May 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers

Meeting Minutes – May, 2015

President Bob Asheim called the meeting to order at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center on 13 May 2015, at 6:00 PM.  Approximately 60 members were in attendance.

Bob emphasized the importance of the check-in sheet for keeping track of the health of our colonies which are managed by bee club members.  The check-in sheet asks each member to indicate:

  • attendance
  • # of colonies now on hand
  • Spring mite check
  • # of colonies lost since September 2014
  • new colonies

According to the April check-in sheet, there are 95 colonies within our club, and 34 colonies were lost since September 2014.

John McDowell and Jerry Owens have brought in many new packages and Nucs this Spring.

Bob stated when you pull the supers off the hive in September is the beginning of the new bee year.  Because April was so warm, colonies started out weeks ahead for the Spring build-up, but then the absence of rain slowed them down. With the May snow, and now the cool weeks, sometimes the queen will stop laying temporarily, and the brood may be eaten by the workers.

Bob then asked to go AROUND THE ROOM for each member to report on the status of their bees.  Members reported in variously from Newcastle, Edgemont, Deadwood, Custer, Piedmont, Sturgis, Norris Peak, and Rapid City. Jerry Owens stated this has been a fantastic Spring, and thanked members for their interest, as he has brought in 349 new colonies.


Kia Smith reported the balance in the treasury is $1315.16.  Our monthly expense is $40 for the meeting space, which is what the $1 donation is for when we pass the hat at the end of each meeting. The club has 50 paid-up members.

Kia also gave some statistics about bees she heard reported on the radio today:

  • More than 40% of bees in the United States were lost over the past year, and the losses are not just over the winter, but now summer too.
  • The almond crop in California is a 15 billion dollar industry, and has suffered major losses because of the decline in bee populations
  • The White House started a study last year on bee losses, and will be reporting the findings in a few weeks.


RAPID CITY ORDINANCE:  The proposed ordinance to allow hobby beekeeping within the city limits passed by a unanimous vote at the City Council meeting on 14 April, 2015.  However, a day or so after it was passed, one council member claimed the City Attorney forgot to add a proposed restriction that was discussed at the first reading, that would make it mandatory, not suggested, to have some kind of fencing between any beehive and neighboring property.  So the ordinance was sent back to the Finance Committee, which met this morning.  Jerry Owens and Tom Allen attended that meeting for the Club, and told the Committee in no uncertain terms that this was an unnecessary restriction and interference.  The committee voted against the restriction by a unanimous vote.  The ordinance now goes back to the City Council with a recommendation that the restriction does not pass.  It will be heard at the City Council meeting on May 18, 2015, at 6:30 at the City/County building.  All members and interested persons are encouraged to attend that meeting, though it is expected that the proposed restriction will be tabled, and the ordinance will stand as passed.

At the end of the meeting tonight, Mayor Kooiker came to express his support of the Ordinance, and mentioned that he had also been opposed to City licensure of bees, aligning with the Club in believing State registration is enough.  He said city licensure actually creates an expense for the city by having to keep the records of licensing.

TomJerryBobMayorMayor Congratulates Bee Club on Ordinance Allowing Beekeeping within the City Limits.  Shown from left, Tom Allen, immediate past president, Mayor Sam Kooiker, Bob Asheim, current President, Jerry Owens, Club founder. Photo by Dustie Ree.

  • Bob Asheim was contacted by Kenny Hargens who has 15 acres of wild flowers outside Hill City, and is hoping beekeepers will come forward to put their bees on this land.  He can be contacted at (605) 348-0496.
  • Bob Asheim was also contacted about “Keeping Bees with a Smile”, about natural beekeeping in horizontal hives by Fedor Lazutin, a Russian beekeeper.  A person will come and do a program if there is interest in hearing more about this.  Also see
  • Tom Allen stated that National Honeybee Day is August 22 and Pollinator Awareness Week is June 15-21 2015.  He is willing to write a letter asking the Governor of South Dakota to set aside those dates for Western South Dakota.  Tom’s proposal passed unanimously.
  • Tom Allen stated there was an excellent webinar on pollinator health by Ohio State University on April 15th.  That presentation can still be watched by going to   Their next webinar is on Wednesday, May 20th, on American Foul Brood.

–Kia Smith stated the South Dakota Beekeepers Association is holding their annual convention in Mitchell on June 24-25 2015.  She asked if this is focused on commercial or hobby beekeeping.  Members who have attended this convention in the past stated it is geared primarily for commercial beekeepers, with only passing interest in hobby beekeeping. Jerry Owens stated that 70% of beekeepers in South Dakota are hobbyists.


Tom Allen presented tonight’s program:  A Hobby Beekeeper’s Trip into Bee Science.


While in Arizona over the winter, Tom visited the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson.  Their mission is to conduct research to optimize the health of honey bee colonies, through improved nutrition and control of Varroa mites, in order to maximize production of honey bee pollinated crops.

Tom said it was a fascinating and informative experience, as the Center’s scientists came in and told about the research they are doing, and the second part of the day was a tour of the laboratories.

One of the stories they told was about getting a quantity of bees from California to use for their studies.  They put them in a freezer, and the next morning when they came into the lab, there was water all over the floor.  During the night, the bees had clustered, and produced so much heat it defrosted the freezer.

Members asked about the effects of Africanized bees. Tom said it is a matter of much concern there, and they get 3 or 4 emails every month about swarms, 99% of which are Africanized bees.

The lab brings in bees from California for their studies, so are studying the European strains of bees, not the Africanized ones.

The meeting was adjourned @7:30

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


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Secretary - Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers club
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