June Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

We have a lot of news this month we are excited to share. This month’s newsletter is full of information and plans to come! Without further adieu,

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The Nature Center at Rockwood Park is open and we are ecstatic to be able to resume meetings in-person. Like everywhere around us, RPBBA does have to adapt to the changing times and keep Covid-19 safety in mind for all. It is important to note the clubs insurance policy no longer provides coverage for virus or bacteria related illness’. RPBBA does intend to follow CDC recommendations. For all in-person meetings, attendee’s need to be prepared to provide proof of vaccination or wear a mask. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed.

June Meeting

Our June meeting will be held Monday, June 14th at 7pm at the Nature Center. John Davis will continue our study into swarming. We will further discuss the behaviors within the hive to look for signs the bees are preparing to swarm. Swarming season is not over. Learn more why removing queen cells is not a good swarm prevention. Following John’s presentation, we will allow time for open discuzzion. Add to Calendar

🐝 Study Group

The study group will next meet Monday, June 21st at 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. Still not sure if it’s for you? Come sit in on a session; see what there is to learn about our favorite pollinators.

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The board has set a date for our 2021 picnic! Please mark your calendar now for Saturday, September 11th. More information to come as the date nears.

RPBBA Membership Fees

July 1st will mark 1 year since RPBBA has sent renewal invoices. Our treasurer will begin to send renewal notices to those members coming due. As previous, membership is $15 per family per year.

Bee Vocabulary – “Dearth”

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily honey bee vocabulary. However to a honey bee, a dearth is a shortage of nectar-producing flowers. A lack of nectar can happen at any time during the growing season but it is more common in mid to late Summer. Remember, you may see blooms but that does not guarantee that nectar is inside. Check the hives food stores periodically; consider feeding if needed.

Beekeepers in the News

Angelina Jolie Embraces Bees—and Female Beekeepers as Environmental Guardians

National Geographic teamed up with superstar and activist Angelina Jolie to raise awareness of bee conservation and empower women beekeepers around the world. To read the full story, go here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/bee-conservation-women-entrepreneurs-angelina-jolie

Would You Bee-lieve It? Two Honeybees Work Together To Lift The Top Off A Bottle Of Fanta

To see their teamwork in action, go here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9616351/Two-honeybees-work-lift-bottle-Fanta.html

In other news, the Bumblebee Jamboree is on for 2021 during National Pollinator Week, June 21-27th at Maymont.. This is a free event hosted by Chesterfield County Cooperative Extension Volunteer Master Gardeners. Follow the Pollinator Path at Maymont by taking a self-guided stroll through the Children’s Farm. Mark your calendar now and bring the kids out! https://linktr.ee/BBJ2021 for more information.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

The Virginia State Beekeepers Association is will return June 16th at 7pm with a presentation from Jennifer Homes titled Honey- Extracted, Creamed, and Comb – From Harvest to Preparation for the Honey Show. Mark your calendar now.

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

This Month in the Hive (June)

Hives that haven’t swarmed will be boiling with bees. The brood nest will extend across two supers. The population of the strongest hives exceeds 50,000 workers. The queen’s rate of egg laying may drop a little this month. The queen is moving around the brood nest, laying eggs in cells that have been cleaned from prior use.

Sumac, clovers, strawberries, wild blackberries, speedwell, linden trees, chestnut, chokeberry, huckleberry, grape, holly, blackhaw, honeysuckle,and many ornamentals will provide nectar flows. June is generally a good month for honey production in Northern Virginia, but most of the nectar flows are over by the end of the month. A strong hive may cap as much as 30-40 pounds of honey in June, if good nectar flows are nearby and moisture is sustained in the soil. If soil moisture persists into July, you may want to plan on a small second harvest later in the summer.

Heat can be a serious challenge for the hive at this time. Look for bees bringing in water and placing it around the hive to evaporate for the cooling effect. Watch for swarm cells. Watch for wax moths, ants, mice and small hive beetles attacking the combs. If a hive is so weak in June that it can not defend itself against beetles, ants or moths, then you should consider combining it with a much stronger hive.

Watch for supers above the queen excluder where all the center frames in the super are full of capped honey. Move the full center frames to the outside edges of the super, and move less full frames to the center. This will assist the bees to fill and cap all the frames completely.

Inspect the hives weekly to make certain the hives are healthy and the queen is doing her job. You do not need to see a queen if you see a good pattern of eggs, wet larvae (or “worms”) and capped brood. Supers full of honey may be removed at any time you are prepared to begin extraction or keep them in the freezer. (You do not want to store supers of honey for more than a day or two at room temperature, due to ants, spiders, wax moths, and dust.)

Make sure your bees have a source of water within 200 feet of the hive. You may increase your hives by splitting strong colonies after the harvest. There is a slight chance of a need to add more honey supers this month. Keep watching for swarming which may still occur.

Decide if your hives are going to have an upper entrance. If so, you may want to drill a 1 inch circular hole in a super (not close to a handle), which hole can be guarded by the bees in summer and plugged with a cork during the winter. Some beekeepers screen over the hand hole in the inner cover, and then prop up the hive cover slightly to provide ventilation, but not enough to permit access to rodents and large insects.

Confirm queen orders for July hive splits.

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

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

1st Week: Magnolia, Tree Lilac, Rhododendron, Azalea, Nandina, Smoke Tree, Rose, Waterlily, Daylily, Yucca, Annuals, Perennials, European Linden, Mock Orange, Weigelia, Laburnum, Calycanthus, Abelia

2nd Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimose, Rose, Azalea, Nandina, Hydrangea, Sourwood, Waerlily, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa, Tree Lilac, Abelia, Calycanthus

3rd Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimosa, Sourwood, Rose, Azalea, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa

4th Week: Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Mimosa, Sourwood, Rose, Azalea, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Catalpa

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

Final Word

That’s all for this month! 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, June 14th at 7pm at the Nature Center!

Michelle Clark

Communications 🐝

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