September Newsletter – RPBBA

Gooooooood morning beekeepers and honeybee enthusiasts!
We have a bit of warm Summer temperatures left but cooler weather is on its way. It’s time to start thinking about preparations for Winter. During Fall there’s much to do and choices to make: possibly a final honey harvest, possibly a need to feed, treat for mites as needed, combine weak hives with strong ones, and the list goes on. There’s much to think about. We will be covering all that and more at our meeting this month. As a club there are several opportunities this month to bee social including our annual picnic. More details below.

RPBBA Calendar of Events for September

Chesterfield County Fair
RPBBA was invited to bring some of our children’s activities to the Chesterfield County Fair. While the fair runs daily through Sept 3rd, we will only have a few members there Sept 1st in the Arts & Crafts building 5 – 10pm. If you were thinking about checking out the fair, it’s a great opportunity to bring the family. We’ll be bringing some of the much loved children’s activities from the Honey Bee Festival. While our children’s activities are free, there is a cost of admission to the fair. Please see their website for details, If you come out, stop by and say hello!

September Meeting
Our meeting this month will be 7pm, Monday, September 12th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Keith Tignor is coming back to visit and speak with us. Keith is the State Apiarist and Central VA Region State Beekeeping Inspector. He will be talking with us about Fall actions to take to prepare your hives for Winter. Whether this will be your 1st Winter or you’re a seasoned beekeeper, this is good information to have and be reminded. Now is the time we’re raising Winter bees. How can we ensure our hives are strong going into Winter? What do we need to do to manage the space in the hive? How do we properly store equipment? Hope to see you all there 7pm Monday, September 12th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Doors open at 6:30pm. Add to Google Calendar

Saturday, Sept 17th, 2022 Club Picnic
If you have not already marked your calendar and RSVP’d the picnic, now’s the time. Add to Google Calendar We hope all members and their families can join us. A flyer and RSVP link was emailed to RPBBA members. The association will provide fried chicken, soft drinks/water & tableware. Please bring

  1. A Side to Share
  2. Lawn Chairs
  3. A Picnic Blanket

Grills will be set up in case anyone needs them. Alcohol is permitted, BYOB, but please keep in mind this is a family-style event. Fishing is allowed from the pond, BYOP&B, bring your own pole & bait. If you’ve got other fun outdoor games like cornhole or horse shoes, bring ’em!

Call for Volunteers – Nominating Committee
It’s that time of year again – time to begin our change of leadership. The Board of Directors consists of a maximum of 9 members per by our bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. We have 4 Directors (elected in 2020) whose 2 years terms are coming to an end.

  1. Michelle Clark
  2. Jody Conway
  3. Theo Hartmann
  4. Sherry Kelley

As a club, we can choose to renew the Directors for another 2 year term or replace them with newly nominated and elected members. Jody, Theo and Sherry have all indicated they’d be willing to stick around for another term if re-elected. The club is in need of volunteers to join a Nominating Committee. Any RPBBA member can make nominations. However the purpose of the Nominating Committee is to receive the nominations, verify willingness to serve with those nominated, and put forth a slate of candidates for election. This committee should have at least 3 members. If you are interested and willing to volunteer as a member of the nominating committee, please email The club needs you.

Our club we all know and love, RPBBA, is successful because of volunteers. 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 (like the club picnic, Christmas party, selecting a HBF chair, etc). They meet a few times a year, as needed, for discussion. If you wish to nominate someone else for the Board of Directors or even volunteer yourself, please send an email to Each person nominated to serve will be contacted to confirm their interest & willingness 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 helps make RPBBA the best it can bee. Thank you.

Call for Volunteers – 2022 State Fair of Virginia
The Richmond Beekeepers Association will be sponsoring the Virginia Beekeepers Honey Booth. This year as in the past they will need volunteers from all of the bee associations to work the booth. The State Fair of VA runs for 10 days, starting Friday, September 23rd thru Sunday, October 2nd. RPBBA is currently fishing for details and will share more information as it comes. In years past, they’ve needed volunteers to fill two shifts a day. RPBBA receives a portion of the profits made from the sale of honey and other products of the hive based on the number of shifts our members volunteer. This is a great way to earn money for our club and also meet other beekeepers from the central Virginia area. Bee on the lookout for more information to come throughout this month.

VDACS Beehive Distribution Program
Distribution of beehives through the Beehive Distribution Program has been completed for Fiscal Year 2021-2022. Funding for the Program for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 was approved in the State Budget. Applications for the Program are not being accepted at this time. Dates for an application period will be posted at a later date. Keep watch of their website for updates and more information about the program:

Bee Vocabulary – “candy board”
A candy board is a way to feed your bees through Winter. During colder temperatures, the honeybees will form a cluster to keep warm. As they eat through their food stores, they’ll move upward in the hive. A beekeeper can make a candy board and place it at the top of the hive to supplement feeding to avoid starvation. There are various mixtures for candy boards. Think of it like a large sugar block.

Beekeepers in the News
Busy Bodies
Our very own, Stan and Carla, were interviewed right after the Honey Bee Festival. Richmond Magazine wrote a story, featured in their September 2022 issue. If you missed it in your mailbox, you can view it here.

ARS-Developed Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees Better Winter Survivors
Pol-line honey bees, a type of Varroa mite resistant honey bee developed by the Agricultural Research Service, are more than twice as likely to survive through the winter than standard honey bees, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The full story can be read at:

Virginia State Beekeepers Association (VSBA)

This Month in the Hive (September)
The hive population is dropping. The queen’s egg laying is significantly reduced, and the drones may begin to disappear at the end of this month. Nectar and pollen sources usually reappear after Labor Day. Frost may occur after September 20, and the bees will begin to cluster when the temperature inside the hive drops below 57 degrees.

Asters, daisies, ragweed, clovers, tickseed, and goldenrod may provide substantial sources of nectar if the month has adequate rainfall (4-6 inches) spread over the entire month. Strong hives may make 20 pounds of honey during September. (In some years, 30 pounds of production has been recorded in September.) In years with drought conditions, September can be disastrous for the hive, with the bees consuming the honey and pollen that should be saved for winter.

The brood nest may be about 10 inches across. The queen is active, but laying less than 400 eggs per day. At the end of the month (when colder weather is likely) the workers cease feeding the drones. A few drones will remain at the end of the month, but not many.

Feeding of syrup and pollen substitutes may be essential if the month is dry. In a good year, it may also be time to do that final harvest for the season. Remember to leave at least 40 pounds of honey for each hive to get through the winter. Remove the queen excluder if you left it on the hives after the harvest. Check on the queen. If you are going to use it, feed and medicate with Fumagillin in syrup to fight nosema towards the end of the month. (Only the first 2 gallons of syrup per hive are medicated if you are using it.) Add chemical mite treatments if you did not do so in August and if you are using those treatments.

Now is the time to use menthol crystals for tracheal mite control, if you are going to do so. Nighttime temperatures are cool enough, and daytime temperatures may fit the instructions. If it is dry, or you made up splits in July, feeding continues until the bees will take no more syrup.

Attend bee meetings and state and local fairs and festivals. Give honey to your bee neighbors, and make sure they understand how good the bees are for gardens, flowers, and the growing environment in general.

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

Final Word
If you are not a member of RPBBA, we encourage you to join and be active. 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.

If you are a RPBBA member, please consider volunteering for the nominating committee, as a Board of Director member, or even as an officer for 2023. Your club needs you!

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, September 12th at the Rockwood Park Nature Center. Our club meetings are open to members and non-members with no pressure to join. I hope you can bee there!

Michelle Clark
Communications 🐝

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