Meeting – Monday, 5/27/13
By: Donna Victors
Steve and Donna Victors
Treasurer’s Report: We have $7,884.85 in our treasury. We have bills consisting of $9 and $1.32 for
stamps and mailing. It was moved to pay and several people seconded it. It passed unanimously.
We voted to pay $100 to the VFW Hall in appreciation of their service. Harry Evans delivered the
Correspondence: We received the following email requesting a hive on her property in midtown
Contact Jannah: email@example.com
Someone commented that he had viewed her property between Northern Lights and Fred Meyer’s
and that there was no fence. It was by a church and an alley. Discussion that the hive needed to
be 10 feet away from the property line in any direction. He said the best spot was by the trash can.
There was no old business.
Steve had sent out a survey regarding cold weather hiving results. Most of the responses were
from people who had no problems with hiving. All in all, the bees were slow to start laying eggs.
The most helpful observation was from a gal in Soldotna who had two hives outside and an
observation hive inside. She watched the queen lay a ton of eggs, and the workers gathered up
the eggs and threw them out! The queen kept laying. Steve explained that the production of eggs
is not energy intensive. When the eggs hatch, then the larvae take energy. So the workers hold
the eggs until the fourth day, then throw them out.
Insulated hives faired better than non-insulated hives. So much is also tied into the ability of the
bees to feed. “Just as we’ve always done it,” proved to not work in this cold spring. The type of
feeder system that works in warm weather especially in the case of Boardman feeders, the bees
can starve as they cannot move to get to it in the cold. Boardman feeders are not good in this
climate. Even with a frame feeder, they can starve unless the feeder is close to the cluster. The
best feeding system was the nut jar feeder. Right over the hive or frames of feed/stores was best.
Bees go into hiber-nation mode in the cold. They’ll starve unless food is right by them. They
cannot move or break cluster in cold weather.
Joe Dunham took six frames of comb and backpack sprayer and filled them with sugar syrup when
he hived his bees. His bees did just fine. If you have frames of leftover winter feed, it’s a good
idea to put them in the center so the bees can feed easily. It’s also a good idea to have a frame or
two of feed in case of rainy days in the summer.
Location of the hive makes a huge difference in success in starting a hive especially in a cold
spring. Next to a building on the southern side and out of the wind is ideal. The difference in the
bee type also makes a difference. Carniolans shut down egg production quicker in rainy or cool
days. Feed stimulates nectar and pollen substitute stimulates protein for larvae.
General observations of the speed of consumption of the pollen cake on the top bars tell you the
quantity of brood inside the hive. The more brood, the more pollen they’ll take.
Feeding with Honey Bee Healthy wasn’t asked on the survey. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
with the water feed staves off mold. Honey Bee Healthy is a natural fungicide. Nosema is classified
as a fungus. Honey Bee Healthy is being studied to treat Nosema and has been found to be just as
effective as fumigillan or a Chlorox solution. Bee-L List discusses this. We use the same amount
of drops for bees as we could use to treat emergency water for our use.
Some people put heaters in their hives. One person installed a car heater under the hive along
with insulation. (Not good!) The bees came flying out and froze! 25-30 Watts is plenty of heat.
Plant warmers seem to work well.
Will this slow start mean we won’t get a honey crop? The real question is whether we will have
flowers or nectar in time. There is only pollen now—the willows. This is still the first willow flower
and not the second set. If it’s an extended summer, we should be okay.
Do we keep feeding sugar water? Continue to feed until the bees stop taking it as they are
foraging outside instead. We’ve seen bees starving in the middle of the summer. There should be
a couple of frames of feed on the edge of the super and an arch of stores above the brood. With
regular hive checks, it is vital to make sure they have plenty of food. Otherwise, they’ll throw out
the larvae and the eggs.
If you have foundation, you need to continue feeding longer. Check to make sure that the bees
also haven’t filled up all the frames so the queen has room to lay eggs. Pull a wall frame, slide over
the frames so that you may pull out the center frame to look at the larvae, eggs, and food stores.
Figure on getting little or no honey your first year. Tom Elliott got one frame of honey for his first
How do you know when drawn comb is old and needs to be replaced?
1. Brood disease—bacterial, viral, fungal. The more it is used, the more load is entombed in
the wax comb.
2. Whether or not the comb picks up chemical treatments such as antibiotics or mite strips.
The wax retains the stuff and causes sterility in drones and weakens the hive.
If you keep healthy bees and don’t use chemicals, the comb will last longer. If you disinfect the
hives, the combs may last in excess of twenty years. However, the cells will get smaller due to
larval cocoons. The bees will rework the cell and rebuild the combs.
Tom Elliott has a rule of thumb he uses: Hold the frame in front of a 100 Watt lightbulb. If you
cannot see through it, change it out. This only works with wax foundation. Ty Tobias marks the
year on the top of each frame. He rotates out several frames a year.
Bee-L discussed studies on the effects of replacing combs. Each hive can draw out two frames of
comb a year without harm to the hive or honey production.
A question was asked about leaving follower boards in the hive. Follower boards are fine to leave
in right now. If they’re made of Styrofoam, the bees will eat them. Mylar bubblewrap (Reflectix)
seems to be just fine. The tinfoil coated Styrofoam is left alone. If the temperatures are 35 at night,
the babies can freeze out. The warmer and cozier the nest is, the better it is until the weather is
What do you do if you have mold in your hive? The hive needs ventilation. An upper entrance
takes care of that.
Ventilation tips and how-to’s were discussed. A notch in the inner cover can be an extra entrance.
Drill a hole in the super. Slide back the lid or upper super when the weather is warm and the
colony has expanded to need the second box. At night, put the lid back down.
Hands were shown who had how many frames of brood at this time. Most had four and five frames
Question was asked on what was the feed in the cans with the packages of bees as it wasn’t clear
as in years past. Steve will find out. Steve explained there are separate industries in the bee
package business. One outfit builds the boxes; one does the can filled with feed. It is not done by
the bee supplier.
Jack Anderson said he’s been trying to do the double queen system. It’s tricky to do, but if it
works, it’s great! If not, run the hive as a single queen hive.
If you have a top hive feeder, make sure there’s a screen over it as Harry E. stated he lost half the
bees due to drowning. The hive top feeder works, but it is best in warmer weather, especially
good for winter prep.
We will be having an August meeting since there are enough of us not tied up with the Fair. That
way we can talk about winter prep strategies.
Dawn Cowan will need to check about whether Wayne Vandry will be our honey judge or not. He’s
planning on moving sometime.
For our meeting in July, there should be plenty of drones and some people would have had
drones. Check your hives!
At last month’s meeting, Mike Fry said it was going to be a good year for honey—so we will blame
him instead of Colette as we did last year!
Volunteer(s) needed to bring snacks to the meeting. In the winter, it may be nice to have hot water
for teas, coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider. We have two 12-cup coffee makers for making hot
Two items were left behind the beginning beekeepers’ class in March at the VFW Hall & are still
unclaimed. Course Outline / Schedule on the back table where the refreshments were. Notes on
front and back of packet in black ink. On the left front pillar, The Beekeeper’s Handbook, 4th
Edition. Please call Donna at 892-6175.
|Southcentral Alaska Beekeepers Association
July 22nd at 6:30.
On the inside:
May Meeting Minutes
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