January 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers


Meeting Minutes – January, 2015

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers Meeting

President Bob Asheim called the meeting to order at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center on 14 Jan 2015 at 6:00 PM. Approximately 45 members were in attendance, with 3 people here for the first time.


Bob introduced the other new officers, Vice President Susan Nolan, Secretary Jan Snedigar, and Treasurer Kia Smith (she suggests remembering how to pronounce her name like “Hi ya Kia”)

He stated past President Tom Allen was out of town, and acknowledged past Presidents Bill Clements and Jerry Owens.

He also identified our Club Support: Web Master Linda Anderson, Librarian Dan Mullaly, and Facebook Manager Michelle Grosek.

Bob planned tonight’s program himself, but states for future meetings he will be working closely with the Program Committee, and identified committee members Dan and Tina Mullaly and Michelle Hovland.


ANNUAL CLUB MEMBERSHIP OF $10.00 PER FAMILY ARE DUE. Please get your dues ASAP to Treasurer Kia Smith, by cash or check.


  • Rapid City Ordinance Committee
    •  There has been no new information from the City Council regarding an   ordinance.
  • Swarm Program Procedure Committee
    • Organize a SWARM CAPTURE TEAM who will be points of contact in Rapid City and the surrounding areas to answer calls and collect swarms.
    • President Bob Asheim is requesting a list/contact information of club members  who will do this in each geographical area.  He will cover the Belle Fourche area.
      • Bob Tolman and Jerry Owens have been covering the Rapid City area.  See the website for more contact information.
    • He suggested setting up a relationship/guidelines between the City and our Club for notification and response.  We are thinking of charging for the service of checking swarms if it turns out to be Yellow Jackets or other non-honeybee swarms.
    • Generate area maps for Club footprints



  • Cost — $12.00 per apiary
  • Must submit 2 documents, the “Registration” and “Bee Location Permission”.  BOTH FORMS CAN BE DOWNLOADED ON THIS WEBSITE — see the Home page.


  • Now is the time to be making plans for the upcoming bee year. This list of      questions is to help with your planning:
    • Do you intend to add colonies, and if so, do you intend to buy packages or NUCs?
    • Do you intend to make splits?
    • Was your overall plan successful last year or do you need to change it?
    • Are you going to re-queen?
    • Was your swarm-prevention plan successful?
    • Was your mite-management plan effective?  Does it need to be updated?
    • Are you going to plant bee-friendly plants in your yard?
    • Does your equipment need to be repaired?
    • Do your supers need cleaning?
    • Do you need more training or bee books to read?


President Bob Asheim gave a talk on Bee Biology, the beekeeping seasonal cycle, and the current stage of Winter dormancy.

  • Most beekeepers consider the start of the beekeeping season as the first of September through the end of August of the following year
  • 6 basic functions that a colony will repeat over a year (starting in September) is nest consolidation, dormancy, buildup, swarming, honey flow, and robbing. We manage our colonies by encouraging or discouraging these colony functions by planned interventions, such as supplemental feeding.
  • Bob discussed “Growing Degree Days” and how dandelions are the single most important flower for our bee colonies


  • Bees start going dormant when the temperature inside the hive is 57 degrees. Outside temperature is different than inside temperature.
  • Outer shell of the main cluster inside the hive is 1 to 3 inches of tightly- packed bees. Bees on the outer surface of the cluster are unable to move but can still extend their stingers.
  • The outer cluster surface temperature is between 43 to 46 degrees. When a bee’s temperature drops to 45 degrees, she is unable to move and will die within 2 days, or if the individual temperature drops to 40 degrees.
  • The bees in the center of the cluster will over-heat and move to the outside of the shell allowing the outer bees to be moved in and warmed up.
  • Normal bee activity is carried on inside this shell including brood rearing.    With brood, inner cluster temp is 93 to 95 degrees, without brood is between 65 and 70 degrees. The bees will sometimes eat the brood as a source of nutrition.
  •  Honey bees cannot start flying until the temperature is above 50 degrees, and when the temperature inside the cluster reaches 59 degrees, cleansing flights start. Weak colonies do little flying below 60 degrees.
  • The cluster must maintain contact with the honey stores to survive. When temperature allows, the cluster will move up and “filling station” bees will venture out and consolidate honey back closer to the cluster.
  • Sharp drops in temperature will trap bees outside the central cluster and they will form doomed small clusters in different areas.
  • Do not open a hive and remove frames unless the temperature outside is at least @60 degrees, and 65 degrees is safer.
  • Bob has found that a bottom board on a hive can get very warm and tends to draw the bees outside, when actually outside temperatures are too cold, and they fly out and die. He will create shade on the bottom board to keep it from warming up so much.
  • Source of water on warm winter days are puddles and melting snow


  • They may starve because of insufficient honey stores. Feed colony in fall/leave between 60 and 90 lbs of honey. If you know the stores are low now, feed fondant or sugar candy–you can slide sugar patties right into the entrance. Bees cannot process sugar-water during the dormancy period
  • Colony suffers from PMS (Parasitic Mite Syndrome). Install grease patties for tracheal mites. How this works, is the grease gets on all the bees, not just the nurse bees, and confuses the mites, who can’t follow the smell.
  • Jerry Owens stated that the worst month for losing hives is April in this part of the country, because of our long winters and by then the bees may run out of honey. It’s crucial to pay close attention starting in March, and do inspections on warm-enough days, so you know if you need to feed them.
  • If the main cluster of bees is right at the top cover, it may be an indication they are starving, and you must feed them.
  • When a colony starves, all the bees will die within 24 to 36 hours of each other. That is because all the bees share food with each other through begging until all the food is gone at about the same time.
  • Insufficient number of bees to form proper cluster
    • Going into the winter, the number of adult bees should be between 18,000 and 30,000. In the Fall, combine colonies to achieve this number if possible.
  • Bee bowels become compacted. We have no control of low temperature durations that are too long and do not allow cleansing flights.
    • Goldenrod is high in particulate, and results in low-quality honey that can affect the bees. To keep them from feeding on it in late summer/fall, feed them 2:1 sugar water, which is a higher concentration than any other nectar they will find
  • Colony suffers from PMS (Parasitic Mite Syndrome). Install grease patties for tracheal mites. How this works, is the grease gets on all the bees, not just the nurse bees, and confuses the mites, who can’t follow the smell.
  • Colony suffers from CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). Combination of contact with specific pesticides, and above factors.

Bob passed around a copy of “Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping” by Dewey M. Caron & Lawrence John Connor, which was his main source for this talk.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50.


Minutes submitted by: Jan Snedigar, 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 jpsned2149@gmail.com



About Wannabee Secretary

Secretary - Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers club
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