December Newsletter – RPBBA

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with joy and full hearts. The day was warm enough I spotted my girls coming out of the hive for cleansing flights and even some foraging. It was a busy day in our home and with many chilly days passing, I enjoyed taking a break to watch the bees come and go. I hope your colonies are faring well this season.

December Meeting – A Holiday Potluck

In the place of our December meeting we will be having a holiday potluck.

7pm on Monday, December 13th

@Molly’s Blind Dog Brewing

     4515 W Hundred Rd, Chester, VA 23831

The brewery will be closed except for our group. The association will provide fried chicken, tableware, water, & soft drinks. Beer will be available for purchase at the brewery. We plan to have a white elephant gift exchange. To participate please bring a wrapped gift (under $20). Attendees are asked to RSVP and let us know what you plan to bring. To RSVP, go to SignUpGenius. Please leave the dish you intend to bring in a comment. The more the merrier. I hope to see you there! Add to Google Calendar

🐝 Study Group

The study group will not be meeting this month. Enjoy the holidays!

Club News – Board of Directors Results

The elections for the 2022 Board of Directors have concluded. A quorum was met. With all votes in favor and none opposed, please join me in saying congratulations to Dennis Marshall, Kyree Tanner, Stan Houk, Steve Syrett, and Rick McCormick for their election to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members with appointments for 2-year terms per our Bylaws. A full list of Board members, including those elected in 2020, is listed below.

  1. Michelle Clark
  2. Jody Conway
  3. Theo Hartmann
  4. Stan Houk
  5. Sherry Kelley
  6. Dennis Marshall
  7. Rick McCormick
  8. Steve Syrett
  9. Kyree Tanner

Thank you all for another successful year of elections. I’d like to give a special thanks to our outgoing Directors’ John Davis, Carla Park and Sam Rorabaugh for their time serving the club.

More Club News – 2022 Officers Announcement

The Board of Directors’ met on November 22nd over Zoom. 2022 Officers were discussed and selected. The following slate of Officers will be installed January 1st.

  • Stan Houk, President
  • Sherry Kelley, Vice President
  • Theo Hartmann, Treasurer
  • Don Osborne, Secretary
  • Michelle Clark, Communications
  • Jody Conway, Registered Agent

Another special thank you goes out to Steve Syrett for serving as club President for 3 years. If/when you see Steve, please give him a pat on the back.

ISO RPBBA Members Willing to Bee a Mentor

A Mentor’s purpose is to help other members with things like installing packages/nucs, in-hive help, capturing swarms or general questions.

It’s been a while since the club has renewed our list of willing Mentors. With the 2022 Beginner Beekeeping course currently open for enrollment, our Mentorship program is top of mind. If you are a RPBBA member and willing to bee a Mentor, please sign up here. You must be willing to have your contact information shared with other RPBBA members.

My goal is to create a current list of willing mentors, with their general location, to share with those ISO a Mentor near them.

🐝 2022 Beginner Beekeeping Course

Enrollment is open for the 2022 Beginning Beekeeping Course. Attendees will receive instruction on the basics of beekeeping, the various equipment including hive components and tools, diseases and pests, what to expect in the first year, how to purchase and install your bees, sources of pollen and nectar, and (weather permitting) a hands on field day in the club’s apiary.

Class dates will be Jan 22, Feb 5, Feb 19, & Mar 5th alternating Saturday’s with the Huguenot Beekeepers Association (HBA). Participants who are unable to make a class at RPBBA, may attend and receive the same instruction at HBA. The course is $100 through Jan 8th and $115 thereafter. We are limited to 40 participants; enrollment includes a 1-year membership to RPBBA.

For more information, including a signup form, please see our website

Bee Vocabulary – “Langstroth hive”

Langstroth hives are the most common hives used in North America. These hives are stacking rectangular boxes with removable frames for the bees to build comb in. Langstroth hives are customizable to the beekeeper’s preference and the colony’s needs. A Langstroth hive is typically placed on a hive stand and consists of a bottom board, entrance reducer, the hive body, honey super(s), an inner cover, and an outer hive cover.

Beekeepers in the News

Did you know the State Fair of Virginia included an Open Honey competition?

There are several categories including liquid honey, frame of honey, cut comb, chunky honey, creamed, granulated honey, beeswax, observation hive, & gadgets. The winners for this year’s fair are posted here. If this has sparked your mind to compete in next year’s State Fair, check out this year’s entry form to get an idea of what you might be jumping into.

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

Just a reminder: To maintain VSBA Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Beekeeper certifications Public Service Credits should be completed and reported on or before December 15th annually.

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 not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and bee active. You can join on our website. If you are a honeybee enthusiast looking to get started, check out the Beginner Beekeeping course. This is where I got my start. 😀

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 holiday party on Monday, December 13th at 7pm.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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