March Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers! Are you feeling ready for Spring? If not, we’ve got a speaker for our March meeting that’ll help guide you to get prepped.

March Meeting

Our March meeting will be Monday, March 8th at 7pm over Zoom. (Add to Google Calendar) We will have Keith Tignor from the Virginia Department of Agriculture joining us to give his presentation on Setting Your Hives Up for Spring and Early Swarm Prevention. Keith is the State Apiarist and Central VA Region State Beekeeping Inspector. Keith has given many presentations to our club; his Spring one is the best! Don’t miss the buzz; join us Monday on Zoom. An invite will be emailed to RPBBA members following this newsletter.

🐝 Are You Looking to Learn? Stuck Somewhere Between Beginning Beekeeper and Master?

The Apprentice and Journeyman Study Groups aren’t just for those looking to gain certification through VSBA. In fact, most attendees never take the VBSA exam. The Study Groups are for any members that want to learn. RPBBA is putting together a virtual study group while Covid-19 restrictions are in place. If you are interested, please let us know by signing up here. Not sure if it’s for you? Join in for a few sessions, you will be a better beekeeper. We’re here to share knowledge.

Bee Vocabulary – “Brood”

A large section of a working beehive is dedicated to raising new bees. The queen will lay eggs in cells within this area. These eggs hatch into tiny little larvae. Over time, the larvae grow large enough to pupate and, eventually, emerge as new adult honey bees. From egg through pupae, so long as these young bees occupy a wax cell we refer to them as “brood.”

Beekeepers in the News

Veterans Use Beekeeping to Improve Well Being

Catch the full story at: https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/84440/veterans-use-beekeeping-to-improve-well-being/

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

On March 10th at 7pm the VSBA Speaker Series hosted by Virginia Tech continues. (Add to Google Calendar) Frank Linton will be speaking about Observation Hives.

You cannot be a good beekeeper if you don’t know much about bees. And it is hard to learn much about bees when they are hidden away in an opaque wooden box on the far side of the yard. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to learn – French, air guitar, or beekeeping – if you don’t do it three times a week, you won’t get anywhere. But if you inspect your colonies three times a week… no, not a good idea. So, what to do? One possibility, one I learned a lot from, is to keep a small colony in a glass hive in your house, an observation hive. I kept an observation hive in the room where I spent a lot of time and every time their tone changed, I took a look. I saw more in a year than many backyard beekeepers see in a lifetime. And every year is different. In this talk I will show you how to keep bees in an observation hive and learn from them.

For more information, including the Zoom details to sit in and future speakers, visit https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/VSBA-Speaker-Series.

This Month in the Hive (March)

The days become longer and the queen steadily increases her rate of egg laying. The brood nest will expand and very slowly migrate upward into areas where honey has been consumed. More brood means more honey, nectar and pollen are consumed. A few drones begin to appear at the end of the month. The bees will continue to consume honey stores. They will also bring in a fair amount of nectar and pollen, but not as much as is consumed.

The hive may consume as much as 7 lbs per week (net of inflow) when cold, rain, snow, or icy conditions prevail. Prevent starvation by making certain that food supplies are sufficient. Maple nectar and pollen continue to be very important to population buildup. Willows may bloom in wet, sheltered valleys. In some parts of Northern Virginia, plantings of ornamental and exotic shrubs will supply small amounts of pollen. Crocus, daffodil, and other flowering bulbs will supply some pollen. Boxwood, quince, hackberries, forsythia, and elms will supply variety in the pollen sources. Some early dandelions may bloom at the end of the month.

Wet, cold, ice, snow, wind and blowing rain describe those parts of March that are not sunny and 50 degrees. Make sure the hive does not tilt backward. It should slightly tilt forward to shed rain from the bottom board.

The brood nest is now 6-8 inches across, and may extend across several frames. As much as 75- 100 cells of drone brood may be seen at the end of the month.

If using a screened bottom board, you should resist the urge to remove the insert. Leave it in until consistent warmer weather arrives in late April. In late March, you may consider reversing the deep brood supers, or the medium supers that some beekeepers use for brood. This will allow for a better distribution of the brood, and stimulate the growth of the colony. If the brood nest extends across the brood supers, do not reverse until there is a large enough population to keep both halves of the brood nest from death due to chilling.

On a sunny day early in the month, when there is little wind and the bees are flying, have a quick look inside the hive. A temperature above 54 degrees should do for this task. Remove frames for a quick inspection. Inspect for disease and see that the queen is laying. Eggs laid in January and February will all be hatched into new workers by March 20, and the population will be much higher than in January. Add a pollen patty if you have not yet done so.

