July 2015 Meeting Minutes

Wannabee Hobby Beekeepers


Meeting Minutes – July, 2015

President Bob Asheim called the meeting to order at the Canyon Lake Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, at 6:00 PM.  Approximately 35 people were in attendance.

Bob introduced the other officers, team members, and past presidents who were present.  He acknowledged our Treasurer, Kia Smith, who recently completed the University of Montana Apprentice Beekeeper Course. The Club applauded her accomplishment.

Program Director Tina Mulally encouraged the members to tell her of any programs they would like to have presented. And she displayed T-shirts she sells for $8 that say, “I’m not in it for the Money–I’m in it for the Honey!”

Bob stated where we are now in the Bee Year is the Build Up Stage is almost complete and the queen is starting to reduce the number of eggs she lays per day, and with the field bees working to exhaustion with the honey flow, the number of bees dying per day exceeds the number born. Swarming tendencies are reduced.


A treasurer’s report was not read.

Bob then asked to go AROUND THE ROOM for members to report on the status of their bees.  Members reported in variously from Belle Fourche, Boulder Canyon, Custer, Hermosa, Hot Springs, Norris Peak, Rapid City, Rapid Valley, Rockerville, and Sheridan Lake Road.  By and large, most members report that their colonies are doing well, and anticipate a good honey year.  Some of the comments were:

  • Many people have experienced swarming
  • quite a few have added from 1 to 3 supers
  • Bob Asheim in Belle Fourche extracted 6 pounds of honey from just 2 super frames.
  • Ross Burden in Hot Springs, states he has 1 weak and 1 strong colony, and wonders if the bees might be affected by insecticides, as his neighbor has been spraying with Roundup every 2 weeks.
  • Lester Nelson in Boulder Canyon reports he observed a lot of bees fighting on the landing board of his hive, and saw one bee flying away carrying another bee. Bob Asheim and other members explained this is what you see when a colony is being robbed. Suggestion is to reduce the hive opening so the home colony has less area to protect. Also, laying some blades of grass near the opening may discourage robbing, as it makes it harder for the invading bees to get through.
  • Peggy Johnstone in Rockerville states the bees have been working the blue salvia and catmint, and are eagerly awaiting the Russian sage.
  • Bob Tolman states he attended a Bee Club meeting in Rochester, MN during the months he was at the Mayo Clinic. During his absence, his son watched out for his bees  and captured 3 swarms, so all 10 of his hives are up and running well. And all of the Club members are very glad to have Bob back and up and running well!



  • According to the June check-in, there are 112 colonies within our Club, 29 of which are new, and 38 colonies have been lost since September 2014.
  • Kia Smith and Tina Mulally reported that they have been in touch with the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau regarding hosting the South Dakota State Beekeepers Convention in Rapid City. It wouldn’t be until 2017, as the convention is already scheduled to be held in Deadwood on July 7-8, 2016. Kia and Tina want to work collaboratively with commercial beekeepers, to promote understanding, and to work together to host a convention that addresses both hobby and commercial interests, or maybe start a convention of our own.
  • Bob Asheim and several other members attended the State Beekeepers Convention in Mitchell last month, and said as hobbyists, they were shunned by the commercial beekeepers. Jerry Owens stated that hobby beekeepers outnumber commercial beekeepers in the State by more than 3 to 1, so their concern is that we could “out vote” them on policy issues. Jerry stated, “That is not our intention, and we do not want to come across as being threatening in any way to commercial beekeepers.
  • Kia and Tina are meeting with the Convention Chairman this Friday, July 10. They agree to report back to the Club in September, with more information and their ideas for hosting a convention.
  • Tom Allen announced the next Ohio State webinar is on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 7:00 AM Mountain time. The subject is ‘The Effects of Tank-Mix Pesticide Combinations on bees’.

All webinars are free, and registration is not required. Webinars run from 9:00AM to 10:00AM Eastern.

To join the webinar, follow the link below and LOG IN AS A GUEST at about 6:55 the day of the event: http://go.osu.edu/theOSUbuzz

All webinars will be recorded and archived on the Bee Lab website.


