June Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello beekeepers and honey bee enthusiasts!

We have a very busy month ahead. As if our apiaries and swarms weren’t keeping us busy enough, it’s crunch time for the Honey Bee Festival. Soon, we will all be enjoying the day we’ve been looking forward to all year. The HBF Planning Committee will be meeting weekly this month. Current plans are for Zoom meetings (starting tonight). However keep an eye and ear out. If that changes, the club calendar of events will be updated accordingly. I look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces several times this month.

Calendar of Events


June Meeting

This month we will be having a special combined meeting with the Huguenot Beekeepers. Dr. Dewey Caron will be speaking to us all about Reading the Colony. What signs can we get from our honey bees? That’ll tell us what’s going on in the hive and inspire our hive management.

We will be meeting at 7pm on Monday, June 13th at the Powhatan Village Building Auditorium.

3910 Old Buckingham Rd
Powhatan, VA 23139

Dr. Dewey Caron is Professor Emeritus, Entomology & Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware. He is also Affiliate Professor, Horticulture Department, Oregon State University. He is the author of Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. The standard beekeeping (apiculture) textbook used to teach college students and beekeepers the science and practice of bees and beekeeping. Widely considered the most complete beekeeping textbook, covering a vast array of topics of bee biology and colony management. Add to Google Calendar

Honey Bee Festival – Saturday, June 25th Add to Google Calendar

The Honey Bee Festival (HBF) is just around the corner. The Planning Committee needs our help to make this success. The top 6 things you can do to help out are

  1. Choose something to bake for the Bake Sale

  2. Get a FREE Volunteer T-shirt

  3. Loan the club my Canopy/Table

  4. Allow RPBBA to Extract My Honey Supers For Me

  5. Pull Drones From My Hives

  6. Invite friends on social media

Bumblebee Jamboree

The Bumblebee Jamboree is kicking off National Pollinator Week, June 18th 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! Click here for more information.

Bee Vocabulary – “Bee Space”

3/8-inch space between combs and hive parts in which bees build no comb or deposit only a small amount of propolis. Bee spaces are used as corridors to move within the hive.

Beekeepers in the News

Millions Of Bees Were Dying On A Tarmac. Local Beekeepers Ran To Help

A beekeeper in Atlanta was having a relaxing Sunday when a frantic call came in from a beekeeper in Alaska. She had an urgent plea: Could he rush over to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on a rescue mission? About 5 million honey bees were languishing in limbo on a hot tarmac because the airline had sent them to Georgia instead of Alaska.

If you missed the story, you can read it at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/05/02/atlanta-beekeepers-honeybees-delta-stranded/

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

VSBA Spring/Summer meeting.

8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Saturday, June 11th
@ Blue Ridge Community College
1 College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486

Speakers will include Dr. Dewey Caron, Monica Schmitt, and Dr. James Wilson. VSBA will be having their Spring Business meeting, updates from our State Apiarist and EAS Representative as well as Testing for the Virginia State Master Beekeeper Program. Participants are encouraged to register here: https://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/event-4739646

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


Final Word

If you are a member of RPBBA, the Zoom links for this month will be emailed following this newsletter. Please bee on the lookout for it. If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. You can join on our website. Meetings are open to non-members also. Come meet some other beekeepers and find out what RPBBA is all about.

We are always looking for ways to improve communications in the club. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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