Look for drone brood along the bottom edges of frames with brood. Remove some drone brood with a cappings scratcher and look for Varroa mites. If you find Varroa in 30% or more of the drone brood cells, then research how to perform a mite count, and whether to treat for mites. Check for remaining honey and pollen stores. Food stores can run dangerously low until a heavy nectar flow starts. It may be necessary to continue feeding the hive.

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

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

2nd Week: Maple, Elm, Star Magnolia, Cornelean Cherry, Mahonia, Forsythia Pieris, Sweet-Breath-of-Spring, Crocus, Jonquil, Periwinkle, Pansy, Wildflowers

3rd Week: Maple, Elm, Star Magnolia, Cornelian Cherry, Mahonia, Forsythia, Flowering Quince, Sweet-Breath-of-Spring, Pieris, Crocus, Jonquil, Pansy, Periwinkle, Wildflowers

4th Week: Maple, Elm, Magnolia, Callery Pear, Cornelian Cherry, Sweet-Breath-of-Spring, Mahonia, Pieris, Forsythia, Boxwood, Flowering Quince, Crocus, Periwinkle, Narcissus, Pansy, Candytuft, Wildflowers

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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation following this newsletter. 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, March 8th at 7pm on Zoom.

Michelle Clark
Communications

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Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

February Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello Beekeepers! It’s time for our February newsletter. This month’s issue is packed with information, links to explore and opportunities to get involved. While the bees are huddled close to stay warm, we have a lot to do to prepare for Spring. To stay ahead of the bees, think about what equipment you’re going to need for Spring and start prepping it now. This month, look for warmer days to take an occasional peek in the hive to check on your girls and give them some food. Come armed with your smoker and be quick: 10-15 seconds max for the hive to be open.

 

February Meeting

For February’s meeting, we will share a presentation from the Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA) Speaker Series. The presentation entitled Flower Power: Pollinator Habitat and Honey was given by Tammy Horn Potter.

Tammy is a State Apiarist for Kentucky and author. She grew up on a farm and decided to help her grandfather with his bees in 1997. She immediately became smitten with them. Balancing her career as an English professor and hobbyist, Potter wrote Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and the Global Market, and most recently, Flower Power: Establishing Pollinator Habitat.

Following the presentation, which includes a short Q&A, we will have time for questions from club attendees and general chat.

An invitation will be emailed to RPBBA members following this newsletter. The meeting is on Monday, February 8th at 7pm. We hope for you to bee there. 🐝 (Add to Google calendar)

 

RPBBA Membership Fees

The association has stopped sending out membership renewal invoices starting with the third quarter of 2020. This was done in light of the ongoing uncertainty with Covid-19 pandemic and the inability to regularly meet in person. The Board of Directors has decided to give all members a one-year grace period and make the membership dues voluntary from the third quarter 2020 until the third quarter 2021.

Anyone wishing to make a voluntary dues payment to help offset the association’s running cost, feel free to do so here: https://rockwoodbeekeepers.com/join-or-donate/.

 

🐝 Spring 2021 Beginner Beekeeping Class

The Board of Directors met to discuss the Beginner Beekeeping course which traditionally is held in early Spring; the course normally draws a large group. The course is set up to be very interactive with students in the classroom with hands on time also; it’s not suited for a virtual environment. The Rockwood Park Nature Center is closed to groups of our size due to Covid-19. As a result, the decision has been made that RPBBA will not be hosting the course this Spring. However this does not mean Beginner Beekeeping courses are unavailable. For those interested in taking a Beginner Beekeeping course the below alternate options are available.

  • Dandelion Springs Apiary is offering small, in-person, classes at their space in Chesterfield. They do in-hive sessions also, free of charge, on an appointment basis for those that want to come out and learn. Dandelion Springs Apiary also has beekeeping equipment for those that would like to see the equipment, hands-on, and talk through the pro’s and con’s of all the different pieces.

  • University of Florida is offering virtual Bee College, suited for all skill levels. It’s being held over 4 Saturday mornings in March. Attendee’s can choose to register for 1 class or all 4. The classes are going to be live, held through Zoom.

  • Penn State offers an online Beekeeping 101 course. It’s a self paced course with videos presented by their instructors, interactive questions, and a final quiz to test your knowledge.