Bob Asheim reported that our Club was contacted by Melissa Hamersma, an associate producer with South Dakota Public Broadcasting. She is planning to produce a video segment about honey in South Dakota, and would like to come to one of our meetings, possibly in August. She is especially interested in doing a segment about hobby bee keepers, specifically those with urban hives. She said Rapid City’s decision to allow hives within city limits is really interesting.

Jerry Owens stated since we just succeeded in getting the City Ordinance passed, this would be an excellent way to get the word out to other towns and cities across the State about our document and how the regulations are stated. They could e-mail us for a copy of it.

Bob Asheim sees this as an excellent opportunity for our Club, and we will want to put our best foot forward (and the 26,880,000 feet of our collective bees*) .

  • * 40,000 (average number of bees in a summer colony)
  •    X  112 (number of colonies in our Club)
  •    X      6  (number of legs per bee) =  26,880,000 bee feet


John McDowell presented tonight’s program, “July in the Apiary.”

NECTAR FLOW:  The nectar & pollen flow is on, and is ‘monstrous.‘  John has already taken 3 full supers off of one of his hives. If your goal is to maximize honey production, pull each super off as soon as it is full and replace it with a new one. However, leaving a full super of honey above the brood boxes acts as a natural barrier for the queen, to keep the frames of honey free of brood.

This time of year, the bees are working for you, so limit your visits to the hive–be brief and gentle.

COLONY STRENGTH:  Assess colony strength by observing comings and goings at the entrance.  Counting 30 to 90 bees in one minute is a good hive.  30 to 90 sounds like a wide range, but it really isn’t because the activity will vary by time of day and outside temperature, and the lower number still indicates a strong hive.

John recommends the ‘Paired Hive System,’ and brought hives he had just built to demonstrate the basic set up. The plan is to take two hives and set them very close together. One hive is made up of 2 deep brood boxes, and the other w/ 2 deeps and a super. The bees will drift between the hives and will equalize their numbers over time.

July is usually when queens are raised by bee suppliers, so it is a good time to do a split.

John also demonstrated the basic technique for combining a strong and a weak hive:  lay a sheet of newspaper over the receiving hive, set the brood box of the weak hive on top of the paper, and put the hive back together, replacing the inner and top covers.

Instead of doing a split with a strong, active hive, you can also have a plan to progressively just make more room for them.  For example, in the top brood box, the outer frames will be all or mostly honey, and the inner frames are brood. Take out a full frame of honey and put a new frame in that spot. Keep the frame of honey in case you get a swarm, you will have honey for them.

HIVE COMFORT:  From now to the 2nd week of September is the hottest time, and you need to ventilate the hive for bee comfort and honey cure. Nectar is 80% water, and the bees need to evaporate it down to @15% for honey.  WAYS TO VENTILATE the HIVE:

  • Replace the solid inner cover with a screened inner cover.
  • Put a 3/8” pebble or a little stick in each corner under the top lid to raise the top a bit.
  • Provide shade for the hive in the afternoon.  You can lay a large board on the top of the hive, secured with a block.
  • If using a solid inner cover, set it so the notch is down. Think “Down in Summer, Up in Winter.”

Regarding the old, dark brood frames that have become icky:  It is recommended to have a 5-6 year rotation on frames, that is, replace approximately 15% to 20% of your worst frames each year.  Bee Culture Magazine says to go even shorter with a 3-4 year rotation for frames, especially in agricultural areas where insecticides are regularly used.

Treat frames for Nosema or other diseases after the honey season.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS:  Instead of using a smoker, you can also interrupt the bees’ alarm system by using a spray bottle of sugar water mixed with a few teaspoons of liquid smoke. The bees start grooming each other because of the sugar water, and the liquid smoke does the same thing as regular smoke–makes the bees gorge on honey, and masks the alarm pheromones.

To find a queen, hold a frame horizontally at eye level, and look across for the silhouette of a larger bee.  Remember to hold the frame over the hive box so you don’t lose her.

John states one of the things our Club, and the Black Hills area really needs, is someone to raise queen bees.  It takes a very strong hive, and specialized equipment. It would be great if someone were to do develop this business.

The meeting was adjourned @7:45.

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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