September Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello everyone,

During last month’s meeting Keith Tignor said, “The bees are prepping for Winter now. You are currently raising Winter bees.” As this newsletter comes, we’re on our last chance to treat varroa mites before Winter. Mid-September is too late. As for my hives, they’re finishing up dose 2 of the Apiguard trays next week and it’ll be time for me to do another mite inspection. I’m feeding 2:1 sugar syrup in a top feeder. I’m also working to spray down my extra frames for wax moths and store away for Winter.

September Meeting

We will have a September meeting on Monday, September 13th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. However, because it’s on the back of our picnic, the meeting will be structured differently. We will not have a speaker but rather a panel discussion. The topic will be Winter prep. Whether this will be your 1st Winter or you’re a seasoned beekeeper, this is good information to have. How can we raise strong bees to overwinter? What do we need to do to manage the space in the hive? How do we properly store equipment? Mark your calendar now for our meeting. Add to Google Calendar

RPBBA will continue to follow the current CDC recommendation:

  • Not fully vaccinated: You should wear a mask in indoor public places.

  • Fully vaccinated: Wear a mask indoors if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

As of today, September 1st, Chesterfield County has high community transmission. Please bring a mask to wear. The club will have masks on hand to provide if needed. [Source:]

Saturday, Sept 11th, RPBBA 2021 Picnic

If you have not already marked your calendar and RSVP’d 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

  1. A side to Share

  2. Lawn Chairs

  3. 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!

Call for Volunteers – Nominating Committee, Board of Directors, & Officers

Our club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. It’s the time of year to start the process of seating a new Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors is in need of volunteers to join a Nominating Committee. This committee should have at least 3 members. The purpose of the Nominating Committee is to identify and put forth a slate of candidates for election in October. If you are interested and willing to volunteer as a member of the nominating committee, please email

The Board of Directors role is to select Officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications) for next year, vote on club business, and oversee the functions of the club. A maximum of 9 members are permitted by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation to serve on the Board of Directors. Currently we have 5 Board members whose terms are expiring; we are looking to fill those seats which will become vacant at the end of the year.

If you wish to nominate someone else for the Board of Directors or even volunteer yourself, please send an email to Each person nominated to serve will be contacted to confirm their interest & willingness to serve.

One of the things about serving on the Board of Directors or as an Officer of the club is the access you will have to experienced beekeepers. You do not have to be a seasoned beekeeper to help. I began my beekeeping journey in 2020 by enrolling in the Beginner Beekeeping course. I brought home my first 2 nucs in May 2020. Last Fall, I volunteered and was elected to the Board of Directors. I subsequently volunteered to handle the club communications. Looking back, I view my choice to serve as a great benefit for myself and my hives. I’ve found no shortage of members willing to chat, answer questions, help me with a swarm, borrow equipment, inspect my hives, extract my 1st season of honey. The list goes on; the pro-guidance I’ve received is an unspoken (till now, lol) and understated benefit. If you are interested in learning more about beekeeping, serving is an excellent way to do that.

Please consider volunteering or, if you are nominated, please consider serving. We need new ideas, new perspectives and can always use more energy from new people helping. Your involvement in the club helps make RPBBA the best it can bee.

Call for Volunteers – 2021 State Fair of Virginia

The Richmond Beekeepers Association will be sponsoring the Virginia Beekeepers Honey Booth. This year as in the past we will need volunteers from all of the bee associations to work the booth. The State Fair of VA runs for 10 days, starting Friday, September 24th thru Sunday, October 3rd. We will need volunteers to fill two shifts a day, first shift 10:00am to 4:00pm and second shift 4:00pm to close. The second shift will close Sunday thru Thursday at 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday at 10:00pm. The volunteer’s bee association will receive a portion of the profits made from the sale of honey and other products of the hive based on the number of shifts worked. This is a great way to earn money for your club and also meet other beekeepers from the central Virginia area.

The State Fair of VA is located at Meadow Farm in Doswell, VA (just past Kings Dominion) in the Meadow Pavilion with other agriculture displays. Admission tickets will be sent to each volunteer for each day worked.

To sign up to work a shift or two you will need to

  1. Go to

  2. Find day and time you would like to work and check the Sign Up box

  3. Click Submit and Sign Up at bottom of page

  4. Fill in your contact information

  5. Click on Sign Up Now

You will receive confirmation via email with the name of Nicholas Hayes.

