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.


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

Camera Captures Black Bear Destroy Beehives In Virginia


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

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


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.



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


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