some hives didn’t make it, don’t fret, there will be plenty of opportunities to begin again. Several club members will be selling nucs and queens as the spring approaches. There are also quite a few conferences, classes and other events on tap to get us ready for spring. Bring it on!

Jan. RPBBA Calendar of Events

📅 Monday, Jan 9th – RPBBA Monthly mtg @ 6pm. Topic: Pheromones with Dr. James Wilson at LaPrade Library. (note the change in time for this month. Meet & Greet from 6-6:30 pm. Meeting officially starts at 6:30).

📅 Friday, Jan 14th – Last day to sign up for the Beginner Beekeeping class for the low cost of $100. Price increases to $115 after 01/14. This is an important step for new beeks and veteran beeks who would like to brush up.

📅 Tuesday, Jan 17th RPBBA Study Group. 7-8pm @North Courthouse Road Library (note the change in date for this month). Open to all members.

📅Saturday, Jan 28th – 1st day of the Beginner Beekeeping class. 

2023 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

🐝History, Hive organization & location, 🐝Woodenware and equipment,

🐝Dynamics of the Colony, 🐝Diseases, Pests and Predators,

🐝Getting Started, 🐝The Beekeeping Year, 🐝Floral Sources, and 🐝Bee Field Day (hands-on apiary day)

Class dates will be Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, & Mar 11 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 21st and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 registrations; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA. For more information, including a signup form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

Club News – 2023 Officers Announcement (in case you missed it in Dec. 🙂

The Board of Directors’ has installed the following slate of Officers for the 2023. 

Stan Houk, President

Sherry Kelley, Vice President

Theo Hartmann, Treasurer

Don Osborne, Secretary

Hollee Freeman, Communications

John Davis, Membership

Jody Conway, Registered Agent

The Membership role is new. This position was created with the intention of having a club member as a go-to for prospective RPBBA members and new members as well as a familiar face for our more experienced beekeepers to keep in touch. We know there are a lot of questions when you’re new to the club and/or new to beekeeping. Seasoned beekeepers know the learning never ends. Filling in a Membership role will also be a help for our Communications director who is often the first point of contact for many.

The Board of Directors is still on the hunt for a Honey Bee Festival Chair. If you have an interest, or questions, reach out and let us know. The club could use a helping hand to lead the charge. I realize the role is intimidating. Help is available; we promise, we will not let you fail.

Have You Reserved Your Bees For 2023?

Whether you’re a 1st time beekeeper, or looking to replace a colony that didn’t make it through Winter, there are resources for you to source live bees locally.

 

For those looking to purchase Nucs, Packages or Queen’s check out our 2023 Resources for Nucs, Packages & Queens*. The time is now to start reserving your order(s).

*This is simply a list of local suppliers; RPBBA does not endorse or give preference. Buyers are encouraged to do their own research before making their decision to purchase from any supplier. The Virginia Bee Law requires that honey bees on combs, hives and equipment with combs must be accompanied by a certificate of health issued by the Office of Plant Industry Services prior to being sold in Virginia. For information on this, please visit the VDACS website.

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.

With the 2023 Beginner Beekeeping course kicking off in January,we will soon have new-bee’s looking for assistance. 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.

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

Bee Vocabulary – “torpor” as in: I’m not dead (yet), I’m just in torpor.

Friends, please resist the temptation to knock on the outside of your hives to see if they are alive. Torpor is a natural state of decreased physiological activity. By knocking on your hives, you will disrupt their torpor state and you may just kill them off without even knowing it. Here are some interesting nuggets to keep in mind: 

  • Honeybees keep the hive temp in the cluster btw 54-57 degrees F.
  • When you knock on the hive, the temp rises to about 80 degrees for about 5+ hours. 
  • Approx ½ cup of food stores are needed to maintain this temp.

We want our ladies to waste their valuable energy during these cold months. So…buy an inexpensive stethoscope if you feel the overwhelming urge to listen for activity OR just be patient. Spring is coming. 

