Hello beekeepers and honey bee enthusiasts!
How did you like the Honey Bee Festival? We have received so much positive feedback. It’s really a special event and has given me extra pride in our club and our mission. The day certainly couldn’t have happened without many helping hands. Thank you again to all of our volunteers! I hope everyone has had some time to rest and recuperate from the buzz of preparations and day-of tasks.
RPBBA Calendar of Events for July
📅 Monday, July 11th – RPBBA Meeting @ 7pm
📅 Monday, July 18th – Study Group @ 7pm
This month, we are going to use our meeting as a time to recap on the Honey Bee Festival with our Planning Committee and jot down notes for next year. Some things to keep in mind:
💡 What went well?
💡 What didn’t go so well? How can we do better next time?
💡 Ideas for next year?
We will be meeting at the Nature Center, yay! Add to Google Calendar
🐝 VSBA Master Beekeeping Study Group
For those who have never checked it out, the study group is a great way for RPBBA members to further their beekeeping knowledge. Several members are studying for the annual VSBA Apprentice and Journeyman exams, however there is no requirement for attendees to be pursuing certification. The study group is open to all members who want to learn. The study group is an informal group setting. During their sessions, questions from the VSBA Apprentice Study Guide are posed for the group to discuss and answer together. There is much to learn during open discussion with our peers!
The study group meets monthly on the 3rd Monday of each month. They’ll next be meeting Monday, July 18th, 7pm, at 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. Add to Google Calendar
Bee Vocabulary – “Afterswarm”
The first swarm to leave the parent colony with the mother queen is called the primary swarm. If the colony is still crowded from subsequent brood emergence when the first virgin queens emerge, another swarm may launch. This is an afterswarm and is sometimes referred to as “cast” swarms. These swarms are usually smaller and are accompanied by a virgin queen.
Beekeepers in the News
RPBBA made the news several times in June both before and after the Honey Bee Festival! In case you missed these segments, here are the links.
🍯 June 20th on NBC 12
11th Annual Honey Bee Festival
🍯 June 21st on WRIC ABC 8
Honey Bee Festival Returns To Chesterfield This Week
🍯 June 21st on WTVR CBS 6
2022 Honeybee Festival Will Have Fun For The Whole Family
🍯 June 25th on CBS 6
Learn About Hives At Honey Bee Festival In Chesterfield
🍯 June 26th on WRIC ABC 8
2022 Honey Bee Festival Returns to Rockwood Park
In other honey bee news,
Honeybees Join Humans As The Only Known Animals That Can Tell The Difference Between Odd And Even Numbers
This Month in the Hive (July)
On hot and humid nights, you may see a curtain of bees cooling themselves on the exterior of the hive. Swarming is still possible, but it becomes less likely as the month advances. The Varroa parasitic mite continues to increase its population at the expense of the bees, and it will require some type of treatment or management, soon. The bees continue to raise 3000-5000 replacement bees per week in July, and may consume a larger amount of honey and pollen than is collected if the month is dry. The stronger hive populations will peak at 50,000-60,000 worker bees.
Late June and July are harvest times for the Northern Virginia beekeeper. After supers and frames are removed for extraction, the best practice is to return the supers and frames to the hives for cleanup. The bees may manage to store 5 pounds or more of honey during July, but they will eat more than they collect if the month is dry. Continue inspections of the hive to make sure the hive is healthy. Catalpa, bee bee tree, linden, milkweed, butterfly weed, horsemint, fireweed, and globe thistle will bloom. Heartsease and smartweed bloom this month, starting in damp bottomlands. Cucumber, melons, some soybean varieties, sunflowers, some vetches, verbena, and clover will supply supplemental nectar or pollen, where cultivated. If you can find a field of alfalfa, soybean, or buckwheat in bloom, these plants are major nectar sources and produce distinctive honey flavors.
Watch for bees fanning droplets of water to cool the hive. Especially around the harvest, watch for robbing activity near the entrance. Look for a falloff in egg production, as the brood nest shrinks gradually down to about 60-75% of its peak size.
Make sure the water source for the bees is clean and accessible. Harvest honey. Return wet supers to the hives. After the supers are cleaned of honey by the bees, remove excess supers and stack them with moth-repellent PDB crystals. Watch for signs of robbing and take steps to discourage robbing if it starts. Select perfect frames of comb for honey competitions. Attend the club picnic. Learn how to filter and bottle honey for the most competitive local and state fair honey judging. Decide if, when and how you are going to treat for Varroa. Order any supplies or equipment that you need for mite treatments.
If you are going to make splits to overwinter, the first half of July is the last time to do it. You will need to be prepared to feed any split during the dry months of July and August. About half the time, you will need to feed splits in September and October as well.
What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)
Crepe Myrtle, Rose, Daylily, Annuals, Perennials, Buddleia, Rose of Sharon, Abelia
Between the VSBA semi-annual conference, the Honey Bee Festival, the work out in the apiary, honey extracting (the list goes on), it’s been a busy 30 days. I hope all are able to make Monday’s meeting to recap the festival. It’ll be a big help to have our notes when it comes time to begin planning for next year.
Speaking of the festival, we had many folks interested in keeping bees come by and say hello at the club tent. If you see a fresh face at the meeting, introduce yourself. One of my favorite things about RPBBA is the welcoming environment our members create; we have a wonderful, helpful, and kind community.
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. Thank you!!