April 2011 Minutes

Meeting Minutes – April 13, 2011

The regular meeting of the Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on April 13, 2011 at the Canyon Lake Senior Center by Lee Alley.  There were 41 people in attendance.  Remember to come between 5:30 and 6:00 so members can socialize before the meeting starts.  For this meeting, James Ann Barlean once again brought tasty treats — some delicious gluten free honey bread baked by her mother who owns Cakes and More (located behind FedEx off St Patrick Street).

Club Business

We had such a packed meeting this time that we did not get around to club business – so this is a repeat of March’s club business that we’ll try to address in the May meeting.

 Jerry Owens is offering a honey extracting service where he will extract your honey for 0.25 (that’s right – one quarter) per frame.  That means he will extract a 10 frame super of honey for $2.50 !!  Given that Jerry is offering this service, there was much discussion as to whether the club should pursue purchasing a honey extractor.  In January, the club dues were raised from $5.00 to $15.00 for one year to raise enough money to purchase the extractor.  Do we now lower the dues back to $5.00 and refund the other $10.00 to the approximately 34 people who have paid the new dues thus far?  Do we keep the dues at $15.00 so the club has enough funds to purchase an extractor next year should it become necessary?  This discussion will be the focus of the club business agenda at the next meeting.

 Lee will bring about 10 copies of the club roster to the next meeting.  As stated in previous meetings, for privacy reasons, we are not making this roster available in electronic format – only hard-copy.

 Logo Challenge

Wow – we had over 16 logo submissions and they are all very nice.  We will continue gathering logos – and have a vote on the club logo in either the May or (more likely) June meeting. 

 Recipe Challenge

Some members thought it may be fun to put together a recipe book related to recipes that use honey.  Members are encouraged to e-mail recipes (along with your name) to Linda at landerson@rapidnet.com or bring recipes to the next meeting.  Lila mentioned she has not used store-bought bread in 30 years and makes her own bread using ground wheat and honey.  She will bring that recipe to the next meeting.  And with so many cool logos submitted thus far, there will be many neat images that could be added to a recipe book.

Linda is looking for volunteers who would like to take over the compilation of recipes

 Disclaimer:  If I have misquoted you, misnamed you, didn’t quote you, didn’t name you, or otherwise made mistakes in these meeting minutes, I apologize. Please feel free to send me the corrections and I will correct/publish them in the meeting minutes on the web site.  Send to landerson@rapidnet.com

Member Profile

Rita Chapman from Silver City decided to get into bees last spring partially due to her father, Don Sargent, who has had an empty hive in his garage for the past 10 years.  Rita purchased 1 hive & nuke in mid-May 2010.  With Jerry’s assistance, they discovered numerous queen cells and decided to kill the queen cells before they realized that the bees were actually working on replacing their queen.  Rita re-queened her hive in mid-June but by the October/November time frame, her and her husband realized there was not enough honey to carry the bees through the winter.  They reluctantly decided to eliminate the bees and save what honey they did have for the new bees they will get this spring.  Her father put his 10-year old hive to use by getting bees as well – and his bees are doing fine.  Rita said she’s had a great time with her father comparing bees and working together and is hoping for a successful bee year in 2011. 

Special Show and Tell Session

The club Vice President, Jay Erickson – and his son Brennen, brought in their new Top Bar Garden Hive.  


This is a gorgeous hive with many neat features including the ability to check the hive through the full length, glass observation window on either side of the super. 

Jay and Brennan Hive


The frames are top bar frames; the frames in the lower super have spaces allowing the bees to move up to the upper super.  But you can also purchase a Langstroth Frame Adapter that allows you to use 5 9” Langstroth Frames in the hive. 

 There is also a removable mite count bottom boards and numerous other features. 

You can get more information on this hive at http://www.thegardenhive.com/

 Thanks Jay and Brennen !!



The May 11th meeting seminar will (tentatively) be on Swarming and how to prevent a swarm presented by Bob Steele.

 The April 13th meeting seminar was ‘Splitting a Hive’ by Troy Dean.  Troy shared so much information about splitting hives that I cannot record it all here but some highlights are listed below. 

  • First – don’t roll the queenTroy said many of the you-tube videos he’s watched show beekeepers removing the middle frame first and the brood and queen are typically in the middle frame.  Since there is a high chance of causing the queen to be damaged or killed when pulling the middle frame, he stressed that you should always loosen, move, and remove an outer frame first; then slide the next frame over to that spot—and the next – until you have the middle frame unobstructed by other bees, fully drawn comb and/or burr comb.  If the queen is damaged (instead of killed), she may still produce pheromones and that is more detrimental to the hive since she cannot lay eggs but the bees do not realize they need to produce a new queen.  Always protect the Queen!!
  • Splitting is not an exact science and success depends upon the production levels as well outside temperature and health of the bees.  Splitting should not be attempted unless it is a nice, sunny calm day when the nighttime outside temperature is in the high 50’s but preferably in the 70’s.  In our area, that may mean splitting in mid-May through mid-June.  Any time later than mid-June means lower honey-flow and a lower chance the new hive will survive.
  •  When splitting, the removed brood frames should be protected from the wind so the brood does not get chilled.  Before splitting, you should verify that you have at least 6 frames that are at least 1/3 full of brood on both sides.  You’ll also want to provide the new hive with honey until they are established enough to create their own workers so extra frames with honey should be added to the new hive.
  •  The new hive should be moved far away from the old hive – at least 30 feet but 2 miles or more will ensure bees from the old hive don’t return to the new hive.
  •  Smoke the hive when splitting – less stress on the bees and less stress on you.