Beekeepers in the News (This info. was in the Dec. newsletter but we will give it another run since Drs. Wilson and Lamas are coming to speak with us.)

Could Carbon Dioxide Be a New Tool Against Varroa Mites?

If you missed the story, you can read it at:

https://entomologytoday.org/2022/08/02/carbon-dioxide-varroa-mite-management-honey-bees/

Citizen Science: Predicting Varroa Infestation in Virginia

Dr. Zac Lamas and Dr. James Wilson are working together along with Virginia beekeepers in 2023 to see if a new sampling methodology can predict mite infestations months before they actually occur. The project is simple, easily adoptable, and can be done by beekeepers of all skill levels. They need hobbyist beekeepers across Virginia to join in.

More information and a signup form below👇👇👇

Varroa is the leading cause of death of honey bee colonies. Despite years of research there is much we still don’t know about mites. New findings from the University of Maryland and USDA-ARS suggest an alternative sampling method may allow beekeepers to detect Varroa earlier than current sampling methods, nor does the new method require beekeepers to sacrifice handfuls of worker bees in the process. But we need your help!

Here is your chance to be a scientist! Beekeepers across Virginia are invited to join a citizen science project in 2023. Your participation will provide valuable data. We want to know if our new method works in Virginia, and if it in fact, can predict fall mite infestations months beforehand.

You do not need to provide much to participate. All you need is to sample a few of your own colonies each month, and then submit the results on a monthly questionnaire. Our team at Virginia Tech will provide instruction material, monthly zoom sessions, and Q&A support via e-mail.

𝐒𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐮𝐩 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐝: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScW3ZUau6kO6G1EQfYhrbBBWtSsTmGKfSx6z5tgIq5y_1Y5Pw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&fbclid=IwAR3hDc800XbRhR6Ud40jlieGrgJ_dTcDhV4sAN-W-efAwNlMEgP72BT5I5w 🐝🐝🐝

Heart of Virginia Beekeepers 1st Annual Conference

The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers are hosting their FIRST annual beekeeping conference for the central region! The conference will feature two seminars from keynote speaker, Dr. David Tarpy, professor and extension specialist of honey bee biology and beekeeping at NC State University. His seminars will delve into diagnosing queen problems and coming out of winter. There will also be a selection of breakout sessions from which to choose, including integrated pest management, varroa treatments, reading the frame, commercial beekeeping, Slovenian style beekeeping, a forum on swarm prevention, and the indispensable nuc.

Sat, January 14th, 8:30am – 4:00pm

@Longwood University 201 High Street Farmville, VA 23909

For more information, including registration, visit

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/heart-of-virginia-beekeepers-1st-annual-conference-registration-440627598007

There are early admission tickets available though Dec 15th.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Save the Date: Spring Meeting

June 10th 8:30am – 5pm &

June 11th 8:30am – 2pm

@Sweet Briar College 134 Chapel Dr Sweet Briar, VA24595

This Month in the Hive (January)

The Hive

This month the queen is surrounded by thousands of workers. She is in the midst of the winter cluster, where the temperature at the center is about 88 degrees F. At the periphery of the cluster, the temperature will drop to 42 degrees on the coldest nights. The worker bees continuously move in and out of the center of the cluster. The bees in the cluster flex their wing and thorax muscles to generate heat, and they consume honey that was stored in the previous year. 

The cluster will continuously move upward into new honey if it is available. On a day that reaches 45 degrees or more in the hive, the bees may be able to move the cluster upward or horizontally into new honey, or they may be able to move honey toward the cluster from other parts of the hive. On a warm day (50 degrees or more) the worker bees will leave the hive to take a cleansing flight, during which they defecate away from the hive. The workers will wait weeks for a warm day if necessary before flying. 

The queen will usually begin laying a small number of worker eggs in the 3rd full week of January (about 28 days after the winter solstice), and some worker brood will begin to appear at the center of the cluster at that time. 

