October Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

It’s time for our October newsletter. The chilly air is starting to come through. Do you feel ready for Winter yet? For those who attended our panel discussion in September on prepping for Winter, I hope you feel comfortable and have all your questions answered. If anyone out there is still looking for guidance, the club is here with many smiling faces to help. The RPBBA Practical Beekeeping Group (Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Group) is a great first start for those who use Facebook. You can also come out to a meeting or email us!

October Meeting

For our October meeting we will have a Honey and Beeswax Product Presentation. Backyard Beekeepers: you’ve got hives, and they’re producing. Do you know the products that can come from your hives? Honey is our 1st thought but there’s so much more. Come learn what products from the hive you could be making and selling to help pay for your hobby. Our meeting will be Monday, October 11th at 7pm in the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Doors will open at 6:30pm. 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, October 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: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view]

Club News – Nominations Needed

The club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. It is now the time of year to begin seating a new Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members per by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. 5 of the current members’ appointments are expiring at the end of this year. We need to nominate and elect 5 members to fill the upcoming vacancies.

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.

Following this newsletter, all RPBBA members will be emailed a link to our nomination form. Members may nominate themselves or other RPBBA members. Each person nominated will be contacted to confirm their interest & willingness to serve.

It’s been said once and I’ll repeat it. The Board of Directors is not an exclusive club of seasoned beekeepers. If you’re a new beekeeper or new RPBBA member, serving on the Board of Directors is a great way to meet club members, gain a mentor (or 8), and learn. Can you tell from the newsletter I’m a 2nd year beekeeper? I would bet you can’t. I have a lot of help thanks to the other Board members, past and present. Access to pro’s is an unspoken benefit to those who choose to serve.

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 continues to make RPBBA the best it can bee.

🐝 Study Group

The study group is open to all members who want to learn. You are not required to take the exam to join. Come soak up some knowledge. The study group will next meet Monday, October 18th at 7pm in 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. Add to Google Calendar

Bee Vocabulary – “Super”

While we do find honey bees to be the heroes of the insect world, we are not referring to their super powers here. A “super” is a hive box used by the beekeeper to collect excess honey. Placed above the brood chamber, a healthy colony may fill several honey supers for the beekeeper in a single season.

Beekeepers in the News

See The World’s First ‘bee Hotel’, Buy A Hive Here And Become A Beekeeper

Become a beekeeper at this 5-star hotel exclusively for bees and bee-lovers.

Check out a short video about the hotel here: https://www.accuweather.com/en/videos/see-the-world%E2%80%99s-first-bee-hotel-buy-a-hive-here-and-become-a-beekeeper/Uk43vP5n?fbclid=IwAR1IXB5TvBfV5OI2JMZvaE9fEtP8QokpabvcpiW0pyohwd-z92q-Rwre9o0

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Reminder: VSBA Annual Meeting and Master Beekeeper Testing

The Fall VSBA meeting will be October 23-24th in Smithfield. This is also when testing for Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper certifications is completed. If you’re behind on your studying, consider coming to join the RPBBA Study Group mentioned above. Mark your calendar for the VSBA conference: Add to Google Calendar

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

Missing the VSBA Speaker Series This Month?

Check out the At Home Beekeeping Series. This is free distance learning over Zoom. Speakers include university researchers and extension specialists. Topics rotate monthly. For more information, including dates & how to join, check out the flyer here.

This Month in the Hive (October)

The bees are settling down for the winter. Varroa mites should be under control. The bees are reducing entrances and drafts with propolis and consolidating stored honey from the outer reaches of the hive to the center. The brood nest is about 8 inches across and egg laying has slowed to 200-300 per day. On cold nights, the cluster forms around the queen, and may remain tight until temperatures rise. Drones are gone by month end in almost all hives.

It is unlikely that the frost will hold off enough to permit much nectar-gathering. In some years, the frost does not come until after October 10 and some gathering of nectar may occur. Asters, daisies, and goldenrod may provide substantial amounts of pollen for winter brood.

Watch for robbing on warm days. Wax moths work diligently to enter the hives at night and lay eggs until a hard frost kills the adult moths. Look for continued egg production and capped brood, as new bees are needed to keep the population strong for the winter.

Combine weak hives. Watch out for robbing this month. Finish feeding for the winter. Remove all honey supers not intended as a source of honey for the winter. Remove Apistan or other chemical strips if you used them, assuming you have had them in for 42 days. Attend your bee club meeting. Install mouse guards, after making sure there is no mouse inside the brood boxes. Reserve packages or nucleus hives for next April. Install the plastic insert on the bottom of the screened bottom board if you use screened bottom boards. If you use solid bottom boards, decide whether to reverse the boards to utilize the small entrance on the “winter” side of the bottom board.

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

What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)

(Camillia) Tea, Osmanthus, Elaeagnus, Rose, Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus, Abelia, Fall Crocus, Sternbergia, Annuals and Perennials, Fall Foliage


Final Word

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, October 11th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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