  • North Carolina State University offers Beekeeper Education & Engagement System (BEES) which is an online resource for beekeepers at all levels. The system is entirely internet based. Their structure is broken into 3 levels of difficulty (Beginner, Advanced, and Ambassador) and 3 areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management, and the honey bee industry).

 

🐝 Apprentice and Journeyman Study Groups

Is anyone out there looking for a study group to prepare for the VSBA exam? RPBBA is looking to gauge interest at this time for a virtual study group while Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Depending on interest, we would begin with a combined session for the Apprentice and Journeyman levels with one meeting per month. If you are interested, please let us know by signing up here. We will use this signup to discuss further with the group of interested individuals. The VSBA meeting is currently scheduled for Oct 22-24th in Smithfield. This is the only time testing will be available for any of the Master Beekeeper exams.

 

4Z3xsHBAM7-GNMptXtb7BQDBGcH1nLcFV4ok8elrK0wfuAQvNZs4fagHM1JhpSG0pFir2uOla_8u56zo0KrX1jvN8FazBaIGR3JPAMpC1TBLRtiUgyYiv45mXzxIsdV4gkX5lCfGCalling All Swarm Chasers

The club has a hotline, 804-404-BEE1(2331), which receives requests to remove a swarm. Sometimes swarms can be easily removed; other times it requires an extensive cut-out. Swarm calls are routed to a group of experienced beekeepers who are active in the club. These are immediate calls and you should have the flexibility to drop everything and help on short notice. If you would like to be on the list to receive swarm calls for 2021, signup here. Even if you do not have the experience to go get the swarm yourself, you might want to tag along with an experienced beekeeper to see how it is done.

 

UOZg43BG6MoqZ2WgFxOfg-EmiYUYZX3_92YZXVLbTAin5Bqq0-EuyYI4W_dZJhjLDbrC_TDq9pZt-m3z8mLSYPCTneeTuxXK1y9Ux7uPBJKE43uIn6d13qe-z2McotFYVyzs6bsi Have you reserved your bees for 2021?

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 get live bees locally.

For those looking to purchase Nucs, Packages or Queen’s check out our 2021 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 – “Nuc”

Nucs, or nucleus colonies, are small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies. Nucs often compose of 5 frames and can be medium’s or deep’s. Nucs are a better way to start new hives than package bees since a nucleus hive is functioning with brood hatching, a laying queen, drawn comb, and honey/pollen stores.

 

Beekeepers in the News

Shedding Light on the Secret Reproductive Lives of Honey Bees

Research at NC State and the University of British Columbia shows that there are trade-offs between sperm viability and the expression of a protein involved in the insect’s immune response.

Checkout the full story here: https://cals.ncsu.edu/news/shedding-light-on-the-secret-reproductive-lives-of-honey-bees/

 

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The VSBA Speaker Series continues. The month, Toni Burnham will be speaking on the Challenges of Urban Beekeeping. Toni Burnham is an urban beekeeper in Washington, DC. He will be providing tips for keeping bees and developing a responsible beekeeping ordinance in an urban/suburban environment. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, the 17th from 7-8pm over Zoom. Click here to locate the Zoom information.

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

 

This Month in the Hive (February)

The cluster is still tight on most days. The cluster will break and move on those 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. There are still no drones in the hive. Workers will take cleansing flights on mild days. About the 20th of February, maples begin to blossom and to supply nectar and fresh pollen that are extraordinarily valuable to the growth of the hive. The maple blossom continues to mid-March. In areas of higher elevation, the maple blossoms start and end 7-14 days later. Alders may bloom in some locations and provide valuable variety in pollen proteins.

The cluster will remain centered around the small brood nest, which migrates 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.

The bees will consume about 20 pounds of honey stores and nectar from maples.

On a day that exceeds 55 degrees, open the hive and quickly check for sufficient food supplies, for 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.

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

 

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont) – January & February

Wintersweet, Witch Hazel, Conifers, Holly in Fruit

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

 

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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, February 8, 2021 at 7pm.

Michelle Clark

Communications

Like us on Facebook!

Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

January Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello and Happy New Year fellow beekeepers! It’s time for our 1st Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers update of 2021. We hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that your bees are doing well in the hive. Tis the season to cross our fingers and hope our bees are staying warm. It’s a nervous time for all. As a rule of thumb, if it’s not warm enough for the bees to be flying then it’s not warm enough to open the hive.