Food Consumption & Storage 

A strong hive may consume 15-20 lbs of honey in January if the weather is consistently cold or wet. Stored pollen will be in demand in the hive after brood rearing commences in the third full week. On a warm day, a few bees may fly out and collect small amounts of pollen from witch hazel and winter aconite. Bees may visit a gardenia in bloom in a garden. These pollen sources are miniscule compared to the bounty waiting later in the year. 

Events to Watch For in the Hive 

If there is heavy snow, make certain the entrance to the hive is cleared to allow for proper ventilation. Check the weight of the hive by placing one hand under the back of the bottom board and lifting it up. If it feels as if most of the honey is gone, you may need to start feeding the hive this month. Once you start feeding, you must continue feeding until the bees are gathering pollen and nectar on their own. Unless you are confident that a hive is starving, do not open a hive at less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (without wind chill.) 

Tasks to Be Performed 

This is a great time to catch up on reading those bee books you received as holiday gifts, or that you requested on inter-library loan. Don’t forget to attend your next club meeting and start ordering, assembling, and repairing the equipment you might need for this coming season. If you have not done so, go ahead and order that package of bees or a nucleus hive, if needed, from a reputable supplier.

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

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Wintersweet, Witch Hazel, Conifers, Holly in Fruit

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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, don’t forget to pay your dues. The amount is miniscule compared to the vast array of knowledge from mentors, study groups and meetings. 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. It’s worth its’ weight in gold. 

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.  I am planning do feature a member each month starting in Feb. Stay tuned.

I hope to see you at the meeting on Jan 9th at 6pm. Bring your bee stories!

Hollee Freeman
Communications 🐝

Check us out at rockwoodbeekeepers.com!
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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This is the official Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers email. RPBBA will never share your email with anyone outside of the organization or for non-club-related business without your permission. If you wish to update your email or be removed from our email list please complete this form.

RPBBA UPDATE: Change of Venue for Holiday Party

Hey RPPBA members,
Please take notice that our annual holiday party venue is changing. It will now be at the Nature Center.

The party will still be Monday, Dec 12th at 7pm. The only difference is the venue. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in public parks. We hope that this change does not affect anyone’s decision to attend. We know everyone enjoys when we meet at Molly’s; the space is unexpectedly unavailable.

RSVP link for those that may need it: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409044babae2aa5fa7-2022

Thank you!

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!

December Newsletter – RPBBA

Good evening beekeepers!

It may be a slow month in the apiary but there is much to share this month. Rockwood Beekeepers, there is much to look forward to. We’ve got a party, study group, speakers for January and February lined up, Beginner Beekeeper classes beginning next month, several signups, a citizen science opportunity, and multiple conferences on the horizon for those interested. I predict a VERY full Spring. Keep your eyes peeled for quite a bit of information and opportunities to bee involved in this months newsletter.

RPBBA Calendar of Events
📅 Monday, Dec 12th – RPBBA Annual Holiday Party @ 7pm
📅 Monday, Dec 19th – Study Group @ 7pm

December Meeting – A Holiday Potluck
In the place of our December meeting we will be having a holiday potluck.

7pm on Monday, December 12th
@Molly’s Bicycle Shop
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 NOT be available for purchase; this event is BYOB. 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

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2023 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
🐝History, Hive organization & location,
🐝Woodenware and equipment,
🐝Dynamics of the Colony,
🐝Diseases, Pests and Predators,
🐝Getting Started,
🐝The Beekeeping Year,
🐝Floral Sources, and
🐝Bee Field Day (hands-on apiary day)

Class dates will be Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, & Mar 11 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 21st and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 registrations; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA. For more information, including a signup form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

Club News – 2023 Officers Announcement
The Board of Directors’ met on November 28th over Zoom. 2023 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
Hollee Freeman, Communications
John Davis, Membership
Jody Conway, Registered Agent

The Membership role is new. This position was created with the intention of having a club member as a go-to for prospective RPBBA members and new members as well as a familiar face for our more experienced beekeepers to keep in touch. We know there are a lot of questions when you’re new to the club and/or new to beekeeping. Seasoned beekeepers know the learning never ends. Filling in a Membership role will also be a help for our Communications director who is often the first point of contact for many.

