Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!
The summer dearth is here. The colony’s brood rate is decreasing and they’ll soon tire of feeding the drones. In a dry August, a hive may consume 10 pounds of stored honey. Although chances are lower, swarming can still occur so don’t start spacing out your inspections just yet.
As for my hives, I’m watching for “light” feeling boxes, sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the ground to help curb the small hive beetles, and will soon be mite checking. I’m beginning to think whether I will combine hives for winter to come. I have a weaker hive so I’ll likely end up combining it up with my stronger one later in the season.
📢 August Meeting
Our August meeting will be held Monday August 9th at 7pm in the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Keith Tignor is coming back to visit and speak with us. Keith is the State Apiarist and Central VA Region State Beekeeping Inspector. He will be talking with us this month about mite control. It’s now the time of year to know your mite count and what to do about it. We hope you all can join us for this important talk. Add to Google Calendar
RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. As of today, August 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed.
Saturday, Sept 11th, RPBBA 2021 Picnic
If you have not already marked your calendar for our 2021 picnic, now’s the time. Add to Google Calendar We hope all members and their families can join us. A flyer and RSVP will be emailed following this newsletter to RPBBA members. The association will provide fried chicken, soft drinks/water & tableware. Please bring
A side to share
A Picnic Blanket
Grills will be set up in case anyone needs them. Alcohol is permitted (BYOB) but please keep in mind this is a family-style event. Fishing is allowed from the pond BYOP&B (bring your own pole & bait). If you’ve got other fun outdoor games like cornhole or horse shoes, bring ’em!
Beehive Distribution Program
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering their Beehive Distribution Program again this year. The time is NOW to apply. Applications for the Beehive Distribution Program can be submitted any time July 20 – August 4, 2021. Applications that were submitted in previous years will not carry over to the current Program. In addition, applications from previous years cannot be resubmitted. Recipients of beehive units will be selected at random from accepted applications.
For more information, including how to apply, visit https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-beehive-distribution-program.shtml.
National Honey Bee Day
Did you know National Honey Bee Day was coming up? It’s Saturday, August 21st. National Honey Bee Day is an awareness day to celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to humans’ everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species. Mark your Calendar and spread the word!
Bee Vocabulary – “bee metamorphosis”
the three stages through which a bee passes before reaching maturity: egg, larva, and pupa. During the pupal stage, large fat reserves are used to transform both the internal and external anatomy of the bee.
Beekeepers in the News
7-year-old Pennsylvania Beekeeper Has Hive With 50,000 Bees
PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa – A 7-year-old is the legal owner of his own bee apiary and one of the youngest members of the Lancaster County Beekeepers Society.
To read more and check out his 10-frame mediums, visit https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/7-year-old-pennsylvania-beekeeper-has-hive-with-50000-bees/SXORB2RPJNEZ3O26G7URC4S7EI/.
Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)
The Virginia State Beekeepers Association speaker series continues August 5th at 7pm with Tim Schuler’s Mite Control Program presentation. Tim worked over 20 years with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as the former New Jersey State Apiarist. He started keeping bees young in a small Philadelphia suburb. In 1991, Tim started Schuler’s Bees, a side business managing hundreds of colonies, providing pollination services to local farmers, and producing honey. In 2016 he was awarded the Divelbiss award by the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) for his effort in beekeeping education. Tim is a down-to-earth, engaging, and persuasive speaker, especially when it comes to managing varroa in colonies. Add to Google Calendar
More information about the VSBA programs can be found on their website: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/
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.
Smartweed, ironweed, Joe Pye weed, milkweed, thistles, heartsease, chicory, clethra, pepperbush, dandelion, blueweed, and some asters and daisies may provide a small nectar flow. Clovers, soybeans, alfalfa, sunflowers, and common vetch continue to offer nectar, but there are few concentrated plantings of these cultivated crops in Northern Virginia. Cucumbers, melons, carrots, and pumpkins need honeybees for pollination this month. Net honey production is unlikely in August due to heat and drought. The hive may consume 10 pounds of stored honey or syrup during a dry August.
Watch for a failing queen, especially a queen that is more than 1 year of age. Egg laying should continue at the rate of 400-500 eggs per day, and the brood nest should be at least 14 inches across. Watch for wasps and hornets attacking the hives to steal away live bees for the purpose of feeding their brood. If you may have harvested too much of the hive’s honey, examine the hive to make certain there is at least 10 pounds of capped honey before you go on vacation.
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.
Many chemical mite treatments should be applied in early August, if they are going to be used. Carefully read the instructions and consider the temperature forecast before any treatment is applied, however. Honeybees may not be able to tolerate harsh chemical treatments combined with high temperatures. However, it is also not wise to allow Varroa mites to parasitize the bees that you hope will carry the hive into early winter.
What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)
Crepe Myrtle, Rose, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Abelia, Annuals, Perennials
If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website or come to a meeting! We love seeing fresh faces.
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, August 9th at 7pm in the Nature Center!