January’s Meeting

Spring will be here before we know it. For January’s meeting, we will discuss the preparations the bees are making for Spring and what to look for to stay ahead of swarming. Our meeting will be held on Zoom. John Davis has a presentation prepared for us. An invitation will be emailed to RPBBA members closer to the meeting date which is on Monday, January 11th at 7pm. We hope for you to bee there. 🐝 (Add to Google calendar)

Capture

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

Every so often, the question pops up- how do I get started? Where can I get my bees? We’d like to update the 2020 Resources list for sharing with those who inquire.

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

Click here to have your information added to our 2021 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 – “Thorax”

The thorax composes the midsection of the bee. It is the segment between the head and the abdomen where the two pairs of wings and six legs are anchored. The thorax is primarily focused on locomotion. The muscles in the thorax allow the bee to control the movement of the wings during flight. While in the winter cluster, the bees will flex their wing and thorax muscles to generate heat.

Beekeepers in the News

Honeybee Venom Kills Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/honeybee-venom-kills-aggressive-breast-cancer-cells

Beekeeping: The Fight Against the Mite

https://www.wdbj7.com/2020/10/19/beekeeping-the-fight-against-the-mite/

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Frank Linton, Ed.D, retired artificial intelligence engineer and Research Associate at Appalachian State U, will be speaking Wednesday, January 6th at 7pm on a virtual webcast about honeybee colony monitoring. Mr. Linton has kept honey bees since 2005. An EAS-Certified Master Beekeeper, one of his main interests is in finding ways to use remote sensing technologies to monitor and improve honey bee colony health and productivity. You can join the Zoom meeting at https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/98556425722.

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

This Month in the Hive (January)

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. 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 rood will begin to appear at the center of the cluster at that time.

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.

If there is a 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.)

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) – January & February

Wintersweet, Witch Hazel, Conifers, Holly in Fruit

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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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, January 11th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark

Communications

Like us on Facebook!

Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

December Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello Beekeepers and Welcome to December. Hopefully you’re staying inside and keeping warm as the bees are doing the same. This is the time of year when quilt boxes, if you have them, should be on. The upper entrance of your hives should be left open for Winter. Remember, if it’s not warm enough for the bees to be flying then it’s not warm enough to open the hive.

December’s Meeting

Our December meeting is usually a Holiday party. However due to restrictions limiting the size of gatherings, the meeting this month is cancelled.

0YCjYHJngtNO6PL3xKV94ckCU9GqxYHABzBvnZy1TIypJ2LjN2E8IZQlkCiRA4esr8N7ZyFrf505uMfRXtFl14Lm94mo8tt-g5zJyf4ipvffi9LkLRt7QRreUu9-Sbbe88l2aZh8

January 11th, 2021 7-8:30pm

For January’s meeting, we will discuss the preparations the bees are making for Spring and what to look for to stay ahead of swarming. Please mark your calendar now.

(Add to Google calendar)

 

Club News

The Board met; Officers for the club were discussed and selected. The following slate of officers are installed:

Steve Syrett, President

Stan Houk, Vice President

Theo Hartmann, Treasurer

Don Osborne, Secretary

Michelle Clark, Communications

Jody Conway, Registered Agent

For those curious about Beginner Beekeepers Classes, the Honeybee Festival and Master Beekeeper study groups, the Board has not forgotten about you. This is top of mind; though the Board has tabled discuzzion until the beginning 2021 to see what changes may come for Covid-19 restrictions.

 

Bee Vocabulary – “Slumgum”

Slumgum is the residue of the beeswax rendering process. Lumps of slumgum are very attractive to bees, especially when heated by the sun. They can be used to attract bee swarms, and some people therefore prefer applying melted slumgum on the sides inside of supers.

 

Beekeepers in the News

Natural Bridge State Park Sells Honey Produced By Bees From Their Hives

https://www.nbc12.com/2020/11/18/natural-bridge-state-park-sells-honey-produced-by-bees-their-hives/

Camera Captures Black Bear Destroy Beehives In Virginia

https://www.nbc12.com/2020/11/21/camera-captures-black-bear-destroy-beehives-virginia/?fbclid=IwAR3sVH1sLLQb3NZOqepbzkxZYEgbR2jgoI0TWUgtFGh3NFS-O_m6c0rIcuc

 

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Elizabeth Hill, USDA Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Coordinator, will be speaking Wednesday, December 16 7-8pm on a virtual webcast. Ms. Hill’s primary research interests include Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for managing pests of honey bees and advancements in biological controls to support IPM strategies. An avid beekeeper, Ms. Hill is deeply engaged in the beekeeping community as a producer, educator, and through nonprofit and state beekeeping association board service. You can join the Zoom meeting at https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/98556425722.