The Board of Directors is still on the hunt for a Honey Bee Festival Chair. If you have an interest, or questions, reach out and let us know. The club could use a helping hand to lead the charge. I realize the role is intimidating. Help is available; we promise, we will not let you fail.

Will you be selling nucs, packages or queens this year?R2Ag1Cyz6TenVN1uNXRUjv998sgMqD46MWJPvT8oRYobHa9zK0lBqnvQk8hf8mgbJiqKfuYBOHm3CZUvXoYoez10ut5tRbz4A2SLUgZ1Wnpbi9-wcu4AFdPTwoC7_4BrYJxYEWLYqSmZexTZ2peNWg3duHhyUq8fT7Hkcw5tfGiq_PSEJ2lQ5fcIDrXORQ

Ever so often, the question pops up- how do I get started? Where can I get my bees? We’d like to update the 2022 Resources list for sharing with those who inquire (and our incoming Beginner Beekeeping class).

If you plan to have bees for sale next year, tell us your plans.

Click here to have your information added to our 2023 Resources*.

*This is simply a list of local suppliers; RPBBA does not endorse or give preference. Buyers are encouraged to do their own research before making their decision to purchase from any supplier.

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.

With the 2023 Beginner Beekeeping course kicking off in January,well soon have new-bee’s looking for assistance. 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.

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

Bee Vocabulary – “waggle dance”
A series of figure-eight movements performed by a bee to indicate the direction and abundance of a distant food source. In this dance, the bee walks in a circle, turns around, then walks the same circle in the opposite direction. She repeats this many times. Sometimes, the bee includes a little waggle as she’s turning around.

Beekeepers in the News
Could Carbon Dioxide Be a New Tool Against Varroa Mites?
If you missed the story, you can read it at:
https://entomologytoday.org/2022/08/02/carbon-dioxide-varroa-mite-management-honey-bees/

Citizen Science: Predicting Varroa Infestation in Virginia
Dr. Zac Lamas and Dr. James Wilson are working together and with Virginia beekeepers in 2023 to see if a new sampling methodology can predict mite infestations months before they actually occur. The project is simple, easily adoptable, and can be done by beekeepers of all skill levels. They need hobbyist beekeepers across Virginia to join in.

More information and a signup form below👇👇👇

Varroa is the leading cause of death of honey bee colonies. Despite years of research there is much we still don’t know about mites. New findings from the University of Maryland and USDA-ARS suggest an alternative sampling method may allow beekeepers to detect Varroa earlier than current sampling methods, nor does the new method require beekeepers to sacrifice handfuls of worker bees in the process. But we need your help!

Here is your chance to be a scientist! Beekeepers across Virginia are invited to join a citizen science project in 2023. Your participation will provide valuable data. We want to know if our new method works in Virginia, and if it in fact, can predict fall mite infestations months beforehand.

You do not need to provide much to participate. All you need is to sample a few of your own colonies each month, and then submit the results on a monthly questionnaire. Our team at Virginia Tech will provide instruction material, monthly zoom sessions, and Q&A support via e-mail.

Signup to bee involved: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScW3ZUau6kO6G1EQfYhrbBBWtSsTmGKfSx6z5tgIq5y_1Y5Pw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&fbclid=IwAR3hDc800XbRhR6Ud40jlieGrgJ_dTcDhV4sAN-W-efAwNlMEgP72BT5I5w 🐝🐝🐝

Heart of Virginia Beekeepers 1st Annual Conference

The Heart of Virginia Beekeepers are hosting their FIRST annual beekeeping conference for the central region! The conference will feature two seminars from keynote speaker, Dr. David Tarpy, professor and extension specialist of honey bee biology and beekeeping at NC State University. His seminars will delve into diagnosing queen problems and coming out of winter. There will also be a selection of breakout sessions from which to choose, including integrated pest management, varroa treatments, reading the frame, commercial beekeeping, Slovenian style beekeeping, a forum on swarm prevention, and the indispensable nuc.

