January 2014 Meeting Minutes


Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers



Meeting Minutes – January 8, 2014

President Tom Allen…

About 40 members attended the meeting.  Tom introduced Andrew Muxon/Treasurer and reminded everyone to pay their annual $10.00 / family dues.

Remember to register your hives with the State.  The registration fee is $12.00 per location.

Members discussed the status of their colonies which is summarized below by location so you can see how the bees are doing around the area.

  • Custer – lost 1 hive in late fall;  2 hives remaining/OK
  • Belle Fourche – lost 1 hive mid November; 3-1/2 remaining/OK
  • Rapid City – lost 1 hive early fall; 5 remaining/OK
  • Johnson Siding – lost 1 hive ; 2 remaining/OK
  • Deadwood – lost 1 hive in summer; 2 remaining/OK
  • Caputa – 1 warre hive doing well
  • Terry Peak – 3 hives (one fell over in blizzard) – all doing well
  • New Castle – 3 hives went into winter well but have not checked since blizzard
  • Hill City – 2 hives doing well
  • Sturgis – lost 1 hive mid-summer; 2 remaining/OK
  • N of Flying J – lost 5 hives in blizzard; 1 remaining/OK
  • Rapid Valley – 1 hive started in April from package of Carnolians; doing well and harvested 120 pounds from hive.  Thermometer in hive indicates 57 degrees so hive should be doing well.
  • Piedmont – 2 hives doing well; harvested 60 pounds
  • Rockerville – lost 1 hive early fall and not sure how other one is doing
  • Rapid City – lost 1 hive (disappeared) and 1 hive froze; have 3 hives remaining/OK
  • Rapid Valley – 2 strong hives hoping to split in spring

 North Dakota Pollinator Plan

Tom discussed the ND Honeybee protection plan which will reduce the risk to honeybees from the use of pesticides and other farming/ag practices.  Bob recommended contacting John Stolle who owns Sturgis Honey Co, is a hive inspector for the State Ag Department and an active member of the SD Beekeepers Association.  Perhaps commercial and hobby beekeepers could work together to come up with a plan for South Dakota.  You can read the North Dakota Pollinator Plan here:  http://www.nd.gov/ndda/files/resource/Pollinator_Plan.pdf

 Winter Hive Inspections

Jerry discussed how to inspect your hives in the winter.

  • Rule 1 – leave them alone
  • Only open hive if the temps are 60 degrees or above.  When you remove the hive cover, the cold air tunnels from the bottom of the hive up through the top which cools the entire hive.
  • Frames will be really stuck down at this point and they will be cold so trying to remove a frame will likely cause it to break.  Just peek in the hive to see if they are low on stores.  You can feed patties, sugar cubes, sugar or extra honey (if you know the source of the honey was safe). 
  • Check if you are getting mold on the cover or upper section of the hive.  If so you need more ventilation.

Remember bees have been doing this for millions of years.

Discussion included weighing the hives rather than opening them to see if they have enough to eat.  Bob/Belle Fourche passed around a luggage scale (similar to a fish scale and can be purchased at Sears) that weighs up to 100 pounds.  Bob establishes a baseline with empty hives then weighs his hives every couple weeks and records the results.  He uses the scale to weigh the back and front – adds the numbers together and that is the approximate weight.  He said a double-deep 10 frame empty hive weighed just shy of 42 pounds. 

Other discussion was the overall weight of supers.  Some members use mediums for their supers.  Bob said a medium full of honey is about 55 pounds while a normal super would be 90-100 pounds.  Florence built her own Warre hive and her heaviest is 35 pounds.

Winter Feed

Tom discussed making Fondant.  Add 16 oz of water to 4 pounds of sugar.  Using a candy thermometer, heat to 234 degrees (watching and stirring constantly so it won’t burn).  When it reaches the proper temp, turn off the heat and allow to cool until it is 200 degrees; then whisk until milky.  Divide the mixture onto several paper plates and allow to cool completely.  When cool, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and store in a cool place (or freezer).

Tom also recommended the Honey Bee Suite blog where the author has a ‘minimalist guide to winter feeding’.  Note that this link is also on the website under Beekeepers Calendar.


Bob/Belle Fourche brought in a bottling box that he built based on plans from the Bee Essentials book.

There were numerous other topics and tidbits discussed – too many to put into the minutes. 

Minutes submitted by:  Linda Anderson for Michelle Hovland, Secretary 

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 michellemchovland@msn.com


About Wannabee Secretary

Secretary - Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers club
This entry was posted in Archive - 2013 Minutes, Archive 2014 Minutes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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