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

 

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the January meeting. Add to Google calendar. You will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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.

Follow the bees lead this month: stay inside, stay warm!

Michelle Clark

Communications

Like us on Facebook!

Join our Facebook RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group!

November Newsletter – RPBBA

November, 2020

Hello Beekeepers! As the weather starts getting cooler, hopefully you are getting your bees ready for Winter. Remember, this is the time of year when you should be feeding two-parts sugar to one-part water, if you are feeding and if it is warm enough. Mites should be under control and now we start working on our candy boards and quilt boxes.

November’s Meeting

Our speaker this month will be Izzy Hill. She will be giving us an update on Honey Bee Research at the United States Department of Agriculture. It should be an interesting program and delivered via Zoom. An invitation will go out to members closer to the meeting date which is on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association – November Program

Dr. Dewey Caron will be speaking via video conferencing on November 4, 2020 at 7:00 PM through the VSBA. If you missed his talk on mites a few months ago with our club, here is your chance to catch up. You can join the Zoom meeting at https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/98556425722. More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/

Board of Directors Election

We have concluded the election for four open seats on the Board of Directors for the club. Please join me in welcoming Michelle Clark, Jody Conway, Theo Hartmann and Sherry Kelley to the Board of Directors. The new Board will meet and elect officers for the club. Once the new officers have been selected, we will let you know the new slate of officers.

Winter Workshop – Dandelion Springs Farm

Do you know how to make a sugar board or a quilt box? If not, this is a great workshop to attend. Dandelion Springs will be having limited social distanced workshops on four different dates (11/7, 11/8, 11/14 and 11/15 with two different time options each day (10:00 – 12:00 or 1:00 – 3:00)). Cost is $7 per sugar board form filled. Bring your own super to make your own quilt box. If you don’t have extra supers, you can purchase one at the workshop. Space is limited and you should have pre-ordered any needed equipment.

To register, call (804) 818-2761. Masks will be required to attend.

Bee Vocabulary

Ocellus/Ocelli – The word ocelli is derived from the Latin word ocellus and means little eye. The ocelli are simple eyes that bees use to orientate themselves towards the sun. Located in a triangular shape are two dorsal ocelli and one central ocelli. They are located dorsally on the bees head. The ocelli are simple eyes, meaning they collect and focus light through a single lens. These simple eyes assist bees with sun orientation so they can navigate well during the day.

Master Beekeeper Program

If you are an Apprentice, Journeyman or Master Beekeeper remember you must submit your Public Service Credit to the VSBA before the end of the year. Apprentice requires five (5) hours, Journeyman requires ten (10) hours and a Master Beekeeper requires twenty (20) hours of Public Service Credits to maintain certification. Hopefully, we will get the study groups back up and running again soon.

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 is in Bloom (according to Maymont)

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

Final Word

I hope that you are staying safe and that your bees are doing well. If you have any ideas, suggestions or want to help with communications in the club, please let me know. I’m always looking for ideas to help with club communications. Or, if you want to take over the communications with the club, I’m happy to transition into other positions. Until next month,

Don Osborne

Communications

RPBBA – October 2020 Newsletter

October, 2020

There is a lot of information to cover this month. Even though we are all still social distancing and masking up, the bees continue to do their thing. Winter is coming, so you should have a good plan on how you plan to get the bees through the cold season.

October’s Meeting

Unfortunately, this month’s speaker fell through and we have been unable to secure another. The meeting this month is cancelled. However, don’t worry, this newsletter is packed full of information. And, the VSBA has a great program on October 8th, which is described below. So, if you want to keep up with the bees, we’ve got you covered.

Board Election

Members should have received an email calling for nominations for the Board of Directors of the club. We have four positions to fill on the Board of Directors as some members terms are expiring. If you wish to nominate someone for the Board of Directors, you can email Don Osborne at Rockwood.Beekeepers.

Once a new Board of Directors is elected and installed, they will select the Officer’s of the club. The deadline for submitting nominations is October 16, 2020. Once the nominations are closed, the Board will call a Special Meeting (electronically) to submit electronic ballots.

I encourage you to volunteer to serve the club. You do not have to be an experienced beekeeper to help with the business of the club. Please be on the lookout for the electronic ballots and take a minute to cast your ballot.