Sat, January 14th, 8:30am – 4:00pm
@Longwood University 201 High Street Farmville, VA 23909

For more information, including registration, visit
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/heart-of-virginia-beekeepers-1st-annual-conference-registration-440627598007

There are early admission tickets available though Dec 15th.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)
Save the Date: Spring Meeting
June 10th 8:30am – 5pm &
June 11th 8:30am – 2pm
@Sweet Briar College 134 Chapel Dr Sweet Briar, VA24595

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

[From: 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 12th 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!

November Newsletter – RPBBA

Good evening beekeepers!

Is it just me or has it been unusually warm lately? If you’ve still got some winter prep to do, you’re in luck. Looks like we’ve got a beautiful weekend ahead. Just a few things to consider: remove extra space in the hive, remove any queen excluders, langstroth top entrances should be open to allow ventilation through the hive. I’m simplifying; we know there is more to consider as well. Never fear, our November meeting will be geared toward Winter discussion.

RPBBA Calendar of Events

📅 Monday, Nov 14th – RPBBA Meeting @ 7pm

📅 Monday, Nov 21st – Study Group @ 7pm

November Meeting

Our November meeting will be 7pm Monday, November 14th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Does everyone remember the wheel from our May meeting at Molly’s? Well it’s back and loaded with more questions. This time the questions will all be Winter related. Come, give the wheel a spin, and put your bee knowledge to the test. Reducing the hive, Winter feeding, insulating the hive, reducing moisture: Where will the wheel land? Never fear if you don’t know the answer; your fellow beekeepers will be there to add to the discussion. Come join us at the Nature Center on Monday, November 14th 7pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

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2023 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

🐝History, Hive organization & location, 🐝Woodenware and equipment,

🐝Dynamics of the Colony, 🐝Diseases, Pests and Predators,

🐝Getting Started, 🐝The Beekeeping Year, 🐝Floral Sources, and 🐝Bee Field Day (hands-on apiary day)

Class dates will be Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, & Mar 11 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 21st and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 registrations; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA. For more information, including a signup form, please see our website rockwoodbeekeepers.com/beginner-beekeeping.

Club News – Board of Directors Results

The elections for the 2023 Board of Directors have concluded. A quorum was met. With all 37 votes in favor and none opposed, please join me in saying congratulations to Theo Hartmann, Jody Conway, Sherry Kelley, and Don Osbourne 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 last year, is listed below.

  1. Jody Conway

  2. Theo Hartmann

  3. Stan Houk

  4. Sherry Kelley

  5. Don Osbourne

  6. Dennis Marshall

  7. Rick McCormick

  8. Steve Syrett

  9. Kyree Tanner

Next up, the Board of Directors will meet to select Officers. If you have any interest in a position within the club, now is the time to make that known.

It’s been said once and I’ll repeat: Leadership positions are not limited to experienced beekeepers or long time RPBBA members. New-bee’s are welcome and encouraged to bee active within the club. I got my start beekeeping in 2020 with the Beginner Beekeeping course. I had 2 classes under my belt and 1 club meeting before everything shut down due to Covid-19. In Fall of 2020, I volunteered. At that time, I was a stranger to most RPBBA members but the club gave me a chance anyhow. For me, volunteering was a way to be active in a community that interested me and gain a mentor. I gained several. Our club is 100% run by volunteers. I strongly bee-lieve that you get back what you put in. When you volunteer, you become a familiar face. Others see the help you offer and in-turn are willing to help you. I’ve always had members willing to assist with my hives and answer questions when I needed it (constantly, lol). Had I not volunteered, my web of assistance would be much smaller. I don’t think I can express enough the value in bee-ing an active member. New members, do not be afraid. Support is available for any role of interest to you. Your fellow members will not let you fail.

