August Newsletter – RPBBA

Hello fellow beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!

Have you been in your apiary lately? If so, you’ve probably noticed your sweet Spring honey bees have turned into feisty, defensive, Summer honey bees. The dearth is here.  With less pollen and nectar sources available, robbing is all over. You’re likely also noticing an uptick in hive pests. Now is the time to be testing and treating for varroa mites. Watch for small hive beetles and wax moths.

RPBBA Calendar of Events for August
📅 Monday, Aug 8th – RPBBA Meeting @ 7pm
📅 Monday, Aug 15th – Study Group @ 7pm
🐝 Saturday, Aug 20th – National Honey Bee Day

August Meeting
Our meeting this month will be 7pm, Monday, August 8th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. RPBBA member, Don Osborne, will be giving a presentation on robbing and how to prevent it. When nectar resources are scarce, bees are more likely to rob other colonies. Weak colonies are particularly prone to being robbed because they are unable to defend themselves from the onslaught of invading bees. There are signs to identify robbing behavior as well as strategies you can implement to help your gals defend their hive.

Don Osborne has been a RPBBA member for several years. He is our current club Secretary and previously held the Communications position. Don has assisted in teaching our Beginner Beekeeping class as well. For those that don’t know Don, he uses honey from his apiary to make mead. He can often be found with a bottle of homemade mead in tow. I’m sure Don would love to converse about making mead at our meeting next week. Hope to see you all there: 7pm, Monday, August 8th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

National Honey Bee Day
Saturday, August 20th is National Honey Bee Day 2022 in the United States. National Honey Bee Day (formerly National Honey Bee Awareness Day) is an awareness day when beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, and honey bee enthusiasts from across the United States celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to humans’ everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species. National Honey Bee Day also pays homage to beekeepers, whose labors ensure there are well-managed, healthy bees to pollinate crops.

Sample And Control Of Varroa Mite And Hive Beetle Workshop
A workshop on the life cycle and control of the Varroa mite and small hive beetle is being held Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, at Randolph Farm near Colonial Heights, VA. Topics to be covered include how to inspect for these and other honey bee pests and various integrated pest management strategies to control them. Following a presentation at the Extension Pavilion, participants will move to the bee yard on Randolph Farm for demonstrations on how to inspect a hive to identify, sample and control these pests. Further information and registration is available at

Space is limited to 30 participants.

All participants going to the bee yard must bring their own bee suit and wear light-colored clothes, gloves and closed-toe shoes. Please do not wear fragrances or perfumes. If you are allergic to bee venom, you must bring your own Epipen.

For more information, contact Tracy Porter at (804) 481-2566 or

Bee Vocabulary – “Robbing”
Western honey bee workers can invade and steal honey/nectar from other colonies or sugar/corn syrup from feeders used to deliver syrup to other colonies. This is called “robbing” behavior. Robbing behavior typically involves the collection of nectar and honey, but not pollen or brood.

Beekeepers in the News
City Bees Rva Shares The Science, History And Importance Of Beekeeping
There’s a lot of buzz about a new program in Richmond. It aims to teach kids about the world of honey bees. If you take a trip to the Sankofa Community Orchard, you will discover more than 20,000 honey bees working together. The bees are a part of a new experience in the city of Richmond called City Bees RVA.

If you missed the story, you can read it at:

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

This Month in the Hive (August)
The colony’s brood growth rate is slowing down. Drones are still around, but the workers will soon lose interest in feeding them. Outside activity slows down as the nectar flow decreases and stops. Much of the flight activity is water-gathering, pollen collection, and orientation of new bees. On hot evenings and nights, the bees may drape the front of the hive, making them especially vulnerable to skunks.

Smartweed, ironweed, Joe Pye weed, milkweed, thistles, heartsease, chicory, clethra, pepperbush, dandelion, blueweed, and some asters and daisies may provide a small nectar flow. Clovers, soybeans, alfalfa, sunflowers, and common vetch continue to offer nectar, but there are few concentrated plantings of these cultivated crops in Northern Virginia. Cucumbers, melons, carrots, and pumpkins need honeybees for pollination this month. Net honey production is unlikely in August due to heat and drought. The hive may consume 10 pounds of stored honey or syrup during a dry August.

Watch for a failing queen, especially a queen that is more than 1 year of age. Egg laying should continue at the rate of 400-500 eggs per day, and the brood nest should be at least 14 inches across. Watch for wasps and hornets attacking the hives to steal away live bees for the purpose of feeding their brood. If you may have harvested too much of the hive’s honey, examine the hive to make certain there is at least 10 pounds of capped honey before you go on vacation.

There is not much chance of swarming this month. Do not expend much energy catching a swarm that escapes in August, as it will not build up enough to survive the winter. Watch out for robbing. Re-queening of all hives with queens from the prior year is done in this month or in early September. Queens may be a little less expensive this time of year, especially if they were reserved in April or May. Watch for wax moths and small hive beetles; ruthlessly combine hives that are too weak to defend against them now. Take losses now, rather than in the winter.

The bees that are born in August will have to carry the hive through the early winter. Make certain that the hive has enough pollen and honey to generously feed new brood. Skinny August bees will not make it to February.

Many chemical mite treatments should be applied in early August, if they are going to be used. Carefully read the instructions and consider the temperature forecast before any treatment is applied, however. Honeybees may not be able to tolerate harsh chemical treatments combined with high temperatures. However, it is also not wise to allow Varroa mites to parasitize the bees that you hope will carry the hive into early winter.


What’s in Bloom (according to Maymont)
Crepe Myrtle, Rose, Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Abelia, Annuals, Perennials

Final Word
If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. Our club operates 100% on volunteers. There is a constant flow of activities within the club to bee as active as you want to bee. 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 7pm, Monday, August 8th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Our club meetings are open to members and non-members with no pressure to join. Come on out if you can make it.

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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