Winter Workshop – Dandelion Springs Farm

Do you know how to make a sugar board or a quilt box? If not, this is a great workshop to attend. Dandelion Springs will be having limited social distanced workshops on four different dates (11/7, 11/8, 11/14 and 11/15 with two different time options each day (10:00 – 12:00 or 1:00 – 3:00)). Cost is $7 per sugar board form filled. Bring your own super to make your own quilt box. If you don’t have extra supers, you can purchase one at the workshop. Space is limited and you should pre-order any needed equipment before October 24th.

To register, call (804) 818-2761. Masks will be required to attend.

Bee Vocabulary

Honey Stomach – This is a special organ bees have at the end of their esophagus that allows them to store the fruits of their foraging labor. Large amounts of nectar collecting on foraging flights can be kept in this stomach and returned to the hive for processing.

Beekeepers in the News

Two teenagers in Newport News made national news for their efforts to rally their neighbors to make the city more habitable for bees and other pollinators. If you missed the story, you can read it at: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teens-saving-city-bees_n_5f3e8068c5b609f4f675af89

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The VSBA is working with Virginia Tech to bring Samuel Ramsey to members in a Zoom meeting on October 8, 2020 at 7:00 PM. The topic will be on Tropilaelaps Mites. Here is a description of the program:

Samuel Ramsey’s enduring interest in insect biology started 23 years ago and shows no signs of waning. Having earned his doctorate from Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp’s lab at the University of Maryland; Dr. Ramsey maintains a focus on how insect research can benefit the public through the development of IPM strategies and STEM-based outreach initiatives. His award-winning research on Varroa biology has changed the standing paradigm on how this parasite ultimately kills honey bees leading to opportunities to share his work nationally and internationally. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Cornell University in 2011 focusing his research on predator/parasite behavior. His current work, aptly named the Fight the Mite Initiative, was funded largely by the beekeeping community. It focuses on the poorly understood Tropilaelaps mite which is rapidly establishing itself as the next threat to apiculture globally. He is now based in Thailand studying the biology and behavior of this pest and what it will ultimately take to kill it, ensuring in the event of its arrival in the US, will have the knowledge and resources to respond effectively.

You can join the Zoom Meeting at https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/98556425722

Meeting ID: 985 5642 5722

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Dial by your location
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Meeting ID: 985 5642 5722
Find your local number: https://virginiatech.zoom.us/u/acKkaPlWGH

[NOTE:  VSBA Membership may be required to attend and
view Speaker Series.]

Eastern Apicultural Society’s (EAS) 66th Annual Short Course and Conference

EAS of North America is the largest non-commercial beekeeping organization in the United States and one of the largest in the world. I encourage you to check out their website and programs at: https://www.easternapiculture.org/

EAS MA 2021 is scheduled for July 26-30, 2021 in Amherst, Maine. You can review the flyer for the conference at the club’s website: http://www.Rockwoodbeekeepers.com, or on the EAS website(https://www.easternapiculture.org/images/Conference/2021/Promotional_Material/EAS%20MA%202021%20Flyer%20v8.pdf) This conference is one of the largest in the US and if you have an interest in honey bees or other pollinators a great source of education.

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 mid-October and some gathering of nectar may occur.

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 the duration listed in the package instructions for use. 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.

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

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Osmanthus, Elaeagnus, Rose, Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus, Abelia, Fall Crocus, Sternbergia, Annuals and Perennials, Fall Foliage

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, I encourage you to join. In addition, the Virginia State Beekeepers Association is another great source of education and speakers.

I hope you are not experiencing COVID fatigue and are spending some time observing your colonies and the amazing things they do. As always, if you have any ideas on ways to improve communications in the club, please let me know.

Don Osborne

Communications

September Newsletter

September, 2020

It looks like we are in this social distancing thing for the long haul. The children are going back to school mostly virtually, so we will be doing some virtual learning as well. We have a really good program lined up this month that you won’t want to miss.

September’s Meeting

The club will hold a Zoom video conference meeting at 7:00 PM on Monday, September 14, 2020. Our speaker this month will be Dr. Dewy M. Caron. Dr. Caron is a highly sought-after speaker, professor and Extension Entomologist. Hobby beekeepers know him best for his text book Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping.

Building a strong colony to Overwinter

Labor Day is the traditional time to think about fall management. Conventional wisdom says the stronger the better and, although generally true, we can also overwinter some resource (nuc) hives. Langstroth wrote 160+ years ago to take winter losses in the fall. So, we will discuss how we can build stronger colonies to overwinter plus seek to overwinter a nuc or two. Will also include a bit of biology of overwintering and the level of losses to expect as a VA beekeeper.

