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 More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website:

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.


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


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