Anyone interested to volunteer can send an email to rockwood.beekeepers or talk with a Board member. Once Officers for 2023 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 Rick McCormick for his time serving on the Nominating Committee. I really appreciate you leading the way and partnering with me on the communications.

Will you be selling nucs, packages or queens this year?kQUA_UTVNtHNO4WDeo7RcPyn5ToVKm9ALr7kSONsHOdey3L273GGbXvxfxkRuVooSl2RchYRT2bQNwWKNjKN-ITby_x4j-_km8CZCdqzYv4V9pkdnxMaOK8Y6nPs1HNY3vbSQSnuxiA3WXyO0bkSxAOGnafzTWxq6Pbgfz8SWfkobLEBiPVyeVnUVyOwhQ

Ever so often, the question pops up- how do I get started? Where can I get my bees? We’d like to update the 2022 Resources list for sharing with those who inquire (and our incoming Beginner Beekeeping class).

If you plan to have bees for sale next year, tell us your plans.

Click here to have your information added to our 2023 Resources*.

*This is simply a list of local suppliers; RPBBA does not endorse or give preference. Buyers are encouraged to do their own research before making their decision to purchase from any supplier.

Bee Vocabulary – “candy board”

A candy board is a hardened sugar mixture that’s made to be emergency feed during times of cold weather. Think of it as a large sugar cube. It is placed inside the hive, sitting on top of your frames, just below the inner cover.

Beekeepers in the News

Bees Shown to ‘Count’ From Left to Right for First Time

If you missed the story, you can read it at:

https://www.rawstory.com/bees-shown-to-count-from-left-to-right-for-first-time/

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Reminder: VSBA Annual Meeting and Master Beekeeper Testing

Make your plans now to join VSBA for the Fall 2022 VSBA Meeting in Weyers Cave Virginia at Blue Ridge Community College on Friday, November 4th and Saturday November, 5th.

Registration and more information: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/event-4906021

Presenters Include

  • Dr. Zachary Lamas

  • Dr. James Wilson

  • Mark Dykes Maryland Bee Squad

  • Kristen Clark, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

  • Karla Eisen, EAS Master Beekeeper

  • RPBBA Honey Bee Festival Chairs Gene DiSalvo & Rick Beaudet

  • Kristine Smith, VA Master Beekeeper

RPBBA members: plan to wear your green Honey Bee Festival shirt on Saturday, November 4th. 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/

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

[From ://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 14th.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝
Like us on Facebook!
Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

RPPBA Members Shape Young Minds at Falling Creek Elementary

Dennis Marshall, Kandi Chamberlain and Richard McCormick were spotted buzzing around at Falling Creek Elementary. Students learned the role bees and other pollinators to make the food we eat.

A video of the day can be found here: https://youtu.be/Vz4T1RacYr0

October Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello beekeepers and honey bee enthusiasts,
Our bees are finally settling down as we ease into cooler weather. Our hive pests, like the small hive beetle and wax moths, seem to be doing the same. For those who attended the September meeting with Keith Tignor discussing Winter prep, 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! There is time for some last minute preparations and questions.

RPBBA Calendar of Events
📅 Monday, Oct 10th – RPBBA Meeting @ 7pm
📅 Saturday, Oct 15th – Last Day to Cast a Vote for Board of Directors
📅 Monday, Oct 17th – Study Group @ 7pm

October Meeting

For October, our club meeting will be 7pm, Monday, October 10th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Our very own, John Davis, will be giving a presentation. RPBBA is lucky to have John, a master beekeeper; he has a wealth of knowledge and is always helping others with their hives. John will be talking with us at the October meeting on clues to look for in the hive now to prepare for Spring. Spring will be here before you know it. Let’s learn to read our hives, find clues the bees are giving us, and use the Winter months to bee ahead of the bees come Spring. Meeting will begin at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

Club News – Board of Directors Nominations
Members Theo Hartmann, Jody Conway, Sherry Kelley, and Don Osbourne 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, Saturday, October 15, 2022.