If you need to brush up on how Zoom video conferencing works, you can go through their tutorials at: : https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-video-tutorials

Bee Vocabulary

Pheromones – a chemical or mixture of chemicals that is released by an individual and affects the behavior or psychology of another individual of the same species. Pheromones can be divided into two distinct types. Releaser pheromones cause rapid changes in behavior. For example, alarm pheromone engages other bees to help defend the nest. Primer pheromones cause long-term changes in both physiology and behavior. Brood pheromone for example, suppresses worker ovary development.

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.

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 40-60 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.

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

What’s in Bloom

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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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.

As I’ve said before, I am 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.

Don Osborne

Communications

Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers August Newsletter

August, 2020

I think we are all starting to get COVID fatigue! But, as beekeepers, we rely on science and research to do the best we can, so we continue to social distance. Even though our regular social experiences are disrupted, the bees continue to do their thing.

Zoom Meetings and Tutorial

We have experienced just the opposite of what we are observing in the corporate world. When conferences and lessons are offered online, instead of having an increase in attendance, we have had a slump in attendance. If it is because you are not familiar with Zoom, let’s fix that.

Zoom can be used on any device with an Internet connection. It helps to have a camera, but that isn’t essential. So, you can attend a Zoom meeting with us on your cell phone, tablet, computer or other device that connects to the Internet.

Here is a helpful link that has some very good videos and tutorials on Zoom meetings. Please look through how to attend and participate. If all else fails, you should be able to just click on the link we provide in the Zoom invitation to join the meeting.

Here is the link to the tutorials: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-video-tutorials

Note: If you do not click the link, but login manually, you will need the password that is in the invitation. Our meetings require a password.

August’s Meeting

The club will hold a Zoom video conference meeting at 7:00 PM on Monday, August 10, 2020 at the regular scheduled time. Our speaker will be John Davis who is a Master Beekeeper, member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the club’s Education Committee. He will be talking to us about Checking for and Controlling Varroa Mites. This is the time of year when you need to know your mite count and what to do about it!

Beekeepers in the News

In the July 15, 2020 copy of the Chester Village News, our own Sherry Kelly and Joe Oertel were featured in the article UN-BEE-LIEVABLE. Kudos to Sherry and Joe for a great interview and their service in educating the public on honey bees and cutouts. If you are interested in the article it can be found at: https://villagenewsonline.com/2020/07/15/un-bee-lievable/. A subscription may be required to read the article.

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.

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.

Watch for a failing queen, especially a queen that is more than one year of age. Egg laying should continue at the rate of 400-500 eggs per day, and the brood nest should be at least fourteen inches across. Watch for wasps and hornets attacking the hives to steal away live bees for the purpose of feeding their brood.

Tasks to be Performed

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.

[Adapted 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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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.

As I’ve said before, I am 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 10, 2020 which is the normal date and time for our meeting.

Don Osborne

Communications

RPBBA – July 2020 Newsletter

July 2020

We are still unable to hold in-person meetings because of COVID-19. Rockwood Park’s Nature Center is still closed and until we can relax social distancing, it looks like we will continue to hold video meetings. Because of our speaker’s schedule, our July meeting will be held on July 16, 2020. Please note the change of date.

July’s Meeting

The club will hold a Zoom video conference meeting at 7:00 PM on Thursday, July 16, 2020. This month Dr. Jay Evans will be our guest speaker. Dr. Evans is the Research Leader of the Bee Research Laboratory in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Dr. Evans has published more than 120 research papers and was an early proponent of the Honey Bee Genome Project. Dr. Evans holds an AB in Biology from Princeton University and a PhD in Biology from the University of Utah.

Dr. Evans will be talking to us about Honey Bee Diseases and I’ve asked him to cover what happens when you send a sample to the Beltsville Laboratory. It will be a very interesting conversation and is one you don’t want to miss!

We want to be sure that the meeting is secure without outside hackers and other issues that some Zoom conferences have been experiencing. While our meetings have always been open to the public, we will be holding this meeting with members only. A separate email with an invitation and password will be sent to members. Please do not share the invitation with non-members, we will be screening entry into the meeting.

The meeting’s waiting room will open at 6:45 PM on the meeting date. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM. Please login early so we can move you to the conference before it starts.

Also, just a reminder that the Master Beekeeping study groups are still on hold. The testing for the various levels of the program are conducted at the Spring and Fall meetings of the Virginia State Beekeepers Association, which are on hiatus. In addition, Eastern Apicultural Societies Annual Conference has been cancelled this year.

