September 2013 Minutes

Person County Beekeepers Association
Date:  September 19, 2013
Location: Person County Office Building, Room 165

MINUTES.  Mary opened the meeting and minutes of August meeting were approved.

FINANCE.  Amanda reported no financial activity this month.  The current balance is $1891.50.  She asked members to renew PCBA and NCSBA memberships now to insure receipt of all 2014 publications and distributed forms.

ACTION.   Amanda requested that the PCBA and NCSBA membership forms be added to the new RESOURCES section coming soon to the PCBA website.

FARM SERVICE AGENCY.   Mary introduced Charity Silver, new County Executive Director for the FSA-Roxboro.   Ms. Silver grew up in a farming family in Halifax County and has worked for FSA since 2010.   While FSA is known for commodity program, the agency also has a conservation program.  Honey producers, with payment of annual premium of $250 and consistent reporting of their honey yields, can secure their honey crop against natural disasters.   Purchase by Nov 1.   She noted that the educational goals of FSA align with PCBA’s goals.  They offer a farm loan program for young and old.   Microloans of up to $35,000 may be secured for equipment and other operational costs (not livestock).   Interest rates vary monthly but is currently 1.875%.  She encouraged folks to receive FSA news by subscribing at:

COMMITTEES.-NOMINATIONS.    Tom reports committee is at work.

COMMITTEES-FUNDRAISER-HONEY OF THE MONTH.    Inge reported that $243 had been raised ($117 at Personality Festival, $56 at National Honeybee/Farmers’ Market, and $70 from individuals.   Additional tickets were sold this evening.   Honey donors presented their honey.

FUNDRAISER-BALL CAPS.  Several logo design options were offered by Todd and the group chose a design with the silhouette of a bee and “PCBA” surrounded by honey comb cell wall to be executed in two shades of yellow, giving Todd creative license to make changes as required by the vendor.   Inge passed around an order form and noted that 12 of each of the two chosen styles is minimum order.   PCBA will purchase caps and collect money later.

STUDENT BEEKEEPER SPONSORSHIP.   Carol reported for Jim that Mayor Marilyn Newell asked us to talk with the property owner to resolve liability issues before permission to place colonies at Farmers’ Market can be given.  Inge reported that since the GAP funding application was due on 9/14, it was submitted in expectation that the project will proceed.

BEES AS LIVESTOCK.  Mary is “pinning” a map to show the locations of PCBA bee hives for a report to Person County Cooperative Extension due on Nov 1.

OUTREACH-RIBBON DISPLAY CASE.  The Lagalys presented their handcrafted ribbon display case to PCBA and members responded with appreciative oohs!

FESTIVALS, FARMERS’ MARKET, FAIR, AG DAY, FARM TOUR.   Amanda reported that Festival folks wanted to buy honey, and that one young person said bee booth was one she looked forward to most.

ACTION.  Inge recommended that if booths are all on the same street again, PCBA should pay for a crafters’ booth next year so individuals can sell their honey.

Carol noted that some counties are working together to execute State Fair booth.  Lewis clarified that there are multi-county beekeeping associations.

ACTION:  Inge will submit the State Fair application before midnight tonight and call folks to help execute the theme “What it takes to be a beekeeper”

ACTION:   Lewis requested that folks share with him after the meeting about how the experience of beekeeping has been different from their initial expectations.

ACTION:   Inge requested that everyone show up for wax workshop to generate products for Fair.

ACTION:   Todd will provide Don Hopson’s contact info via the ListServe so that individuals who can volunteer for the NCSBA booth at the State Fair can contact Don directly to sign up ASAP (and get free admission tickets).   Several members expressed interest.

ACTION:   Mary requested volunteers for Ag Day at Huck Sansbury Park, from 9 am-2 pm on Friday, Nov 1.  Carol and Inge and others hope to help Mary at this event for Person County 5th and 6th graders.   Too cool for observation hive but newly-purchased materials will provide interactive option.

ACTION:   Amanda recommended that we apply to the public library three months in advance of August (May?) to use their display space to celebrate National Honeybee Day.

ACTION:    The Savages’ farm will be on the Sept 21-22 Farm Tour.  Inge asked for volunteers to “bee educate” and sell raffle tickets at their farm from 1-5 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

CONTINUING EDUCATION-WAX WORKSHOP.    This field day event will be hosted by Tom and Linda Savage at 2 pm on Saturday, Sept 28, with potluck snacks first.  Mary and Todd will bring wax.  Inge said participants will make cosmetics, votive and pillar candles, and Christmas ornaments (if someone will bring holiday cookie cutters or other molds).

PROGRAM-”PREPARING FOR WINTER …When it’s in the 70s”.  Inge introduced Todd Walker as guest speaker.   Todd indicated that his photography topic will be on next year’s agenda.

Is the hive HEALTHY?   Do the bees have enough RESOURCES?   Is there a LAYING QUEEN?

HEALTH.  If the colony is infected with American Foulbrood, the best option may be burning it.  A spotty brood pattern may indicate varroa pressure and that’s the number one worry.   Bee reproduction is slowing down, but varroa populations are increasing now.  DO A SUGAR SHAKE.  If eight hives are above the threshold for treatment, treat all the hives in your bee yard.

Treat the hive, if indicated, then do another sugar shake to see if treatment was effective and check to make sure you haven’t lost a queen.

RESOURCES.  The goal, per Dr. Larry Connor, is to “Feed the bees that feed the bees.”  He means for us to make sure the nurse bees for the bees that will form the winter cluster are especially well-fed.     Working back from an average first frost date of October 25, Todd notes that bees hatching around that time, would have been laid before Oct 2.   Since worker bees start feeding larva about 5 days after emergence, the nurse bees for the winter stock would themselves be getting fed around Sept 19.

Todd notes that his hives seem light on pollen this year so he is feeding both pollen patties and sugar (1:1) now.   Use small strips of pollen patties or you’ll multiply the small hive beetles.  (Mary rolls her pollen patties thinner.   Lay material on top of the inner cover if you don’t want to go into the hive.  Division board or top feeders are preferred to stop robbing.

Todd noted the more bees in cluster the better the surface area/volume ratio (SA/V).   A 5-inch cluster has an SA/V of 1.2 while a 7-inch cluster (about 5 frames) has an SA/V of .8 … meaning there are fewer bees on the outside relative to the number of bees protected inside the cluster.

QUEEN.  The laying cycle may not stop if we have a mild winter.  Combine hives if you need a new queen and can’t get one.   Requeening may be an option in the fall, but Todd thinks the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.   Advantages include less chance of swarming, colony enters winter with a strong population, young queens lay more eggs, the colony emerges in Spring with a bigger population, and breaking the brood cycle disrupts the varroa brood cycle, too.  The disadvantages include queens may be hard to find, bees are harder to work when there’s no honeyflow, there’s little time to assess the queen’s performance, and if the queen is not accepted, you have a queenless hive.

ANSWERING QUESTIONS.  Todd switches sugar: water mix to 2:1 if bees need additional food during winter.    Add the entrance reducer before mice look for winter home.  If you use screened bottom board, cover it when you treat, then leave it covered in for the winter, he recommends.  Ken said one of his hives survived a 20-inch snowfall even though hive cover had blown off.

MEETING ADJOURNED.  Inge invited folks to sample honeys from her travels and enjoy the “swarm” of cupcakes provided by Mac and Amanda.  Mary adjourned the meeting.

NEXT PCBA MEETING:    Thursday, October 17, 7 PM, in Room 165, Person Co. Office Bldg.    The Warners will talk about Certified Naturally Grown beekeeping.

ACTION:  October refreshments by Mary Dietz


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