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