🐝 VSBA Master Beekeeping Study Group
For those who have never checked it out, the study group is a great way for RPBBA members to further their beekeeping knowledge. Several members are studying for the annual VSBA Apprentice and Journeyman exams, however there is no requirement for attendees to be pursuing certification. The study group is open to all members who want to learn. The study group is an informal group setting. During their sessions, questions from the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide are posed for the group to discuss and answer together. There is much to learn during open discussion with our peers!

The study group meets monthly on the 3rd Monday of each month. They’ll next be meeting Monday, October 17th, 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. Add to Google Calendar

Beehive Distribution Program
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering their Beehive Distribution Program again this year. Applications for the Beehive Distribution Program (Program) will be accepted October 26, 2022 through November 10, 2022. When the application period opens on October 26, a link to the online application will be made available on this webpage, under a section titled “APPLICATION.” Recipients of beehive units will be selected at random from qualifying applications. Individuals are encouraged to provide a valid email address with their application since notifications regarding the status of an application will be sent by email. Applications from individuals who were not selected to receive beehive units this year, will not be carried forward to next year’s Program.

For more information, including how to apply, visit https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-beehive-distribution-program.shtml?fbclid=IwAR2fxdAUa35rbxPp0BWsvbKSwDkALAuNm0rr1M3DZSTOYpA0xAD-6HeeO5Q

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)
Reminder: VSBA Annual Meeting and Master Beekeeper Testing
The Fall VSBA meeting will be November 4 & 5th at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, VA. 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/

Bee Vocabulary – “Corbicula”
Also known as the Pollen Basket. This is a flattened depression on the outside of the bee’s back legs. It is used to carry collected pollen from flowers back to the hive. As the bee returns to the hive the beekeeper can often see full pollen baskets in a variety of vibrant colors.

Beekeepers in the News
What Genetic Sequencing Can Reveal About The Secret Lives Of Bees
If you missed the story, you can read it at: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/how-bee-genomes-can-help-answer-questions-from-conservation-to-climate-change

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 a member of RPBBA, you will receive a separate email with the Board of Directors election ballot. Please bee on the lookout for it! 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 10th, 2022.

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

Gooooooood morning beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!
We have a bit of warm Summer temperatures left but cooler weather is on its way. It’s time to start thinking about preparations for Winter. During Fall there’s much to do and choices to make: possibly a final honey harvest, possibly a need to feed, treat for mites as needed, combine weak hives with strong ones, and the list goes on. There’s much to think about. We will be covering all that and more at our meeting this month. As a club there are several opportunities this month to bee social including our annual picnic. More details below.

RPBBA Calendar of Events for September
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Chesterfield County Fair
RPBBA was invited to bring some of our children’s activities to the Chesterfield County Fair. While the fair runs daily through Sept 3rd, we will only have a few members there Sept 1st in the Arts & Crafts building 5 – 10pm. If you were thinking about checking out the fair, it’s a great opportunity to bring the family. We’ll be bringing some of the much loved children’s activities from the Honey Bee Festival. While our children’s activities are free, there is a cost of admission to the fair. Please see their website for details, chesterfieldcountyfair.org. If you come out, stop by and say hello!