 Thanks Troy !!


Honey Flow

This year, we want all of our members to keep track of when the honey flow starts in their area as well as what major nectar sources are in bloom at that time.  You can add comments to the Honey Flow section of the web site by following this link:  WannaBee Club Honey Flow Forum   (or go to WannaBeeClub.org – then select ‘Honey Flow’ under Blog Categories on the right-hand side of the screen).

Please use the website to report your pollen sightings and where you are located.  It will be beneficial to our club as a whole to have a record of this information.

All you need to do is follow the link, above — slide to the bottom of the screen and enter your information – then press [Post Comment] and you will have added your Honey Flow Tracking information to the web site for all to see and learn from.

 We received one comment last month – Sharon Oney saw her bees bringing in pollen on March 20th

At the meeting, others discussed seeing their bees bringing in pollen.  Around Nemo – it was March 16th (first grey, then yellow pollen).  Others saw bees w/pollen on March 19th.

There are several sites that have information about pollen.  Lee handed out a pollen color chart and this can also be found on our web site under Beekeepers Calendar / April

http://www.pollen.com and http://www.pollenlibrary.com both allow you to enter your zip code and search to report what plants are flowering in your area – including trees, weeds and grasses.

These links are also on the Honey Flow Forum page. 

Introductions & Hive Status

Lee had each member introduce themselves and state how many hives they had last fall and how many are alive this month. 

There were 59 hives last summer/fall, 22 were still alive this month so members in attendance lost 37 hives (several during the cold spell in March).  Most have re-ordered bees for this spring. 

Jerry – Bees and Order Status

Jerry ordered 87 nukes and 12 queens last year.  This year, he ordered 90 nukes and 4 packages of bees – but no queens yet.  He still plans to create a queen bank later this year.  He talked to his supplier and the bees are still in an apple orchard in Washington State.  It was 34 degrees the other day and since it is such a cold spring in Washington, the blossoms are late so the bees will not be arriving back to Nebraska until later in the spring.  Jerry plans to pick up the bees in mid-May.  Next year, if there is a significant amount of bee orders, he will drive to Washington State and pick them up himself in order to get the bees into our area sooner.

Jerry looked at a lot of hives over the past weeks and found that the ones up in the pines are doing very well.  One hive was already so full of honey he suggested the owner add a super to it.  It is located up by the water tower on hwy 16.  Another member (on south hwy 79) has her hive surrounded by corn-stalks and pumpkin vines but it’s a bit cooler and windier where she is located and there wasn’t much brood in her hive yet.  Jerry’s hives also don’t have a lot of brood yet. 

As Jerry suggested, location and shelter are very important.  Some of the hives surrounded on 3 sides with hay bales and covered seem to do better than others with less protection.  A couple members discussed the problem they had with using Styrofoam insulation around the hive and losing their bees; other members had good luck with their Styrofoam.

Lila and George brought in Lila’s hive and Troy showed the members how you could tell the bees had starved in the hive and what to look for.  In this case, even though there was honey on the frames, it was likely too cold for the bees to get to the honey.

If anyone has questions like this – please bring in your frame or other information and one of the experts at the meeting will try to answer your questions.  Please put the frames into plastic storage bags before bringing them in so we don’t drip honey on the floor/tables. 

Don’t forget to use the Questions and Answers section on the web site – that way members can answer your questions between meetings.

Mentoring Program

There was some discussion of trying to setup a mentoring program where more experienced beekeepers can pair up with less experienced beekeepers.  This would be on a voluntary basis so if you are willing to mentor (or be mentored), let us know.  

Other Member Discussions

Dormant Seeding:  Linda Z attended a Master Gardners Seminar near Albuquerque and the expert speaker discussed how they have found that turf can actually be planted several weeks ahead of when they originally thought; a concept called dormant seeding.  In the past, the experts thought the seed would only germinate when soil temperatures reached a specific temperature.  If you are a gardener, do some web searches on dormant seeding to get more information about early planting of turf.  Here’s one example: http://www.grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_seeding_during_dormancy/

 Bartering:  Patty Griffen has already started her cold-weather crops like lettuce, spinach, etc.  She is willing to barter veggies. 

 Surveys:  Tom Allen recommended members take the 2 surveys at the Bee Informed Partnership web site (the link is posted on our home page).  The surveys MUST BE COMPLETED by April 18th.  One survey is a winter loss survey and the other is a management survey. 

See Winter Loss Survey & Management Survey 

 Treasurers Report

Nicole didn’t have a chance to give the Treasurer Report at this meeting.  Since this newsletter is posted on-line, I do not include the actual dollar information here.

 The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Minutes submitted by: Linda Anderson


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Secretary - Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers club
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