If you would like to volunteer but do not feel comfortable with SignUpGenius you can call

  • Nicholas Hayes at 804-801-2197 (Nicholas may be in class , he will contact you as soon as he is free) or

  • Gay Stapleton at 804-672-8408 or email at

Just a reminder, if you would like to enter your honey, beeswax or beekeeping gadgets in the open honey competition the deadline to do so is September 3rd. Also, if you have extra honey you would like to sell at the State Fair of VA contact Bob Stapleton at 804-672-8408.

Bee Vocabulary – “Cluster”

In a cluster, a large number of bees cling together in a mass. With honey bees this usually occurs in 2 instances.

  1. A swarm of bees will cluster in a nearby tree or bush when first leaving the hive and before going to their new home.

  2. In Winter, the bee cluster allows the colony to conserve and generate heat. The Winter Cluster technique is how honey bees survive the cold temperatures.

Beekeepers in the News

Beekeeper Invents Trap to Tackle Asian Hornets

After he lost 35 hives to the Asian hornet, a traumatized French beekeeper knew he had to save his bees. He came up with a trap that stops the invasive species, but does no harm to bees or native hornets.

To find out more, and see his trap, you can watch a video here:

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Next up in the VSBA Speaker Series is Honey Crystallization & Defects with C. Marina Marchese. This talk will be September 23rd at 7pm on Zoom. A link to join the meeting can be found on this page.

Carla Marina Marchese is changing the way people think about honey, this designer turned beekeeper is best known as the visionary behind the beloved brand Red Bee Honey. During a former career as an international designer, Marina was invited to visit a neighbor’s apiary where her first taste of fresh honey would change the course of her life. She quit her job, built a beehive and wrangled some Italian honeybees to become a full – time beekeeper. It was on a visit to Italy that Marina stumbled upon a honey festival in Montalcino (coincidentally called The City of Honey). Compelled by the philosophy of terroir, Marina studied wine tasting in order to transfer those skills to honey tasting which led her to launch the Red Bee Brand. She returned to Italy to complete her formal education as a honey sensory expert, becoming the first US citizen to be accepted as a member of the Italian National Register of Experts in the Sensory Analysis of Honey. In 2013, she founded the American Honey Tasting Society to bring the Italian program to the US.

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

This Month in the Hive (September)

The hive population is dropping. The queen’s egg laying is significantly reduced, and the drones may begin to disappear at the end of this month. Nectar and pollen sources usually reappear after Labor Day. Frost may occur after September 20, and the bees will begin to cluster when the temperature inside the hive drops below 57 degrees.

Asters, daisies, ragweed, clovers, tickseed, and goldenrod may provide substantial sources of nectar if the month has adequate rainfall (4-6 inches) spread over the entire month. Strong hives may make 20 pounds of honey during September. (In some years, 30 pounds of production has been recorded in September.) In years with drought conditions, September can be disastrous for the hive, with the bees consuming the honey and pollen that should be saved for winter.

The brood nest may be about 10 inches across. The queen is active, but laying less than 400 eggs per day. At the end of the month (when colder weather is likely) the workers cease feeding the drones. A few drones will remain at the end of the month, but not many.

Feeding of syrup and pollen substitutes may be essential if the month is dry. In a good year, it may also be time to do that final harvest for the season. Remember to leave at least 40 pounds of honey for each hive to get through the winter. Remove the queen excluder if you left it on the hives after the harvest. Check on the queen. If you are going to use it, feed and medicate with Fumagillin in syrup to fight nosema towards the end of the month. (Only the first 2 gallons of syrup per hive are medicated if you are using it.) Add chemical mite treatments if you did not do so in August and if you are using those treatments.

Now is the time to use menthol crystals for tracheal mite control, if you are going to do so. Nighttime temperatures are cool enough, and daytime temperatures may fit the instructions. If it is dry, or you made up splits in July, feeding continues until the bees will take no more syrup.

Attend bee meetings and state and local fairs and festivals. Give honey to your bee neighbors, and make sure they understand how good the bees are for gardens, flowers, and the growing environment in general.


What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

Osmanthus, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Abelia, Rose, Annuals, Perennials

Final Word

If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and bee active. You can join on our website or come to a meeting!

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 picnic and the meeting this month on Sept 11th and Sept 13th.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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