March 2013 Minutes

Person County Beekeepers Association
Date:  March 21, 2013
Location: Person County Office Building, Room 165
Mary opened the meeting.  After motion and second, February minutes were approved as distributed by e-mail.
Mary asked for volunteers to help with the April 20 beekeeping demonstration for Person County students at Huck Sansbury..  Mac and Amanda Blanks volunteered to join Mary and Ray.
Todd invited two new-to-Person-County guests to introduce themselves.   See Inge to pick up and pay for PCBA T-shirts.
Mary and a round of applause thanked Inge for an excellent bee school.  Mandy also noted that Inge’s Golden Achievement Program application looked great.  Todd explained that this state association project is an effort to encourage bee groups with a monetary award for the club.
To continue your beekeeping education, Mary encouraged everyone to attend the state’s summer conference in Pinehurst, July 11-13 and attend PCBA meetings at 7 PM on the third Thursday of each month.  Inge, VP and program chair, said that Lewis Cauble will do a program on preventing losses from Varroa at the April. meeting.    Lewis said controlling Varroa helps keep the hive healthy and prevents a lot of other stuff (like small hive beetles) from becoming a problem.
A sign-up sheet circulated.   Members volunteering to provide refreshments were:
April 18 Lynn Wilson and Donna Osteen
May 16 Tom and Linda Savage
June 20 Tokso Pak
July 18 Mike, Kate, and Nicki Lagaly
(On March 22, Amanda e-mailed to volunteer to provide September refreshments. lsw)
Dec 19 Potluck dinner at 6:30 PM
To volunteer to provide refreshments for the August, October or November meeting, contact:  Lynn Wilson at or leave a message at 336-364-8881.
Three field days are coming up:.   End-of-bee-school field day is rescheduled for April 6 at Todd and Inge’s house, beginning at 11 AM., including potluck lunch.  Hotdogs and beverages will be provided so bring side dishes. Going into Todd’s hives will inspire confidence to install new packages arriving on the 6th and 15th.  Four people who have passed the state’s Certified Beekeeper test plan to take the hands-on part of the test at this event.  Door prizes include smoker, hive tools and division board feeders.  You’ll see how to do a sugar shake test for Varroa, too.
Later in April a field day is scheduled to do a “cut out”. ..getting a bee colony out of a structure where it’s not wanted.  A May field day will demonstrate making a split.
Sign up for the PCBA list-serve at to get updates as field days hinge on good weather.
PCBA officers get a call from Cooperative Extension office when swarms are sighted.  Take the call and get free bees.   E-mail Inge if you want to be on this list.   Include best contact info, times you’re available and distances you’re willing to drive.
Todd introduced a panel of longtime beekeepers to respond to questions.:  Tim Gentry, who started PCBA; Will Hicks, our region’s NC Apiary Inspector; Randall Alston, who is a Master Beekeeper and helpful responder to questions posted on Listserve, and Lewis Cauble.
  • Ghostly dead larva in front of hive may mean CHILL BROOD.
  • Slow-moving bees may be STARVING.   OVERFEEDING rarely happens, but frames can become HONEY-BOUND leaving the queen no place to lay eggs.
  • Indications bees are preparing to SWARM include queen cells along the bottom bars, overcrowded frames.   Earlier observations are better:   Is there royal jelly packed in the cell?  Solutions include splits, switching hive positions (if both are queen-right and one has more space.)
  • Deformed wings may indicate VARROA MITE problem so do a sugar shake in spring (before poplar flow) and in fall (soon enough for treatment and colony to produce another generation or two before winter).  Lewis suggests a mid-summer test to stay aware of mite levels.   Know as much mite biology as bee biology, he said.  2/3rds of mites are under the caps.    None-temperature dependent ApiVar has been approved again as a treatment.  Current temperature swings meant some of us had put formic acid pads on the hive when daytime highs and forecasts were in the recommended 50-70-degree range, only to have temps fall below 50 for several days.   Follow every treatment with follow-up test to measure its effectiveness … whether it’s formic acid, thymol, Dowda sugar shake (Tokso found this helpful), doing split to break brood cycle, small cell foundation, drone-trapping, herbs or whatever, then REPORT results.
  • Reverse supers, putting the one with lots of space on top since queens tend to move up.
  • Taking honey AND doing SPLIT this year may work, better after the flow than now, if there’s enough brood and food.   Taking less honey and doing the split before the flow ends may help both new colonies.  Having a queen ready for the new hive also helps.  Benefits of letting the brood raise a queen are: less expense, educational, and colony may not accept introduced queen.
  • Is staggering hives necessary to prevent drift?    It may help, but you can also paint the hives different colors.   In a straight row, the end hives may get the most bees, but the bees are still working for you so set-up also needs to work for you.
Two Bee School students took the State’s Certified Beekeeping test.
April 18 at 7 PM in Room 165 at the Person County Office Building
Lynn S. Wilson
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