September Meeting
Our meeting this month will be 7pm, Monday, September 12th at 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 about Fall actions to take to prepare your hives for Winter. Whether this will be your 1st Winter or you’re a seasoned beekeeper, this is good information to have and be reminded. Now is the time we’re raising Winter bees. How can we ensure our hives are strong going into Winter? What do we need to do to manage the space in the hive? How do we properly store equipment? Hope to see you all there 7pm Monday, September 12th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

Saturday, Sept 17th, 2022 Club Picnic
If you have not already marked your calendar and RSVP’d the picnic, now’s the time. Add to Google Calendar We hope all members and their families can join us. A flyer and RSVP link was emailed 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
It’s that time of year again – time to begin our change of leadership. The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members per by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. We have 4 Directors (elected in 2020) whose 2 years terms are coming to an end.

  1. Michelle Clark
  2. Jody Conway
  3. Theo Hartmann
  4. Sherry Kelley

As a club, we can choose to renew the Directors for another 2 year term or replace them with newly nominated and elected members. Jody, Theo and Sherry have all indicated they’d be willing to stick around for another term if re-elected. The club is in need of volunteers to join a Nominating Committee. Any RPBBA member can make nominations. However the purpose of the Nominating Committee is to receive the nominations, verify willingness to serve with those nominated, and put forth a slate of candidates for election. This committee should have at least 3 members. If you are interested and willing to volunteer as a member of the nominating committee, please email rockwood.beekeepers@gmail.com. The club needs you.

Our club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. 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 (like the club picnic, Christmas party, selecting a HBF chair, etc). They meet a few times a year, as needed, for discussion. 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.

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. Thank you.

Call for Volunteers – 2022 State Fair of Virginia
The Richmond Beekeepers Association will be sponsoring the Virginia Beekeepers Honey Booth. This year as in the past they 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 23rd thru Sunday, October 2nd. RPBBA is currently fishing for details and will share more information as it comes. In years past, they’ve needed volunteers to fill two shifts a day. RPBBA receives a portion of the profits made from the sale of honey and other products of the hive based on the number of shifts our members volunteer. This is a great way to earn money for our club and also meet other beekeepers from the central Virginia area. Bee on the lookout for more information to come throughout this month.

VDACS Beehive Distribution Program
Distribution of beehives through the Beehive Distribution Program has been completed for Fiscal Year 2021-2022. Funding for the Program for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 was approved in the State Budget. Applications for the Program are not being accepted at this time. Dates for an application period will be posted at a later date. Keep watch of their website for updates and more information about the program: https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-beehive-distribution-program.shtml

Bee Vocabulary – “candy board”
A candy board is a way to feed your bees through Winter. During colder temperatures, the honeybees will form a cluster to keep warm. As they eat through their food stores, they’ll move upward in the hive. A beekeeper can make a candy board and place it at the top of the hive to supplement feeding to avoid starvation. There are various mixtures for candy boards. Think of it like a large sugar block.

Beekeepers in the News
Busy Bodies
Our very own, Stan and Carla, were interviewed right after the Honey Bee Festival. Richmond Magazine wrote a story, featured in their September 2022 issue. If you missed it in your mailbox, you can view it here.

ARS-Developed Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees Better Winter Survivors
Pol-line honey bees, a type of Varroa mite resistant honey bee developed by the Agricultural Research Service, are more than twice as likely to survive through the winter than standard honey bees, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The full story can be read at: https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2022/ars-developed-varroa-resistant-honey-bees-better-winter-survivors/

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)
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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 be active. There is a constant flow of activities within the club to bee as active as you want to bee. You can join on our website.

If you are a RPBBA member, please consider volunteering for the nominating committee, as a Board of Director member, or even as an officer for 2023. Your club needs you!

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 7pm, Monday, September 12th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Our club meetings are open to members and non-members with no pressure to join. I hope you can bee there!

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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August 20, 2022 – National Honey Bee Day

Today is National Honey Bee Day, a day to honor the insect responsible for more than 1/3 of the food the population eats according to Honey Love Urban Bee Keepers. Today is also a way to pay homage to beekeepers, whose labors ensure there are bees to pollinate crops which is crucial to agricultural production across the globe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 35 percent of crop production worldwide is directly affected by these bumbling and buzzing friends.

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