Board of Directors Meeting

The Board held a zoom conference meeting on June 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM.

There has been no further action by the IRS since the club filed for 501c3 status.

Rockwood Park has not made any announcements yet about the nature center reopening.

The Board discussed restarting a mentoring program. Don volunteered to review other club’s documents and tools to assign mentors and mentees.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association

Even though the Summer and Fall meetings have been cancelled, it is important that we continue to support the Virginia State Beekeepers Association. This organization provides us with educational materials, standards for the Master Beekeeper Programs, club listings, events and has a wealth of information on beekeeping. Please remember to renew your dues to support our passion at the state level. If you are not a member, I highly recommend it. Dues are only $10 per year. VSBA membership information can be found at https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/Member-Guide

Bee Vocabulary

This month let’s talk about propolis. Most propolis comes from the sap on needle-leaved trees or evergreens. When bees combine the sap with their own discharges and beeswax, it makes a sticky greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives. Propolis has been used for thousands of years by ancient civilizations for its medical properties. Greeks used it to treat abscesses. Assyrians put it on wounds and tumors to fight infections. Egyptians used it to embalm mummies.

There are not a lot of published studies on propolis, but we do know that it provides some protection from some bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Propolis has pinocembrin, a flavonoid that acts as an antifungal. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it useful in healing wounds. There is some research and lots of anecdotal evidence and historical use that propolis can help with many illnesses from cold sores to cancer.

Be careful though, some people develop allergies to propolis. The most common cited allergic reaction is an eczema-like skin rash.

Looking to the Future

Well, maybe not a future event but a past event for this month. An excellent video being circulated around beekeeping clubs is Randy Oliver’s latest YouTube on his work concerning varroa mites. It is worth a watch and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXjDSD92ILs The description of the video on YouTube:

June 17, 2020; Lots of new research. A more user-friendly version of Randy’s Varroa Model, the most current mite monitoring and testing of various solutions for mite wash (some surprising findings!), and an update on his selective breeding for varroa resistance, among many other items of interest! ScientificBeekeeping.com

Finding the Queen

I was listening to a podcast recently describe how to find the queen in a colony. One of the suggested methods was to look at a picture of a queen on a crowded frame before going to your hives. The theory is that when you look at the picture you help your mind zero in on what to look for during your inspection. Then, I came across the book "Queen Spotting" by Hilary Kearney. The book includes 48 queen spotting exercises rated from easy to difficult. The book is well written and geared towards those who are interested in beekeeping or in their first few years of beekeeping. Here is a short excerpt from a sidebar:

A pale yellow Volkswagen Squareback pulls up alongside me as we drive down the highway in a rural part of San Diego. The occupants gesture wildly to me as their car paces mine for speed. I roll down my window to better hear them shouting, "Do you want a queen?"

The lack of context for this question throws me off. "What?" I yell back in confusion.

"A queen bee! We saw your plate holder," they explain. I had just recently bought a license plate holder that read: MY HEART BELONGS TO A HONEY BEE.

I smiled at the absurdity of the situation.

"Where did you get her?" I ask.

The bearded man in the passenger seat answers, "A guy at a beekeeping meeting gave her to us. We don’t know where he got her."

For one ludicrous moment, I am tempted to accept, but then I reconsider. Two men, in the middle of nowhere, their old car filled to the brim with junk.

"No, thanks," I tell them and drive off, pondering how close I just came to what must be the beekeeper equivalent of accepting candy from strangers.

If you have difficulty finding queens or want some light reading during the pandemic, I recommend the book. It can be found on Amazon or at her site www.girlnextdoorhoney.com.

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 3000-5000 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.

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.

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.

[Full calendar can be found at:  https://buzzwordhoney.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Northern-Virginia-Honeybee-Annual-Cycle.pdf]

Tasks to be Performed

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. [See the RPBBA May 2020's newsletter for storing
drawn comb with para-dichlorobenzene (Para-moth) crystals.]

Watch for signs of robbing and take steps to discourage robbing if it starts. There was a recent post on the club’s FaceBook page on how to make robber screens (see YouTube video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi–pJsee30 from the North West New Jersey Beekeepers Association). 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.

What’s in Bloom (According to Maymont)

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

Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, you will receive a Zoom invitation closer to the meeting date. 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 the club on our website.

As I’ve said before, I am always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know. Or, if you are really interested in helping, you can do so by guest writing something of value for the club to include in this newsletter.

That is it for July. Stay safe, wear a mask and don’t overheat when working your colonies!

Don Osborne

Communications